Sunday, February 24, 2019

Army's 4th Infantry Battalion gets new commander

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 24, 2019): Army's 4th Infantry Battalion gets new commander

BULALACAO, Oriental Mindoro – The 4th Infantry Battalion (4IB) under the 203rd Brigade of the Philippine Army's 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division (2ID), has a new commanding officer.

Lt. Col. Alexander Arbolado assumed the post on Saturday, after which he immediately embarked on a Focused Military Operation. He succeeded Lt. Col Dennis Gutierrez, who completed his two-year stint as battalion commander.

Maj. Gen. Rhoderick M. Parayno, 2ID commanding general, presided over the turn-over ceremony in Barangay Cambunang here. He expressed his deepest appreciation for the accomplishments contributed by the outgoing commanding officer.

"Under your excellent supervision, the 4IB has maximized its ability and performance to win the peace in Mindoro particularly in Sablayan, Calintaan, Rizal, San Jose, Magsaysay of Occidental Mindoro and Bulalacao, Mansalay, Roxas, Bongabong of Oriental Mindoro," the 2ID commander told Gutierrez.

Parayno also entrusted the battalion’s flag to the newly installed 4IB commanding officer, saying “we are now entrusting to you the Scorpion troopers.”

“Truly, your predecessor left many inspiring accomplishments for this unit and surpassing these accomplishments is a big challenge for you. You really have a big shoe to fill in. But I have confidence in you,” he told Arbolado.

Parayno also thanked the members of the local government units (LGUs) and other stakeholders in Mindoro Oriental for their presence in the ceremony and support to the military.

Military officials said the change of command ceremony is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding or flag officer to another.

They explained that the solemn passing of the unit color (flag) from an outgoing to the incoming commander ensures the unit and its soldiers have put in place the official leadership as a symbol of the continuation of trust of the soldiers and their allegiance to their unit commander.

DSWD DROMIC Report #1 on the Social Disorganization in Maguindanao as of 20 February 2019, 4PM

Posted to the Relief Web (Feb 20, 2019): DSWD DROMIC Report #1 on the Social Disorganization in Maguindanao as of 20 February 2019, 4PM

Report from Government of the Philippines
Published on 20 Feb 2019 — View Original

Download PDF (251.79 KB)


On 11 February 2019, an encounter occurred between two unidentified armed groups at Brgy. Upper Lasangan and Brgy. Lumbao in the Municipality of General Salipada K. Pendatun

Source: DSWD-Field Office XII

1. Status of Affected Families/ Persons

520 families or 2,600 persons were affected by the social disorganization in Brgy. Upper Lasangan and Brgy. Lumbao, General Salipada K. Pendatun, Maguindanao. (see Table 1).

First time! Commander Bravo sets foot in Malacañang

From Politiko Mindanao (Feb 23, 2019): First time! Commander Bravo sets foot in Malacañang

For the first time, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commander Abdullah Macapaar, alias Commander Bravo, set foot in Malacañang Friday, February 22.

Macapaar was one of the MILF commanders who took the oath of office as member of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which will govern the newly created Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) that replaced ARMM.

“First time,” he told reporters when asked if it was his first time to set foot in Malacañang.

Macapaar allegedly led attacks in Lanao del Norte in 2008 after failure to sign the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the government and the MILF.

President Rodrigo Duterte administered the oath of office to the 80 members of the BTA, with MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim as the chief minister.

Game over! Murad says MILF revolution ends after over 40 years

From Politiko Mindanao (Feb 23, 2019): Game over! Murad says MILF revolution ends after over 40 years

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim has declared that their fight against the government is over and they have achieved their aspiration after over 40 years.

Murad made the statement Friday, February 22, shortly after he took his oath before President Rodrigo Duterte as the chief minister of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which will govern the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“We would like to officially announce to you that now, after more than 40 years of our struggle, we have achieved our aspiration…we are now transforming from a revolutionary to bureaucracy, governance,” Murad told reporters.

He assured the Bangsamoro people that the BTA would do everything in order that everyone would benefit.

The other 79 members of the BTA also took their oath of office Friday.

The Muslim rebels fought the government for independence or autonomy since the 1970s.

In 2014, the Aquino administration and the MILF forged a comprehensive peace deal, which paved the way for the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and establishment of the BARMM, which replaces ARMM.

Rights lawyer: CPP membership legal

From the Sun Star-Cagayan de Oro (Feb 24, 2019): Rights lawyer: CPP membership legal

A LAWYER whose family members were tagged as part of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said that the anonymous list sent to Karapatan on Friday, February 22, could be a "prelude to the killings of the activists."

Lawyer Oscar Musni, the father of lawyers Czarina Musni, Beverly Musni, and Beverly Ann Musni who were included in the list of alleged CPP members said the taggers and red baiters behind the anonymous list are ignorant.

While Musni denied that his family are members of the CPP, he reminded those responsible of the list that membership in political parties, even the CPP is not illegal.

"The CPP has been legalized already. The R.A. (Republic Act) 1700 which outlawed the CPP has been repealed already," he said.

"We have to bring up this matter to human rights organizations because this is a blatant violations of human rights," he said.

A family of lawyers, the Musnis are known here for their humanitarian work. They provide free legal services especially to the marginalized.

The Musnis are among the 24 persons and organizations who are included in the list as "terrorist members and are responsible for recruiting residents in the city to join the NPA (New People’s Army)".

Among the names listed were Iglesia Filipina Independiente Bishop Felixberto Calang, Fr. Rolando Abejo of Movement Against Tyranny-Northern Mindanao, Karapatan Northern Mindanao spokesperson Fr. Khen Apus, and journalist Cong Corrales and his family.

Corrales for his part, called the people behind the "hit list" cowards and denied that they were or are currently members of the rebel group.

Corrales is the current associate editor of a newspaper in Cagayan de Oro.

"My wife is a marketing executive of Gold Star Daily, where I am the associate editor. My son is a regular staff of the Commission on Elections (Comelec)-Northern Mindanao and is currently serving in the commission's city office. Our credentials are readily available,"
Corrales said.

Corrales said the list not only intimidates him as a journalist but endangered his family as well.

"We know fully well that red-tagging is a virtual death sentence. On my end, I will not let this cowardly act push me to silence. I will continue speaking truth to power," he added.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) meanwhile condemned the inclusion of its member and former director Corrales, his wife and son.

The NUJP said, "There is nothing more cowardly and deplorable than to vilify persons and put them in mortal peril behind the cloak of anonymity".

"And as has happened all too often, red-tagging is not mere intimidation. All too often it can be a virtual death sentence," the NUJP said.

"Even media have not been spared from red-tagging and other acts clearly intended to intimidate a critical press into silence, as with the ongoing vilification campaign against the NUJP and the cyber attacks on alternative media," it added.

The Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC) meanwhile debunked the allegation that its Board Member Leonardo Vicente “Cong” Corrales is affiliated with the CPP.

The COPC said Corrales is an active member of the local media community.

"Let it be known that we will stand with Board Member Corrales as we call on the authorities to investigate this red-tagging and ensure that media personalities be spared from this accusation," it added.

At around 10:30 am on Friday, February 22, during the Hustisya-Northern Mindanao assembly at the Philtown Hotel, a person approached the hotel's security guard and handed him two brown envelopes.

Each envelope contained 13 copies of flyers listing names of human rights defenders as CPP members.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch issued a statement on the threat against Corrales, his family, and other civilians:

"We view with deep concern the “red-tagging” done on Cagayan de Oro journalist Cong Corrales, his son, and his wife, along with several other local activists and human-rights defenders. There is no other way to describe the list but as a threat against the lives of those in it. Dozens of individuals have been targeted for extrajudicial or summary killing in the Philippines after they were labeled as communist. Although this violence has been happening even before the Duterte administration, the impunity for killings – whether drug-related or political - in the present government has made this type of threat even more worrisome. The government, particularly the military and law enforcers, should back off Corrales and his family and the other “red-tagged” individuals."

NPA atrocities cases set to be filed with UN body

From the Philippine Star (Feb 24): NPA atrocities cases set to be filed with UN body                          

The President issued the proclamation days after scrapping the talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF), which represents the CPP and NPA in negotiations with the government.   BusinessWorld
The Philippines has sent a delegation to Geneva to formally file a complaint with the United Nations against alleged atrocities and human rights abuses committed by communist rebels.

Led by National Security Council deputy director general Vicente Agdamag, the team handed the complaint early this week to Ambassador Evan Garcia, the country’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, for transmittal to the UN Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The complaint named the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in the Philippines as perpetrator of human rights abuses.
The Philippine delegation also tagged as front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF some non-government organizations such as the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Mindanao Interfaith Service Foundation Inc. (MISFI), IBON Foundation and the human rights group Karapatan.

The team also called the attention of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to alleged inaction of UN Rapporteur on Indigenous People Victoria Tauli-Corpuz on alleged IP abuses.

Metrobank Foundation bestows PEACE recognition on AFP

From the Manila Bulletin (Feb 24, 2019): Metrobank Foundation bestows PEACE recognition on AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was bestowed the Partner in Empowerment, Advocacy, and Commitment to Excellence (PEACE) recognition by the Metrobank Foundation Inc. during its 40th Anniversary at the Le Pavillion, Pasay City on Friday, February 22.

File photo of AFP Chief of staff and former Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen Benjamin Madrigal. (Keith Bacongco / FILE / MANILA BULLETIN)

AFP Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal Jr. received the “Kapit-Bisig” trophy for AFP’s PEACE recognition from the board members of Metrobank Foundation during the event.

Metrobank Foundation bestowed the PEACE recognition to 40 select partner institutions whose commitment in uplifting the lives of the least in society and in recognizing the best of the Filipinos mirrors that of the Foundation.

The roster of the 2019 PEACE honorees consists of institutions from national government agencies, non-government and socio-civic organizations, diplomatic missions, media, business, and the academe.

Metrobank Foundation also recognized 40 exceptional men and women who have set a worthy example for every Filipino to emulate, called the Award for Continuing Excellence and Service (ACES).

The 2019 ACES awardees included the following current and former AFP officers: Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr. (Ret), former AFP chief of staff and 2007 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Soldier; Maj. Gen. Alexander Balutan (Ret), 2011 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Soldier; Lt. Gen. Raul Del Rosario (Ret), 2011 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Soldier; Lt. Gen. Danilo Pamonag (Ret), 2015 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Soldier; Commodore Alberto Carlos, Naval Combat Engineering Brigade Commander and 2014 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Soldier; Rear Admiral Erick Kagaoan, Philippine Navy Chief-of-Naval Staff and 2012 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Soldier; Major General Cirilito Sobejana, Philippine Army 6th Infantry Division Commander and 1995 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Soldier; Colonel Giemel Espino PAF, 2005 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Soldier; Brig. Gen. Custodio Parcon Jr., Acting The Inspector General of AFP and 1994 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Soldier; Chief Master Sergeant Nelson Mercado PAF, 2011 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Soldier; Col. Hernanie Songano PN (M), 2005 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Soldier; and Col. Romeo Brawner, Jr. PA, 2013 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Soldier.
The board members of Metrobank Foundation presented the SPIRAL medallion to ACES awardees.