Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Rommel C. Banlaoi: Briefing Slides//Updates on Threats of Violent Extremism in the Philippines

From Rommel C. Banlaoi, PhD Slide Share (Mar 11, 2019): Briefing Slides: Updates on Threats of Violent Extremism in the Philippines 

(Delivered at a Public Forum on Violent Extremism organized by the Department of International Studies and International Studies Society of Miriam College on 11 March 2019)

[Dr. Rommel C. Banlaoi is the Chairman of the Board of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR). He is a recipient of Albani Peace Prize Award (Peace Education) in 2011. He worked as professor of political science at the National Defense College of the Philippines (where he became Vice President), assistant professor in international studies at De La Salle University, instructor in political science at the University of the Philippines Los Banos. He is currently a Professorial Lecturer at the Department of International Studies, Miriam College, Philippines. Email: rbanlaoi@pipvtr.com and rbanlaoi@yahoo.com]

Brothers escape police detention, turn over seized firearms and ammunition to NPA in Western Samar

Posted to the often pro-CPP online publication Bicol Today (Mar 29, 2019): Brothers escape police detention, turn over seized firearms and ammunition to NPA in Western Samar

CALBIGA, Western Samar – Two prisoners of the Calbiga police station escaped from their detention cell and ran off with several firearms and ammunition and turned them to the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in the area.

Rebel group Efren Martires Command of the NPA-Eastern Visayas announced Wednesday in a statement over the internet that Rowel Mabahin and his brother, who is a minor, surrendered to the NPA immediately after escaping from detention at the police station in Calbiga, Western Samar last March 15.

According to the NPA communique, the Mabahin brothers voluntarily turned over to the NPA three M16 rifles, two .45 cal. pistols and one 9mm pistol, three ammunition pouches, 12 M16 magazines and 300 bullets, two cellphones and other items. The Mabahin brothers are now in the custody of the NPA.

NPA Efren Martires Command said, “The Mabahin brothers told the NPA they escaped from the custody of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines out of fear for their lives. This was because a certain police officer (name withheld) threatened to summarily execute them after showing them a video of the NPA ambush in Motiong, Western Samar that same day. The Mabahin brothers had reason to be afraid because the younger brother had already suffered torture. The Calbiga police forcibly poured water, mixed with hot pepper, down his throat while holding him down. The younger Mabahin thus incurred a deep hatred of the police because of his torture.”

The NPA added the brothers were driven to commit common crimes because of poverty, hunger and disenfranchisement.

The brothers are accused under the GRP’s reactionary justice system of stealing two motorcycles and injuring a peasant who accused one of them of theft.

The NPA said the brothers are ready to face the revolutionary justice system of the People’s Democratic Government because they will undergo due process, their rights will be fully respected, and if they indeed need to face trial, their youth and willingness to renew their lives will be duly considered.


2 members of jihadist group nabbed in Cagayan

From Malaya Business Insight (Apr 2, 2019): 2 members of jihadist group nabbed in Cagayan

TWO members of a Daesh-inspired group were arrested by operatives of the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Baggao town in Cagayan last Thursday, PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde reported yesterday.

The two were identified as Altero Cariaga and Greg Cariaga, leader and member, respectively, of the so-called Syuful Khilafa Fi Luzon or the Northern Jihadist Group that was established a few years ago.

A report from the CIDG described the group as a “terrorist and radical Islamic propagation group established in Baggao, Cagayan in 2016 that is influenced in the concept of ISIS-inspired group in the country.”

The two were nabbed during a raid conducted by the CIDG, augmented by military intelligence personnel, in Barangay Dabbac Grande at around 5:15 a.m. on Thursday last week.

Seized from them were four pistols, two improvised bombs, assorted ammunition, two flags of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a back pack, a cell phone, a cable cord, a USB, and a compact disc.
The two were arrested by virtue of arrest warrants issued by a Cagayan court for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Albayalde said the group was established to gain support from ISIS. He said they discovered the existence of the group as part of police efforts to put a check on groups associated with ISIS.

“They just wanted to be known. Probably, they just want to introduce themselves, they want to gain support, probably by pledging support to the ISIS...Apparently, they are pledging support the ISIS,” said Albayalde.

Albayalde said the PNP is not concerned over the presence of the ISIS-inspired group in Cagayan, noting they have not recorded any single atrocity by the group in the entire region.

“We’ not (concerned). As we’ve said, this group merely wants to introduce itself. So far, they have not committed any hostility or atrocity in that area. This (operation) is one of the preventive measures that we do together with the PNP,” said Albayalde.

The two were among 168 persons who were arrested in CIDG-led operations last week in the PNP’s continuing campaign against organized crime and proliferation of firearms and explosives.

Albayalde said among those arrested were 23 local government officials, including Mayor Romeo Vargas of Tubajon, Dinagat Islands and Vice Mayor Antonio Adlao of Tagbina, Surigao del Sur.

Overall, the operations resulted in the recovery of 137 firearms and 34 explosives.

Lorenzana meets with US counterpart, reaffirms alliance

From Malaya Business Insight (Apr 2, 2019): Lorenzana meets with US counterpart, reaffirms alliance

DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and his United States counterpart, Patrick Shanahan, have agreed to step up interoperability between the two armed forces during a meeting in Washington on Monday.

Pentagon spokesman Charles Summers Jr. said the two defense chiefs met “to reaffirm the enduring alliance between the United States and the Philippines and to discuss bilateral issues in the relationship.

“The two leaders discussed a broad range of defense issues and mutual steps to strengthen the alliance,” said Summers.

The US and the Philippines forged a Mutual Defense Treaty in 1951.

“They agreed on the need to increase interoperability between our respective militaries, through exercises, training, and US support for the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization plans,” said Summers.

The US has been conducting exercises with Filipino forces over the past decades to improve interoperability in addressing external and internal security threats and humanitarian assistance disaster relief.

“Secretary Shanahan and Secretary Lorenzana affirmed their common commitment to fighting terrorism in Southeast Asia,” added Summers.

Summers said Shanahan thanked Lorenzana “for his continued support to the alliance, and for his role in advancing our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

In a statement issued prior to his meeting with Shanahan, Lorenzana said the Philippine and US defense relations “will continue to develop” to meet security challenges that the two countries face.

“To keep the momentum, we need to continue assessing the arrangements we have to ensure that, to enable us to attain our mutual interest. My department will continue to work closely with your side in this regard,” said Lorenzana.

Lorenzana noted the conduct of this year’s Balikatan exercise which commenced on Monday, adding the two-week exercise is meant to bolster interoperability between Filipino and American forces.

“As such I encourage our planners to come up with ways to ensure that the Baliktan exercise addresses the training needs of both armed forces. Furthermore, allow me to reaffirm the agreement between both sides to ensure that all our activities are of high value and great impact as well as mutually beneficial,” he added.

Lorenzana urged officials from both sides to continue dialogue with each other, through the established mechanisms such as the Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board.

Lorenzana also expressed gratitude to the US for its continued support in the campaign against terrorism. He said he hopes the counter-terrorism cooperation to be sustained “through real-time information sharing, intelligence exchange and training.”


US looking at terrorist financing through OFW remittances

From Malaya Business Insight (Apr 3, 2019): US looking at terrorist financing through OFW remittances

THE United States is closely monitoring possible terrorist financing activities in the Philippines, a high-ranking Treasury official said yesterday.

US Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said Washington is particularly keeping a close watch at possible terrorist-related financing through remittances of overseas Filipino workers.

In a teleconference with the Philippine media, Mandelker said her office has taken action against suspicious undertakings that could involve the financing of terrorist activities in the country.

She, however, refused to elaborate on her statement and simply said: “What I can say is that, of course, we continue to monitor terror financing related to Manila.”

The US Embassy in Manila said Mandelker is in the last leg of her tour of Malaysia, Singapore and Asia which started last March 25.

“Her trip to Asia is part of the US government’s ongoing engagement with partners to discuss shared efforts to counter terrorist financing, money laundering, and other illicit financial threats that could compromise the integrity of the global financial system,” the Embassy said.

It said Mandelker engaged with her counterparts from the ministries of foreign affairs and finance, central banks, and financial regulators, as well as from financial institutions and other private sector and industry stakeholders.

On Saturday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. in a speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York affirmed the country’s commitment to fight terrorism as he announced Manila’s co-sponsorship of UN Security Council Resolution 2462 on combating the financing of terrorism.

In his speech, Locsin stressed that “money is the lifeblood of terrorism” and highlighted the country’s initiatives to combat the illicit financing of terrorism.

He said that the Philippines has already defined terrorist financing as a separate crime and is working on amendments to the Human Security Act to address the exploitation of cyberspace for terrorism.

The Philippines has likewise adopted the 2018-2022 National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Strategy.

Locsin also noted that while remittance agencies have been used as a channel for terrorist financing, the challenge is to balance the requirements of counter-terrorism and the needs of OFWs, as remittances account for 9.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

He also cited the need to monitor funds going to non-profit organizations and the relationship between terrorism and the illegal drug trade.


NDF/Sison: The Duterte War on Drugs is Fake

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Apr 2, 2019): The Duterte War on Drugs is Fake

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant

April 2, 2019

Duterte rode to power promising to finish off the drug problem in three to six months, despite the fact that as longtime mayor he had used Davao city as a production base and smuggling point for the illegal drug trade.

He used the drug issue to deceive many of those who voted for him in 2016 and to impress the public that he was a strong man and a decisive leader.

Since then, by his own admission, the problem of illegal drugs has grown worse, with drug addicts increasing to 7-8 million under his watch from 1.8 million during the time of Aquino, despite the mass murder of now more than 30,000 poor suspected drug addicts and peddlers.

Since the beginning, the so-called war on drugs launched by Duterte has flagrantly appeared as fake because he has in fact been openly protecting major druglords and smugglers, including his own son Paolo Duterte, Peter Lim, Michael Yang, Allan Lim and others.

The truth is now completely out:

1. The Duterte war on drugs has been carried out to suppress the drug syndicates that rival the Duterte drug syndicate and to realize the monopoly of the Duterte drug syndicate over the illegal drug trade.

2. Duterte has systematically used the mass murder of drug suspects to criminalize and corrupt the PNP and turn it into a private army and criminal accomplice of the Duterte drug syndicate.

3. From time to time, Duterte issues a fake narco-list to deflect attention from the real drug lords and discredit his political opponents.

4. He has maliciously used the mass murder of the poor drug suspects to cause the mass intimidation of the people in a scheme of state terrorism and paying the way for a fascist dictatorship through charter change to a bogus kind of federalism.

There is method in Duterte’s madness of engaging in mass murder of poor suspected drug addicts and peddlers at the street level. Duterte’s evil purpose is to amass wealth from the illegal drug trade and to justify his license to kill and intimidate the people. ###


NDF/NDF-International Information Office: International friends pledge stronger support for the Philippine revolutionary resistance

NDF-International Information Office propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Apr 1, 2019): International friends pledge stronger support for the Philippine revolutionary resistance
NDF International Information Office
Press Release

31 March 2019

(Amsterdam, The Netherlands) – International friends of the NDFP have pledged their “individual and organizational capacities in helping the Filipino people in advancing their struggle against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.”

They publicly extended this support in a manifesto they signed and presented during the celebration of 50 years of Struggle for National and Social Liberation held today at the Ru Pare Community Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Powerful international solidarity needed – Luis Jalandoni

“The Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation has been enjoying a strong international solidarity since the time of the Marcos dictatorship,” stated Luis Jalandoni, chief international representative of the NDFP in his speech on the need for a powerful international support for the people’s struggle.

Jalandoni narrated the important role of international solidarity friends during the struggle against the Marcos regime, and how they helped in isolating the dictatorship both domestically and internationally. Jalandoni made special mention of the role of religious missionaries from Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and solidarity activists from Germany and Belgium.

“It is in view of the concrete and fast developing reality of the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation and the increasing danger of US imperialist intervention and even war of aggression, that we believe it is needed and opportune to launch and build the Friends of the NDFP! The Friends of the NDFP will be a systematic and organized way to develop a powerful solidarity for the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation,” Jalandoni concluded.

Friends of the NDFP

A long-time Dutch solidarity activist since the time of the Marcos fascist dictatorship, led in reading the manifesto of support.

Calling themselves the “Friends of the NDFP”, they declared: The working class and all anti-imperialist forces around the world have the duty to unite and support the Philippine revolution, as they did in supporting the Vietnamese people’s revolution and other struggles for national and social liberation around the world.

“We unite with and support the mass movements in the countryside and cities in building their organizations; in building new, democratic organs of political power; in promoting the social welfare of the oppressed classes through community programs for agrarian revolution, livelihood, literacy & education, nutrition, sanitation & health, and self-defense; and in defeating the counterrevolutionary attacks of the reactionary state,” they stressed.

Supporters, guests and messages came from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Basque, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Kurdistan, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Palestine, Russia, Senegal, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Several of the friends of the NDFP have visited the Philippines and entered revolutionary guerrilla areas run by the People’s Democratic Government and shared their experiences while integrating with the mass base of the NDFP and the people’s guerrillas.

Steven de Castro, an international award-winning filmmaker from the US, related his experiences while documenting “Revolution Selfie” a film on the everday life of the people and the people’s army in revolutionary areas. Through time spent and his interviews with the people’s army he gained insights into their hopes and lives. When asked about Comrade Chen, a subject of one of his films who died fighting for the people’s interest, de Castro cited a line from a movie: “I will not tell you how he died. I will tell you how he lived.”

Another filmmaker from Spain, Paloma Polo, related how she saw firsthand how the members of the people’s army through their work among the people and their sacrifices in transforming a country and its system into a better society, are also continuously transforming themselves into selfless and humane beings. Her experience with the NPA and the people in the countryside gave her hope and she wished she could send all of those present in the event to the Philippines.

In the face of all the violations by the Duterte regime, the people and the revolutionary forces are intensifying their resistance. Effective and urgent international solidarity is needed, now and in the future.


NDF/NDF-International Information Office: Tapestry of 50 Years of Resistance and Victories

NDF-International Information Office propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Apr 1, 2019): Tapestry of 50 Years of Resistance and Victories

NDF International Information Office
Press Release

31 March 2019

In a celebration held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands today, more than 120 Filipinos and their international friends celebrated 50 years of struggle for social and national liberation in the Philippines.

Billed as a “Tapestry of Resistance” , the celebration featured a speech by Prof. Jose Maria Sison, the call for interanational solidarity by Luis Jalandoni. A film on the work of the people’s army and showcased militant cultural performances mounted by Filipino migrants in Europe. Exhibited were photos on the everday life of NPA warriors captured thru the lens of freelance photographer Boy Bagwis and paintings of Parts Bagani, and the art and poetry of Felix Salditos aka Maya Daniel. A photo gallery of heroes and martyrs of the struggle was shown.

NPA has continued to grow in strength – Joma

In a speech on the 50 years of the Filipino people’s armed revolutionary struggle, Prof. Jose Ma. Sison (Joma) emphasized that the NPA has already spread nationwide and is deeply rooted among the toiling masses and that it has frustrated all operational plans by the armed forces of the reactionary state.

Professor Sison traced the NPA’s history from its foundational years from 1969-1977 to the period of growth, conservatism and upsurge from 2002 – 2019.

Dutere loves war and hates peace

Commenting on the recent termination of the peace talks by Philippine President Duterte, Sison emphasized that the NDFP is always open to peace negotiations. But the recent termination of Duterte shows “Duterte loves war and hates peace”. 

Powerful international solidarity needed

Chief International Representative Luis Jalandoni narrated the important role of international solidarity friends during the struggle against the Marcos regime, and how they helped in isolating the dictatorship both domestically and internationally.

“It is in view of the concrete and fast developing reality of the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation and the increasing danger of US imperialist intervention and even war of aggression, that we believe it is needed and opportune to launch and build the Friends of the NDFP! The Friends of the NDFP will be a systematic and organized way to develop a powerful solidarity for the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation,” Jalandoni concluded.

NPA, the people’s beloved army

One of the highlights of the celebration was the showing of three short films: on the NPA not only as fighting army but an army that works, lives with and embraces the aspirations of the people; on the agrarian revolution being waged to respond to the peasantry’s demand for land; and on how the masses exercise their rights and fight for their interests through the organs of political power of the People’s Democratic Government being built today in thousands of villages and towns in the country.

The speeches, messages, cultural performances, exhibits and films were all presented as a “tapestry” that has helped explain and visualize the Filipino people’s continuing struggle for national and social liberation.

A Dutch artist and supporter, said the celebration has made even clearer to her that in its 50 years, the whole Philippine revolutionary movement is growing and achieving important victories for the people.

[Video: New People's Army and the Organs of Political Power