Thursday, May 16, 2019

Kalinaw News: Concerned Tausugs foil planned bombing in Sulu

Posted to the Kalinaw News (May 17, 2019): Concerned Tausugs foil planned bombing in Sulu

Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista, Jolo Sulu – Acting on reports from concerned civilians, The troops of Joint Task Force Sulu recovered 3 Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) rigged in 20-liter plastic water container in separate locations in the towns of Patikul and Talipao, Sulu.

The first 2 IEDs were implaced about 300meters from the Ablayan Elementary School in Talipao, Sulu which was being used then as a voting center. The vigilant residents in the area notice the suspicious packages at around 7:am yesterday (May 15, 2019) and immediately reported it to the Headquarters of the 2nd Special Forces Battalion stationed in Talipao. Immediately, Special Forces teams together with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team and K9 Explosive Detection Dogs (EDD) team were deployed to the area. The responding teams promptly confirmed the items as IED devices and succesfully recovered and disarmed them. The recovered 2 IEDs utilized plastic water containers as housing for the explosives with attached cellphones serving as triggering devices.

The 3rd IED was reported at 8:30 AM today (May 16, 2019) by local residents of SO Lab, Brgy Latih, Patikul,Sulu to elements of the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion who are on Election duty at said locality. A composite team from the 15SRBn, 35IB, K9 team,EOD team and HHC,1101Bde led by 1LT PACASIO immediately responded to check on the reported suspicious looking 20-liter plastic water container in an abandoned house at said area. The teams confirmed that is endeed and IED and succesfully disaremed it. The make up of this IED is similar to the IEDs recovered earlier in neighboring Talipao. All the recovered IED are now safety stored at the 3rd Explosive Ordnance Detachment in JTF Sulu Headquarters for profiling and further study as of this report.

Brigadier General Divino Rey C Pabayo Jr, Commander, Joint Task Force Sulu remarked that the continuous vigilance and cooperation of the populace has been valuable in keeping the people safe. “These developments in our security campaign only indicates that the people are now fully aware that security concerns are not just for the military and the police to handle, but an issue which the entire community should be involved. The recent recovery of 3 IEDs would not have been possible without the help and cooperation of the public. Hence, I congratulate the entire Tausug Community for the successful united effort against terrorism.”

Suspected rebel nabbed

From the Daily Guardian (May 17, 2019): Suspected rebel nabbed
A man believed to be a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) was arrested at Barangay Balintawak, Escalante City, Negros Occidental Thursday morning.

Police identified the suspect as Rem Lanie Pintor, 49, of the said village.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Necerato Sabando, city police chief, said personnel of the 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army endorsed the suspect to the custody of Escalante City Police Station after he was sighted at the said area.

Sabando said the military troops followed Pintor from Calatrava town, following a clash between the military and NPA rebels in the town last Wednesday.

Pintor is suspected to be among the armed men the military had encountered in Calatrava, Sabando said.

Authorities recovered from his possession a rifle grenade. He will be charged for illegal possession of explosives.

Royal Thai Navy vessels in Subic for goodwill visit

From the Philippine News Agency (May 16, 2019): Royal Thai Navy vessels in Subic for goodwill visit

Two vessels of the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) docked at this premier Freeport on Wednesday as part of a goodwill visit to the Philippines.

The His Thai Majesty’s Ship (HTMS) Taksin (FFG-422), a Naresuan-class frigate, and the HTMS Krabi (OPV-551), a modified river-class patrol vessel, will be here until Saturday.

SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the naval visit “is not only an opportunity for the Philippine government to further strengthen maritime relations with the government of Thailand, but is also a manifestation of the critical role that the Subic Bay Freeport plays in enhancing maritime cooperation between the Philippines and its allies.”

“The SBMA is always ready and willing to be of service in pursuit of regional cooperation, peace and security, and the promotion of the Philippines as an active partner in these endeavors,” Eisma said during a courtesy call of Rear Admiral Sompong Poowiang and Commander Archarigaruth Noichinda in her office on Thursday.

Poowiang conveyed his appreciation to the warm welcome and expressed his keenness for the scheduled engagements between the two navies during their stay.

The RTN officials are scheduled to visit the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) in San Antonio, Zambales, while the crew will take part in “confidence-building engagements” with the Philippine Navy like shipboard tours, reciprocal receptions and friendly games.

Kalinaw News: Philippine Army and TESDA-Ilocos Sur Strike Partnership

Posted to Kalinaw News (May 16, 2019): Philippine Army and TESDA-Ilocos Sur Strike Partnership

STA. CRUZ, ILOCOS SUR – In yet another meaningful step towards convergence, the Army’s 81st Infantry (Spartan) Battalion and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) – Ilocos Sur entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) at the TESDA Office, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, yesterday.

The MOA outlines the responsibilities of 81IB and TESDA-Ilocos Sur to efficiently perform what is mandated to both in their mutual desire to empower the people of Ilocos Sur and bring development in the province.

It can be recalled that in Section 6 of the Convergence of the Executive Order Nr 70 dated December 04, 2018 issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, all departments, bureaus, offices, agencies or instrumentalities of the government, including Government-owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC) and State Universities and Colleges (SUC) are directed to render the necessary support to the Task Force that will end the local communist armed conflict.

With this, Lieutenant Colonel Charles DZ Castillo, Commanding Officer of 81IB, implements the Community Support Program (CSP) in Ilocos Sur as part of the AFP’s Development Support & Security Plan “Kapayapaan” in collaboration with the local government units (LGU), the national and local government agencies, and TESDA, among others. The CSP is a community-based, people-oriented peace and development effort aimed to establish and develop disaster and conflict-resilient communities.

TESDA-Ilocos Sur, headed by Provincial Director Marissa T. Alcantara, in partnership with the 81IB, will conduct skills and entrepreneurship training based on the identified needs of the concerned communities in Ilocos Sur. Scholarship programs will also be offered to the community.

Director Alcantara said, “With or without a MOA, it is our pleasure to be working with the Philippine Army to attain what is mandated. Now, strengthened by the MOA, TESDA-Ilocos Sur will most assuredly take part in the Army’s future endeavours.”

Major General Lenard T Agustin AFP, Commander of the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, commended the development saying, “The MOA Signing manifests the mutual desire to share the responsibility in achieving a common goal. With this, I congratulate the 81st Infantry Battalion for this partnership established with TESDA-Ilocos Sur. May this serve as a good start for a better working relationship”.

MGen Agustin extended his appreciation to TESDA-Ilocos Sur and hoped that more government agencies will be intentional in lifting the state of living of the Ilocanos.

“This effort is a remarkable step by the government for it will reduce the possible issues to be exploited by the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs)”, MGen Agustin added.

“We are privileged to partner with TESDA-Ilocos Sur. We are beyond grateful to know that we are not alone in our campaign against insurgency in this part of the country. This development fuels us to be more intentional in performing our job”, said Lt Col Castillo.

Division Public Affairs Office 7th Infantry Division Philippine Army
Cpt Catherine H Jubas
Chief, Division Public Affairs Office, 7ID
Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija

Kalinaw News: Rifle grenade, drug paraphernalia recovered in military operation

Posted to Kalinaw News (May 16, 2019): Rifle grenade, drug paraphernalia recovered in military operation

CAMP SIONGCO, Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao –The troops of 90th Infantry Battalion and 61st Division Reconnaissance Company recovered a rifle grenade and drug paraphernalia as the military conducted clearing operation in Barangay Kilalan, Talitay, Maguindanao this afternoon, May 15, 2019.

Also recovered were empty shells, bandolier, camouflage uniforms, ICOM radio and 23 pcs of Cal .50 (linked).

The clearing operation was part of the military operation against the presence of armed lawless groups (ALG) in Talitay town.

Lt. Col. Crizaldo A. Fernandez, the Commanding Officer of 90th IB, said that they will pursue the lawless groups in barangays Bentan and Manggay of the same town as there are reported presence of ALG.

Meanwhile, 603rd Brigade Commander Col. Wilbur C. Mamawag said that the recoveries was part of the focused military operation to thwart the local terrorists in creating havoc in his area of jurisdiction.

“The Joint Task Force Central remained committed to provide a secured environment to all the communities even after the election,” said JTF Central Commander Maj. General Cirilito E. Sobejana.

Division Public Affairs Office 6th Infantry Division Philippine Army
Maj Arvin G Encinas
Chief, Public Affairs Office, 6ID, PA
Camp Siongco, Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao

Kalinaw News: Massive recovery of explosives, illegal drug paraphernalia, and high-powered firearms

Posted to Kalinaw News (May 16, 2019): Massive recovery of explosives, illegal drug paraphernalia, and high-powered firearms

CAMP SIONGCO, Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao – Troops of 90th Infantry Battalion and 61st Division Reconnaissance Company seized assorted firearms and other war materiel this morning, May 16, 2019 in a continuing military operations in Brgy Bentan, Talitay, Maguindanao

The military operations was immediately launched after a reported fire fight between the private armed groups of Vice-Mayoralty candidates Montasir Sabal and Suraida Ameril the other day. This military response is in an effort to contain the escalation of conflict and protect the civilian community in the area.

Hundreds of residents in the area were forced to flee to safer areas giving way to the pacification effort of JTF Central troopers. They were immediately taken cared of by JTF Central forces in close coordination with the LGU in the area and other concerned stakeholders.

The operating troops intervened with the warring groups and conducted clearing operation to bring back normalcy in Barangay Bentan.

During the course of clearing the area, the troops were able to recover one M16 rifle, 4 M653 rifles, 2 M203 rifles, 2 M14 rifles, 1 M79 rifle, 1 Garrand rifle, 2 Thomson, 1 Carbine, 1 homemade shotgun, 1 KG9 Luger, one 60mm mortar, 1 Baofing Radio, 15 pcs large plastic drums suspected to be anti-personnel mine, 12 PVC anti-personnel mine and 4 hand grenades.

“We recovered these war materiel which were hastily left along the route of withdrawal of the private armed groups. Our clearing operations continue to this time ,” said Lt. Col. Crizaldo A. Fernandez, Commanding Officer of 90th IB.

Meanwhile, the 3rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal of the Army are currently checking the plastic drums suspected to contain anti-personnel mine components and illegal substance for bomb making.

603rd Brigade Commander Col. Wilbur C. Mamawag said that the firefight between PAGs in Barangay Kilalan was contained because the military immediately intervened to prevent its escalation particularly between the supporters of rival political families.

Joint Task Force Central Commander, Maj. Gen. Cirilito E. Sobejana commended the troops of 90th IB and 61DRC for their recent accomplishments.

As of this report, the displaced residents are safely back to their respective homes with the assistance of Army troopers.

Division Public Affairs Office 6th Infantry Division Philippine Army
Maj Arvin G Encinas
Chief, Public Affairs Office, 6ID, PA
Camp Siongco, Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao

China Coast Guard ships watch as PHL-US vessels conduct exercises near Scarborough

From the Business Mirror (May 16, 2019): China Coast Guard ships watch as PHL-US vessels conduct exercises near Scarborough

A UNITED States Coast Guard Cutter concluded a series of capability training on Tuesday with two Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) ships near the Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea—with Chinese Coast Guard vessels keenly observing the sea-borne exercises.

The training was held as navies from Southeast Asia and the Pacific region ended their two weeks of maritime training exercises in Singapore with the goal of strengthening peace and stability in the region.

The US cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) staged the exercises with PCG vessels BRP Batangas and BRP Kalanggaman that include search and rescue near the Scarborough Shoal in the first sea training involving Coast Guard vessels from the allies.

Chinese Coast Guard ships, which have established a regular presence in the area, along with Chinese Navy vessels through China’s de facto control of the shoal beginning in 2012, shadowed the exercises from a distance, but the allies simply ignored them and proceeded with the activities.

“Bertholf completed an at-sea search and rescue exercise today [Tuesday] with our counterparts from the Philippine Coast Guard. This engagement proved an excellent opportunity to compare techniques, maintain proficiency and build a friendly relationship among professional mariners and coast guards,” said Capt. John J. Driscoll, Bertholf’s commanding officer.

“Our relationship is critically important as we work together to ensure the ocean remains free and open, with a respect for international law and rules of behavior at sea, and where mariners are safe to carry out their livelihood—whether they’re on a cargo ship or fishing vessel,” Driscoll added in a news statement released by the US Navy’s 7th Fleet.

The PCG, for its part, said in a separate statement that the training will kick off the activities of Bertholf and its crewmen who are expected to dock in Manila on Wednesday, days after two US Navy minesweepers berthed in Palawan.

Meanwhile, the two-phase Asean Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus Maritime Security Field Training Exercise (ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX) 2019 ended on Monday in Singapore, with officials declaring it has boosted trust and confidence among the participating navies.

The Asean exercise, the first phase of which was held in South Korea, was cohosted by Singapore and South Korea.

Lt. Maria Christina Roxas, public affairs officer of the Philippine Navy’s Task Group 80.6, which joined the training, said that Singapore saw the two-week maritime security exercises as having reflected the abiding value of the ADMM-Plus, while building the trust and confidence “within the ADMM-Plus navies.”

“This is an opportunity for us to strengthen the security and peace and maintain cooperation in the region. Today, all of us are to remain committed to peace and stability, to secure these rules-based maritime waters reinforced by practical cooperation,” she quoted Lt. Gen. Melvyn Ong, chief of the Singapore Defense Force, as saying.

The Philippine Navy’s patrol ship BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17) joined 18 other warships, 10 aircraft and more than 1,500 personnel during the exercises in the waters of Busan, South Korea, and eastern Singapore.

Roxas said that Capt. Roy Vincent Trinidad, head of the Philippine contingent, declared that the Philippine Navy had achieved its goal during the exercise.

“We were able to enhance our maritime operational capability to multilateral level, thereby increasing our readiness and interoperability while engaging our partner navies,” she quoted Trinidad as saying.

PH, US ships hold drills near China-controlled shoa

From Malaya Business Insight (May 16, 2019): PH, US ships hold drills near China-controlled shoal

PHILIPPINE and US coast guard ships on Tuesday held maritime exercises near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, the first such drill to be conducted by the two sides since China gained control of the disputed area seven years ago.

Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Capt. Armand Balilo said two Chinese Coast Guard vessels were seen at the shoal, also known as Panatag Shoal and Bajo de Masinloc, during the exercise.

Involved in the half-day maritime exercise were the USCG’s Legend class maritime security cutter Bertholf, and PCG’s search and rescue vessel BRP Batangas and patrol ship BRP Kalanggaman.

Balilo said the exercise kicked off the visit of the US Coast Guard ship which linked up with Philippine Coast Guard ships at the vicinity for the exercise. The US vessel then proceeded and arrived at Pier 15 in Manila yesterday morning for a port visit.

“The scenario of the exercise is immediate response by PCG and USCG personnel to a sinking vessel and save those on board. There was also a communication exercise among the crew of the three ships involved in the exercise,” said Balilo.

“Meanwhile, two large ships from the China Coast Guard were seen during the exercise yesterday,” he added.

Balilo said the two Chinese ships actually tailed the US ship from Singapore and went as near as two miles from the USCG and PCG ships during the exercise.

On why PCG and the USCG held the exercise near the Scarborough Shoal, Balilo said, “They (US Coast Guard ship and its crew) were on the way here in Manila and that is the nearest (place to hold the exercise).”

Balilo said the exercise is not meant to “agitate” China which has maintained presence at the shoal since 2012 when they took control of the disputed area following a standoff with Philippine ships.

“There is no particular reason why they (PCG and USCG personnel) did that there. It was held in international waters so I think there is no problem with that,” said Balilo.

Bulatlat: #HalalanDayaan | ‘Duterte scores false victory, begins his downfall’ – Joma Sison

Posted to the pro-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) online propaganda publication Bulatlat (May 16, 2019): #HalalanDayaan | ‘Duterte scores false victory, begins his downfall’ – Joma Sison

“Duterte has brought about the conditions favorable for the rise of the legal mass protest movement as well as of the more potent armed revolutionary mass movement.”

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has pronounced the elections a “success” even as it still faces a growing outcry for explanations and a possible postponement of the proclamation of “winning” senatorial bets and partylists. The Comelec has yet to provide answers to questions ranging from the “transparency” server that failed to work at the crucial hours, to the mathematically improbable behavior of votes being tallied, to persistent and worsening cases of glitches and malfunctions, down to its refusal to take actions against violations of election rules committed against the opposition and the progressive groups.

All these are par for the course, based on the “predictions” of Jose Maria Sison, founding chairperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

“As I have pointed out, he has to rig the elections because he has the power and the criminal personality and motivation to do so,” Sison said.

Prior to the May 13 elections, Sison enumerated the ways in which the Duterte administration would effect the election rigging. He said “most important of all” these is the administration’s complete control of the Comelec and the deputization of military and police personnel for electoral functions.

Indeed, as the Comelec proceeds with canvassing of the vote, protests are building up in front of the canvassing center and the headquarters of the Comelec. The election watchdog KontraDaya is calling on the people to go to the Philippine International Convention Center PICC (where the national canvassing is happening) on Friday (May 17), to protest “the worst automated election ever.”

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, meanwhile, has called for the suspension of proclamation of winning candidates in the national level until the allegations of fraud are probed and resolved.

Trends in Comelec canvassing have only reinforced suspicions that an electronic dagdag-bawas (vote shaving/padding) may be happening, and it doesn’t help that the public has no way of knowing how or if their votes are really the votes that are being added up.

Reports of election fraud, inconsistencies, have also been coming in from all over the country, including names of administration candidates like Christopher “Bong” Go, Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa, and others magically appearing on receipts of voters who did not vote for them.

“The rigging also included the deployment of huge amounts of public and private funds to generate propaganda in various forms in favor of the regime and against the opposition, the use of the military and police for redtagging, mass intimidation, selective murders and splitting the opposition, extended martial law in Mindanao and declaration of trouble spots in Luzon and the Visayas,” Sison said.

Various commentators have said Duterte has thrown the playbook on usual presidential behavior during midterm elections. He and his family campaigned on all media for their slate and for their chosen partylists.

“He is driven like crazy to rig the elections by all means within his power,” Sison said in a statement.

At stake for President Duterte in this elections is control of the Senate, the lone institution that has so far eluded his consolidation. He is believed to hold sway in the Lower House, and he has previously already gotten rid of Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno.

Duterte’s intent is clear to his critics. Once he gains control of the Senate, his scheme is to establish a full- blown fascist dictatorship, by scrapping the 1987 constitution under the pretext of shifting to federalism; preventing his possible impeachment, or possible arrest and prosecution before the International Criminal Court “for his gross and systematic human rights violations, especially the mass murder of suspects in his bogus war on drugs as well as in his war on the people’s revolutionary movement,” Sison said.

Now that the elections had been rigged and Duterte’s senatorial slate is within his reach, if he can get past the growing protests, Sison said there is to be no break nor honeymoon. “Duterte will use his false electoral victory to adopt and implement more draconian measures to suppress the legal democratic opposition as well as the people’s revolutionary movement,” Sison warned.

And that is where Duterte is bound to meet his end, Sison said. Fact checkers recall a similar case in history and takes consolation from the fact that in the first case, the offending ruler was ousted. Similar to what the present-day Comelec tallied this week, in the 1978 election under the Marcos fascist dictatorship, the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) which was led by Imelda Marcos, won 91 percent of the seats of the national legislative body.

Socio-economic and political crisis in the Philippines will only worsen, as a result, and that, said Sison, will further drive the Duterte regime to commit crimes against the people and will at the same time incite the people, especially the toiling masses of workers and peasants to fight back.

Sison added that while Duterte may have succeeded in rigging the elections to swing a false victory, his own actions and polices will eventually cause his regime’s downfall. Sison said Duterte’s policies and acts of tyranny, treason, mass murder, plunder and swindling will eventually bring about the people’s resistance that is strong enough to end his rule.

“Duterte has brought about the conditions favorable for the rise of the legal mass protest movement as well as of the more potent armed revolutionary mass movement,” Sison said.

He estimated that if the elections had been clean and honest, it would have allowed the opposition senatorial candidates to win and frustrate Duterte’s greed for power and plunder. Reforms would have prevented protests.

“He gives no choice to the broad masses of the people but to unite and raise the level of their resistance.”

MILF: ‘Education’ key to success in the temporal world, and in final world – Iqbal

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May 16, 2019): ‘Education’ key to success in the temporal world, and in final world – Iqbal

“We know that education is the key to everything. The key to success in the temporal world, and the key to success in the final world or hereafter,” Mohagher Iqbal, Minister of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE), BARMM said during the inauguration of Konya Social Educational Center at the Jamiat Cotabato, Barangay Datu Balabaran, Cotabato City on May 11, 2019.

The center is a donation of the Turkish people, who has been providing funds for various infrastructures, and other projects to the Bangsamoro People.

“Education is the top most priority of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM),” said Iqbal.

The minister said the three most priorities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as contained in the Bangsamoro Organic Law are as follows, Education, Social Services, and Health Services.

60% of the employees of the ARMM or BARMM are in the ministry of education, or equivalent to 26,000 employees, as such the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education is a super ministry as far as the ARMM or BARMM is concerned.

“But the problem is the ministry of education is a super ministry but I am not a superman… The ministry is like a “Lego toys” spread in the ground which need to be assembled in order to make it one, and if we have no patient it is hard to reassemble it”, Iqbal said.

“Naludipan anami anya upisina ka upama ka 60% e kadakel na empleyado, na mapakay bun a edtalun sa kanu 60% a problema nu ARMM or BARMM na namba natago,” Iqbal said in the vernacular. (60% employees of BARMM are in the MBHTE and it can be said that of that figures, the 60 of problem in the BARMM are in the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education.)

Iqbal said “The marching order of the Interim Chief Minister (Ahod Ebrahim) to me as minister for MBHTE he said, and I quote ‘If it is true that there are ghost teachers, there are ghost school buildings, there are ghost students then bust all those ghosts including the flying ghosts’.

“The moment we assume our responsibility the Minister for Basic, Higher and Technical Education, one of the priority policies under my administration is to put moral sense and direction in the ministry,” said Iqbal.

“Without saying, this is in consonance with the policy guidelines of iCM that if we are going to establish a moral governance,” Iqbal underscored.

The minister has delivered significant accomplishments within 2-months through arduous work, and these are the reshuffling of school’s division superintendent.

“This is the first time that the superintendents are reshuffled,” Iqbal stressed.

There are more than 1,300 provisional teachers in BARMM, 17 in Sulu were presented to Iqbal for approval.

And in that case, the minister asked for the opinion from his lawyer, and his lawyer said “there is law on it”; Iqbal asked again “is there budget for it?” The accountant replied “there is allocated budget for it.”

Upon knowing all those concerns, Iqbal said that this is entrusted by the people in the minister as long as it will not violate the law, there is money, they approved the 97 probationary teachers who will to become permanent teachers now.

Among other accomplishments of the minister with the help of his team is the concluded Palarong Pambansa 2019 which the BARMM garnered gold and silver medals for the first time in history.

“For 17 years, the ARMM had never won a gold medal and silver medal but for the first time that the BARMM athletes where able to garnered 3 gold medals, 10 silver medals, 6 bronze medals… and this is through, of course of our dedication and help of the Almighty,” Iqbal said.

Iqbal emphasized that education is a key to success here in the world and in the hereafter. He said that this is the first revelation to Prophet Mohammad PBUH in the Qur’an which is “Iqra/read”, meaning knowledge.

He said a community who have education is high is better than other villages with less education, like the Christian community who are most of its people are educated are par excellence compare to Moro community in terms of development and that of the Indigenous community.

Iqbal said that individual must seek knowledge because education can big of help in the development of their own community. He promised everyone that he will help with utmost capacity that he has, for the education that is deemed important in the Bangsamoro region.

NPA denies hand in VCM torching in Isabela

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (May 16, 2019): NPA denies hand in VCM torching in Isabela

The New People’s Army (NPA)-Fortunato Camus Command has condemned Philippine National Police chief General Oscar Albayalde who blamed the communist rebels for snatching and burning two vote counting machines (VCMs) and election materials in Sta. Isabel, Jones town on Tuesday.

“Without any investigation, (Albayalde) was quick to pinpoint the NPAs as behind the burning to cover-up the (alleged incompetence) and dereliction of duty of the Jones police in the VCM and ballot burning,” spokesperson Guillermo Alcala said in a two-page statement sent to the Inquirer.

Armed men snatched two VCMs being loaded onto a dump truck en route to the municipal canvassing center at the town hall.

The Comelec classified Jones as an election “hot spot.”

“The NPAs do not believe in the rotten system of elections but we respect the people’s right to vote so we avoid doing acts against them,” Alcala added.

The rebels tagged the private armed groups of political leaders in Jones as those behind the torching of the VCMs and election materials.

With Even Fewer Checks on His Power, Where Will Duterte Take the Philippines?

From World Politics Review (May 16, 2019): With Even Fewer Checks on His Power, Where Will Duterte Take the Philippines? (By Joshua Kurlantzick)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, arrives for a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 25, 2019 (Photo by Kenzaburo Fukuhara for Kyodo via AP Images).

Although divisive internationally, President Rodrigo Duterte has remained popular at home in the Philippines despite a deeply illiberal streak. And with this week’s midterm elections, he has amassed even more political power—probably more than any Philippine leader since dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

After pro-Duterte candidates dominated elections for the Senate—the only real remaining source of resistance to Duterte’s agenda—his allies control both chambers of the Philippine Congress. There will now be even fewer constraints on Duterte, who has already been working to weaken the checks on his powers, including by reshaping the Supreme Court. By the end of the year, he will have appointed 12 of the court’s 15 justices.

What will Duterte do with this victory? Given the past three years, it is easy to imagine him using his expanded political powers to move the Philippines further from an illiberal democracy and closer to an outright autocracy, while also taking steps to entrench his influence well beyond the end of his term in 2022. Greater centralization of power not only threatens what is left of Philippine democracy; it could also hurt the economy, unsettling local and foreign investors.

Duterte’s big win will have a lesser impact on foreign policy. Even though he is now in near-total control of the Philippines’ political system, the country still has a weak hand to play regionally and internationally, though Duterte may be emboldened to defy the national security establishment’s preference for close links with Washington.

The election results hardly could have been worse for the opposition. Although the opposition had many big names on its Senate slate, including former presidential candidate and Cabinet secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas, its unified ticket won noneof the 12 Senate seats it contested. With Duterte’s aura of invincibility magnified, any remaining political opponents may be cowed during the second half of his presidential term.

The opposition is left stymied, with no clear path to recapturing popular support absent some massive misstep by Duterte. And the political situation may still get worse. In the run-up to the election, Duterte added many opposition politicians to a public list of people allegedly involved in the drug trade, and thus potentially targeted for extrajudicial murder. It remains unclear whether those listed as “narcopoliticians” actually have any links to drugs, but this type of tactic can chill political discourse, and it didn’t hurt Duterte at the polls.

Most likely, Duterte will ramp up this type of repression, including possibly pursuing more trumped-up charges against remaining opposition politicians. He will likely continue narrowing the space for independent media, since he paid no price at the ballot box either for his campaign against reporters like Maria Ressa, probably the country’s most famous journalist and a founder of the investigative outlet Rappler. She was arrested, for the second time, in March. He may also try to reinstate the death penalty as part of his crackdown on crime.

On domestic policy, Duterte has promised to cut corporate taxes to boost growth and attract investment, and he certainly now has the power to do so. But a tax cut probably won’t be enough to spark much higher economic growth, and the Philippines continues to be hit hard by inflation.

//Greater centralization of power under Duterte not only threatens what is left of Philippine democracy; it could also hurt the economy, unsettling local and foreign investors.//

Duterte otherwise shows no signs of building on the key areas of reform championed by his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, like seriously cracking down on corruption. The Philippines’ rating in Transparency International’s annual corruption perceptions survey has not improved under Duterte. Indeed, more power in Duterte’s hands might mean more graft in the second half of his term.

His centralization of power may also scare investors for other reasons. In the first half of his term, Duterte mostly left the details of economic policy to others, focusing instead on his drug war, foreign policy, and the unsettled situation in the southern Philippines. With even more power, and fewer restraints on him, Duterte could take over more decision-making on economic policy, an area where he knows very little and about which he cared little in the past.

Duterte’s controversial plan to shift the country to a more federal system of government could further destabilize the country’s politics and undermine growth. Although this plan, which requires changing the constitution, has not proven popular in polls, Duterte now has the numbers in Congress to push it through. The plan has some merits—Manila has been overly powerful, and other diverse and archipelagic countries like Indonesia have benefited from decentralization.

But a transition to federalism would probably be chaotic initially, and there are real worries that the constitutional change could allow Duterte to prolong his presidency, past the current limit of one six-year term, taking the Philippines back to an outright dictatorship. Or, he could use his power to set the stage for his daughter, just reelected as mayor of the southern city of Davao, to become president in 2022, creating the type of dynastic rule that has not served states in Southeast Asia well in the past.

Just because Duterte is more powerful doesn’t mean he will conduct a smarter or more effective foreign policy. In fact, the reverse could be true, with fewer limits on him, and an ever more subservient team of allies and advisers.

The biggest foreign policy issue for Duterte remains balancing between the United States, the Philippines’ treaty ally, and China, especially after Beijing’s recent brazen encroachment on Thitu Island in the South China Sea, the largest of the Spratly Islands claimed by Manila. Between January and March, more than 200 Chinese fishing vessels reportedly sailed close to the island. The opposition tried to make Duterte’s approach to China a major issue in the campaign, criticizing him for not driving a tough enough bargain on deals with Beijing for new investment, and over issues related to the South China Sea, where Duterte has vacillated between moving to accommodate China and pushing back. Of course, those charges didn’t help the opposition win, but China’s growing influence in the Philippines is still generally unpopular among Filipinos, putting something of a brake on relations with Beijing.

Still, given Duterte’s own, longstanding anti-American instincts and his now increased power over foreign policy, he will probably swing at least somewhat toward Beijing again, especially if China’s promised investments—including a potential $12 billion in deals struck at the recent Belt and Road Forum—actually come through this time around. A Duterte-allied Senate will surely have less interest in conducting investigations into concerns about Chinese influence in the Philippines.

After the election results came in, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters, “Undoubtedly, the Duterte magic spelled the difference.” Duterte could maintain that magic for a long time.

[Joshua Kurlantzick is senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations.]

AFP-CRS: ASR presents transformation initiatives on its 8th founding anniversary

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook page (May 15, 2019): ASR presents transformation initiatives on its 8th founding anniversary

FORT BONIFACIO, Metro Manila– The Philippine Army Signal Regiment presented its transformation initiatives during the celebration of its 8th founding anniversary held at the Headquarters Army Signal Regiment today, May 15, 2019.

The ASR is the Army’s sole provider of Signal Support and Services. It aims to provide one network for the Philippine Army through its various transformation initiatives.

The Army Chief Lt. Gen. Macairog S. Alberto graced the event as the Guest of Honor and Speaker of the celebration themed “ASR@8: Transforming the Army Signal Regiment to provide One Network to the Philippine Army.”

One of the ASR’s thrusts is to institutionalize the Army Signal Doctrine in collaboration with the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Command and Control Systems. It also continues to strengthen its organization, ensures the conduct of combat training of its troops, pursues the modernization program to acquire the latest Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and develop leaders and trains personnel to ensure that the regiment has the right man for the right job.

The regiment also acquired several ICT facilities and established networks and databases being maintained at secured locations that operate on a 24/7 basis.
All these transformation efforts ensure that the ASR is equipped with the right technology and facilities and have the skilled personnel ready to perform the mandate of the regiment.

“Your accomplishments will continue to enable stronger Army, particularly in cyber operations capability with the establishment of the Cyber Security Operations Center and Cyber Laboratory and the activation of the Network Enterprise Battalion,” said Alberto.

The Philippine Army command recognizes the vital role of the ASR and fully supports its transformation endeavors that greatly contributes to the Army’s journey to be a world class Army by 2028.

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PN: ADMM-Plus-MARSEC FTX Exercise 2019 culminates in Singapore

From the Philippine Navy (PN) Facebook page (May 15, 2019): ADMM plus MARSEC FTX Exercise 2019 culminates in Singapore


Changi, Singapore–The Philippine Navy (PN), along with other ASEAN and regional navies, successfully concluded the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus Maritime Security Field Training Exercise (ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX) 2019at the Fleet Headquarters, RSS Singapura, in naval base here Monday, May 13.

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PN: Concerts, Exhibits Series Launch 121st Philippine Navy Anniversary

From the Philippine Navy (PN) Facebook page (May 15, 2019): Concerts, Exhibits Series Launch 121st Philippine Navy Anniversary

In celebration of its 121st Founding Anniversary, the Philippine Navy recently launched series of concerts, static displays, exhibits, and recruitment activities to raise public awareness about the Navy and reach out to the community it serves.

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PN: 2 Thai Navy Ships dock in Subic for a goodwill visit

From the Philippine Navy (PN) Facebook page (May 16, 2019): 2 Thai Navy Ships dock in Subic for a goodwill visit

SMBA, Olongapo City – Two ships in the service of the Royal Thai Navy (RTN),HTMS (Her Thai Majesty’s Ship) Taksin (FFG-422) andHTMS Krabi (OPV-551), docked at Alava Wharf here earlier today for a goodwill visit to the Philippines until Saturday, May 18.

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WESCOM: Commander WESCOM and Commander 3MBDE/JTFP visit Headquarters MBLT 4

Posted to the Western Command (WESCOM) Facebook page (May 15, 2019): Commander WESCOM and Commander 3MBDE/JTFP visit Headquarters MBLT 4

Earlier today, VADM RENE V MEDINA AFP, Commander, Western Command together with BGEN CHARLTON SEAN M GAERLAN AFP, Commander, 3MBDE/JTFP and selected Officers of WESCOM visited the Headquarters of Marine Battalion Landing Team 4 in Sofronio EspaƱola, Advance Command Post of Tactical Operations Group 7 and Headquarters 18th Special Forces Company in Rizal, and Headquarters 44th Marine Company and Naval Station Narciso Del Rosario in Balabac.

Vice Admiral Medina has scheduled visits in all AFP units under Western Command to check the situation of all personnel under WESCOM and the activities of OPCOM units, and to set and strengthen the efforts of WESCOM to significantly contribute to the economic development, peace, and security in the Province of Palawan.

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AFP-CRS: HISTORY: First woman in uniform as MCAG Commander

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook page (May 15, 2019): HISTORY: First woman in uniform as MCAG Commander


MAJ LOUZEL LINEJAN LARA PA made a history as the first ever woman-in-uniform to become a Commander of Media and Civil Affairs Group (MCAG) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

MGen Bienvenido Datuin Jr., Commander of the AFP -Civil Relations Service, and a former personnel management chief, advocated placing the right people on the right job, finds Maj. Lara the best person for the job based on her records and rendered services in her previous assignments.

At present, Lara is also designated as Station Manager of DWDD Katropa Radio and AFP Virtual TV under MCAG, CRSAFP

Maj LARA is a Communications graduate from Western Mindanao State University. She joined the military service in 2005 due to the influence of her father, a Master Sergeant in the Philippine Army.

Prior joining the military service, she was once a reporter of a radio station in Zamboanga City bearing the moniker "RONDA COWGIRL 005". Never she imagined that she would become a soldier, but she performed her very best in her Officer Candidate Course. She excelled from among the other 80 male-dominated candidates as she ranked 12th in her class.

Ever since she entered the military service, Maj. Lara has developed her craft by attending several civilian and military schoolings such as AFP Financial Management Course, Information Operations Seminar to name a few.

She has been assigned to different units and offices particularly in Luzon, Mindanao and NCR where she was given special duties. With an outstanding and excellence performance, Lara received numerous awards, letter of commendations, and recognitions from her superiors.

Despite all her accolades, Lara keeps her feet on the ground, remains humble and continuously works to the best of her abilities.

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AFP-CRS: Mangyan Indigenous people abandon NPA cause in Oriental Mindoro

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook page (May 16, 2019): Mangyan Indigenous people abandon NPA cause in Oriental Mindoro

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AFP-CRS: Philippine Army recovers 1.1 million pesos cash in abandoned house

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook page (May 16, 2019): Philippine Army recovers 1.1 million pesos cash in abandoned house

AFP-CRS: 6th Infantry Division inaugurates new facilities

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook page (May 16, 2019): 6th Infantry Division inaugurates new facilities

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AFP-CRS: Higher pay ready for military and uniformed personnel

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook page (May 16, 2019): Higher pay ready for military and uniformed personnel

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AFP-CRS: 430 former rebels graduated from TESDA skills training in Northern Mindanao

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook page (May 16, 2019): 430 former rebels graduated from TESDA skills training in Northern Mindanao

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AFP-CRS: Martial Law in Mindanao deters terror

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook page (May 16, 2019): Martial Law in Mindanao deters terror

AFP-CRS: Philippines and Czech Republic hold 1st Defense Committee Meeting

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook page (May 16, 2019): Philippines and Czech Republic hold 1st Defense Committee Meeting

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Declare Reds personanon grata, PNP asks

From the Visayan Daily Star (May 16, 2019): Declare Reds personanon grata, PNP asks

The Bacolod City Police Office is requesting the Sangguniang Panlungsod to pass a resolution declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army persona non grata.

In his letter to the SP, through Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran dated May 2, acting Bacolod Police Director Police Col. Henry Binas said their request is in line with their campaign against violence, terrorism and oppression by communist insurgents.

Binas cited the declaration of persona non grata against the CPP-NPA by some local government units in some areas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

He said the declarations were made, citing the " continued acts of violence, terrorism, violent extremism and other forms of lawlessness, oppression, and harassment" of the communist insurgents against the people, acts that are manifestations that they only bring extreme poverty and misery to the people.

Familiaran said they referred the request of the police to the SP Committee on police matters, peace and order, and illegal drugs.

But, sad to say, all committee members were not present.

He said the chairman of the committee is Councilor Ricardo Tan, the vice chair is Councilor Dindo Ramos and Councilor Claudio Puentevella is a member.

Familiaran said the SP deferred the request of the police to the next session.*

3 soldiers injured in battle

From the Visayan Daily Star (May 16, 2019): 3 soldiers injured in battle

Three Army soldiers were slightly injured during an encounter with about 30 suspected New People’s Army rebels yesterday in Calatrava, Negros Occidental.

Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said yesterday that soldiers of the 79th Infantry Battalion assaulted the temporary harboring area of about 30 NPA rebels in Sitio Putting Tubig, Brgy. Minautok, Calatrava, with the firefight lasting for about one hour.

Three Army soldiers had abrasions on their hands with one in his armpit, after being hit by shrapnels of exploded M203 grenade, Arevalo said.

But Arevalo said they received reports from the populace in the area that the NPA suffered five casualties, based on heavy bloodstains found in their defensive positions, that was later overran by Army soldiers.

Recovered from the encounter site were a magazine containing eight ammunition of M1 Garand carbine rifle, three cellular phones, two cellular phone power banks, a pair of combat boots, a hammock and poncho, as well as 10 kilos of rice.

Lt. Col. Emelito Thaddeus Logan, 79IB commander, said the continuous encounters against the NPA prove that communities no longer want the presence of rebels in their areas.

The encounter took place after almost a month after the 79IB also figured in armed skirmishes with communist rebels in Brgy. Marcelo, Calatrava, that resulted in the killing of three rebels and the recovery of two assault rifles.

Two Air Force helicopters are now assisting the 79IB in the pursuit operations against the fleeing NPA rebels.

U.S. to continue West PH Sea patrols despite China's disapproval

From Rappler (May 16, 2019): U.S. to continue West PH Sea patrols despite China's disapproval

'We'll consistently be present,' says United States Navy chief Admiral John Richardson

ON PATROL. The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) on June 26, 2017. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Mortensen/Released

ON PATROL. The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) on June 26, 2017. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Mortensen/Released

MANILA, Philippines – The United States will continue sailing in the South China Sea despite the opposition of China, US Navy chief Admiral John Richardson said on Thursday, May 16.

Speaking to reporters in a teleconference from Tokyo, Japan, Richardson said their fleets’ freedom of navigation will continue despite opposition from China.

“The United States Navy has been consistently present in the South China Sea for 70 years. Our operations there have really not fluctuated much over those 7 decades, including in recent times. And so we'll consistently be present. We have [a] tremendous amount of national interest,” Richardson said.

This comes after the US Navy was slammed by the Chinese government for sailing in May close to Gaven and Chigua reefs in the Spratly Islands, which Beijing calls Nansha.

China also rebuked the US in February after it sent two ships through the Taiwan Strait. The pass-by was seen by China as a breach of its sovereignty. The US, however, disputed this, saying they were simply sailing through international waters.

Richardson stressed that the operations are all consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It’s under the same convention that a Hague tribunal ruled in 2016 that China’s excessive claims in the South China Sea were illegal.

“We do this around the entire world, and the operations a dozen or so of these throughout the world, including contesting the excessive maritime claims of even our allies and partners,” Richardson added.

In early May too, navies from the Philippines, United States, India, and Japan flexed their muscles in the disputed South China Sea after coming together for the ASEAN-Plus Defense Ministers' Meeting Maritime Security Field Training Exercise. (IN PHOTOS: PH, U.S., Japan, India flex muscles in South China Sea)

Rest assured, Richardson said, the operations were not intended to be “provocative” to the Chinese in any way. As the US Navy and Filipino fishermen have seen, however, Chinese sea forces are easily provoked.

In Basilan, Akbars out, more Hatamans in

From MindaNews (May 16, 2019): In Basilan, Akbars out, more Hatamans in

Akbars out, more Hatamans in.

Basilan Governor Jim Hataman-Salliman won a second term, his brother Mujiv Hataman won the seat for the lone district of Basilan while Mujiv’s wife, Sitti Djalia, is now the new city mayor of Isabela, partial unofficial results from the Commission on Elections show.

In Lamitan City, the Furigay couple Rosita and Roderick won even before election day. Both ran unopposed for mayor and vice mayor. Roderick was the first mayor of Lamitan as a city. He was elected mayor in 2004 and served for three terms until 2013. Rosita won a third term. The Furigays had previously served Lamitan when it was still a municipality.

Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, incoming mayor of Isabela City in Basilan. Photo from Ms Hataman’s FB page

Lamitan City was among four cities in Mindanao (out of 33) where Duterte lost in the Presidential elections of 2016. The couple ran under President Duterte’s Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP) in the 2019 polls.

In Isabela City, Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar (PDP) who was mayor for three terms from 2007 to 2016, failed in her bid for a comeback in 2019. She conceded defeat to former Anak Mindanaw party list Representative Sitti Djalia Hataman of the Liberal Party (LP).

As of the 8:26 a.m. partial, unofficial results from the Commission on Elections posted by ABS-CBN’s Halalan 2019, with 92 of 94 election returns or 97.87% of the votes, Sitti Djalia got 25,835 votes against Akbar’s 18,084.

Addressing Akbar in her Facebook post on Tuesday morning, Sitti Djalia, said that on behalf of the people of Isabela, “I humbly accept your concession, and offer too in return, our hand in peace.”

“In an exercise of democracy, it is the people who either win or lose with the choices they make. I accepted the call to join this exercise as a choice for the people, and never as an opponent to anyone. I repeatedly emphasized, it was not a race between us, between our families, or between our supporters, but a right and responsibility the people must fulfill,” she said.

“Rest assured that with the people, we will build on the gains of the current, your and the previous leaders of Isabela City. With full trust in God’s guidance, we shall strive to make this beloved city of ours a living symbol of peace and progress, and our people a living proof of an empowered, united and responsive citizenry,” Sitti Djalia added.

The Akbars were in power starting in 1998 when Wahab Akbar won as governor. He served for three terms until 2007. That same year, he was elected Representative of Basilan’s lone district, while wife Jum, was elected governor and his other wife, Cherrylyn as mayor of Isabela City.

Akbar was killed in an explosion outside the south wing of the Batasang Pambansa on November 13, 2007.

Jum served as governor from 2007 to 2016 and moved to the House of Representatives in 2016. She passed away on November 11, 2016.

Cherrylyn served as mayor from 2007 to 2016. Jum’s son, Al Qaid was elected mayor in 2016.

The Hatamans – Mujiv, his wife Sitti Djalia, and brother Jim – are all former members of Congress, Mujiv and Sitti Djalia representing Anak Mindanaw partylist – Mujiv from 2001 to 2010, and Sitti Djalia from June 30, 2013 until she resigned in early October 2017 to focus on community work. Jim was elected Basilan’s lone representative to Congress in 2010 and was reelected in 2013.

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman delivers his last State of the Region Address on 19 December 2018. Photo courtesy of the ARMM Bureau of Public Information
Jim, who ran under the PDP, is ending his first term as Governor, Mujiv served as OIC Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) from December 2001 to June 30, 2013 and was elected Governor in 2013 and reelected in 2016.

With 97.87% of the election returns in, Jim, who served as mayor of Sumisip town from 2001 to 2004, garnered 77,042 votes against 72,327 votes for Lakas’ Alfiya Hernandez while Mujiv won 116,683 votes against the 27,817 votes of KDP’s Omar Akbar with. Omar is a nephew of Jum.

In Sumisip, Mayor Gulam Hataman (PDP), the sibling of Mujiv and Jim, won the vice mayoralty race while his son, Vice Mayor Adnan Salliman Hataman (PDP) was elected mayor.

TABAK Division to deploy 283 new soldiers

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 16, 2019): TABAK Division to deploy 283 new soldiers

KUTA SANG-AN, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur  - - About 283 new graduates; 259 male and 24 female soldiers have successfully completed the 10-month rigid training at the 1st Division Training School (IDTS) in Upper Pulacan, this municipality.

BGen Roberto T. Ancan, commander of the 1st Infantry TABAK Division, PA was the keynote speaker during the closing ceremony of Candidate Soldier Course (CSC) Classes 567 and 568 - 2018 cross-trained with Jungle Warfare Mountain Operation Course (JWMOC).

He challenged the new soldiers to walk according to the living ideals of soldiery. “Your journey has just begun, always uphold the virtues of the AFP and serve with Pride and Honor and do not forget to seek help and guidance from our God Almighty.”

The training provided the candidate soldiers with the basic knowledge and skills of soldiery, and developed their character that make them into strong and lethal warrior members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

BGen Ancan also expressed his gratitude to the family, especially the parents of the graduates who entrusted their sons and daughters to be part of the noble profession of arms, reminding them also that military life is a life of service and danger, but nonetheless a patriotic life that one could be proud of.

The new graduates will be deployed to the different field units under the administrative control of the 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, and will serve to further strengthen the forces of the division in fighting violence and terrorism and in sustaining the peace and development in Western Mindanao. (ALT-PIA9/Zamboanga Sibugay/1ID Press Release)

44 former NPA sympathizers renew allegiance supporting the government

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 16, 2019): 44 former NPA sympathizers renew allegiance supporting the government

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CANDON CITY, Ilocos Sur -- Forty-four former sympathizers of the underground movements of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the second district of Ilocos Sur have renewed their allegiance supporting the Philippine government.

The former NPA sympathizers also condemned the activities of the NPA rebels manipulating the minds of the populace in the villages to inculcate the crumpled ideology of communism.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Castillo, the commander of the Army’s 81st Infantry Battalion, said on Thursday that the mass oath-taking rite of the former NPA supporters was held during the recent Grand Pulong-Pulong at Barangay Tablac, Candon City, Ilocos Sur.

The Grand Pulong-Pulong is a continuing activity of the Community Support Program (CSP) of the 81st Infantry Battalion to bring the services and programs of the national government agencies to the residents of the insurgency-affected barangays in the province.

During the pulong-pulong in Barangay Tablac, Candon City, the village officials headed by Roland Torres crafted and issued a resolution denouncing the presence of CPP-NPA rebels in the barangay and declaring them as “persona non grata.”

“In our area of operations, many barangays have already declared the NPA rebels as persona non grata; these imply that they are already fed up with the NPAs entering their respective barangays, intimidating people and averting peace and development in the area,” Castillo said.

For his part, Major General Lenard Agustin, the commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division, commended the Ilocos Sur residents for their cooperation to end the problem of insurgency in the province.

“It is good to know that the people of Ilocos Sur have united with us to fight the insurgency problem in the area; cooperation of the people is very important in ending insurgency; and let us unite with each other to attain the genuine peace towards development,” said Agustin.

Palace advises critics, Reds to accept defeat

From the Philippine News Agency (May 15, 2019): Palace advises critics, Reds to accept defeat

MalacaƱang on Wednesday called on the opposition and leftist groups to be “humble enough” to accept their defeat in the May 13 mid-term elections.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo slammed Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes for claiming the so-called President Rodrigo Duterte’s “magic” was “the systematic cheating and rigging of the elections.”

"We hope that Mr. Reyes would be humble enough to accept the electoral defeat even as we are magnanimous in our triumph,” Panelo said in a statement.

“Their strategy of attacking a non-candidate President who remains hugely popular amongst the people, registering an 81 percent public satisfaction rating in favor of his administration at the height of the campaign season, was simply wrong. It triggered a backlash against the opposition candidates," he said.

Panelo said the loss suffered by the left-leaning groups should be a "wake-up call" to them as it showed the public's non-agreement to the advocacies they are pushing for.

"Their loss is a clear indictment that our people do not believe in their advocacies, especially on the war on drugs, extra-judicial killings, South China Sea, one-man rule, etc., which they have foisted and peddled to the people. The electorate has seen through the sophistry of espousing their feigned brand of nationalism for many decades, taking advantage of the poor man’s plight," Panelo said.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Reyes -- instead of throwing in the towel and yield to the resounding voice of the electorate -- opts to throw his false and malicious narratives at the Duterte administration," he added.

Panelo said Reyes' claim of irregularities have not been backed by any substantial evidence.

He cited that the leadership of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is mostly composed of appointees by former president Benigno S. Aquino III.

"President Duterte will never interfere with the election process, as well as frustrate the sovereign will of the people, for such is the very process which propelled him to the presidency," he said.

Panelo also contradicted Reyes' definition of the "Duterte magic" and defined it as a total package of sterling performance, empathy, and good governance the President delivers to the people.

"It includes his decisive actions in resolving various local and national issues, as well as creating solutions to uplift the lives of the citizenry. These, among others, comprise the ‘Duterte magic’ which carried his candidates to a resounding victory," he said.

Panelo instead urged Reyes and the left to present an alternative platform.

"They should have presented an alternative platform of governance and discussed how their brand of politics would be much better than the kind that the administration candidates would provide," he said.

He also called on the opposition to set aside partisanship and work together for the betterment of the Filipino people.

"The sovereign voice has spoken. We urge the opposition, the critics and the detractors to bow to the majesty of the rule of the majority, lest we are swept away by the rampaging tidal waves of change," he said.

In a statement, Reyes claimed that the "Duterte magic" is the use of government resources to favor administration bets, use of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police to target and harass opposition groups, especially the progressive party-lists and candidates, control of the Comelec, and the hocus-pocus of the automated polls, martial law in Mindanao, and government-sponsored disinformation.

Latest partial and unofficial results showed that former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, the left's candidate for the Senate, is far from the winning circle of candidates at 24th place with 96.68 percent of votes already in.