Sunday, August 11, 2019

MILF: Bangsamoro gov’t and LGUs unite against violent extremism

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Aug 11, 2019): Bangsamoro gov’t and LGUs unite against violent extremism

PASAY CITY, (August 09, 2019) — Local government units in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will play a crucial role in preventing and countering violent extremism (PCVE) in their communities.

This was stressed by BARMM Interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim Al-Haj during the launch of the Communities of Inclusion and Resilience Through Collaborative Local Engagements (CIRCLE) Project yesterday in this city .

“On our side, a new Bangsamoro government under our current leadership is committed to cooperate in working together with other leaders to ensure that the LGUs across the Bangsamoro region will do our part in creating community-based solutions for PCVE,” Ebrahim said.

Project CIRCLE, implemented by The Asia Foundation (TAF) in partnership with Balay Mindanaw, and supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, seeks to reduce the drivers of violent extremism and increase the resilience of communities in targeted areas.

Specifically, the project will provide technical assistance and financial support to increase the capacity of LGUs who in turn, will take the lead in the design, implementation, and monitoring of programs designed to counter violent extremism

Project CIRCLE will directly work with LGUs in Lanao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Basilan and Sulu.

Ebrahim gave the assurance that the Bangsamoro government and LGUs in the region will throw their full support behind the initiative.

“We assure you that the leadership of the current Bangsamoro government and component LGUs will rally behind and support the efforts of TAF, international NGOs, and programs of the national government and local communities in helping counter violent extremism,” he said.


For his part, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. shared how the Philippine government supported Project CIRCLE through the adoption of the National Action Plan on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (NAP PCVE).

“I am happy to announce that everyone from the Anti-Terrorism Council approved and adopted our NAP PCVE. Its adoption is a huge step for the administration in its quest for a more peaceful and secure future for the nation,” Esperon said.

The NAP PCVE is a comprehensive, harmonized, and synchronized national strategy of the government to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization.

It promotes soft and more community-centered approaches that focus on countering the political, economic, cultural, psychosocial, and religious drivers of radicalization.

In response to Ebrahim’s statement, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. underscored the need for LGUs to be at the forefront in implementing PCVE initiatives in their respective areas.

“With the peace and security challenges we are confronting, LGUs need to assert themselves and be at the forefront of efforts to secure their communities from external threats, while implementing initiatives that would address the roots of armed conflict and violent extremism,” he said.

“Now that we have NAP PCVE, we need to ensure that we harmonize our efforts. We in the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and other government agencies will be here to support you,” he added.


Meanwhile, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines His Excellency Steven Robinson AO, challenged stakeholders to work together in crafting a counter narrative against the propaganda of radical extremists.

“We firmly believe that it is vital to work with our partners to counter the drivers of violent extremism engaging early with affected communities and challenging terrorist propaganda and recruitment with a very different and optimistic narrative. All power to Project CIRCLE,” Robinson AO said.

Over the past 60 years, the Asia Foundation (TAF) has been supporting national and local peace initiatives in the country.

TAF’s initiatives have focused on mitigating localized conflict particularly on clan wars known as ‘rido’; collaborating with the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Implementing Panels in crafting a joint communications strategy for the then Bangsamoro Basic Law; and supporting the country’s Women, Peace, and Security agenda, among others.

Moreover, Australia is an active member of the Mindanao Trust Fund – Reconstruction and Development Programme (MTF-RDP), being the second biggest foreign donor next to the European Union.

The country also helped in relief and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi through the funding support it provided to Task Force Bangon Marawi.

MILF: Pres. Duterte agrees to issue E.O. authorizing BTA to exploit Liguasan Marsh

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Aug 10, 2019): Pres. Duterte agrees to issue E.O. authorizing BTA to exploit Liguasan Marsh

Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao– President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed to issue an executive order (EO) granting the Bangsamoro government "full" authority to explore and exploit natural resources in Liguasan Marsh, said a report by Rappler on Friday.

Liguasan (Ligawasan) Marsh is said to be rich in natural gas deposits.

"We have already discussed this with the President and we are waiting for the official executive order that will come from his office fully authorizing the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to undertake exploration of the natural resources in the Liguasan Marsh," BARMM Chief Minister Al Haj Ahod (Murad) Ebrahim said before the Philippine Mining Club in Makati on Friday, August 9.

Ebrahim, speaking to Rappler on the sidelines of the event, said Duterte has given the greenlight for the proposed EO.

"In that meeting, he said he will instruct his [office] to make the executive order," said the Chief Minister.

During the July 10 meeting, Ebrahim explained to Duterte that the BTA needs the cooperation of the national government to explore fossil fuels in the region.

"We explained to him, maybe he has not fully comprehended the provision in the BOL that we cannot also, as far as strategic minerals like natural gas and oil, we cannot explore it alone. It has to be a joint effort by the national government and the Bangsamoro government," Ebrahim said.

Only with an EO can the BTA be given "full authority to restart exploration," he added.

Duterte has called on the Bangsamoro region to exploit resources in the Liguasan Marsh to generate funds the government can use for the development of the region, so long racked by violence and poverty.

He promised the national government would not take Liguasan Marsh's bounty.

"It will remain in your control and possession, but you just have to pay the taxes and the service that the government will spend. I promise you, and that's my commitment: It belongs to the Moro people," Duterte had said in June 2018.

The Liguasan Marsh is located in the Cotabato River basin in the plain areas of Central Mindanao, spread across the provinces of Maguindanao, Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat. (Source: Rappler)

MILF: Muslims observe Eid el-Adha on Sunday; holiday falls on Monday

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Aug 9, 2019): Muslims observe Eid el-Adha on Sunday; holiday falls on Monday

COTABATO CITY—President Rodrigo Duterte had declared Aug. 12, Monday, a nonworking holiday for the celebration of the Muslim feast Eid el-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) which Muslims in the Philippines would actually celebrate on Sunday.

This was announced by Bangsamoro Grand Mufti Abu Huraira A. Udasan, in an Aug. 2 letter to Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim.

Udasan said Muslims around the world would perform the early morning prayer that signals the start of the observance of Eid el-Adha, one of Islam’s two biggest feasts. The feast marks the culmination of of the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. The other big Muslim feast is Eid el-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.

During Eid el-Adha, prayers are followed by the slaughter of a goat or a cow or camel for those who could afford and the sharing of the meat with the poor. In Muslim tradition, the feast commemorates the day that the prophet Abraham sacrificed his son, Ismael, to heed God’s command. But when Abraham was about to slay Ismael, an angel appeared and replaced the boy with a sheep, saving Ismael.

MILF: BTA aims to finalize regional gov't codes by end of 2019

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Aug 9, 2019): BTA aims to finalize regional gov't codes by end of 2019

Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao– The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) aims to finalize 8 government codes by the end of 2019 so that they can be implemented starting 2020, when the Bangsamoro region gets its first block grant, said the report by Rappler yesterday.

BTA spokesman and Minister of Interior and Local Government (MILG) Najib Sinarimbo, said Thursday during a Rappler Talk Interview that December 2019 is the deadline for the BTA, sitting as Parliament, to finish deliberating on draft codes that will come from the Interim Cabinet.

"The directive form the Chief Minister (Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim) is to complete it (codes) by end of September so that he can file it before the Parliament in early October," he said.

"They BTA Parliament have until December of this year to deliberate and then approve. The implementation should happen in 2020, in time for the new budget, new structure of the new government," he added.

There are 8 codes which the Bangsamoro Organic Law requires the BTA to craft during its 3-year existence are listed below.

• Bangsamoro Administrative Code

• Bangsamoro Revenue Code

• Bangsamoro Electoral Code

• Bangsamoro Local Government Code

• Bangsamoro Education Code

• Bangsamoro Civil Service Code

• Law protecting rights and welfare of indigenous peoples

• Law organizing the bureaucracy of the Bangsamoro government

Sinarimbo gave assurances during the interview by Rappler that the finalization of the codes would still "involve the whole of Parliament."

Sinarimbo, as interior minister, is in charge of crafting the Local Government Code.

For this, he has funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), where had once served as senior advisor for political transition. (Source: Rappler)

MILF: READi-BARMM begins responding to emergency situation in Moro Communities

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Aug 8, 2019): READi-BARMM begins responding to emergency situation in Moro Communities

COTABATO CITY – The newly created emergency response-arm of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READi) headed by Minister Naguib Sinarimbo of the Ministry of Interior and Local Government said that they have distributed about 1,453 relief packs to affected families in Datu Salibo town on August 
3. Around 826 families in Barangay Ganta and Barangay Bacat in Shariff Saydona Mustapha also received relief packs from the READi-BARMM last week, report said.

The ministry served as the secretariat of the region’s new emergency and disaster response. It replaces the 24/7 action response team known as the Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (ARMM-HEART) which was established under Mujiv Hataman’s administration.

Sinarimbo said READi is a community-based monitoring and response for disaster incidence of BARMM mobilizing some of the Moro Islamic Liberation Fronts former combatants.

“Because the government have signed a peace agreement with the MILF, and majority of their people will be undertaking the process of normalization, we will be able to utilize some of them so that we can build a community-based preparedness and response for disasters.”

The READi focal person said that they will be maximizing the skills and talents of MILF former combatants and be taught as humanitarian responders to service their respective community in times of disaster.

Sinarimbo added that they will ask some of the combatants to help clear the water ways of around 11 bridges in Maguindanao, and Cotabato City.

“We will deploy some people there, and their work is to simply ensure that the water hyacinth will not clog the bridges, which would normally cause flooding in the city.”

“The potential for maximizing the utilization of some of the MILF combatants brings instrumental benefits to many of the communities in our program for preventing disaster from happening. We hope to repeat this in some other areas where we have their forces,” he said.

Meanwhile, to strengthen the BARMM Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM), the Bangsamoro Government will be allocating 5% of its annual block grant to help fund the management’s programs.

“We are in the process of preparing the budget of the different ministries for 2020 with the anticipation of the operationalization of the block grant in the autonomous region,” Local Government Minister Atty. Sinarimbo said during a summit on disaster resilience held August 6.

“We managed to influence the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Management of the regional government to include in the budget guidelines the allocation of setting aside at least 5% of the total block grant. That means 5% of approximately 65 billion pesos for next year will be allocated for DRRM programs in the region,” he said.

The annual block grant, provided by the central government, is the share of the Bangsamoro from the national internal revenue of the government. Its amount is equivalent to 6% of the net national internal revenue collection of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and of the Bureau of Customs.

MILF: Editorial - Nipping rido in the bud

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Aug 9, 2019): Editorial - Nipping rido in the bud

While conflict is a natural phenomenon, it should not always end in violence. Conflicts are better resolved through nonviolent means.

In many parts of Mindanao, clan feuds or conflicts are popularly known as rido. Two of the most prominent causes of rido are land disputes and political rivalry.

Most of the unabated cases of killings in some parts of North Cotabato and adjoining areas are attributed to rido.

Rido is considered a problem because of its adverse effects not only to the clans that are directly involved but even to the whole community where it exists.

When these clans fight, families are displaced. Economic activities are interrupted. Fraternal relationships are severed. Lives and properties are lost. School buildings become evacuation centers and children stop going to school.

The Philippine National Police (PNP and The Asia Foundation (TAF) published a book, “Preventing Rido: A Practical Guide for the Police and Other Peacekeepers” in 2013.

According to that book, “Rido has caused much death and destruction and retarded economic, political, and social development of the communities affected by it. The most affected are the young who are raised into a life of violence and conflict.”

Considering the adverse impact of rido in our society, its resolution must be everybody’s concern. An emerging rido should be nipped in the bud so that it does not escalate and result into a much bigger damage.

Our leaders should work hand-in-hand with their constituents in preventing rido or resolving it peacefully if it is already there.

It should be inculcated in the minds of the people that resolving rido through the barrel of the gun usually creates more problems. Cycle of killings ensues.

The same book, “Preventing Rido,” noted that “History has shown that when left unchecked rido could result in decades of violence, criminality and collateral damage to property and innocent bystanders.”

And that is the least that we want to happen.

Let us have pity on the civilians who usually are cause in the crossfire. Let us help each other in preventing its occurrence or in resolving it peacefully.

Reports on Sri Lankan terrorists in PH doubtful – AFP

From Rappler (Aug 11, 2019): Reports on Sri Lankan terrorists in PH doubtful – AFP

Reports of terrorists from Sri Lanka slipping into the Philippines and preparing for attacks in Luzon appear to be a family feud 'gone awry'

DOUBTING REPORTS. AFP Spokeperson BGEN. Edgar Arevalo at a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday, November 29, 2018, on issues of Mandatory ROTC and Martial Law extension. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

It appears reports that terrorists from Sri Lanka have slipped into the Philippines and were preparing for attacks in Luzon were nothing more than a family feud “gone awry,” said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday, August 11.

“Per verification, there is good reason to doubt the veracity of the report as it came out in the papers,”
said AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo in a statement.

On Saturday, August 10, Arevalo said the AFP was verifying reports that a certain Mark Kevin Samhoon and Victoria Sophia Sto. Domingo have entered the Philippines from Sri Lanka, and were working with an extremist group based in Northern Luzon to launch terror attacks on churches and other establishments.

The reports tagged Samhoon and Sto. Domingo as “suicide bombers.”

However, it turned out that Sto. Domingo had already responded to the accusations before the Counter-Terrorism Division (CTD) of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on July 22, Arevalo said.

In her affidavit, Sto. Domingo “vehemently denied” she and Samhoon, her fiancé, were suicide bombers, and that her mother, Anarkalie Dulara Palliyaguruge Sto. Domingo, was a “terrorist financier.”

Sto. Domingo claimed her father, Diosdado Manolette Mortalla Sto. Domingo, was behind the accusations, and had fed the information to authorities.

On Monday, August 5, Arevalo said the AFP Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) had been investigating reports of possible terror threats since August 2, and were on high alert particularly in Laoag City, Vigan City, Tuguegarao City, and Manaoag, Pangasinan.

A NOLCOM memo to its units dated August 2 mentioned possible terror threats to Roman Catholic churches and cities with business centers in Northern Luzon.

“AFP Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal Jr. advises our people not to be easily swayed by unconfirmed media reports and information from individuals or groups whose reports come from unverified sources or are yet to be validated,” Arevalo said in his latest statement.

“The AFP will continue to coordinate and collaborate with the NBI, the PNP, and other relevant government agencies here and abroad to strengthen our intelligence and security posture. Our people should not be alarmed to see more soldiers deployed in certain areas in their locale,” he added, urging the public to remain calm and report “unusual observations” to the police and the military.

Another Lumad farmer gunned down in Bukidnon province

Posted to the often pro-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) online publication the Davao Today (Aug 10, 2019): Another Lumad farmer gunned down in Bukidnon province

A Lumad farmer was killed in a town in Bukidnon province on Friday (Aug. 9), a Lumad group reported.

Kalumbay, a region-wide organization of Indigenous People, identified the victim as Alex Lacay, 34, in an urgent alert released Saturday (Aug.10) morning.

Lacay was gunned down at around 4 pm in Sitio Pag-asa, Barangay Salawagan, in the town of Quezon.

According to the report, Lacay, with his companion Renard Burgos, was riding a motorcycle on their way to the public market when two uniformed soldiers hailed them and asked for a ride. That was when the soldiers allegedly fired at the victim.

“Lacay sustained two gunshot wounds in the head and four in his abdomen while his companion (Burgos) was able to get away,” the report stated.

Kalumbay said the suspects are members of the Philippine Army operating in the area. It identified the assailant as one Dodo Pacquiao.

The military is yet to issue a statement.

Lacay was an active member of Kaugalingong Sistema Igpapasindog to Lumadnong Ogpaan, a member of Kalumbay in Quezon town.

Last week, couple Guillermo and Jocelyn Casas were shot dead by an unidentified gunman in San Fernando town. Both were active members of peasant group Kasama, an affiliate of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.

On June 16, Liovigildo “Nonoy” Palma, 57, also a member of Kasama, was killed by motorcycle-riding suspects in San Fernando town.

Lacay, according to Kalumbay, is the 12th reported case of political killings in the province of Bukidnon this year.

Ilocos Sur town declares NPA rebels as 'persona non grata'

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 11, 2019): Ilocos Sur town declares NPA rebels as 'persona non grata'

BANTAY, Ilocos Sur -- Local officials in this town of Ilocos Sur have declared the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels as “persona non grata” to deter the possible terrorism infiltration in the area.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Castillo, the commander of the Army’s 81st Infantry Battalion, said the Bantay town’s councilors led by Vice Mayor William Pre have unanimously approved on July 1, 2019 a resolution adopting the Joint Regional Peace and Order Council-Regional Development Council (RPOC-RDC) Resolution No. 1, Series of 2019 condemning the CPP-NPA terrorists and declaring them “persona non-grata” in the whole Region 1.

The joint RPOC-RDC resolution was approved on March 29, 2019 in San Fernando City, La Union

Earlier, local officials in the towns of Sta. Cruz and Suyo, and Candon City, and 11 barangays in Ilocos Sur have also declared the NPA rebels as “persona non grata.

On March 29, 2019, members of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) in Ilocos Sur, chaired by Governor Ryan Luis Singson, declared the NPA rebels as “persona non grata” in the province upon approval of a resolution during their regular meeting.

“Our town is one of the stable municipalities in terms of peace and order situation in Ilocos Sur, and we will not let the entry of the problem on insurgency in our place,” said Pre in a phone interview.

Pre said the purpose of condemning the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA terrorists and declaring them persona non-grata in their town is to maintain its peaceful situation and prevent the rebels from infiltrating the different sectors in their place.

Meanwhile, Castillo expressed his gratitude to the local officials in the municipality of Bantay for declaring the NPA rebels as “persona non grata” in the town.

“We are thankful as more areas in the province of Ilocos Sur have declared the CPP-NPA terrorists as persona non grata,” said Castillo.

He said the move made by the LGUs in Ilocos Sur is a sign that the residents are now aware of the effects of the presence of CPP-NPA terrorists and their deceitful and atrocious ways in the area.

“As stated in the Executive Order 70 or the whole of nation approach to end the local communist arm conflict, cooperation and unity are the greatest weapons in sustaining the peace and development in our country,” said Castillo. (AMB/FGL, PIA 1)

Ilocos Norte PNP on full alert vs. terror threat

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 11, 2019): Ilocos Norte PNP on full alert vs. terror threat

FULL ALERT. While a mass is heard, men in uniform are deployed in the area to provide security at the St. William Cathedral in Laoag on Sunday (Aug. 11, 2019). (Photo courtesy of the Laoag PNP)

LAOAG CITY -- Members of the Ilocos Norte police force have increased police visibility in places of convergence such as churches, business establishments, bus stations and at the Laoag International Airport.
Lt. Col. Amador Quiocho, acting chief of the Laoag City police reiterated to the public on Sunday to “always be vigilant, always be ready and stay alert at all times.”

Since last week, law enforcers in the province along with some augmentation force from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 1st Company continue to conduct area security, police presence, and mobile patrolling in downtown Laoag.

Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams in the 80 barangays of Laoag were also deployed in public areas as they worked with the police on duty day and night.

“We cannot discount the fact that terrorism is a worldwide problem and it should be taken seriously,” said Quiocho as he reported the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are doing their best to secure the public against threat of terror attack.

“For now, the public is advised not to go to crowded places and report to the PNP any potential threat that you observe in your area,” he added as flyers and other education materials on crime prevention are also being distributed to the locals.

The Laoag police hotline numbers are the following: 772-02-01, 0933-853-9013, and 0917-599-7414.

US to aid PH in search for missing plane, pilot in Aurora

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 11, 2019): US to aid PH in search for missing plane, pilot in Aurora

The United States Embassy in Manila on Sunday vowed to assist the Philippine government in finding the missing plane and its pilot, which is believed to have crashed in the mountain ranges of Aurora in July 2019.

The assurance was made after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. personally appealed to the Embassy via his social media page to assist in the search.

"We need a special satellite image that can penetrate the jungle to detect plane's aluminum. CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) has no capability whatsoever in this weather for this mission," Locsin said, tagging the Embassy in one of his public tweets.

"One more day and it won't be search & rescue but search & recovery of cadaver. Please US help," he stressed.

In response, the Embassy said Washington is ready to assist as a "friend, partner, and ally" to the Philippines.

"(The US Embassy in the Philippines) is ready to assist. We’ve been in touch with Philippine authorities to determine what assistance is needed and how we can help," it noted.

The missing Cessna C-152 plane, piloted by 25-year-old Aaron Dizon, was supposed to have landed in Clark after it left Baler on July 28.

The aircraft, owned by Omni Aviation Corporation, is one of the five planes that took off from San Luis town in Baler. However, only four managed to land in Clark.

Netizens warn youth vs. joining left-leaning groups

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 11, 2019): Netizens warn youth vs. joining left-leaning groups

MOTHER’S PAIN. Luisa Espina, mother of a minor who was believed recruited by a communist-linked group, says her daughter stopped going home during the second semester of 2017. During a Senate hearing on missing minors on Wednesday (Aug. 7, 2019), Espina said she was not losing hope that someday, she will be reunited with her daughter. (PNA file photo by Avito Dalan)

Netizens have urged young Filipinos not to join Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students (LFS), and other youth groups involved in activism.

This, after Relissa Lucena, mother of a student recruited by the leftist organization Anakbayan, shared how her daughter changed and eventually left their home after joining the progressive group.

In his comment at a Philippine News Agency post on the issue on social media, netizen Gilbert Gallardo Magtibay stressed that joining such groups would not do young people any good because what these organizations do are "directionless uprisings".

Magtibay disclosed that he was also once an activist during his college years. "Asan sila? Lahat nagtatago lang at nabubuhay na parang mga daga sa suluk-sulok ng kabundukan. Tapos ung mga lider nila na nagfi-finance, ang sasarap ng buhay sa ibang bansa at mga naka-aircon. Baka nga pinagtatawanan lang sila ng mga 'yun (Where are they? All of them are hiding and living like rats in the corners of the mountains. Their leaders who finance them live comfortably in air-conditioned rooms in other countries. Most likely, they [leaders] are just laughing at them [members]," he added.

Meanwhile, Niña Cayetano Mars shared the story of her former classmate who died in a mountain in Isabela due to malaria after following the lead of a communist group.

"Months after graduation, we visited her wake, sobrang sakit sa nanay niya ang nangyari at nung nakita kami grabe iyak sa amin. Kasabay daw sana namin nakatapos classmate namin na yun kung hindi lang sumapi sa grupo na yan. Ilang buwan na nakalipas hinukay labi niya sa bundok na nakabalot lang sa malong (the incident deeply hurt her mom and she cried a lot when she saw us. She said she could've graduated with us had she not joined the group. Her remains were only wrapped in a "malong" when dug up after a few months), we saw the pictures, so her coffin was closed during her wake," Mars said.

Stressing the importance of good communication with the young people, Richard Yap related he was blinded by an organization to "shed his blood and dedicate his life to it and to freeing the country".

"I have opened my eyes when my father and my teacher in political science told me that if I want to help the society, the government. I have to start helping my family because family is the basic unit of the society as well as the government. So, I got out of it. Hard. Because they will not just let you go. I survived with God's blessings," Yap added.

Jinky Jimenez shared that she had a college professor who was a member of Anakbayan and was actively recruiting students like her.

"Binigyan kami ng two options ng logic professor namin para maipasa subject niya. One, mag-aral ng mabuti, 'yung walang absent, walang late, pasado sa exams at quiz at may recitation. Two, ang sumali sa Anakbayan at mag-conduct ng fact-finding sa isang lugar. Mas pinili ko 'yung una kase hindi naman ako ganoon ka-bobo para sayangin ang buhay ko na pinaghirapan ng magulang ko. (Our logic professor gave us two options to pass his subject. One, study hard, no absences, tardiness, pass the exams, quizzes and recitation. Two, join Anakbayan and conduct fact-finding in a certain place. I chose the first option because I'm not that stupid to waste my life for which my parents suffered a lot). And a year later, he [the professor] was shot dead during his class," Jimenez said.

In response to Jimenez, netizen JoJo Coronado suggested stopping members of LFS, Anakbayan, Anakpawis, and other groups supporting the National People's Army, from recruiting students.

Jowell Kip Conales, an alumnus of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), said LFS targets college freshmen because they easily say yes to invitations and discussions.

"Nagtuturo sila ng Karl Max and Friedrich Engels then nung nasa listahan na ako na magpunta sa Mindoro sumibat ako. One week akong absent kasi hinahanap ako...makulit kasi sila aabangan sa klase nag-aantay sila sa labas pagkatapos ng subject mo, kukunin nila weekly schedule mo (They teach Karl Max and Friedrich Engels then I left when they included me in the list of those going to Mindoro. I went absent for a week because they were hunting me...they will wait for you after class and they will get your weekly schedule)," he added.

Another PUP alumnus, a certain Argel, said LFS members seemed to have been brainwashed by the NPA because "they are all angry at military men who they label as the true rebels".

"Ewan ko ba sa presidente ng PUP kung bakit pinapayagan until now ang ganyang kalakaran, sobrang laya wala nang disiplina, nandadamay na ng pamilya...Feeling nila sila na si Jose Rizal at Andres Bonifacio kaya pati magulang binabastos (I don't know why PUP's president allows such system until now, there's too much freedom that there's no longer discipline, families already suffer...They already feel like they're Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio so they disrespect their parents," Argel added.

Condemning Anakbayan for causing young people to rebel against their parents, Allan Kalan urged his fellow youth to love and obey their parents even just for the sacrifices they have made to raise them up.

"Iyong mga kaibigan nyo or mga kikilala ninyo hindi 'yan sasalo ng bala para sa inyo pag nasa bundok na kayo. Pero 'yung magulang ninyo, hindi yan magdadalawang-isip ibigay ang buhay nila kapalit ang buhay ninyo (Your friends or acquaintances will not catch the bullet targeted at you when you're in the mountains. But your parents won't think twice to risk their own lives for your sake)," Kalan added.

Lauding the government's drive against communism, Jeh Sabando said it is good that the activities of communists and terrorists, who are masking themselves through the party-list system, are now being exposed.

"Siguro maraming pobreng ina at ama ang hindi man lang makapagsumbong sa takot (Maybe, many poor mothers and fathers are unable to inform the authorities because of fear)," Sabando added.

Last Wednesday, PUP president Emanuel de Guzman assured that professors who require their students to attend protest activities will face charges.

“If proven, administrative cases will be filed against them. They will no longer be qualified to teach in PUP,” De Guzman said in an interview with Philippine News Agency (PNA) on the sidelines of the Senate hearing on missing minors who have been allegedly recruited by organizations with links to the communist movement.

On Sunday, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año assured the parents whose children were recruited by leftist organizations that the government will help them find their children.

He warned parents against the active recruitment of leftist organizations in schools and universities nationwide and urged them to be "involved in guarding their children since these communist-terrorist groups have little to no regard for the lives of the youth”.

Parlade hits Casiño for defending Red allies despite being wrong

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 11, 2019): Parlade hits Casiño for defending Red allies despite being wrong

Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations. (File photo)

A ranking official of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) scored former Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Teddy Casiño for defending and justifying efforts by progressive groups linked to the communist rebels, to allegedly recruit students and minors to boost their ranks.

"I believe what Teddy Casiño said about recruitment in Anakbayan, LFS (League of Filipino Students) Kabataan, etc. and other organizations is correct. That's the only good thing there. The rest is disastrous already and he doesn't want these organizations to be faulted for joining the NPA (New People's Army),"
Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade said in a statement to the Philippine News Agency Sunday.

Earlier, the former party-list representative said students joining militant groups are getting exposed to the issues and problems affecting the country and are thus realizing their obligations as citizens.

"Ang maganda lang sa ganyang organisasyon, nae-expose sila (mga estudyante) sa iba't ibang isyu ng ating lipunan. Eventually when they grow older, kung saan man sila mapadpad, at least hindi bumibitaw sa kanila na meron silang obligasyon sa ating mamamayan, sa ating bansa," Casiño was quoted as saying.

As a scholar of Bayan Muna during his student days, Parlade said the former party-list representative is duty-bound to support its cause, all the way, good or bad.

"That's what happened to these activists 'who wanted to become good leaders'. Like Teddy Casiño, many of them ended with criminal records after being involved in NPA like Myles Albasin (a University of the Philippines Cebu and member of the Mabinay 6). Some were involved in criminal acts after being CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) members themselves. Of course, they say those are trumped-up charges, like involvement in Inopacan, Leyte massacre, kidnapping and trafficking of IP (Indigenous Peoples) minors in Talaingod like (former Bayan Muna Representative) Satur Ocampo and (ACT Party-list Representative) France Castro. The others are more careful that's why they have managed to evade criminal cases," he added.

But many of the idealist recruits of these militant organizations end up dead after attacking or ambushing government troops like UP Los Baños undergraduate student John Carlos Capistrano Alberto who was shot and killed after a firefight with military personnel in Luisiana town, Laguna last February and Central Luzon State University veterinary student Katkat Ramos who was recruited by the communist rebels in 2002 and later killed by the NPA.

All these minors get in return for being deceived by the communist rebels, Parlade said, is space at the marble slabs of the "Bantayog ng Kagitingan" in Quezon City.

"Of course, Casiño will not tell us, how they agitate the students from being plain activists of Anakbayan and Kabataan, joining rallies versus tuition hike, oil price, which are normal and allowed as part of our democratic and academic freedom. But Casiño won't tell you how they will slowly indoctrinate these kids, into becoming more violent activists, by recruiting them deeper into the Underground Mass Organizations (UGMOs) and becoming CPP candidates and full-time party members," Parlade said.

He also slammed leaders of militant organizations for not telling their student recruits that they are gradually being led away from legal open mass organization into an illegal and criminal group advocating for armed struggle and toppling the duly-elected government and its leaders.

One of the UGMOs Parlade is describing is the Kabataan Makabayan which is hiding under the umbrella of the Anakbayan, LFS, Kabataan progressive groups.

"If you are a law student and member of NUPL (National Union of Peoples' Lawyer) they will not tell you their underground works unless you have been recruited in the Lupon ng mga Manananggol ng Bayan (LUMABAN), in which case you are already a full-time party member," he added.

These things were kept hidden by the CPP-NPA and their allies to provide them with the means to infiltrate all sectors in the Philippines.

"That's why (CPP founder) Jose Maria 'Joma' Sison, will continue to call them as simply 'progressive allies' in his pursuit of his National 'Democratic' Revolution. Nobody will admit that they are part of the 'armed struggle' or communist revolution, otherwise you will all be scared from entertaining them, let alone vote for them. That's the reason why they call themselves 'Makabayan' instead of 'Kamatayan Bloc' and harass or accuse anyone who exposes them for 'red-tagging'," Parlade added.

Due to this duplicitous tactic, he said communist rebels are able to infiltrate practically every sector and subvert it to do their dirty work.

"That's the duplicitous nature of Joma's CPP. That's what they call the 'revolutionary dual tactics' to infiltrate the schools, the church, the government, the peasant sector, the women (sector) the OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers), the UN system, the NGOs (non-government organizations), human rights lawyers, volunteer workers, environmentalists, scientists, actors, the media, the peace advocates, government workers, laborers, fisherfolk, informal settlers, and for that matter, all vulnerable sectors," he said.

Because of this ability to conceal themselves in the open, Parlade said the country has been largely kept in the dark of all subversive and illegal activities of the communist rebels and their allies, he added.

"This is what kept us in the dark for 50 long years, until a President (Rodrigo R. Duterte) said enough with their b*lls**t," he said.

Parlade was referring to the Chief Executive's Executive Order 70 which was signed by Duterte in December 2018.

This mandates the creation of the NTF ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) and directs all government agencies to render all the necessary support to peace-building programs, plans, and activities for the campaign.

The CPP and its armed wing, the NPA, are listed as terrorist organizations by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

Parlade urged all leaders and representatives of party-list groups to do their utmost in ensuring the safe return of these minors who were recruited by communist rebels.

"If you recall my post to (Bayan Muna Party-list Representative) Mr. Zarate in April, I told him about these grieving parents who were begging for their AFP to rescue these children, minors, in school. Now, more of them are coming out, because many of them have not returned home and are feared to be already in the hills with the NPAs. Like I said, we are simply trying to end this violence and conflict. As some of you are back in Congress, help us in this crusade by contributing in the Senate inquiry. Scapegoating will not get us anywhere,” he added.

DILG vows to recover minors recruited by leftist groups

From the Manila Bulletin (Aug 9, 2019): DILG vows to recover minors recruited by leftist groups

The Department of the Interior and Local (DILG) vowed to recover the children recently recruited by leftist groups.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (Photo from Philippine Information Agency / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a recent Senate hearing, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año warned parents of the active recruitment of leftist organizations in schools and universities nationwide.

He asked the parents to be vigilant and be “involved in guarding their children since these Communist-Terrorist Groups (CTGs) have little to no regard for the lives of the youth.”

The DILG chief these organizations were masquerading as “progressive pro-poor organizations” when, in fact, they were front organizations or recruitment centers of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA).

“These organizations are brainwashing the children and destroying the youth of our country,” he said.

Año disclosed the recruited minors were usually deployed to the mountains and they “eventually end up as casualties in the firefight between Government forces and the Communist rebels.”

“There is a violation of the law in these recruitments. Those mothers in the Senate hearing mirror the sentiments of many families who have lost sons and daughters to the bankrupt ideology of these terrorists and leftist groups,” he added.

In the recent Senate hearing, a group of mothers emotionally conveyed stories of how their children abandoned their families “for the chance to fight for the country” after being brainwashed by Leftist groups.

According to Año, there are 500 to 1000 youths being indoctrinated by the CPP-NPA every year who either become a member of the NPA or return to their respective schools as militant student leaders.

“They are using their alleged nationalism to teach children to kill and take up arms against the government,” he said.

He lamented it was unfortunate that Republic Act 1700 or the Anti-Subversion Act was repealed, saying these leftist groups should be banned for being subversive and illegal.

In the meantime, the PNP has already initiated the filing of cases against the front organizations identified through the Senate hearing and in the government’s own intelligence and investigations.

He added that youth recruitment of the leftist groups was only a fraction of the CTGs’ elaborate campaign to overthrow the democratic government of the Philippines through armed struggle.

The DILG head explained that such recruitments were prevalent in “white areas” or urban centers where they actively recruit new members and extort revolutionary taxes from legitimate businessmen to fund their armed rebellion in the “red areas” where they kill police officers and soldiers, government representatives, and anyone who opposes them.

He also urged local government units (LGUs) to exercise good governance to regain the people’s trust in government.

“Prioritize programs that will tackle deeply-rooted issues such as provision of adequate social services including education, and an improved quality of life for all, among others,” he says.

Partnership with schools, universities

Año said the DILG was keen on revisiting and reviewing the memorandum of agreement it has with State Universities and Colleges regarding police visibility in infiltrated schools and universities.

He insisted that, in line with the government’s “whole-of-nation-approach” in eliminating local armed conflicts as stated in Executive Order No. 70, police presence in infiltrated schools and universities could be increased to deter the recruitment program of Leftist groups.

Antique cops to Reds: Stop recruiting minors

From Panay News (Aug 11, 2019): Antique cops to Reds: Stop recruiting minors

Youth are the target recruits of communist terrorist groups as they are idealistic, vulnerable to radicalism and easy to train, according to the Philippine Army. RAPPLER

SAN JOSE, Antique – Policemen here will intensify their school visits to covert recruitment activities of leftist groups.

Municipal police station chief Lieutenant Colonel Mark Anthony Darroca on Friday said that they plan to make more frequent visits to schools in the municipality starting next week.

“If we used to visit the schools once a week or once a month before, we intend to have a police presence almost every day now to prevent NPA (New People’s Army) from recruiting students,” he said.

Darroca, however, noted one challenge they would be facing is the lack of personnel.

This capital town hosts two public secondary schools – the Antique National School and San Pedro National High School; private colleges St. Anthony’s College and Advance Central College; and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority-accredited training schools.

“As you know, recruitment of these communist rebels does not only happen among schools but even up to the barangay level,” he said.

He cited as evidence the operation of the seven officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) who were killed in an encounter with joint police and army troops in Barangay Atabay here on Aug. 15, 2018.

“We learned that the seven CPP-NPA-NDF officials were educated, talented and skillful who could easily persuade our young students here,” he said.

Darroca said parents could help the police by closely monitoring and guiding their children as the NPA usually makes false promises.

“Parents would be suspicious if suddenly their children’s behavior changes into being rebellious,” he said.

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

Bulatlat: CPP hits Bato’s witch-hunt

Posted to the pro-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)/National Democratic Front (NDF) online propaganda publication Bulatlat (Aug 10, 2019): CPP hits Bato’s witch-hunt (By Anne Marxze Umil)

“By waving the red banner of national democracy, these student activists have kept the flames of Bonifacio, Sakay and Recto’s nationalism burning to inspire the Filipino people in their struggle to assert the country’s sovereignty.”

MANILA – Amid the controversy over the alleged missing students, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) gives honor to the youth activists and their parents who have remained steadfast in the struggle for national democracy.

“By waving the red banner of national democracy, these student activists have kept the flames of Bonifacio, Sakay and Recto’s nationalism burning to inspire the Filipino people in their struggle to assert the country’s sovereignty,” the CPP said in a statement.

Last Wednesday, Aug. 7, the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs have conducted an inquiry to the alleged missing students who are members of Anakbayan. In the inquiry, parents of the said students gave testimonies about their children they deemed as missing after being recruited by the said group.

The CPP condemned Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa’s “anti-activist witch-hunt.”

“He has shamelessly exploited private family problems to drive a wedge between some parents and their activist children with the aim of maligning activism and radicalism,” the CPP said.

Five parents came to testify on the said at the Senate led by Dela Rosa. The parents alleged that their children who were recruited by Anakbayan were kidnapped and brainwashed.

However, Alicia Lucena, a senior high school student of Far Eastern University, belied that she was kidnapped or even brainwashed by the group. In her Facebook post, she said it was her decision to leave their house as she was put under house arrest by her parents.

For the CPP, “Student activism and radicalism is a force for change, progress, social justice and democracy.”

Read: FQS: A Look Back at Those Days of Disquiet

“Student activists of the national democratic movement were among the most resilient in the fight against the Marcos dictatorship in the darkest days of martial law. They were among the prime movers in the uprising against the corrupt Estrada regime. They have consistently fought for the interests of the Filipino people despite the threats to life under the Duterte regime,” the group said.

Lucena also said that accusations against her by Dela Rosa and President Duterte’s cohorts are “painful and outrageous.” She asserts that she joined the organization because she is aware of the problems plaguing the society, thus she decided to devote her time to push for genuine reforms.

She told the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Duterte regime to not use her and her family to “cover up for its inutility and rotten administration.”

The CPP also denounced Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde “for depicting recruitment of activists as a crime after issuing veiled threats against progressive university professors” He is now calling for a recall of past agreements between universities and the Department of National Defense which prohibits the presence of military and police forces from school campuses.

In a separate statement, CPP founder and National Democratic Front of the Philippines Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison said that students and teachers will oppose the military presence.

“Everywhere the Duterte terror regime is using the anti-national and anti-democratic ‘whole nation approach’ of Executive Order 70 to spread red-tagging and the communist scare, put under surveillance and militarize all civilian sectors of society and impose fascist dictatorship on the people,” Sison said.

CPP tells Bato, Albayalde: Country would be worse without student activism

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 9, 2019): CPP tells Bato, Albayalde: Country would be worse without student activism

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) says student activism and radicalism is a force for change, progress, social justice and democracy. Photo by Southern Tagalog Exposure

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has insisted that the Philippines would be in a far worse situation without student activism, amid claims that progressive groups kidnap and brainwash university students.

CPP was reacting to assertions by former Philippine National Police chief and now Senator Ronald dela Rosa and incumbent chief General Oscar Albayalde that left-leaning groups supposedly posing as legal fronts of the communist movements are plucking minors away from schools.

“Student activism and radicalism is a force for change, progress, social justice and democracy […] Without student activism, as well as activism among workers, peasants and other sectors, the Filipino people would be in a far worse situation than they are now,” CPP said in a statement on Friday.

“The toiling masses would be experiencing even worse oppression and exploitation,” it added.

According to the communist group, certain victories in the history of the Philippines were achieved with the help of student activists.

“Student activists of the national democratic movement were among the most resilient in the fight against the Marcos dictatorship in the darkest days of martial law,” CPP explained.

“They were among the prime movers in the uprising against the corrupt Estrada regime. They have consistently fought for the interests of the Filipino people despite the threats to life under the Duterte regime,” they added.

Alleged recruitment of students to the New People’s Army (NPA) was discussed after parents of children claimed in a Senate hearing that parents were forcibly taken and coerced into fighting against state forces.

Dela Rosa, in particular, has called for an investigation into the issue while Albayalde asked the groups to explain and answer these allegations.

READ: Dela Rosa wants probe on recruitment of minors to leftist groups

READ: Albayalde to leftist groups: Explain alleged recruitment of minors

During the Senate hearing, one of the parents was unable to control her tears as she spoke of her daughter’s decision to leave their home. According to Relissa Lucena, her child Alicia Lucena even branded them as “enemies” after informing authorities of her participation in militant organization Anakbayan.

However, Alicia insisted that she left home for personal reasons, and that her decision to join Anakbayan was voluntary.

READ: Mothers of minors recruited by leftist groups turn emotional at Senate probe

READ: Daughter refutes mom: I am not missing, brainwashed; I left home willingly

According to CPP, Dela Rosa’s strategy to present parents of alleged activists backfired, especially when Alicia showed that she is not being controlled.

“Dela Rosa’s anti-activist attack, however, has backfired, as the so-called missing students have revealed themselves as highly intellectual, articulate and mature individuals as opposed to his caricature of activist ‘brainwashing’, CPP said.

“Dela Rosa has succeeded only in making himself look foolish,” it added.

Peace talks with Duterte impossible, says Joma

From the Manila Times (Aug 10, 2019): Peace talks with Duterte impossible, says Joma

President Rodrigo Duterte may have gotten the wrong impression that top personalities of the National Democratic Front (NDF) are willing to negotiate under the current administration, according to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison.

Jose Maria “Joma” Sison

Sison, in a statement on late Thursday, shot down Duterte’s remarks that Luis Jalandoni and Fidel Agcaoili were “insisting” on returning peace talks back to the table.

Jalandoni is the current NDF Negotiating Panel chairman, while Agcaoili is the NDF’s senior adviser.

The CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, are members of the NDF, an umbrella group

“[The] peace negotiations and the Manila visit of Agcaoili and Jalandoni are impossible so long as Duterte is in power and does not remove… obstacles that he himself is responsible for,” the self-exiled communist leader said.

The obstacles being referred to by Sison are the issuance of Proclamation 360 on Nov. 23, 2017, which officially terminated the peace negotiations; and days after that, Proclamation 374, which tagged the CPP and the NPA as terrorist organizations.

Sison also cited Executive Order 70, signed by Duterte on Dec. 4, 2018, which created a task force led by law enforcement agencies that would end insurgency in the country.

“It is Duterte who is clearly culpable for the termination of the peace negotiations in contempt of the people’s desire for these,” the communist leader said, adding that the President was “completely wrong in presuming and implying” that the NDF would again be willing to conduct peace talks with the government.

“Indeed, peace negotiations are a mode of talking to the enemy, addressing the roots of the armed conflict and possibly ending the long-running civil war in the Philippines,” Sison said.

Gov’t seeks talks with state university execs vs NPA recruitment

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 9, 2019): Gov’t seeks talks with state university execs vs NPA recruitment

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Friday he wants to initiate a dialogue involving the police, military, students and officials from several state universities as part of the awareness campaign against the recruitment strategies of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Among the schools the DILG chief mentioned are the
University of the Philippines and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, where he said some student organizations have been “infiltrated” by the communist rebels.

Año, himself a retired chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said groups like the League of Filipino Students where the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has supposed “corresponding branches” need to be monitored.

“Gusto nating magkaroon ng engagement and dialogue sa school authorities and students so that magkaroon ng awareness ang mga tao kung ano ang modus operandi ng CPP-NPA,” he told reporters.

“PUP, UP, mga iba pang state universities natin. ‘Yan ang laging tinatarget, mga state universities,” he added.

The DILG chief said the government has also been seeking the review of existing memoranda of agreement with some schools, including a 1989 agreement with UP that limits the presence of state security forces inside campuses. He said these agreements may no longer be applicable in the present times.

“[Dapat] magkaroon tayo ng adjustment and amendment. Somehow there is a need of the presence of our policemen in some areas and some particular universities,” he said, noting that the CPP-NPA does not only wage its fight in the country’s outskirts but also in “white areas” like cities, schools, and factories.

He said about 500 to 1,000 students nationwide undergo immersion activities in provinces every summer, where some of them return as student leaders taking part in rallies. He added around 50 to 100 end up joining the communist movement.

READ: PNP chief: NPA may recruit students during summer

Should the limitations on the presence of police and the military in schools be relaxed, Año said they will only be allowed to enter the campuses “when needed or if a situation arises.”

He also promised parents of the youth lured and recruited by the NPA that the government will help them “reclaim” their children.

“Somehow there is a violation of the law there, like for example kidnapping, abduction and filing of Writ of Habeas Corpus. Minors are easily lured by unscrupulous groups so tutulungan namin ang mga magulang para makamit ang hinahanap nila at makuha ang mga anak nila,” he said.

House to probe slay of Abu Sayyaf surrenderees

From the Philippine Star (Aug 11, 2019): House to probe slay of Abu Sayyaf surrenderees

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives will look into the killing of three former Abu Sayyaf bandits in a law enforcement operation in Basilan on Aug. 2.

“The three had surrendered to the government. They turned their back on banditry to live normal lives as citizens. They were trying to convince their former colleagues to do likewise at the time of their senseless death,” Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, who sought the inquiry, said.

Aljan Mande, Jamsid Mande and Radjak Ammah were killed in an alleged shootout with personnel of the police Special Action Force and National Bureau of Investigation during a raid on the house of Mande in Sitio Kasanyangan, Barangay Candiis in Hadji Muhammad Ajul town.

“This will surely have an impact in our security campaign. It was a tragic loss that was both unnecessary and preventable,” Hataman said.

He said he received information that the raiding team did not coordinate with military officials.

Senator dela Rosa sees mandatory ROTC training could help prevent communist recruitment

From the Manila Bulletin (Aug 11, 2019): Senator dela Rosa sees mandatory ROTC training could help prevent communist recruitment

Senator Ronald dela Rosa on Saturday believes that the revival of the mandatory Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) in schools could help stop the recruitment of minors by communist groups.

Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa (HNP / FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO)

Dela Rosa, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said this as he claimed that patriotism and discipline among the youth “declined” since the military training became an optional program for students.

He claimed that this triggered the membership of more teenagers in militant organizations.

“Dahil simulang nawala ‘yong ROTC, naobserbahan natin na ang inclination ng kabataan, hindi naman lahat, is papunta sa kaliwa. Nawala na ‘yong patriotism sa mga kabataan. Nandyan na pasigaw-sigaw na sa kalsada. Nawawalan na ng disiplina,” Dela Rosa said in an interview over radio DWIZ.  (Since the mandatory ROTC was no longer imposed, we observed the inclination of youth, not all of them of course, went towards the leftist movement. Patriotism has declined. There they are now shouting in streets. They are not anymore disciplined.)

Dela Rosa said reimposing the ROTC will be “substantial” in preventing students from joining leftist organizations and becoming fighters of armed communist groups.

Last Wednesday, the neophyte senator led the Senate public order committee’s hearing on the cases of missing teenagers who were allegedly recruited by leftist groups that have supposed links to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army while in school.

In his first public hearing, Dela Rosa invited five parents who blamed militant groups for changing their children’s behavior and allegedly influencing them not to go home. The parents said they lost contact with their teenage kids since they became active members of the groups.

Dela Rosa said the committee will resume its hearing on Wednesday, August 14, and after which will come up with its recommendations on the matter.

The ex-police chief earlier filed a bill pushing to reinstate a two-year mandatory basic ROTC for senior high school students in private and public schools nationwide.

In his bill, those who fail or refuse to undergo the mandatory ROTC shall not be qualified for graduation.

Males aged between 18 to 25 who fail to undergo the mandatory ROTC will also be required to take the Compulsory Military Training under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

President Duterte in his State of the Nation Address last July 25 appealed to lawmakers to pass the bill that would revive the mandatory ROTC for students in grades 11 and 12.

But some senators raised reservations on the measure, specifically its imposition on senior high school students. Youth groups also feared that the mandatory ROTC will pave the way for abuse and violence.

The AFP, earlier, said that the ROTC program does not make a trainee an “ipso facto soldier.”

Adapting to bureaucracy a big challenge for BTA

From the Manila Times (Aug 11, 2019): Adapting to bureaucracy a big challenge for BTA

COTABATO CITY: Since the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (BARMM) inauguration on March 29, it has been challenging for the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) members to adapt to a new autonomous bureaucracy.

The BTA’s first step was drafting the Bangsamoro transition plan, the guidebook for the new government.

In an interview with the People’s Television Network on August 9, BARMM Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said the transition plan has been approved.

“The plan outlines the structure of the new Bangsamoro government and the phasing out of the defunct ARMM bureaucracy. These are now being implemented,” he added, referring to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Sinarimbo said Chief Minister Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim has a 12-point priority agenda Published by the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority, the 12-point agenda includes enactment of priority bills, integration of development plans, establishment of the appropriate bureaucracy, continuity of existing government services, special programs for transitioning combatants, support for ongoing Marawi rehabilitation, development of an enabling policy environment, activation of job-generating industries, enhancement of security, maximization of synergistic partnerships, environmental compliance, and exploration of Bangsamoro’s economic potentials.

“There will be massive improvement in the delivery of social services to let these go down to the barangay (village) level because now it only reaches up to the municipal level. We want to do this so that statistics on development would not merely be numbers but about people,” Sinarimbo said.

Decommissioning combatants

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has committed to decommission its combatants as soon as the Bangsamoro government is established.

“The first phase covers 30 percent of their combatants and their weapons. On Sept. 7, 12,000 MILF combatants and 2,100 firearms will be decommissioned,” Sinarimbo said.

“We would like our countrymen, especially those here in Manila and the larger part of the Philippines, to know that the peace agreement the Philippine government signed with the MILF has already produced good results on the ground,” he added.

“We are optimistic that soon we will attain true peace and development not only in the region but in the whole country as well,” Sinarimbo said.

OPAPP, DSWD allot aid package to ex-MILF combatants

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 11, 2019): OPAPP, DSWD allot aid package to ex-MILF combatants

SOCIOECONOMIC AID. Officials of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and the Department of Social Welfare and Development signed a memorandum of agreement in Taguig City on Aug. 9, 2019. The agreement, which aims to provide socioeconomic packages to the soon-to-be decommissioned Moro Islamic Liberation Front combatants, was signed by (L-R) DSWD Undersecretary for Disaster Response Management Group Felicisimo C. Budiongan; DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista; OPAPP Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr; OPAPP Undersecretary Arnulfo Pajarillo (Photo courtesy of OPAPP)

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) through which socioeconomic packages will be provided to soon-to-be decommissioned Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants.

The assistance package will be given under the Normalization Track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

“I would like to express the department’s full commitment to the implementation of the Bangsamoro transitory support package and its livelihood settlement grants,” said DSWD Secretary Joselito Rolando Bautista in his remarks during the MOA signing on Friday (Aug. 9, 2019).

“We assure you that the implementation of these programs for our [soon-to-be] decommissioned MILF combatants and their family members will be done with integrity and transparency,” Bautista added.

The MOA will focus on three objectives: (1) the adoption of conflict-sensitive and peace promoting approach in the implementation of socioeconomic assistance; (2) assistance to the decommissioned combatants’ transition to civilian life and its facilitation on the transformation of six acknowledged MILF camps into peaceful and productive communities; and (3) establishment and operationalization of institutional partnership and coordination mechanisms at the national and regional levels.

The socioeconomic aspect is part of the four main components of the Normalization Track of the CAB. The other three are security, confidence building measure, and transitional justice and reconciliation.

At the heart of the normalization process is the complete transformation of MILF combatants into peaceful and productive members of the communities. The MILF weapons will be put beyond use. They will also be equipped with livelihood skills and provided with livelihood support that will prepare them for reintegration to mainstream society.

Last week, 225 members of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) underwent basic military training to capacitate them as members of Joint Peace and Security Teams (JPST).

JPSTs are composed of members of the MILF-BIAF, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Philippine National Police who will be tasked to ensure the security of residents within the six government-acknowledged MILF camps during the decommissioning process.

In his message during the event, Presidential Peace Adviser on Peace, Unity and Reconciliation Carlito G. Galvez Jr. emphasized how the socioeconomic aspect of the normalization will help uplift the lives of the former combatants and their families.

“The socioeconomic aspect of the decommissioning process will bring the dividends of the peace agreements right into the very homes of these former combatants who have fought for the realization of the Bangsamoro people’s hopes and aspirations,” Galvez said.

For his part, Bangsamoro Minister for Budget and Finance Eduard Guerra expressed his confidence in the national government’s commitment to fully implement all agreements under the Bangsamoro peace process.

“This momentous event is a concrete manifestation of the support of the government to the ongoing normalization process,” Guerra said.

Based on the Normalization Track, 30 percent or 12,000 MILF combatants and their weapons will be decommissioned this year. At least 35 percent will undergo the same process next year, while the remaining fighters will be decommissioned until 2022 in time for the signing of the Exit Agreement under the CAB.

PMA alum asks Cayetano to expel Elago from House

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 11, 2019): PMA alum asks Cayetano to expel Elago from House

A veteran member of the Philippine Navy and Philippine Military Academy, Dan Jimenez, on Saturday urged House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to expel Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago from the House for "advocating communist ideology."

In his Facebook post, Jimenez, a navy and military alumnus of batch '77, described Elago as a "traitorous snake in the House".

"It is time for House Speaker Cayetano to prove his loyalty to the Constitution, the country, the people and the flag...Either he stays or the communist Elago," he stressed.

Citing that Elago is a member of the Philippine Congress, Jimenez said "she must protect and defend the Philippine Constitution" but she "continues to advocate the communist ideology and actively recruits the youth to join the outlawed terrorist New People’s Army, Communist Party of the Philippines, and National Democratic Front".

Calling on nationalistic congressmen to initiate the expulsion of Elago, Jimenez explained that a sitting member of Congress can be removed by a two-thirds vote of its membership.

"How much longer will the supposed representatives of the people turn a blind eye and be deaf to the cries of parents and families whose children have just vanished only to surface as casualties of the communists' lies and manipulation? How many more deaths will it take before Cayetano and his Congress get rid of the snake within their ranks? Have Congress lost the essence of democracy and their sworn duty to serve and protect the people?" he said.

On Wednesday, Elago did not attend the Senate hearing which sought to look into the cases of minors who reportedly went missing shortly after being allegedly recruited by militant groups including Anakbayan due to "prior commitments" and "short notice".

"We received the invitation from your honorable office on 05 August 2019, with the hearing being set for Wednesday, 07 August. Unfortunately, we will not be able to attend because of prior commitments which we will not be able to move considering the very short notice," she said.

On Thursday, Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, described Elago's reason as a "sloppy excuse" especially that the hearing is about a "very important issue about youth activism".

"Rep. Elago should have enlightened us of their interpretation of 'academic freedom' and "protection of children's rights" in that session, but they chose not to face the parents. There is another hearing scheduled next week and let's see if they have other alibis," Parlade said in a statement sent to the Philippine News Agency.

Parlade stressed that Elago and her organization opt to protest on the streets about "non-existent issues like press freedom suppression and dictatorship" instead of taking the opportunity to "tell their side of the story" at the Senate.

"You talk of suppression of press freedom and dictatorship? Then, how is it possible that you can rally and march freely on the streets with your b*lls**t slogans? You are given the opportunity to speak at the floor but you ignore it because you choose to shout on the streets," he added.

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

IDP Protection Assessment Report - Displacement in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte (AFP vs NPA) (IDPPAR No. 12, Issue No. 01, 2019)

Posted to the Relief Web (Aug 9, 2019): IDP Protection Assessment Report - Displacement in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte (AFP vs NPA) (IDPPAR No. 12, Issue No. 01, 2019)

REPORT from UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Protection Cluster
Published on 09 Aug 2019 —View Original

Download PDF (1.26 MB)


July 25, 2019, a firefight erupted between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and members of the New People's Army (NPA) along the boundary of Barangay Kalilangan and Barangay Panoroganan, Iligan City. A group of alleged NPA members was reportedly sighted in the jungle of Sitio Dowa Dowa, Kalilangan, which then prompted the AFP to conduct ground operations. Affected barangays are Barangay Panoroganan (Sitio Kadiis and Sitio Pinasangka), Barangay Kalilangan, and Barangay Rogongon (Sitio Kiyanibong), Iligan City.

The affected barangays are also the areas affected by firefights between the AFP and NPA last January 2019. According to local authorities, no casualties were reported. A total of 242 families were reported displaced by the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) Office of Iligan City in its Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) Report.


During the field assessment conducted by Community and Family Services International (CFSI), around 273 families are still displaced and staying in various ECs and communities across three barangays. One hundred forty-eight (148) families from affected areas in Brgy. Kalilangan are still displaced in the declared ECs, namely: Tribal Hall EC, Tamana Building, and Mosque in the same barangay. Twenty one (21) families who are still in Brgy. Rogongon and have not yet returned to Sitio Kadiis, Brgy Panoroganan are staying with their relatives in Sitio Bayanihan, while 49 families from Sitio Kiyanibong are staying in Poblacion, also in Barangay Rogongon. Tribal leader Sultan Estorya Macadatar has also reported that there are 55 IDPs from Sitio Pinasangka, Brgy. Panoroganan staying in the Poblacion of Panoroganan. This data is still subject to validation.

As of 02 August, twenty four (24) families that were displaced to Brgy. Bayanihan have already returned to their residences in Sitio Kadiis, Brgy. Panoroganan. However, some have expressed their concern over on-going operations in the hinterlands which, in turn, affects their farming activities. A number of military forces were positioned in Sitio Kadiis in Barangay Panoroganan, while a number of military vehicles were seen in Barangay Rogongon, Iligan City.

According to Corporal Dex Yudo of the 51st Infantry Battallion (IB) of the AFP, IDPs can go back to Barangays Panoroganan and Kiyanibong since these areas are already declared safe. Although operations are ongoing in the forested area of Kalilangan, the military says it is nonetheless safe because the operation is outside the areas covered by the firefight. The return of IDPs was announced in the local radio, according to Cprl Yudo.

Philippine Red Cross Iligan City Chapter provided family food packs to the affected barangays, while food packs from the LGU were scheduled to be distributed 2 August 2019. The packs contain 6 kilograms of rice and some canned goods.

Army, NPA clash even in casualty figures

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 11, 2019): Army, NPA clash even in casualty figures

CAGAYAN DE ORO—Communist guerrillas and government soldiers clashed anew in the boundaries of Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon provinces early on Sunday (Aug 11).

The military said two rebels were killed.

But New People’s Army said it suffered no casualty and successfully repelled soldiers who had tried to penetrate rebel territory.

The rebels had safely pulled out of the area, NPA said.

A certain “Roxanne” talking on behalf of the NPA’s Mt. Kitanglad Command, said one soldier was dead and four wounded.

Brig. Gen. Edgardo de Leon, 403rd Infantry Brigade commander, said two rebels were killed in an encounter with soldiers in Barangay San Rafael.

2 Sri Lankan terrorists have entered PH, AFP warns

From the Manila Standard (Aug 11, 2019): 2 Sri Lankan terrorists have entered PH, AFP warns

A ranking military officer urged the public to be vigilant following reports two Sri Lankan terrorists might have sneaked into the country to stage a bombing mission in the northern part of Luzon.

Reports posted at the Straits Times identified the two terrorists as Mark Kevin Samhoon and Victoria Sophia Sto. Domingo, both tagged as suicide bombers and with relatives in the Philippines and are included in the watchlist.

Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, acting commander of the Civil Relations Service, did not dismiss the report, saying they had information relating to it but were validating the report with other government agencies.

Arevalo said: “We have to validate that report with other agencies of government. The information immediately available are reports coming from media.

“We already have some information that we are checking with another agency.”

Sto. Domingo was reported to have arrived in the country in November 2018 while Samhoon followed her in June this year, but the circumstances of their entry into the Philippines remained unknown.

Samhoon is reported to be connected to the Sr Lankan terror network, the National Thowheed Jamath, ((NTJ), an ISIS-affiliated radical organization responsible in the Easter Sunday bombing of St. Sebastian Church in Sir Lanka last April, killing at least 250 people.

Last week, the military’s intelligence branch was alerted and urged to pursue leads to the reported terrorist planned attacks in still unspecified targets in Northern Luzon.

Reports said Samhoon’s mother was working as an overseas Filipino worker in Dubai. He had unclear links with Sto. Domingo who holds a Philippine and a Sri Lankan passport and was described as a “black-belter” who had trained children and women in bomb-making techniques.

The Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research through its head, Rommel, said Sto. Domingo was reportedly involved in plotting the suicide attack in January this year on a Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Sulu, that killed 23 people and wounded 100 others.

Indonesian authorities tagged two of compatriots Rullie Rian Zeke and Ulfah Handayani as the bombers.

Meanwhile, the Benar News reported that Samhoon and Sto. Domingo were already with a faction of Filipino militants in Luzon where most extremist groups linked to ISIS normally operate.

The terror group Suyuful Khilafa Fi Luzon, formed by the remnants of the Rajah Sulaiman Islamic Movement (RSIM), is reportedly planning attacks on churches in Luzon, with the help from Samhoon and Sto Domingo.

The RSIM whose membership consists of “Balik-Islam was founded by Ahmad Santos in 1995 whose cell was secretly established in Pangasinan.

The terror group, however, was busted by police intelligence agents under then Gen. Boogie Mendoza.

Reports said the militants were planning to pull bomb attacks in Luzon, apparently to send a message that their influence was spreading in places far from their strongholds.

This developed as Arevalo urges the public to remain calm and continue their routine, “but they should remain vigilant and alert. [They should] report their unusual observations to the AFP and PNP.”

President Rodrigo Duterte on Aug 5 voiced concerns over possible ISIS-inspired attacks in Luzon.

“I have ISIS, and this is what I am most afraid of,” he said in a speech.

“I am praying, really praying, kneeling before God, to spare us the kind of brutality and cruelty [ISIS brings] because it will really be bloody, bloody as it can be.”

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