Thursday, January 17, 2019

2 NPA arsonists yield in Sultan Kudarat

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 17, 2019): 2 NPA arsonists yield in Sultan Kudarat

REBELS GIVE UP. Two members of the New People’s Army, identified only as Ka Jongie and Ka Fred, yielded to the military in simple ceremony at the headquarters of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion in President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat held Wednesday (Jan. 16, 2019). (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao -- Two members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA), who were involved in the recent torching of eight heavy equipment in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat, have surrendered to authorities, the Army said Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, commander of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion (IB), presented the surrenderers to Lt. Col. Jorge Garcia, commander of the 2nd Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT), during ceremonies held at the 33IB headquarters in President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat.

Local government officials, in coordination with the 33IB, have facilitated the surrender of the duo, who have earlier sent surrender feelers to Cabunoc, in the outskirts of Senator Nonoy Aquino town, also in Sultan Kudarat.

The surrenderers, identified only through aliases Ka Jongie and Ka Fred, also yielded two 9mm M11 Ingram submachine pistols.

Ka Jongie, 35, said they have realized the futility of their cause.

“We were made to believe that the communists can help us claim back our ancestral lands. Instead, our involvement in the communist terrorist group had brought more suffering to us and our communities," he said.

Cabunoc, for his part, urged the surrenderers to collaborate with government authorities in solving the problems of their communities.

“Resist the intrusion of the deceptive propaganda of the communists by actively participating in peace dialogues and by supporting the implementation of development projects,” Cabunoc told the returnees.

Last Jan. 7, both surrenderers, together with some 20 others, torched eight heavy equipment being used for road construction in the upland village of Hinalaan in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat.

The rebels, clad in fatigue uniforms, arrived at the construction site of Janmerc Construction Company around 5 a.m. that day and burned the equipment.

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 a payloader, cement mixer, cargo truck, road roller, dump truck, and backhoe.

Janmerc has been tasked to undertake a road-concreting project between the towns of Senator Ninoy Aquino and Kalamansig, both in Sultan Kudarat province.

The rebels burned the heavy equipment after the construction firm rejected their demand for revolutionary taxes and protection money. A company-size contingent of the 2nd MBLT, backed by police forces, were immediately dispatched to hunt down the NPAs operating in the area.

Speaking on behalf of the 2nd MBLT, Garcia has pledged to assist the former rebels so they would be able to receive the social benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the government.

Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, has cited the collaboration between the military units to go after the NPA in the Kalamansig-President Quirino-Senator Ninoy Aquino border.

“Let us ensure that these misguided will be provided with appropriate support by their local chief executives as they reunite with their families,” Sobejana said referring to the surrenderers.

Army lauds Samar folks' aid to track rebels

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 17, 2019): Army lauds Samar folks' aid to track rebels

A structure in an abandoned camp discovered by soldiers in Bay-ang village in San Jorge, Samar. (Photo courtersy of Philippine Army)

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Philippine Army has lauded residents of San Jorge, Samar for providing information that led to the discovery of a New People's Army (NPA) camp.

In a statement issued Thursday, Philippine Army 8th Infantry Division commander, Major Gen. Raul Farnacio, said residents of upland Bay-ang village disclosed to troops the location of an abandoned camp of armed rebels.

Soldiers were in the area Monday afternoon to hunt down fleeing heavily-armed NPA members, who engaged them in a gun battle on Saturday. Nine soldiers were slightly wounded during the firefight.

Soldiers found four multi-purpose halls, one big mess hall, one classroom with medical facilities, one training ground, four caves with one supply room, toilets, five kitchens, 13 posts, laminated sacks, one C-type claymore mine, oil container with gas, 122 bunkers, two generators, two M16 magazines, one .45-caliber magazine, assorted wires, 10 pieces of water containers, one command switch for an explosive device, assorted light bulbs, and subversive documents.

"This captured enemy encampment is a big blow to the NPA and on their plan to conduct atrocities in the region. It bespeaks of our relentless efforts in internal security operations and in safeguarding the remote communities that are often abused and exploited by communist rebels," Farnacio said.

He asked residents to continue their cooperation with the military in tracking down the rebels.

The military official urged the rebels to lay down their arms, live a normal and peaceful life with their families, and avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program offered by the government.

Oro to build halfway house for ex-rebels

From the Sun Star-Cagayan de Oro (Jan 16, 2019): Oro to build halfway house for ex-rebels

THE City Government, along with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), are planning to build a shelter for former New People's Army (NPA) rebels.

According to Allan Porcadilla, focal person of the Enhanced - Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) concerns, the city is now looking for vacant lots where the proposed halfway house would be built.
The shelter will house former rebels before they will be returned to their families. They will undergo a rehabilitation program, and will be given livelihood projects, farming, livestock, raising, life skills training, therapeutic and psycho-social activities, value formations, among others, to prepare them in their return to the community.

City Administrator Teddy Sabuga-a said the city currently has 10 former rebels from Barangay Besigan but are still under validation.

Sabuga-a said this project is funded by the national government and is worth P5 million, pointing out that the reintegration of former rebels is a priority program of the government.

The city will provide the land and the personnel of the facility.

"Humana man sa provinces, they already have shelters, now the focus is in highly-urbanized areas to help also rebel returnees who are residing in Cagayan de Oro," he added.

The E-CLIP is a strategic flagship program of Duterte as an effective means of achieving the government’s peace and development agenda.

The program gives free housing, livelihood opportunities, and free education for the children of the rebel returnees.

According to the army, since the President issued a directive in 2017 to craft the E-CLIP as a concrete program for the reintegration former rebels, there has been a spike in the number of surrenderees from the NPA.

PNP monitoring activist groups, other ‘legal fronts’ of CPP-NPA

From the Manila Bulletin (Jan 16, 2019): PNP monitoring activist groups, other ‘legal fronts’ of CPP-NPA

Leaders and members of various left-leaning groups in the country, especially progressive student organizations, are being subjected to intelligence monitoring by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on suspicion of being “legal fronts” by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), a police spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.

Philippine National Police Spokesperson Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr.
(Kevin Tristan Espiritu / MANILA BULLETIN)

Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr., PNP spokesperson, revealed this after a former rebel leader operating in Laguna and other provinces in Calabarzon (Region 4A) surrendered to the police and bared they used to recruit college students to become communist rebels.

On Monday, PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde presented in Camp Crame, Quezon City a certain Ka Ruben, a rebel-returnee who claimed to be a former leader of a communist group based in Laguna.

Ka Ruben said students from the University of the Philippines (UP) and Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) would often visit them in far-flung communities or climb mountains to conduct a research.

“But some of them would no longer go back and would choose to stay,” Ka Ruben said.

This was the reason why Durana said intelligence monitoring of left-leaning organizations is important since they need to implement security measures to prevent the recruitment of students into communist groups.

“It [intelligence monitoring] is an on-going mandate of the security sector including the PNP because it is the duty of the state to protect its citizens and the state itself against communist terrorist groups such as the CPP-NPA and its allied front organizations,” Durana said.

“We would be remiss in our job if we are not carrying out our role of conducting regularly intelligence and counter-intelligence operations against elements of organizations that are allied with the enemies of the state,” he added.

Durana did not reveal the organizations that they are monitoring.

However, he said that among the groups specified by top communist leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison as legal fronts of the CPP-NPA are Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), League of Filipino Students (LFS), Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Gabriela Women’s Party, and Kadena — a militant youth group, among others.

Durana said Sison himself tagged the said organizations as the communist group’s legal fronts during one of his lectures in Europe years back when he was released by the Corazon Aquino administration.

“[I]t didn’t come from the PNP, it came itself from their leader Jose Maria Sison and that’s a living proof that indeed there are infiltrations of these legal sectoral organizations,” he said.

For its part, the League of Filipino Students (LFS) slammed the PNP’s statement that students from UP and PUP were immersing with communist groups, saying the police force “has gone hysterical with [its] crackdown against youth dissenters.”

“This is nothing but a frantic attempt to threaten the ever-growing youth movement, and pacify their resistance against Duterte’s tyrannical rule,” Kara Taggaoa, LFS national spokesperson said.

Last week, the PNP was also placed in hot water after a police memorandum order was leaked on the conduct of an inventory of the members of Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).

The ACT called out the PNP for allegedly “spying” on their members and this prompted Albayalde to relieve three intelligence operatives linked to the operation.

Another progressive group, National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), has been tagged by the PNP as a legal front of the CPP-NPA late last year.

This, after the death of nine sugar workers known as the Sagay Massacre in Sagay, Negros Occidental on October 20, 2018 which was blamed by the Calabarzon police on the NPAs.

But militancy, according to Durana, is “an important component of a vibrant democracy” since it holds the government accountable to the interest of the people.

“The only problem is if these legal organizations, this militancy, this student activism, are being exploited by the enemies of the state to pursue their overall goal of violent overthrow of the government,” Durana explained.

Soldiers kill 4 BIFF men in Maguindanao

From the Philippine Star (Jan 17, 2019): Soldiers kill 4 BIFF men in Maguindanao

Four members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were killed in an encounter with soldiers in Saidona Mustapha town on Tuesday.

Barangay elders and local officials identified the fatalities as Akmad Sindi, Raguiab Bansao, Ameruddin Bunao and Gamino Orai.

A certain Gadoh and an alias Tasil were reportedly wounded in the clash.

Reports reaching Camp Siongco in Datu Odin Sinsuat showed that the bandits carried the bodies of their comrades as they escaped.

The military said the gunfight erupted when the BIFF men fired at personnel of the 40th Infantry Battalion who were patrolling Barangay Inaladan.  

 Soldiers recovered four rifles from the fatalities and improvised exlosive devices along the bandits’ escape route.