Saturday, October 31, 2020

DAR mulls CLOAs for around 40 former rebels in Vizcaya

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 30, 2020): DAR mulls CLOAs for around 40 former rebels in Vizcaya (By Benjamin Moses M. Ebreo)

Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Gerald ‘Dindi’ Tan says at least 40 former rebles will soon have their own land titles.

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Oct. 30 (PIA) - The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is set to provide Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to former rebels in the province.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Gerald ‘Dindi’ Tan said coordinations are now being made with concerned agencies for the upcoming distribution of CLOAs to at least 40 former rebels.

“We have been coordinating with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for this major activity and we hope it to be done by next month,” she said.

Tan made the announcement during the virtual ‘Tungtungan ti Tribe Biskayano’ of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) here.

She said the CLOAs will serve as an evidence for the former rebels’ rightful ownership of their land to start their progressive future.

“We have already shortlisted the proposed Rebel Returnees (RRs) who will be validated if they are really qualified for the CLOA awarding,” Tan added.

The PARO also said the former rebels are now excited and optimistic with the upcoming CLOA distribution since it will give them hope for a better future.# (MDCT/BME/PIA 2-Nueva Vizcaya)

Nolcom alerts troops for possible disaster response ops

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 31, 2020): Nolcom alerts troops for possible disaster response ops (By Zorayda Tecson)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – As the country braces for Typhoon Rolly, the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) has alerted troops for possible disaster response operations.

In a statement on Friday night, Nolcom commander, Maj. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., said he has directed the commanders of the different joint task forces under his jurisdiction to “ensure that every soldier, sailor, airman, and marine, including our land, air, and water assets, are ready to immediately respond should our constituents require our assistance.”

Burgos said each joint task force has an organic disaster response unit that is activated and deployed during calamities to respond to the needs of would-be affected communities.

He cited the need for “our units to liaise and engage the different Offices of Civil Defense in the regions within our operational jurisdiction.”

Burgos also reminded his subordinate units to remain vigilant against any possible offensive action from the New People’s Army (NPA), which he said has demonstrated “blatant disrespect (for) internationally-accepted war conventions by attacking unarmed soldiers who were merely performing humanitarian missions in the past.”

Nolcom has army, air force, navy, and marine units that are strategically deployed across the Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and Cordillera regions, as well as in the different maritime areas in the West Philippine Sea, Batanes Group of Islands, and the Philippine Rise in the Pacific Ocean.

As of 3 a.m. on Saturday, the eye of “Rolly” was located at 810 km. east of Casiguran, Aurora, or 640 km. east-northeast of Virac, Catanduanes, packing maximum sustained winds of 215 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 265 kph. It was moving westward at 20 kph, according to the weather bureau.

Cops seize BIFF war materiel in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 31, 2020): Cops seize BIFF war materiel in Maguindanao (By Edwin Fernandez)  October 31, 2020, 10:18 am

SEIZED. The war materiel recovered by police forces from suspected members of the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Barangay Labo-Labo, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao early Saturday (Oct. 31, 2020). The lawless elements scampered to the interiors of the village and disappeared after sensing that government forces were closing in on their location. (Photo courtesy of Maguindanao PMFC)

An alert civilian has helped the police foil attempts by lawless elements to sow terror and possibly attack government troopers and installations in Maguindanao.

The civilian
sighted the presence of suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Barangay Labo-Labo in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao at 5 a.m. on Saturday.

Lt. Col. Erwin Tabora, chief of the Provincial Police Mobile Force Company, said the successful operation was the result of an intelligence-driven project aimed at neutralizing lawless groups operating in the province.

Tabora said the police mobile force was patrolling the vicinity of Barangay Labo-Labo when they chanced upon armed men who quickly scampered towards the interior of the village and vanished.

“The lawless group left behind a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher, one RPG ammunition, one live anti-tank ammunition, and one live anti-personnel mine contraption,” he said.

Brig. Gen. Samuel Rodriguez, director of the Police Regional Office - Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, lauded the inclination of the community of Maguindanao to help the police in its fight against criminality.

Troops foil ASG bomb plot

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 31, 2020): Troops foil ASG bomb plot (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)  

FOILED BOMBING. Explosive Ordnance Demolition personnel of the Joint Task Force Sulu dispose of an improvised explosive device discovered Friday (Oct. 30, 2020) in Timbagan, Indanan, Sulu. The bomb could have killed or hurt anyone within a 20-meter radius, the military says. (Photo courtesy of the 11th Infantry Division)

Government troops foiled an Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bombing plot in Sulu province, military officials said Saturday.

Col. Antonio Bautista, commander of the 1101st Infantry Brigade, said the Explosive Ordnance Demolition (EOD) personnel of the Joint Task Force Sulu
disposed of an Improvised Explosive Device after it was discovered shortly (IED) before 5 p.m. Friday in Barangay Timbangan, Indanan, Sulu.

Bautista said the IED was planted near a road, which could have killed or hurt anyone within a 20-meter radius.

The IED, which was concealed in coconut leaves, composed of a mortar cartridge, 90 recoilless rifle projectile heat, five liters ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO), a battery, and an improvised blasting cap.

Bautista said the IED was believed to have been planted by the followers of ASG leader Mundi Sawadjaan, the mastermind of the Jan. 17, 2019 bombing of the Mount Carmel Cathedral Church in Jolo, Sulu.

“The Abu Sayyaf Group is obviously frustrated by the series of their losses that they resort to the most hideous form of violent extremism--bombing,” said Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu.

Earlier, an Indonesian female suicide bomber, Rezky Fantasya Rulli, was arrested by military and police forces in Jolo, Sulu, on October 10.

3 ASG bandits surrender in Sulu

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 31, 2020): 3 ASG bandits surrender in Sulu (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

NO MORE BANDITRY. Three Abu Sayyaf Group bandits, one of them involved in the January 20 kidnapping of five Indonesian fishermen, surrender Friday (Oct. 30, 2020) to government authorities in Sulu. The three (in brown t-shirts) were presented to Brig. Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio, commander of the 1102nd Infantry Brigade (2nd from left) at the command's headquarters in Barangay Tagbak, Indanan, Sulu. (Photo courtesy of 1102nd Infantry Brigade)

Three Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits have surrendered to the government in the province of Sulu, officials said Saturday.

Lt. Col. Rafael Caido, commander of the Army's 6th Special Forces Battalion, said
one of the surrenderers as Abu Dexter (not true name) was involved in the kidnapping of the five Indonesian fishermen.

Caido said Dexter, a resident of Patikul, Sulu, turned over an automatic Carbine rifle with ammunition.

Some residents and barangay officials facilitated his surrender, the Army official added.

The other two ASG surrenderers were Albasir Salim alias Abu Sadad and Splakang Panduga Abdulmain.

Caido said Dexter claimed he was unaware that the group that he was with was set to kidnap someone.

“He (Dexter) actually felt that he was lied to; he treated them as friends but it turned out that he was just used. He told me that he was forced to facilitate the KFR (kidnapping for ransom) for fear that he would be killed if he does not comply,” Caido said.

The ASG bandits seized five Indonesians crew of a Malaysian-owned fishing boat on January 16 off the waters between Tambisan and Kuala Meruap, Lahad Datu, Sabah, close to the Philippine border.

Currently, four of the fishermen remain in captivity, and one is presumed dead after government troops recovered the remains of one of the five Indonesians while pursuing a group of ASG bandits on September 29 in Barangay Patikul, Sulu.

Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the 11th Infantry Division, reiterated the military's call for the remaining ASG bandits "to peacefully surrender and avail of the programs of the government."

“Either the members surrender or get killed in armed engagements. I hope others can also come to their senses and give value to their and their family's life,” Gonzales said.

Caido said the two other ASG bandits turned over a G1 battle rifle and US-made caliber .30 M1 Garand rifle with ammunition.

The three ASG surrenderers were presented Friday to Brig. Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio, commander of 1102nd Infantry Brigade in Barangay Tagbak, Indanan, Sulu.

Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force Sulu said it has partnered with the Sulu provincial to assist in the rehabilitation and reintegration of ASG surrenderers.

All AFP units on red alert due to 'Rolly'

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 31, 2020): All AFP units on red alert due to 'Rolly' (By Priam Nepomuceno) 

With Typhoon "Rolly" threatening a large part of the country, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay on Saturday placed all military units on "red alert" so that the maximum number of personnel can be deployed for possible rescue missions.

"Gen. Gilbert Gapay, the AFP Chief of Staff, has placed all military units on red alert status to maximize the availability of military personnel in preparation for the possible devastation caused by Typhoon Rolly," AFP public affairs office chief, Navy Capt. Jonathan Zata said in a media statement.

Placing all AFP units on red alert, he said, ensures that the AFP is at its maximum capacity to deploy personnel and equipment in the conduct of humanitarian and disaster response operations.

"Gen. Gapay also reiterated his earlier directive to ensure the safety of military personnel and assets, particularly those along the track of the typhoon. He also ordered frontline units in less affected areas to prepare to reinforce those in directly affected areas," Zata said.

He added that the AFP is already in heightened coordination with other government agencies for joint monitoring of the typhoon and to prepare areas on its path.

"We urge the public to take all necessary precautions to stay safe and heed government calls for preemptive evacuation," Zata said.

He said the cooperation and early preparation of all citizens is the most effective way to mitigate the effects of calamities.

90% of NPA cadres recruited from schools: ex-commie

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 31, 2020): 90% of NPA cadres recruited from schools: ex-commie (By Marita Moaje)

Former cadre Jeffrey Celis, alias “Ka Eric”, said he wants to put an end to the more than 50 years of sowing fear and terror activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines - New Peoples Army, a movement he served for 27 years. (PNA photo)

A former cadre of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) revealed that 90% of cadres were recruited from schools.

Appearing in a public interview Friday for the first time since he severed ties with the communist group, Jeffrey Celis, alias “Ka Eric”, said he wants to put an end to the more than 50 years of sowing fear and terror activities of the CPP-NPA, a movement he served for 27 years.

Ka Eric admitted he and his fellow cadres were recruited while they were in college. He was about to turn 18 years old when he was recruited into the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) at the West Visayas State University by the cadres of the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front (NDF) through their legal front organizations.

“We all started through a legal organization but they are not purely legal,” he said, adding that Red-affiliated organizations give the impression that above-ground organizations are legal by riding on issues such as the anti-tuition increase and even workers issue.

After three or four months, however, they will then cross to the underground organization., he said

“The deceptive, manipulative skillful, masterful lies of the CPP-NPA-NDF in the recruitment of different sectors more particularly in the recruitment of the youth and the students must be put to stop,” he said.

He then appealed to Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones and Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero de Vera III to exercise the power of their departments to prevent recruitment among students.

“I call on them to be strong, please, to prevent recruitment in schools. Ninety percent ng mga cadre of the CPP-NPA-NDF nanggagaling sa schools (90 percent come from schools. Lahat kami dun nanggaling halos ( Most of us cadres of the CPP-NPA-NDF were recruited there),” he said, urging them to be strong and not fear harassment.

Deciding to come out in the open and tell the truth about the CPP-NPA-NDF, Ka Eric lamented that the infiltration of schools and recruitment of senior high school students, the missing students from universities like the far Eastern University (FEU), Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), University of the Philippines (UP), University of Santo Tomas (UST) and other state universities are not being addressed.

Mothers of students duped into joining underground organizations weep and suffer just like his own mother when he was recruited at a young age.

Recruitment, he said, starts through legal organizations like the League of Filipino Students, Anakbayan, Christian Movement of the Philippines, National Union of Students of the Philippines, College Editor Guild of the Philippines, among other organizations infiltrated by communists nationwide.

Despite fearing for his own life and those of his loved ones, Ka Eric said he is more than determined to tell everything that he knows about the CPP-NPA-NDF.

“Kailangan matigil na ang recruitment sa kabataan. Matigil na ang pagwasak sa mga pamilya. Matigil na ang walang saysay na pagpatay at madugong pamamaraan ng pag advocate ng idolohiyang itinakwil na sa buong daigdig, ang marxismo, leninismo at maoismo ay mga library references ito hindi para baguhin ang lipunan (Recruitment of the youth should be stopped. Destruction of families should be stopped and end the killings and violent means of advocating ideologies that have been rejected. Marxism, Leninism, and Maoism are all but library references and should not be used to change society),” he said.

He went on to say that he already told his wife and children that in case he gets killed because of what he did, he will die for a noble cause.

“If in case the CPP-NPA-NDF kills me at least I will die for the cause of peace because I want to contribute to the cause of peace for our nation and for the cause of the future of our children,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.


Ka Eric also challenged members of the Makabayan bloc to denounce all terroristic activities of the CPP-NPA-NDF or else, resign from their posts.

“You cannot be there in Congress if you are not a hardcore CPP cadre. I attest with my blood, sweat and my physical danger put in line today,” he added.

He directly named Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago, and Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas as high ranking CPP cadres.

He said these Makabayan bloc members will not be able to sit, or even be nominated as party-list representatives of these organizations that were created by the CPP and support its armed wing, NPA, and political wing, NDF, if they are not high ranking officials.

He said he will prove that what Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr. and Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy are true.

If they do not resign, then they should directly tell Filipinos that they are not members of the CPP-NPA-NDF and condemn and denounce the communist organization for all the crimes and terroristic attacks that have brought so much bloodshed and destruction to the country, he added.

Makabayan bloc representatives, he said, should pledge their loyalty to the government and support all efforts to bring peace and security, and ending the local communist armed conflict.

Ka Eric also called on House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to let him and other former cadres speak at the Congress and face the Makabayan bloc representatives, and for Senate President Tito Sotto to conduct a Senate inquiry into his revelations.

“This is going to be war, a war of information, a war of decision for standing up for the truth and war to side with the people,” he added.

Kalinaw News: 9 BIFF members surrender to 6ID Commander

 Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 29, 2020): 9 BIFF members surrender to 6ID Commander

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Nine members of the outlawed local terrorist group (LTG) Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) laid down their arms and surrendered to Major General Juvymax R. Uy, Commander of 6th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Central, during the culmination program of 33rd founding anniversary of Kampilan Division on October 24, 2020.

These former rebels under the Bungos faction were also presented to the Commanding General of Philippine Army, Lt. General Cirilito Sobejana; WestMinCom Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. and 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Jesus Rico Atencio.

They brought along with them the following firearms one M4A1 Carbine Caliber 5.56mm, one Bushmaster Caliber 5.56mm, one HK 416 Caliber 5.56mm, one Elisco M16A1, one M14 Rifle Caliber 7.62mm, two Caliber 50 Sniper Rifle, two RPG and two RPG Ammunitions.

Maj. Gen Uy, once again expressed his optimism that the latest surrenders of BIFF members will continue to entice the remaining others. He also assured that the JTFC will remain steadfast to its mandate in the campaign to end violate extremism.

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines 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: 23rd IB enrolls 16 new FRs to ECLIP

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 29, 2020): 23rd IB enrolls 16 new FRs to ECLIP

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – A total of sixteen (16) former combatants of the Communist New People’ Army Terrorist (CNT) in the province of Agusan del Norte was recently enrolled in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government facilitated by the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion with the support of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) of Agusan del Norte last October 26, 2020 at the unit’s headquarters in Jamboree Site, Purok 6, Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista town.

The enrollment process includes the profiling of the sixteen (16) FRs and the gathering of pertinent information and documentation. Their enrollment is in accordance with the unified efforts of all government agencies and stakeholders to end the local communist armed conflicts in the different communities of Agusan del Norte. The program is also based on the provisions of Executive Order No. 70 issued by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

ECLIP is the government’s response to the need of former combatants of the CNT who decided to abandon the rotten ideology of the communist movement in the country. The program, which is all-inclusive in nature, also benefits the families of the FRs to help them renew their lives once they are reintegrated into their respective communities.

Also, during the activity, the 23rd IB and the PSWDO distributed food packs to all the FRs presently staying at the halfway house called “Happy Home” inside the unit’s headquarters. A total of thirty-six (36) FRs received their 4th quarter food support during the activity.

The regular provision of food allowance lets the FRs meet the daily needs of their families as they strive to improve their economic conditions. The food allowance also ensures the nourishment of their children, most of whom have suffered malnutrition when left behind by parents upon joining the communist movement.

Alias “Maria Luz” is among the thirty-six ( 36) FRs who received the regular provision of food packs and other basic needs during the activity last Monday.

“Wala gyod ko nagmahay nga nibalik ko sa atong gobyerno. Kining among nadawat karon dako kaayo ni sya nga tabang kanamo hilabi na karon nga panahon nga nagkalisod ang mga tawo panahon sa pandemya,” Maria Luz said.

She added: “Salamat kaayo sa PSWD ug sa 23rd IB kay gitagaan kami ninyo og pagtagad hilabi na sa among mga panghinanglanon. Nanghinaut usab ako nga makit- an sa kanhi namo kaubanan ang kayo nga among nadawat sukad kami mibalik sa sabakan sa panggamhanan. Ako kamong giawhag nga biyae na ninyo ang kalihukang terorista sa CPP-NPA. Balik na kamo sa gobyerno aron makauban usab ang inyong pamilya,” Maria Luz said.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the Acting Commanding Officer of 23rd IB expressed gratitude to the PSWDO for the unending support to the FRs in the province.

“The PSWDO is among the active partners of the 23rd IB in implementing the provisions of EO 70 in Agusan del Norte. Your constant presence in all the activities on the unit gives the FRs hope and faith that tells them to continue because a bright future is waiting for them,” Paulo said. He added that the synergy of the 23rd IB and PSWDO brings positive impacts into the lives of the FRs that will persuade more CNT members to lay down their arms.

Furthermore, the 23rd IB Commander once again called for the CNTs to leave the communist movement. “I call on the remaining members and supporters of the CNTs to abandon the armed struggle. Go back to your family and to the folds of the law to live normally and peacefully. Your soldiers are always willing to help and assist you to avail the E-CLIP program of the government,” Paulo said.

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines 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: Former child warrior files Rape Case against her NPA Commander

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 30, 2020): Former child warrior files Rape Case against her NPA Commander

October 29, 2020, Calubian, Leyte – Former NPA child warrior Ka Shane/Zian (now 17 years old, single, out of school youth), resident of Brgy. Hampangan, Hilongos, Leyte, files today a rape case against his former NPA Commander identified as Paterno Opo aka Yoyo/Dodong of the Sub-Regional Committee “Levox” that operates in the hinterlands of Leyte and Biliran Provinces.

Ka Shane/Zian voluntarily surrendered together with her older sister and fellow NPA comrade, Ruffa Lombog Correa to 14th Infantry (Avenger) Battalion of 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army on June 12, 2020 because of their present dissatisfaction against their former NPA Commander, Paterno Opo, and the frustrations they have against the CPP-NPA-NDF. The aforesaid organization promised them that they will be able to attend school but were rather forced to become NPA combatants.

Ka Shane/Zian and Ruffa revealed that while they were still active members of the CPP-NPA, they were brainwashed by their NPA Commanders and comrades that they should neither be captured nor surrender to the AFP because they will be raped, tortured and killed.

“Takot na takot kami mag surrender, kasi ang sabi sa amin ng kumander sa NPA na gahasain, etorture at papatayin kapag nahuli kami ng mga sundalo pero naglakas loob pa rin kami dahil hinde na namin kaya ang ginagawa nila sa amin at paghihirap sa bundok. Pero nang nag surrender kami, akala namin kataposan na namin, pero yun pala sundalo pa ang nagbigay sa amin ng pagkain, damit at maayos na tulogan”, Ka Shane/Zian said.

Based on the personal appeal of Ka Shane/Zian and Ruffa to seek justice and to inform their former female comrades who are still with the CPP-NPA-NDF, they confessed the traumatic rape incident Ka Shane/Zian suffered at the hands of her supposed superior when she was only 15 years old. This incident continue to haunt her until today that she wants to seek justice.

Ka Shane/Zian and Ruffa believed that return to the folds of the law provides the opportunity for them to exact justice from their oppressors and exploiters within the Communist Terrorist movement. Hence, they requested the assistance of 802nd Infantry Brigade in reporting the incident to Calubian, Leyte Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office and Women’s Desk of Calubian, Leyte Municipal Police Station.

“I am condemning in stronger terms the blatant disrespect to human dignity committed by NPA Commander, Paterno Opo against Realyn. I am saddened by the fate of Realyn and so as Ruffa’s due to the terrible sufferings and injustices that they experienced while they were in the hands of the CPP-NPA-NDF. Likewise, I admire the courage of Realyn in confessing her horrible experience, though it may degrade her reputation and dignity as a woman. With her revelation, she exposes the evils of joining the CPP-NPA-NDF. Aside, this confirms the blatant and persistent recruitment of minors within the Communist-Terrorist Organization,” said BGen Zosimo A Oliveros, Commander, 802nd Infantry Brigade. Further, BGen Oliveros appeals to the parents, youth and all organizations claiming to vanguards of women’s and children’s rights to unite and stop the deceptive recruitment by the Communist-Terrorist Group of our children.

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines 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: Malaysian General visits Sulu

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 29, 2020): Malaysian General visits Sulu

October 29, 2020, Camp Bautista, Jolo, Sulu – The International Monitoring Team (IMT) – Mindanao Batch 15 led by a Malaysian General pays courtesy call to the JTF-Sulu Commander and the Provincial Governor.

International Monitoring Team (IMT) – Mindanao Batch 15 Head of Mission Malaysian Major General Dato’ Muhammad Anwar Bin Abdullah paid a courtesy call to 11th Infantry Division and JTF-Sulu Commander MGen William N Gonzales and Governor Abdusakur M Tan on 29 October in Sulu. Launched in 2004, the IMT is set to continue keeping track of the peace agreement between the Goverment of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

IMT, now led by General Anwar who was installed in March of 2020, was finally able to pay a courtesy call to 11th Infantry Division and after several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During MGen Anwar’s visit to the JTF-Sulu Headquarters, MGen Gonzales along with MILF Deputy Chairman Basaron Kamlon was able to discuss the ongoing peace efforts in the region and the positive developments in the GPH-MILF peace process.

MGen Gonzales also accompanied the IMT Head to the governor’s office, where they talked about the enhanced security situation and economic developments in the province. During said meeting, MGen Gonzales attributed the immense acceleration of the province’s progress to the strong partnership between the JTF and Local Goverment of Sulu. He also commended the MILF for upholding the peace in the area. “The MILF is also helping a lot in peace and order. They are collaborating in some of our efforts. In fact, they also signed the Peace Covenant,” MGen Gonzales quickly pointed out.

This Peace Covenant signed by the both the municipalities of Patikul and Indanan is a pledged signed by various individuals declaring Abu Sayyaf terrorists as Persona Non Grata. Another point included in the covenant is also a vow to work hand in hand with government agencies to pursue initiatives that will strengthen and institutionalize public safety, security and wellbeing of the community.

Meanwhile, Governor Tan shared some interesting insights as the whole party shared a hearty meal which was highlighted by traditional Tausug dishes. To note, Muslims around the world are celebrating Maulod or the birthday of Prophet Mohammad this season.

“Mohammad is a model leader. I pray that we will continuously be blessed with the same leadership, wisdom and sincerity. Inshallah (in God’s will) we will be steadfast in our endeavor,” MGen Anwar remarked.

Shortly after the Malaysian General finished eating durian, his favorite, their party bid farewell to Governor Tan and MGen Gonzales. The IMT is set to visit Tawi-Tawi to also pay courtesy to the LGU of the province. “It is really important the the IMT came here so that they can see for themselves the situation here. -MGen Gonzales

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines 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: Troops of JTF-SULU clashes with Abu Sayyaf Group; discovers unexploded mortar shelling

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 29, 2020): Troops of JTF-SULU clashes with Abu Sayyaf Group; discovers unexploded mortar shelling (By Erwin Pagay)

October 28, 2020, Camp Bautista, Jolo, Sulu – At around 3:30 PM today, separate and simultaneous operations by the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion and 13th Special Forces Company led to an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Indanan and recovery of an unexploded mortar round in Patikul, respectively.

According to recent intelligence reports, the ASG members were forced to disperse in small groups amid the relentless military operations. This afternoon, the ASG’s tactics were proven ineffective as the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion led by Ltc Herbert D Dilag, through a tip from the local populace, was able to hunt down the terrorists in the hinterlands of Brgy Adjid, Indanan, Sulu. At exactly 3:56 PM a 20-minute firefight transpired between government forces and ASG members under bomber Mundi Sawadjaan and Senior Leader Radulan Sahiron. The clash ended with the ASG members scampering away, leaving behind their high-powered firearms and assorted personal belongings. Government troops recovered two (2) M14 rifles, three (3) hammocks, two (2) pairs combat boots, two (2) backpacks and other belongings.

Significantly, the troops also recovered documents including photocopies of passports owned by two Indonesian nationals whose identities are yet to be known. The documents, being of high intelligence value, will undergo thorough analysis to extract further information that would bolster the government’s fight against local and foreign terrorists.

“Our troops are currently pursuing these terrorists. We have the manpower, we have the war assets, and we have the people of Sulu rallying behind us. They give tip-offs and they forbid ASG presence in their communities. The Tausugs are very confident and they are not afraid as they themselves are volunteering to confront terrorists,” said MGen William N Gonzales, Commander of JTF Sulu.

The 1101st Brigade led by its Col Antonio Bautista is personally overseeing the pursuit operations of the 5SRB and support operations of some other battalions. Col Antonio is also working closely with the Brigade Commander of 1102 Infantry Brigade, Bgen Ignatius Patrimonio whos is in charge for the security of neighboring municipality of Patikul.

Meanwhile, at around the same time, the 13th Special Forces Company led by 1Lt Filmar Luzon together with the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams (BPATs) of Barangay Kabbon Takas, Patikul, same province were conducting paneling while securing the members of DPWH who were in the process of road concreting for the said barangay. These BPATs, who are volunteer peacekeepers of the area, were trained by the Special Forces and were very keen on their surroundings that they were able to notice and identify an unexploded 60mm mortar round at Sitio Nangka in Kabbon Takas, same town. The BPATs immediately informed the troops on the ground and as standard operating procedure, the EOD team of JTF-Sulu disposed of the unexploded round on site.

Road concreting in Barangay Kabbon Takas is being done in preparation of the Balik Barangay Program. Said program aims to bring back Internally Displaced People to their previously war-torned and abandoned lands. “Now that the number of the ASG had dwindled, the fight against terrorism is coming to an end. With the Local Government Units taking the lead, we are bringing the people back to their homes and communities. People who fight with us for lasting peace,” said MGen Gonzales.

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines 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: Former rebels showcase Arm-to-Farm program to Secretary Andanar

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 30, 2020): Former rebels showcase Arm-to-Farm program to Secretary Andanar

IMPASUGONG, BUKIDNON. October 29 – Lumadnong Organisasyong Dalangpanan (LINONDIGAN), a former rebels (FRs) organization showcased their Arm-to Farm program to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security Region 10 (CORDS X) Secretary Martin Andanar during his visit in the Halfway House located at Magbuliga Development Complex, Impasugong, Bukidnon on October 23, 2020.

The FRs exhibited their four-hectare farm program with the theme, “Changing Mindsets, Enriching Lives: Transforming Red Revolution to Green Revolution”, where three (3) hectares were planted with corn seeds, .7 hectare with Adlai crops, and .3 hectare with sweet potatoes. Sec. Andanar witnessed that the said program is the result of collaborative efforts of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Impasugong, Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippine Army, and other agencies that changed the mindset of FRs from being combatant to becoming a peaceful and productive individual who can contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.

Sec. Martin Andanar together with Mr. Franklin Gumapon, Regional Director of Philippine Information Agency; Ms Tarhata S. Mapandi, Regional Director, TESDA Region 10; BGen. Ferdinand T. Barandon, Commander of 403rd Brigade, Col Jose Arn M. Real, Deputy Commander of 403rd Brigade, Lt. Col. Edgardo V. Talaroc Jr., Commanding Officer of 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB); and Hon. Maria Norly D. Pepito, Municipal Vice-Mayor of Impasugong observed the enormous benefits of the arm-to-farm program to the former rebels.

“Garbo namo nga gipakita kang Sec. Andanar ang amoang mga tanom sa arm-to-farm. Mapasalamaton ako sa gobyerno kay pinaagi sa kining programa, nabansay ug nasangkapan kami og kahanas nga nagpabag-o sa among kinabuhi.” @Drian proudly said. (We are proud to present to Sec. Andanar our crops in the arm-to-farm program. I am thankful to the government because through this program we were trained and it changed our lives.)

Lt. Col. Edgardo V. Talaroc Jr., Commanding Officer of 8IB said, “Isa kini nga programa nga gipadangat sa gobyerno aron matudluan ang mga kanhing rebelde nga makig-indigay ug mabungahong indibidwal bag-o sila mahi-usa usab sa katilingban.” (This program is one of the interventions of the government to train former rebels to be competitive and productive individuals before reintegrating them into the mainstream society).

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines 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: ASG member killed in an encounter in Basilan

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 30, 2020): ASG member killed in an encounter in Basilan

Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City- October 29, 2020 Western Mindanao Command Chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr. said that a.k.a. Botak, an Abu Sayyaf Group member, was killed during a short encounter with the government forces in Basilan on Thursday afternoon, October 29, 2020.

Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. further said that a five-minute firefight with three ASG members broke around 4:00 this afternoon in Barangay Felang, Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan Province which resulted in the death of a.k.a. Botak, a known follower of ASG Sub-Leader Furuji Indama who was also killed during the encounter with the troops of 44IB last September 2020.

“The neutralized personality was onboard a motorcycle along with two of his comrades when they were intercepted by the operating troops of the 101st Infantry Brigade and the 18th Infantry Battalion, and the firefight ensued,” said Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr.

According to Joint Task Force Basilan Commander Col. Domingo Gobway, the troops were able to recover the dead body of a.k.a. Botak, one M60 machine gun, and one motorcycle at the clash site. Col Gobway further stated that “our operating troops continue to scour the area to arrest the companions of a.k.a. Botak.”

Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. said that the military desires to end local armed conflicts in a peaceful way, nevertheless; he vows to sustain the military offensives against those who remain resistant.

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines 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: "Local Peace Engagement Cluster of NOTF-ELCAC Meets Bishop Cortes"

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 30, 2020): "Local Peace Engagement Cluster of NOTF-ELCAC Meets Bishop Cortes"

CAMP LEON KILAT, Tanjay City, Negros Oriental – The 302nd Infantry Achiever Brigade Commander, COL LEONARDO I PEÑA (MNSA) PA together with the Local Peace Engagement cluster of NOTF-ELCAC members spearheaded by Provincial Director Johnjoan Mende of DILG met the Diocese of Dumaguete being led by Bishop Julito Cortes pertaining to the efforts on collaboration of the programs to advance peace and security development in the province on October 28, 2020 at the Marian Priest Center, Dumaguete Cathedral Compound, Brgy 3, Dumaguete City, NOR.

During the meeting between the Local Peace Engagement (LPE) cluster and the diocese, important matters were raised and discussed with the diocese, such as the high numbers of extrajudicial killings in the province which had been addressed by PCOL Bryant Demot, Provincial Director of NOPPO. Discussion on the Communist Terrorist Group’s (CTG’s) affecting some areas of the province was also raised which had been the main purpose of the cluster in reaching the diocese to ask for help in solving the problem on Communist terrorism and recruitment.

Bishop Julito Cortes welcomed the idea of helping the NOTF ELCAC in ending the terrorism in the province. The church plays a vital role in solving the problems as they can reach out greatly through the spiritual and moral aspect of the people involved. DILG PD Johnjoan Mende was grateful for the meeting between the cluster and the diocese, as it marks the beginning of a new partnership with the church that can greatly help in ending the problem of terrorism.

The 302nd Infantry Brigade Commander COL PEÑA said, ”this is the reason why we have this NTF-ELCAC, the government recognizes that fighting the Communist terrorist is not the AFP’s mission alone, it is everybody’s shared responsibility. We hope that all sectors will be with us in this fight and will work hand in hand to ultimately end the problem on Communist terrorism that had been plaguing not only the province of Negros Oriental but the entire country as a whole”.

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines 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: 5ID joins in Light a Candle Rally in CagVal and CAR

 Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 30, 2020): 5ID joins in Light a Candle Rally in CagVal and CAR

CAMP MELCHOR F DELA CRUZ, Upi, Gamu, Isabela – The 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army with its line units, together with the Victims, Orphans, and Widows of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) Atrocities (VOWCA), Former Rebels (FRs) and the Youth for Peace Chapters condemned the violence of the terrorist Communist Party of the Philippine-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) through a simultaneous Light a Candle Rally in Cagayan Valley and Cordillera Administrative Region on October 29, 2020.

The activity showed the grief and heartbreak of the VOWCA and FRs caused by the inhumane, heartless and terroristic activities of the CPP-NPA. They also solemnly prayed for the peace and eternal repose of the souls of their loved ones who fell victims of the NPAs.

Many lives were lost due to the terroristic acts of the CTGs. Many dreams and aspirations were shattered because of their lost. The very people that could have brought up better families and individuals.

BGen Laurence E Mina PA, Commander of 5ID said that the sorrow of the VOWCA and FRs is also felt by the Philippine Army. “The Command joins in the Light a Candle Rally to sympathize with the communities and families in condemning the CPP-NPA atrocities. We mourn with the families and friends of all the victims killed by the New People’s Army. As we unite to condemn their terroristic and inhumane acts, they may find the conscience to see the pain they left in the hearts of their victim’s families and loved ones. This activity also calls for the Startroopers to fight harder in order to give justice for all the victims of the CPP-NPA.”

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines 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: Another three ASG members yielded to the Government

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 30, 2020): Another three ASG members yielded to the Government

Indanan, Sulu. The ongoing joint peace efforts of the Patikul MTF ELAC and 1102nd Brigade has continously and effectively diminishing the terrorist group in the Municipality of Patikul as another three (3) of its members surrender to the government troops on 30 October 2020.

The troops of 6SFBn under the able leadership of its Acting Commanding Officer , LTC RAFAEL P CAIDO INF (GSC) PA together with the Chairwoman of Brgy Kaunayan Hon Sitti Ina Tani succefully facilitated the surrender of @ Dexter under the ASG Sub leader Tuan Anoh , @Abu Sadad under the late ASG sub leader Sibih Pisih and @ Splakang under the late ASG Sub Leader Ekoh Udjaman. They bring along with them one (1) M1 Carbine , one (1) G1 battle rifle, one (1) M1 Garand rifle and several ammunitions of the said firearms. They were then presented to Commander , 1102nd Brigade BGEN IGNATIUS N PATRIMONIO PA , for the initial support and interview at Camp Bud Datu Brgy Tagbak, Indanan , Sulu.

The three (3) ASG have been part of the group roaming in the mountains of Patikul, Indanan and Talipao all of Sulu . They decided to return to the mainstream after being enlightened on the
government programs of helping them retrieve their normal lives.

” The continous decline of ASG membership in Patikul is the fruit of the whole of nation approach of the municipality in dealing with its current security challenges. With the Patikul MTF ELAC, we hope to bring more local leaders in helping us lure the remaining members of the ASG to surrender. This will led to the eventual nuetralization of the ASG paving for a peaceful Lupah Sug ” according to Bgen Patrimonio.

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. Contact us:]

Friday, October 30, 2020

COMMENTARY: Only a duck walks and talks like a duck

Posted to The Manila Times (Oct 30, 2020): COMMENTARY//Only a duck walks and talks like a duck (By Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.)

LET me ask you, Rep. Ferdinand R. Gaite: Who started that red- baiting and red-tagging?

It was the communists — as a defense mechanism for people and organizations identified with reds, worked with the reds, pursued objectives of the reds, talked like the reds, and yet did not want to be labeled as red.

The late US Sen. Joseph McCarthy said that if you walk like a duck, talk like a duck, you must be a duck. McCarthyism was eventually defined as the act of accusing people or organizations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. Hence, the red-tagging. It has even been always the defense of these radicals every time we call them out for their involvement with Jose Ma. Sison and his Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

The issue is evidence

Indeed, for the longest time it was difficult for us to understand the nature of the underground movement because it was underground. The ducks were quacking, but we see them in different forms and in different statuses.

The revolutionary dual tactics of the CPP entail that they operate aboveground, as legal front organizations, and underground as well.

So, what happens is we hear Representative Gaite quacking but we don’t see him as a duck? We hear him talk of legitimate issues but we don’t see him participate in subversive activities.

So, really evidence is important here and they have managed to evade the law with this duplicitous nature of the CPP.

Time to unmask them

It’s now time to unmask them. It’s time to present evidence to, once and for all, settle this issue of red-tagging. They won’t accept our challenge for debate in the open, for obvious reasons, so now let’s see if they are going to face us in the Senate inquiry.

But, oh, no, not again! These people are once more making excuses to evade participation in the Senate inquiry called by Sen. Panfilo Lacson. Representative Gaite reminds us that Senator Lacson is the main proponent of the Anti-Terrorism Act. Is he implying that the Senate inquiry will be biased? I think we know where this is going. Iwas-pusoy na naman ang mga ito.

Choose Your Court

Tell us what you want, Representative Gaite. We can have that same inquiry in your own court if you want. In the House of Representatives or in the Quezon City Sports Complex, if you want. Remember the forum you had on criminalizing dissent and weaponizing the law where you evicted me? Your duplicitous nature even convinced the federal government of Germany to support your platform to attack the government.

My intention in appearing in that forum was to answer any allegations you wanted to throw to the government with regard to its handling of human rights. I was alone, and yet you did not have the balls to face me.

There were a hundred of you there and were all quacking. You could in your hundreds have easily ganged up on me and done me in. But you didn’t and instead just chose to shoo me away. Why? Because you knew no matter how loudly you quacked, you would all crack at my own ferocious whack? Truth was all I had at the time.

Anyway, you wanted evidence, right? Let’s see you try finding out if indeed we have. So, will you see us at the Senate? Congress? Or even at the QC Sports Complex? I can come alone, again, if you want, with a truck driver to carry all our evidence.

Oh, well, maybe not all. The rest will be presented in court.

[The author is commander of the Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command and head of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).]

Malaysian general visits Sulu to monitor PH's peace effort with MILF

From ABS-CBN (Oct 29, 2020): Malaysian general visits Sulu to monitor PH's peace effort with MILF (Dennis Gasgonia)

Malaysian Major General Dato' Muhammad Anwar Bin Abdullah. Photo courtesy of the Joint Task Force Sulu

A Malaysian general who heads the international team of monitors of the Philippine government's peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) visited officials in Sulu on Thursday as part of efforts to keep track of the peace agreement.

Major General Dato' Muhammad Anwar Bin Abdullah, who heads the International Monitoring Team (IMT) - Mindanao Batch 15, met with the Joint Task Force-Sulu commander and the Sulu governor "to discuss the ongoing peace efforts in the region and the positive developments in the GPH-MILF peace process," the military said in a statement.

Anwar paid JTF-Sulu Commander Maj. Gen. William Gonzales and Governor Abdusakur Tan a courtesy call seven months since his installation in the IMT. His movement was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In their meeting, which was
also attended by MILF Deputy Chairman Basaron Kamlon, Gonzales commended the MILF for upholding peace in the area.

"The MILF is also helping a lot in peace and order. They are collaborating in some of our efforts. In fact, they also signed the Peace Covenant," said Gonzales.

The MILF forged a peace agreement with the government in 2014, leading to the signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law four years later that reorganized the government and the territorial coverage of the Muslim region in Mindanao.

It is believed to address the root causes of violence in Mindanao caused by the Muslim insurgency over the past decades.

Anwar's visit was timed during the season of the birthday of Prophet Mohammad.

"Mohammad is a model leader. I pray that we will continuously be blessed with the same leadership, wisdom and sincerity. Inshallah (in God’s will) we will be steadfast in our endeavor," Anwar said.

The IMT members are also set to visit Tawi-Tawi.

"It is really important the the IMT came here so that they can see for themselves the situation here," said Gonzales.

Meanwhile, in Maguindanao, 10 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters surrendered Wednesday, the Western Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.

Courtesy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines - Western Mindanao Command

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., WesMinCom chief, said in a statement the men also turned over three rifles (M14, M16A1, and M79), two rocket-propelled grenades, and several other weapons and explosives.

The BIFF are renegade members of the MILF who were not in favor of the peace agreement with the government.

Maute Group remnant in Lanao del Sur falls

 From ABS-CBN (Oct 30, 2020): Maute Group remnant in Lanao del Sur falls

A member of the Dawlah Islamiya-Maute Group surrendered on Thursday to government troops in Lanao del Sur, the Western Mindanao Command said.

In a Facebook post on Friday, WESMINCOM Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said
Samad Macaampon, alias Abu Samad, 40, and a resident of Barangay Gacap in Piagapo surrendered to the 82nd Infantry Battalion at 10 a.m. Thursday.

“Accordingly, Samad decided to come out after being on lie-low status since he left the group sometime in 2017 because he wants to be with his family, live a peaceful life, and be a productive citizen of this country,” Vinluan said.

Macaampon, the military said, is a known DI-MG member under Abu Sierra, a sub-leader of the Omar Maute Group.

He also handed over his M79 grenade launcher.

Macaampon was brought to the 82IB headquarters in Barangay Pawak in Saguiaran for custodial debriefing and proper disposition.

Opinion: USS Maine tactics all over again

Opinion/Letter to the Editor posted to The Manila Times (Oct 29, 2020): USS Maine tactics all over again

The recent incident of US Air Force Spy Plane RC-135S disguised as Philippine Aircraft over the Yellow Sea, a critical disputed area to gather intelligence will make one wonder why did the USAF used a spy plane despite the fact that the United States of America has an advanced technology when it comes to Signal Intelligence (SIGINT). It has invested billions of dollars in spy satellite and drones.

The era of spy planes is long over. When the U2 Spy plane was shot down in May 1, 1960 while performing aerial reconnaissance deep inside Soviet territory, it was replaced by more efficient super fast spy plane the SR-71 “Blackbird.” It can reach a cruising speed of March 3 that no missile can catch up with it. The advent of satellites rendered these spy planes obsolete. The SR-71 was retired several times until its final retirement in 1999.

In the 70s when the first generation of spy satellites “Corona” and “Zenith” were launched into space, it opened a new ball game in SGINT. As of now thousands of satellites commercial and military hover above the earth. Even commercial satellites are used for spying. The US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) “Misty” Project has been launching stealth satellite with “unknown” payloads since the 1990s. The most recent National Reconnaissance Office Launch (NROL) was the Nemesis in 2004. It has stealth capability that eludes detection from earth stations.

One may argue that the intel gathering of satellites may be limited by its orbit. But the US Air Force has 45 Global Hawk (RQ-3Bs) stealth drones each to have an estimated cost of US $ 60.9 million. It has broad overview systematic surveillance using high resolution synthetic aperture radar and long-range electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors with long loiter times over target areas. It has a surveying capacity of 100,000 square kilometers a day. The US Navy has the latest Northrop Grumman MQC-Triton a long endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that can also track under water activities.

Given these arsenal of spy satellite and drones, why did the US flew an obsolete spy plane over the Yellow Sea with a miscoded hex code? One essential element of espionage is being incognito. Despite the stealth technologies of the NRO’s satellites and drones, they used an antiquated spy plane knowing fully that it can easily be detected flying in a critical disputed territory. There was really something very sinister and malicious in the act.

This coincided months after Washington formally rejected Beijing’s expansive maritime claim over the region. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier said that any attacks of Philippine vessels or aircraft whether military or civilian will prompt the US to invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty to defend the Philippines.

The use of miscoded military hex codes is actually a common practice among spy planes. But the timing and the area of operation are very suspicious and as many authors argue may endanger Philippine civilian airlines, as shown in the past when civilian airlines were shot down for mistaken identity. This was indeed an act of provocation.

Philippine National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said that the US maybe testing the capacity of Beijing-based South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI) and its official reaction. But this is too high a cost at the expense of endangering civilian airlines.

Given the circumstances of the highly advanced SIGINT of the US, flying an obsolete spy plane with a miscoded hex code in a tense area in the South China Sea exposes the sinister tactics of the warmongerer United States of America. Unfortunately just like in the Cold War Era they will use pawns for their own menacing interests.

Celso Lencioco Cainglet

Philippines taking aim at China’s sea militias Manila poised to form new paramilitary marine units to counter China’s ‘gray zone’ tactics in South China Sea

 Posted to the Asia Times (Oct 29, 2020): Philippines taking aim at China’s sea militias
Manila poised to form new paramilitary marine units to counter China’s ‘gray zone’ tactics in South China Sea

A Philippine soldier conducts a security patrol along Ulugan Bay, facing the South China Sea in Puerto Princesa, Palawan island, south of Manila on April 25, 2012. Credit: AFP/Ted Aljibe

A “gray zone” arms race is emerging in the South China Sea, where China’s rising use of para-military forces to assert its contested claims could soon be met by rival maritime militias from Southeast Asia.

Long outgunned and outspent by China, the Philippines is now moving to create its own militia sea forces, to be known as the Cafgu Active Auxiliary Service (CAAS), to protect its interests in adjacent waters including within its vast exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The military move, if approved, would come in response to China’s growing use of para-military forces, including the use of small vessels to systematically swarm contested islands and strategic features, to intrude ever deeper into Philippine-claimed waters.

In particular, China has recently used para-military forces to block supplies and construction material shipments from arriving at Thitu Island, where the Philippines maintains a token military presence and rudimentary airstrip it is seeking to upgrade.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a recent address to the Senate that “the other side” – meaning China – “is using what we call ‘civilian militias’ but actually are part of their Navy… they’re also fishing, they’re also acting as fishermen and fishing with big boats.”

The Philippines would not be the first to push back at China’s use of maritime paramilitary forces in the sea. Vietnam, which likewise has various South China Sea disputes with China, including in the Paracel and Spratly island chains, created its own maritime militia forces back in 2009.

Both communist regimes view this so-called “gray zone” strategy as part of their “whole of nation” or “people’s war at sea” approach to the increasingly high-stakes maritime spats, which strategic analysts say threaten to spiral into a China-US confrontation for control of the strategic sea.

Chinese paramilitary vessels take to sea. Image: Reddit

The paramilitary strategy, however, also carries big risks of escalation and conflict given long-time concerns over the lack of professionalism and command control of China’s militia forces, particularly in the current climate of rising jingoism and zero-sum competition for the sea’s vast oil, gas and fishery resources.

The Philippines is bidding to firm up its defenses after years of Chinese intimidation tactics in the disputed sea, including China’s 2012 occupation of the Scarborough Shoal in Manila’s EEZ.

The shoal would be crucial for China to establish an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the sea, a move that would potentially provoke a military response from the US, a Philippine mutual defense treaty ally.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte underscored the strategic need for more China-countering forces at a speech last month at the United Nations’ General Assembly, where he “firmly reject[ed] attempts to undermine” the Philippines’ maritime claims – a thinly veiled complaint against China’s rising use of sea militias.

Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, the Philippines’ naval chief, has emerged as the leading top brass voice for taking a tougher stance against China through the formation of what he characterized as “force multiplier” marine militias.

“It’s a stop-gap measure to fill where we are not, where the Navy and where the Coast Guard are not,” said the Philippine navy chief about the formation of the CAAS.

The navy chief said the new force would be a collaborative effort, whereby members of the militia force will be recruited from among the Philippine Army, the dominant branch of the military, but trained by the modernizing Philippine Navy, specifically the navy’s Northern Luzon and Naval Forces West units.

Both naval units are at the forefront of the South China Sea disputes. The Philippine Navy also clarified that the militia forces would have a geographically-specified area of operation to ensure “maximum efficiency” and prevent possible rogue operations.

Philippine Marines pictured at BRP Sierra Madre, a dilapidated Philippine Navy ship that has been aground since 1999 and became a Philippine military detachment on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea March 29, 2014. Photo: Agencies

“We keep on moving. We patrol the area, then we leave,” he added to reassure already emerging critics that the plan aims only to enhance the Philippines’ domain awareness and surveillance in the disputed waters and will not be deployed for political purposes.

“Definitely, they will not be given firearms,” Rear Admiral Loumer Bernabe, a fleet commander, said in a recent public hearing while emphasizing that the CAAS will only be issued tracking devices and communications equipment in a mainly surveillance and patrol capacity across Philippine-claimed waters.

“The relevance of maritime CAAS is if you’re from Pangasinan, your concern is Pangasinan waters. If you’re from La Union, your concern is La Union waters. You won’t be moving from one place to another,” the Philippine navy chief clarified in a recent public hearing.

The ultimate aim, Bacordo said, is to allow Philippine forces to have “the capability to be everywhere”, with the new militia units acting as “force multipliers” for the professional naval and coast guard forces.

To be sure, Philippine naval forces need all the help they can get.

Defense Secretary Lorenzana noted during a Senate hearing that chronic budget shortfalls meant the armed forces have struggled to fully modernize, having attained only 25% of projects aimed at developing “minimum credible defense” capabilities against external security threats.

As of August 2019, the Philippines’ armed forces had reportedly completed only 21 out of the 152 projects under the first phase of a three-phased “horizons” modernization program, which started in the early 2010s and will continue into the mid-2020s.

The Department of National Defense proposed a 283.2 billion peso ($6 billion) budget for 2021, a pittance compared to the amounts China and other regional rivals with claims in the South China Sea earmark for their armed forces.

But there is now growing congressional support to allocate more resources to push back militarily against China.

Senator Imee Marcos, a staunch Duterte ally and daughter of former strongman Ferdinand Marcos, recently suggested that the Philippine Navy Seals’ Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) could also ramp up its recruitment and involvement in maritime defense operations.

“Let us at least defend our fishermen. Have we given up defending them? We can’t just cower in fear and remain defenseless and vulnerable,” Marcos said in filing a bill to boost funds for the so-called Self-Reliance Defense Posture Program (SRDP), which among other things seeks to enhance domestic arms development capacity.

Others, however, are concerned about the risk of an unaccountable paramilitary unit de facto tasked with going head-to-head with China’s militias. Senator Risa Hontiveros warned that “Those who should be armed in the country should only be the AFP [military] and PNP [police],” and that it’s necessary instead to “beef up the capacity of the Navy and Coast Guard.”

The opposition senator expressed fears that a new militia force would inevitably draw in non-professional Filipino fishermen, providing a greater pretext for China to ramp up its harassment and even violence in the area.

Last year, a suspected Chinese militia vessel sunk and almost killed 22 Filipino fishermen roaming the fisheries and energy-rich contested Reed Bank area.

“They might be targeted more by China,” the senator added in Tagalog. “Not only one fisherman could get killed,” she added.

Jay Batongbacal, a Philippine maritime law expert, has similarly warned that without proper training and clear rules of engagement there is a risk militia forces “might end up with vigilante-like groups or adventurists, which are not the kind of people you want in a tense disputed region.”

Chinese state-affiliated scholars are ringing similar alarms. Chen Xiangmiao, associate researcher with the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, has said that “conflicts between militias or other non-military forces… would probably increase” as claimants ramp up their gray zone operations.

A Philippine soldier patrols a beach in Thitu Island at the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea. Photo: AFP/Pool/Ritchie B Tongo

The final decision on the militia forces will likely come down to Duterte, who has blown hot and cold on how to handle Beijing’s rising assertiveness in Philippine waters under his perceived as China-friendly tenure. 

“The president [Duterte] said that we are not yet ready to do it. He said we should postpone it since we have no budget to sustain it,” Lorenzana told reporters following recent consultations with the national leader, who legally serves as commander in chief.

“First, there’s no money. Second, we don’t know… the money is supposed to procure bigger ships with steel hulls. You cannot use a wooden boat in your militia. They will be destroyed easily,” the defense chief said.