Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Comment on New Diagrams Produced and Released by Duterte and Panelo

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Philippines  (NDFP or NDF) Facebook page (May 8, 2019): Comment on New Diagrams Produced and Released by Duterte and Panelo

By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
May 8, 2019

When the boss is someone as mentally deranged as Duterte, even someone like Panelo who is reputed to be a clever lawyer (abogado de ultimo remedio) appears to be stupid by following that sort of master.

The diagrams or matrices being bandied about should include a big box to refer to the Filipino people with clear links to the individuals and organizations that are accused of conspiracy to discredit Duterte and in fact share a common detestation for the policies and acts of treason, tyranny, mass murder, plunder and swindling by the traitor and tyrant Duterte.

In the history of law, guilt by association has long been discredited as a method for criminalizing people through bills of attainder, congressional witch hunts and trial by publicity, instead of approaching first the courts of law with evidence to prove the personal criminal responsibility of every one accused.

Incriminating people through diagrams and using them in trials by publicity can be used against Duterte himself and his peace negotiators by simply linking them to names of persons who are designated or claimed to belong to the CPP, NPA and the NDFP.

More damning and more telling than diagrams that can be easily drawn by anyone are pictures of camaraderie between Duterte, his son Paolo, son-in-law Mans and Bong Go on one hand, and the notorious drug lords like Peter Lim, Michael Yang, kenneth Dong and others on the other hand.

The best way to reduce the drawing of diagrams or matrices to absurdity is to use the toilet of the presidential palace as the common point of reference for a criminal linkage between ex-dilawan Duterte and Noynoy Aquino and all sorts of people going to the palace and using the same toilet.

Nonetheless, the diagrams drawn and released by Duterte and Panelo are certainly not even worth a scrap of toilet paper. Are these the result of Duterte’s reported nervous breakdown or prolonged rest from dialysis treatment last week?

3 soldiers killed in Isabela clashes

From the Philippine Star (May 9, 2019): 3 soldiers killed in Isabela clashes
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan – Three Army soldiers have been killed in clashes with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Jones, Isabela.

Lt. Col. Remigio Dulatre, 86th Infantry Battalion commander, said two soldiers were slain yesterday as government troopers were pursuing those who killed a soldier and wounded another in an ambush in Barangay San Sebastian on Tuesday. Two rebels were also killed.

The identities of the slain soldiers were withheld pending notification of their family members.

In Negros Occidental, two civilians were killed and three others were wounded when suspected NPA guerrillas raided a resettlement site of the Alex Boncayao Brigade in Sitio Mambinay, Barangay Locotan, Kabankalan.
The rebels also took the guns of the victims.

The government is constructing a day care center, a school and a water impounding facility in the resettlement site.

15 surrender

In Sultan Kudarat, Brig. Gen. Eliseo Rasco, Soccsksargen police director, said 15 communist insurgents surrendered in Lebak town on Tuesday.

Rasco said the surrenderees, who belonged to the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 73, turned over an M16 rifle, a .30-caliber Garand rifle, two M14 rifles, a shotgun, two .45-caliber pistols, a 9mm, two grenade launchers and various types of ammunition to Mayor Dionesio Besana, local police and officials of the First Marine Brigade.

Meanwhile, soldiers defused three bombs found by villagers in an abandoned shanty of NPA rebels in Sitio Kabanalian, Barangay Elian, Esperanza also in Sultan Kudarat.

2 killed, 3 injured in NPA attack

From the Daily Guardian (May 9, 2019): 2 killed, 3 injured in NPA attack

Two members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army -Alex Bongcayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) were killed while three others were wounded in an attack staged by suspected New People’s Army Members at Barangay Locotan, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental early Wednesday.

Killed were Jhoenel Marabebe and Florencio Vergara while the wounded were Jonathan Pagados, Ranel Banista, and a certain “Ruel.”

Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, commander of the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade, said about 30 unidentified armed men believed to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA) attacked the settlement area of RPA-ABB, now known as Kapatiran para sa Progresibong Panlipunan Inc.

The area is part of the RPA-ABB’s institutionalized transformation. The group is a splinter bloc of the communist rebels that later forged a peace deal with the Philippine government.

The fire-fight lasted about 10 minutes, Arevalo said.

Police investigation indicated that Banista heard gunshots while he was sleeping at a nearby school at around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

He took cover but he was hit on his back.

Despite being wounded, he managed to crawl out of the building to escape.

Two of the wounded victims were brought to Bacolod City while the other is confined at Kabankalan City’s district hospital.

Army recovers weapons after skirmish in Surigao

From the Sun Star-Cagayan de Oro (May 7, 2019): Army recovers weapons after skirmish in Surigao

PHILIPPINE Army troopers recovered high-powered firearms after a two-day skirmish against the New People's Army (NPA) in Caraga region.

Troops of the 30th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Camam-onan, Gigaquit town, Surigao del Norte, clashed with NPA rebels in two separate incidents, resulting in the recovery of a backpack, five kilos of rice, personal belongings, one M16 rifle, one long magazine with 25 rounds of live ammunition and food supplies. 

In Surigao del Sur, troops of the 36th Infantry Battalion also stepped up its security operations, following reports of the NPAs forcing civilians to vote for their preferred candidates in Sitio Lagangan, Barangay Caras-an, Tago, Surigao del Sur.

A follow-up operation in the said area resulted in the recovery of a large anti-personnel mine, which was placed along the trail going to a certain community.

Colonel Maurito Licudine, commander of the 402nd Infantry Brigade, said the troops are on heightened alert for the remaining days until election day on May 13.

He said the army, police, and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) also laid out security and contingency plans in anticipation of a worst-case scenario, before, during, and after the elections.

"With the support of civilians and commitment of the candidates for fair and peaceful election, we are ready to thwart any possible incident that may arise in the coming days even after election day," he said.

"I urge everyone to be on guard and vigilant against any threat to peace and security in order to prevent untoward incidents that will hamper the exercise of our right to vote," he added.

Army welcomes proposal for participation of more American soldiers in next Balikatan

From the Manila Bulletin (May 8, 2019): Army welcomes proposal for participation of more American soldiers in next Balikatan

Amid the perceived shift-to-China policy of the Duterte administration, the United States military is planning to increase the number of American soldiers participating in the annual military exercise with the Philippine Army.

And there seems to be no problem with the Philippine Army, as it even welcomed the proposal of the US Army Pacific Command (PACOM).

From less than 1,000 soldiers, who usually join the US-Philippine armies Salaknib military exercises, the number is expected to balloon to some 1,700, or a brigade-size number, according to Army spokesman Demy Zagala.

“There is a proposed concept to expand the Salaknib through the participation of more troops from the USARPAC… it is still a proposal, it’s a proposed concept and although both armies are committed to it, we’re still waiting for the final plan. The planning is in process,” said Zagala.

Salaknib is based on the Ilokano word which means shield. The bilateral exercise between the Philippine Army and USARPAC started in 2015. It is usually held every March of the year and is considered as a pre-deployment of Americans leading to the bigger annual Balikatan exercises which are usually being held every April.

The exercise aims to enhance the capabilities and interoperability of both forces in conventional and joint and combined operations. It also aims to enhance skill competencies in counter-terrorist operations.

Zagala said the army-to-army exercises between the two countries have been helping the Philippine Army a lot in terms of further enhancing the skills of Filipino soldiers.

“We hope to learn from the Americans, how they structure their brigade command team and we can learn from their best practices. We want to adopt that,” said Zagala.

The official was referring to the structure of the American Army brigade structure which he said showed a complete package when it came to combat operations.

The American Army brigade, for instance, has its own infantry, artillery, armor, signal, and aviation.

In an attempt to adopt the American Army brigade structure in the Philippine setting, the military leadership earlier created the First Brigade Combat Team in December last year.

“The Army, as part of its modernization and reorganization, will organize territorial defense divisions with brigade combat teams as its main maneuver force,” said Zagala.

“The Philippine Army participates in exercises with the USARPAC to gain knowledge necessary for the capability development of its own Brigade Combat Team,” he added.

Despite the push of President Duterte to be friendly with China, a lot of Filipino soldiers still obtain training programs from the United States and hold regular military exercises with American soldiers.

The Philippines is locked in a territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Seas—and the aggressive reclamation and building of structures in the disputed areas create distrust among Filipinos, including soldiers, on China.

PMA cadets get insights on peaceful fight against insurgency thru davOr’s E-CLIP program

From Kalinaw News (May 8, 2019): PMA cadets get insights on peaceful fight against insurgency thru davOr’s E-CLIP program

The Philippine Military Academy’s (PMA) “Class Mabalasik” cadets, the country’s future military officers, have visited Davao Oriental to learn about its implementation of peaceful strategies against insurgency.

On May 2, 2019, sixty six cadets, who are set to graduate next month, have bench marked the province’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) implementation in preparation for their deployment in the different military headquarters of this country.

Lt. Col. Montano Almodovar who led the delegation said he was “amazed” by the province’s peaceful resolve in ending armed conflict and that the cadets are fortunate to have been exposed on this learning as well actual operations of the army units in the field.

“This is part of their on-the-job training. We are exposing them to what is really happening or what are the operations conducted of our army units on the field. I believe that that program presented to them will be a big help for them to be better prepared as future leaders when they report to the army as these cadets will be graduating in two weeks-time now,” Lt. Col. Almodovar said.

He said he is hoping that the bench marking activity will serve as an inspiration for the National Security Management to enhance the curriculum of the PMA as “the cadet’s training on insurgency operations is limited to the basic doctrines taught by the Philippine Army.”

“The specific details on what is being done in the field like the E-CLIP and the Community Support Program here in Davao Oriental, are not discussed in their training. In line with that, the cadets will be needing more subjects in relation to national security and I think with the President’s Executive Order 70 and the implementation of E-CLIP, that would be a good start for the cadets to learn,” Lt. Col. Almodovar added.

Citing that “insurgency can only be solved through inter-agency collaboration,” Lt. Col. Almodovar furthered that he hopes that the rest of the Local Government Units (LGUs) in country will strengthen their E-CLIP implementation to finally put an end to the decades-long struggle of insurgency.

“I’ve been in the military for 25 years, and I’ve been dreaming for this convergence with the other government agencies because the only way we could help the communities in the marginalized communities in the hinterlands is to talk to them to identify their issues and their problems.”

“As with all the other officers, we’re dreaming of the time that the LGUs will have this kind of initiative in ending this insurgency, like what Davao Oriental is doing. I think this is the essence of a true Whole-of-Nation approach. So, although it is being implemented, copied and adopted in the national level, however, I hope that all the governors will emulate or copy this initiative of the government of Davao Oriental,” he added.

Cadet First Class Kenny Dacuba, the squad leader of their class’ Community Support Program (CSP) subject, said that they feel privileged to have conducted their on-the-job training’s here.

“We now have an idea on what our units really do in the field as future lieutenants. Other infantry divisions have finally realized how effective the strategy that is being conducted here in 10th ID and we are thankful that we have our OJT here,” Cadet First Class Dacuba said.

Col. Manuel V. Sequitin, Commander of the 701st Brigade, who gave the delegation brief preview of the brigade’s gains, emphasized that “we are partners with the Local Government in pursuing peace and development”.

“Philippine Army does not shy away from its duty. But you will learn that pursuing the enemy will create more enemy,” Col. Sequitin told the cadets as he emphasized the role of peaceful strategies in winning the peace.

He added that the cadets are fortunate to have learn of this strategy while they are still in the PMA, stressing that there is no other venue that will offer them “this kind of learning” in their on-the-job training.

“Before, as a lieutenant, we are confused on what we should do. But that was 30 years ago. Now we have learned that the solution of the insurgency problem is not by killing the enemy. It is now the delivery of services through the leadership of the LGU. Now you don’t only have to think of yourself as a warrior. You don’t only do training, shooting, and operating. Some of you will be working as a CMO, others as technical staff. Now you are here because this is how to do it. There is no other area that would present ideas such as this,” Col. Sequitin furthered.

On the duration of their visit, the cadets undergo series of lectures. Emmalyn Oliveros, Center Manager of the Happy Home, the Halfway House for former rebels, presented how the facility is being run by the provincial government. Other lectures were focused on how convergence of effort has won peace in the province.

DILG Assistant Regional Director Yvette Tolentino Sunga, who spoke on the department’s contribution on the E-CLIP implementation, has acquainted the guests on how good governance, especially in the Barangay level, contributes to ending violence and other problems at the grassroots level.

“Because really the problem that we are facing right now, it all redound to good governance. All problems—insurgency, drugs, all problems—it all boils down to good governance,” she said.

The province’s flagship program, the Nagkakaisang Lingkod Bayan ng Davao Oriental Barangay Outreach Caravan (NLD-BOC), which has become a venue for persuading those who are still in the Communist Terrorist Movement to surrender to the folds of the law, was introduced to the cadets.

NLD-BOC focal person Rotchie M. Ravelo emphasized in his presentation that it is the convergence of effort of the different government agencies in delivering much-needed services in the communities that draws the rebels to lay down their arms.

Also, the cadets have been acquainted of the initiatives of the Youth for Peace (YFP) here through a short lecture.

After the short program at the Lane’s Kita-anan in the City of Mati, the delegation visited the 701st Brigade’s Ugnayan Center where the deradicalization course of the former rebels is being held. After, they proceed at the Happy Home where they were given time to mingle with the former rebels who are currently enrolled in the E-CLIP.

More cops deployed | Police sent to 52 brgys in the city with NPA threat

From the Mindanao Times (May 9, 2019): More cops deployed | Police sent to 52 brgys in the city with NPA threat

Police yesterday announced that they will deploy more security forces in the 52 barangays in the city placed under category orange due to the presence of communist guerrillas.
Also, they will provide additional personnel for Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte because of the intense political rivalry in some of the areas.
Speaking in yesterday’s AFP-PNP press briefing held at The Royal Mandaya Hotel, Col. Alexander Tagum, city police director, said they received on intelligence report for Davao City in terms of New People’s Army movement.
“But just the same, definitely we remind our people never to relax their guard,” he said, adding that “We are fortunate with the support from 3rd and 89th infantry battalions.”
He said the hinterland communities of Paquibato, Marilog, Baguio, and some parts of Calinan and Buhangin are classified as category organge. Three infantry battalions will provide security support for the police.
“There are 52 barangays under orange category,” he added.
The city police director said they will deploy more personnel because of high security concern in the wake of Mayor Sara Duterte’s order to ensure a secure and honest May 13 election.
Although Tagum did not specify the number of additional personnel, the are currently 2,000 cops who will secure the elections and 10,000 cops all over the region.
Col. Eden Ugale, the Police Regional Office XI deputy regional director for operations, said they are closely monitoring the provinces of Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur because of the monitored intense political rivalry.
Police regional director, Brig. Gen. Marcelo Morales, has directed his personnel to closely monitor the first district of Davao del Norte.
“And also, we are looking at the province of Davao del Sur to deploy additional forces,” Ugale added.
Also Col. Consolito Yecla, the commander of Task Force Davao, said they haven’t monitored any
“hotspot” area in their jurisdiction. However, they have different parameters compared to the police since their main concern is terrorism.
“We’ll be providing area security to ensure that there will be no terrorism since we consider the city as convergence area,” Yecla said. “We will also be conducting spot checkpoints in areas cited for any suspicious movement.”
He said they will assist police in the polling centers and as usual, back packs are prohibited. The Task Force Davao is deploying seven squads and clusters to help secure the polling centers.

Also Col. Ezra Balagtey, the spokesperson of Eastern Mindanao Command, said that the different community support teams will have a dual task this coming elections. Aside from continuing with their task to help bring the government closer to the far-flung communities, they will also help secure the upcoming May 13 event.

Centcom urges local execs not to support communist terrorists

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 8, 2019): Centcom urges local execs not to support communist terrorists

The highest military official in the Visayas, Lieutenant General Noel S. Clement (second from the left) urges all government officials in the Visayas region to strictly abide with Memorandum Circular 2018-211. (Photo from PIA-7)

CAMP LAPULAPU, Cebu City --The highest military official in the Central Command (CentCom) Visayas, Lieutenant General Noel S. Clement called on all local government officials in the Visayas not to support the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) as election day is nearing.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has issued a memorandum reminding all local chief executives and local government officials that giving any form of support to the communist New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists is a violation not only of Executive Order 773, but also of the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 (RA 10168).

In his statement, Lt Gen Clement said, “I urge all government officials in the Visayas region to strictly abide with Memorandum Circular 2018-211 and remind the regional, provincial, city and municipal peace and order councils to use moral suasion or to recommend sanctions against local chief executives and other local officials supporting the NPAs in the Visayas.”

He made this statement to reinforce the revelation made by BGen Benedict Arevalo, the 303rd Infantry Brigade Commander, that more than thirty (30) local government officials in Negros Occidental have been supporting CNTs, and some even allied themselves with the communist terrorist organization.

The Central Command encourages the people of the Visayas to be vigilant and to cooperate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Philippines (PNP) to help ensure an honest, orderly, peaceful and credible elections.

Clement also asked the public not to be intimidated to report candidates providing financial and logistical support to the CNTs.

“We will not hesitate to make the necessary actions and forward to DILG the names of candidates who are supporting the CNTs, and using them as private armed group during the elections. Those vying for government positions should not in anyway support the CNTs as they should be working with the government that the CNTs are trying to overthrow. As government officials, they should be protecting the democratic process of the government,” Lt Gen Clement averred. (PR from CentCom).

NorMin peace body condemns NPA for attacks on civilians

From the Philippine News Agency (May 8, 2019): NorMin peace body condemns NPA for attacks on civilians

The Regional Peace and Order Council in Northern Mindanao (RPOC-10) has condemned the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing--New People’s Army (NPA) for their attacks on farms and the destruction of civilian properties.

RPOC-10, headed by Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno, unanimously approved the resolution of condemnation during its full council meeting on April 15 here.

The resolution called on the communist rebel leadership "to direct its armed wing the NPA to stop attacking civilians and to cease from destroying civilian properties".

The peace body noted that from January to March, the NPA claimed responsibility for staging "military offensive" on civilian farms in Bukidnon province, which the council condemned as "acts of terrorism disrespectful and violative of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL)".

The resolution enumerated the various atrocities committed by the rebels this year, beginning with the raid on a banana plantation of Dole Philippines located in Valencia City, Bukidnon, on January 25.

During that attack, the group torched an agricultural boom truck and cut approximately 8,000 banana trees.

"A certain Malem Mabini and Dereka Magtanggol, who introduced themselves over radio interviews as spokespersons of the CPP-NPA's North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC), claimed responsibility for the attack," PROC-10 said.

RPOC-10 said a similar attack on a civilian compound was repeated on March 15 in Don Carlos, Bukidnon, when another armed band of NPA combatants swooped down on the plantation of Davao Agricultural Ventures Corporation (DAVCO).

"The NPAs forced a civilian caretaker to the ground, his face made to kiss the ground, as the terrorists started pouring petrol on farm equipment. Totally destroyed were a harvesting machine and two backhoes. One of the backhoes is owned by a farmers' cooperative Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma Agrarian Reform Cooperative (NAMARCO)," the peace council said.

"Again, NPA spokespersons claimed responsibility for the attack. Namarco farmers are demanding indemnification from the CPP-NPA for destroying their means of livelihood," it added.

Following the atrocities, the Army's 403rd Brigade has sought for an independent investigation from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

CHR-Region 10, which conducted the investigation, has yet to release its findings.

PROC-10 described the CPP-NPA's attack on civilian targets as "appalling acts" and "blatant disrespect of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which stipulates that civilian populated areas and civilians shall be distinguished from combatants and together with their property, shall not be the object of the attack."

Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, a member of the RPOC representing the civilian sector, expressed full support on the resolution condemning the CPP-NPA atrocities, even as he called on the rebels to spare and protect civilians.

Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, the Army's 4th Infantry Division commander, called on the CPP-NPA to heed the RPOC-10 resolution.

"The NPA should listen to the people's call for them to stop attacking civilians and to stop destroying civilian properties," Gacal said.

"The CPP and the NDF (National Democratic Front), which represented the NPA in an agreement with the government to respect IHL, must prove its leadership over the NPA. The NPA's recent attacks on civilians and civilian properties is a clear manifestation that the CPP-NDF failed to control, discipline, and sanction the NPA," the military official added.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

AW-159 choppers to protect PH primary sea routes

From the Philippine News Agency (May 8, 2019): AW-159 choppers to protect PH primary sea routes

The two newly-acquired AgustaWestland (now Leonardo) AW-159 anti-submarine helicopters will help the PHilippine Navy (PN) secure the country's sea lines of communication (SLOC) or primary maritime routes used for trade, logistic and naval operations.

This was bared by Navy flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad in an interview with reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Also, he called the acquisition of the helicopters a "big leap" in the capability of the PN, as it now has the ability to locate submarines passing through the Philippines' sea lanes.

The PN chief added that the AW-159s are considered "top-of-the line" equipment, as these are equipped with sonar for detecting submarines and weapons like torpedoes, which are capable of damaging or even sinking a submarine.

He added that with the country's vast waters, more anti-submarine helicopters and sonar-equipped naval ships are needed to fully protect it.

Empedrad added that the sonar equipment of the AW-159s will give PN personnel a chance to train and use modern sonar equipment.

The PN chief said that the sonar capabilities of the AW-159 will be further augmented by the proposed upgrades of the three Del Pilar-class offshore patrol vessels, which include the installation of sonar suites.

Empedrad said the helicopters will be placed in Navy service shortly after blessing and commissioning ceremonies in Sangley Point, Cavite this coming May 27, which is also the PN's 121st founding anniversary.

The helicopters arrived in the country on Tuesday and will be based on the two missile-armed frigates Hyundai Heavy Industries is constructing in South Korea.

The two aircraft were acquired for PHP5.4 billion, including its munition, mission essential equipment and integrated logistic support.

The AW-159 can also be armed with rockets, machine guns, missiles, torpedoes and depth charges and has a top speed of 181 miles per hour and a range of 483 miles.

Ops vs. security threats to continue for May 13 polls: AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (May 8, 2019): Ops vs. security threats to continue for May 13 polls: AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will continue its efforts to neutralize security threats, especially in areas with armed groups and lawless elements, to ensure that there will be no failure of election, its chief-of-staff said.

"This will proceed up to about a couple days before the actual elections and once those conducting clearing operations are in place, other troops who will provide security for the movement of election paraphernalia as well as personnel (will follow)," Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., told reporters Tuesday.

Madrigal said 40,000 troops will be tapped for the clearing operations while the rest will be tasked to secure the actual elections on May 13, along with members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit.

He cited communist terrorists, local terrorists, and private armed groups as the source of possible threats.

The AFP earlier said it will deploy 98,000 troops to support the 149,830 Philippine National Police personnel tasked to secure the elections.

Bulk of this force will be sent to areas in Mindanao that are facing threats from communist and local terrorist groups, Madrigal added.

"The AFP will also continue to intensify military operations, intelligence monitoring, community support programs and other efforts to prevent corrupt and destruction elements that intend to jeopardize and disrupt the conduct of the elections," he said.

Karapatan, 4 other NGOs have revoked SEC registration

From the Philippine News Agency (May 8, 2019): Karapatan, 4 other NGOs have revoked SEC registration

Many non-government organizations (NGOs) may be visibly active in pursuit of their advocacies but nothing does the public know that some of them are not allowed to perform NGO activities because of revoked registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Data from the SEC dated April 15, 2019, showed the corporate existence and registration of five NGOs, have long been ordered revoked more than 10 years ago for non-filing of reports while another NGO’s registration is suspended since 2017 for the same reason.

A letter from Gerardo F. del Rosario, Director of SEC’s Company Registration and Monitoring Department, to Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., National Security Adviser and Vice Chairperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), named the following six NGOs, whose activities are reportedly supportive and sympathetic to the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, New People’s Army (CPP-NPA):

Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), whose registration was ordered revoked on September 30, 2003, for non-filing of reports from 1997 to 2002;

Karapatan (full name KARAPATAN: Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights) with revoked registration since October 25, 2005;

Concerned Artists of the Philippines, whose registration had been revoked on July 8, 2003, for non-filing of reportorial requirements from 1997 to 2002;

Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas, with registration, ordered revoked on August 20, 2003, for non-filing of reports from 1997 to 2002;

Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), Inc., whose registration was revoked on June 27, 2006, for failure to submit reports from 2001 to 2005; and

Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) in Northern Mindanao, with registration suspended on December 21, 2017.

Meanwhile, a certification was also issued by the same SEC department, signed by Assistant Director Daniel P. Gabuyo, that shows the non-registration as a corporation or partnership of the League of Filipino Students (LFS), Suara Bangsamoro, ANAKPAWIS, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), New Patriotic Alliance, and May First Movement Labor Center, all alleged legal front organizations of the CPP-NPA.

NGO activities prohibited

According to SEC Commissioner, lawyer Kelvin Lester Lee, if an NGO’s registration has been revoked, SEC follows Section 139 of the Revised Corporation Code (RCC), which states that: “SEC. 139. Corporate Liquidation. – Every corporation whose charter expires pursuant to its articles of incorporation, is annulled by forfeiture, or whose corporate existence is terminated in any other manner, shall nevertheless remain as a body corporate for three (3) years after the effective date of dissolution, for the purpose of: prosecuting and defending suits by or against it; and enabling it to settle and close its affairs, dispose of and convey its property, and distribute its assets, but not for the purpose of continuing the business for which it was established.”

“At any time during said three (3) years, the corporation is authorized and empowered to convey all of its property to trustees for the benefit of stockholders, members, creditors, and other persons in interest. After any such conveyance by the corporation of its property in trust for the benefit of its stockholders, members, creditors and others in interest, all interest which the corporation had in the property terminates, the legal interest vests in the trustees, and the beneficial interest in the stockholders, members, creditors or other persons-in-interest,” it added.

“An NGO whose registration is revoked, merely exists as an NGO but it cannot perform its activities as an NGO,” Lee said.

He added that if an NGO is not registered with the SEC, the said NGO is not imbued with juridical personality since no Certificate of Incorporation was issued by the SEC.

A juridical person is defined as a legal entity, not a natural person, created by the law such as a corporation with a distinct identity, and legal rights and obligations.

“Hence, it is a corporation by estoppel under Section 20 of the Revised Corporation Code. It cannot open bank accounts, enter into contracts and raise public funds,” Lee added.

SEC is an agency within the Department of Finance of the Philippine Government responsible for regulating the securities industry in the country.

GPH, MILF ceasefire panels ink pact for peaceful, credible elections

From the Philippine News Agency (May 8, 2019): GPH, MILF ceasefire panels ink pact for peaceful, credible elections

Representatives of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to the Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Mutual Understanding on “ceasefire-related functions” for the upcoming May 13 national and local elections.

The GPH and MILF were represented by their respective chairmen, Armed Forces of the Philippines Brig. Gen. Cirilo Thomas P. Donato Jr. and Butch P. Malang.

Cotabato City acting election officer, Atty. Mark Chrystal Sorilla and International Monitoring Team (IMT) Mission 14 Head of Mission, Maj. Gen. Dato’ Ya’cob Bin Haji Samiran witnessed the signing of the memorandum.

Also present during the signing were GPH CCCH Head Secretariat, Col. Joel Mamon; GPH Ad Hoc Joint Action Group chairman, Police Brig. Gen. Madid Paito; MILF Ad Hoc Joint Action Group OIC-Chairman Anwar Alamada; and, 6th Infantry Division assistant commander, Brig. Gen. Juvymax Uy.

The memorandum prescribed guidelines to be observed by the GPH and MILF CCCH, with concurrence of the IMT, as the body carries out heightened special ceasefire-related functions to safeguard the GPH-MILF ceasefire agreement and the Bangsamoro peace process during the election period.

In particular, the document identified specific coordinating and monitoring functions and responsibilities of the concerned parties.

The memorandum covers conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, particularly in identified volatile and election hot spot zones within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and other adjacent areas.

Its implementing time-frame will be from May 7 to 19, considered the most critical period of the mid-term elections.

In his message during the signing ceremony, Sorilla noted the significance and timeliness of the memorandum signing, saying this move is expected to boost confidence in the conduct of a peaceful and credible election in the region.

“With the active involvement of various groups, we can now rest secure and are hopeful that the forthcoming elections will not only be peaceful but also credible wherein the true will of the people will be expressed,” he said.

“Their decision to whom shall entrust the future of BARMM will be respected as this will be reflective of the political, cultural, and democratic ethos of the Bangsamoro People,” Sorilla added.

The election officer also called on the people to help preserve the integrity of the elections.

“Let us be conscious and conscientious of our constitutional duties to protect the sanctity of the ballots and safeguard the supreme will of the people. We will succeed together because we are working together,” Sorilla said.

The memorandum is anchored on Commission on Elections Resolution Numbers 10429, 10460, and 10527; the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro; and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

It is also in line with the GPH-MILF Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities; GPH-MILF Agreement on Peace and its Implementing Guidelines for the Security Aspect; and instructions from the principals of the joint ceasefire body with the participation of IMT.

The 2019 national and local elections coincide with the observance of the holy month of Ramadan, which is commemorated by members of the Muslim faith around the world.

It is the first election to be held after the establishment of the BARMM.

US Army wants larger contingent for 'Salaknib' 2020

From the Philippine News Agency (May 8, 2019): US Army wants larger contingent for 'Salaknib' 2020

The United States Army Pacific Command (USARPAC) wants to increase its participation for next year's "Salaknib" exercises, Philippine Army (PA) spokesperson, Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said Wednesday.

"There is a proposed concept to expand the 'Salaknib' through the participation of more troops from the USARPAC. Under the proposed expansion, they shall send a whole brigade composed of about 1,700 troops for 'Salaknib' 2020," he added.

"Salaknib", which means shield in Ilocano, is anchored on the Mutual Defense Treaty and has been ongoing since 2015, he added.

"The exercise aims to enhance the capabilities and interoperability of both forces in conventional and joint and combined operations. It also aims to enhance skill competencies in counter-terrorist operations," Zagala said.

The annual training event consists of jungle fighting; command post exercise, command-and-control; subject matter exchanges on communications and artillery; cooperative health engagement and humanitarian.

"This is an Army-to-Army exercise in preparation for the bigger exercise which is 'Balikatan'," Zagala said.

This year, around 900 American soldiers participated in the "Salaknib" exercises which was held in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva.

Zagala said the PA as part of its modernization and reorganization, will organize territorial defense divisions with brigade combat teams as its main maneuver force.

He said the PA participates in exercises with the USARPAC to gain knowledge necessary for the capability development of its own Brigade Combat Team.

Last December, PA activated its 1st Brigade Combat Team and Zagala said the Army intends to activate its 2nd Brigade Combat Team this year.

Solgen asks SC to drop NUPL's amparo, habeas data petition

From the Philippine News Agency (May 8, 2019): Solgen asks SC to drop NUPL's amparo, habeas data petition

State lawyers on Wednesday belied the claims of groups allegedly used as fronts for the terrorist Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) that the government is responsible for harassments and threats on National Union of People's Lawyers (NULP) members.

In a 35-page comment, Solicitor General Jose Calida sought for the dismissal of the petition for writs of amparo and habeas data filed by the NUPL before the Supreme Court last month.

In the Philippines, amparo and habeas data are prerogative writs to supplement the inefficacy of the writ of habeas corpus. Amparo means "protection" while habeas data is "access to information".

Calida said the NUPL failed to prove or provide a factual basis in its allegation that President Rodrigo Duterte and other respondents -- National Security Adviser (Ret.) Gen. Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr., National Defense Secretary (Ret.) Gen. Delfin N. Lorenzana, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal, Jr., AFP Deputy Commander for Intelligence Brig. Gen. Fernando T. Trinidad, AFP Intelligence Service of the Philippines (ISAFP) Chief Major Gen. Erwin Bernard Neri, Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Macairog S. Alberto, and AFP Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations Major Gen. Antonio G. Parlade, Jr. -- were responsible for the threats, harassment, and intimidation against NUPL lawyers.

"Petitioners miserably failed to allege, much more to adduce, such specific narration of facts necessary to establish that respondents committed through their own unlawful acts or omissions, acts constituting enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, or the threats thereof," said Calida in the comment.

He said the allegations of petitioners are "based on the amorphous and uncertain ground".

"These alleged threats are, however, a mere amalgamation of facts based on newspaper clippings and unverified statements, threats more imagined than real, and exaggerated to create the ghost of a cause of action," Calida said.

Calida told the Court that the petition should be denied because it did not include supporting documents and evidence as required by the rule on writ of Amparo, saying petitioners merely raised "baseless and malicious accusations".

He also questioned the legal standing of the group to file the petition because the rules on writs of Amparo and Habeas Data require specific individuals to seek such reliefs from the Court, not an organization.

"It is plain from the aforecited provisions of law and jurisprudence that the writs of amparo and habeas data are available only to natural persons, not juridical persons," Calida said. "Mere membership in organizations or sectors cannot equate to an actual threat that would warrant the issuance of a writ of amparo."

The SC referred the case to the Court of Appeals to hear the petition on May 14.

DepEd chief’s remark on Salugpongan schools taken out of context

From the Philippine News Agency (May 8, 2019): DepEd chief’s remark on Salugpongan schools taken out of context

Department of Education Undersecretary and chief of staff Nepomuceno Malaluan says the issue on Salugpongan schools is still under evaluation. (Photo by Ma. Teresa Montemayor)

An official of the Department of Education (DepEd) belied on Wednesday a recent news report that "Salugpongan schools will stay".

"The words of Secretary Briones were clearly taken out of context in this reportage. She explained that in dealing with the Salugpongan issue, we will be basing our actions on our existing rules, not to the effect of whether they'll be closing or not be closing [these schools]," DepEd Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Nepomuceno Malaluan told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Malaluan was reacting to a news article posted by the Mindanao Times on its website on May 2, quoting Briones as saying the "DepEd refused to shut down the Salugpongan network of schools despite the military linking it with the communist underground movement".

The report also said Briones reiterated the observance of strict guidelines in giving permits to alternative educational systems, including the Salugpongan schools.

Malaluan clarified that the issue on Salugpongan schools was not discussed during a recent press briefing in Davao.

"It was a press briefing about the Palarong Pambansa in Davao, and the question about Salugpongan was suddenly raised during the question and answer [portion]," he said.

He added that the DepEd is not pressured in any way by the military to close the Salugpongan schools, contrary to what was published in the news report.

"You know the word alternative learning system was not even mentioned by the Secretary. This angle of the report is a misrepresentation of what the Secretary said,” he said.

“We have been made aware of the allegations on the Salugpongan schools and that the matter's evaluation is ongoing,” he added.

Solon backs Pag-asa seaport project amid growing Chinese presence

From the Philippine News Agency (May 8, 2019): Solon backs Pag-asa seaport project amid growing Chinese presence

The growing presence of Chinese maritime militia vessels around Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) makes it imperative for government to push through with its plans to construct a seaport in the remote Philippine territory, a ranking lawmaker at the House of Representatives said Wednesday.

In a statement, House Senior Deputy Minority Leader and Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza noted that in the 2017 General Appropriations Act, Congress has allotted PHP450 million in capital outlay to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the Barangay Pag-asa Port Project.

“Where's the PHP 450-million seaport? We hope the DOTr is still pushing through with the project, which has become absolutely imperative for us to encourage more Filipinos to live on the remote island,” Atienza said, noting the need for the Philippines to bolster its claims in the WPS.

Located 518 km. northwest of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Pag-asa belongs to the Kalayaan Island Group at the western section of the Spratly archipelago and has been occupied by the Philippines since 1970.

At present, Pag-asa has less than 400 residents, mostly fishermen and their families.

Meanwhile, Atienza pointed out that the DOTr could take advantage of an ongoing project of the Department of National Defense (DND) in Pag-asa to build the planned seaport.

“Now would be an excellent time for the DOTr to carry out the project, considering that the military is set to complete the construction of a beaching ramp on the island,” Atienza said.

The beaching ramp being built by the DND is intended to expedite the delivery of construction equipment and materials after President Rodrigo Duterte in April 2017 ordered the reinforcement of Pag-asa.

The DND is initially focusing its efforts on paving the island’s crumbling 1.3-kilometer airstrip.

Amid the ongoing construction, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has monitored an extraordinary surge of vessels from a Chinese fishing fleet around Pag-asa.

For the first quarter of 2019 alone, more than 600 Chinese fishing vessels have been recorded surrounding the sandbars of the Philippine-occupied island.

According to Washington-based think tank Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, these boats are intended to intimidate other claimants and to stop the development work currently underway on Pag-asa Island.

The entire Spratly archipelago is being claimed by China, but a tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in July 2016 that Philippine territories in the West Philippine Sea could not be overlapped by any possible entitlement of China.