Tuesday, January 29, 2019

4 Reds killed in Mindanao clashes

From the Manila Standard (Jan 28, 2019): 4 Reds killed in Mindanao clashes

Four members of the New People’s Army were killed while a wounded rebel was captured following two separate skirmishes with army troopers in Cotabato and Iligan City on Sunday.

The first clash occurred when army soldiers surprised a group of heavily-armed NPAs reportedly extorting from villagers in Sitio Kalo Kali, Brgy Bagumbayan, Magpet in Cotabato at around 1 p.m.

Col. Ehrlich Noel Paraso, commander of the 19th Infantry Battalion, said about 70 armed terrorists of Guerrilla Front 53 of the Southern Mindanao Regional Command scampered to different directions as troops opened fire at the rebel group.

Paraso said despite being outnumbered, the soldiers overwhelmed the rebel group in the firefight that lasted for about 30 minutes.

The rebels eventually retreated to different directions leaving behind a dead rebel and several wounded fighters.

An army soldier was also wounded in the fighting.

Paraso said a wounded rebel tried to evade soldiers who were conducting mapping operations after the fighting but was intercepted in a military checkpoint in Brgy. Gubatan and was immediately brought by an ambulance for medical attention.

Recovered from the battle scene were an M14 rifle, an M16 rifle with anM203 grenade launcher, an anti-personnel landmine, 5 magazines with 20 rounds of ammunition, 2 flags each from the NDF, NPA, and CPP, medical paraphernalia and subversive documents.

“We had been receiving reports from concerned civilians about the presence of the terrorist NPA in the area the reason why we launched our operations. This village was a former mass base of the terrorist group and they are trying to recover it by harassing the populace and threatening former rebels to rejoin them in their failed armed struggle,” Paraso said.
Authorities had extended their sympathies to the family of the dead terrorist as they coordinated with the local government unit and the PNP counterparts to help find the family’s whereabouts and those of the relatives of the wounded rebel.

“Members of the terrorist group have a choice―they can remain and accept their fate of being killed in an encounter against government troops, or they can go back to their families and return to the mainstream society,” said Maj. Gen. Ronaldo Villanueva, commander of the 4th Infantry Division.

The second fighting took place in the outskirts of Butan City where army troops of the 29th Infantry Battalion battled CPP-NPA terrorist in Sitio Patagon, Brgy Anticala at about 1:30 p.m. Sunday leaving three terrorist killed.

Maj. Ronaldo Putol, Civil Military Operations officer said the firefight erupted after troops received information from a civilian that the NPAs were extorting money from the villagers.

He said that as soldiers were approaching Sitio Patagon, the NPA members believed to be members of Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee under Toto Anub fired at government forces sparking a firefight which lasted 10 minutes after which the rebels scampered to different directions leaving three dead comrades.

The troops recovered one AK47 rifle, two M16 rifles, and an M203 rifle grenade launcher at the encounter site.


Army official assures new detachment in Rizal, Cagayan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 28, 2019): Army official assures new detachment in Rizal, Cagayan

RIZAL, CAGAYAN  -- The commanding officer of the 17th Infantry Battalion based in Alcala town assured the establishment of a new detachment in this town particularly at the Zinundungan Valley following the request of its residents and the local government unit.

Lt. Col. Camilo Saddam, commanding officer of the 17th Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division, says that peace is everybody's concern. (PIA-2 photo)

The Zinundungan Valley in this town is just one of the barangays in the province where affectation of the New Peoples Army (NPAs) is very strong.

During the Joint Grand Pulong-Pulong for Peace and Development held in this town on Jan. 22, Lt. Col. Camilo Saddam, commanding officer of the 17th Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division said they are just waiting for the final approval for the establishment of a new detachment in the area to provide tighter security.

Saddam said while the establishment of a new detachment is on process, they will still augment regular troops at Zinundungan Valley.

“Hangga’t hindi sila [NPAs] sumusuko, laging nandiyan ang kasundaluan ng 5th ID,” Saddam said.

Peace is everybody’s concern

Barangay folks of Zinundungan Valley pledge to help the government in its fight against insurgency. (PIA-2 photo)

Saddam added that insurgency is a multifaceted problem and is everybody’s concern not only the military.

“Ito po ay problema nating lahat. Kapag may insurhensiya, ang pagaaral ng mga kabataan, ang pagbibigay ng basic services, kabuhayan, at iba pa ay apektado rin,” said Saddam.

Saddam said that every Rizalino should be vigilant and reminded them not to be enticed by the false promises of the NPAs. “When we entertain them, we give them reasons to stay,” Saddam added.

The Grand Pulung-Pulong is a continuing activity of the community support program of the Philippine Army with the aim to bring the government services closer to the barangay folks where insurgency is presence.
In this way, Saddam said they will have more appreciation about what the government is doing for them rather than "having thoughts of joining the rebels".

During the Grand Pulung-Pulong, representatives from the different national government agencies (NGAs) in the region presented their different programs and services to the residents of this town.

The agencies present were the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) , Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).


DSWD Regional Director Leonardo Reynoso informs the attendees on the different programs and services of their department. (PIA-2 photo)

A Ray of Hope

Saddam urged everyone to help the government in its fight against insurgency.

“We can’t do this alone. This fight against insurgency requires a convergence effort not only from us, working with the government, but most importantly, from you being at the ground,” Saddam said.

“I just hope that one day we can freely walk and ride going to and from Zinundungan Valley,” Saddam added.

For her part, Lawyer Brenda Ruma, mayor of Rizal expressed her gratitude to the Philippine Army, PNP and the NGAs present during the Grand Pulong-Pulong.

“Tunay nga na kapag may kaagapay, may kapayaan,” she said.


CPP-NPA condemned, unwelcome in Compostela Valley

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 29, 2019): CPP-NPA condemned, unwelcome in Compostela Valley

Compostela Valley Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy presides over the meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council, which declared the CPP-NPA-NDF as persona non grata.
NABUNTURAN, Compostela Valley - Compostela Valley officials declared Friday (Jan. 25, 2019) the communist terrorists as “persona non grata” in the province.

The Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) were officially condemned and deemed unwelcome in Compostela Valley because of their atrocities, criminal acts, and violations of international humanitarian codes.

“Many lives, livelihood and businesses were sacrificed because of this conflict that has been going on for years now,” Compostela Valley Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy said in his dialect during that Friday’s meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC), which he also chairs.

The PPOC, which consist of leaders of sectoral groups and chiefs of government agencies, declared the CPP-NPA-NDF persona non grata in a resolution adopted that Friday.

Uy stressed that his constituents want to live in a peaceful, prosperous and happy community that is insulated from the brutal war that the communist terrorists have waged for decades.


Enlightened BIFF child warrior surrenders to the gov’t

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 29, 2019): Enlightened BIFF child warrior surrenders to the gov’t

The sight of the installed solar-powered lamps in his village, had convinced a child warrior to surface and lay down his weapon late afternoon on Saturday, January 26.

‘Tigre’, 15, remained hiding in the past two weeks despite the surrender of his relatives after years of eluding the security forces who were sent to arrest them. He said that the lights coming from the solar lamp posts convinced him to follow the path towards peace.

“Bearing solar-powered flash lights and lamp posts, soldiers came to the village of my relatives to help them. I realized that they were not interested in killing us all,” said Tigre in Maguindanaon dialect.

The surrender of Tigre happened at least an hour after soldiers of the 33rd Infantry Battalion installed solar lights in Pedtad village, a fishing village near the Liguasan Marsh.

Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, commanding officer of the 33IB, received the rocket-propelled grenade launcher that was handed-over by Tigre in Makainis village, General Salipada Pendatun, Maguindanao.

“You have made the right decision in laying down your weapon. There is no more reason to fight after the overwhelming victory of the Bangsamoro Organic Law ‘Yes’ vote,” said Lt. Col. Cabunoc.

Tigre belongs to the BIFF faction of Commander Mayo Gantong Bansil, the leader of the outlawed armed group who had been involved in atrocities against government troops in the past five years.

Popular support

Lt. Col. Cabunoc said that more and more members of the ‘peace spoilers’ have decided to cooperate with the government.

“The influx of surrenderors reflect the high level of trust that we gained in Central Mindanao. With popular support, we will always prevail against any adversary,” Cabunoc added.

Meanwhile, Major General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, directed the subordinate commanders to sustain the gains on the ground.

“We must endeavor to reduce the armed groups through negotiations and focused military operations. This is our platform in turning the Liguasan Marsh from ‘Terrorism to Tourism’ and from a ‘battlefield to an oilfield’ area,” said Major General Sobejana.

The 33rd Infantry Battalion have succeeded in luring combatants to go back to the folds of the law in the past two years. Known as the Makabayan peacemakers, the soldiers of the 33IB had facilitated the surrender of 37 BIFF members, 205 communist rebels, and 41 drug syndicate members. (DPAO-6ID)


MILF: Bangsamoro Community celebrates after overwhelming victory of the Yes Vote during Plebiscite

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Jan 27, 2019): Bangsamoro Community celebrates after overwhelming victory of the Yes Vote during Plebiscite

In photo- Local residents share various food delicacies during “Kanduli” in celebration for the big win of Yes Vote during the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) January 21st plebiscite in the municipality
General Salipada K. Pendatun Maguindanao- Five Barangay Local Government Units and the Political Committee of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) offered food banquet or thanksgiving “kanduli” in celebration of the big win for the yes vote in the municipality during the January 21st plebiscite for the ratification of Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) at Barangay Panosolen that stretches to Barangay Pidpandakan.

BOL supporters from various communities attended the celebration. The said thanksgiving celebration began at 3:30AM and ended at about 4:30PM.

The prepared food occupied one lane of the road along Barangay Panosolen and stretches about three Kilometers (3KM) from the said barangay to another.

According to Benhod Solaiman, one of the organizers, “It is the first time in the history of the municipality where they have offered a ‘kanduli, and it is due to the victory of the Yes Vote in the municipality.”

He hopes that with the upcoming Bangsamoro Government, peace and development will finally reign in Moro Homeland.

Solaiman expressed his gratitude and heartfelt thanks to the local leaders and sectors who provided assistance to realize the thanksgiving kanduli.

Unity, solidarity, and brotherhood made the celebration a success, he said.

Some leaders expressed their emotional feelings, and narrated the hardships, pain, and agony the Bangsamoro people had experienced in the past decades.

After the long journey of Bangsamoro in their struggle towards right to self-determination, one can see in their face the smile of joy for being free from the bondage of poverty and oppression.

The ‘kanduli’ or food banquet was attended by about four thousand (4,000) people from different barangays.


MILF: MILF Condemns Jolo Twin Blasts

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Jan 26, 2019): MILF Condemns Jolo Twin Blasts

Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao- “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu this morning that took the lives of 20 innocent civilians and 7 members of the military”, said Mohagher Iqbal, Chair of the MILF Peace Implementing panel in a statement sent to Luwaran this afternoon.

The blasts happened about a minute apart while Mass was being celebrated at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo that also injured 77 civilians, and 15 soldiers.

“The MILF is ready to support efforts in the apprehension of the perpetrators of the senseless violence that occurred in a place of worship while people were attending the morning mass, “Iqbal said.

“This criminal act has no place in our civilized society especially that we are about to reap the fruits of our struggle with the ratification of Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in the just concluded plebiscite, “Iqbal added.

Witnesses said the first blast was inside the cathedral, sending sent churchgoers, some of them wounded, to stampede out of the main door, according to a report by Associated Press/Inquirer.Net.

DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in a statement said, “I have directed our troops to heighten their alert level, secure all places of worships and public places at once, and initiate pro-active security measures to thwart hostile plans.”

“The enemies of the state boldly challenged the government’s capability to secure the safety of citizens in that region. The Armed Forces of the Philippines will rise to the challenge and crush these godless criminals,” Malacañang Palace said as quoted by Associated Press/Inquirer.Net.

In the same report by AP/Inquirer. Net, it quoted ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman saying that the bomb attack was done in a place of peace and worship, and it comes at a time when we are preparing for another stage of the peace process in Mindanao.”

“Human lives are irreplaceable,” he added, calling on Jolo residents to cooperate with authorities to find the perpetrators of this “atrocity.”

Official Statement of the Chairman of the central committee of the MILF condemning the barbaric act happened in Jolo, Sulu.


MILF: Iqbal: “Yes” vote is for peace, unity and development

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Jan 26, 2019): Iqbal: “Yes” vote is for peace, unity and development

In photo-Mohagher Iqbal, Chair of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel speaks to the audience during a Peace Assembly for the Ratification of R.A. No. 11054 at Municipal Gymnasium, Carmen, North Cotabato

The Chairman of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel and concurrent BTC Commissioner Mohagher Iqbal said, the “yes” vote is for peace, unity and development.

He enlightened the audience on the result of the plebiscite where the “yes” vote soared high in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao, Sulu, and Basilan.

The same “yes” led against “no” in a very wide margin in Cotabato City, despite the strong opposition by Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani- Sayadi.

He made the pronouncement in the Assembly for the Ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) held on January 24, 2019 at the Municipal Gymnasium, Carmen, North Cotabato.

He also told the participants about the results of the plebiscite in Isabela City where the “no” won but with a very little difference.

He explained the principle of double majority as like a family where one member wants to emancipate by asking to get marry. His act of asking permission from the father constitutes as first consent and the approval of the rest members of the family constitutes the second consent. He touched his citation of “rainbow” in the past as having similar essence in “unity in diversity” where different colors corroborate each other to attain unique beauty. He also said everyone in Mindanao has a space in this land.

Prof. Rabi Angkal, Chief of Staff of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Chairman Ghazali Jaafar stressed that there is no discriminatory provision in the BOL. A Christian, an IP or a Muslim has the same rights under the BOL. This is so because during the deliberations on the law, members of congress ensured that all sectors in the Bangsamoro have equal rights.

BTC Commissioner Melanio Ulama who represents the IPs said, the “yes” votes overwhelmingly won in his municipality especially in the communities of the IPs. He said that in the past, a Moro is treated as second class citizen, while the IP is treated as third class citizen, but under in the BOL, everybody is treated as equal.

The affair was hosted by Mayor Roger Taliño of Carmen town who was represented by Vice Mayor Moises C. Arendain. He spoke of full support to the BOL. Another Sanguniang Bayan member Alberto Rivera expressed strong support to the BOL.

Other attendees in the gathering were the Deputy Governor of North Cotabato Edres Gandalibo and his aide Nasser Ali.

On the MILF side were North Cotabato Provincial Chairman Nasser Mustafa and Pagalungan Municipal Chairman Datu Guinda. The Carmen Municipal LGUs, barangay LGUs, AFP and PNP men secured the venue. MILF commanders and men also attended. Civilians composing the tri-people composed the crowd.


MILF: Comelec proclaims ratification of Bangsamoro Organic Law

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Jan 26, 2019): Comelec proclaims ratification of Bangsamoro Organic Law

Sitting as the National Plebiscite Board of Canvassers, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc has proclaimed on Friday (Jan 25) evening the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) ratified with more than one and half million voters from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao who signified the BOL approval.
In the ARMM, “Yes” votes garnered 1,540,017 while around 198,750 voters negated the ratification of the measure which would pave the way for the establishment of new autonomous region with more political and fiscal powers and increased share in the national government resources.

With the approval of the BOL also known as Republic Act 11054, the ARMM would deemed be abolished and be replaced by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

During the plebiscite which was held on January 21, 2019 the electorates of the cities of Isabela and Cotabato were asked if they will allow inclusion of their towns to the autonomous region.

In Cotabato city 36,682 voters chose for the inclusion in the BARMM while “No” votes garnered 24,994.

Majority of the electorates in Isabela city voted “no” for the inclusion to the autonomous region. Result showed around 22,441 voters favored “No” to inclusion outnumbering 19,032 people who voted for “yes.”

Voters of Basilan were also asked if they favor inclusion of Isabela city in BARMM. There were 144,640 who favored while 8,487 voted for “no.”

However since Isabela city voted against inclusion in the Bangsamoro region, Basilan’s overwhelming favorable vote for inclusion of the province is deemed irrelevant.

With the dawn of new autonomous government, the leadership of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) calls for unity among the Bangsamoro people.

BOL is the fruit of more than two decades peace negotiation between the Philippine government and the MILF.

The measure provides the creation of Bangsamoro Transition Authority that will act as interim government between the plebiscite and the first elections in the BARMM by 2022.

Around 80 members of the BTA is expected to be appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte soon.

The MILF Central Committee has chosen MILF Chair Murad Ebrahim as the interim Chief Minister.


MILF: MILF official urges all parties to move on after BOL Plebiscite

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Jan 25, 2019): MILF official urges all parties to move on after BOL Plebiscite

Sultan Kudarat, Maguiindanao- ABS-CBN News reported yesterday, that the head of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has urged all parties to move forward after the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law, but respects the plan of the Cotabato City Mayor to contest the result showing residents voting to join a new autonomous region.
The MILF which campaigned hard for a Yes Vote, secured 36, 682 votes, compared to No Vote 24, 994 votes with a difference of 11, 588K votes.

Cotabato City is dubbed as the “Crown Jewel” of the upcoming Bangsamoro Region.

Meanwhile, Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi who rejected the city’s inclusion, said she will file a manifestation with COMELEC, citing "massive disenfranchisement" of voters because of violence and threats coming from MILF supporters.

These allegations have been belied, and refuted by stakeholders with no other than the Philippine National Police (PNP) declared that the plebiscite was generally peaceful.

The COMELEC through its spokesman James Jimenez also told reporters in an interview that the recently concluded plebiscite was generally peaceful.

"I respect that. The city mayor can do that because that is her democratic right, but the people have already spoken and I think we should respect this," Mohagher Iqbal, Chairman of the MILF Peace Implementing panel told ANC.

"It’s now time for everybody, the yes and the no votes, to converse together and to move forward as one body," he told ANC's Early Edition.

Iqbal said people went out to cast their ballots last Monday despite mounting "problems," and this was why the votes for the Bangsamoro law and the inclusion of Cotabato City prevailed.

Iqbal believes Cotabato City would be the practical choice as seat of power as it is currently the center of communication to the ARMM. (Source: ABS-CBN News)


CPP/Sison: On the bombing of the Catholic cathedral in Jolo City

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jan 29, 2019): On the bombing of the Catholic cathedral in Jolo City

Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
January 29, 2019

First of all, I wish to express most heartfelt sympathy to those killed and wounded in the bombing of the Catholic Cathedral in Jolo City and to all their families and friends. As a matter of principle, I condemn the bombing as an act of terrorism directed against civilians and a place of worship.

I agree with the Catholic clergy and laity and other people on holding Duterte responsible for inciting the violence against the Catholic Church. This tyrant has called on his followers to kill and rob the bishops whom he has maligned as useless and do nothing else but enrich themselves.

The local authorities and the people of Jolo have observed that the military minions of Duterte have been tightly guarding the Cathedral for a long time under conditions of martial law. They are surprised how the bombers were able to penetrate the military cordon.

Whoever did the bombing, Duterte will seek to benefit from the terrorist act again by using it as an excuse for further prolonging martial law in Mindanao or even for proclaiming it nationwide or worst of all, for amending the Human Security Act to make it an instrument of state terrorism far worse than martial law.

In line with his violent personality, Duterte will call for more measures of state terrorism under martial law and be oblivious to the fact that martial law failed to stop the bombing. Martial law has been violative of human rights and has served to facilitate state terrorism as well as to embolden the terrorism of the US CIA-created Islamic State and other groups that physically attack civilians..


CPP/NPA-Central Negros: Sagot ng LPC-NPA sa mga Kasinungalingan ni Col. Igberto Dacoscos ng 62nd IBPA

NPA-Central Negros propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jan 28, 2019): Sagot ng LPC-NPA sa mga Kasinungalingan ni Col. Igberto Dacoscos ng 62nd IBPA

JB Regalado
NPA-Central Negros (Leonardo Panaligan Command)
New People's Army
January 28, 2019          

 Maalala noong Enero 22, 2019 tinakot at pinwersa na pinadalo ng combined forces ng 62nd IBPA at 94th IBPA ang mga residente ng sityo ng Acasia, Tubod, Brgy. proper ng Brgy. Macagahay sakop ng Magallon, Negros Occidental at mga residente ng sityo Cambairan, Amumuyong, Calambia at iba pang mga sityo ng Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental sa isinagawa nitong pagpupulong sa sityo Cambairan, Trinidad, Guihulngan.

Sa masinsin na imbestigasyon ng LPC, consistent ang mamamayan na nagsasabi na ginamit ng militar ang mga 4P’s beneficiaries lamang upang palakihin ang numero ng dadalo sa nasabing aktibidad. Dagdag pa nila, pinangakuan sila na bigyan ng mga gamit pangsaka katulad ng sarol, guna, pala at iba pa.

Ayon din sa mga residente, kung susuko sila bilang mga suporter ng NPA, bibigyan sila ng tag P450,000 na cash incentives. Ito ay isang malinaw na pangloloko, panlilinlang at pangungumbinsi sa sambayanan para sa dagdag na naman na sandamakmak na kaso ng korapsyon at pangungulimbat ng militar sa kaban ng gobyerno mula sa buwis ng mamamayang Pilipino.

Dito rin na pagpupulong, nagalit ang mga kasapi ng militar na humarap sa mga dumalo at sapilitang pinasigaw na “MGA NPA MAGNANAKAW!” dahil ang mga baboy at baka ng mamamayan ang sinasabing kuno ninakaw ng NPA. Sa una at ikalawang beses sa pagpapasigaw sa kanila, hindi tumupad ang mga residente ngunit sa ikatlo’y napilitan ang iilan sa kanila na sumigaw dala ang pang-iismid dahil sa namwersa na ang mga opisyal ng 62nd IB at 94th IB habang pilit din silang kinukunan ng video at litrato.

Ito’y malinaw na human rights violation at paglabag sa mga kasunduan sa CARHRIHL. Nagmistulang psywar at deception ang ginawa ng 62nd IB at 94th IB sa mamamayan ng Magallon at Guihulngan.

Kasinungalingan din ang tinatahol ni spokesperson Benedict Arevalo ng 303rd BdePA na tinakot ng NPA ang mga kabataan sa Magallon at Guihulngan. Ang totoo’y natakot lamang si Arevalo na sumapi sa NPA ang nasabing mga kabataan. Segurado ang LPC-NPA ngña kung magpatuloy ang militarisasyon, pamiminsala sa kabuhayan at buhay ng mga magsasaka at iba pang porma ng kalakasan ng militar sa kanayunan, uusbong ang digmang bayan at armadong pakikibaka sa Central Negros na papasakupan ng mga kabataan, aktibista at iba pang mga demokratikong pwersa para kamtin ang tunay na hustisya batay sa proseso ng rebolusyonaryong hustisya.

Nangangahulugan na militar mismo at si Duterte ang nangrerekrut sa NPA at nagpapatibay nito.

Parang asong-baliw rin si Col. Dacoscos ng 62nd IBPA na tumatahol gamit ang iginuhit na istorya na kuno ang NPA nagdetain ng 3 araw sa isang magsasaka na si alyas “Dodong” sa sityo Cambairan, Trinidad, Guihulngan. Ngayon din nagkuha at sumira raw ng cellphone nito. Ito’y malinaw na lunsay kasinungalingan at panlilinlang.

Lip serving din ang panghahamon ni Col. Dacoscos ng 62nd IB sa mga human rights advocates na mag-imbestiga ng mamamayan sa kanayunan laluna sa Magallon at Guihulngan. Ang totoo’y militar din ang pumipigil mismo sa nasabing mga human rights organizations noong Enero 3, 2019 sa pagkuha sana ng aktwal na sitwasyon ng mga magsasaka matapos ang nangyari na SEMPO at Oplan Sauron ng joint forces ng AFP CenCom at PNP Region 7 noong Disyembre 27, 2018 na nagresulta ng pagkamatay ng 6 na mga inosenteng magsasaka at habal-habal drivers, ilegal na pang-aaresto at pagkukulong, pangraransak ng mga kabahayan at pagnanakaw ng mga pera at kagamitan ng mga maralitang magsasaka.

Mahigpit na hinahamon ng LPC ang lahat na mamamayan sa Central Negros. Mahigpit na magkaisa. Makibaka huwag matakot! Labanan ang militarisasyon sakop sa larangang gerilya. Hubaran ang mga pakana ng pasistang AFP at biguin ang Oplan Kapayapaan ng US-Duterte na rehimen!


CPP/NPA-Negros Island: Red salute to the people’s victories through its NPA!

NPA-Negros Island propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jan 28, 2019): Red salute to the people’s victories through its NPA!

Juanito Magbanua
NPA-Negros Island (Apolinario Gatmaitan Command)
New People's Army
January 28, 2019

Due to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police’s (PNP) desperate plan to destroy the New People’s Army (NPA) and the revolutionary movement in Negros Island, it resulted to 27 casualties on their side only within January 2019. Not one NPA was killed or caught while confronting the brutal military operations of the AFP/PNP. Instead, those who aspire to join the armed struggle is expanding because they have proven the ruthlessness of the state just to preserve the interest of the ruling class led by the US-Duterte regime.

The Apolinario Gatmaitan Command (AGC) – Negros Island Regional Command conveys its red salute to the NPA units that have courageously implemented the order of defeating the brutal campaign of the enemy. The armed struggle launched by the NPA under the absolute leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines is a just struggle because it upholds the interest of the mass of peasants and workers and the whole Filipino people against the cruel and oppressive US-Duterte regime. In fact, the broad people support and take part in armed struggle because they grasp that the NPA is fighting for the interest of the people. The NPA wages war in the absence of self-interest without receiving even a centavo and is prepared for death if it is the price of wholeheartedly serving the people.

The troops of Brig. Gen. Ignacio Madriaga of the 302nd Brigade and Col. Benedict Arevalo of the 303rd Brigade are pitiable because they are placed on the battlefield for the desire of their officials to gain medals, promote their ranks, increase their salaries and, needless to say, enlarge their share in the corruption with every fake surrenderee and fake achievement. But most terrible is the situation of the people who are victims of the AFP and PNP’s intensifying military operations for their failed hope to destroy the revolutionary armed struggle. No one else suffer but the people, especially the peasants in the countryside, that are victims of widespread killings and illegal arrests, torture, hamletting, ransacking of homes, planted evidence on those they arrest and kill and others. The AFP and PNP are indeed terrorists!

To all red fighter under the AGC-NPA Negros, continue to mount tactical offensives to make the mercenary AFP and PNP pay their blood debts to the people. With the broad masses and all revolutionary forces, let us frustrate the plan of the US-Duterte regime to put an end to the revolutionary movement. Youth, join the armed struggle! Long live the oppressed masses!


CPP/NPA-Central Negros: Sabat sang LPC-NPA sa mga Kabutigan ni Col. Igberto Dacoscos sang 62nd IBPA

NPA-Central Negros propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jan 28, 2019): Sabat sang LPC-NPA sa mga Kabutigan ni Col. Igberto Dacoscos sang 62nd IBPA

JB Regalado
NPA-Central Negros (Leonardo Panaligan Command)
New People's Army           
January 28, 2019

Nadumduman sadtong Enero 22, 2019 ginpahug kag pwersa nga ginpatambong sang combined forces sang 62nd IBPA kag 94th IBPA ang mga residente sang sityo sang Acasia, Tubod, Brgy. proper sang Brgy Macagahay sakop sang Magallon, Negros Occidental kag mga pumuluyo sang sityo Cambairan, Amumuyong, Columbia kag iban pa nga mga sityo sang Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental sa ginpatigayon sini nga pulong-pulong sa sityo Cambairan, Trinidad, Guihulngan.

Sa maid-id nga imbestigasyon sang LPC, consistent ang pumuluyo nga nagapanugiron nga gingamit sang militar ang mga 4P’s beneficiaries lamang padakuon ang numero sang magtambong sa nasambit nga aktibidad. Dugang pa nila, ginpangakuan sila nga hatagan sang mga gamit panguma kaangay sang sadol, guna, pala kag iban pa.

Suno man sa mga pumuluyo, kon magsurender sila bilang mga suporter sang NPA, hatagan sila sang tag P450,000 nga cash incentives. Ini isa ka klaro nga pagpanginto, pagpatalang kag pagpanghaylo sa pumuluyo para sa dugang naman nga pagtinambak nga kaso sang korapsyon kag pangulimbat sang militar sa kaban sang gobyerno gikan sa buwis sang pumuluyong Pilipino.

Sini man nga pulong-pulong, nagapangakig ang mga katapo sang militar nga naga-atubang sa mga tumalambong kag pilit man ini nga ginpasinggit nga “MGA NPA KAWATAN!” kay ang mga baboy kag baka sang pumuluyo kuno ginpangawat sang NPA. Sa una kag ikaduha nga higayon sa pagpasinggit sa ila, wala nagtuman ang pumuluyo apang sa ikatatlo napilitan ang pipila sa ila nga nagsinggit dala ang pangyam-id kay namwersa na ang mga opisyal sa 62nd IB kag 94th IB samtang pilit man sila nga ginakuhaan sang video kag litrato.

Ini maathag nga human rights violation kag paglapas sa mga kasugtanan sa CARHRIHL. Lunsay psywar kag deception ang ginhimo sang 62nd IB kag 94th IB sa pumuluyo sang Magallon kag Guihulngan.

Kabutigan man ang ginataghol ni spokesperson Benedict Arevalo sang 303rd BdePA nga ginpahug sang NPA ang mga pamatan-on sa Magallon kag Guihulngan. Ang matuod nahadlok lang si Arevalo nga magpasakop sa NPA ang nasambit nga mga pamatan-on. Segurado ang LPC-NPA nga kon magpadayon ang militarisasyon, pagpanghalit sa pangabuhian kag kabuhi sang mga mangunguma kag iban pa nga porma sang kalakasan sang militar sa kaumahan, maga-usbong ang inaway banwa kag armadong paghimakas sa Central Negros nga pagapasakupan sang mga pamatan-on, aktibista kag iban pa nga mga demokratikong pwersa para pangita-on ang matuod nga hustisya sandig sa proseso sang rebolusyonaryong hustisya.

Nagakahulugan nga militar mismo kag si Duterte ang nagarekrut sa NPA kag nagapalig-on sini.

Daw idu-buang man si Col. Dacoscos sang 62nd IBPA nga nagataghol gamit ang gindrawing nga istorya nga kuno ang NPA nagdetain sang 3 ka adlaw sa isa ka mangunguma nga si alyas “Dodong” sa sityo Cambairan, Trinidad, Guihulngan. Subong man nagkuha kag nagguba kuno sang cellphone sini. Ini klaro nga lunsay kabutigan kag pagpatalang.

Lip serving man ang pagpanghangkat ni Col. Dacoscos sang 62nd IB sa mga human rights advocates nga mag-imbestiga sang pumuluyo sa kaumahan ilabe na sa Magallon kag Guihulngan. Ang matuod militar man ang nagapugong mismo sa nasambit nga mga human rights organizations sadtong Enero 3, 2019 sa pagkuha unta sang aktwal nga sitwasyon sang mga mangunguma matapos ang natabo nga SEMPO kag Oplan Sauron sang joint forces sang AFP CenCom kag PNP Region 7 sadtong Disyembre 27, 2018 nga nagresulta sang kamatayon sang 6 ka mga inosenteng mangunguma kag habal-habal drivers, ilegal nga pagpang-aresto kag pagpapriso, pagpangransak sang mga kabalayan kag pagpangawat sang mga kwarta kag pagkabutang sang mga pobreng mangunguma.

Mabaskog nga ginahangkat sang LPC ang tanan nga pumuluyo sa Central Negros. Hugot nga maghiliusa. Maghimakas indi mahadlok! Pamatukan ang militarisasyon sakop sa larangan gerilya. Hublasan ang mga pakana sang pasistang AFP kag paslawon ang Oplan Kapayapaan sang US-Duterte nga rehimen!


CPP/NPA-Western Samar: NPA claims new victories in Western Samar as AFP turns on civilians over losses

NPA-Western Samar propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jan 25, 2019): NPA claims new victories in Western Samar as AFP turns on civilians over losses

New People's Army
NPA-Western Samar (Arnulfo Ortiz Command)
January 25, 2019

The Arnulfo Ortiz Command (AOC) of the New People’s Army-Western Samar today claimed new victories in guerrilla warfare against the Armed Forces of the Philippines and slammed the Duterte regime’s military for venting its losses on innocent civilians.
“Last January 21, Red fighters successfully harassed the paramilitary camp of the 52nd IB CAA in San Jose Depanaugan, Gandara,” the AOC said. “Meanwhile, on the same day in San Jorge town, Red fighters defended themselves in a counter-raid against 20 attacking troops of the 63rd IB; two soldiers were killed in action.

“Earlier on January 19, at around 12 midnight, Red fighters also harassed the 52nd IB camp in Barangay Concepcion, resulting in one enemy soldier killed in action and two more wounded. The enemy soldiers also indiscriminately strafed the surrounding houses of civilians. There were no NPA casualties in all these armed engagements.”

The NPA-Western Samar said it will further intensify guerrilla warfare against the Duterte regime’s all-out war through Oplan Kapayapaan and scheming towards fascist dictatorship. “All NPA units in Western Samar under the Arnulfo Ortiz Command are ordered to carry out guerrilla offensives according to capabilities and actively defend themselves to leave the enemy bleeding from many wounds while punching the air,” the AOC stated.

Furthermore, the AOC called on the AFP to stop its cowardly attacks on defenseless civilians and challenged Duterte’s military to come after the NPA instead. “We condemn the AFP for turning on civilians over its losses, leading to forced evacuations particularly in San Jorge. We demand the GRP and its military observe the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. We call on the people to dare to take up armed struggle, support and join the NPA against the fascist, puppet and corrupt US-Duterte regime!”


Army activates 6th Mechanized Infantry Battalion

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 29, 2019): Army activates 6th Mechanized Infantry Battalion

Philippine Army activates the 6th Mechanized Infantry 'Salaknib' Battalion as the armor component of the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the Philippine Army. (Mechanized Infantry Division – Public Affairs Office)
CAMP O’DONNELL, Capas, Tarlac -- Philippine Army activated its 6th Mechanized Infantry 'Salaknib' Battalion as the armor component of the 1st Brigade Combat Team.

It will serve as an offshoot of the continuing army capability upgrade to give rise to a modular force structure aimed at creating standardized, flexible and versatile elements capable of accomplishing its assigned task.

“True to your name 'Salaknib' which means shield in Ilocano - this unit symbolizes protection, strength, and security as you serve as the rapid deployment force of the Mechanized Infantry Division responding to the requirements of the Philippine Army in the conduct of ground operations against emerging security threats,” Army Commanding General Lieutenant General Macairog Alberto said.

Lieutenant Colonel Von Albert Sumergido assumed as the first Commanding Officer of the battalion.

“With this development, the Philippine Army continues to expand its forces and upgrade its capabilities in order to best address the evolving security challenges and complex operational environment of the country,” Alberto emphasized.

Nolcom highlights major accomplishments vs NPA

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 29, 2019): Nolcom highlights major accomplishments vs NPA

Northern Luzon Command Lieutenant General Emmanuel Salamat. (Cherie Joyce V. Flores/PIA 3 File Photo)

CAMP SERVILLANO AQUINO, Tarlac City -- Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) highlighted major accomplishments in defeating the New People’s Army communist terrorist groups within its area of responsibility.

“For our Internal Security Operations, a total of 130 firearms were recovered from January - December 2018.  Also, a total of 314 rebel personalities surrendered to the Nolcom troopers capped by their Focused Military Operations complemented by the efforts of the Army 5th and 7thInfantry Divisions,”
Nolcom Commander Lieutenant General Emmanuel Salamat said.

Units within the Unified Command likewise conducted a Community Support Program dubbed “All-in-One Bayanihan” which focuses on providing support and assistance to Geographically Isolated and Displaced Areas.

“Another accomplishment of Nolcom is the two-day Peace Summit for former rebels which was conducted to ensure and facilitate that each rebel returnee has been able to receive the benefits of the Enhanced Comprehensive Localized Integration Program,” Salamat added.

Nolcom likewise launched the Heroes Foundation which aims to provide additional support to families of soldiers killed-in-action in defense of various communities against local terrorists and other enemies of state.

“We will continue our streak in warding off threats of terroristic intentions towards the people and state and we will continue to sustain peace-building initiatives and development efforts in our area of responsibility and will relentlessly strive for our mission of protecting the people and fight for their rights,” Salamat furthered.(CLJD/CJVF-PIA 3)


Security forces beef up checkpoints in Davao Region

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 28, 2019): Security forces beef up checkpoints in Davao Region

Police and military forces further beefed up checkpoints in the region following Sunday's two bomb attacks inside a Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu that left at least 20 people dead and injured several others.

Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, Police Regional Office-11 (PRO-11) director, ordered all police units on Monday to further intensify security measures in all cities and municipalities.

Morales, who condemned the Jolo bombing incident, said he also ordered the deployment of the maximum number of foot and mobile patrols, particularly in highly-populated areas.

Police stations were also directed to strengthen coordination with private security providers and security managers to "establish and enhance joint security protocols."

“We call on our people to be vigilant and continue their active participation with security forces in reporting their observations since we cannot afford to take chances whenever there is a threat of terrorist activity,” Morales said.

Morales emphasized that counter-terrorism is a shared responsibility of the people and the government.

“Rest assured that the PNP will leave no stones unturned to bring justice to the victims of this dastardly act of terrorism,” the PRO-11 chief said.

Maj. Gen. Felimon Santos, commander of the Army's Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), also ordered close monitoring and coordination with their counterparts and other law enforcement agencies, such as the Philippine National Police and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

“Our security mechanism is in place to ensure the safety of everyone,” Santos assured the public.

He further assured that the troops have heightened the alert level in the Eastmincom area, particularly all places of worship and places of convergence.

“Be informed, however, that we have not received any hard information that any of our areas is directly under threat,” he added.

Santos also called on the public to be more vigilant and cooperative with authorities in reporting any security-related concerns.

Santos, who has recently assumed the Eastmincom leadership, also asked the public to remain calm and avoid spreading false information as it could only cause panic in the communities.


AFP commander for Visayas vows to protect region from terror

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 28, 2019): AFP commander for Visayas vows to protect region from terror

The commander of the Armed Forces in the Visayas has condemned the bloody explosions in a church in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday, and at the same time vowed to continue to thwart any similar attempt to sow terror in the region.

Lt. Gen. Noel Clement, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Central Command, assured that the AFP in the Visayas “will continue its efforts to quell any attempt that would affect the normal situation in the whole region”.

“I have ordered all our troops, the Army, Navy and air force to closely monitor the maritime waters of the Visayas and all points of entry and exit in the islands of the region in tandem with other law enforcement agencies,” he said.

Clement condemned in the "strongest possible terms" the terror act that claimed the lives of at least 20 people, including some soldiers, and wounded more than 100 others.

"This kind of barbaric deed is aimed to undermine the resiliency of every peace-loving Filipino who has nurtured the bonds of unity in our nation despite our cultural and religious diversity,” he said.

The CentCom commander called on the people in the Visayas to be vigilant “and to work together to disrupt these terror groups in their plans to plant seeds of hatred among us.”

Cebu City Police Office director Senior Supt. Royina Garma told Cebu media that she will be deploying policemen in Cebu churches following the Jolo incident.

Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic archdiocese here has tightened security at the Cebu cathedral.

Fr. Ruben Labajo, team moderator of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, said the members of the clergy in Cebu are saddened by the attack, which happened inside a house of worship and while a mass was ongoing.

“We share the grief especially (by) the families of the victims. We are one with them,” he said in a radio interview.


2 soldiers killed in Jolo blast 'revered heroes': Army Commander

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 28, 2019): 2 soldiers killed in Jolo blast 'revered heroes': Army Commander

Two 5th Infantry Division (5ID) Army soldiers who were killed in the Sunday’s twin blasts in Jolo have been described as “revered heroes” for losing their lives "in the name of military public service."

Army Maj. Jefferson Somera, 5ID spokesperson, identified the two as Sgt. Mark Des Simbre, who is from San Ramon West in San Isidro, Isabela, and Cpl. John Mangawit, from Mabaca, Tanudan, Kalinga. He said the fatalities' remains will be flown to their hometowns within the next two days.

Maj. Gen. Perfecto Rimando, 5ID commander, said the Army soldiers would be feted and their families would be given immediate benefits and assistance due them. He expressed sympathy to the families of the slain soldiers whom he called “revered heroes".

Five other 5ID soldiers -- Staff Sgt. Victor Ubaldo, Corporal Jonel Ngitit, Corporal Timothy Bigot, Private First-Class Jonathan Magguia and Private Cliver Serquiña -- were wounded in the blast.

The soldiers belong to the 41st Infantry Battalion of the 5ID who were assigned to beef up the military contingent in Jolo, Sulu.

Somera said they already informed the relatives of those killed and wounded soldiers.

"We condole with the relatives of our colleagues in the military who lost their lives and risked their limbs," he told the Philippine News Agency.

Twin explosions ripped through the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo during the celebration of a mass at around 8 a.m. on Sunday (January 27), killing 20 people, including the five soldiers, and wounding of more than 100 others.

Simbre and Mangawit were killed in the second foray of blasts as they responded to the first explosion.


Roadside bombs kill cop, injure 11 others in NoCot

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2019): Roadside bombs kill cop, injure 11 others in NoCot

Police, soldiers inspect the electrical wire used by communist rebels in setting off anti-personnel mines in Magpet, North Cotabato, which left one cop dead and 11 others hurt on Monday (Jan. 28). (Photo by North Cotabato PPO)

The military in North Cotabato has launched a manhunt against communist rebels, who set off two roadside bombs that left a police officer dead and injured 11 others on Monday night.

Col. Erlich Noel Paraso, commander of the 19th Infantry Battalion, said operations are ongoing at the mountains of Magpet, especially near the slopes of Mt. Apo, the country’s highest peak.

Senior Insp. Rolando Dillera, Magpet town police chief, identified the slain police officer as PO1 Christopher Anadon of the North Cotabato police mobile force.

Anadon, 29, of Parang, Maguindanao, was the driver of one of two police cars on patrol when the incident occurred.

“He was initially injured but later died at a hospital in Kidapawan City,” Dillera said.

The victims were on board police cars on their way back to the police office when two improvised explosive devices exploded in Purok Kabisig, Barangay Poblacion, Magpet, North Cotabato around 6 p.m.

Injured were SPO1s Michael Escaño and Wilfred Perocho; PO2s Marinerl Pastores and Dennis Durado; and PO1s Eliezer Langcuban, Darrell Ferolina, Phil Jan Ray Canarejo, Franz Deo Lechago, Stephenson Parreño, Mark Vincent Capilitan, and Francis Siniel.

An update said that aside from PO1s Parreño and Capilitan, all other injured personnel were discharged from the hospital.

Paraso said the roadside bombing was a desperate move of the terrorist New People's Army (NPA) to get back at government forces for the losses they incurred during military operations.

“We are hunting them down, we will get them, we know exactly where they are. It's just a matter of time that justice will be served,” Paraso said in a radio interview.

Paraso also challenged militant groups like Karapatan and Bayan Muna to issue a statement condemning the bombing against police officers.

“I challenge you to condemn the (NPA) atrocities, much as you condemn when there is a military operation,” he added.

Paraso assured that no civilians are affected in the ongoing military offensive.

He added that the bombing was a retaliatory attack against government forces after a rebel was killed and his son was injured during an encounter between government troops with NPA rebels in Barangay Bagumbayan, Magpet on Sunday morning.


Cebu, Bohol troops get ‘gadgets for peace’ from OPAV

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2019): Cebu, Bohol troops get ‘gadgets for peace’ from OPAV

COMMS4PEACE. Brigadier General Ignacio Madriaga (fourth from left), chief of the 302nd Infantry Brigade recieves from Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino (third from left) communication gadgets, as Task Group Cebu commander Col. Noel Baluyan (fifth from left), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG-7) Regional Dirctor Leo Trovela (second from left), and Cebu City Councilor Raymund Garcia (left) look on. (Photo by John Rey Saavedra)

CEBU CITY — To boost the security and peace in Cebu and Bohol, the 302nd Infantry Brigade (302IB) and the Task Group Cebu on Monday received communication gadgets from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV).

“These communication gadgets we handed over today (Tuesday) is meant to bolster the capability of our uniformed men and women of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines),” said Dino in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), adding that his office has a continuing program "Comms4Peace" to fulfill Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte's directive to assist the military and the police in the Visayas.

Brig. Gen. Ignacio Madriaga, chief of the 302IB based in Bohol, and Col. Noel Baluyan, head of the Task Group Cebu, personally received from Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino the gadgets, which their respective units can use for their internal support operations.

Madriaga and Baluyan received radio communication set of six handheld radio and one base, two laptops, one scanner-printer, one projector with tripod screen, four emergency lights with USB device, and one 43” smart TV.

Madriaga said the government troopers in Cebu and Bohol under the 302IB assure the presidential assistant for the Visayas to take good care of the gadgets.

The gadgets are useful in bolstering the soldiers’ commitment to a secured and peaceful Cebu-Bohol corridor, he said.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) 7 (Central Visayas) Regional Director Leo Trovela who witnessed the turn-over said the gadgets will surely help the soldiers fulfill their duty to protect the people in the region.

The Sacred Heart School Batch ’85 Foundation donated the gadgets. Dino is a member of the foundation.

Dino told the PNA that his office will also donate around 200 radio sets to the Police Regional Office and Cebu City Police Office.

ASG member killed in Zambo shootout

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2019): ASG member killed in Zambo shootout


A member of the police' explosive ordnance demolition (EOD) team examines the bomb-making materials recovered from Mohamar Hasilun, an alleged member of the Abu Sayyaf' Urban terrorist Group, who was killed in a shootout late Monday in Barangay Sto. Niño, Zamboanga City. (Photo courtesy: Remus L. Ong)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Police have neutralized an alleged member of the Abu Sayyaf’s Urban Terrorist Group (UTG) in a shootout in this southern port city, an official announced Tuesday.

Chief Insp. Elmer Solon, Police Station 11 chief, identified the slain UTG member as Mohamar Lungbos Hasilon alias Weng-Weng, 21.

Hasilon was killed in a shootout during an intelligence-driven law enforcement operation around 9:21 p.m. Monday
in Barangay Sto. Niño.

Solon said investigation showed that a shootout ensued when Hasilon, while walking along the side of the road, pulled a .45-caliber pistol and opened fire upon sensing the approaching police team from the 904th Mobile Company of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion-9.

He said the suspect fled to an abandoned building and was pursued by the policemen where he sustained multiple gunshot wounds as another shootout ensued.

Hasilon was rushed to the hospital but was declared dead on arrival.

Recovered from the scene of the shootout were .45-caliber pistol and a handbag containing bomb-making materials such as one-liter bottle filed with Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil, detonating cord, electric time fuse, a cellular phone and an M-26 grenade.

Investigation further showed that Hasilon is known to be an active member of UTG under the leadership of Marzan Ajijul, who operates in the east coast of this city, Solon disclosed.

Solon said the slain suspect is also a member of the “City Hunter”, a gun-for-hire (contract killers) group, operating in Isabela City, Basilan and in this city.

The shootout ensued two days after alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group detonated two improvised bombs that killed at least 20 people and injured 112 others at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Barangay Walled City, Jolo, Sulu.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police has yet to determine whether the incident is linked to Sunday's attack.

"This incident is now under investigation. It is still too early to say that the recovered items are connected to Jolo bombing incident considering the distance. Suspects were able to escape though. Updates to follow," PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Bernard Banac said in a message to reporters.


2 rebels killed in Samar clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2019): 2 rebels killed in Samar clash

At least two members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed while firearms were recovered after the clash Tuesday morning at the outskirts of Matuguinao, Samar, the Philippine Army reported.

The armed rebels perished after a gun battle with troops of the Army’s 63rd Infantry Battalion (63IB), who proceeded to the areas after receiving reports of NPA’s presence
in upland Carolina village in Matuguinao town.

“We have sent troops to address the insurgency situation in the area. Troops were able to catch up with these terrorists and were able to push them out of the community leaving two of their dead comrades behind with one M16 rifle, one KG9 and one shotgun,” said 63IB commander Lt. Col. Rizaldo Laurena in a statement.

Soldiers turned over the remains of the two slain rebels to the local government for decent burial.

Matuguinao, which is located 105 kilometers north of Tacloban City, is a fifth class town in Samar - with several communities tagged as infested by communist rebels due to poor access from the town center.

The Philippine Army has stepped up operations against the NPA after receiving reports of extortion activities in Samar provinces.

The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union.

The communist rebels have been battling government forces for 50 years -- one of Asia's longest-running insurgencies.

In a statement, Armed Forces of the Philippines central command chief Lt. Gen. Noel Clement lauded the successful operation and thanked the people for their support.

“Congratulations to the swift response of our gallant troops who managed to drive away these terrorists who are making the villagers miserable. Credits to the people who gave timely and relevant information that led to this success. I have said it before and will say it again that we will hit these terrorists harder this year until they choose to live in peace,” Clement said.

The official urged rebels to surrender and “heed the call for unity and choose the path that will once and for all bring everyone in the spirit of lasting peace and sustainable development.”


Army’s 3rd ID intensifies alert vs. terror attack

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2019): Army’s 3rd ID intensifies alert vs. terror attack

The 3rd Infantry Division (ID) of the Philippine Army, which covers the 10 provinces in Western and Central Visayas, has doubled its efforts to thwart any terror attempt in the wake of the Jolo twin bombings.

Major Gen. Dinoh Dolina, commanding officer of the 3rd ID, said in a statement on Tuesday their unit is one with the Filipinos in condemning the “inhumane and barbaric” act that claimed the lives of civilians and soldiers.

“(We) will double (our) efforts to suppress any terror attempt that would jeopardize the peace and security situation in the region,” Dolina added.

The 3rd ID covers the provinces of Iloilo, Antique, Capiz, Aklan, Guimaras, and Negros Occidental in Western Visayas and Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Cebu, and Bohol in Central Visayas.

He said that upon the directive of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Central Command (CentCom) commander, Lt. Gen. Noel Clement, the Army, Navy and Air Force are closely monitoring maritime waters of the Visayas and all points of entry and exit in the region.

Clement said in an earlier statement that the AFP in the Visayas “will continue its efforts to quell any attempt that would affect the normal situation in the whole region.”

Moreover, Dolina encouraged Muslim communities to cooperate and work together with government security forces for their safety against those who promote violent radicalism.

“I would like to reiterate the call of the CentCom commander to the people of Visayas to be vigilant and to continue cooperating with your Army to prevent any terrorist group from casting terror attacks in the region,” he said.

Col. Noel Detoyato, AFP public affairs office chief, said Tuesday the bombing in Jolo, Sulu, which claimed the lives of 21 people and wounded 97 others, is an isolated incident.

He also said the military will take “extra precautionary measures” to secure the second Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite on February 6 following the bombing incident.


Davao implements 'no backpack policy’ after Jolo bombing

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2019): Davao implements 'no backpack policy’ after Jolo bombing

Mayor Sara Duterte has ordered the “no backpack policy” inside churches and other places of worship here in the wake of the twin blasts that hit a Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu, on Sunday.

“The city mayor has instructed us that churchgoers should no longer bring backpacks in going inside their places of worship for security reasons,” said Benito de Leon, Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) head.

De Leon said churchgoers are advised to bring small handbags or purses to enable security forces to monitor suspicious activities more efficiently.

“In that manner, we could avoid an incident, wherein some malicious individuals could put in explosive devices in backpacks, the same scheme that happened in Jolo,” de Leon added.

In the event of unforeseen circumstances wherein churchgoers would bring big bags, the PSSCC is asking the public to cooperate and submit their possessions for inspection.

De Leon said local authorities have already coordinated with the parishes in Davao to include this call in their announcements.

Davao City will deploy joint forces of the Davao City Police Office, Task Force Davao, and the Davao police auxiliaries to man the inspection in local church premises.


ComVal declares NPA 'persona non grata'

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2019): ComVal declares NPA 'persona non grata'

The Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) of Compostela Valley has declared the communist New People’s Army (NPA) as persona non grata.

Provincial Information Officer Fe Maestre said the PPOC passed the resolution during its meeting in Nabunturan last Friday, and has submitted it to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Compostela Valley became the second local government unit (LGU) to declare the communist organization persona non grata for its "criminal acts and violations of international humanitarian law."

The resolution said the province condemns the activities of the communist guerillas "related to insurgency, violent extremism, criminal acts and violations of international humanitarian codes."

Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy said the Comvalenyos condemn the armed activities of the NPA as they have cost many lives in the province.

"We only want to live a peaceful life in a prosperous community," Uy said.

Capt. Jerry Lamosao, spokesperson of the Army's 10th Infantry Division (ID), said the two guerrilla fronts operating in Compostela Valley have already been "weakened."

Lamosao said on Monday Guerilla Fronts 52 and 53 have been "pushed to the boundaries because of continued focused operations of the troops and the surrender of its regular members and supporters."

Last week, the municipal council of Talaingod also declared the NPA and its mother organization – the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) --persona non grata.

The resolution said the CPP-NPA's presence in the town has driven out businesses and potential investors.

The local government's move ensued after the Tribal Council of Talaingod late last year declared the NPA and its legal fronts persona non grata inside tribal lands.

Major Gen. Jose C. Faustino Jr., 10th ID commander, said the move of the IP leaders and local officials reflect "the people’s desire for peace in their community and the people’s awareness on the CPP-NPA deception and atrocities."

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States.


NPA rebel killed in clash with Army in CamSur

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2019): NPA rebel killed in clash with Army in CamSur

A New People's Army (NPA) rebel was killed in a clash with government troops in a village at the outskirts of Bato town in Camarines Sur province, an Army report said Tuesday.

Capt. Joash Pramis, 9th Infantry Division public affairs chief, said soldiers were on combat patrol in Barangay Payak on Monday afternoon when they engaged 10 NPA members in a brief firefight.

A still unidentified rebel was killed, and his M16 rifle and backpack were recovered by the soldiers at the fight scene, Pramis said.

As of this writing, fleeing NPA members were still being pursued.


3 more NPA rebels surrender in Batangas

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2019): 3 more NPA rebels surrender in Batangas

Three members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) yielded to the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division (2ID) on Monday and turned over several firearms, including a .30-caliber M1 Carbine and two .22-caliber rifles through the aid of an intermediary in Batangas.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Manio, Commander of the 1st IB, only identified the disgruntled NPA guerrillas as alias “Bams”, alias “Gay-L” and alias “JR”, who were earlier presented to Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) commander Maj. Gen. Gilbert Gapay in Camp General Nakar in Lucena City, Quezon on Tuesday.

Manio said “the rebel surrenderers have been enrolled to government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and are now just awaiting their compensation package from the government which is expected to be released early next month.”

Meantime, Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., Commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade, which has operational jurisdiction over the area, said the surrenderers belonged to a rebel band called "Platoon Galaxy" which is reportedly part of a larger group that operated in Batangas called “Honda”. This group apparently disbanded late last year due to the continued onslaught of the military.

“These former rebels have validated our assessment that we were able to defeat insurgency in Batangas through our massive intelligence-driven combat operations complemented by our unrelenting push for localized peace talks through the government’s E-CLIP,” Burgos said.

A total of 45 former NPA rebels, who turned in some 30 firearms, have so far surrendered to Southern Luzon military authorities and subsequently enrolled in the E-CLIP program.

Those enrolled received PHP 65,000 each, representing the immediate livelihood assistance while others were either given employment in their communities or have been registered as “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries.


AFP joins Manila Bay rehab kickoff

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 28, 2019): AFP joins Manila Bay rehab kickoff

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deployed a contingent of 700 troops to participate in the kick-off activity for the cleanup and rehabilitation of Manila Bay on Sunday.

Troops and personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force and AFP General Headquarters joined government and non-government organizations in the effort to clean up and restore the beauty of the polluted Manila Bay, which is famous for its majestic sunset.

AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a message Sunday the military continues to be part of initiatives that promote and advocate environmental protection.

"The AFP's participation in the Manila Bay clean-up drive is part of its staunch commitment to help protect the environment and preserve it for posterity. The AFP vigorously supports other agencies to ensure that the next generation will experience the beauty of the Bay famous worldwide for its majestic sunset," Arevalo said.

Some 5,000 volunteers gathered on Sunday at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for a solidarity walk to signify the start of the Manila Bay rehabilitation efforts.

Multisectorial groups, stakeholders, officials and personnel of government agencies, religious groups, academe, students and other non-government organizations attended the event to show their cooperation in the Save Manila Bay project.


Duterte visits Jolo blast site

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 28, 2019): Duterte visits Jolo blast site

(Photos courtesy of ex-SAP Bong Go)

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday afternoon visited the Roman Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu just a day after the twin explosions took place there.

Duterte arrived at around 2 p.m. to attend a meeting with security officials.

Afterwards, the President inspected the blast site, visited wounded soldiers and civilians, and attended the wake of blast victims. He left the area at around 5:35 p.m.

Duterte was accompanied by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Philippine National Police Director General Chief Oscar Albayalde, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

The twin blasts, which happened on Sunday at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Barangay Walled City, Jolo left at least 20 people dead and 112 others wounded.

Following suspicions that the bomb attacks might be related to the recently ratified Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), Malacañang said that it will await results of investigation before making comments.

“We have to wait for the investigation -- who’s behind it and what group or individuals,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.



China, Russia, France support PH efforts vs. terrorism

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2019): China, Russia, France support PH efforts vs. terrorism

The Chinese, Russian, and French governments renewed their commitment to support and step up engagement with the Philippines in fighting violent extremism and terrorism following the deadly blasts in Jolo, Sulu that killed 20 and injured hundred others on Sunday.

China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said Beijing "strongly condemns" the violent attacks in Sulu province and condoles with the bereaved families of those killed.

"China opposes all forms of terrorism and stands ready to work with the international community including the Philippines to jointly combat threats and challenges posed by terrorism and safeguard international and regional peace and stability," he said in a presscon in Beijing Monday night.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a telegram sent to President Rodrigo R. Duterte, stated Russia's "readiness to further step up interaction" with Philippine partners in combating terrorist threat in all its forms and manifestations.

“A crime committed against civilians who had congregated for church services is shocking in its cynicism and cruelty. I expect that the masterminds and perpetrators of this crime will sustain the punishment they deserve," he said.

"People in Russia share the grief of the victims’ friends and families and hope for a prompt recovery of the injured," he added.

In a statement Tuesday, the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs said it is one with the Philippines in its fight against terrorism

"France utterly condemns the attack against the cathedral in Jolo Island last January 27, for which Daesh has claimed responsibility and which killed some 20 people and injured around 100 others, according to the information available," its statement reads.

"France extends its condolences to the victims' families, as well as to the Filipino people. It stands alongside the Philippines in the fight against terrorism," it added.

'Expressing solidarity'

The Japanese Embassy in Manila on Tuesday also offered "sincerest condolences" to the victims of the explosions.

"Such terrorist attacks shall never be tolerated. Japan firmly condemns this terrorist act in the strongest terms," Ambassador to Manila Koji Haneda said as he expressed solidarity with the Philippine government.

Meanwhile, he reiterated Tokyo's support to the peace process in Mindanao and the recently ratified Bangsamoro Organic Law.

"Japan will continue to support the Philippines in achieving sustainable peace and stability in Mindanao in accordance with the ongoing political transition process under the Bangsamoro Organic Law," he stressed.

Further joining the international community in deploring the terror act, considered the worst in recent years, was United Kingdom Asia and the Pacific Minister Mark Field.

"Our prayers are with all the victims and their loved ones. The UK stands with the Philippines against terror and hatred," he said in a tweet on his official account.

Twin explosions on Sunday morning ripped through the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu in the middle of a church service, killing 20 and injuring 112.

The entire Jolo is currently on lockdown as the perpetrators remain at large.

Earlier, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo dismissed the claims made by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) it is responsible for the cathedral attack, describing it as "propaganda".


PNP looking at 3 persons of interest in Jolo blast

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2019): PNP looking at 3 persons of interest in Jolo blast

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now looking at three persons of interest in the deadly blast in Jolo, Sulu that left at least 20 people dead and more than a hundred others wounded.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde, in a text message to reporters Tuesday, said one of them was identified as Kamah, who was seen wearing a blue green jacket along with two others near the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral, based on a closed circuit television (CCTV) footage obtained by the authorities.

Albayalde said Kamah belongs to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sub-group Ajang-Ajang, which was earlier tagged by the military as the one behind the blast.

"Ajang-ajang, walang pinag-iba sa ASG. Ginamit ng ASG na mga bata ang edad. Naulila, napatay ng militar 'yung ibang kamag-anak (The Ajang-ajang is no different from the ASG. The ASG is just using young suspects.These were the ones who were orphaned because their relatives were killed by the military," Albayalde said in a separate television interview Tuesday.

Albayalde did not disclose any further details regarding Kamah's identity but a radio report said he is a brother of slain ASG leader Surakah Ingog.

"Alias lang alam natin (What we just know is his alias), the true name (is still) unknown. Sinabi ng imbestigador, alam ng members of community dahil dyan nakatira (The investigator said members of the community know him because he lives there)," Albayalde added.

He said they have yet to establish whether the item Kamah was trying to pass to his companion was the trigger for the bombs.

The man was seen giving something to his companion wearing a cap and holding a bag but they were abruptly cut when the first blast occurred.

Another CCTV footage showed the man was able to pass the item to his companion.

Panic ensued and the people started running away, including the three men. However, the man in blue green jacket ran in an opposite direction.

Kamah was said to be the one who detonated the bombs.

Albayalde has appealed to residents of Jolo to inform the authorities about the real identity of Kamah and his two other companions.

Meanwhile, Albayalde said that the Jolo Cathedral blast was an "act of terror" and has nothing to do with the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

During the Jan. 21 plebiscite, majority of voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) voted in favor of the law that will create a new Bangsamoro region with greater autonomy, except for Sulu whose voters rejected the measure.

As of this posting, the death toll stands at 20 and 112 wounded.


BI on high alert vs. foreign terrorists

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2019): BI on high alert vs. foreign terrorists

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday placed its personnel in international airports and seaports nationwide on heightened alert to prevent the entry of foreign terrorists into the country.

The move comes in the wake of the twin bombings that killed at least 20 people and injured 112 others in Jolo, Sulu over the weekend.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente has instructed immigration officers assigned at the ports to be doubly vigilant in screening arriving foreigners and to ensure that they have legitimate purposes in entering the country.

“I have instructed our Port Operations Division to alert all its personnel and be on the lookout for suspected foreign terrorists who might attempt to enter the country,” Morente said in a statement.

“Those who cannot satisfactorily explain their purpose in coming here are to be turned back and booked on the first available flight to their port of origin,” the BI chief added.

On the other hand, BI Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina has directed all immigration officers to be extra meticulous in conducting primary inspection of passengers in the country's entry points.

“They were reminded to make sure that only aliens who are properly documented and are legitimate travelers with valid reasons in coming here are admitted,” he said.

“They were told to be careful in scrutinizing travel documents that are presented to them during primary inspection as it is highly probable that foreign terrorists might attempt to use fake passports and visas to slip into the country,” the BI official added.

At the same time, Medina has alerted members of the travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) and border control and intelligence unit (BCIU) to be extra vigilant in screening travelers from other countries.

TCEU personnel are responsible for conducting secondary inspection of passengers with doubtful documents and travel purpose while the BCIU is manned by intelligence personnel tasked to monitor and spot for passengers acting suspiciously or exhibiting unusual behaviors.

At the same time, he acknowledged the sharing of database with local and international intelligence agencies in helping detect suspected terrorists.

“The intelligence community has been very helpful. This is a shared fight to protect our country, and we're doing our best to prevent the attempt of foreign terrorists to enter the Philippines,” Medina added.

Reports said the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the twin explosions that rocked the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral on Sunday.


Jolo blast an isolated case: AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2019): Jolo blast an isolated case: AFP

The recent bombing in Jolo, Sulu which claimed the lives of at least 20 people and wounded 112 others, is a just an isolated incident, a military official said Tuesday.

"It was an isolated case as there was apparently an unconfirmed information as revealed by a priest in Jolo in a media interview that there is a bombing threat against the Church," Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato told the Philippine News Agency when asked if Sunday's blast is an isolated one or just the beginning of a wave of attacks in the area.

He also added that the Mount Carmel Cathedral has already a long list of bombing incidents in the past.

"It is in this light that a community effort has to be tapped as security against terrorism is a complex activity," Detoyato added.

Earlier, the AFP public affairs office chief said the military will take "extra precautionary measures" to secure the second Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite on February 6 following the incident in Sulu's capital town.

"We will take extra precautionary measures in the advent of the Jolo incident. Meanwhile, our troops are advised to be always on the alert for any changes in the security protocols to anticipate the fluid situation. All other security arrangements stay the same," he said.

Another plebiscite for the BOL will be held next week in the province of Lanao del Norte, except Iligan City; the municipalities of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pikit, and Pigkawayan in the province of North Cotabato and the 28 barangays to be included in the region.

The military has deployed over 10,000 troops and support units to help secure the BOL plebiscite along with the Philippine National Police.