Saturday, July 6, 2019

Mindoro folk flee fighting with Reds

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 7, 2019): Mindoro folk flee fighting with Reds

CITY OF CALAPAN, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines — Almost 800 residents were displaced by a series of clashes between security forces and New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Victoria town in Oriental Mindoro.

Tanie Malitao, municipal disaster risk and reduction management officer, said in a phone interview on Friday that the refugees were from the village of San Cristobal and nearby mountainous barangays of Concepcion, Loyal, San Antonio and Villa Cerveza.

The initial report of disaster responders showed 215 families, or a total of 777 individuals, evacuated to temporary shelters at the San Cristobal covered court, Loyal eco-park and San Antonio basketball court.

Traumatized by war

Malitao said that those in San Cristobal and Loyal stayed at the evacuation centers while those from San Antonio went to their residences during the day but returned at night.

“They are traumatized, and with the provincial social welfare office, we have intervened with debriefing sessions,” Malitao said.

The military reported that at least five people have already died from the series of clashes.

The fifth and latest fatality, according to a military report on Thursday, was identified as Mervin Malucon, an alleged NPA soldier.

Malucon was killed in the second of two encounters on Wednesday noon at Sitio Pamuwisan at Loyal in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro. Soldiers also recovered an M14 rifle, improvised explosives and six cellphones from the clash site.

But Capt. Patrick Jay Retumban, spokesperson of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, said another clash erupted in the same village around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Another clash was also recorded by the military around the same time in Villa Cerveza.

“Our operations are continuing, without let up. Good thing is we are able to track them down,” Retumban said in a message to the Inquirer.

The clashes came after the Army’s 76th Infantry Battalion pursued a band of about 30 rebels, who were probably the same group encountered in Calintaan, Occidental Mindoro, on June 29, Retumban said.

Human-induced disaster

While the situation was calm on Saturday, Malitao said “the situation [was] a human-induced calamity because there had been a displacement.”

Meanwhile, relief assistance had been pouring in for the evacuees.

Malitao said the Victoria town government, provincial government and cause-oriented group Sambayanan extended help in the form of rice, coffee, canned goods, soap, milk, diapers, toothbrush and toothpaste.

The clashes and subsequent evacuations affected people’s livelihood in the town which is considered as the “fruit basket” of Oriental Mindoro.

CPP-NPA persona non grata in Toboso, Negros Occidental

From Politiko Visayas (Jul 7, 2019): CPP-NPA persona non grata in Toboso, Negros Occidental

Members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army are now officially no longer welcome in Toboso town in Negros Occidental.

Officials of the town signed Resolution 044 to mark the town’s 71st anniversary last July 1.

Local officials headed by Mayor Richard Jaojoco, 79th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Emelito Thaddeus Logan, and Police Maj. John Mocyat Jr., acting battalion commander of 6th Special Action Battalion of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force, led the signing.

The resolution had been approved during the regular session of the municipal council last June 25.

Under the resolution, Toboso town condemns “the illegal and unlawful activities of the CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) as it threatens the economic, social and political stability of the municipality and its people.”

Logan commended the town government for its action against the communist terrorist group who destroys peace and development, as well as the lives of people in the area.

Last May 30, San Carlos City also passed Resolution No. 19-139, denouncing the atrocities perpetuated by the NPAs in the country and not to allow their presence in the city.

MILF: “By 2040 Philippines is Poverty Free” - NAPC

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Jul 6, 2019): “By 2040 Philippines is Poverty Free” - NAPC

COTABATO CITY – In a press conference held Wednesday at the Badjao Hall, BARMM, Lawyer Noel Felongco, Secretary of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) said that President Rodrigo Duterte would want to eradicate poverty incidence in the country by 2040.

Felongco said a 5-year development plan was crafted and is the NAPC contributions to the instruction of Duterte to reduce country’s poverty incidence in his term from 21.6% in 2015 to 14% or lower by 2022. “This means 22 Million Filipinos experiencing poverty,” he stressed.

“The instructions of Duterte is to lower down that record to 14% meaning that is tantamount to around 6-8 Million Filipinos lifted out from poverty.

The 5-year development plan is also the NAPC contributions to the full realization of vison of the President to really eradicate poverty in 2040 through the Executive Order No. 5 which called “ambition natin 2040”.

Felongco said that by 2040, 0% poverty in the Philippines will be observed. “All Filipinos will enjoy comfortable life, and nobody person and place will be left behind in terms of economic growth in our country,” Felongco pointed out.

The main reason why NAPC meet the LGUs and line agencies is to implement plan.

NAPC also made a courtesy call to BARMM BTA Interim Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim before the press conference held on July 3 inside the Badjao Hall, BARMM, Cotabato City where he submitted copy of poverty situation analysis in the BARMM.

The NAPC made a proposal to BARMM to create office that will cater concerning rural development and poverty reduction.

Felongco revealed that among of the 40 provinces in the country there are BARMM provinces included in the top 5 of high incidence of poverty.

In the First half of 2018 poverty incidence Sulu has 74.3% poverty incidence, followed by Lanao del Sur 73.7%, Basilan with 72.1%, Maguindanao is 55.1%, Tawitawi is at 23.4% and Cotabato City is 48.7%.

“Over all poverty incidence in BARMM according PSA survey has 63% in the first half of 2018,” Felongco said.

The NAPC has been mandated to oversee, monitor and recommend measures to ensure the effective formulation, resource allocation and management of the program.

MILF: Gov’t Implementing Panel visits MILF’s Camp Abubakar

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Jul 6, 2019): Gov’t Implementing Panel visits MILF’s Camp Abubakar

In Photo- Ms. Gloria Mercado, GPH Peace Panel Chair and Undersecretary, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) speaks to residents during their visit to Camp Abubakar. (Seated right)-Col. Dickson Hermoso, Asst. Secretary, OPAPP

CAMP ABUBAKAR, BARIRA, MAGUINDANAO (July 5, 2019) — More than 300 are seated inside a community center here which was perhaps designed for not more than a hundred.

Despite the heavy downpour, the crowd, with some of them standing under the rain, eagerly awaited as the guests arrived and settled down at the makeshift stage. A burst of applause erupted as the emcee wearing a crisp, camouflage uniform acknowledged each of them.

The visitors are members of the Government of the Philippines Implementing Panel who came in full force. They traveled for more than two hours from Cotabato City – passing through rough terrain, wooden bridges and winding, one-lane roads – to reach the historic camp.

The panel was headed by its chair and Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Gloria Mercado, Chief-Of-Staff David Diciano, Assistant Secretary Dickson Hermoso and panel member Ariel Hernandez.

Putting a ‘human face’

In her message, Mercado explained that the panel’s visit is part of its efforts to help those residing in the six government-acknowledged Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) camps to better understand the Normalization process and how its implementation will benefit them.

“We would like to see the faces of the people in the camps. We would like to put a human face to our plans and develop a better appreciation of your place,” she told the crowd which was composed mostly of former MILF combatants and their families.

Mercado said the panel was directed by no less than Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. to conduct the camp visits. The panel has already made similar visits to camps Bilal and Busra in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur.

“We were instructed by our secretary to visit all the camps before finalizing all these plans which are designed to transform your camps into peaceful, progressive and resilient communities,” she said.

A brighter future

For his part, Hermoso, a former army colonel, recalled the more than four decades of armed conflict between the government and the Moro fronts which resulted in the destruction of numerous communities and claimed the lives of thousands of innocent civilians.

“How many lost their husbands? How many were orphaned? For the past 44 years, you have sadly been left behind,” he said.

Hermoso said the “all-out war” in 2001 wherein Camp Abubakar became the main battleground was a dark chapter in the Bangsamoro people’s history. Everything, however, turned around after the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in 2014.

With the peace agreement, he said the war between the government and the MILF had ended. The visit of Galvez, who was then AFP chief of staff, to the MILF’s Camp Darapan and MILF Chairman Ebrahim Murad’s trip to Camp Aguinaldo further reinforced the peace pact.

Hermoso, who also heads the Joint Peace and Security Committee, one of the several Normalization bodies under the CAB, said 200 Joint Peace and Security Teams (JPSTs) shall be created to ensure the security of residents within the MILF camps.

He said the JPSTs will be composed of soldiers, policemen and members of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF). This teams will serve until the new Bangsamoro transition government ends its term in 2022.

Hermoso said that once the BIAF members have fulfilled their duties with the JPSTs, they will then transition into livelihood activities. As part of the process, they will be profiled to determine who among them can work as farmers, fishermen, students or entrepreneurs.

“You will all have work. There will be socio-economic programs available so all of you can earn a living,” he said.

“We are no longer counterparts but peace partners. Let us all move forward to a brighter future,” Hermoso said.

Decommissioning process and camps transformation

Meanwhile, Panel member Mr Ariel Hernandez said the first phase of the decommissioning process for the ex-fighters will officially start on September 7 of this year and will end by around March the following year.

He said a key component of the process are the socio-economic and education packages to be provided to the former combatants and their families.

“The key to ending poverty is education. This is the reason why the government is providing significant funds for education under the Normalization track,” Hernandez said.

He also emphasized the need for the decommissioning process and camps transformation to be carried out simultaneously.

Hernandez said the initial initiatives of the Joint Task Force on Camps Transformation included exposure tours for MILF-BIAF front and base commanders.

“This is what we call modelling. We want them (commanders) to see what is happening outside the camps,” he said, adding the participants of these tours can apply what they have learned when they return to their respective camps.

Hernandez also underscored the need for members of the community to be an integral part of the planning and implementation process, particularly in the crafting of development plans for their respective camps.

“When we plan, the community should always be involved. Outsiders shouldn’t do [all] the planning for you. You should take the lead on this,” he said.

“No one will be left behind. All of us will be working together. We now have a bright future ahead of us,” Hernandez said.

In the meantime, Diciano said he had seen in the former warriors their desire for genuine peace and sustainable development.

He said there is thus a need for members of these MILF communities to work hand in hand with the government in order to ensure the success of the Normalization process.

“Let us put together our efforts so that we can put an end to all the bad things that have happened. Let us plan well so that development will be sustainable and will benefit all,” he said. ###

NDF/Sison: Comment on Duterte’s daring the US to fire the first shot in the West Philippine Sea

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Jul 6, 2019): Comment on Duterte’s daring the US to fire the first shot in the West Philippine Sea

By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
July 6, 2019

Duterte dares US to declare war with China | July 6, 2019

1. There is no need for the US to fire the first shot against Chinese intruders in the West Philippine Sea. Unlike Duterte and his subordinates, the Vietnamese and Indonesian authorities have been able to apprehend and even burn Chinese boats intruding into their respective seas as defined by the UNCLOS. And no war with China has ensued.

2. Without firing a single shot, the US can easily instruct its following within the military and police forces under Duterte to take him into custody as a traitor and to install vice president Robredo as the constitutional successor, with the expectation that she can do what the Vietnamese and Indonesian authorities have been able to do against Chinese intruders.

3. On behalf of the Philippines and in accordance with the UNCLOS and the PAC judgment in favor of the Philippines, Robredo can order the filing of cases in the US and other countries, where China has substantial assets, in order to compel China to pay rent for occupying the artificial islands and compensation for the serious damage to the marine environment in the West Philippine Sea.

4. Why does Duterte expose himself so blatantly as a traitor, coward or even a moron? It is because China holds him by the balls. He has been heavily bribed to talk and act as he does. It is already of public knowledge that Duterte and his cronies have privately benefited from so many shady deals with China (high interest loans, overpriced infrastructure projects, oil and gas exploration, telco contract, casinos and tourist projects,etc.) aside from collaboration with the Chinese criminal triads involved in the smuggling of drugs and other goods.

5. And why does the US refrain from doing No. 2 above? It is because it is still trying to use Duterte to crack down on the revolutionary movement and to make charter change to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership of corporations engaged in the exploitation of land and natural resources and operation of all types of businesses. But like Marcos, Duterte can still be junked by the US when he becomes more of a liability than an asset to US interests.

CPP/NPA-Bicol Region: Hinggil sa sunud-sunod na pamamasalang sa bayan ng Caramoan

NPA-Bicol Region propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 6, 2019): Hinggil sa sunud-sunod na pamamasalang sa bayan ng Caramoan

JULY 06, 2019
Mariing kinukundena ng Romullo Jallores Command ang pamamaril ng mga ahente ng estado sa dating kapitan ng Brgy. Antolon, Caramoan na si Albert Caballero Villarete noong ika-2 ng Hulyo habang nagmamaneho ng motorsiklo patungong Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Caramoan. Ayon sa mga saksi, nakilala ang suspek na si Sandy Santileses residente ng Brgy. Poloan, Caramoan. Si Santileses ay miyembro ng yunit ng CAFGU na hawak ng 83rd IBPA. Si Santileses din ang suspek sa pagpatay sa sibilyang si Manuel Nases residente ng bayan ng Caramoan, noong Setyembre 2017.

Ang naturang krimen ay naganap matapos ang pananalakay ng militar sa isang yunit ng Tomas Pilapil Command-BHB East Camarines Sur kung saan nabilang sa napatay si Norberto ‘Ka Obet’ Balcueva na residente rin ng Brgy. Antolon. Batay sa awtopsiya sa bangkay, liban sa tama ng bala, nagtamo si Ka Obet ng mga tama sa katawan at marka ng pagbali sa buto. Dahil dito, binabalak ng magsagawa ng isang fact finding mission hinggil sa kaso ng panonortyur at desekrasyon sa bangkay ni Ka Obet.

Tinarget ng militar si Villarete dahil sa progresibong rekord nito at dahil kababaryo nito si Ka Obet. Malaki ang pisibilidad na lumahok din ito sa fact finding mission. Ang biktimang si Villarete ay kilala sa kanyang mga progresibong tindig at may kasaysayan ng paglahok sa mga anti-pasistang pagkilos. Siya ang tumayong lider ng binuong alyansa laban sa militarisasyon sa kanilang bayan noong 2014.

Upang pagtakpan ang kanilang mga krimen. Nagmamadali ang militar na patahimikin ang mga indibidwal at organisasyong maaaring magsiwalat sa katotohanan sa publiko. Dahil nailalagay sa depensibang pusisyon ang militar at pulis bunsod ng sunud-sunod na kaso nila ng pamamaslang, pinalalaganap nila ang kasinungalingang ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan ang nasa likod ng mga karumal-dumal na pamamaslang.

Nananawagan ang RJC-Bikol sa lahat ng mga progresibong organisasyon, kagawad ng midya, taong-simbahan, upisyal ng lokal na gubyerno, propesyunal at iba pang sektor na kagyat magsagawa ng mga fact finding mission hinggil sa magkasunud-sunod na paglabag sa karapatang-tao sa bayan ng Caramoan. Dapat kagyat na ilantad sa publiko at mapigilan ang mga nakahilera pang pananalakay ng militar sa mga residente ng naturang bayan at iba pang bahagi ng rehiyon. Dapat singilin at panagutin ang militar at pulis sa pagtarget nila sa mga sibilyan at sa kanilang krimen laban sa mamamayan.

CPP/Sison: Duterte’s use of anti-communism and anti-terrorism for the fascist suppression of the Filipino people

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 6, 2019): Duterte’s use of anti-communism and anti-terrorism for the fascist suppression of the Filipino people

JULY 06, 2019

A close reading of Executive Order No. 70, signed by Duterte on December 4, 2018 in order to create the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict, shows that it is a major step of his tyrannical rule to realize the imposition of a full-blown fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people and to reassure the US that he is still its puppet even if he makes a fast buck on the side from shady deals with China and the Chinese criminal triads.

Duterte’s order uses the expression “whole nation” approach. This is but a rehash of the long discredited and failed catchphrases, such as “total war” and “whole government” approach used by previous regimes to mean all-out war against the revolutionary movement of the people. But Duterte and his task force wish to wage psywar and mass murder on an unprecedented scale, even surpassing the standards of repression set by his idol Marcos.

The implementation of the order has proven its repulsive murderous and deceptive character and its antipeople and antidemocratic objectives. In touting what it deceptively calls a “whole nation” approach, the Duterte regime is doggedly trying to militarize the Duterte cabinet and entire reactionary government in order to turn the entire Filipino nation against itself and serve the interests of the imperialists and local exploiting classes under the pretext of anticommunism and anti-terrorism.

The tyrannical and terrorist regime seeks in vain to misrepresent and demonize the forces of the armed revolutionary movement and at the same time to tag and brand the forces and activists of the legal democratic movement of patriotic and progressive forces as “communist” and “terrorist”. Going to the extreme of absurdity, the regime blames both types of forces as the causes of underdevelopment, poverty and armed conflict.

The uppermost counterrevolutionary objective of the regime is to preserve the semicolonal and semifeudal ruling system in which foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism exploit and oppress the people and to discredit, isolate and destroy all the national and democratic forces that fight for the national and social liberation of the Filipino nation and people.

The Duterte regime is using E.O 70 to militarize all branches and agencies of the reactionary government, the state educational and communications system, all nongovernmental institutions and organizations in order to terrorize the people and impose fascist rule on the entire Filipino people under the long-discredited Cold War and McCarthyite shibboleth of anti-communism and the latter-day Bushite pretense of anti-terrorism.

The Duterte regime’s methods for trying to suppress the legal democratic forces and the revolutionary movement of the people are similar to those employed in Oplan Tokhang in the bogus war on drugs. Scare tactics are used to exact mass compliance, compel barangay officials to list up poor people as drug addicts and pushers and subsequently use the list for murdering people by the tens of thousands.

General Año, the notorious butcher head of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), has ordered the local governments to list down rebel suspects, give the list to the death squads for action, hold fake surrender meetings and declare as persona non grata the revolutionary forces as well as the patriotic and progressive organizations. But he has failed miserably to discourage the people from participating and supporting the revolutionary movement despite the fanfare he tries to stir up in the press.

At all levels of the reactionary government, the regime’s political and military agents terrorize communities, organizations or individuals deemed as opposed to or critical of the regime by red-tagging them and branding them as communist, waging psywar campaigns against them and subjecting them to all forms of punitive measures, including harassments, arbitrary arrest on trumped up charges or planted evidence of firearms and explosives, extortion, torture, murder, bombing and arson, forced evacuation and “hamletting”.

Under the so-called Oplan Kapayapaan, now renamed Oplan Katatagan, the reactionary military and police officers are being corrupted by Duterte with discretionary funds for murdering rebel suspects in fake encounters, for staging fake surrenders under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program and for arranging token projects and dole-outs under the Pamana Program, Peace and Development Program and Community Support Program.

Duterte’s military, police and paramilitary units have extremely limited capacity to deceive the people with token delivery of social services and dole-outs because the programs they operate are encumbered by corruption at various levels. Moreover, the pretenses at civic action or real acts of militarizing civilian functions are discredited by the atrocities being committed by the same or by other military and police units. In the first place, the economic, social and political conditions are rapidly worsening under the crisis-stricken ruling system.

After sabotaging the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and terminating them completely, Duterte and his sidekick General Galvez, his supposed presidential adviser, have utterly failed to realize their scheme of dividing the revolutionary movement through so-called localized peace talks which are preconditioned on surrender and self-humiliation. Since the announcement of the shallow deceptive scheme, all leading organs of the CPP and commands of the NPA at various levels have rebuffed the scheme and vowed to intensify the people’s war.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process has become a worse hotbed of corruption and bureaucratic intrigue than ever before. Its open function now is to prevent peace negotiations within the framework of the The Hague Joint Declaration, avoid addressing the basic roots of the armed conflict and use the false claim of localized peace negotiations to escalate the armed conflict, seek the total destruction of the people’s revolutionary movement by military means and support the imposition of fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people.

The broad masses of the Filipino people are fighting back against the tyrannical, treasonous, terrorist and corrupt Duterte regime. The anti-imperialist and democratic forces and the broad masses of the people in the Philippines are resolutely and vigorously exposing and opposing the regime’s gross and systematic violation of human rights in the civil, political, socioeconomic and cultural fields.

As in the time of the Marcos fascist dictatorship, the tyrannical and terrorist Duterte regime is unwittingly and practically forcing social activists and other people to join the armed revolution by threatening them with abduction and murder and is generating a public clamor for armed partisan and commando operations against the worst human rights violators and plunderers to obtain justice for the aggrieved people.

The tyrant and terrorist Duterte is now being widely ridiculed as having unwittingly become the No. 1 recruiter and No. 1 supply and transport officer of the people’s army by oppressing and exploiting the people and sending his armed minions to the countryside for annihilation in the people’s war.

The revolutionary forces in the countryside and urban underground have been tempered in more than 50 years of revolutionary struggle and have built strength in an extensive and deepgoing way among the people, especially the toiling masses.

According to their publications, the revolutionary forces of the people are intensifying the people’s war, carrying out social programs for the benefit of the people and building a people’s democratic government mainly in the countryside. ###

CPP: Condemn killing of 3-year old in drug war

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 6, 2019): Condemn killing of 3-year old in drug war

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today expressed strongest condemnation for the Philippine National Police over the death of 3-year old Myka Ulpina who was shot by police operatives last June 29 in “anti-drug” operations in Rodriguez, Rizal.

“The Party and all revolutionary forces expresses sympathy with Myka’s mother and family and supports their demand for justice,” said the CPP. Ulpina’s mother disputed claims of police that the toddler was used as human shield by her father, Renato.

“Myka joins the long list of victims of Duterte’s fascist drug war which targets the poor and oppressed whom Duterte has expressed complete contempt for,” added the CPP.

“The Party enjoins the thousands upon thousands of mothers, relatives and friends of victims of Duterte’s drug war to stand up, end their silence and unite in demanding justice.”

The CPP said “the Duterte regime must be made to account for its so-called ‘drug war’ which the police continues to wage relentlessly despite being proven a big failure in its declared objective of eradicating drug trafficking.”

“It has become very apparent that so-called drug operations by the PNP are actually liquidation operations mounted by criminal syndicates against their rivals,” pointed out the CPP. “The people have long grown tired of the police ‘nanlaban’ justification for the killings which they repeatedly invoke even if it makes them appear grossly incompetent in mounting their operations.”

The CPP said Duterte’s drug war is, in fact, a war among drug syndicates of which Duterte is the biggest of all protectors. “In connivance with Chinese drug syndicates, Duterte and his criminal cohorts in the military and police have facilitated the entry into the country of tons of shabu by deploying his trusted military officers in the Bureau of Customs as well as in the airports.”

The CPP said the criminal perpetrators behind the death of Myka, as well as thousand others summarily executed must be meted out punishment. The Party urges these police operatives to end their criminal operations against the people and make amends lest they become among the targets of NPA partisan units.

AFP-CRS: CPP-NPA terrorist killed farmer in Negros

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Jul 5, 2019): CPP-NPA terrorist killed farmer in Negros

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AFP-CRS: Gallant soldiers stopped second bomber, prevented more casualties

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Jul 5, 2019): Gallant soldiers stopped second bomber, prevented more casualties

AFP-CRS: Fil-Am students to engage youth on CPP-NPA abuses vs. indigenous peoples

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Jul 5, 2019): Fil-Am students to engage youth on CPP-NPA abuses vs. indigenous peoples
Fil-Am students to engage youth on CPP-NPA abuses vs. indigenous peoples

“We only hear everything else coming from the mainstream media, and all these other outlets. But when it comes from first-hand sources just like them, it really provides a different perspective on all information that I didn’t know before. It’s really good as a Filipino-American student to expose myself to what they have to say because it was very informative and I learned a lot more about the indigenous Filipinos."

Mr. Roderick Perez
President, Filipino-American Student Club, Fordham University

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AFP-CRS: Navy to decommission World War II vintage ship BRP Sultan Kudarat

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Jul 6, 2019): Navy to decommission World War II vintage ship BRP Sultan Kudarat

AFP-CRS: Cadets compete in‘ultimate’ ROTC challenge

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Jul 6, 2019): Cadets compete in‘ultimate’ ROTC challenge

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AFP-CRS: Philippine Air Force, building integrated air defense system

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Jul 6, 2019): Philippine Air Force, building integrated air defense system

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AFP-CRS: AFP, DSWD ink pact on peace, countering CPP-NPA threat

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Jul 6, 2019): AFP, DSWD ink pact on peace, countering CPP-NPA threat

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AFP-CRS: President Duterte pays tribute to slain, wounded soldiers in Sulu

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Jul 6, 2019): President Duterte pays tribute to slain, wounded soldiers in Sulu

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AFP-CRS: Cdr 3rd Inf Div appeals to CPP-NPA terrorists

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Jul 6, 2019): Cdr 3rd Inf Div appeals to CPP-NPA terrorists

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Kalinaw News: 61IB overruns CPP-NPA Terrorist’s encampment in Capiz

Posted to Kalinaw News (Jul 5, 2019): 61IB overruns CPP-NPA Terrorist’s encampment in Capiz

61IB overruns CPP-NPA Terrorist’s encampment in Capiz 1

61IB overruns CPP-NPA Terrorist’s encampment in Capiz 2

CAMP PERALTA, Jamindan, Capiz- The Army’s 61st Infantry (Hunter) Battalion thwarted the plan of the CPP-NPA Terrorist to stage atrocities in President Roxas, Capiz.

This, after the troops from 61IB clashed with more or less fifteen (15) members of Sangay sa Partido sa Platoon (SPP)-East, Komiteng Rehiyon – Panay of CPP-NPA Terrorist led by a certain Guning at about 08:20 in the morning of July 05.

According to LTC Joel Benedict Batara, Commanding Officer, 61IB, they received information from the civilian populace on the presence of the fully-armed CPP-NPA terrorists conducting recruitment activities among minors and planning to conduct atrocities in the area, hence he immediately deployed his troops to conduct combat operations in the said barangay.

“Our troops were approaching in the target area when they were fired upon by the communist terrorists which prompted them to fire back”, LTC Batara said.

The firefight lasted for about twenty (20) minutes before the communist-terrorists withdrew towards Barangay Badiangon of same municipality. No one was hurt on the government side while it remains undetermined on the enemy’s side.

Upon scouring the area, the troops recovered the following items: one (1) portable generator, one (1) multi-media projector, two (2) hand grenades, one (1) anti-personnel mine, eight (8) rifle grenades, four (4) back packs, two (2) cellular phones, one (1) container of gasoline, two (2) sacks of rice, and other personal belongings and subversive documents with high intelligence value. The troops are still conducting pursuit operations.

LTC Batara highlighted that, “Our recoveries prove that the CPP-NPA Terrorist is planning to launch attacks not only against government security forces but also with the defenseless civilians. That’s why I am commending the vigilance of the civilian populace for giving us accurate information on the movements and whereabouts of the communist-terrorists. This is a clear indication that the people are now fed up with the cruelty of the CPP-NPA Terrorist. Supporting and cooperating with the Army through giving information is their way of expressing their fervent desire for a CPP-NPA Terrorist-free community”.

For his part, Major General Dinoh Dolina, the Commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division slammed the CPP-NPA Terrorist for continued stockpiling and producing anti-personnel mines which is a clear violation of the Ottawa Treaty, a convention on the prohibition of the use, storing, production and transfer of its kind. He called on LGUs and the Capizeños to declare CPP-NPA Terrorist persona non grata to prevent them from entering and casting terror and violence in the communities.

Further, MGen Dolina called on the remaining members of the CPP-NPA Terrorist to come down and return to the mainstream society. “Your government together with your Army and PNP is willing to ensure your safety if you choose to lay down your arms, embrace the culture of peace, and start a new and peaceful life through the government’s Enhance-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP)”, he added.

Division Public Affairs Office 3rd Infantry Division Philippine Army
Chief, 3rd Division Public Affairs Office
Camp General Martin T Delgado, Fort San Pedro, Iloilo City
Contact: / 0917-124-1983

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace by the Philippine Army. It provides information on the activities of Army Units nationwide in the performance of their duty of Serving the People and Securing the Land. This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.]

Kalinaw News: Government troops and local government units provide relief assistance to Indigeneous People in Oriental Mindoro

Posted to Kalinaw News (Jul 6, 2019): Government troops and local government units provide relief assistance to Indigeneous People in Oriental Mindoro

CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal- Soldiers of the 76th Infantry Battalion, 203rd Brigade together with the Police and the Local Government Units (LGUs) provided relief assistance to the displaced Mangyan Indigeneous People in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro who evacuated after gov’t troop’s successively encountered the NPA terrorists in the area.

BGen Marceliano V Teofilo, Commander of the 203rd Brigade said “Almost 400 affected IP families who lived in the mountains were given relief goods and medicines after they seek shelters at the Barangays of Loyal, Cristobal, San Antonio and Villa Cerveza all of Victoria.

“We are working hand and hand with the LGUs and the barangay officials here to give all the necessary support and assistance we can to ensure the safety and well-being of these evacuees who were affected by the NPA atrocities. We will advice them to go home once the NPA threats are gone”.

It can be recalled that last July 3, 2019, one NPA squadleader identified as Mervin Malucon alias “Wally” was killed after three armed encounters against the government troops in Brgy Loyal, Victoria.

The relief operation was led by Victoria Mayor Joselito Malabanan together with the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC) and the barangay officials.

Further, Mayor Malabanan calls on to the NPAs to spare the Mangyan peace loving tribe from their activities. He also encourage them to surrender and accept the gov’t E-CLIP program for the rebels.

One Mangyan Tribal leader expressed his gratitude to the assistance provided by the LGUs of Victoria and the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro.

BGen Elias H Escarcha, Acting Commander of 2ID lauded the joint efforts of the soldiers and the LGUs in the area. He said peace and development can only be achieved through unity and concerted efforts of all government sectors.

Currently, pursuit operations of the military and the police against the NPA terrorists in Mindoro are still on-going, while the relief assistance for other evacuees also continue.

Government troops and local government units  provide relief assistance to Indigeneous People in  Oriental Mindoro 1

Government troops and local government units  provide relief assistance to Indigeneous People in  Oriental Mindoro 2

Government troops and local government units  provide relief assistance to Indigeneous People in  Oriental Mindoro 3

Government troops and local government units  provide relief assistance to Indigeneous People in  Oriental Mindoro 4

Government troops and local government units provide relief assistance to Indigeneous People in Oriental Mindoro 1

Division Public Affairs Office 2nd Infantry Division Philippine Army
Cpt Patrick Jay Retumban
Chief, DPAO, 2ID, PA
Camp General Mateo Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace by the Philippine Army. It provides information on the activities of Army Units nationwide in the performance of their duty of Serving the People and Securing the Land. This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.]

Kalinaw News: 5 Killed in shootout with government troops at checkpoint

Posted to Kalinaw News (Jul 6, 2019): 5 Killed in shootout with government troops at checkpoint

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Army and police troops killed 5 armed men in a shootout at a military checkpoint in Barangay Inug-ug, Pikit, North Cotabato yesterday evening.

At around 10:00 p.m., 5 men aboard a grey Nissan Patrol car were told to stop at a checkpoint.

The suspects, armed with high-powered firearms, however, refused to pull over and sped away from the first checkpoint. Troops at the next checkpoint were immediately alerted and upon seeing the approaching vehicle signaled for it to stop to be inspected. The suspects instead of stopping at the checkpoint accelerated towards it and fired upon the government troops manning it.

The troops from 7th Infantry Battalion and Pikit Municipal Police who were manning the checkpoint managed to return fire and killed the armed men during the 10-minute exchange of fire.

One fatality was identified as Datu Hashim Matalam, a son of a former governor of Maguindanao and the other was a certain Buton Bacocol, a resident of Matina Pangi in Davao City. Three others are still to be identified by the investigating team.

The troops were able to recover one M16 rifle, 2 M653 rifles, 1 caliber 45 pistol, 1 hand grenade, and 1 rifle grenade. Also recovered were 3 grams of white crystalline powder substance suspected to be shabu and drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle.

The 6th Infantry Division Commander, Maj. Gen. Diosdado C. Carreon said that the government troops in the area of 6th ID will continue to enforce the security measures to prevent the armed lawless groups from doing criminalities and other illegal activities in the 6ID AOR.

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 is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace by the Philippine Army. It provides information on the activities of Army Units nationwide in the performance of their duty of Serving the People and Securing the Land. This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.]

U.S. Marines living quarters in Zambo damaged by fire

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 6, 2019): U.S. Marines living quarters in Zambo damaged by fire

Google map of Zamboanga City.

ZAMBOANGA CITY--A fire damaged a two-storey building occupied by U.S. troops in Camp Basilio Navarro, the home of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) headquarters in this southern port city.

Supt. Jhufel Brañanola, Zamboanga City Fire District marshal, said the fire broke out around 9:05 a.m. Friday inside the compound of the Westmincom in Barangay Calarian.

Brañanola said the fire reached second alarm and partially destroyed the Marine Security Element Building, which is occupied by U.S. Marines.

Brañanola said the fire started at Room 102 and destroyed the rooms and personal belongings of the soldiers. It was likely caused by electrical wirings since the circuit breaker in one of the rooms tripped, he said.

He said the fire, which was put out over an hour later, damaged some PHP2 million worth of properties. No one was hurt during the incident.

Soldiers, LGUs aid 400 displaced Mangyan families

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 6, 2019): Soldiers, LGUs aid 400 displaced Mangyan families

RELIEF OPERATIONS FOR DISPLACED MANGYANS. Soldiers of the 76th Infantry Battalion (76IB), 203rd Brigade together with the Mindoro police and Local Government Units (LGUs) are distributing food packs, medicines and other basic necessities to the Mangyan tribespeople, who have been temporarily displaced due to the government offensives against the outlawed New People’s Army in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro, which began on July 3, 2019. (Photo courtesy of 2ID-DPAO)

CAMP GEN. CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – Around 400 Mangyan families displaced by the military’s two-day offensive against the outlawed New People’s Army (NPA) are now given relief assistance in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro.

Reports reaching this camp on Saturday said soldiers of the 76th Infantry Battalion (76IB), 203rd Brigade, together with the Mindoro police and some local government officials, are now distributing food packs, medicines and other basic necessities to the Mangyan tribespeople.

“Almost 400 affected IP [indigenous people] families who lived in the mountains were given relief goods and medicines after they seek shelters at the Barangays Loyal, Cristobal, San Antonio, and Villa Cerveza all in Victoria,” said Brig. Gen. Marceliano V. Teofilo, 203rd Brigade commander, who has operational jurisdiction over Mindoro Island.

The Mangyans were evacuated to safer grounds when military and police troops clashed with around 30 NPA members last July 3 in a subvillage in Barangay Loyal, Victoria.

During the government offensives, which lasted until July 4, an NPA squad leader --Mervin Malucon alias “Wally”-- was killed and an assorted weapons and subversive materials were seized.

“We are working hand-and-hand with the LGUs and the barangay officials here to give all the necessary support and assistance to ensure the safety and well-being of these evacuees who were affected by the NPA atrocities,” Teofilo said.

He said the Mangyans would be advised to return to their homes once the NPA threats are over.

Meanwhile, Victoria Mayor Joselito Malabanan, along with his team from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC) and barangay officials, is conducting their relief operations.

Malabanan also appealed to the NPAs to spare the peace-loving Mangyan tribe from their day-to-day activities.

He also encouraged the insurgents to surrender and accept the government’s Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) offered to the rebel surrenderees.

A Mangyan tribal leader thanked the LGU of Victoria and the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro for the assistance.

Duterte at midterm gets high grades for keeping Mindanao promise

From Rappler (Jul 6, 2019): Duterte at midterm gets high grades for keeping Mindanao promise

Thanks to President Rodrigo Duterte, the new Bangsamoro region is in place and the Mindanao promise is on track. His challenge in the next 3 years is to make sure that BARMM delivers on its promises.

Cotabato City, the seat of power of the newly created Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), is bursting with activities these days.

Booking a hotel room is a real pain. Traffic is bad around the main thoroughfares. Coffee shops are packed with a mix of city residents and all kinds of visiting consultants, analysts, and journalists, holding meetings or waiting for appointments with BARMM personalities.

At the end of the day, Pagana restaurant’s loyal customers now find it hard to get a table because foreigners of all colors and sizes – representing the alphabet soup of international organizations – have also taken a liking to the food and the ambiance.

What happy problems! It wasn’t too long ago when the future of BARMM wasn’t certain, and fear gripped everyone who understood the grim consequences of another setback in the peace process with the former rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which abandoned its quest for Mindanao independence for stronger autonomy.

BARMM is finally in place and Cotabato City voted to join the region – thanks in large part to the efforts of President Rodrigo Duterte. It was a promise from the first president from Mindanao, and he delivered.

Notwithstanding setbacks in the region in the first 3 years of his presidency – including the 2017 Marawi crisis and the rough start of the new autonomous government – analysts say BARMM’s creation after a decade of setbacks is the single achievement that has brought the region to “a better place.”

People in Muslim Mindanao see BARMM as the be-all-and-end-all solution for the historical injustices. It is packaged as the antidote to extremism, paving the way for an environment that will bring in peace and development in the region.

As Duterte gets half-way through his 6-year administration, analysts give him high grades for his performance in Muslim Mindanao.

Regular surveys and the results of the midterm elections in May also show how the President continues to enjoy overwhelming support from Mindanao.

High grades from Mindanao observers

Benedicto Bacani, executive director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance, gave Duterte a score of 8 out of 10 “if only for moving the peace process forward significantly.”

BARMM, said Bacani, is a “a key milestone that triggered other milestones,” especially normalization and decommissioning, where tens of thousands of MILF combatants who used to fight government forces are now expected to lay down their weapons and transition to civilian life.

“These former rebels are now allies of the government. It is a big achievement. It’s really because of Duterte’s leadership,” said Bacani.

Social Weather Stations fellow-in-residence and Mindanao expert Steve Rood gave Duterte 2.0 based on the grading system of the University of the Philippines, which he said, is “just below honors” and equivalent to 83%.

“For sure, we’re in a better place than where we were. Duterte gets a fair amount of credit. It’s not because of his detailed lobbying effort – he doesn’t do that kind of thing – but he made it clear he wanted it to happen,” said Rood.

Rood cited Duterte’s critical role in getting Congress to pass the Bangsamoro law. “The fact of the matter is that most congressmen don’t care about the Bangsamoro so they took direction from Duterte,” said Rood. It also helped that he pushed it at the start of his administration, when he enjoyed a strong sway with Congress.

Southeast Asia expert Zachary Abuza from the United States National War College gave Duterte lower but a passing grade nonetheless. “I give him a 5 or a 6,” he said.

“He deserves real credit for shepherding the MILF peace process. He did that against my own expectations,” said Abuza, who believed that Duterte would push for federalism instead.

“The MILF peace process has the potential to do more to improve the security in the Southern Philippines, if successfully implemented,” Abuza said.

Abuza had strong opinions against other developments in the region, including areas outside Muslim Mindanao. Thus, the lower grade.

Duterte’s low points

TWO YEARS AFTER. Marawi City has yet to be rebuilt almost two years after the siege, led by local terrorists, ended in October 2017. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

BARMM is the bright spot that keeps observers hopeful about the region for now. But there certainly were low points in the past 3 years, too.

A year into Duterte’s presidency, in May 2017, fanatics of international terrorist network Islamic State (ISIS) attacked Marawi City. They occupied its financial center for 5 months, flying the black flag as they sought to establish an ISIS province in the country.

The scale of the violence was unprecedented, killing over 1,000 people, including 168 soldiers and undetermined number of civilians. The battle area was flattened by bombs.

Duterte’s leadership was “disastrous,” said Abuza.

Rood also lamented the President’s “hostility” toward the Maranaos, unfairly taking them responsible for failing to stop the extremists among them.

Duterte promised swift rehabilitation of the country’s only Islamic City, but two years on, residents still can’t go back to their homes. Duterte failed to fulfill his promise.

Rood said it’s not helping that the hostility between the national government and Marawi residents continues. National authorities are offended and upset when the people reject their proposals, but what they don’t understand is the people only want to go back to their homes, said Rood.

Rood is concerned that this hostility plays into the narratives of extremist groups – presenting the national government as indifferent to Muslims, as they continue attempts to recruit.

Analysts are divided when it comes to Duterte’s actions toward Nur Misuari, the founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front who negotiated the now-defunct ARMM, but is now facing rebellions charges linked to the 2013 Zamboanga Siege.

“The lifting of the arrest warrant on Misuari is really problematic. Misuari is a spoiler to the peace process. He should be in jail,” said Abuza.

But Bacani sees benefits in Duterte’s open communication lines with all the groups and factions in Mindanao, including those that are opposed to BARMM.

The security situation in Mindanao also continues to be problematic despite the deaths in Marwai of key leaders of extremists groups – supposed ISIS emir Isnilon Hapilon and Maute Group leaders Omar and Abdullah Maute.

In 2019 alone, there had been 3 suspected suicide bombings in Mindanao and there are reports that Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Sawadjaan is rising to become an ISIS personality.

Outside Muslim Mindanao, Abuza noted that the communist New People’s Army is “as active as it has ever been.” Extrajudicial killings and Duterte’s attacks on the media – while they are not centered in Mindanao – have occurred in the region.

“His declaration of martial law, and continued reliance on it, sets a very dangerous precedent at both the regional and national level. He continues to chip away at the rule of law,” said Abuza.

Challenges to BARMM’s transition

AS PROMISED. President Rodrigo Duterte (4th from left) applauds while Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao interim chief Al Haj Murad Ebrahim gives his welcome remarks during the inauguration of BARMM at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City on March 29, 2019. Malacañang photo

Duterte’s challenge in the next 3 years is to make sure BARMM delivers on its promises. It needs to show governance and promote social cohesion and inclusivity, said Bacani.

“This is as much the responsibility of the national government as it is the responsibility of his appointees in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA). This is autonomy, not independence,” said Bacani.

BARMM is having a rough start, however. As the former rebels take the reins and govern over 2 million population, they are realizing the burden of high expectations.

Residents in the outskirts of Maguindanao cannot reconcile celebrations for the victory of the peace process with military air strike operations that continues to displace hundreds of thousands of residents. There’s a disconnect.

There is a lot of impatience among observers. They are discouraged by what is seen as MILF’s unwillingness to involve certain groups that didn’t support the peace process and the slow progress setting up government mechanisms.

“There is always certain amount of normal confusion in situations like this anywhere in the world post-conflict, where donors come in and they all want to do what they want to do. It’s up to the transition authority to try to traffic that so they get what they need out of them,” said Rood.

The former rebels are confronted with complex administrative work. “There hadn’t been quite enough work done, but there’s a lot of sensible stuff going on,” said Rood. In June, observers welcomed Sulu political patriarch Sakur Tan’s visit to BARMM as signal of cooperation from the province that voted against BARMM.

BARMM is going to have a lot of money, too. “It’s always a problem when there’s tons of money because of corruption. But they know it. They’ve been saying that for a long time,” said Rood.

The peace process is a long game that doesn’t stop with the creation of BARMM. “The book on the peace process is not yet closed. You need a strong Bangsamoro government to deliver on its promises. The next step is institution building. Former rebels need to learn to govern,” said Bacani.

“There is no option but to make this work. The failure of the BTA is the failure of the peace process,” said Bacani.

FALSE: MILF surrendered arms to gov't 'for the first time in 2019'

From Rappler (Jul 5, 2019): FALSE: MILF surrendered arms to gov't 'for the first time in 2019'

The decommissioning process first starts in 2015 as part of the agreement between the MILF and the Philippine government

Claim: The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) turned over their firearms to the government for the first time in June 2019.

The website published a blog on June 23 with a title that reads: “Panoorin: 'Sa kauna-unahang Pagkakataon' 12,000 MILF Sumuko na sa Pamahalaan." (Watch: ‘For the first time,’ 12,000 MILF surrendered to the government.)

The basis of the claim is a video published by YouTube channel "Malacañang TV" which included images of supposed rebel groups with audio from a livestream of Radyo Pilipinas edited in.

This particular video was embedded in the blog post. The claim that this incident was the first time that the MILF ever surrendered firearms came from the title of the video that "Malacañang TV" uploaded.

A total of 4 Facebook pages and 25 Facebook groups, mostly pro-Duterte and pro-Marcos, reposted the claim. The pages were Duterte, atin to Pre, Bayan Ko Ph, DDS for LIFE, and Ang Pahina. The groups that got the most interactions were Marcos Loyalist, Tulfo Brothers Worldwide, and Alan Peter Cayetano Supporters International.

The posts within these channels generated a total of 1,900 shares, 20,500 reactions, and 1,700 comments.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The decommissioning process of MILF rebels already started in 2015 as part of the agreement between the rebel group and the Philippine government. An international decommissioned body was in charge of overseeing the process.

Under the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III, the MILF and the government agreed in January 2014 that the rebel group would decommission its firearms in phases as part of the peace process. (READ: INFOGRAPHIC: The Bangsamoro peace deal at a glance)

The first phase took place in June 2015. Key government officials and MILF chairman Ebrahim Murad attended the ceremony on the decommissioning process in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao as part of the rebel group’s commitment to the peace deal.

A total of 55 high-powered and 20 crew-served weapons were deactivated during that time. Some 140 rebels of the 10,000-strong armed group also returned to normal life. (READ: MILF chief: Decommissioning 'deeply personal,' not just statistics)

In 2019, the second batch was set to be decommissioned with 12,000 former MILF troops, following the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

The source of the claim, YouTube channel "Malacañang TV" is not an official YouTube channel of Malacañang, Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan told Rappler.

In its livestream on June 19, Radyo Pilipinas did not mention the phrase “sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon (for the first time)” in their report.

Bulatlat: Reds condemn Duterte’s ‘subservience to US’

From the pro-Communist Party of the Philippines online propaganda publication Bulatlat (Jul 5, 2019): Reds condemn Duterte’s ‘subservience to US’

As an American warship recently docked at the Sasa Wharf in Davao City, the Communist Party of the Philippines once again condemned what it described as “subservience of the Duterte administration to US imperialism.”

The US Navy’s USS Montgomery, a littoral combat ship, docked June 29 at the civilian port Sasa Wharf and proceeded to conduct “friendship” activities in Davao City.

“Even as Duterte displays outright slavishness to China over the Recto Bank incident, he manifests utter subservience to the US imperialists by allowing US warships and military troops to continue using the country as a large military base,” the CPP said in a statement sent to the media.

“The docking of the USS Montgomery dwarfs China’s trawl ships in the South China Sea, literally and politically. While Chinese ships plunder and roam the Philippine seas, US warships carrying guns, missiles, fighter jets, hundreds of soldiers and nuclear arms, dock directly on Philippine civilian ports and airports, unload and store war materiél on US-controlled facilities, and offloads foreign troops who enjoy protection under the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement,” the CPP added.

The CPP said US troops have secret facilities within Philippine military camps where weapons are stockpiled.

“AFP units over which the US has operational control are created and trained to carry out armed suppression against the people,” the CPP said.

Under the Duterte administration, the US has increased its military aid to the Philippines. According to Ibon Foundation, the US has allotted US$166 million for its foreign military financing program for the Philippines from 2016 until 2020. It has also supported the war on drugs campaign of the Duterte administration with its international narcotics control and law enforcement funding of US$ 32.5 million for the same period.

The CPP called on the Filipino people to demand the pull out of US troops, including other foreign armed forces, and demand the abrogation of military agreements.

After Daesh, anger simmers in Marawi as Duterte builds new army base

Posted to TRT World (Turkey) (Jul 5, 2019): After Daesh, anger simmers in Marawi as Duterte builds new army base (By Ted Regencia)

More than 100,000 people are still living in evacuation centres following the Daesh siege of the Philippines’ city of Marawi, but as they await reconstruction, the president has announced a new military base to be completed this year.

Marawi City, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to build a new military base in the heart of the country’s only predominantly Muslim city has stirred up resistance among displaced residents. They were already angered by the repeated delays in the reconstruction of their destroyed communities, following the 2017 attack by the Daesh-inspired Maute terrorist group and Abu Sayyaf fighters.

Abdul Hamidullah Atar, the Sultan of Marawi and community leader, warned that the army base under construction in the Kapantaran district, which is within the worst-ravaged part of the city, would provoke more resentment among his people and cause “extremism to multiply”.

“If they want to establish a military camp in order to win the psychology of the Moro people, the Meranaws, against the militant groups, I do believe that it will not happen,” Atar said in an exclusive interview with TRT World. Meranaws, or “people of the lake”, refers to the dominant Muslim tribe living by the coast of Marawi’s Lake Lanao.

“We want a guarantee of non-occurrence of violence, not the establishment of more military facilities,” he said, adding that further militarisation reinforces the view among Muslim residents that they are seen as suspects, rather than victims, with ties to the terrorists who carried out the deadly siege.

The president’s office said the new camp “would help secure a stronghold and establish a strategic a pre-emptive measure for the re-entry” of armed fighters and was “to protect the region from any security threats”.

As of July 2019, more than 100,000 people, or half of Marawi's population, are still unable to return to their homes and are living in temporary housing facilities and other shelters. (Ted Regencia) ()

Located on top of a hill overlooking the now-crumbling city centre, the new base will rise from the site of the old city hall, and is set to be completed later this year with an initial budget of US$7.8 million. It is the second base within the city, and is three kilometres from the original, Camp Ranao, which currently holds at least 1,500 soldiers, many of whom fought in the siege.

Battle against Daesh

It was on May 23, 2017, when a band of armed men, who pledged allegiance to Daesh, took control of Marawi.

The siege lasted five months - the longest battle Filipino soldiers had fought since World War II - leaving at least 1,000 soldiers and civilians dead, and more than 200,000 mostly Muslim residents, displaced. Locals say the death toll among civilians trapped in the fighting is much higher.

The attack prompted Duterte to declare martial law in the entire southern island of Mindanao. Martial law is still in effect until the end of 2019.

Almost 20 months after Duterte declared victory over the armed fighters, Atar said the Meranaws continue to bear the brunt of the war, as more than 100,000 of them remain in evacuation centres and other shelters, with no assurances about when they will be able to return and rebuild their bombed out homes.

“Every day that passes that people are still living in the slums is tantamount to the violation of human rights of the people of Marawi,” Atar said, his voice cracking in anger. “And we are not talking here about days, but years.”

Other Marawi-based organisations, such as the Moro Consensus Group and Tindeg Ranao, have also denounced Duterte’s plan to build the new army base when thousands of Meranaws are still without homes, calling the president’s move “the highest form of suppression”.

They complained that Duterte’s 10-hectare project has taken over homes and businesses, displacing the civilians twice over. 

The Meranaws have expressed anger over President Duterte's decision to prioritise the building of the new military base over the reconstruction of civilian homes. (Ted Regencia) ()

Criticism of Duterte

The president brushed off the criticism, saying, whatever the military takes, “we will pay to avoid trouble”. He also insisted that the site of the base is part of a military reservation declared by the government in 1953 -- an assertion locals have questioned.

Duterte further angered Meranaws when he commented in April that he should not be spending for their destroyed buildings, because many of them “have money...including from the drug trade”. He also said that the siege was “bound to happen because of what they were doing there”.

Atar said that if that is the mentality of the government officials and the military towards the Meranaws, then the relationship “will continue to be strained”.

He also said that Meranaws are largely left out of the decision-making process on how to rebuild their own city, a function “dictated by consultants from Manila”. The long delays in rehabilitation are proof of that miscalculation, he explained, but many are too afraid to speak out, because of martial law.

At a makeshift evacuation camp in the outskirts of the city, refugees like Jaslia, an unemployed housewife, told TRT World that Duterte “betrayed” the locals in Marawi, when he ordered the military “carpet bombing”, which left the city in ruins and many civilians trapped in their homes.

“He claims to be part Meranaw, through his grandmother. Look at what he did to us,” she said, her voice drowned out by the incessant rain that threatens to flood the tattered tent she shares with her husband and their six children.

Evacuees living in Marawi's tent cities complain that during summer months, the temperature inside the tents are unbearable, while during the monsoon season, their temporary shelters are threatened with flooding. (Ted Regencia) ()

For the first 10 months after the fighting began, Jaslia and her family stayed at an overcrowded evacuation centre in the neighbouring city of Iligan. Then in April 2018, they were transferred to a ‘tent city’ built by the government, with the promise that they would be relocated to a temporary housing facility.

Since then, her family has received $1,400 in cash assistance from the government and food packs from private donors. However, the prospect of relocation is slipping away, with no word about when they can rebuild their former homes.

In her area, there are more than 200 households living in 175 tents, which means some families have to share a tent the size of nine metres squared.

“This tent is really meant as an emergency shelter for up to six months. We are still here until now,” Jaslia said, as she sat outside the ripped plastic canvas her family had called home for the last 14 months.

“During the summer season, it gets unbearably hot and humid. So we stay outside, or else we would suffocate from the heat. Now that it is the monsoon season, the water is leaking all over, so we put some tape. The floor also gets flooded and muddy during heavy rain. But where are we supposed to go?”

Naim, a 31-year-old education graduate, told TRT World that he lost everything when his printing shop was destroyed in the bombing of Marawi. His family is still renting an apartment in Iligan, and are desperate to go back.

“If they will allow us back, so that we can start rebuilding our destroyed home that would give us some level of comfort, even if the government will not give us any financial help,” he said.

In an interview with TRT World during her visit in Marawi, Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo said “the quicker the rehabilitation, the better it is for people” in the shelters. 

Critics say that further militarisation in Marawi reinforces the view among Muslim residents that they are seen as suspects, rather than victims, with ties to the armed fighters who carried out the deadly siege. (Ted Regencia) ()

“The more than two years that people are staying in evacuation centres is too much for them,” she said. “I hope that it the rehabilitation will be done as soon as possible, so that they can have some normalcy with their lives.”

The Philippine department of finance estimates that the government needs at least US$1.39 billion to complete the rehabilitation.

Felix Castro, Field Manager of the rehabilitation agency Task Force Bangon Marawi, pleaded for more patience, adding that the return of the residents will happen soon in phases.

“We are already talking to the residents. We are trying to fix the process of obtaining the permits, before they could rebuild their homes, or repair their house, to ensure that the legal owners will return,” he said.

Castro told TRT World that as many as 15,000 households have already received the $1,400 cash assistance, and more will be given this month.

“This will continue until all residents are resettled by November for the rest of the sectors,” he said referring to the districts within the 250-hectare zone most affected by the fighting, known locally as ‘Ground Zero’.

“While they are still waiting, we are providing people livelihood. There are temporary shelters, transitory shelters,” he said.

“All projects, when it starts, it takes time to prepare. You have to get permits and talk to the landowners.”

Also complicating the return of civilians are the unexploded munitions, which endanger the lives of residents. The rehabilitation agency has set an August 30 deadline to clear the ordnance. 

The new army base under construction will rise from the site of the old city hall, and is set to be completed later this year with an initial budget of US$7.8 million. (Ted Regencia) ()

With 30 mosques destroyed, 44 schools levelled and seven to 10,000 buildings razed to the ground, Atar said that it would take years to rebuild “the social fabric in Marawi that the president destroyed”.

He said Duterte should be “held accountable” for the destruction in Marawi, while calling for compensation for the lives and properties lost during the siege.

“We built Marawi for one hundred years, and they cannot do it in two years alone,” said Atar.

He warned that violence could erupt once again if Duterte fails to deliver on their demands.

“The people will fight the government. It will be a problem.”

Isabela PENRO employee killed

From the Manila Bulletin (Jul 6, 2019): Isabela PENRO employee killed

CAMP MARCELO A ADDURU, Tuguegarao City – A member of the Provincial Environment Regional Office (PENRO)-Isabela Environment Protection Task Force was found dead inside the task force office in Ilagan City, Isabela Friday.

The victim was identified as Celso Asuncion , 58, and a member of the Isabela Environment Protection Task Force.

Investigators suspect that the perpetrators of the crime belonged to an “agaw armas (weapon snatching)” syndicate may have been responsible for the killing of Asuncion.

They said the same group, which is reportedly composed of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, also accosted five police officers on Friday.

Philippine National Police PNP Region 2 (PRO 2) Director Brig. Gen. Jose Mario Espino has directed Isabela police to alert all its stations to conduct checkpoints for the possible apprehension of the suspects.

“The attack against the members of PNP Isabela and the killing of PENRO Employee is a manifestation of the NPA’s crooked principle and ideologies which are contrary of what they are trying to portray to the public as champion of social justice,” Espino said.

Accosted by the group were PCpl Gaudencio Castillo Jr and PCpl Earl Brian Gannaban , both assigned at Cauayan City PS; PSSg Fernando Capillian assigned the at Cordon Police S; and PMSg Julius Baribad and PCPL Bryan Q Balisi of Divilacan PS.

Killing of transport leader, arrest of 9 others on Negros Island slammed

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 6, 2019): Killing of transport leader, arrest of 9 others on Negros Island slammed

Jimmy Teves (center), a pastor of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, and two other UCCP members were among those arrested in Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental for allegedly being NPA members involved in an encounter with soldiers, an allegation denied by the UCCP (Photo from UCCP website)

ILOILO CITY –– Church leaders and human rights groups have decried the killing of a transport leader and the arrest of a pastor and nine other members of church and farmers groups on Negros Island since last week.

They called for a stop to the killings and the release of those arrested.

Alleged rebels

But the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) said all those arrested were New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, who were the subjects of arrest warrants, or were detained during military operations for possession of explosives and ammunition.

Lito Itao, a habal-habal (passenger motorcycle) driver, was gunned down by two motorcycle-riding gunmen in front of a store on June 27 in Barangay Buenavista in Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental.

Itao, 49, was the auditor of the Guihulngan City Habal-Habal United Operators and Drivers Association, which is affiliated with the militant transport group Pinag-Isang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide.

He is the 67th activist killed on Negros Island under the administration of President Duterte, according to Defend Negros.

Among those killed were human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos, who was shot dead in November last year in Kabankalan City, and Escalante City councilor and human rights advocate Bernardino Patigas, who was gunned down in May while campaigning for re-election.

Church members

On June 25 and 26, police and soldiers arrested United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) pastor Jimmy Teves and six others in Barangay Buenavista in Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental.

Also arrested were Jasper Aguyong, Rodrigo Medez, Jodito Montecino, Jeppy Romano, Eliseo Andres, and Rogen Sabanal.

They were arrested based on a warrant issued by the Kabankalan City Regional Trial Court Branch 61 for multiple counts of murder and frustrated murder in relation to an encounter between government soldiers and NPA rebels last May in Barangay Tan-awan in Kabankalan City.

The Silay City police arrested Jorex Escapalao for illegal possession of firearms at Hacienda Raymunda in Barangay Kapitan Ramon in Silay City, Negros Occidental.

Escapalao is the vice president of the Hacienda Raymunda Farmworkers Union, an affiliate of the National Federation of Sugar Workers.

The human rights group Karapatan in Negros reported the arrest of three persons in La Castellana town in Negros Occidental.

Two had been released but the whereabouts of another was being verified.

On June 28, soldiers under the Army’s 11th Infantry Battalion arrested four alleged NPA rebels in Barangay Lamogong in Manjuyod town in Negros Oriental.

They were identified as Rea Casido, Teodor Casido, Danny Casido, and Venancio Cadeliña.
Capt. Cenon Pancito III, 3ID spokesperson, said the four were arrested after soldiers found in their possession grenades, ammunition, and other military paraphernalia.

Pancito said the arrests were done according to legal processes either based on arrest warrants issued by a court or because the alleged rebels were caught with the ammunition and grenades.

“They have remedies provided by the law if they are questioning their arrest,” he told the INQUIRER.

Bishops’ call

The UCCP Council of Bishops denounced the arrest of Teves and several other church members.

The bishops said the charges of murder and frustrated murder filed against those arrested were “obviously trumped up.”

“We strongly refute the claims of the military that they are members of the NPA. They are subsistence farmers who are trying to eke out of their dire economic situation by practicing Christian Diakonia and biblical forms of sharing of farm produce. Most of them are active members of UCCP, (Iglesia Filipino Independiente) and Roman Catholic churches,” the bishops said in a statement.

“These harassments clearly depict the vicious schema of this government that fails to respect the right to life and right to decent livelihood of farmers and workers and rights of those who advocate and call for social justice and peace in our country,” they said.

IFI Supreme Bishop Rhee Timbang also decried the continued extrajudicial killings and arrests on Negros Island.

“ … We have heard their stories and joined with their voices to strongly call the attention of the government, national and provincial, to do something on their situation and assert the supremacy of the civilian government over the so-called control of the military in the two provinces on Negros Island. We heard their stories and support their demand to serve justice to all the victims of extra-judicial killings, to release those who were illegally arrested and jailed for trumped-up charges and to correspondingly dismiss their cases …,” Timbang said in a statement issued after hearing the testimonies of families of those killed and arrested in Negros.

Some Sulu politicians supporting ASG – AFP

From the Manila Bulletin (Jul 6, 2019): Some Sulu politicians supporting ASG – AFP

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Armed Forces of the Philippines – Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) is now closely monitoring some politicians in Sulu, who are being suspected of giving financial support to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the province.

Major General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) and Joint Task Force (JTF) Central (photo courtesy of wikipedia / MANILA BULLETIN)

This was disclosed by WestMinCom Commander Lt. Gen. Cirilito E. Sobejana who said on Saturday that the military was already closely monitoring these politicians in Sulu.

He, however, did not reveal the identity of the politicians.

“We have received similar reports that some of these politicians in Sulu are supporters of the Abu Sayyaf Group, but we have no proof or evidence against them yet,” Sobejana said.

Sobejana made the disclosure at the launch of “Up-Up Zamboanga” which held at the Third Air Division headquarters of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in this city on Saturday.

Sobejana said socio-economic development was the main problem in the province, and that poverty remains as the root cause of the insurgency problem in most places, not only in Sulu.

The AFP-WestMinCom commander here believed that a “holistic approach” was one of the primary solutions to put an end to the existence of the ASG in Sulu.

Sobejana added that use of government resources, like firearms and soldiers, may not solve the decades-old problem of terrorists in Sulu.

He said: “Kami dito sa AFP-WestMinCom that covers four regions will do our job, following the rule of law, with the due respect to human rights and will strictly adhere with the provision of international humanitarian law.”

He maintained that the military was being guided by “our strategic frameworks which are development, governance and security.”

“We believed that there can be no security and peace without inclusive development, and inclusive development cannot be achieved without good governance,” Sobejana noted.