Tuesday, October 30, 2018

120 tribal leaders from Mindanao to sue CPP-NPA for violating indigenous people’s rights

From UNTV News & Rescue (Oct 30): 120 tribal leaders from Mindanao to sue CPP-NPA for violating indigenous people’s rights

Lipatuan Joel Unad, chairman of the Mindanao Indigenous People Conference for Peace and Development

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 120 tribal chieftains from Mindanao traveled to Manila to file charges against the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) for multiple violations of the indigenous people’s rights and other lawless acts.

Representatives from 18 major ethnic tribes in Mindanao led by Lipatuan Joel Unad, the Chairman of the Mindanao Indigenous People Conference for Peace and Development condemns the killing of 1,000 tribal leaders since the 1980s for defying orders from the communist group.

The group accused the Reds of abusing, molesting and raping their youth. The rebels were also educating their children in false ideals and curriculum not accredited by the Department of Education (DepEd).

Based on records, 70% of NPA members were recruited from the Lumads.
“Ipa-member ka sa CPP-NPA turuan ka kung paano kumanta ng national anthem ng mga CPP-NPA. Tinuturuan ka paano pag-dismantle ng baril. Iyon ba ang totoong pagtulong sa mga katutubo?” Unad lamented.

“Ang UP iyon pala ang institution for the indigenous people para sa lahat sana. Pero ngayon ang UP kampuhan ng mga kabataan na ginagamit ng CPP-NPA. Tinuturuan ka pala ng batas ng komunista,” he added.

Among the charges the group plans to file include multiple atrocities and extreme violence against the tribes such as burying alive, torture, death by strangling and firing squad.

The group consulted authorities from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples regarding the charges which they plan to file next week.

Unad insisted that the alleged mass protests against the government were the works of the leftists and not their group. He also countered reports on social media accusing them as fake tribal leaders.

“Sinasabi po ng social media na ang mga taong ito peke pero ito ang proseso natin kung maging peke ang mga tribal leaders na nandito hindi nakasulat sa kabundukan at saka katubigan at saka sa history yung mga pangalan nila,” he said.

Unad calls on the NPA to stop occupying their territory as they want to protect and preserve their culture and traditions.

They call on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to help them protect their ancestral domain defense system so that economic development will also come their way such as proper education.


Cop wounded in suspected NPA attack in Negros Oriental — police report

From GMA News (Oct 30): Cop wounded in suspected NPA attack in Negros Oriental — police report

A police officer was wounded on Tuesday after suspected New People's Army rebels attacked two police detachments in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

An initial police report said an undetermined number of NPA rebels simultaneously attacked the state security force's patrol bases in Barangay Hinakpan and Barangay Bulado around 11 a.m.

Authorities said the harassment lasted for several minutes but no fatalities were reported.

The wounded officer — Police Officer 1 Elvis John Lucasan — was reported out of danger after being admitted to a hospital.

Pursuit and checkpoint operations are being conducted in the area following the incident.


No shortlist yet for submarine acquisition: AFP official

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 31): No shortlist yet for submarine acquisition: AFP official

The government has yet to come up with a shortlist of countries where it can acquire its first-ever diesel electric submarines from.

This was confirmed by AFP deputy chief-of-staff for plans Major Gen. Restituto Padilla on Monday when asked where the country is planning to source the new naval vessel.

"Well it's simple as a search in the Google search engine where you find a lot of submarine producing countries so they are still part of the long list of countries that you may consider to get the submarine from," Padilla noted.

Padilla said this includes the Nordic countries, Russia, and all other nations producing the stealthy craft.

"But I cannot at this point say if there is a shortlist that has been done because there is none at all," he disclosed.

Earlier, Padilla mentioned that the AFP modernization, which is on a three Horizon capability build-up, is already on the Second Horizon or the starting point for completing all the requirements to meet internal and external security challenges.

"So this why you may have heard recently that the keel-laying ceremony for our frigate that was ordered from South Korea has been announced and that in essence by 2020 if I'm not mistaken, the delivery of the first working frigate of the Philippine Navy will be in the offing. As to the submarine capability buildup this is very long term development, it is not something that we can get off the shelf, it is a capability that needs to be slowly, deliberately and in consultation with our allies, the United States included," he added.

With this, the decision on whether to acquire submarines will be made in due time, Padilla stressed.


NDF/NDF-NEMR: Intensify and strengthen the unity of peasants and lumad to fight and take to task the fascist Duterte regime

NDF-NEMR propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Oct 29): Intensify and strengthen the unity of peasants and lumad to fight and take to task the fascist Duterte regime

Statement | 28 October 2018

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines-North Eastern Mindanao Region (NDFP-NEMR) and all the revolutionary forces wholeheartedly join the peasantry and Lumad this October in observance of the Peasant and Lumad Month. Let us give them the highest tribute in their continuing struggle for genuine land reform, right to self-determination and their determination to provide food for the Filipino people.

Farmers are society’s backbone and among the true creators of history but they suffer from grave poverty. Instead of the US-Duterte regime supporting them to develop their farming capabilities and accelerate production, they are further driven towards severe deprivation brought about by the implementation of anti-people laws and policies.

First, laws such as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) are not solving the land problems of farmers because it retains vast tracks of land under the control of landlords. Here in Caraga, the big landlords are the families of Sanchez, Fernandez, Ong-o, Gonzaga, Plaza, Uy, Tolentino, Garcia, Llamas, Ty, Luna, Cagampang, Tiongco, Lozada, Atega, Kingkiang, Garay, Calo, Asis and others. Land rent remains high, in rice fields rent for a hectare of land remains at 15-24 sacks. In coconut plantations, 50-50 and 60-40 rent favoring land lords continue, with tenants shouldering all expenditures.

Farmers are victims of exploitation by businessmen, usurers and other exploitative classes through unrelenting price increases of farm inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides; high usury rates reaching 20%-200% for every harvest; rent increases of farm equipment; low wages; and low buying prices of products such as copra which is currently at P16.00 a kilo. Amidst all these, the government has not given significant support or assistance to farmers.

Second, the policy of land conversion to foreign mining and plantations, is forcibly driving away thousands of farmers and Lumad from their lands which are then seized. In Caraga, not less than 200,000 hectares have been converted into plantations. Meanwhile, more than 600,000 hectares of land are covered by either operating mines or approved mining operations. The AFP/PNP, LGU and several exploitative Lumad leaders are being used to grab land.

Because of this, wide areas of rice fields, rivers and coasts in Caraga have been destroyed and can no longer be used for livelihood by farmers and fisher folks. Mine tailings and poisonous chemicals mostly come from imperialist mines such as SRMI, TMC, PGMC, MMDC, Green Stone, Manila Mining, Agata Mining and many others.

Third, the uncontrolled importation of agricultural products such as rice, spices and others has resulted to the decline of local products of farmers. Many farmers lost their livelihood. This paved the way for the monopoly of agricultural products by foreigners and local capitalists in the country.

Fourth, the US-Duterte regime are conning and deceiving the farmers into planting commercial products through the National Greening Program (NGP) of the DENR and the Upland Sustainable Agriculture Development (USAD) of the Department of Agriculture (DA). It is promoting the planting of falcatta, oil palm, cacao and rubber to replace the direct food products they have been producing, such as corn and rice.

Fifth, farmers, already suffering grave poverty, are being victimized by the brutality of fascist forces of the AFP/PNP through martial law and all-out war under Oplan Kapayapaan. Here in NEMR thousands of families are being forced to evacuate regularly, they are threatened, their livelihood destroyed and abandoned because of the indiscriminate bombings using canons and air assets, near communities and farms. There have been 20 victims of extra judicial killings, more than a hundred have been arrested and charged with trumped-up cases, hundreds have been forced to surrender, threatened, harassed and suffer other brutalities under the US-Duterte regime. Militarization of the countryside is meant to safeguard the economic interests of the ruling classes.

All these prove that the US-Duterte regime is anti-people and pro-imperialist. It has set aside the interests of the country’s farmers to protect the interests of its masters, the monopoly capitalists, big bourgeoisie compradors and land lords.

The only solution to attain genuine land reform and national industrialization is the Democratic People’s Revolution. Through this the people will be liberated from foreign domination and can achieve true development and equality.

On this Month of Peasants and Lumad, let us strive to further intensify and strengthen the unity of the peasantry and Lumad to fight and take to task the US-Duterte regime.

Long live the struggle of the farmers and Lumad!

Ka Maria Malaya


NDF/NDF-Mindanao: Despite the searing economic crisis, the US-Duterte regime is already in a frenzy over the start of 2019 midterm bourgeois elections

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Oct 30): Despite the searing economic crisis, the US-Duterte regime is already in a frenzy over the start of 2019 midterm bourgeois elections

Ka Joaquin Jacinto
Spokesperson, NDFP-Mindanao

October 29, 2018

Despite the nation being stuck in a quagmire of a searing inflation, the US-Duterte regime is already in a frenzy propping up its electoral machinery for yet another election circus, the 2019 midterm polls. This is part of the regime’s grand design to secure the US-Duterte regime’s hold on state power, fortifying its ground to establish a fascist dictatorship, and rule beyond its term.

To tighten its grip on every rung of the reactionary government, from municipality to city to province and region right up to the Senate and House of Representatives, Duterte’s minions, who are gunning for seats both at the national and local levels, are made to exploit every opportunity, even this early, to employ dirty tricks and, in certain cases, the assassination of political rivals, to ensure eventual victory at the actual polls.

Political violence has commenced as certain politicians are being assassinated for political agenda of one party against another; cases are piling up in Luzon, Visayas ang Mindanao, where early preparation for an easy win in the midterm elections for Duterte toadies are already hatched.

Duterte is already pushing for his handpicked lackeys to grab seats in the Senate or Congress, such as Bong Go, Allan Peter Cayetano, Francis Tolentino and possibly even his own daughter, Sara Duterte, who does his every bidding and defend his fascist policies of martial law, extrajudicial killings, Oplan Tokhang/Double Barrel and outright militarism (Oplan Kapayapaan) in the countryside.

Even as early as in the period of the filing of the certificate of candidacy, Duterte’s bets and pets are already projected on radio, TV and the dailies, conspicuously ever present trying to be “heroes” even in such natural events as typhoon Ompong to simulate a semblance of “giving concern towards poor victims.” Certainly, with this much activity on projecting Duterte’s minions, money has begun to pour out to fund it. This, while the nation is reeling in the midst of skyrocketing prices of rice, petroleum products, basic commodities and services.

It will not be surprising if the US-Duterte regime will once again turn to hi-tech fraud or electronic cheating via hocus-PCOS to ensure certain victory for all his bets. Added to that, politicians from powerful families particularly in Mindanao, such as the Duterte’s in Davao, the Del Rosarios and Alvarezes in Davao del Norte, the Amantes in Agusan del Norte, the Plazas in Agusan del Sur, the Pimentels in Surigao del Sur, the Jalosjoses in Zamboanga and others, will use patronage politics to place their constituents in a stranglehold to guarantee their uninterrupted reign, employing guns, goons and gold.

If need be, members of these powerful families will turn against each other, becoming turncoats and employ mudslinging in order to perpetuate themselves in power.

Also this early, more aggressive effort have already begun to discredit and vilify the leaders and personalities of progressive party lists, as with the recent attacks against the Makabayan Party bloc solons, maliciously tagging them as part of the “Red October plot,” which is a preposterous fiction story conjured by the Duterte and his AFP to justify its crackdown on members of the legal and progressive organizations.

Behind the reactionary elections however, the US-Duterte regime will sustain its fascist Oplan Kapayapaan and martial law in Mindanao to remain in control. Duterte could even gun for “no elections” and declare a nationwide martial law if it means holding on to that level of control, with which all of Duterte’s minions within the reactionary bureaucracy will have hold-over status and perpetuate its fascist and pro-imperialist policies.

Should the elections push through, the Filipino people should exercise their right of suffrage to demand for platforms that embody substantial pro-people changes in the system. The Filipino people must use this right to not elect individuals who clearly are sycophants of Duterte and support his fascist policies. Oust the US-Duterte regime!


NDF/Sison: Duterte Should Step Back from Martial Law Nationwide Whether This Is Already De Facto or To Be Formalized in January 2019

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Oct 30): Duterte Should Step Back from Martial Law Nationwide Whether This Is Already De Facto or To Be Formalized in January 2019

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
October 29, 2018

Consequent to the exposure of the Duterte plot to proclaim martial law nationwide in January 2019, Duterte and his mouthpiece Panelo are making assurances that there is no such plot and that Duterte intends to step down at the end of his term in 2022.

But even as they make such assurances, they speak with forked tongues. They continue to threaten the people by stating that Duterte can declare martial law any time.

With utter arrogance, Duterte himself declares that he does not need to formally declare martial law nationwide because he is already carrying out a de facto kind of martial law, which he calls “strong arm leadership”.

Indeed, at the expense of vital social services, he has been pouring public funds into the military and police in order to bribe them, emboldening them to kill, kill, kill with impunity in his all-out war policy, militarizing his cabinet and important government agencies and signing laws that facilitate repression like the national ID system and harsher provisions of the anti-terrorism law.

But I forewarn Duterte that in imposing martial law on the Filipino people, whether de facto or formally proclaimed, he will ultimately suffer the end and ignominy of the Marcos fascist dictatorship.

Martial law of any kind, as an instrument of fascist dictatorship, can easily victimize the leaders and mass activists of the legal opposition of all kinds who are arbitrarily listed as terrorists by the military and who are not prepared and agile enough to go underground and join the revolutionary movement.

But the revolutionary forces and people are ever ready to fight the fascist dictatorship. Under conditions of martial law, more public money will be wasted on military and police operations and the people will detest the fascist dictatorship even more.

The military forces will have even more difficulty in deploying more units for combat because too many military officers and their personnel would be busy occupying and operating erstwhile civilian agencies, manning checkpoints for the purpose of mass intimidation and extortion and being desk-bound to conduct electronic surveillance of the people.

In the final analysis, martial law whether de facto or formally proclaimed will be effective in arousing the people to wage revolutionary struggle and will be ineffective in suppressing the rise of the people and the revolutionary forces.

It is best for Duterte to step back from his drive for absolute power and absolute corruption before it is too late for him. He must recall what happened to Marcos at the end even as he had far more advantages like younger age, suaver way of deception, Ilocano affinity with most of the military personnel, bigger allowance for foreign borrowing, etc.

In fact, Duterte does not have the advantages that Marcos had. The chronic crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system, which allows protracted people’s war, has become worse than ever before. And yet Duterte always wastes precious time by ranting to provoke opposition to his rule and depends too much on intimidating the people and his critics with brute force. He has an exceptional talent for outraging the broad range of forces and the people against himself.


CPP/Ang Bayan: OPE-P: Heigtened US military intervention

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Oct 21): OPE-P: Heigtened US military intervention

Under Rodrigo Duterte’s rule, US military intervention in the Philippines deepened and expanded. Duterte himself paved the way to US’ greater control over the country, especially the AFP, when he imposed martial law in Mindanao on May 2017 to “crush the terrorist Maute group.”

Throughout his “war on terror” against the Maute group, the US commanded AFP operations inside Marawi City. The US used the siege in the city as a pretext to formally establishing the Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines (OPE-P) on September 1, 2017. It replaced Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines (OEF-P) as the US’ “named operation” in the country. The OEF-P took the form of the 900-troop Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines located inside an AFP base in Zamboanga City from 2002 to 2015. Like the OEF-P, the OPE-P is under the US’ overseas contigency operations (OC), previously called the “global war on terror” which is funded by the Pentagon’s collosal budget.

On December 2017, Duterte declared the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as “terrorist organizations” to further justify the existence of the OPE-P and expand its operations beyond Mindanao.

The US Defense Department Lead Inspector General’s report for January-May 2018 indicates that the OPE-P permanently bases 200-300 US troops in the country to supposedly advise, train and support Filipino troops. At this time, fighting in Marawi has already ended and armed skirmishes between the AFP and Moro groups have become less.

Within the current year, the OPE-P reported expenses of up to $32.4 million (P1.8 billion based on a foreign exchange of P55=$1). Most of the funds were spent on providing aerial surveillance support through unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV o drone) in AFP combat operations.

Though the OPE-P identified “ISIS-Philippines” as its main target, there have been numerous reports of drone surveillance in AFP-suspected NPA areas this year. Drones were sighted flying overhead before the 59 incidents of bombings and straffings recorded by the National Democratic Front-Mindanao since January 2018. Drones also often precede AFP focused military operations. For 2019, the OPE-P proposed a $108.2 million budget (P5.95 billion), triple its current operational budget.

The US also used the OPE-P to expand joint military exercises and position more troops in the country. Balikatan 34, which was participated by 8,000 troops (3,000 US and 5,000 Filipino) last May is among these exercises. This was followed by two more large exercises, the MTA Sama Sama on July and Kamandag 2 (previously Phiblex) this October. Live fire and amphibious landing, exercises which Duterte vowed to reduce if not outrightly ban, were part of the program.

These large-scale exercises are part of the US plan to maintain its presence on Philippine land and seas. Big and small exercises, conferences and other military activities led by US soldiers occur almost daily all over the country. From 258 in 2017, these activities rose to 261 in 2019 and will increase to 281 in 2019. More and larger trainings in various military fronts are conducted annually.

Alongside these exercises, US warships regularly sail through Philippine seas and the South China Sea in the guise of “freedom of navigation operations.” Some of these ships dock in the country for repairs, leave waste material and refuel, as well as for rest and recreation of US troops.

In general, the entry and exit of US troops and armaments in the country are becoming more frequent. In addition to the exercises, most of the troops enter the country aboard “visiting” warships. Since January, ten ships containing not less than 17,500 military troops, dozens of warplanes and other weapons have docked in Manila Bay, Subic Bay and other large seaports since January. The largest of these ships run on nuclear energy. The total number of troops is even bigger if it includes the ships which sailed in Philippine waters no less than 15 times for various reasons, including freedom of navigation operations. These include the USS Essex which was exposed to have been stationed in the Philippine Sea after one of its Marine trooper fell off the ship and disappeared. These US ships are accompanied by Japanese and Australian ships.

In addition to intervening in internal issues, the US also managed to push its strategic plan to maintain a more permanent and extensive base for their troops and war matériel under Duterte.

Using past military agreements, the US has already openly started construction of facilities for their troops inside their old military bases. In 2017, the US and AFP inaguarated a new building inside Basa Air Force Base in Pampanga supposedly for humanitarian purposes but is, in fact, built for stockpiling war materiel. The US and the AFP also announced the onset of contructing same facilities in Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation, Lumbia Air Base, Antonio Bautista Airbase and Benito Ebuen Air Base. This year, the construction of a military base started in residential areas in Marawi City after the US made the Duterte regime unearth and declare the city as a military reservation. This is one of the reasons why displaced residents are not allowed to enter the city, except for limited visits.

The US continues to unload airplanes, helicopters, ships, ammunitions, bombs and other war matériel in the country. Since January 2017, the US has been dumping its outdated armaments worth P5 billion under the guise of the AFP modernization plan. This will be augmented by more weapons, such as the anti-missile radar system which Duterte is set to “buy” from Israel and six F-16 jet fighters from the US supposedly to defend Philippine seas. The acquisition of such weapons supposedly for territorial defense is in line with the US defense plan against China’s rising military power.

US and Philippine military and state officials continue to enjoy strong and close ties. Every year, the commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command visits the country, and in turn, Defense Secretary Lorenzana meets with US State Department officials in Washington D.C. The Security Engagement Board, the committee which sets US activities in the country, also holds regular meetings.

Aside from military activities, US agencies also intervene in various aspects of Philippine national security including Philippine National Police programs, social media, and customs among many others.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]


CPP/Ang Bayan: Building the Party in FX

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Oct 21): Building the Party in FX

(This article is a contribution by Party members in the Bicol region to Ang Bayan’s (AB) series featuring outstanding experiences on Party branch building in various fields of revolutionary work. AB’s editors encourage all Party committees to contribute to this series by submitting their stories.)

Building a party branch, first and foremost, is ideological building—this was proven by the Party branch in FX. A vigorous theoretical educational campaign along with efforts to concretely apply its lessons is key to building the confidence of cadres in leading the comprehensive revolutionary work of a Party branch.

Residents of barrio FX were first organized under the national democratic revolution in 1974 by cadres from Sorsogon. The following year, the organizing committee, local party branch and a people’s militia unit were formally established in the barrio. FX is considered as one of the most consolidated barrios in the province. The Party branch in FX has been through various calamities caused by successive “counter-insurgency” campaigns of the reactionary state.

As with others, the branch in FX experienced both advances and retreats. By adhering to major historical lessons, the Party advanced and gained further strength in FX. Among these lessons is the significance of mounting a vigorous educational campaign in building a Party branch.

In a letter to a comrade, Ka Liz, secretary of the FX branch, said that “…presently, we are set to formally establish a barrio revolutionary committee. This should have been done a long time ago, but raising of the level of mass organizations has been slow despite having a Party branch and full-fledged mass organizations. Among the factors that have resulted in this are the sluggishness in conducting educational discussions in the past and the lack of trained instructors.”

Identifying these major factors and weaknesses, the branch and the regional Party committee collaborated in conducting an educational campaign in the barrio. This resulted in a higher rate of completion of Basic and Intermediate Party Courses (BPC and IPC). All members of the executive committee (EC) of the FX branch completed the IPC. Meanwhile, 48% and 92% of the total membership of the branch completed the IPC and BPC respectively.

The branch achieved these victories through an efficient instruction machinery. There are now ten BPC and two IPC instructors. The provincial Party committee also issued a policy exhorting all local branch secretaries to serve as instructors and spearhead the education work in their respective branches. While the FX branch can already mobilize its own BPC machinery, it now also preparing to complete all requisites needed in establishing its own IPC machinery. Ka Jing, one of the head instructors in FX, said that they used to find it hard to launch their own Party education campaigns especially BPC, but through constant practice, teaching became easier for them.

“We initially consult the EC of the branch in preparation for educational discussions. Meanwhile, the people’s militia ensures the security of the barrio. Studies are often conducted in residents’ houses. The schedule for the educational discussion is also flexible because the venue is just within the barrio and is accessible to resident-instructors. It can either be a seminar-type or staggered, depending on the availability of the students,” said Ka Jing. BPC is often subdivided into two sessions with three days each. This resolved previous concerns of mothers with small children who cannot join long discussions in far venues. Even the youth who go to school are given a chance to study BPC because studies can also be conducted during weekends.

Because studies are systematically and flexibly conducted, majority of the Party membership were able to graduate from the formal courses. Food for educational sessions are funded through the funds of the branch from contributions of its members and donations from beneficiaries of the agrarian revolution. It is also important to ensure that all educational inputs are complete, including the library of all texts and handouts needed in the discussions. To efficiently conduct the discussions, the branch uses a computer and projector.

Achieving a relatively higher level of ideological consolidation, the branch was able to overcome past problems. Among these are the passivity of the branch and the failure of its members to deliver most of their tasks when the unit of the people’s army operating within the area is far away. Experience has taught the LPB in FX that ensuring the vigorous delivery of ideological tasks is key to building its cadres’ confidence in delivering other political and organizational tasks. Aside from completing the said formal courses, the branch also regularly conducts collective plannings, assessments and criticism and self-criticism (CSC) sessions.

Ka Liz added that, “because of our efficient and lively collective work, we are also able to methodically tackle our organizational tasks. Whenever there are tasks, the EC convenes for a meeting and subsequently presents the ideological, political and organizational plan to all branch members systematically. An objective and agenda are specified in every meeting to ensure direction and smooth flow.

Regular CSC is also a vital organizational tool. No one is perfect, and we may make mistakes in conducting our organizational tasks. That is why we need to learn how to accept criticism and correct our errors. Through this, we prevail over our individual and collective weaknesses.”

Because of relentless enemy operations, there were times when mass organizations were pacified in FX. But because of the strength and determination of the branch, it was able to reestablish these organizations. An example of this was when the area was heavily militarized under the Arroyo regime’s Oplan Bantay Laya I and II. After a few years, the branch was able to reestablish the mass organizations of three sectors—that of the peasants, youth and women. The branch also has the capability to supervise the elections within organizations. Because of the strength gained by the Party and after completing the requisites, the barrio revolutionary committee in FX was formally established.

Under the leadership of the branch, mass campaigns are vigorously launched in FX. On many occassion, the Party was able to mobilize its residents to voice their demands and concerns not only on their local issues but even on national issues. When the local guerilla unit of the New People’s Army (NPA) was established, the branch was among the first to deploy elements from their own people’s militia unit. The FX branch is conscious of its tasks to recruit full time Red fighters. Tempered in their longstanding struggle, FX is neither shakened by military offensives nor dread of the enemy’s psywar. Recognizing the need to expand in adjacent barrios that are behind, local cadres of FX has struck deep roots even beyond their barrio. Some cadres of FX are now members of the subsection committee which covers the cluster where the barrio is at.

The experience of FX proved the significance of the ideological work of the Party in all levels. This particular experience has paved the direction of other territorial Party organs in delivering their major consolidation tasks at the basic level.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]


CPP/Ang Bayan: State forces illegally arrest NDFP consultant and 4 others

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Oct 21): State forces illegally arrest NDFP consultant and 4 others

Elements of the military

military and police illegally arrested National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Adelberto Silva and four others on October 15 at around 2 p.m. in Barangay Pagsawitan, Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Travelling with Silva, 71, were Hedda Calderon, 63, of Gabriela Women’s Party; Ireneo Atadero, 55, of Kilusang Mayo Uno; Ediciel Legazpi, 60, a farmer; and their driver, Julio Lusania, 53.

After blocking and ordering them to alight from their vehicle, the military planted guns, grenades and an improvised claymore mine as evidence. On the next day, they were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives. The cases against Calderon, Atadero and Legazpi were dismissed and they were temporarily released on October 18.

The NDFP vehemently condemned Silva’s arrest, the designated vice-chairperson of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms. Fidel Agcaoili, chief peace negotiator of the NDFP, said that Silva and his companions were conducting consultations with various sectors when they were arrested. As consultant, Silva is supposedly protected from surveillance, arrest and harassment under the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. Meanwhile, on the same day in Misamis Oriental, police officers arrested Alfredo Abao, a member of Misamis Oriental Farmers’ Association. Abao was the third peasant leader arrested in the province.

Elements of the 7th ID and police also illegally arrested four activists in Sitio Bangkusay, Barangay Talabutab Norte, Natividad, Nueva Ecija on October 13. The victims were identified as as Yolanda Diamsay Ortiz, 46, of Anakpawis; and Eulalia Ladesma, 44, of Gabriela Women’s Party. They were subjected to interrogation and bore torture marks on their faces. Also arrested were Rachel Galario, 20, and Edzcel Emocling, 23. The four, who were then in the area to give aid to peasants who were hard hit by Typhoon Ompong, were accused of being NPA members. The military also threatened their relatives.

Students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) mounted successive protest actions in support of their schoolmate, Emocling, and her companions who were arrested. Emocling and Galario were temporarily released on October 16.

On October 17, nine unidentified men arrested Ceasar Carreon, a member of Anakpawis, in Mexico, Pampanga. On October 18, it was reported that Joey Torres Sr., regional peasant organizer of Bayan Muna deployed in Nueva Ecija, was missing for weeks already.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]


CPP/Ang Bayan: AFP-backed goons massacre 9 farmers in Negros

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Oct 21): AFP-backed goons massacre 9 farmers in Negros

Nine were killed, including two minors and four women, in a massacre on Hacienda Nene, Purok Fire Tree, Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City, Negros Occidental, on October 20.

At around 9:30 p.m., 40 unidentified armed men strafed the farmers who were then resting in a hut in the said hacienda. The victims were identified as Iglicerio Villegas, Angelipe Arsenal and Morena Mendoza who were residents of Barangay Plaridel; Peter Ras, Dodong Laurenio and Bingbing Bantigue. Among those killed were also Joemarie Ughayon Jr., 17, of Barangay Rafaela Barrera, and Marchtel Sumicad, 17, of Purok Mahogany, Barangay Bulanon.

Reports indicate that most of the victims suffered head-shots. Three of the victims’ corpses were incinerated by the perpetrators while four others survived the strafing.

All of the victims were active members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) who launched their “bungkalan” or collective farming in the area on October 19. The land is within the 75-hectare hacienda that was grabbed by a certain Atty. Barbara Tolentino, and leased by Conpinco Trading.

Despite being issued a “notice of coverage” by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), land within the hacienda is yet to be distributed.

Since 2008, farmers annually launch their collective farming to survive the “tiempo muerto” o dead season between the harvesting and re-planting of sugarcane. In a statement, the NFSW said that the assailants who shot the farmers are possibly mercenaries who are members of the “Revolutionary Proletarian Army,” an armed group in Negros that broke away with the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1993.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas stressed that this was not the first incident of peasant killing in Sagay City.

On December 21, 2017, Flora Jemola, chairperson of NFSW-Sagay City, was stabbed to death by suspected elements of the 12th IB-CAFGU. On February 21, Ronald Manlanat, a member of NFSW in Hacienda Joefred, Barangay General Luna, was also shot dead by suspected elements of the CAFGU.

In a statement, the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura said the the killings are a direct result of the AFP’s red-tagging campaign against peasants in Negros. On April 20, BGen. Eliezer Losanes, commander of the 303rd IBde, peddled a piece of fake news maliciously stating that the lands which are being cultivated by farmworkers and farmers in Negros are communal farms of the New People’s Army (NPA).

In sum, 45 farmers have been killed in Negros Island under the Duterte regime. Killings. A B’laan farmer was shot dead by elements of the 73rd IB in Sitio Mahayag, Barangay Upper Suyan, Malapatan, Sarangani on October 7 at around 7 p.m. The victim was identified as Jimmy Ambat, who was earlier accused by the military as an NPA member. Ambat was in his house together with his family when he was killed. He was shot when he rushed to the aid of his nephew who was then being beaten by the soldiers.

On October 15, Victor Villafranca, a member of Haligi ng Batanguenong Anakdagat (HABAGAT), was killed by suspected military elements in Lian, Batangas. Villafranca actively participated in the campaign against land-use conversion and militarization in their community. According to Pamalakaya, Villafranca was the sixth fisherman killed under the Duterte regime.

In Albay, elements of the 22nd IB-CAFGU shot Mario Pantoja Maritana, 40, on October 2 in the morning while on his way to their house in Barangay Doña Mercedes, Guinobatan.

Maritana was aboard a motorcycle after taking his child to school in Barangay Malobago when he was ambushed. Maritana died in the hospital two days after the incident.

The victim has long been tagged by the military as a supporter of the NPA and accused of participation in an ambush mounted by the NPA on September against the 22nd IB-CAFGU in their barangay.

In Ligao City, elements of the 22nd IB-CAFGU forcibly entered the residence of farmer Amador Orfano, 59, in Barangay Pandan on October 7 at around 3 a.m. The suspects asked Orfano where the house of Kagawad Grace Ocfemia is. The victim was shot dead after the interrogation.

After the crime, the suspects went next to barangay Pinamaniquian and torched the house of Ocfemia.

On top of this, the fascists also burned down two more houses of the Quinalayo family in the same barangay on October 14 and 16. The 22nd IB-CAFGU also threatened to burn burn down all houses in the area.

Dispersal. Seventeen members of the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farms (NAMASUFA), including a pregnant woman, were wounded in the almost simultaneous dispersal of their picketlines in Sumitomo Fruits Corp. (SUMIFRU) on October 11. Within 13 hours, 300 security guards and goons of the company assailed the picketlines in SUMIFRU Packing Plant (PP) 370 in barangays Pilar Babag, PP 98 and PP 340 in Osmeña, PP 92 in Alegria, PP 90 in Gabi, PP 99 in San Miguel and PP 115 in Marapat, all in Compostela, Compostela Valley.

The assailants demolished the huts and burned down the structures and food supply of, and mauled the striking workers. Simultaneously, soldiers of the 66th IB illegally entered the houses of the workers. Two workers, Jimboy Cagas and Ramil Monte, were arrested by the police but were immediately released.

The deployment of dispersal teams in various picketlines of SUMIFRU striking workers occurred after the Compostela Valley Regional Trial Court 11 Branch 56 junked the petition of SUMIFRU to prohibit workers from impeding the entry and exit of thee said plantation’s banana products.

Meanwhile, in the afternoon of October 18, security guards and police officers also violently dispersed the camp of peasants from Norzagaray and San Jose del Monte, Bulacan in front of DAR. The said farmers put up a market of vegetable products which they harvested from the lands they tilled and are struggling for. The peasants marched to DAR to hold a dialogue with its administrators. Immediately after the dialogue, however, guards and police officers attacked them and demolished the huts they have constructed.

Harassment. Paid internet trolls continue to harass and villify activists in Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela and Cagayan. Twenty-six individuals were tagged as “NPA members” in various leaflets distributed by the 5th ID in Tuguegarao City and Amulong, Cagayan.

In Ilocos, trolls of the AFP accused Mary Ann Gabahan of the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance as an “NPA protector” and “councilor’s mistress.” The writers and staff of Northern Dispatch, an alternative news outfit in Northern Luzon, were also harassed and villfied.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]


CPP/Ang Bayan: NPA ambushes PNP convoy in CamSur

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Oct 21): NPA ambushes PNP convoy in CamSur

The New People’s Army (NPA)-West Camarines Sur (Norben Gruta Command) successfully ambushed the 1st Camarines Sur Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) along Maharlika Highway, Barangay Napolidan, Lupi, Camarines Sur last October 18, 8:55 a.m.

The said police unit was part of the security convoy escorting Bureau of Food and Drugs Authority Director General Mila Puno. Three police officers were slain while four others were wounded. An M14 rifle together with five magazines, and two .45 caliber pistol magazines were seized from them.

Contrary to lies peddled by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PPSC, Red fighters carefully select their targets in every tactical offensive. Particular in the Lupi offensive, command-detonated explosives (CDX) targeted only armed elements of the PNP, said Ka Ma. Roja Banua, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front-Bicol. Because the detonation is directed, the NPA purposely spared the vehicle that carried Puno. Banua said that they obtained the detailed itinerary of the convoy from members of the PNP.

Earlier, on October 17, the NPA also ambushed Teodoro Adaptante, a CAFGU element deployed in Barangay Alanao in the same town.

The PPSC and other mercenary armed agents of the reactionary government have perpetrated a long list of crimes and human rights violations in Bicol. On top of killing civilians under the guise of the “war against drugs,” they also perpetrated the murder of activists.

Camarines Norte. On October 14, the NPA-Camarines Norte seized two M4 assault rifles in an ambush against the 96th IB in Purok 7, Barangay Dumagmang, Labo, Camarines Norte, at around 4 p.m. Eight soldiers were slain while two others were wounded.

The ambush was mounted near the temporary camp of the 96th IB.

Agu­san del Sur. The NPA-Agusan del Sur conducted a punitive action on October 4 against Charity Ampong, a despotic landlord who owns hundreds of hectares of calamansi farmland in Barangay San Luis, Agusan del Sur. The Red fighters paralyzed a truck, and torched few sacks of fertilizer and 18 hectares of farmland owned by Ampong. The said action was a response to the complaints against extremely low wages and the inhumane working conditions in the hacienda.

During planting season, Ampong compensates farmers with a meager P250 daily salary. The farmers are prohibited from resting except during noon. Their wages are further cut down when resting outside the said schedule. During harvest season, they are compensated with only P90 per sack of lemon they are able to reap.

On the next day, the NPA ambushed elements of the CAFGU Active Auxiliary who indiscriminately fired their guns in the same barangay. Eight enemy troopers were wounded. The NPA-Agusan del Sur held a tribute in honor of Joel Seguero who was martyred in the said offensive.

Northern Sa­mar. Red fighters from the Special Operations Group of the NPA-Northern Samar (Arnulfo Ortiz Command) ambushed Ananias Rebato, former municipal mayor of San Jose de Buan together with his hired gun, Severino Tesoro Jr., on October 8 in Barangay Babaclayon, San Jose de Buan. Tesoro died on the spot while Rebato was seriously injured. After a few days, Rebato succumbed to his injuries and died in the hospital.

Rebato was notorious for massive corruption and tyranny. Around 31 cases of sexual assault and rape have been filed against him. A rabid supporter of the AFP, he sowed terror in various communities of the said town and ordered the displacement, harassment and killing of resident peasants.

The punitive action serves revolutionary justice not only to Rebato’s direct victims but also to the people of San Jose de Buan who have long suffered from his despotic rule.

Meanwhile, a young farmer was illegally arrested and accused by the military of participating in the said offensive.

The NPA-Eastern Visayas (Efren Martires Command) offered a Red salute to Ambie Gabane (Ka Mati/Ka Mamoy) who was martyred in the course of the ambush.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]


CPP/Ang Bayan: The countryside is fertile ground for intensifying people’s war

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Oct 21): The countryside is fertile ground for intensifying people’s war

Every field and mountain in the vast Philippine countryside is marked by poverty and hunger. The poor peasants, farm workers and toiling masses suffer relentless exploitation and oppression. Theirs is an intense aspiration to end more than one century of semifeudalism which are virtual fetters of the past and barriers to social liberation.

The peasant masses’ fervent spirit of resistance to assert their well-being, defend their rights and advance their struggles for land reform permeate across the country. The land is becoming more fertile for the people’s war to advance more rapidly and extensively in the coming period.

The peasant masses could no longer endure the reign of big landlords and giant capitalists who own large plantations and mining and logging companies. They are filled with indignation over the fascist attacks of reactionary state’s armed forces to suppress their struggle for land and social justice.

Landlessness and landgrabbing are worsening. After almost seven decades of fraudulent land reform programs, large landholdings and plantations remain in the hands of a few. To survive, millions of peasants enter into extremely exploitative tenancy relations or become farm workers with inordinately low wages. This feudal setup is worse in wide swathes of ricelands, coconut farms and sugarcane lands. The peasant masses carry the burden of high costs of production. They are bound to such type of crops requiring expensive pesticides and other chemicals sold by big foreign agribusiness.

Farm work is back-breaking. The system of individual and small-scale farming remain backward where one wrestles with simple hand tools and farm animals and depend on rain water. Mechanization is limited and yield is low. This year, almost 750,000 agricultural jobs
were lost.

Wealth produced by the peasant masses is expropriated by landlords who contribute not even a drop of sweat in enriching the land. They appropriate 30, 50 up to 90 percent of the peasants’ harvest as land rent. Peasants are forced to mortgage their land or tenancy to borrow money from loan sharks, ariendadors, rural banks or microfinance agencies at exhorbitant interest rates to finance the next planting season and their daily consumption. Out of 10 tenants paying amortization, seven have been forced to surrender their titles.

Land rent and loan interests jack up the costs of production. Peasants are left with peanuts after traders buy their harvests of palay, copra, abaca or corn cheaply. Their lot this year has worsened in the face of skyrocketing prices after tax impositions by Duterte.

 There are widespread cases of evictions of peasants, fisherfolk and minority people from their farms and ancestral land. Duterte is clearing hundreds of thousands of hectares to pave the way for the expansion of mining operations, real estate, tourism, energy and infrastructure projects, and plantations of pineaple, banana, oil palm and other export crops in association with foreign big capitalists.

Under the Duterte regime’s Oplan Kapayapaan, and with US imperialist backing and support, the AFP, PNP and paramilitary groups are employed persistently to lay siege and occupy hundreds of rural communities, including those in Moro land. Human rights abuses are rampant, especially in Mindanao which has been under martial law for one year. People are arbitrarily indicted and treated as outlaws and supporters of the armed movement. More than 4,000 have been forced to parade themselves as “NPA surrenderees.” There are now 13 cases of massacres. No less than 170 peasants have been killed under Duterte. More than 500,000 have been forced to evacuate.

 The US-Duterte regime’s all-out war of suppression against the masses has, however, failed. Instead of being intimidated and forced to bow their heads, the peasant masses are raising high their chins and clenching their fists, knowing that worse oppression and exploitation await them if they surrender to the tyranny and terrorism of big landlords, big foreign corporations and their rotten bureaucrat capitalist and fascist cohorts.

The countryside is fertile ground for waging armed revolution more vigorously. Take stock of the objective situation and subjective strength to advance the people’s war across the country with unprecendented speed and breadth. Resolutely advance the struggles of the peasant masses. Firmly advance their antifeudal, antifascist and anti-imperialist struggles and mobilize the rural toiling masses in their millions. Carry out careful and widespread investigation into the masses’ situation and problems and identify solutions and measures to address their welfare amid worsening economic crisis and deteriorating social conditions. Wage all forms of struggle to assert and defend their land rights, from the simple right to plant food crops up to land ownership.

 Rouse the peasant masses, especially the youth, to join the people’s army in their numbers to further strengthen the NPA as their army. Perseveringly expand and intensify guerrilla warfare on the basis of a widespread support and mobilization of the masses. Mount extensive tactical offensives against the brutal fascist enemy troops.

 Further expand and strengthen the revolutionary mass organizations and revolutionary committees from the village level up as organs of political power. At every level, carry out programs for mass education, culture, public health, defense and protection of peace, economy and other fields to address the people’s problems. Creatively resist the enemy’s all-out war and campaign to illegalize the masses.

Carry forward and expand the implementation of the Party’s minimum program for land reform to reduce land rent, eliminate usury and improve farmgate prices and raise production and peasant income. Carry out the maximum program of land confiscation where such can be defended by the NPA. At every stage, undertake the systematic planning of the economy to ensure production of food, raise the income of the peasant masses and support the further expansion of the people’s army.

In all this, the Party’s expansion and strengthening is key. Further deepen and widen the Party’s roots among the rural toiling masses in order to effectively train leaders in line with the proletarian viewpoint, standpoint and method. Further expand, strengthen and increase Party branches and sections.

Bring rural issues and struggles into the factories and schools. City-based Party cadres and members and activists are encouraged to go to the countryside and help in advancing the people’s war. More than ever, cadres from the working-class and intellectuals are needed to contribute their knowledge and skills in advancing the peasant struggles and agrarian revolution, establishing and administering the people’s government, and strength­­ening the army and advancing the armed struggle.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]


CPP: Condemn Duterte’s Kill! orders

Propaganda statement from the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Oct 30): Condemn Duterte’s Kill! orders

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and all revolutionary forces condemn GRP President Duterte for issuing outright orders for armed state agents to shoot peasants engaging in bungkalan or land cultivation activities, as well homeless people who seek to have idle housing projects awarded to them.

Duterte declared, “I don’t care” if anyone gets killed, revealing his bloodthirst and fascist mindset.

By threatening to kill peasants engaged in bungkalan activities, Duterte has displayed his rabid support for the greed of big landlords who refuse to allow even a square inch of land to benefit the tillers of the land. He has, in fact, justified the recent Sagay massacre, where nine peasants were killed by paramilitary forces financed by the big Negros landlords and attached to the Philippine Army.

Duterte and the AFP are washing their hands of blood when they filed murder charges against the organizers of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) based on a fantastic conspiracy tale. He has practically exonerated the paramilitary forces and their landlord financiers who rained bullets against the peasants.

This is the nth time that Duterte has issued such kill orders to his armed minions. He has emboldened armed state agents to go on a spree of rape, abductions, torture and murder under Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Kapayapaan. At least 173 peasant activists have been killed under Duterte.

Duterte tries to justify his kill order by falsely claiming that peasants engaged in land cultivation work are “sowing anarchy.” In fact, bungkalan activities of peasants and farm workers are all legitimate forms of organized assertion of economic rights. More importantly, they stand on solid moral grounds. Gripped by poverty and hunger, the peasant masses seek only the right to cultivate idle patches of land to plan food crops for their own consumption, especially between harvest and planting season.

Similarly, homeless people are fully justified in asserting their legal and social rights to decent housing. It is flatly scandalous that thousands of housing projects remain idle while several hundred thousand families live in shanties.

By threatening the landless peasants and homeless people with murder, Duterte is covering-up his utter failure to fulfill his promise of providing them with a comfortable life and refusal to heed the urgent demand for social upliftment.

He has once again succeeded in enraging the Filipino people, especially the toiling masses and proved why he deserve to be ousted from power.

US willing to contribute to PHL Navy modernization, says official

From Update Philippines (Oct 23): US willing to contribute to PHL Navy modernization, says official

The United States Navy on Monday said that it is willing to give some equipment needed for the Navy modernization training of the Philippine Navy’s personnel.

“We can contribute, certainly from a standpoint of training, there might be some opportunities for us to contribute some equipment to enhance interoperability between our two navies as these capabilities would allow us to work more seamlessly together,” US Navy chief of naval operations Admiral John Richardson said during a media briefing with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

AFP deputy chief for plans Major General Restituto Padilla added that the Armed Forces’ modernization, as a whole, is faring well mainly because of President Rodrigo Duterte’s support.

“We are very fortunate to have a commander-in-chief who himself is the one strongly and hastily trying to advocate for strengthening the armed forces through a hastened AFP modernization,” Padilla said.

The AFP also said that the administration has proven this commitment through its budget allocation for the military’s modernization program.

“Their commitment has been solidified with the P25 billion pesos guaranteed inclusion in the GAA (General Appropriations Act) of every year up to the end of his term to ensure that the major projects in the AFP modernization will push through,” he added.


AFP chief General Carlito Galvez Jr. expressed his gratitude for Richardson’s two-day visit in the Philippines.

“It is an honor for us because it’s a first time, I believe… in my knowledge that the Flag Officer-in-Command of the US Navy has visited us here in the Philippines,” Galvez said.

Galvez added that aside from the modernization program, they have been able to discuss about the two countries’ alliance in the Indo-Pacific region and efforts toward continuous regional security.

“For more than 70 years the United States and the Philippines have remained steadfast friends, partners, and allies dedicated to ensuring security, order, and prosperity throughout the region, and our relationship is built not just on shared values but also on strong people to people and societal ties,” Richardson said.


Balangiga bells to be returned December

From Update Philippines (Oct 22): Balangiga bells to be returned December

The bells of Balangiga, Eastern Samar, are set to be returned to the country before the end of year after more than a century of being in the United States as war booties from the Philippine-American War at the turn of the 20th century.

The three bells—two in the Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and one in a US military facility in South Korea—were taken from Balangiga in 1901 as war trophies.

They have been subjects of a campaign for repatriation for more than 20 years.

Two Americans and a Philippine historian have campaigned for the repatriation of the bells—retired US Navy officer Dennis Wright, Rear Adm. Dan McKinnon and Rolando Borrinaga.

Borrinaga told the Inquirer on the sidelines of the 39th Philippine National Historical Society’s national conference in Catbalogan City, Samar, that US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had formally recommended to the US Congress on Aug. 10 that the bells be returned.

The historian, a member of the National Committee on Historical Research of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, explained that the US Congress had 90 days to concur and if there was no opposition, the repatriation would push through.

Asked about the certainty of the return, Borrinaga said it was “definite” the bells would be repatriated “on or before Christmas.”


Philippine Marines Tendering for 16 New Fiberglass Speedboats

From Update Philippines (Oct 18): Philippine Marines Tendering for 16 New Fiberglass Speedboats

The Philippine Navy (PN), through the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC), released an Invitation to Bid (ITB) for 16 units of brand new Glass-Reinforced Plastic (Fibreglass) Speedboats for the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC), with an ABC of Php340,632,603.36. A Pre-Bid Conference is scheduled on 25 October 2018, while the the Submission and Opening of Bids is scheduled on 23 November 2018.

The awarded proponent should deliver the first batch of 8 units within 90 days from Notice to Procure (NTP), and the next batch of 8 units within 90 days from due date of the first batch. This means this procurement is a quick one.

The PMC requirement also appears to be larger than the US Marine Corps’ Special Operations Craft-Riverine (SOC-R), which is 10 meters long, has more weapon mounts, but can carry the same number of crew and troops, but is slower.

The French-made Seawolf ERF-1 Styx actually has similar attributes to the Philippine Marine Corps requirement, although the PMC requires a longer, probably larger and faster boat than this.


NPA rebel surrenders

From the Mindanao Times (Oct 29): NPA rebel surrenders

A member of the Guerrilla Front 14 of the New People's Army surrendered to the Charlie Company of 75th Infantry Battalion at Barangay Bayugan 3, Rosario, Agusan del Sur on Oct. 25.

Capt. Edwin Leo Francisco, the civil-military operations (CMO) officer of 75th IB, said he surrendered bringing along with him a firearm .

The surrenderee was identified as alias Kalbo, 48, married and a resident of Rosario, Agusan del Sur. He brought along one .357 Magnum pistol loaded with ammunition.

Lt. Col. Jaime Datuin, commanding officer of the 75th IB, praised the decision of Kalbo to surrender.

“I encourage those rebels are still in the mountains to lay down your arms. We will assist you in your reintegration to our society," Datuin said.

“The government has the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program that former NPA terrorist can benefit from it, " he said." It will help you and your family start a new life away from chaos, hunger, and fear of losing your life from encounter with our troops," he added.

Alis Kalbo will be assisted by the 75th IB to be enrolled in the E-Clip in Agusan del Sur.

Young pro-ISIS fighter yields (Photos)

From the Mindanao Examiner (Oct 30): Young pro-ISIS fighter yields

The Philippine Army is holding a young pro-ISIS fighter after he surrendered in the province of Lanao del Sur in southern Philippines where security forces are hunting down militants fighting for a caliphate in the troubled region.

Military photos released to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner show Asnor with other pro-ISIS fighters.

The 18-year old fighter, whose nom de guerre is Asnor, was actively engaged in battling government troops in Lanao del Sur following his recruitment by the Maute Group when he was 14.

Asnor told army interrogators that he was recruited by militant leader Abdullah Maute in 2014 along with a dozen children to fight for a separate Muslim homeland.

Capt. Clint Antipala, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, has confirmed the surrender of Asnor to the 49th Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Edgar Allan Villanueva in the town of Butig. “Asnor was 14- years old when he was recruited by Maute ISIS leader Abdullah Maute in 2014 together with 12 other minors,” he said, adding, the youngest recruit was only 9 years old.

The fate of the young fighters was still unknown. “Custodial debriefing is still on-going,” Antipala said.

Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo, the division commander, lauded the surrender of the young militant. “We are glad to hear that Asnor decided to surrender and this is the best chance for him to return to mainstream society and achieve his aspiration,” Murillo said.

The Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf fighters occupied Marawi City in Lanao del Sur last year in an effort to declare a caliphate, but security forces battled militants numbering about 200 for five months ending the deadly siege.


Bangsamoro Organic Law challenged in Supreme Court

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 30): Bangsamoro Organic Law challenged in Supreme Court

‘Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi want to stay in Region 9’

MUSLIMS IN BASILAN, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, including Lanao del Sur are opposed to future rule by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to the proposed Bangsamoro autonomous region.

A referendum has been set for next year for residents of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – which comprises Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao – to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law that will govern the new region.
Residents of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi who are from Tausug, Yakan and Sama tribes wanted to be part of Region 9 in Western Mindanao, and not be included in the Bangsamoro autonomous region.

MILF leaders -who are mostly from Maguindanao tribe – are mulling to govern the proposed region with rebel chieftain Murad Ebrahim as regional governor, and senior rebel leaders to hold key position in the Bangsamoro autonomous government. Even in Wao town in Lanao del Sur, residents had strongly opposed the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Supreme Court

Just recently, The Manila Times reported that Sulu province, through Gov. Toto Tan, filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with the Supreme Court to review the legality and constitutionality of the Bangsamoro Organic Law which was signed (RA 11054) in July by President Rodrigo Duterte. The proposed law is the result of peace negotiations between the Filipino government and MILF rebels.

It said lawyer Sixto Brillantes is representing Tan. The report said the respondents in the 48-page petition were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Interior and Local Government Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, and the MILF.

Tan claimed that Congress committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it passed the Bangsamoro Organic Law. He said the Bangsamoro Organic Law violates Section 18 and 19 of Article X of the 1987 Constitution which authorized the enactment of only one Organic Act to establish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“Since ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) is created by Constitutional fiat, Congress, by itself, has absolutely no authority to abolish ARMM. Only through an amendment of the Constitution may ARMM be abolished. This is so, because only the Constitution may create or abolish an autonomous region,” Tan said.

“Accordingly, when Congress, by enacting RA 11054, effectively abolished ARMM, and established BAR (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region) in its stead, Congress committed an unconstitutional act, an unwarranted infringement of Article X of the Constitution,” he added.

The Manila Times reported that petitioner stressed that establishing a parliamentary form of government in the Bangsamoro autonomous region violates the doctrine of separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution.

“The same provision of Bangsamoro Organic Law, also violate Section 18, Article X of the Constitution requiring that the Organic Act of an Autonomous Region shall, among others, define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive department and legislative assembly, both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units,” Tan pointed out.

Tan said the automatic inclusion of the ARMM in the newly created Bangsamoro Region “and the provision that the provinces and cities of the ARMM shall vote as one geographical area are likewise unconstitutional.”

“The provisions under Section 2(a) , Article III on Territorial Jurisdiction and Article XV of RA 11054 on the conduct of the plebiscite do not afford the constituents of the Province of Sulu, to the prejudice of their right to suffrage and their right to local autonomy, the option to vote to join or not to join the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” the governor added.

Tan asked the high court to stop the Executive Department from implementing the Bangsamoro law. He also urged the tribunal to issue a Writ of Prohibition to bar the Commission on Elections from proceeding with the scheduled plebiscite in January.

Under the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Bangsamoro region will be composed of the ARMM, six municipalities of Lanao del Norte and 39 villages of Cotabato, and the chartered cities of Isabela and Cotabato subject to the approval of voters.

The region will be headed by a chief minister and two deputy ministers. The parliament will be composed of political party representatives, parliamentary district representatives, sectoral representatives and indigenous tribes and settler communities.

All parliament members will have a term of three years and can enjoy a maximum of three consecutive terms. The parliament can enact its own laws. The Bangsamoro Organic Law also allows 75-25 wealth sharing between the Bangsamoro autonomous region and national government.

The Supreme Court has already directed the government to comment on the petition filed.

MILF says

“We recognize that it is within the rights of Governor Tan to file this petition. However, it is also within our preview to challenge his motivation, hoping that altruistic reasons drove him rather than prolonging a political career. The BOL is more than a piece of legislation. It is a product of the 17 years of difficult peace negotiations and four years of arduous drafting and consultation process with a variety of stakeholders in the Bangsamoro as well as eminent constitutionalists and legal experts.”

“The BOL hopes to fulfill the Bangsamoro’s right to self-determination, address the historical grievances of the Bangsamoro people and introduce necessary reforms to promote good governance and improve the delivery of services in a region gravely affected by decades-long conflict. The BOL, compared to RA 9054 and RA 6734, has provisions that will grant the Bangsamoro people, including the Sulu province, the opportunity to chart their political, economic and social future. Surely, the Sulu governor can see value in that?”

“We can only hope that the honorable men and women of the High Court would see that the BOL will help reinforce and strengthen the political and legal foundation of just and lasting peace in the region. Moreover, it was deliberated upon and approved by the Congress’ best legal minds who are also confident that the BOL can stand the test of constitutionality in the Supreme Court. In the meantime, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will remain committed to the peace process and work with various stakeholders in Mindanao.”


US-PH partnership to grow stronger with Navy modernization

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 30): US-PH partnership to grow stronger with Navy modernization

The partnership between the Philippines and the United States is expected to grow stronger as the Philippine Navy (PN) gains headway in its modernization program.

This was emphasized by US Chief-of-Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson during a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Monday afternoon.

"As the PN grows stronger so our partnership grow stronger and so everybody benefits from that and to the degree that we can contribute, certainly from a standpoint of training," he added.

Richardson also said there might be some opportunities for the US to contribute some equipment to enhance inter-operability between the two Navies.

"As these capabilities come on, that would allow us to work more seemlessly together and, so all of these opportunities, its a wide open field for collaboration and we look forward to exploring it together," Richardson added.

Earlier, the US naval official said the United States and the Philippines stands shoulder-to-shoulder in the pursuit of regional peace and stability.

"Our relationship is built not just on shared values but also on strong people to people and societal ties and nowhere is that felt more than to military-to-military relationships so anytime that I have the opportunity to visit a maritime nation especially one that shares our vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific that day is a good day," he added.


Modernization program going well; sub project to take time -- AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 30): Modernization program going well; sub project to take time -- AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program is progressing well due to the attention and support provided by President Rodrigo Duterte but the decision to acquire diesel-electric submarines is still being deliberated upon.

This was emphasized by AFP deputy chief-of-staff for plans Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla when asked for an update on the matter and the Philippine Navy (PN)'s plans to acquire diesel-electric submarines.

First off the AFP Modernization (Program) is progressing very well, we are very fortunate to have a Commander-in-Chief, who himself is the one strongly and hastily trying to advocate for strengthening the Armed Forces through an hastened AFP Modernization and hence the commitment of the President has been proven by his instructions to the Cabinet, their commitment has been solidified with the PHP25 billion pesos guaranteed inclusion (on) the GAA (General Appropriation Acts) of every year up to the end of his term to ensure that the major projects in the AFP modernization will push through," the military official added.

Padilla also mentioned that the AFP modernization, which is a three-horizon capability build-up, is already on the Second Horizon or the starting point for completing all the requirements to meet internal security challenges and start meeting external security ones.

"So this why you may have heard recently that the keel-laying ceremony for our frigate that was ordered from South Korea has been announced and that in essence by 2020 if I'm not mistaken, the delivery of the first working frigate of the PN will be in the offing. As to the submarine capability buildup this is very long term development, it is not something that we can get off the shelf, it is a capability that needs to be slowly, deliberately and in consultation with our allies, the United States included," he added.

With this, decision on whether to acquire submarines will be made in due time, Padilla stressed.


AFP beefs up security preps for 'Undas'

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 30): AFP beefs up security preps for 'Undas'

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday said it is beefing up security preparations to support the police and other civilian law enforcement agencies to secure the country's commemoration of All Saints' and All Souls' days.

“The Unified Commands and the Joint Task Force NCR, with our counterparts in the PNP will augment troops to secure public facilities such as cemeteries and other establishments in the key cities around the country for Undas,” AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said in a statement.

He also ordered all military units to intensify intelligence monitoring and security operations, during a briefing in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Sunday.

The AFP major service commands on the other hand, remain on standby alert and ready to augment security deployments to ensure the safety and security of the people.

“We will ensure that our troops, in support to the PNP, are ready to thwart any possible threat that may arise during the holidays,” Galvez added.

“We will maximize our presence in checkpoints and ensure that our K9 units and Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams are deployed in major cemeteries,” he added.

The AFP is now on red alert status in preparation for the holidays.

“The Armed Forces joins the people in the peaceful commemoration of our departed loved ones. We also call on the people to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings and to report any unusual individual or commotion they witness during the holidays, because safety and security is our shared responsibility,” Galvez added.


AFP, PNP sign joint action plan vs. terrorism

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 30): AFP, PNP sign joint action plan vs. terrorism

ALLIANCE. Chief Supt. Graciano Mijares, Police Regional Office – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao director (left), and Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Army’s 6th Infantry Division chief (right), signed Monday (Oct. 29, 2018) the joint implementation plan to stop bombings in ARMM and nearby areas. (Photo courtesy of 6th ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao -- The Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID) and the Police Regional Office for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PRO-ARMM) on Monday forged a collaboration to ensure their areas of jurisdiction are safe from terrorism.

Military and police officials who have operating troops on common areas of jurisdiction signed the Joint Implementation Plan (Implan) to address bombing incidents in areas of the ARMM.

Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, 6ID commander, and Chief Supt. Graciano Mijares, PRO-ARMM regional director, signed the Implan on Monday (Oct. 29) at this camp, which is the 6th ID headquarters.

Maj. Arvin John Encinas, speaking for the 6th ID, said the Implan provides for the guidelines and procedures to be undertaken by PRO-ARMM and 6ID in coordination with other law enforcement units, government agencies, and local government units to reduce the incidents and vulnerability of ARMM from terror bomb attacks.

“It also includes actions to be taken in case of improvised explosive device explosion,” Encinas said.

PRO-ARMM covers the provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur where the 6th ID operating units are also deployed. Bombings believed to have been carried out by the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have occurred mostly in Maguindanao and parts of Lanao del Sur.

BIFF, which pledges allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, are operating mostly in the second district of Maguindanao and had set off bombs targeting both civilians and military personnel.


Teen member of ISIS-inspired Maute group yields in Lanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 30): Teen member of ISIS-inspired Maute group yields in Lanao

A member of the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-inspired Maute group, who was recruited at the age of 14, has surrendered to military authorities in Lanao del Sur, military officials said Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Edgar Allan Villanueva, Army’s 49th Infantry Battalion commander,
identified him only as a certain Asnor, now 18 years old.

Villanueva said Asnor surrendered to them on Monday in Butig, Lanao del Sur. He said Asnor was 14 years old when he was recruited by the late Maute leader Abdullah Maute in 2014 together with other 12 minors.

“Nine years old was their youngest recruit and Asnor was involved in an armed engagement with government forces in the month of February and November of 2016,” the Army official said.

Asnor decided to hide after his involvement in the two clashes with government troops in Lanao del Sur, he said.

Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo, the Army’s 1st Infantry Division commander, commended the efforts of troops who facilitated the surrender of the young Maute group member.

“We are glad to hear that Asnor decided to surrender and this is the best chance for him to return to mainstream society and achieve his aspiration (in life),” said Murillo, who is also the Joint Task Force Zampelan commander.

The surrender of Asnor brought to 20 Maute members who have yielded to authorities this month.


Iloilo town to beef up security for P11.2-B mega dam project

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 30): Iloilo town to beef up security for P11.2-B mega dam project

SECURITY MEETING. Mayor Alex Centena of Calinog, Iloilo seeks to deploy police forces to provide security for the contractors of the P11.2 billion dam project. He is scheduled to meet Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, Regional Director of Police Regional Office in Western Visayas on Wednesday (October 31, 2018). (Photo by Cindy Ferrer)

ILOILO CITY -- The local government of Calinog, Iloilo is requesting for the deployment of police forces that will focus on providing security for the construction of PHP11.2-billion Jalaur River Multipurpose Project (JRMP) II, especially that there are already some Korean contractors on-site.
Mayor Alex Centena is scheduled to meet with Chief Supt. John Bulalacao on Wednesday to discuss the security deployment in his town.

The request came after Centena received information about the alleged presence of members of New People’s Army (NPAs) in the area, particularly in the mountainous villages of Agcalaga, Cahigon and Alibunan.

“I want to ensure the safety of the contractors in the area because I myself could not be complacent of their situation,” he said in an interview.

More than 10 contractors of the Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd. are now building their barracks and motor pool at the 10-hectare land.

Centena also said there are heavy equipment deployed in the area like dump trucks, bulldozers and backhoes.

Centena recognized that the Philippine Army has also deployed personnel in their town, but he said that stay-in police forces would further beef-up the security.

He assumed that rebels are against the construction of the long-overdue multi-billion dam project, which groundbreaking ceremony has no fixed chedule up to this moment.

A contract was signed between the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd last month.

Meantime, Centena appealed to the public to help in pushing through with the project.

“If you want to work, you will be our priority,” he said, adding that NIA is continuously hiring workers for the construction of the project.

The construction is expected to generate jobs for around 17,000 workers composed of engineers, carpenters, welders, masons and drivers of heavy equipment.

Aside from the project, Centena said security also covers other investments coming in at their town.

“If we could not maintain peace in our area, we will have bad image among investors especially that there are foreign investors coming in,” he said.

The interested investors among others include banks, fast food chain and mall.