Wednesday, January 9, 2019

NPA's supply cache found in SurSur town

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 8, 2019): NPA's supply cache found in SurSur town

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SAN MIGUEL, Surigao del Sur – A cache of ammunitions and several materials of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) were discovered by the Army’s 36th Infantry (Valor) Battalion in Sitio Kiskis, Barangay Siagao, San Miguel town.

Civil-Military Operations (CMO) Officer Captain Francisco Garello Jr. said the troops captured the following materials used by the CNTs: four IED switches, one digital tester, one roll scotch tape, one piece Talk N Text Simpack, 10 pieces Icom commercial radio, two pieces Extra Battery Pack for commercial radio, two pieces CP charger, two pieces Nokia cellphone battery, 10 pieces HH Icom antenna, 40 pieces assorted transistors, one piece comb, 56 rounds of 76.2 ball ammo of M14, two M14 empty magazines (Unserviceable); three pouches (Small Size), 11 pcs ballpen; one topographic map, nine pieces notebooks/primers/ leaflets, one piece bandolier, four pairs combat boots, one round 60mm mortar (Unserviceable), and one scissor.

According to Capt. Garello, the supply cache owned by the CNTs was kept hidden in the said area, as per information from the concerned citizens in Barangay Siagao.

Lt. Col Xerxes Trinidad, Commanding Officer of the 36IB, said “the successful capture of said supplies is a result of the yearning of the residents to achieve peace and in support to the Army’s commitment to bring normalcy even in the far-flung areas previously influenced by the CPP-NPA Terrorist.”

NPA unit surrenders to Army in AgSur

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 9, 2019): NPA unit surrenders to Army in AgSur

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An entire unit of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) Guerilla Front 3 (GF3), Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) surrendered recently to 75th Infantry Battalion (75IB) and 26th Infantry Battalion (26IB) in Agusan del Sur, a night before the CPP-NPA anniversary on Dec. 25, 2018.

Joint operatives of 75IB under Lieutenant Colonel Jaimer Datuin and 26IB under Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Jimenea facilitated the surrender of 19 NPAs in Loreto, Agusan del Sur at around 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday.
The said NPA unit, composed of 19 personalities, was headed by alias ‘Boss’ the commander of GF3. Alias Boss brought with him his sub-unit leader alias ‘SK’, commander of Platoon Basill and alias ‘Sniper’, commander of Platoon Andoy.

The surrenderees brought with them a total of 14 firearms (nine high powered and five low powered). They also surrendered several magazines, three commercial icom radios and more than 1,300 ammunitions.

The following are the surrendered firearms: three M16 rifles; three M16 Bushmaster rifles; one M653 rifle with scope; one M14 rifle; one M203 Grenade Launcher; one Carbine rifle; three Cal .45 Colt; one Cal .38 pistol; one hand grenade; and one rifle grenade.

According to 401st Brigade Commander BGen. Andres Centino, the surrender of almost the entire GF3 in time for the CPP anniversary showed that more NPA members are now heading to the call of the government for peace.

This is also based on the revelation of the commander of GF3 himself that said they returned to the folds of the government because they trusted the sincerity of the government in helping the former rebels under the Comprehensive Local Integration program or E-CLIP.

Communist member nabbed in Sarangani

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 8, 2019): Communist member nabbed in Sarangani

Joint police operatives have arrested a member of the New People's Army (NPA) in a manhunt operation in an outskirt village in Maitum town, Sarangani Province on Monday afternoon.

Chief Supt. Eliseo Rasco, regional director of the Police Regional Office-12, in a report on Tuesday, said Jun-jun Makilbing, 25, was nabbed around 2:30 p.m. in a house in Sitio Angko, Barangay Batian.

He said
Makilbing is a member of the Platoon Myphone of the NPA's Front 73, which operates in parts of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

The suspect was reportedly involved in a string of attacks in the area last year, including killings and burning of public utility vehicles and heavy equipment, he said.

Rasco said Makilbing was nabbed by virtue of a standing warrant of arrest for murder under criminal case number 1190, issued by Judge Renato Gleyo of the Regional Trial Court Branch 19 in Isulan town, Sultan Kudarat.

The police official said their intelligence operatives earlier received reports from concerned informants regarding the presence of the suspect in the area.

"They immediately launched the 'Manhunt Charlie' operation following its validation and confirmation," he said.

The operating team was composed of elements from the Maitum municipal police station, Sarangani Police Provincial Office and the Regional Intelligence Unit-12 of the Philippine National Police Intelligence Group.

Intel cop gunned down in GenSan

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 8, 2019): Intel cop gunned down in GenSan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- A police intelligence officer here was shot dead by unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen while reportedly on his way to an operation on Monday night.

Senior Supt. Raul Supiter, city police director, identified the victim as Police Officer (PO) 3 Joseph Allaga Pequierda, who was assigned to the city police's mobile force company (CMFC).
Supiter said Pequierda had just left his home in Salangsang Village, Barangay San Isidro aboard a motorcycle driven by a friend when he was waylaid by two suspects riding-in-tandem on a motorcycle at around 6:40 p.m.

A police report said the slain cop was having dinner at their house when he was called to join an operation.

Pequierda asked his friend, who reportedly doubles as a police asset, to drive him to an undisclosed area.

Upon reaching the corner of Guinto Street and Mabuhay Road in the same village, he said one of the suspects shot Pequierda several times.

"They (suspects) appeared to have tailed the victim from his house," PO1 Christoper Larano, the case investigator, told reporters.

Citing accounts from witnesses, he said the gunman wore a white tee-shirt, ball cap, eyeglasses, and black mask.

Pequierda's driver, who was unhurt in the attack, said he heard at least four gunshots coming from their rear portion.

He said the victim then slumped and dropped from the motorcycle, while the suspects immediately fled from the scene aboard a black Honda XRM motorcycle.

Larano said they are looking into a number of angles, including personal grudge and work-related circumstances, as possible motive.

Supiter said he has assigned a team to dig deeper into the incident, adding "those responsible should be identified and held accountable."

Navy fetes Western Mindanao personnel for gallantry, performance

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 8, 2019): Navy fetes Western Mindanao personnel for gallantry, performance

Rear Adm. Rene Medina, Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) command chief (2nd, right) on Monday leads the awarding ceremony of the NFWM officers and men for exceptional performance of duty in 2018. Assisting him is Capt. Richard Gonzaga, NFWM deputy commander for Fleet Operations. (Photo courtesy of NFWM public affairs office)

ZAMBOANGA CITY--The Philippine Navy has recognized several Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) personnel for gallantry and exceptional performance last year.

Rear Adm. Rene Medina, NFWM commander, said Tuesday that Bronze Cross Medal was awarded to the gallant personnel of the Naval Task Group (NTG)-Sulu and Philippine Marine Ready Force Sulu (PMRF-S) as well as the BRP-Waray (LC-288) for the successful  amphibious operation on December 13, 2018 on Minis Island, Patikul, Sulu.

Military Merit Medal with Spearhead Device was awarded to the officers and men of BRP-Agta (LC-290), BRP-Juan Magluyan (PC-392), Naval Special Operations Unit-6 (NAVSOU-6), 82nd Inshore Boat Company and Multipurpose Attack Craft (BA-484) and Military Commendation Medal to the support elements of NTG-Sulu and PMRF-S, who were part of the same amphibious operations.

The amphibious operation on Minis Island resulted in the neutralization of seven Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits, apprehension of 10 individuals and the recovery of several firearms and other war materials.

Medina said that Military Merit Medal with Spearhead Device was also awarded to the officers and men of the NTG-Sulu and PMRF-S, 83rd Inshore Boat Company for the successful conduct of focused military operations on Oct. 26 to 30, 2018 in Barangay Libog Kabaw, Panglima Estino and Barangay Timpook, Patikul, which resulted in the neutralization of three ASG bandits and the recovery of various war materials.

Military Merit Medal was also awarded to the officers and men of the NFWM, Civil Military Operations Unit-Western Mindanao (CMO-WM), Naval Reserve Center-WM, NAVSOU-6, Naval Intelligence and Security Group-WM, Marine Battalion Landing Team-11 and BRP Waray for the community outreach and education program that seeks counter violent extremism on November 18, 2018 in Barangay Doña Consuelo, Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental. The activity benefited 2,137 individuals.

“It is just fitting for us to start this year with awards and honors for all the hard work and sacrifices they had done for the past year to continue our mission as a team, to become strong and credible for our nation as the defenders of the Western Mindanao frontier,” Medina said.

“These series of military operations and outreach program wouldn't be successful without the help of everyone, with that, I thank and congratulate all of them,” he added.

He said NFWM will continue with its commitment "to promote a peaceful, safe and secured Western Mindanao."

Medina led the awarding ceremony held Monday at the NFWM headquarters here. Capt. Richard Gonzaga, NFWM deputy commander for Fleet Operations assisted him during the ceremony.

Cotabato mall bombing suspect surrenders

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 8, 2019): Cotabato mall bombing suspect surrenders

SURRENDERED. The security camera image of Salipudin Lauban Pasandalan, 53, who is one of two suspects in the Dec. 31, 2018 bombing at South Seas Mall in Cotabato City. Relatives surrendered the suspect on Monday afternoon (Jan. 7, 2019). (Photo courtesy of PRO- 12)

COTABATO CITY – One of the two suspects in the Dec. 31 bombing in front of South Seas Mall here has voluntarily surrendered to police authorities.

Lawyer Datubud Lauban accompanied Salipudin Lauban Pasandalan, 53, whose image was captured by closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera and presented by the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG), to the city police office on Monday afternoon.

Lauban said the family decided to bring him to the police office to clear his name and deny his involvement in the crime.

Lauban, who presented Pasandalan to Senior Supt. Rolly Octavio, city police director, said the suspect has no capability to do such crime due to his mental condition.

His image went viral in the social media after the police released the photos of two persons of interest in the bombing that left two dead and more than 30 others injured.

He claimed that Pasandalan, single, a resident of Barangay Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, has a mental disability.

The CCTV footage showed Pasandalan accepting a backpack passed to him by another person that contained the second bomb and left it at the adjoining Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office outlet and baggage counter at the mall’s second-floor area.

Members of the military’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team later disarmed the second bomb. Pasandalan is now under police custody while SITG South Seas is yet to issue a statement on the matter.

The other person of interest remains at large.

NorMin cops dismiss terror text scare

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 9, 2019): NorMin cops dismiss terror text scare

The Police Regional Office in Region 10 (PRO-10) has downplayed the proliferation of text and online messages about the supposed plan of a terror group to sow chaos in this city and in Kidapawan City, in North Cotabato.

The original message is said to have originated from a certain "Marlon Sabio," and "PNP Davao" that also included the phone number that any receiver can contact "for reference."

Police Supt. Surki Sereñas, PRO-10 spokesperson, said on Monday that the messages were fake.

The original sender claimed he received information from a "high ranking official" about an imminent terrorist activity involving the Maute Group, which was responsible for the five-month Marawi City siege last year.

It said that Maute terrorists are planning to take hostages in Cagayan de Oro and Kidapawan cities, and advised residents not to go out at night.

"Judging by the writing style, the texter is a prankster whose purpose is to sow panic," Sereñas said.

However, as part of security protocol, he said the message was forwarded to the PRO-10 intelligence unit "for validation and analysis."

Sereñas said the original sender "could be considered a terrorist himself for spreading false information to agitate and sow terror in the minds of the people."

Rebels torch 8 construction equipment in Sultan Kudarat

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 9, 2019): Rebels torch 8 construction equipment in Sultan Kudarat

TORCHED. A burnt cement mixer in Barangay Hinalaan, Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat on Monday (Jan. 7, 2018) after a torching spree carried out by suspected communist rebels. (Photo courtesy of PRO-12)

ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat – Police here said Wednesday that suspected communist rebels torched eight heavy equipment being used for road construction in the upland village of Hinalaan in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat.

In a belated statement, Chief Supt. Eliseo Tam Rasco, police regional director for Region 12 (Soccsksargen), said that gunmen in fatigue uniform, believed to be New Peoples’ Army (NPA) rebels and numbering about 20, arrived at the construction site of Janmerc Construction Company at 4:50 a.m. Monday and burned the equipment.

“Eight heavy equipment were set on fire,” Rasco said, quoting a report from the Kalamansig municipal police office.

Seven of the construction equipment were torched in Barangay Hinalaan center while a backhoe was burned in Sitio Saniag, also in the same barangay.

Among the burned equipment were payloader, cement mixer, cargo truck, road roller, dump truck, and backhoe.

Rasco said police and Philippine Marines have been deployed in the village of Hinalaan, one of the upland villages of the coastal town of Kalamansig where communist rebels operate.

The Janmerc construction firm is currently undertaking a road-concreting project between the towns of Senator Ninoy Aquino and Kalamansig, both in Sultan Kudarat province.

Rasco said the communist rebels have been mulcting the construction firm, demanding revolutionary taxes and “protection money” so it can continue road construction. The demand was repeatedly denied by the management.

Army seizes IED in clash with BIFF in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 9, 2019): Army seizes IED in clash with BIFF in Maguindanao

Google map of Sultan sa barongis, Maguindanao

Army troopers recovered a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) after a brief clash with members of the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao on Thursday.

Major Arvin John Encinas, spokesperson of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said members of the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion (IB) acted on a tip by locals about the possible transport of the IED via the tributary of the Rio Grande de Mindanao River in Barangay Darampua, Sultan sa Barongis.

He said members of the BIFF Abu Toraife faction led by sub-commander Salahuddin Hassan would transport the IED in river tributaries towards Midsayap, Cotabato, en route to Cotabato City from their lair in Barangay Kabasalan, Pikit, North Cotabato.

“The improvised bomb is being transported through the use of a motorized banca utilizing the small channels of Rio Grande River,” Encinas said in a phone interview by the Philippine News Agency.

He said 40th IB troopers led by Lt. Roel Jardinez quickly moved and positioned themselves along the riverbank in Sitio Landing Fish, Barangay Darampua, in response to the tip.

At about 9:30 a.m., a five-minute clash transpired between government troopers and the bomb-carrying BIFF elements in the area.

The BIFF militants later withdrew to various directions, leaving behind the small boat carrying the bomb.

Recovered by soldiers was an IED composed of three 81 mm. mortar explosives attached to a triggering device.

“We are just fortunate that communities in Sultan sa Barongis and other parts of the province are cooperating with us to put a stop to the nefarious activities of the terror group,” Encinas said.

On Dec. 31, a bomb ripped through the façade of the South Seas Mall in this city leaving two dead and scores wounded.

The military said the mall bombing bore the signature style of the BIFF compared to the terror group’s past bombing missions in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, and South Cotabato provinces.

Abu Sayyaf member surrenders in Sulu

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 9, 2019): Abu Sayyaf member surrenders in Sulu

RETURNEE. Abu Sayyaf member Abdulbaki Boyohan hands over an M-79 grenade launcher to Col. Rodrigo Gregorio, Army's 501st Infantry Brigade deputy commander, as he surrenders on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Camp Bud Datu, Barangay Tagbak, Indanan, Sulu. Standing at left is Lt. Col. Ronaldo Mateo, Army's 32nd Infantry Battallion commander. (Photo courtesy of Westmincom PIO)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- A member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), whose sons had earlier yielded, has surrendered to military authorities in the province of Sulu, military officials announced Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) information officer, identified the surrenderer as Abdulbaki Boyohan, 53, a follower of ASG leader Idang Susukan.
Besana said Boyohan surrendered to Lt. Col. Ronaldo Mateo, commander of the Army’s 32nd Infantry Battalion (IB), in Camp Bud Datu, Barangay Tagbak, Indanan, Sulu at about 9 a.m. Tuesday.

He said
Boyohan is the father of former ASG members Ban Baki Rajili and Padi Kali, who surrendered to the 32nd IB troops last December 22.

Boyohan also turned over an M-79 grenade launcher and ammunition.
He was later presented to Col. Rodrigo Gregorio, deputy commander of the Army’s 501st Infantry Brigade in Camp Bud Datu.

The surrendered ASG member, according to Besana, cited his desire to reunite with his family and the hardships of constantly running from the military as his reasons for deciding to return to the fold of the law.

“We hope to see more returnees reunite with their families and start their new lives away from battlegrounds. Indeed, this is a resonating call for the rest of the Abu Sayyaf bandits to lay down their arms and to consider the lives that were affected,” Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, Westmincom chief, said.

“May the story of Boyohan and his sons encourage other Abu Sayyaf members to end decades of terror in the province of Sulu,” dela Vega added.

Negros folks asked to support PNP, AFP efforts vs. crimes

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 9, 2019): Negros folks asked to support PNP, AFP efforts vs. crimes

The provincial director of Negros Oriental police is appealing to the residents of Guihulngan to cooperate with law enforcement authorities in the fight against criminality in that northern city.

Sr. Supt. Raul Tacaca on Tuesday afternoon admitted that the police and the military couldn’t fully keep watch over the entire city, considering that the area is so huge and also shares borders with other areas in Negros Occidental.

“Hindi naman namin mababantayan ang lahat dahil sa laki ng area, tapos yung mga pangyayari, minsan nasa boundary na sa kabila (we cannot guard everyone because of the large area and some of the incidents take place in the boundary),” said Tacaca, referring to the latest shooting incident involving a member of the Citizens Armed Geographical Unit (CAFGU) of the Philippine Army.

Shooting incidents continue unabated in Guihulngan, a city about 116 kilometers north of this capital, and many are attributed either to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) or the illegal drugs trade.

Last Sunday, three armed men believed to be NPA members shot dead a CAFGU member in the mountainous Barangay Linantuyan in Guihulngan City, about 33 kilometers from the city proper.

Joseph Silvano Gabia, 39, married, assigned to the CAA detachment in Linantuyan, died of multiple gunshot wounds while his companion, Jano Pasigna Gorpio, 23, a resident of Sitio Mandi-e in Barangay Magsaysay, Guihulngan, was slightly hit and sustained physical injuries.

According to Tacaca, the suspects are believed to be members of the NPA’s hit squad, the Special Partisan Unit or Sparu.

“Kaya kami nanghihingi ng tulong sa mga tao kung meron mang information na pwede nilang ibigay sa amin (that is why we are asking the people to help provide us with information),” he said.

Tacaca described the atrocities of the NPA members in Negros Oriental as a “show of force” but in truth “kokonti na lang sila sa area natin, yung iba ay nanggaling sa ibang lugar, sa Occidental o tumatawid at dito na sila nag o-operate (there are only a few them here but some are from other places like Occidental and they just cross boundaries and they now operate)”.

According to him, the NPA has its mass base in Guihulngan City and other areas in the province’s first district that is why the atrocities are perpetrated there.

“Iyan ang tinututukan natin sa mga tao doon na huwag ng suportahan ang NPA, suportahan niyo ang PNP at saka AFP (that is what we are focusing on right now, to convince the people to support the PNP and the AFP instead of supporting the NPA),” he stressed.

Army foils bomb try vs. Mangudadatus in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 9, 2019): Army foils bomb try vs. Mangudadatus in Maguindanao

Alert soldiers promptly deactivated a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) planted at a road where Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu was about to pass Wednesday morning en route to an event in Rajah Buayan town.

The governor and his brother Freddie, mayor of Mangudadatu town, were on their way to the town center of Rajah Buayan when civilians found the powerful IED at a roadside in Barangay Tabungao where the convoy of Mangudadatu was to pass at past 10 a.m.

“Our troops quickly disarmed the IED,” Mangudadatu said in a radio interview.

The event was delayed due to the incident.

Mayor Freddie, president of Maguindanao mayors’ league, believed that the IED was meant for them.

He lauded the civilians for quickly alerting soldiers of the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion.

He said the attempt will not prevent the governor from pushing for development projects in all towns in Maguindanao.

Rajah Buayan Mayor Engr. Zamzamin Ampatuan said the Mangudadatus were to attend a Balik Baril program of the local government and the turnover ceremonies of a school building project built through the funds from Mangudadatu and implemented by the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion when the IED was discovered.

Gov. Mangudadatu said he has been receiving information about possible roadside bombing whenever he attends to political or development activities in the province.

The last-termer governor, who is seeking a seat in the House of Representatives, has survived at least five roadside bombings since he assumed office in 2010. Rajah Buayan is a town near the Liguasan marshland where the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) operate.

No one has claimed responsibility yet in the foiled bombing against the Mangudadatus.

Looking into Salugpungan school ops is DepEd's duty: AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 8, 2019): Looking into Salugpungan school ops is DepEd's duty: AFP

The Department of Education (DepEd) is in charge of looking into the operation of all educational facilities operating in a particular area or region, a military official has said.

"It is already a DepEd issue. The matter was already brought to their attention, especially DepEd-11. They have to do their task of monitoring and supervising the schools under their jurisdiction," Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief, Col. Noel Detoyato, said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Monday.

Detoyato was asked to comment on the report that Talaingod campuses of the so-called Salugpungan Ta'Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center, Inc. (STTICLCI) resumed classes on Monday.

Earlier, he said the AFP is not discounting the possibility that some DepEd officials and personnel were threatened by the New People's Army (NPA) to allow the operation of Salugpungan schools in the Davao region.

"We are not discounting that angle. The enemies of (the) state, particularly the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) - NPA has a way of using threat and intimidation to attain their objective," Detoyato added.

Salugpungan schools landed in the limelight after it was conclusively found out that they are being used to recruit minor members of Indigenous Peoples (IP) to fill up NPA ranks.

With this development, IP leaders urged government agencies to close the facilities.

Madrigal visits Russian guided-missile cruiser Admiral Varyag

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 8, 2019): Madrigal visits Russian guided-missile cruiser Admiral Varyag

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal on Monday paid a visit to the guided-missile cruiser Admiral Varyag, one of the three vessels of the Russian Pacific Detachment, currently on a goodwill visit to Manila.

The AFP chief was accompanied by Philippine Navy flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad during the visit.

Madrigal was welcomed by Russian Ambassador to Manila Igor Khovaev and Russian Navy contingent head of mission, Rear Admiral Edward Mikhailov, and the commanding officers of the three ships.

Guided-missile cruiser Admiral Varyag is accompanied by the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleev and large sea tanker Boris Botuma.

The Russian flotilla arrived at Pier 9, South Harbor, Manila last January 6 and will leave the country on January 11.

The goodwill visit is the Russian Navy’s first for this year and seventh since 2012.

The visit is also first for the Admiral Pantaleev and second for the Admiral Varyag and Boris Botuma, which both visited the country in May last year.

The goodwill visit of the Russian Navy aims to strengthen the relationship of the two navies, enhance the maritime cooperation, and ensure peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and in the two countries through naval diplomacy.

The visits of the Russian Navy reciprocated that of BRP Tarlac's historic port call to Vladivostok, Russia in October last year.

Satur asks prosecutors to junk IP school abduction raps

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 8, 2019): Satur asks prosecutors to junk IP school abduction raps

Former Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Satur Ocampo asked the Tagum City Provincial Prosecutor's Office in Davao Del Norte to dismiss the criminal charges filed against him in connection with the incident last November involving minors transported from an Indigenous People’s (IP) school.

In a 15-page counter affidavit filed on Tuesday, Ocampo denied having been actually at the school where the incident took place claiming he was left in a van which was not allowed to proceed to the school at a military checkpoint in Sitio Igang on the way to the school.

Ocampo has been charged with violation of Republic Act No. 10364 (Expanded Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012) in relation to Republic Act No. 7610 (Anti Child Abuse Law) and kidnapping and failure to return a minor.

"I was on board the van that was not allowed to pass through. We stayed at the checkpoint in Sitio Ignang and waited for the other vans to return. I was not part of the group that met the students and teachers who were forced to leave the Salugpungan school in Sitio Dulyan," Ocampo said.

Aside from Ocampo, also named respondents by the Talaingod Municipal Station were ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro, Meggie Nolasco, Pastor Edgar Ugal, Rev. Ryan C. Magpayo, Pastor Eller A. Ordeza, Rev. Jurie Jaime, Jesus Modamo, Maryro Poquita, Maria Concepcion Ibarra, Jenveive Paraba, Merhay Tallado, Maricel Andagkit, Marcial Rendon, Ariel Ansan, Mariane Aga, Nerfa Awing and Wingwing Daunsay.

"I categorically deny the complaint for violation of RA in relation to RA 7610 and kidnapping and failure to return a minor against me. I did not commit any crime. Hence, I humbly pray that the instant complaint be immediately dismissed for lack of probable cause and for being a clear case of political persecution," Ocampo said.

Ocampo's group were arrested on Nov. 29, 2018 in the act of getting student indigenous peoples of the Te Tanu Ingkanogon Community Learning Center Inc., a Lumad school, and moving them out of the town.

Troops from the Talaingod Municipal Police and the 56th Infantry Battalion stopped the group on board five vans at a checkpoint in Barangay Sto. Niño. The police contacted the local Municipal Social Welfare Development chief Arlene Batua who insisted on taking custody of the minor students.

Batua, in her sworn statement, claimed the personalities involved failed to present legal documents authorizing them to transport the said minors.

At least one witness, Toting Loyod, one of the parents of one of the minors, said Ocampo's group and National Solidarity Network (NSW) did not seek permission from him regarding the transport of his daughter from Talaingod, Davao del Norte to Maco, Compostela Valley.

Defense chief supports localized peace talks

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 8, 2019): Defense chief supports localized peace talks

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday he is supportive of peace talks so long as they are held in the Philippines.

"First, hindi naman natin sinasara yung peace process. (We are not totally shutting down the peace process). The door is always open there. However small, sabi ni Presidente (according to the President), we have to have a window or a door open for peace talks, kasi ang sabi niya kagabi sa (what he said Monday night in the) Cabinet meeting, ‘I don't want to be accused na (of) turning my back against peace,’" Lorenzana said at the sidelines of the New Year's Call that was held at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Commissioned Officers' Club at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

He also clarified that there is an ongoing peace process, albeit a localized one, which is contrary to Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison's desire for negotiations abroad.

"Ang gusto kasi ni Joma the same pa rin (What Joma wants is the same) -- we go abroad, we go to Norway, with the intercession of a third country, mag-usap-usap dun (we will talk there). Well, sinabi naman ni President nung last year na wag na dun, umuwi ka na lang dito (Last year, the President said he doesn't want the talks held there. Come to the Philippines), we can talk here. So, we support yung peace talks dito (the peace talks here)," Lorenzana said.

"If you want peace, then let us talk peace. Ang nakikita kasi natin, itong si Sison dahil nakikita niya na successful tayo sa localized peace talks, gusto na naman nilang magpatuloy yun para dun pumunta sa abroad, mag-ceasefire dito para makabawi naman yung tropa nila sa lupa (What we see here is that Sison thinks that because our localized peace talks are successful, they want to push for it so we can go abroad again. Then, there will be another ceasefire so their forces on the ground can regroup). That has always been their tactic before, gusto nila ang (they want) peace talks. Kaya't binigyan lang sila ni Presidente ng konting pagkakataon (That’s why the President gave them a slim chance). The door is still open, meron pang (there is still a) slight opening, lumulundag agad siya ng tuwa dahil peace talks na naman (they are jumping again in joy because of the peace talks)," he said.

More realistic to end rebel threat in 3 years: DND chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 8, 2019): More realistic to end rebel threat in 3 years: DND chief

It would be more realistic to predict the end of the country's insurgency threat within three years.

This was emphasized by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana at the sidelines of the New Year's Call held at the AFP Commissioned Officer's Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Tuesday.

While admitting that the threat posed by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) is now on the wane thanks to the localized peace talks and Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, he said that ending this within a year is not feasible.

The above-mentioned strategies are responsible for the surrender of NPA regular members and supporters last year, the DND chief added.

"We cannot do it this year dahil napakalaking problema yan (it is a big problem), if you will recall this insurgency has been going on for the past 50 years and we cannot end it in one year, siguro ang (maybe our) target natin ngayon (now) is the remaining three years of President (Rodrigo) Duterte's presidency, kaya siguro nating gawin yun (I think we can do that)," he said.

Also, Lorenzana said that the NPAs are no longer a formidable force as their numbers have been greatly reduced.

"Hindi naman sila ganung kalakasan dahil ang number nila (They are not that strong because their number) is about less than 6,000 lang. 'Yung armed, may armas, so mga isang libo na yung sumurender (About 1,000 armed rebels already surrendered), so meron pang (so the remaining is) 4,000, pero ang malaki sa kanila yung militia, yung underground movement nila, yung sumusuporta ba (Their militia is big. Those who support them). If we reckon, we estimate that there are about 50,000 nationwide NPA militia na sumusuporta sa kanila. Yun ang gusto nating kunin din (who support them. These are what we want to get). Now out of the surrenderees that came to us since last year, out of the 11,000 na sumurrender (who surrendered), 1,000 ang armado dyan (of that are armed), may baril silang dinala (they have guns), the others (do not have guns) because they are the militia, so mas marami yung militia nila kesa yung armado (they have more militia than armed troops)," he stressed.

The NPA, the CPP's armed wing, is listed as a terrorist organization in the United States and the European Union.

10K troops to help secure BOL plebiscites

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 8, 2019): 10K troops to help secure BOL plebiscites

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has 10,000 troops at hand to secure the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscites, Chief-of-Staff, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal said Tuesday.

"We already have troops on the ground, around 10,000 troops. We also have what we call follow-on forces if in case it is necessary. But for now, we have sufficient troops there," Madrigal said in Filipino at the sidelines of the New Year's Call.

The first BOL plebiscite that will be held on January 21 will cover the entire Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and the cities of Isabela and Cotabato, while the second, to be held on February 6, will cover the provinces of Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato.

On July 26, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the BOL, or Republic Act No. 11054, which seeks to establish a new Bangsamoro political entity to replace the ARMM.

AFP victorious in achieving peace in 2018

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 8, 2019): AFP victorious in achieving peace in 2018

Many victories in achieving peace have been won by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in 2018.

This, accoeding to AFP chief-of-staff, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, during his New Year's Call speech held at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Tuesday.

"Our victories were aplenty, it was a year full of challenges and meaningful lessons. Nonetheless, the collective efforts of our soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines, our civilian personnel and reservists have enabled us to perform our mandate in the best manner we can. And for that we deserve a big round of applause," Madrigal said.

"As we start another year, let me remind everyone that our end state for 2019 is to achieve the President's desire to ultimately win the peace, and finally put an end to local communist armed conflict. We intend to attain this by unifying our efforts at various levels of government with the end view of developing conflict resilient communities," he added.

The AFP also intends to uphold the primacy of the peace process and continue to sustain its gains by ensuring the successful implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law to establish stability and progress in the area.

"We will fully support the conduct of the plebiscite this month and we will assure that our people will be able to exercise their right to vote," Madrigal said.

Madrigal also stressed the need to eradicate the existence of terrorist cells through initiatives on preventing and countering violent extremism with the support of concerned agencies and the Muslim community.

"All these we seem as daunting tasks but let us bear in mind that we are not alone in this battle. we have an entire nation that emboldens us, supports our fight and inspires us to do what is right and noble, let us therefore harness therefore their support, unify our efforts and together we can confront and overcome any obstacle or challenges head-on," the AFP chief said.

WPS issue still a challenge: DND chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 8, 2019): WPS issue still a challenge: DND chief

The territorial dispute in the South China Sea (SCS) or West Philippine Sea (WPS) remains a challenge, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday.

He made this statement during the press briefing, shortly after the New Year's Call held at the AFP Commissioned Officers' Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

"South China Sea pa rin (It's still South China Sea), although all the claimants there are (on) status quo. Walang galawan, kung saan ka wag ka nang gumalaw (There are no movements for now. Don't move and stay where you are). Allow the fishermen of all countries to fish in the area so that's it," Lorenzana said when asked on what challenge the country is still facing this year.

The defense chief, meanwhile, expressed hope that the "Code of Conduct in the South China Sea" will be finished soon.

This was after Beijing said it would take them three years to make one.

"We have have been doing it since 2012, so ang tagal tagal na masyado (It's been so long). So hopefully we can have a workable or acceptable Code of Conduct (in the South China Sea) in three years time," Lorenzana stressed.

Go lauds increased benefits for Pinoy war veterans

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 8, 2019): Go lauds increased benefits for Pinoy war veterans

Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Monday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to sign into law a measure seeking to increase the monthly old-age pension of the country’s veterans.

“Sa wakas nadagdagan na rin po ang pension ng ating mga senor citizens na beterano matapos pirmahan ni Pangulong Duterte ang batas na magtataas sa kanilang monthly pension mula sa PHP20,000 kada buwan mula sa dating PHP5,000 lamang,” Go said.

“Nagpapakita po lamang ito ng malasakit ni Pangulong Duterte sa ating mga beterano na itinaya ang kanilang buhay sa pagtatanggol at paglilingkod sa ating bayan,” he added.

He added that an increase in the old age pension of veterans would not be merely a token of financial assistance but, more importantly, a recognition of the extraordinary service that veterans have rendered for the country.

“Hindi lang ito simpleng dagdag benepisyo. Higit sa lahat, ito ay pagkilala sa matinding serbisyo at sakripisyo na kanilang ibinigay para sa ating bansa. Panahon na para sila naman ang pagsilbihan ng bayan,” said Go, who is a candidate for senator in the 2019 elections.

Those eligible to receive the increased benefits under the measure are veterans of World War II.

Also entitled to receive the increased benefits are veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars, provided that they are not currently receiving pension from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

However, such benefit is limited only to the living senior veterans and cannot be transferred to any family member or his dependent.

“Sa panahon po ngayon ay dapat lamang na itaas ang benepisyo ng ating mga beterano. Matagal na po nilang hinihintay ito. Sa mga natitirang panahon sa kanilang buhay ay maramdaman nila ang ating pasasalamat sa kanilang nagawa ,” Go said.

He noted that according to the Department of National Defense, the current PHP5,000 monthly old-age pension the veterans are receiving is not enough to support their basic needs.

The measure was first filed in 2010 under the 15th Congress when there were around 18,000 surviving senior veterans.

However, with the passing of years, the number of senior veterans has dwindled to around 6,000 with an average mortality of 300 per month.

For the initial implementation of the new law, the required funding shall be charged against the current year’s available appropriations of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO).

Thereafter, the necessary funding shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“Natutuwa po ako na nabigyan ng ganitong benepisyo ang ating mga beterano dahil kalinya ito ng aking legislative agenda na madagdagan ang suporta ng gobyerno sa ating mga senior citizens,” he added.

As part of his legislative agenda to provide additional benefits for senior citizens, Go is proposing the creation of a National Senior Citizens Commission that will implement all laws and programs for senior citizens to promote their welfare.

He also seeks to enact a measure that will provide free medicines to all senior citizens, among others.

In addition to improved benefits for senior citizens, Go’s legislative agenda includes programs on health, agriculture, anti-illegal drugs and criminality, housing, education, long-term sports development, anti-corruption, localized peace talks, fire protection and prevention, the creation of a Department of OFW, and promotion of barangay welfare.

Suspects in Cotabato mall blast identified: Lorenzana

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 8, 2019): Suspects in Cotabato mall blast identified: Lorenzana

The suspects behind the Cotabato City bombing attack, which killed two persons and wounded 34 others, have already been identified, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said during the sidelines of the New Year's Call in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Tuesday.

The defense chief said the suspects were found to have links with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

"We have already identified the perpetrators, hindi pa namin binibigay yung pangalan (we are not yet giving their names) but apparently they are connected with the BIFF and they are now under tactical investigation para malaman natin kung ano talaga ang purpose nila kung bakit sila nagpaputok dun (for us to know their purpose in carrying out the attack)," he added.

Lorenzana said they are still determining the motives of the suspects as there are a lot of angles to consider.

"To disrupt or to intimidate o di kaya kinokotongan nila yung South Seas Mall, hindi nagbabayad (Or maybe they are extoring money from South Seas Mall and the mall is not paying them). We don't know yet kung ano yung motives nila (what their motives are)," he added.

Red link tag on NUJP not 'orchestrated': ex-rebels

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 9, 2019): Red link tag on NUJP not 'orchestrated': ex-rebels

A group of former communist group members on Tuesday denied that their "revelations" against the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) being linked with the Left is part of an orchestrated or “well-planned” operation to intimidate the latter into silence.

"Ang gusto po namin ay malinaw na sagot kung totoo bang legal front ng CPP-NPA-NDF ang NUJP (We just want to know the clear answer if the NUJP is a legal front of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front)," Kilusan at Alyansa ng mga Dating Rebelde (KADRE) said in a statement.
The group said the “hardcore elements” in the NUJP made sure to block the release of their stories and their “freedom to expose the truth.”

KADRE is said to be a group composed of more than 300 former members of the CPP-NPA nationwide.

Several Manila-based newspapers on Monday published the revelations of a certain Ka Ernesto of KADRE against the union of journalists.

Ka Ernesto, who is reportedly a former member and organizer of the NUJP, claimed that the union is connected with CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, adding that the group's operations are run by communists.
In the statement, Ka Ernesto and KADRE spokesperson "Ka Isko" stressed that it is not the reports’s intention to put NUJP members at risk.

He said the group only wants to guide the masses by showing the truth on the wrong direction and beliefs of the communist movement.

“Hindi ito ang dating Partido na pinagalayan namin ng buhay at panahon (This is not the same group to which we offered our lives and time),” he said.

It is clear, he added, that it is all terrorism and deception that the communist group has been pursuing for the past 50 years.

The group called on members of the association to “examine the truth” that NUJP seeks to find, as it always claims to assert the freedom of the press.

"Dapat din siguro na tingnan mabuti ng mga ordinaryong miyembro nito (NUJP) kung katotohanan nga ba ang tinatahak ng kanilang pamunuan o baka naman may iba silang political agenda na pabagsakin ang gobyerno at estado at iluklok ang isang marahas na lipunan (NUJP ordinary members should clearly examine the group's objectives or if there is some kind of political agenda to bring down the government and establish a chaotic society)," the statement added.

Ka Ernesto, who claimed to have been a “longtime member” of the CPP, said he is a witness to the conversation between one “RSV” (NUJP political officer) and a certain “JMS” on Facebook Messenger and other social media private messaging apps.

According to newspaper reports, Ka Ernesto said he started out as a youth organizer for the College Editors Guild of the Philippines and became editor-in-chief of a college paper of a known university in Metro Manila.

He also claimed to be a pioneer of the journalists’ association, and had been active in recruiting laborers to create union organizations in various newspaper agencies.

He added that he can attest to the fact that the operations and leanings of NUJP are being manipulated by the communist group.
The NUJP earlier rejected a previous accusation that it is a legal front of the CPP-NPA.

PH Navy to receive 2 anti-sub helis, 4 AAVs in March

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 9, 2019): PH Navy to receive 2 anti-sub helis, 4 AAVs in March

The Philippine Navy (PN) is expected to receive in March its first two anti-submarine helicopters and four out of eight amphibious assault vehicles it has ordered for the Marine Corps.

This was disclosed by PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad during a chance interview shortly after the New Year's Call at the AFP Commissioned Officers' Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Tuesday.

"(Aside from the two anti-submarine) helicopters, 'yung (the) amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs) ng (of the) Marines. Eight yun (order) pero four ang darating ngayong (but four of them will arrive in) March. Maganda 'yung capability nun (It has good capability)," he added.

Empedrad was referring to the AgustaWestland AW-159 "Wildcat" anti-submarine helicopter, which the PN has contracted for two units worth PHP5.4 billion, including weapons, mission essential equipment and integrated logistic support and the eight AAVs acquired from Hanwha Techwin for PHP2.42 billion.

The anti-submarine helicopters will give the PN the capability to detect and neutralize underwater threats while the AAVs will boosts the Marine Corps sea-based capability.

Also, Empedrad said that personnel expected to man the "Pohang"-class corvette donated by South Korea are expected to depart within this month and start training on the above-mentioned ship, with the intention of sailing it home within the soonest possible time.

BRP Gregorio del Pilar to be 'available' by yearend

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 9, 2019): BRP Gregorio del Pilar to be 'available' by yearend

The Philippine Navy (PN) flagship BRP Gregorio del Pilar (FF-15), which ran aground off Hasa-Hasa Shoal last August, is expected to be available for operations before the end of 2019.

This was confirmed by Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, PN flag-officer-in-command, during a chance interview shortly after the New Year's Call in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Tuesday.

This is due to the damage sustained by the ship's two propellers from the grounding which required total replacement.

"Kailangan kasi makuha pa 'yung propellers (sa US) kasi sira 'yung propellers. So magiging available pa siya mga end of the year pa. Kung mapabilis ung pag-deliver ng propellers, then maaayos namin kaagad. But ang magko-control ng work na yan is 'yung (availability) ng propellers. (We need to get the propellers from the US because these were the ones that were damaged. It will be available by yearend. If the delivery of the propellers is hastened, we will be able to fix these immediately. The determining factor of the replacement work is the availability of the propellers)," he added.

For the moment, the patrol and other duties of BRP Gregorio Del Pilar are being carried by her two sister ships, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF-16) and BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17).

"Okay lang naman 'yung dalawa, gumagana naman yung dalawa (These two ships are fine. They are functional). And then this March, makukuha na natin 'yung (we will get the) (Pohang-class) corvette (donated) by South Korea so baka ma-deliver na yun (it might be delivered). Papunta na kasi 'yung personnel natin for (Our personnel will be going there for) training by January, so kung March or April matatapos ('yung training) meron na tayong gagamitin (If the training ends by March or April, we will have something to use)," Empedrad stressed.

Also, the South Korean ship will be coming to the PN with intact guns and sonar detection systems, which are needed badly by the Navy, are included in the transfer, he added.

The BRP Gregorio Del Pilar ran aground off Hasa-Hasa Shoal in Aug. 29 of last year. The ship was pulled clear from Hasa-Hasa Shoal last Sept. 3 and towed to Subic Bay, Zambales on Sept. 7.

The BRP Gregorio Del Pilar is one of three Hamilton-class cutters acquired by the PN from the United States Coast Guard and converted into frigates.

These ships have a gross tonnage of 3,250 tons, a length of 378 feet, beam of 43 feet, and draft of 15 feet while its propulsion systems consist of two diesel engines and two gas turbine engines, giving it a top speed of 29 knots.

These vessels have a cruising range of 14,000 miles and has a sea and loiter time of 45 days and armed with a 76mm Oto Melara automatic cannon, 25mm and 20mm light cannons and .50-caliber machineguns.

PH Navy also securing 'Traslacion'

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 9, 2019): PH Navy also securing 'Traslacion'

The Philippine Navy (PN) has deployed personnel and assets to help secure this year's "Traslacion" of the Black Nazarene, its spokesperson said Wednesday.

"Affirmative. Aside from floating riverine assets, the PN also (deployed) air, special operations and marines to augment the Joint Task Force of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) in support of the PNP (Philippine National Police)," Commander Jonathan Zata said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) when asked if the Navy is aiding the security efforts for the procession.

Earlier, AFP public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said the military's Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) would augment PNP efforts to secure the "Traslacion".

Detoyato, however, declined to give specific figures but said the JTF-NCR will commit enough forces to support the PNP.

CPP-NPA will never get control of PH: Duterte

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 9, 2019): CPP-NPA will never get control of PH: Duterte

The Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army (CPP-NPA) will never hold control over the Philippines, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said Tuesday.

In a speech at the National Capital Region (NCR) Barangay Summit on Peace and Order in Pasay City, Duterte assured the public of peace and order and protection from the communist rebels.

"Hindi mo makuha ang Pilipinas. Hindi mo nga makuha ni isang barangay isang araw, tapos papasok ka ng ganun, patayan? Ako nagho-hold lang talaga ako. Karami kong helicopter, sabi ko, huwag muna (The CPP-NPA will never control the Philippines. They can't even control one barangay in a day, then they engage in threats of killing? I'm really just putting things on hold. Government has lots of helicopters, I said, do not use them for now)," he said.

The President said he is controlling his temper on using the armed forces to combat the communist rebels as he considers the situation of the group's hostages.

"Kung gagamitin mo ‘yan, linisin mo ‘yang buong -- buong gubat. You, plantsahin mo ‘yan ng bala. Anong mangyari ‘pag orderin ko ‘yang military, “Shoot to kill.” Huwag na kayong magkuha ng prisoner. Basta diretso na lahat (If we use state weapons to clean entire highlands with guns, what will happen if I order the military, 'Shoot to kill,' and not secure the prisoners? Just merely attack.)," he said.

Duterte said the government is already doing the CPP-NPA's call for land reform, but does it without media publicity.

"Until now, ako lang ang nagdi-distribute pero ayaw ko lang ng publicity (I distribute land titles myself but I do not want publicity). Hindi ako nagdadala ng media. Basta ako bigay lang. (I don't bring media with me. I just give it.)," he said.

Duterte said he is leaving a "small window" for the communist rebels to resume with peace negotiations.

The CPP-NPA, in earlier reports, had been allegedly involved in mass murders, extortion, and violation of indigenous people's rights.

The US State Department and the European Union have both tagged the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations.