Friday, August 16, 2019

US military assists PH counterparts in installing artificial reefs in Batangas

From ABS-CBN (Aug 16, 2019): US military assists PH counterparts in installing artificial reefs in Batangas

US military divers assist their Philippine counterparts, along with local government and non-governmental volunteers, in installing artificial reefs in Calatagan town, Batangas. Photo taken on Aug. 15, 2019. Courtesy of the United States Embassy in Manila.

United States military divers on Thursday assisted their Philippine counterparts, along with local government and non-governmental volunteers, in installing artificial habitat reefs in Calatagan town, Batangas.

In a statement, the United States embassy in Manila said 6 US divers with 5 support crew members joined the project.

A total of 30 jackstone-type artificial habitat reefs made from simple construction materials were installed. These reefs, the US consulate said, will serve as shelter, food sources, and breeding areas for wildlife.

Corals will eventually cover the installed structure, revitalizing marine life and improving fishing livelihoods in the coastal communities of Batangas, the US embassy said.

“This project was a fantastic opportunity for us to partner with our friends in the PAF and help preserve the Philippine environment for future generations,” said Maj. Zach Hart, a US diver.

The project, dubbed "Operation Pamamalakaya," was a collaboration between the Philippine Air Force (PAF), DV Boer Farm, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Batangas community environment and natural resources office, and the Municipality of Calatagan.

CPP: Remember Kian delos Santos and the murdered thousands

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Aug 16, 2019): Remember Kian delos Santos and the murdered thousands

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) joins the Filipino people in marking today the second anniversary of the killing of 17-year old Kian delos Santos by police during “anti-drug” operations in Caloocan. We remember as well the murder of 19-year old Carl Arnaiz and 14-year old Reynaldo de Guzman who were killed around the same time by police.

Kian, Carl and Reynaldo are among the more than one hundred children and minors killed under the Duterte regime’s “drug war.” The most recent victim is three-year old Myka Ulpina who was killed with her father last June 29 in Rizal.

We remember all these children and express sympathy with all grieving mothers and fathers. We denounce the hypocrisy of Duterte’s minion Sen. Bato dela Rosa, then police chief who led the “drug war,” who vulgarly remarked “shit happens” after Myka’s killing, but who now pontificates with his narrative of “activism destorying families.”

The Filipino people holds Duterte and all his military and police officers accountable for the deaths of all these children and all victims of the “drug war.” In the past three years, close to 6,600 were officially killed by the police, while close to 30,000 murders, carried out by police and police vigilantes, remain under investigation.

They are all victims of extrajudicial killings under Duterte’s fake “war against drugs” – a war, not to eliminate illegal drugs, but to control the drug market and corner the hundreds of billions of pesos in shabu money. It is a war against the poor meant to sow fear and establish his tyrannical rule. With fascist impunity, Duterte unleashed an all-out campaign of killings with outright disregard to rights and due processes.

The Party urges the Filipino people and all victims of Duterte’s drug war and all other wars to fight back. We urge all mothers of the murdered, the orphans, and all families and friends of the several tens of thousands killed to make their voices be heard. Come together to end the silence: Justice for Kian and for all the thousands murdered! End Duterte’s killings! End Duterte’s fascist tyranny!

Kalinaw News: CSAFP visits 4ID, launch Peace and Development Book

Posted to Kalinaw News (Aug 16, 2019): CSAFP visits 4ID, launch Peace and Development Book

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – A warm welcome greeted the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as Gen Benjamin Madrigal Jr visited Camp Evangelista, 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division, Philippine Army, this morning August 15, 2019.

Gen Madrigal, together with LTGen Felimon Santos Jr., Commander of Eastern Mindanao Command, MGen Reuben Basiao, J2, MGen Andres Centino, J3, and other Officers and personnel from General Headquarters, AFP were received by MGen Franco Nemesio Gacal, Commander, 4ID together with the Brigade and Battalion Commanders, Staff, Officers and personnel of the Cagayan de Oro based Division.

The visit was highlighted with the signing and launching of the book entitled ” Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC): The Community Initiatives and Transformation Program in Northeastern Mindanao”. It was officiated by no less than the Chief of Staff, AFP, Gen Madrigal together with LtGen Santos, Dir. Mylah Faye Aurora Cariño of NEDA-10 and MGen Gacal. The book highlights the Division’s significant role, contribution and collaborative initiatives with the LGUs, LGAs, and other significant stakeholders in operationalizing the “Whole-of-Nation Approach” through the flagship programs, Convergence Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev) in Region – X and Peace and Development Zones (PDZ) in Caraga.

During his talk to the troops, Gen Madrigal expressed, “Being your Commander of the 4th Infantry Division was one of the highlights of my military career. I am truly proud of this division’s achievements while I was still its commander. While serving as the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, I am also proud of your successful missions bringing our organization closer to our goals. The 4th ID has made significant accomplishments since I passed the responsibility of leading this division to then BGen Franco Nemesio M Gacal and have continuously contributed in achieving peace in its area of responsibility.”

MGen Gacal also said, “The 4th ID is very pleased to welcome once again and to be visited by its former commander, our current AFP Chief. Gen Madrigal steered this Division to greater heights during his stint.” “With the full support of the AFP, we assure Gen Madrigal that we will work harder and will go the extra mile in order for Regions 10 and CARAGA to attain long-lasting, inclusive and sustainable peace and development through the implementation and institutionalization of Executive Order 70,” Gacal ended.

Division Public Affairs Office 4th Infantry Division Philippine Army
Cpt Regie H Go

[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.
Contact us:]

Kalinaw News: Army slams NPA after murder of former rebel

Posted to Kalinaw News (Aug 16, 2019): Army slams NPA after murder of former rebel

CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – The 2nd Infantry (Jungle Fighter ) Division, Philippine Army condemned in the strongest possible terms the NPA’s terroristic act of murdering Rodel Agudes, a former rebel and now a civilian serving as a barangay tanod at Sitio Apia, Brgy Calawis, Antipolo City at 5 a.m. on August 15.

According to Lt Col Christopher Diaz, Commanding Officer of 80th Infantry Battalion, the brutal act of the CNTs “was part of their organizational cleansing targeting their former members who went on lie low and AWOL due to lingering doubt that they have been providing government troops with information” that resulted to decisive engagements and debacles on the part of the terrorists.

He added that through this criminal act, “the NPAs once again proved that they are human rights violators who do not value human lives including those of the people who once supported their objectives”.

It can be recalled that for this year alone, a series of decisive engagements were recorded in Southern Tagalog wherein the military expected massive losses on the part of the terrorists. Most of these engagements were attributed to “reliable information” provided by concerned citizens.

Col Alex Rillera, Commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over Northern Quezon, said that “the killing of Rodel Agudes is nothing but plain and simple murder.”

He added that “our forces will be relentless in pursuit of these terrorists until justice is served to the families of the victim.”

For his part, Brigadier General Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, expressed his deepest sympathy to the bereaved family and called on various groups to join the people in condemning this act of terror.

He added that “this is one of the NPA terrorists’ desperate acts of projecting relevance and coercing the people to support them as they try to avert their fast-eroding mass base support from our people.”

BGen Burgos supported this claim by citing his soldiers’ recent discovery of enemy harbor areas in Sitio Malangawan, Brgy Panaytayan, Mansalay and in Sitio Naswak, Brgy Hagan, Bongabong in Oriental Mindoro on August 15 following an information given by concerned citizens from the area.

According to Brigadier General Marceliano V Teofilo, Commander of 203rd Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over Mindoro, “the harbor areas can accommodate more or less 30 terrorists’ wherein troops were able to recover one generator set, five magazines of M16 rifle, five magazines of M14 rifle, bandoliers, backpack and other enemy paraphernalia.”

“Our efforts in pursuing those who commit terror against the community will be relentless and shall never falter for the people of Mindoro deserve to enjoy the fruits of peace and prosperity that they’ll never experience in hands of these rebels”, ended BGen Teofilo.

Top military commanders in Southern Tagalog have been very vocal in their call to the few remaining NPAs to “lay down your arms and go back to mainstream society, avail the government’s E-CLIP grants and be part of the solution to our society’s problems because the soldiers will never waver in our commitment to serve the people and secure this part of our land.”

Division Public Affairs Office 2nd Infantry Division Philippine Army
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.
Contact us:]

12 tagged in killing of 4 cops in Negros Occidental

From ABS-CBN (Aug 16, 2019): 12 tagged in killing of 4 cops in Negros Occidental

Police have identified 12 members of the New People's Army (NPA) rebel group allegedly involved in the killing of four policemen in Ayungon, Negros Oriental in July.

The Central Visayas Police Office said that out of the 12 suspects, 4 were already arrested.

Danny Tancinco and Ronnie Herebias were caught last July 31 at Badian, Cebu while Jojo Ogatis and Oto Anadon were caught last August 3 at Mabato, Ayungon, police said.

Eight other suspects remain at large.

Police said they are now working on the facial composites of the suspects so the public could help locate the 8 remaining NPA members said to be responsible for the torture and death of the four policemen. 

4 pulis patay sa pananambang sa Negros Oriental

The suspects are supposed spotters and the lookouts for the NPA.

The Philippine-Indonesian Partnership for Peace in Muslim Mindanao

Posted to the Manila Bulletin (Aug 16, 2019): The Philippine-Indonesian Partnership for Peace in Muslim Mindanao (By Jamil Maidan Flores)

When the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a grouping of some 55 Muslim states, held its Fifth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the fate of the Philippines hung in the balance.

It was 21 June 1974. The Moro separatist rebellion was an unbridledinferno. Nur Misuari, chairman of the still undivided Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), had reason to be confident that the meeting would heftily boost his separatist cause. He had sought admission of the MNLF as state member of the OIC and in this he had the fierce support of several Middle Eastern powers, notably Libya and Saudi Arabia.

(L-R) Hamid Algabid, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; Ambassador Manuel T. Yan, Chairman of the GRP Negotiating Panel; former president Fidel V. Ramos; MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari; Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas (Office of FVR / MANILA BULLETIN)

A case could be objectively made for MNLF statehood: it controlled and administered territory: some ten towns in Cotabato that the Front had seized in theblitz of 1973, several islands in the Sulu-Tawi-Tawi archipelago, and a few towns on Jolo island. Earlier that year, in February, the MNLF fought the Philippine military in a bloody battle that leveled Jolo town.

On top of that, the oil-producing Muslim countries imposed an oil embargo on the United States and other countries they regarded as close to Israel, including the Philippines. This not only hamstrung Philippine industrial production, it also impeded military operations against the rebels.

As if these were not enough for the Philippine government to worry about, the Secretary General of the OIC at that time was Tengku Abdul Rahman, the first Malaysian prime minister to tangle with the Philippines on the issue of sovereignty over Sabah. Tom Stern, the biographer of Nur Misuari, claims that in 1968 in the wake of the Jabidah Massacre, the Tengkuhad offered to train, arm and finance 10,000 Moro fighters to do battle against the Philippine Government.

This writer has found no corroboration to the assertion that the Tengkumade this offer personally. It is a fact of history, however, that in 1971, a batch of 90 Moro fighters, including Nur Misuari, were trained in guerilla warfare for one year on Pangkor Island in West Malaysia, presumably as retaliation to Operation Merdeka, the Marcos government plot to send commandos to sow mayhem in Sabah and soften the territory for a possible invasion. A major sponsor to this training was TunMustapha bin Harun, the Tausug-born Chief Minister of Sabah, while Lanao del Sur Congressman Rashid Lucman coordinated recruitment on the Philippine side. Later hundreds more were trained in Sabah and Libya. While undergoing guerilla warfare training on Pangkor Island, Nur Misuariconceptualized and organized the core of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). (See Tom Stern, “Misuari, An Authorized Biography,” p.141-145.)

By the time that the Moro rebellion broke out in late 1972, Nur Misuari, having cast off the influence of Rashid Lucman, commanded an estimated force of 50,000 Moro fighters, many of them armed with the best assault rifles that Libyan money could buy.

Thus Misuari went into the Fifth OIC-ICFM perhaps dreaming that he would soon be head of state. What he did not know was that Malaysia had changed its mind about the MNLF. The Malaysian central government had suddenly discovered that Tun Mustapha, who was of Filipino bloodline, had a separatist yearning of his own, one that involved a merger of Sabah and southern Philippines. Malaysia dropped the MNLF like a hot potato.

Enter Adam Malik

And what Misuari did not expect was that an icon of Indonesian diplomacy would seal the fate of his separatist ambitions. Adam Malik was only five feet four but he was a giant of international affairs, having just completed tenure as President of the UN General Assembly. He was one of a triumvirate that ruled Indonesia when founding PresidentSukarno was ousted in 1966, the other two being acting President Suharto and Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX.

As the triumvir in charge of foreign affairs, he was signatory to the Bangkok Declaration, the ASEAN founding document, in August 1967 along with the foreign ministers of Malaysia (Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, father of immediate ex-PM Najib Razak), the Philippines (Narciso Ramos, father of former President Fidel), Thailand (Thanat Khoman) and Singapore (S. Rajaratnam).

In the Non-aligned Movement, to which all OIC members also belonged, Adam Malik enjoyed celebrity status.Hence, when he argued against the MNLF bid for OIC membership, his words carried tremendous weight. Nobody knows the exact words he used but in effect he must have told the conference: if you violate the sovereignty of the Philippines by accepting the MNLF into OIC membership as an Islamic state, you would be making this fratricidal strife in southern Philippines even more bloody and perverse. You would be compromising the security of an entire region and the world itself.

To Malaysia and the Philippines, he urged both to strive for a just solution “within the framework of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Philippines.” He advised both countries “to pay more attention to the promotion of regional solidarity and unity rather than the pursuit of ‘narrow’ national interests that might jeopardize the stability of ASEAN.” He made it clear that it was not only the fate of the Philippines that hung in the balance, the future of a fledgling ASEAN was also at risk.

Moreover, Adam Malik met with key Arab foreign ministers and strongly lobbied against the MNLF bid for OIC membership. Fortunately for the Philippines, for ASEAN and for the cause of peace, he was able to persuade them. And by the time the conference concluded on 24 June 1974, the OIC had passed Resolution No. 18, which called on the Philippine Government and the MNLF to negotiate toward autonomy within the framework of Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity. (See Anak Agung Banyu Perwita, “Indonesia and the Muslim World: Islam and Secularism in the Foreign Policy of Soeharto and Beyond,” p. 111-114.)

Malaysia now part of the solution

Resolution No. 18 was a Malaysian-crafted document, which meant that Malaysia was no longer part of the problem created in the first place by Marcos’s military adventurism (Operation Merdeka), but an important contributor to the solution. In the years ahead, Malaysia would play an increasingly constructive role in the search for a solution to the Moro problem.

Meanwhile Indonesia continued to support the Philippine government’s efforts toward peace in Muslim Mindanao. At OIC conferences where Philippine representatives were not allowed to attend, the Indonesian delegation, after every session, would brief Filipino diplomats on what transpired in the meeting. Indonesia also continued to encourage the MNLF to agree to a political solution, to the extent that at one time, according to the official biography of Misuari, President Suharto met him in Manado in 1974 and urged him outright to settle for autonomy.

The mandate of Resolution No. 18 led to the signing of the Tripoli Agreement of 1976, which conferred autonomy on the Muslims of Southern Philippines. This was a framework agreement that would be fleshed out with the modalities of its implementation in subsequent negotiations between the Philippine Government and the MNLF.

To many MNLF members, anything less than independence was anathema. In 1978, Misuari’s own vice-chairman, Hashim Selamat, parted ways with him on this issue. Salamat would go on to found the Moro Islamic Liberation Front

(MILF), which would grow larger than the mother organization. The OIC, however, would unswervingly continue to recognize Misuari as the sole legitimate representative of the Moro people.

After the signing of the Tripoli Agreement, there followed a period during which it was essentially unimplemented in spite of the efforts of President Marcos, and after him, of President Corazon C. Aquino, to fulfill aspects of the Agreement in their own way. During that period the violence of the Moro rebellion abated as the MNLF further splintered and many of its field commanders, like Abul Khayr Alonto of Lanao and Amelil Malaguiok of Cotabato, were co-opted by the government. But the modalities of the implementation of the Tripoli Agreement had yet to be fleshed out.

Indonesia called upon to help

In 1993 the OIC Secretariat called upon Indonesia to lead the OIC Ministerial Committee that was tasked with addressing the Muslim Mindanao issue. Meanwhile, Fidel V. Ramos had succeeded to the presidency and sought resumption of negotiations. Responding to the request of both the Philippine Government and the MNLF to mediate the negotiations on behalf of the OIC, Indonesia buckled down to the task.

From 1993 to 30 August 1996, a team of top-rate Indonesian diplomats shepherded the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the MNLF in Jakarta. Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, imbued the process with wisdom gained from decades of experience as international negotiator. Ambassador Wiryono Sastrohandoyo patiently moderated the formal peace talks, which often bubbled with the tantrums of Nur Misuari. At the level of the Mixed Committee, which tackled and resolved all contentious issues, a very young Dr. Hassan Wirajuda, destined to one day become foreign minister, steered discussions.

By the time, that the Final Peace Agreement was signed between the GRP and the MNLF at Malacanang Palace in Manila on 02 September 1996, Nur Misuari had agreed to run unopposed for ARMM Governor and to head the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD), which would be the equivalent of the Transitional Implementing Structure and Mechanism stipulated in the Tripoli Agreement. Thus Nur Misuari had power and control over the autonomous regional government, and Muslim Mindanao was effectively under MNLF administration. But his revolutionary temper did not dovetail into his role as administrator.

After six years at the helm of the ARMM, Misuari had been charged with corruption, accused of leading a rebellion in Jolo, and ousted from the MNLF chairmanship by 15 of his own lieutenants on grounds of incompetence. On 22 November 2001, Misuari fled to Sabah where he was promptly arrested by the Malaysian authorities who turned him over to their Philippine counterparts. For years Misuari languished under detention while other Moro leaders managed the operations of the ARMM.

For the MILF, a separate peace

Soon after the signing of the 1996 FPA, negotiations were launched between the Philippine government and the MILF. This would be a long, drawn-out process that would last 17 years and involve four Presidents. It would be interrupted by an all-out war waged by President Joseph Estrada against the MILF, and resumed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo after seeking and obtaining the agreement of Malaysia to mediate the process. Malaysia would be mediating as an individual country, not on behalf of the OIC. The Arroyo Government would reach a deal with the MILF—the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD). The Supreme Court, however, would strike this down as unconstitutional.

In February 2011, Arroyo’s successor, Benigno S. Aquino III, revived the peace process, still utilizing Malaysian mediation. The ensuing negotiations yielded in 2014 a Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which became the basis for the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). However, the BBL got stuck in Congress over questions of its constitutionality. In January 2015 when 44 police commandos were killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in a mis-encounter with MILF fighters, the BBL ran aground altogether.

Meanwhile, another vitally important process was underway on the MNLF side. In November 2007, the OIC formed the Peace Committee for Southern Philippines (PCSP), in which 11 of its members were represented. This move was taken because the Philippine Government had been reporting to the OIC that the implementation of at least Phase I of the FPA had been essentially completed, while the MNLF maintained that it had not been implemented at all.

The OIC then proposed that panels of the Philippine Government and the MNLF sit together with the OIC to review the actual progress in the implementation of the FPA. Once again, Indonesia was tapped to head this delicate process. A veteran of Indonesia’s reconciliation talks with Timor-Leste, Ambassador Rezlan Jenie, chaired the Tripartite Implementation Review of the FPA.

In the course of this review, Joint Working Groups (JWGs) were tasked to provide recommendations on how to move forward the implementation of the FPA. Later this mandate was expanded to include the formulation of proposed amendments to Republic Act 9054, the enabling law of the FPA.

To carry out its work the Peace Committee met in various places over a period of almost nine years: first in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, then in Istanbul, Turkey, then in Pasay City, Philippines, then in Jeddah again, and then in Bandung, Indonesia in March 2012. During all this time, the review process was able to resolve 42 of 43 points of concern raised by the MNLF.

Finally on 26 January 2016 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia the Government of the Philippines (GPH), the MNLF and the OIC signed a Joint Communiqué that concluded the Tripartite Review Process.

A convergence of two peace processes

Among other things, the Joint Communiqué provided for the participation of the MNLF in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the envisioned parliament of the Bangsamoro. It also provided for the implementation of the 42 points of consensus on the concerns raised by the MNLF during the review. These 42 points of consensus were to be integrated into the Bangsamoro Basic Law along with the provisions of Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which was negotiated between the Philippine government and the MILF. In that light, there was a convergence of the two peace processes in southern Philippines, the GRP-MNLF peace process and the GPH-MILF peace process. When the Joint Communiqué was signed, these two, in effect, became one.

This convergence took place just before the completion of the tenure of President Benigno S. Aquino III, and the ascension of Rodrigo R. Duterte to the presidency. Under President Duterte, a process was launched to draft a new Bangsamoro Basic Law that would “combine all the virtues of earlier peace agreements and remove all their infirmities” through the work of a Bangsamoro Transition Commission, in which, this time, a much wider range of stakeholders were represented. Three major factions of the MNLF were represented in that Commission.

The rest is contemporary history: under President Duterte, the convergence of the MNLF-MILF peace processes was maintained and strengthened. The expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) submitted a new BBL to the President who passed it on to Congress, which in turn deliberated on the BTC proposal and passed the legislation called Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL). The concerns of the MNLF were addressed in that legislative process.

On 26 July 2018, President Duterte signed the BOL into law, and on 21 January this year, the electorate of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) approved it in a plebiscite. As a result of the 21 January Plebiscite and a further plebiscite last 06 February, the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) now consists of the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi; the cities of Marawi, Lamitan and Cotabato plus 63 barangays in six towns of North Cotabato. This is a far cry from the 13 provinces and nine cities specified in the Tripoli Agreement, but the only thing possible today under the constitution and existing laws.

An MILF-led parliamentary system, the BARMM has an 80-strong interim parliament called the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which includes MNLF representatives as stipulated in the Joint Communiqué of 2016. This will be replaced by a duly elected parliamentin June 2022.

With a fully funded, fully empowered autonomous regional government crafted by the Moros themselves, there is realistic basis for hope that peace and development would finally be ascendant in Muslim Mindanao.

It has been a pretty long journey, one that took the Philippines all of 45 years from the Fifth ICFM in Kuala Lumpur in 1974 to the establishment of the BARMM in 2019.

In that journey, the Philippines had a constant companion, Indonesia, which played the role of White Knight in three moments of crisis: first, when it saved the Philippines from dismemberment and an extended oil embargo in 1974; second, when it mediated the GRP-MNLF Peace Talks from 1993 to 1996; and third, when it chaired the Tripartite Review Process that led to the convergence of the Final Peace Agreement of 1996 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro of 2014.

And what is the motive of Indonesia in getting so deeply involved in the quest for peace in southern Philippines? It has no axe to grind but it does have enlightened self-interest. Generations of Indonesian diplomats have thought diligently about regional stability and resilience as necessary for their own survival. As such they are purveyors of a vision, as Foreign Minister Ali Alatas described in his speech at the signing ceremony of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement,of an ASEAN that can solve its own problems in its own way, and is at peace with others as well as with itself.

Peace in Mindanao is part of that vision.

[Jamil Maidan Flores is a Jakarta-based writer who has authored books on ASEAN and Indonesian diplomacy. From 1992 to 2014 he served as speech writer to five presidents and four foreign ministers of Indonesia. Jamil wrote for the Panorama and the Manila Bulletin in the 90’s.]

Village chief gunned down in Leyte town

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 16, 2019): Village chief gunned down in Leyte town

A village chief in Hilongos town, Leyte province was shot dead by four alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) on Thursday afternoon.

Juan Loquias, 43, chair of Barangay San Antonio, was with his father-in-law and other companions to cook shrimp in the village when the attack happened.

The suspects reportedly told the victim’s companions to inform the villagers that it was the NPA who killed the barangay leader.

The local police sought the assistance of the 802nd Infantry Brigade to get Loquias’ body.

It was learned that the NPA had ordered the killing of Loquias to retaliate after the village chief informed the military of the rebel’s presence in the village.

General Lope Dagoy, commanding officer of the 802nd Infantry Brigade based in Ormoc City, condemned the killing of Loquias.

“We are calling the people to stand and fight the inhumane, senseless, and brutal actions of this organization (NPA). Do not let this brigands run fear in our community,” said Dagoy in a press statement.

‘Crumbling democracy’: Groups call for end to attacks against the youth

From Rappler (Aug 16, 2019): ‘Crumbling democracy’: Groups call for end to attacks against the youth

Youth groups highlight the need for Filipinos to speak up against injustice, pointing out how the oppression of student rights may later lead to the oppression of citizens

PROTEST. Various youth organizations stage a protest outside Gate 2.5 of ADMU to condemn human rights violations occurring nationwide. Photos by Casey Mateo/Rappler

Undeterred by allegations thrown at activists, various youth groups from different universities in Metro Manila took to the streets to condemn red-tagging allegations and attacks against young Filipinos on Wednesday, August 14.

Through simultaneous protests at select universities such as University of the Philippines (UP), and Polytechnic University of the Philippines, among others, students slammed the government’s efforts to oppress the youth.

Attacks against the youth

Among these are the proposed revival of the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), falsification of kidnapping cases due to involvement with progressive groups, and the proposal to increase police and military presence in schools.

Just recently, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Senator Ronald dela Rosa proposed to increase military presence in schools to curb recruitment and alleged kidnapping of students by leftist groups.

On the morning of the protest, Anakbayan youth activist Alicia Lucena publicly denied that she was kidnapped, stating that she does not want to be used to justify the military agenda to put police in schools. Kidnapping charges were placed by the Philippine National Police against Anakbayan when Lucena‘s mother reported her leaving home shortly after joining the militant group.

“If you're from Anakbayan or Akbayan, who are in opposition with the government, [you] can literally be given these false cases of kidnapping. It's like a catch-all: if you infringe on the rights of student activists, the youth will be punished as well,” warned Hen Namoca of One Big Fight for Human Rights and Democracy (OBFHRD) during the protest outside Ateneo de Manila University.

UP student councils reiterated in their unity statement that military presence in schools will endanger students’ right to organize and protest, especially in universities where “academic freedom and collective decisiveness shall continuously thrive.”

“The intrusion of these state forces inside the university will result to massive surveillance and monitoring on the students, especially leaders and vocal critics, in their attempt to pacify the ever growing resistance among our ranks,” they said.

Anakbayan also pointed out in its statement that the government’s attacks against the youth is not new, remembering the Red October plot that tagged universities where students are allegedly being recruited to help in Duterte’s ouster. Schools had fired back at the Armed Forces of the Philippines for “red-tagging” their students.

Not just the youth

Aside from the youth, groups pointed out other sectors were also under threat. Among the nation's pervasive issues are the rise of killings in Negros Island as part of Oplan Sauron and innocent victims of EJKs as part of Oplan Tokhang. These are campaigns by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against communist rebels and the Philippine National Police (PNP) against illegal drug pushers, respectively.

Youth groups stressed attacks against marginalized sectors, especially the youth, show signs of a failing democracy. They highlighted the need for the Filipino people to speak up against injustice, pointing out how the oppression of student rights may later lead to the oppression of the citizens.

“We see that our rights are being stepped on, and that's happening to the EJKs, the Negros farmers... these issues aren't separated, they're not isolated cases. It's not just about the attacks against students; it's about the attacks against the farmers, the women, the people. They're all connected. They’re all signs of a crumbling democracy,” Namoca added.

As the sole youth representative in Congress, Kabataan Partylist urged Dela Rosa to stop using his power to malign youth groups for expressing their right to dissent.

“We call for Senator Dela Rosa along with the PNP and AFP to end such defamatory activities that discredit the legitimate advocacies and demands of the youth, and furthermore put the youth's lives in danger,” they said

Panday Sining-College of Saint Benilde echoed the call, pointing out how the combined efforts of AFP and PNP have “left thousands of families without parents and ripped countless children from their families’ embrace.”

To assert students’ rights to academic freedom and organization, the Student Regent of the University of the Philippines has declared August 20 as the UP Day of Walkout and Action for all UP campuses in the country.

UP students to stage walkout in protest of campus militarization

From Rappler (Aug 16, 2019): UP students to stage walkout in protest of campus militarization

‘Campus militarization is equivalent to martial law in our university and we shall not let that happen,’ says UP student regent John Isaac Punzalan

NO TO MILITARY, POLICE PRESENCE. A student of the University of the Philippines in a protest on April 5, 2019. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

University of the Philippines (UP) students across the country will stage a walkout Tuesday, August 20, to protest military and police intervention in schools.

In a memorandum released on Wednesday, August 14, the UP Office of the Student Regent (OSR) declared Tuesday as a systemwide “Day of Walkout and Action” to assert “the right to academic freedom, to organize, and to protest.”

UP Diliman chancellor Michael Tan on Friday, August 16, endorsed the planned walkout.

“The proposed entry and intervention of the police and military in state universities including UP is expected to result in massive surveillance and monitoring on our students, faculty, and officials, especially those who are vocally critical,” student regent John Isaac Punzalan said in the OSR memorandum.

He also said that campus militarization was “equivalent to martial law” in the university.

“Campus militarization is equivalent to martial law in our university and we shall not let that happen. The existing accord prohibiting these state forces to operate in our campuses is a product of the student movements that have fearlessly fought for the rights of the youth and the people,” he added.

Punzalan was referring to a 1989 agreement that disallows the entry of military and police "except in cases of hot pursuit and similar occasions of emergency.” The agreement also requires military and police to notify the university president, chancellor, or dean prior to any activity in any UP campus or regional unit.

The agreement was made between the university and the Department of National Defense (DND) in June 1989 and signed by then-UP president Jose Abueva and then-defense secretary Fidel Ramos.

The call for a systemwide walkout comes after Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said he wanted increased police patrols at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) to deter communist recruitment in the state university.

Parents at an August 7 hearing of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, which dela Rosa chairs, shared how their children left them to join militant groups alleged to be fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said during the hearing that it had filed kidnapping charges against top officials of Anakbayan and several of its members after a 17-year-old student was reported "missing" following her recruitment by the militant youth group.

Lorenzana wants Duterte to bring up warship incursions during China visit

From Rappler (Aug 16, 2019): Lorenzana wants Duterte to bring up warship incursions during China visit

'Where did they come from? Where are they going? Obviously they are going back to China pero ang mas malaking question, saan sila galing at bakit sila dumadaan sa Sibutu Strait?' asks the defense chief

LORENZANA. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana wants President Rodrigo Duterte to bring up with China's President Xi Jinping the illegitimate passage of Chinese warships in Philippine waters. File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana wants President Rodrigo Duterte to bring up the illegitimate passage of Chinese warships in Philippine waters when he meets with China's President Xi Jinping later this month.

"Sana ma-mention ito para matapos na. Irritant na kasi ito ngayon e (I hope this gets mentioned to get it over with. It has now become an irritant),"
Lorenzana told reporters on Friday, August 16.

Duterte will visit China for a 5th time later this month, where he said he would discuss the West Philippine Sea with Xi.

Lorenzana is joining the President on the trip.
The former army general wants to get the real score on at least 9 instances of Chinese warship sightings in the Sibutu Strait off Tawi-Tawi from February to early August.

"Where did they come from? Where are they going? Obviously they are going back to China pero ang mas malaking question, saan sila galing at bakit sila dumadaan sa Sibutu Strait (but the bigger question is, where did they come from and why were they passing Sibutu Strait)?"

If the warships were coming from the Indian Ocean, then the quickest way back to China would be through the Malacca Strait between Malaysia and Indonesia, and Lorenzana found it odd that they ended up in the waters of Tawi-Tawi.

Philippine military troops in Palawan monitored the passage of 4 Chinese naval vessels near Balabac Island on June 17, including one reportedly identified as the aircraft carrier Liaoning.

Lorenzana earlier said those 4 warships were spotted in Sibutu Strait between February and July, but later on told Rappler that they were the same vessels spotted near Balabac, which they would have inevitably passed on their way from Sibutu.

Then Wednesday, August 14, the military said another 5 Chinese naval vessels were spotted in Sibutu Strait in July and August.

Military officials said the warships' sail-by could not be considered "innocent passage" because they gave no prior notice to the Philippine government, and they were on a curved course, that is, they were not taking the shortest route through the strait.

Although Sibutu Strait is considered an international sea lane, it is part of the Philippines' territorial sea.

Broken promise

The defense chief lamented that China again neglected to give prior notice of the 5 warships' passage, especially because, according to him, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said the incident with the earlier 4 vessels would not happen again.

"Ano ba 'yung 'Huy, daraan kami, makikiraan po' (What's so difficult about saying 'Hey, we're passing through, excuse us').... Why the secrecy?" Lorenzana said.

Although he wouldn't go so far as to call the incidents "disrespectful," Lorenzana said they automatically warrant a diplomatic protest against China.

Sending Beijing a note verbale is the job of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Lorenzana said.

But he added, "Tayo sa defense, naiinis na rin tayo dahil hindi nga hindi sila nagsasabi sa 'tin (We in defense, we are getting quite pissed because they never notify us)."


From the Mindanao Examiner (Aug 16, 2019): Condemned!

‘Public denounce NPA atrocities, recruitment of students’

THE PUBLIC CONTINUES to denounce the atrocities and human rights violations against innocent civilians committed by the communist rebel group New People’s Army.

The condemnation is growing and calls to outlaw communism were being revived following the many deaths of students recruited by leftist organizations, but ended up fighting security forces in the countryside.

The Senate has begun an inquiry into the recruitment of students by left-wing groups after parents reported to authorities that their children had been lured to join street rallies and anti-government protests and eventually ended up as rebels.

“We strongly support this (Senate) hearing, even as we commend the mothers who have found the courage to stand up against these local terrorists who have taken away their children,” said Undersecretary Severo Catura, Executive Director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat.

“We honor these parents – vulnerable victims themselves of these terrorists – for voicing out their revulsion over these human rights abuses,” he added.

Catura strongly criticized the communist movement, including its front organizations for losing all moral ascendancy to portray themselves as human rights defenders and vilify the democratic government. “We repeat – they are nothing but terrorists and human rights abusers,” he said, referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA, its armed wing.

A photo from the National Democratic Front of the Philippines shows a small group of New People’s Army rebels in an undisclosed jungle lair in the Philippines.

He said the CPP-NPA have been listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and even the Philippines.

Catura said the crucial human rights to family life calls on every individual “to claim respect for his or her family and to keep relationships in that same family strong.”

“The ongoing Senate hearing on the recruitment of children as child warriors by these local terrorists is more than just an inquiry in aid of legislation. It is a strong assertion of the State’s duty to protect a crucial human right – every Filipino citizen’s right to family life,” he said.

Catura said this right obligates the State to protect family relations from intrusion, especially incursions that threaten the right to life and liberty of their children who are considered vulnerable persons themselves. “This covers every parent’s right to be protected against the menace of terrorism that threatens to separate – or has already separated – them from their children. The Duterte administration is a champion of this right,” he said.

Citing Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Catura said: “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State” The same tenet is laid out in Article 23 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights signed by the Philippines in 1986, which also underscores that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor and reputation; and [that] everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

He noted that discussions at the Senate hearing have unmasked the terrorist persuasion of the CPP-NPA and its front organizations before the public. “For too long have the local Communist terrorists, through their front organizations, portrayed themselves as so-called human rights advocates and defenders, and the government as the evil human rights violator. This has now ended,” Catura said.

Anti-Subversion Law

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año is pushing for a proposal to revive the Anti-Subversion Law to put an end to communist insurgency.

He said the CPP and the NPA, including its front organizations have been trying to overthrow the democratic government for the past six decades now.

“It is about time that we put an end to this conflict that has been bringing our nation down and has killed some 100,000 policemen, soldiers, government officials and innocent civilians. If we truly want to end this scourge of society, the Anti-Subversion Act is urgent, critical, and inevitable,” said Año, a former Philippine military chief.

“It only covers the communists who are actively working to overthrow the government through armed struggle and does not, in any way, cover legitimate dissent, political opposition, or similar groups. We are ready to work with Congress to craft such a legislation that responds to the needs of the times and places the necessary safeguards to ensure our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms of association and free speech,” he added.

The law was repealed in 1992 after then President Fidel Ramos opened peace talks with communist rebels.

But Año said the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law may have been a mistake because the communist movement gained momentum in many areas and it grew bolder with the support of legal front organizations in urban areas from where they derive logistics, funding, source of cadres, and other forms of support.

“The repeal of the anti-subversion law was a demand of the CCP-NPA-NPF for the conduct of the peace talks in the 1990s. In good faith, the government acceded to those demands for the sake of peace. But instead of laying down their arms and joining mainstream society, the communists grew bolder and used the democratic space accorded to them to regroup, organize, and mobilize,” he explained.

Año said since the repeal of the anti-subversion law, the communists have continuously rejected the government’s call for genuine peace and have instead indiscriminately sowed terrorism across the country. He said the CPP’s constitution categorically states that its goal is to overthrow the democratic, republican system using the weapons of “revolutionary armed struggle and the national united front.”

“Its program declares that this is to be done by building guerrilla fronts “to encircle the cities from the countryside… until it becomes possible to seize power in the cities,” he said. “If we revive the Anti-Subversion Law, we will be able to dismantle the urban mass movement in the cities that fuels the armed struggle in the mountains. We will be able to stifle their so-called ‘legal front organizations’ that provides sustenance to the underground mass organizations. It will be the beginning of an inevitable end,” he added, citing the continuous active recruitment of some 500 to 1,000 youth annually by legal communist front organizations in schools and universities where some 50 to 100 of them become armed members of the NPA.

However, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said instead of reviving the Anti-Subversion Law, he proposed amendments to the Human Right Act in order to address insurgency and terrorism efficiently, according to a report by the Business Mirror which quoted him as saying: “With all due respect to Secretary Año, mere membership in the Communist Party of the Philippines (subversion) is not a crime unless overt criminal acts are committed. Amending and giving more teeth to the Human Security Act will suffice, in my opinion.”

Tyranny, Dictatorship

Jose Maria Sison, the CPP founder and Chief Political Consultant to the National Democratic Front, said Año’s proposal is “one more manifestation of the frenzied drive of the tyrannical Duterte regime to impose a thoroughgoing fascist dictatorship on the people in a vain attempt to end the armed revolutionary movement as well as the broad legal opposition through red-tagging, harassment, threats, abductions and murders.”

“In line with the Duterte tyranny, the most vicious and bloodthirsty officials who love to kill people to solve problems are enamoured of the long-discredited Anti-Subversion Law because it provides for the death penalty, for the prejudgment of people on the basis of guilt by association and for the arbitrary listing of people as “communists” for the purpose of extortions and mass slaughter.”

Sison, who is now in exile in The Netherlands, said the revival of the Anti-Subversion Law will not eliminate the CPP and its so-called people’s democratic revolution, but will only serve to further violate the national and democratic rights of the people and will thus incite the broad masses of the people to rise up.

“The fundamental cause of the armed revolution in the Philippines is neither the existence of the Communist Party in the Philippines nor the communist ideas of Marxism-Leninism but the exploitation and oppression of the Filipino people by imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism in a semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system now lorded over by the tyrant and plunderer Duterte,” he said.

“The revival of the Anti-Subversion Law can give further license to Duterte’s armed minions to violate human rights and can further embolden them to witch hunt, harass, threaten and kill those that they arbitrarily list as “communists” among the critics of the regime and the people in general. Such law can result in bigger mass murders than those perpetrated under Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Kapanatagan,” he added.

Sison said the Anti-Subversion Law has long been discredited as an unjust and anti-democratic law by which anyone can be subjected to punishment on the basis of guilt by association, without the need to present evidence for the personal culpability of the accused for any crime.

“Such law has long been condemned as a poison to the freedom of thought, expression and assembly. Violations of democratic rights under the Anti-Subversion Law will drive more people to further oppose the regime and rise up in arms against it. Threatening to kill and actually killing people for their political ideas will compel them to act in a revolutionary way in order to get rid of the regime of terror that deprives them of the basic freedoms of thought, expression and assembly,” he added.

New regional counterterrorism training center to boost US-PH, regional cooperation

Posted to the Philippine Information Agency Website (Aug 16, 2019): New regional counterterrorism training center to boost US-PH, regional cooperation (By US Embassy Manila)

Deputy Chief of Mission John Law signs a Memorandum of Understanding with PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde to establish a new Regional Counterterrorism Training Center in the Philippines.

As part of our deepening bilateral counterterrorism partnership, the US and Philippine governments have agreed to establish a new state of the art Regional Counterterrorism Training Center in the Philippines.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Police General Oscar D. Albayalde and Deputy Chief of Mission John C. Law today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to construct and operate the center on the grounds of the PNP Academy in Silang, Cavite. The US Department of State has secured P520 million ($10 million) in counterterrorism partnership funds to establish and jointly operate the center with the PNP.

Once constructed, the center will provide counterterrorism training for law enforcement units and personnel from the Philippines and regional partner nations.

The initiative comes in response to a request from the PNP for a state of the art facility to provide enhanced regional counterterrorism training. The establishment of this center reflects the U.S.’ enduring commitment to support Philippine counterterrorism efforts and work together to address threats to peace and security in the region. (US Embassy Manila)

102 IP youths join YLS in Agusan del Norte

Posted to the Philippine Information Agency Website (Aug 16, 2019): 102 IP youths join YLS in Agusan del Norte (By 23IB Philippine Army)

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – One hundred two youths from Higaonon tribe were enlightened after undergoing a three-day stay-in Barangay Youth Leadership Summit (YLS) from August 9-11, 2019 at Lawan-lawan National High School, Barangay Lawan-lawan in Las Nieves town, this province.

During the activity, the youths were informed about the different programs of the government.

With the theme “Kabatan-onan Hiusahon aron Kaugmaon ug Kahapsay Maangkon” (Unite the Youth for Brighter Future, it included series of lectures from different stakeholders, small group discussions, Disaster Preparedness Orientation, Cultural Presentation, and Team-building activities.

Agusan del Norte second district representative Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. Amante-Matba, the guest speaker during the opening ceremony, reminded the youth not to believe on the deceitful scheme of the CPP-NPA Terrorists.

“Don’t be deceived by the bad elements especially the CPP-NPAs who bring conflict and hinder government projects that benefit the people,” Matba said.

“Their recruitment on the youth especially from the Indigenous Peoples’ community, resulted in many lives wasted, many youths died during encounters against the government troops. I encourage everyone to be vigilant and do not believe in the propaganda of the CPP-NPA. Take care of your lives so that in the future, you, the youth, will be the ones who will replace us to be the leader of our nation,” Matba stated.

Moreover, Mayor Avelina S. Rosales of the Municipality of Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte urged the participants not to be easily deceived or brainwashed by the terrorist group.

"We want the residents of Barangay Lawan-lawan to live in peace and prosperity,” she said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Colonel Francisco L. Molina Jr, Commanding Officer, 23IB stressed that the youths have the potential to become leaders in the future.

“Start learning for the betterment of Barangay Lawan-lawan and for you to have better lives,” Molina said. (1Lt Roel T. Maglalang, CMO, 23IB PA/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Another AgNor village declares NPA persona non grata

Posted to the Philippine Information Agency Website (Aug 16, 2019): Another AgNor village declares NPA persona non grata (By 29IB Philippine Army)

DEL PILAR, Cabadbaran City - Another barangay has declared the New People’s Army (NPA) and its affiliated organizations as persona non grata in Brgy. San Antonio, Remedios Trinidad Romualdez (RTR), Agusan del Norte on August 8, 2019.

The barangay council and the residents of San Antonio, RTR in the province of Agusan del Norte pledged allegiance to the government as they unitedly signed Resolution no. 41 series of 2019 declaring the members of the Communist Party of the Philippines,
New People’s Army, National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and its affiliated organizations as unwelcome in their community.

Brgy. San Antonio residents have been harassed by the NPA for many years.

It was in their barangay where the NPA had committed several atrocities against different government personnel and even against innocent civilians, it was learned.

These activities and acts by the NPA intensified the desire of the locals to condemn the NPA in their area through the covenant signing of Persona Non-Grata.

Meanwhile, Helario S. Sajolan, Barangay Captain of San Antonio urged his constituents to work together to attain peace in the community.

“Magtinabangay ta para atong makab-ot ang tinood nga kahusay ug kalinaw sa atong barangay kay dili kini masulbad kung dili kita magkahiusa. Dili nata musupurta pa sa NPA nga naghatag kadaot, kahadlok ug kalisod sa atong kumunidad. Tabangan nato atong kasundaluhan ug kapulisan para mawala naning NPAs ug atong luwason ang kaugmaon sa atong katawhan diri sa atong barangay (We must work together for us to attain absolute peace and order in our barangay. We cannot attain this if we are not united. Let us help the Army and the PNP to eradicate the NPA and save the future of the people here in our barangay)," he said.

Maj. Roger Gersava, Executive Officer of 29IB echoed President Duterte’s mandate in his statement, “The Executive Order No. 70 calls for a 'Whole of Nations Approach' to end the Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) in the country. This decree requires the collective effort of all the government instrumentalities to work for the common good of the people and the community.”

“We are calling for everyone’s help and cooperation to put a stop to these long years of insurgency. Many lives have been sacrificed already. Let us not allow the NPA to take another life. Let us support the government,” Gersava ended. (29IB Philippine Army/PIA Agusan del Norte)

RTF-ELCAC holds dialogue with IPs in San Fernando, Bukidnon

Posted to the Philippine Information Agency Website (Aug 16, 2019): RTF-ELCAC holds dialogue with IPs in San Fernando, Bukidnon

The Situation Analysis and Knowledge Management (SAKM) Cluster of ELCAC-10 holds a dialogue with IPs in San Fernando, Bukidnon to discuss the wrong ideology of CPP-NPA and the tactics used by the communist movement to discredit the government and encourage IPs to join them in their armed struggle. (PIA/Cagayan de Oro)

VALENCIA CITY, Bukidnon -- The Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) of Northern Mindanao held a peace dialogue with members of indigenous people (IP) communities in San Fernando, Bukidnon which are identified as recruitment ground of the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

During the dialogue, the IPs were clarified on the wrong ideology of CPP-NPA and the tactics used by the communist movement to discredit the government and encourage IPs to join them in their armed struggle.

They were also informed of there are government programs to assist them and that the government will always respond to the needs of their communities.

The dialogue, held July 24 at the Valencia City Police Station, was organized by the Situation Analysis and Knowledge Management (SAKM) Cluster of ELCAC-10 as part of the intensified campaign to end conflict caused by local communist groups.

SAKM Cluster chair and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA-10) Director Manuel Orduña said the dialogue and other local peace initiatives are effective tools in encouraging more NPA members to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law.(APB/PIA10)

2 militiamen killed as Reds attack detachment in Abra

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 16, 2019): 2 militiamen killed as Reds attack detachment in Abra

CAFGU logo 

Two members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit-Active Auxiliary (CAA) were killed on Thursday as they tried to repel New People's Army insurgents attacking a CAFGU camp in Abra, a military officer disclosed on Friday.

Lt. Col. Jearie Boy Faminial, commanding officer of the 24th Infantry (Wildcat) Battalion, said the personnel of the CAFGU detachment in Barangay Maguyepyep, Sallapadan, Abra defended the camp against
an assault by an undetermined number of NPA communist terrorists around 8:30 a.m. on August 15, 2019.
The firefight lasted for 30 minutes, Faminial said.

"We lost two of our men. they tried to fight and defend our detachment but it cost them their lives," Faminial told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday.

The 24th IB under the 70th Infantry Division has operational jurisdiction over the province of Abra.

“The first CAA died on the spot after being hit, while the other was rushed to the nearest hospital but was declared dead upon arrival at the Ducam Hospital in Dolores, Abra due to massive blood loss. The names of the killed CAA are withheld for the time being,” Faminial said.

He said the terrorists were not able to enter the detachment as the militiamen kept the attackers at bay.

“The enemies were using scope from about 200 meters outside the camp but our people tried their best to prevent the terrorists from entering and taking over the camp,” he said.

Faminial said it is yet to be confirmed if the enemy suffered casualties.

Following the incident, Faminial immediately sent three platoons of soldiers to pursue the communist rebels.

He said checkpoints at the possible exit route of the insurgents were established with the help of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In a statement, Maj. Gen. Lenard Agustin, commander of the 7th Infantry Division (Kaugnay), extended his condolences to the families of the killed CAAs, saying they died for the country as heroes.

He also condemned the underhanded tactics of the communist terrorists.

“It is a sad day for us in the 7ID as we lost good CAA men who did what they can to defend their base. For those culprits who are on the run right now, these communist terrorists who do nothing but take advantage of the weak, be assured that the full force of the law will be upon you. We will not stop until we have given justice to the deaths of our men,” Agustin said.

New hub, training center leap forward in state media: Andanar

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 16, 2019): New hub, training center leap forward in state media: Andanar

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin M. Andanar discusses developments of the Mindanao Media Hub to the local media in a press conference in Carcar City, Cebu on August 15, 2019. (Photo courtesy of PCOO)

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said on Thursday the agency’s latest projects located in Mindanao will not only contribute to regional development but also lead the wave of next-generation media practitioners.

In a press conference at the Rehabinasyon Townhall Meeting in Cebu, Andanar announced that the Mindanao Media Hub is more than 90 percent complete.

“I met with the PTV (People's Television Network) management and they reported to me that the Mindanao Media Hub is more than 90 percent finished. The Mindanao Media Hub is the state-of-the-art facility that we constructed under the Duterte administration in Davao City and should cover the entire Mindanao,” he said.

“It's going to be great, at least for the entire government communications, a leap for us so the next generation will have a walk in the park,” Andanar added.

Andanar hopes that the Mindanao Media Hub, located in Davao City, will serve as an inspiration for President Rodrigo Duterte to push for the Visayas Media Hub.

Currently, PTV only has a Luzon Media Hub that is located in Quezon City.

“Once we complete the Mindanao Media Hub, then we can start the Visayas Media Hub. Next year, we will have to fight tooth and nail for the budget of the Visayas Media Hub so most likely, it will happen in 2021,” the PCOO chief said.

The construction of the four-story facility, which aims to strengthen its communication services in Mindanao, began in May last year.

This “historic project,” will serve as the government’s main broadcast hub in Regions 10 (Northern Mindanao) to 13 (Caraga), and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to deliver tailored content specific to its people and to boost the signal in the areas of coverage.

The facility contains television, print, wire, online, and new media services, delivered through four studios--each with its own production control. It is powered by a 10kW terrestrial transmitter and a 1kW digital transmitter that will facilitate broadcast services and has a digital satellite news-gathering system to streamline the sourcing of news.

The facility will house the People’s Television, Radyo Pilipinas, News and Information Bureau, Philippine News Agency (PNA), the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), National Printing Office, APO Production Unit, and other attached agencies under the PCOO.

Communications academy now in the works

Andanar also announced that the Department of Budget and Management has already approved in principle the concept and the budget of the Government Strategic Communications Training Academy.

“Second good news: Duterte Legacy and the' Build, Build Build'. The DBM has already approved the concept and the budget of the Government Strategic Communications Training Academy,” Andanar said.

He said the academy will harmonize the varying communications schemes in different national and local government agencies, and harmonize the style in undertaking media and public relations.

“It will be up for deliberation in Congress and the Senate. So by next year, hopefully, we'll start constructing the academy in Manolo, Fortich, Bukidnon--the Baguio of Mindanao,” Andanar said, referencing the region’s temperate weather.

“This beautiful training facility, which will also have a dormitory right beside it. The facility will have its own community TV, community radio, it will have its own PNA, own PIA and social media news desk. When a trainee goes there, it's like a real-world practice that has digital TV and digital radio. It’s high-tech,” he added. (PCOO)

Army condemns killing of Leyte's village chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 16, 2019): Army condemns killing of Leyte's village chief

VILLAGE CHIEF SHOT TO DEATH. Photo shows the body of Virgelio Loquias, the village chief of San Antonio, Hilongos town killed by suspected New People's Army rebels on Thursday (August 15, 2019). A Philippine Army official has asked the public to condemn the killing. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army's 802nd Infantry Brigade)

A Philippine Army official on Thursday asked the public to condemn the killing of a village chief by suspected members of the New People’s Army in an upland community in Hilongos, Leyte.

"We are calling the people to stand and fight the inhumane, senseless, and brutal actions of this organization. Do not let these brigands run fear to our community,”
said Gen. Lope Dagoy, commander of the Philippine Army's 802nd Infantry Brigade based in Ormoc City.

The military official made the statement after the killing of Virgelio Loquias, 43, the chief of upland San Antonio village in Hilongos town.

Loquias was fishing around 1 p.m. on Thursday in a creek when four armed men attacked him.

The victim’s father-in-law, Romeo Adobas, and two other companions, Antonio delos Santos and Julius Britania, were spared by the gunmen.

The Philippine National Police, citing accounts of witnesses, said the suspected rebels asked the village chief to lie down on his stomach and said: “this person has a grave offense to our organization that is why [our] camp was raided.”

The gunmen then shot Loquias to death.

Dagoy said the latest crime committed by the New People’s Army is proof that the terrorist group is a "destroyer of peace."

The local policemen were unable to process the crime scene as the area was inaccessible to all types of vehicles and can only be reached through a three-hour hike from the nearest road network in Hilaan village in Bontoc, Southern Leyte.

The military has been stepping up its operation in the southern part of Leyte province as armed rebels have been attempting to move south Leyte after they were “pressured by military operations” in northern and western parts of Leyte province.

The communist group, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

AFP on counter-terror campaign: 'We are not the enemy'

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 16, 2019): AFP on counter-terror campaign: 'We are not the enemy'

AFP spokesperson Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo. (File photo)

As the government intensifies its efforts against terrorist elements, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo on Thursday reminded the public that the military is not the enemy in this campaign.

"The enemy is neither government or your Armed Forces of the Philippines, we are your protectors, we are your defenders. We understand that apart from the oppositions that we are facing on these proposals and amendments that we wish included, all these, all of these that I have discussed earlier are subject to the wisdom of our legislators,"
he said in a press briefing.

In this regard, the AFP spokesperson said they are appealing to the legislators' wisdom to heed the military's recommendations to beef up the country's anti-terror law.

"We understand the apprehension of our people especially on issues of human rights but we assure our people that your Armed Forces is an institution, a professional institution that adheres to the tenets of human rights and international humanitarian law," Arevalo added.

Also, he pointed out that the AFP is not abandoning Article III or The Bill of Rights in the 1987 Constitution. Earlier, Arevalo stated that the AFP is proposing to penalize any act that will glorify terrorism as part of the bid to strengthen the country's anti-terrorist law.

"We also like to move to penalize and punish the act of glorification of terrorism. As I have said, one of the platforms, a potent one, that these terrorists use in order recruit and to convert individuals into violent extremists is through social media that they made as platform to glorify, promote and advance terrorism," he said.

Also, part of the AFP's proposal is to penalize, not only consummated act of terrorism but also efforts to recruit and aid terror organizations.

"We are also including in our proposal to penalize not only consummated act of terrorism but also including crimes like inciting to commit terrorism, recruitment to terrorist organization, and providing material support to terrorists," Arevalo said.

The AFP spokesperson also said they are planning to coordinate with the legislature so that foreign terrorist fighters and aliens be made liable for terrorism.

"These are just some of the proposals as regards, that we have and we are proposing to Congress to add to the present Human Security Act which to our mind appear to be more restrictive of the security forces rather than empowering members of the security forces," Arevalo stressed.

Also, the AFP spokesperson said they are also recommending that the 40 years of imprisonment penalty for terrorists be expanded to life without the benefit of parole due to the seriousness of the crime.

PH Army hosts shooting competition for media members

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 16, 2019): PH Army hosts shooting competition for media members

PNA photo by Joey O. Razon

As part of its efforts to bolster closer ties with members of the media, the Philippine Army (PA) hosted a shooting competition with members of the Defense Press Corps and the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines at its shooting range in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City last August 14.

A total of 53 local and international reporters came to participate in the event, dubbed as the Army Glock Challenge 2019.

The event aimed to bring the media closer to the Army's senior leaders to acquaint them on the organization’s current thrusts and latest developments.

“Participating in shooting competitions are one of the ways we, in the Philippine Army, relieve stress from work and strengthen our bond as coworkers in a unit of an office. We want to share this experience with you,” said PA acting chief-of-staff Brig. Gen. Bienvenido Y. Regondola in a statement Friday.

PA chief Lt. Gen. Macairog S. Alberto graced the awarding ceremony and congratulated the winning teams.

The top three best shooters from the media were Isagani Tolentino, Joshua Melvin, and Reynaldo Cereso.

"The Philippine Army values the good relationship we enjoy with members of the media who help us share the story of our soldiers to the public. We deem it necessary to hold this important bonding activity so that the Army and the Media can establish mutual trust as we both serve the Filipino people through our commitment to transparency and accountability," said PA spokesperson, Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala.

PNP counter-terror training facility to rise in Cavite

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 16, 2019): PNP counter-terror training facility to rise in Cavite

PNP Chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde (left) and US Embassy in Manila Deputy Chief of Mission John Law (right). (Photo courtesy: US Embassy in Manila)

The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the United States government signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the establishment of a “state-of-the-art” counter-terrorism training facility in Cavite in a bid to enhance the police’s counter-terrorism capabilities.

Based on the MOA signed by PNP Chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde and US Embassy in Manila Deputy Chief of Mission John Law, the Regional Counterterrorism Training Center will be constructed at the Philippine National Police Academy in Silang, Cavite which will cost “PHP350 million (USD6.7 million) of the PHP520 million (USD10 million) planned US investment to establish and jointly operate the center with the PNP.”

Albayalde said the initiative is part of the thorough and strengthened partnership of the country with the US, most especially on counter-terrorism efforts.

“We are grateful to the US Government for this project which we will establish a new training center which mainly designed to boost our counter-terrorism capabilities,” he said.

Albayalde said five newly organized police commando battalions of the PNP Special Action Force are being eyed to receive formal counterterrorism training in the new facility.

"This training facility will certainly provide the PNP with enhanced capability to address threats posed by domestic and transnational terrorism.” Albayalde said.

For its part, the US government, through its embassy in the country, noted the benefits of the training center particularly for the law enforcement units of the Philippines, as well as in its regional partner nations in Southeast Asia.

“The initiative comes in response to a request from the PNP for a state of the art facility to provide enhanced regional counter-terrorism training. The establishment of this center reflects the U.S.’ enduring commitment to support Philippine counter-terrorism efforts and work together to address threats to peace and security in the region,” the US embassy in the Philippines said in a statement.

Army deploys anti-dengue mission team to Iloilo City

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 16, 2019): Army deploys anti-dengue mission team to Iloilo City 

With ongoing efforts to eradicate and neutralize the dengue menace, the Philippine Army (PA) - through its Dengue Mission Team - is continuing to aid victims of the disease in Iloilo City.

PA spokesperson Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, in a statement Thursday, said the effort is being spearheaded by the Army General Hospital.

He said the Dengue Mission Team was deployed to Iloilo City last August 11 to augment the medical personnel of the 3rd Infantry Division, Municipal Health Center and other civilian nurses and doctors who were addressing the alarming and the increasing rate of dengue victims.

“Everyday, parami nang parami ang nare-record na cases ng dengue (the number of dengue cases being recorded is increasing) at usually, school children,” said team leader Major Ryan A. Morla.

He said the Dengue Mission Team will be in Iloilo City as long as there is an outbreak.

As of Thursday, more or less 30 dengue patients were admitted in the team’s Hydration Unit for appropriate medical treatment.

Recently, Army personnel also conducted a bloodletting activity for the benefit of dengue victims.

"The PA exists to serve the people, and we can do so by extending medical aid to those in need. Our commitment to serve is not only confined to ensuring the security but also in alleviating the health woes of our citizens," Zagala said.

Reds gnawing at PH democracy: PNP exec

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 16, 2019): Reds gnawing at PH democracy: PNP exec

PNP Director for Police Community Relations, Maj. Gen. Benigno Durana Jr., (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

Communist rebels are nothing but a bunch of “termites” out to destroy democracy in the country, a Philippine National Police (PNP) official said on Friday.

"There is a clear and present danger posed by the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) and the front organizations that support it. They are termites, (viruses), who continue to use the law to circumvent or violate the laws. Using democracy to destroy democracy,"
Maj. Gen. Benigno Durana Jr., PNP Director for Police Community Relations, said in a statement.

Durana also reiterated the need for lawmakers to reinstate the anti-subversion law and enhance other existing laws to protect the youth from the communist movement.

"(The senators) should consider due deliberation and public hearing (on the anti-subversion law). Enhance probably our laws on trafficking of minors and children—like the Cybercrime Law and the Anti-Terrorism Law," he noted.

Earlier, PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde said the revival of the Anti-Subversion Law will strengthen the campaign of the national government to end CPP-NPA's terror acts across the country.

Albayalde said with an enabling law, the PNP can effectively implement legal offensives against the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front) and all the criminal, economic and organizational support systems that sustain its terrorist activities.

He said the repeal of the law emboldened CPP-NPA to wage its campaign of terror across the country while at the same time strengthening its political base and legal fronts.

The Anti-Subversion Act or Republic Act 1700 was passed in June 1957 during the presidency of Carlos P. Garcia. It declared the CPP illegal as an organized conspiracy to overthrow the government for the purpose of establishing in the Philippines a totalitarian regime.

During the martial law period, RA 1700 was expanded through Presidential Decree 885 in 1976 and PD 1835 in 1981. These decrees made it a subversive criminal act to be affiliated with a group and attend a meeting or take part in any activity meant to overthrow the government with the open or covert assistance and support of a foreign power.

During the time of President Corazon Aquino, she issued Executive Order 167, series of 1987 repealing PDs 1835 and 1975 and reviving RA 1700.

In 1992, then President Fidel Ramos signed RA 7636 repealing RA 1700.

Under this law, subversion is no longer a criminal offense but sedition remains a crime.