Sunday, April 5, 2020

1MIB: Armor Capabilities Against #COVID19PH (Photos of Drone Capability)

Posted to the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade (1MIB) Facebook Page (Apr 4, 2020): Armor Capabilities Against #COVID19PH

The Armor (Pambato) Division deployed a drone with thermal camera and public address system (PAS) in Barangay Cristo Rey, Capas, Tarlac on April 04, 2020 together with Armor frontliners to assist the LGUs, PNP and Barangay Public Safety Personnel in the implementatation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine.

This drone is utilized as an added measure to ensure that the residents are strictly following community quarantine protocols on social distancing and wearing of masks due to the threat posed by this contagious virus.

Through its thermal capability, the operator, in a safe distance, can also monitor the crowd for anyone with high temperature and report to the medical frontliners.

With the aid of this technology, the Armor frontliners will be able to protect themselves and the public in contracting COVID19.


No photo description available.

No photo description available.

NDF-IO: Parlade and AFP have ‘no more face to show’, they obstruct people’s fight vs. Covid19

NDF-International Office propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Apr 4, 2020): Parlade and AFP have ‘no more face to show’, they obstruct people’s fight vs. Covid19

“Kung wala nang mukhang ihaharap, e di puwet na lang!”, (if you have no more face to show, show them your ass). This is a popular Philippine showbiz expression to refer to people who have been caught lying and have lost face.

This aptly describes Major General Antonio Parlade Jr, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) pitiful and disgusting attempt to once again cover up his command’s deliberate violations of the GRP’s own unilateral ceasefire in Rizal and Quezon Provinces which he and the AFP blamed on New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas parroting to the victim-blaming line of Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., the National Security Adviser.

The US Infantry School trained-Parlade could only naturally dismiss NDFP Negotiating Panel Fidel Agcaoili’s assertion that the AFP soldiers attacked the NPA guerillas conducting medical service in the village in Rizal Province, because it is impossible for him to dismiss the source of that assertion – which is the AFP ground report itself.

The AFP and the Duterte regime have been deliberately obstructing the people’s fight vs. Covid19 in the urban and rural communities by continuing fascist operations against the people, conducting aerial bombardments, hamletting that prevents farmers from going to their farms, illegal arrests and extrajudicial killings. In the urban areas, workers are prevented from going to their factories, and arrests are continuing, the most recent were the arrest of hungry urban poor residents in the national capital region who were forced to hold a street protest to call attention to the failure of Duterte to give them food despite his 275B pesos emergency fund.

Random interviews of ordinary people on the streets and in communities by national media networks have echoed one desperate plea from the people – they would die of hunger and repression, not from Covid19!

Yet, instead of listening to the people they pretend to protect and their insatiable fetish for anti-communist witch hunting, US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) agent Parlade and the dysfunctional Duterte government have imposed more brutal measures, and have blamed the hungry protesters as being provoked by communists, even shamefully preventing well-intentioned individuals and those in the political opposition from extending humanitarian assistance and doing their share.

The revolutionary movement continues to learn from the lessons of history – one thing that Parlade and other US-trained agents in the AFP failed to learn in their studies in US military schools – that a just revolutionary resistance could not be stopped and armed conflict could not be solved without addressing the just grievances of the people.

Neither will state terrorism and repressive measures help in the fight to protect the people from Covid 19.#

Ma. Lourdes Barros
NDFP International Information Office

CPP/NDF-Bicol: Karapatan ng mamamayang ipagtanggol ang kanilang mga sarili — NDF-Bicol

NDF-Bicol propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 5, 2020): Karapatan ng mamamayang ipagtanggol ang kanilang mga sarili — NDF-Bicol

APRIL 05, 2020

Makatwiran at makatarugan para sa mamamayang ipagtanggol ang kanilang mga sarili. Sa inutil na pagharap ng gubyerno ni Duterte sa Covid-19, wala nang pagpipilian ang mamamayan kung hindi mag-organisa at sama-samang kumilos para sa kanilang kaligtasan, buhay at kabuhayan. Ngunit tinataguriang krimen ang anumang kolektibong pagkilos para humanap ng solusyon sa kagutuman at paniningil na magkaroon ng solusyon ang Covid-19.

Bagamat malapit nang pumatak ng isang buwan ang lockdown, wala pa ring mass testing para sa mamamayan. Limos lamang ang Social Amelioration Program para sa mga manggagawang wala nang babalikang trabaho. Sa mando ni Duterte, katwiran pa ito para sa malawakang pamamaslang at tiyak susundin at ipagtatanggol ito ng berdugong militar at pulis. Malinaw ang pagpipilian ng mamamayan – mamatay o mag-organisa.

Dapat patatagin ng mamamayang Pilipino ang pagkakaisang pilit binubuwag ng rehimeng US-Duterte sa pamamagitan ng mala-batas militar na lockdown. Nananawagan ang NDF-Bikol sa mga rebolusyonaryong organisasyong masa sa kalunsuran at komiteng rebolusyonaryo sa kanayunan na ibayong palakasin ang pag-oorganisa sa hanay ng mga manggagawa, magsasaka, kabataan at iba pang aping sektor ng lipunan. Ilantad ang lockdown bilang pagpapatupad ng batas militar. Palakasin ang panawagang papanagutin ang rehimeng US-Duterte sa pananabotahe nito ng sistema ng pampublikong kalusugan. Itambol ang Comprehensive Agreement on Socioeconomic Rights (CASER) at programa ng demokratikong rebolusyong bayan. Walang pasismo at gamit-pandigma ang makadudurog sa pagkakaisa ng mamamayan.

Magkaisa’t lumaban! Ibagsak ang rehimeng US-Duterte!

CPP/NPA-Central Negros: AFP bombing spree in Bukidnon-Davao border amid Covid-19 ceasefire

NPA-Central Negros propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 5, 2020): AFP bombing spree in Bukidnon-Davao border amid Covid-19 ceasefire

APRIL 05, 2020

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is on a bombing spree and continues to carry out focused military offensives in the Bukidnon-Davao border area in disregard of the Covid-19 ceasefires declared by the Duterte government (March 19 to April 15) and by the Communist Party of the Philippines (March 26 to April 15).

Based on NPA field reports, Philippine Air Force (PAF) units under the 4th ID used an FA-50 fighter jet to indiscriminately drop five 500-pound bombs near two Lumad communities in Barangay Mandahikan, Cabanglasan on March 27. Three bombs were dropped at around 9 a.m. and two more at 2 p.m, traumatizing children and the community residents. The bombing damaged the environment which serves as the primary source of food and livelihood of the Lumads in the area.

After two days, using attack helicopters, the military dropped at least 10 rockets in the same barangay at noontime. Rounds were also fired from artillery cannons installed at an adjacent barangay in Loreto, Davao del Norte. A Cessna surveillance aircraft flew overhead the whole day after the airstrike. The military also deployed an additional column of soldiers at Sitio Miyaray to conduct combat operations.

Meanwhile, two columns and three armored fighting vehicles were deployed at Sitio Tapayanon, Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte. On March 24, elements of the 60th and 56th IB attacked an NPA unit at the said area. The military made it appear that the attack was staged by the NPA although it was clear that they were carrying out offensive combat operations as evidenced by the fact that they have prepositioned artillery units to back up their ground troops.

The military also raided an NPA encampment in Little Baguio, San Fernando, Bukidnon on March 29 at 2 a.m.

Residents reported that military troops continue to operate in Barangays Kibongcog and Poblacion, San Fernando; Barangay Concepcion, Valencia; Santa Filomena, Quezon; Barangays Bulonay and Kalabugao, Impasug-ong; Barangays Busdi, Caburacanan, Manalog, Saint Peter and Zamboanguita, Malaybalay City; and Barangay Poblacion, Cabanglasan.

Soldiers also installed two artillery cannons in Sitio Nursery, Barangay Concepcion and another in Sitio Salaysay in Barangay Santa Filomena.

The said areas have been subjected to continuous aerial surveillance since the last week of March.

CPP: Stop wasting people’s money in AFP’s Mindanao bombings amid Covid-19 crisis

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 5, 2020): Stop wasting people’s money in AFP’s Mindanao bombings amid Covid-19 crisis

APRIL 05, 2020

Even in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and the worsening socio-economic straits of the people, the Duterte government has refused to relent in its counterinsurgency operations and continue to waste millions of pesos in costly artillery shelling, aerial bombardment, drone surveillance and combat operations in Mindanao and across the country.

Despite the shortage of funds to address the worsening state of the public health system and its incapacity to handle the accelerating spread of the Covid-19 in the country, and to help ameliorate millions of Filipino families who are suffering from Duterte’s lockdown, the Philippine government has refused to put a stop to its military operations.

Over the past few days, AFP battalions have conducted shelling and aerial bombardment operations in different parts of Mindanao. On March 29, the 4th Infantry Division conducted bombing runs in the hinterland barangays of Cabanglasan town in Bukidnon using FA-50s fighter jets which reportedly dropped several 500-pound bombs.

On March 18, the 1001st Brigade employed at least 10 combat aircraft to bombard upland communities of Mabini town, Davao de Oro (Compostela Valley) the whole day starting at four in the morning. They forced at least 50 families to flee to lowland areas.

The cost of flying FA-50s fighters jets and Augusta Westland helicopters to carry out bombing runs can run up to millions of pesos for the several hours they are used. These are millions of pesos of people’s money that are urgently needed for addressing the dire conditions of the Filipino people who have been placed under lockdown.

In addition to the Mindanao bombings, the AFP has intensified deployment of armed troops in rural villages Samar provinces, in Negros, in Panay, in Southern Tagalog provinces and others. Based on compiled reports, in just the past three weeks, armed troops of the AFP have conducted counterinsurgency operations in at least 62 towns, covering at least 91 villages.

In the guise of Covid-19 response, soldiers without facial masks or other medical gear, man checkpoints and enter peope’s homes in far-flung rural villages intimidating the peasant masses, accusing them of being NPA members or supporters and compelling them to “surrender.”

The continuing counterinsurgency operations of the AFP are being carried out despite the Duterte’s ceasefire order which covers the period March 19 to April 15. It has now become apparent that Duterte declared the ceasefire only to obscure the AFP’s brutal counterinsurency operations behind the veil of the Covid-19 crisis.

The Filipino people demand the Duterte government to stop the bombing spree in Mindanao and the continuing military offensives across the country especially at this time that the country is facing the Covid-19 crisis.

They demand further the withdrawal of armed soldiers deployed in farflung villages who not only subject residents to oppression, but also increase the danger of spreading the disease. So far, there are no reports of Covid-19 infection in the NPA areas because these are isolated by their distance from the urban population centers.

As the country surmount the Covid-19 crisis, the Filipino people demand that the people’s money being spent on costly military operations be realigned to help address the urgent public health and economic needs of the people.

CPP: Duterte government holding UN’s global ceasefire in contempt—CPP

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 5, 2020): Duterte government holding UN’s global ceasefire in contempt—CPP

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today said Philippine government is “in direct contempt” of the United Nations and its global ceasefire amid the Covid-19 pandemic as state armed forces continue to mount non-stop combat operations against the New People’s Army (NPA). Military and police units across the country have continued to carry out relentless offensives despite Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire declaration which covers the period March 19 to April 15.

“The Philippine government is showing complete disregard for the United Nations and the global ceasefire it sought amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” pointed out Marco Valbuena, Chief Information Officer of the CPP.

Based on compilation of reports by NPA units, Duterte’s military and police forces continue to conduct counterinsurgency operations in at least 63 towns and cities, covering 97 rural villages across the country. This has resulted in series of armed encounters and widespread violation of human rights. Over the past three weeks, state forces attacked and raided at least seven NPA encampments in the provinces of Rizal, Quezon, Bukidnon and Zamboanga Sibugay. The AFP also conducted airstrikes and artillery shelling in Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro and Bukidnon.

The CPP issued its own unilateral ceasefire declaration in response to the call of the United Nations for a global ceasefire. The CPP/NPA’s ceasefire took effect on March 26 and will last until April 15.

According to the CPP, the ceasefire will also give all NPA units the opportunity to carry out a public health campaign to help the masses surmount the Covid-19 epidemic. Units of the NPA are conducting information drives, and campaigns for sanitation and personal hygiene. All NPA units have complied with the CPP declaration. Valbuena, however, said NPA units must go on “extra alert” in the face of the relentless offensives of AFP and PNP units.

CPP/PRWC Media: Military ops against NPA continue in more than 90 villages amid Covid-19 ceasefire

PRWC Media propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 5, 2020): Military ops against NPA continue in more than 90 villages amid Covid-19 ceasefire

APRIL 05, 2020

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Friday denounced the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippines National Police (PNP) for mounting relentless operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) amid the Covid-19 crisis. Military and police units across the country have carried out successive offensives resulting in armed encounters despite their commander-in-cheif’s ceasefire declaration.

Based on compilation of reports by NPA units, Duterte’s military and police forces are currently conducting counterinsurgency operations in at least 59 towns and cities, covering 91 rural villages across the country. This has resulted in at least seven armed encounters and widespread violation of human rights over the past three weeks.

Hours after Duterte’s ceasefire took effect on March 17, the 8th IB and 1st Special Forces Battalion bragged about mounting successive raids against NPA encampments in Sitio Bendum, Barangay Busdi, Malaybalay City, and in Mt. Kitanglad, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon.

On April 1, the 85th IB attacked an NPA unit in Barangay Ilayang Yuni, Mulanay. Another NPA unit was raided by 59th IB troopers in Barangay Mabunga, Gumaca on March 31. According to NPA forces in Quezon province, the AFP has also been conducting sustained combat operations in the towns of Lopez, Catanauan, Macalelon, Unisan Pade Burgos, Agdangan and Atimonan.

On March 28, the 80th IB also attacked an NPA unit conducting a medical mission in Barangay Puray, Rodriguez, Rizal.

On April 2, another NPA unit was raided by 44th IB troopers in Barangay Balagon, Silay, Zamboanga Sibugay. The same unit attacked another NPA camp in Barangay Peñaranda, Kabasalan in the same province on March 21.

Military and police operations are also causing grievous hardships on the masses. The AFP conducted artillery shelling and aerial bombardent in Sitio Tapayanon, Gupitan Village, Kapalong, Davao del Norte on March 24, and Barangay Cabuyuan, Mabini, Davao de Oro on March 18. The military also launched an airstrike in Bukidnon on March 29.

Two civilians accused of being NPA fighters were arrested in Sultan Kudarat and Surigao del Sur on March 18 and 19, respectively.

Last March 30, 11 Lumad peasants who were on their way home from hunting wild boar in the forests were illegally arrested by troopers of the 71st IB in Sitio Manggapaluway in Pantukan. One of them was also accused of being an NPA member.

CPP/NPA-EV: NPA hits AFP for violating Covid-19 ceasefire to force barangay support for counter-insurgency while potentially spreading coronavirus — NPA-EV

NPA-EV propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 5, 2020): NPA hits AFP for violating Covid-19 ceasefire to force barangay support for counter-insurgency while potentially spreading coronavirus — NPA-EV

APRIL 05, 2020

The Efren Martires Command (New People’s Army-Eastern Visayas) again denounced the Armed Forces of the Philippines for intensifying its retooled community support program (RCSP) operations that are essentially combat-intelligence-psychological warfare operations for its war of suppression against the people of Samar, while possibly exposing the residents to the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19). “The AFP could not care less about its unilateral ceasefire and thus continue to threaten peasant communities by compelling barangay officials and residents to participate in its counter-insurgency campaign while violating its own protocols against the coronavirus, which is apparently the government’s overkill and militarist response that is ultimately inutile and ineffective,” said Ka Karlos Manuel, spokesperson for the NPA-EMC.

According to the latest reports from the concerned NPA units, more troops under the 8th Infantry Division-Philippine Army have been deployed to barrios for RCSP operations as well as to roadside checkpoints in all provinces in Samar island, including Catubig, Las Navas, Gamay, Mapanas and Palapag towns in Northern Samar, as well as Arteche, Oras, Dolores, Can-avid, and Taft in Eastern Samar. Troops have also returned to barrios in Paranas and Motiong towns in Western Samar after withdrawing last month, thus adding to the massive military presence in Calbiga, Basey, and Pinabacdao since last year.

“Intensifying their counter-insurgency campaign, the soldiers knock on the barangay officials’ homes at night to coerce them to sign a resolution where they will express support for the creation of the Barangay Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. They also make ordinary residents sign documents which could be surrender or waiver forms but they would not explain or give time to read. They interrogate the residents on the whereabouts of the NPA through harassment and Red tagging; they show pictures where the residents could be seen attending legitimate mass mobilizations and insist they admit that they are members of the revolutionary movement. A barangay council member was even held at gunpoint and told to admit he is a finance officer for the revolutionary movement, or else he will remain on the military’s ‘list.’”

Manuel scored the blatant overkill and scored the soldiers for potentially carrying the coronavirus and thus further threaten the people’s lives. “The masses complain that the population control measures are overly stringent against civilians, while on the other hand the soldiers come and go as they please and do not follow the protocol to prevent the spread of the virus. We do not know if they have been tested or not and yet they come into close contact with the residents. They do not wear face masks or personnel protective equipment while manning the checkpoints, while they conduct their house-to-house interrogations, and while they roam in the barrios. Without protective gear, the soldiers gather children in groups whom they try to bribe with food and candy and then ask about the presence of the NPA. They also force their way into private homes. Against the advice of the Department of Health of social distancing, they gather people in cockfights, drink alcohol and sing videoke in large groups, and disturb the masses’ peaceful living. They even drink alcohol at checkpoints.”

Manuel said the masses also chide the soldiers for their false promises of doctors and financial assistance. “No health workers have arrived to their communities and the people have received no food package or cash aid. The soldiers only stay and laze around without carrying out information campaigns or at least by giving out face masks or hygiene kits. These disprove that their operations are part of the anti-Covid-19 response of the Duterte regime; they are only using it as an excuse for their counter-insurgency operations. The masses call the soldiers as the ‘real viruses’ who have come to disturb the peace in their communities.”

The NPA-EMC spokesperson called out Major General Pio Diñoso III, commander of the 8th ID, as “callous and warmongering” for condoning the abuses and for being insensitive to the plight of the peasant masses whose hand-to-mouth existence is worsened by their exaggerated but ineffective security measures. “The 8th ID deploys up to a hundred soldiers to control the movement in as little as a few barrios. Residents cannot go to and from the town centers or at least to the nearest barangay without presenting a community quarantine pass signed by the local government. They cannot buy supplies or earn their living without being interrogated when they pass through checkpoints or when they leave for their farms. Due to the economic blockade, even the 8th ID’s own rank-and-file soldiers have gone hungry because supplies are lacking in the barrios and have resorted to working at the peasants’ farms to earn their food.”

Manuel called on the people of Eastern Visayas to denounce the attacks of the 8th ID, urge them to stop their combat operations in the barrios and redirect their forces towards providing actual services in health facilities. “They must instead engage the local governments to send health workers to the communities to provide medical services and supplies, conduct sanitation and health campaigns as well as free testing of the coronavirus. They must also call on for food and livelihood assistance, to lift the ban on public transport and facilitate the free movement of people so they can earn their living and go to medical facilities should they feel ill.”

“But in the end, they cannot rely on the anti-people and fascist Duterte regime who has taken advantage of the pandemic to intensify its suppression of the people. The president himself has openly disavowed helping his citizens by saying that if it is their time to die, then they will inevitably die. The people in the barrios can only rely on the NPA that has so far conducted education campaigns and have mobilized the masses in the territories of the people’s democratic government to actively lead the campaign against the spread of the disease in their communities.”#

CPP/NDF-CPDF: Uman-anay nga ayuda para iti marigrigat nga umili rumbeng nga ited iti sango ti pandemya a — CPDF-Kalinga

NDF-CPDF propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 5, 2020): Uman-anay nga ayuda para iti marigrigat nga umili rumbeng nga ited iti sango ti pandemya a — CPDF-Kalinga

APRIL 05, 2020

Iti nasurok dua a lawas a naipauneg iti lockdown ti entiro a Luzon ken sumagmamano a paset ti Visayas ken Mindanao, sinagrap ti umili a Pilipino ti nakaro a rigat iti ekonomiya ken ranggas ti estado iti panagsango iti pandemya a COVID-19. Iti sango ti enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) ket porsalan an nagsardeng ti produksyon, trabaho ken uray iti panagbyahe iti gandat a lappedan ti panakaiwaras ti sakit. Gapu iti kastoy ket nakaro a marikna ti kinarigat iti sentrong bayan kas iti Tabuk nu sadinno ket inaldaw a mabirok ti kinakasapulan ti umili babaen iti inaldaw a pannakitegged. Uray maysa nga aldaw da laeng nga agserdeng itu panagtrabaho ket sigurado a bisin ti sagrapen da ken ti pamilya da. Iti kastoy ket agpayso ti ibagbaga dagiti narigrigat nga umili a saan da matay iti sakit nu di ket matay da iti bisin.

Iti kinaagpayso na, iti syudad ti Tabuk ken iti interyor ket adda dagiti naiyulat a kaso ti panagtakaw kadagiti grocery stores gapu iti kinaawan ti makan ken panggatang ti umili iti makan. Daytoy, nu man pay konkondenaren tayo ti ania man a porma ti anti-sosyal nga aramid kas iti panagtakaw, ket resulta ti kinaawan uman-anay a suporta ti rehimen Duterte kadagiti umili a nakaro a naapektaran ti lockdown. Pakabuyaan met laeng daytoy ti kinaawan ti uman-anay a kasaganaan ti reaksyunaryo a gobyerno sakbay da nga indeklara ti lockdown.

Nu iti Kalinga, awan pay met naitala a positibo a kaso ti COVID-19. Adda ti nabatbati a walo a PUI idi Marso 31 bayat a 39 ti saan pay laeng naalan ti “swab” tapno maammuan nu positibo da iti COVID-19. Nu man pay kasdiay ket inimplementar latta ti lockdown iti probinsya. Nagsardeng wenno limitado ti transportasyon ken panagbyahe, limitado ti operasyon ti linakuan, sardeng ti trabaho ken uray dagiti agrikultural a produksyon. Nairut a masurot ti guidelines ti ECQ ken mausar ti home quarantine pass (HQP) sakbay a makaruwar tapno gumatang ti abasto nu adda pay igatang ti tattao.

Isunga manamnama a nu bumaybayag pay ti kastoy a kasasaad ket kumarkaro ti krisis iti ekonomiya agturong iti sangalubungan a krisis iti pinansya. Kastoy met laeng ti panagbuya ti World Health Organization (WHO) iti kasasaad iti agdama isunga agpanpanawagan daytoy a siguraduen dagiti gobyerno ti uman-anay a suporta ken ayuda da kadagiti marigrigat nga umili aglalo kadagiti marigrigat a pagilian pada ti Pilipinas.

Idi Marso 24 ket inaprubaran ti Kongreso ken Senado a maaddaan ni Duterte ti 25 special powers babaen iti House Bill 6616. Gapu iti daytoy ket adda ti kabaelan ni Duterte nga agre-pogram, agreallocate, ken agrealign iti P3.757-trillion national budget idi 2019 kasta met lang iti madama a P4.1-trillion national budget. Dumanon iti P275 bilyon nga alokasyon iti budget ti mabalin a mausar ni Duterte tapno sangoen kano ti COVID-19. Kinaagpayso na, itatta a panawen ket rumbeng laeng met a mausar ti kadakelan nga alokasyon ti national budget para iti pampubliko a serbisyo kas iti salun-at. Ngem iti aktwal basar kadagiti makitkita ken mangngeg tayo iti radyo ken TV ket kurang latta ti suporta ti gobyerno kadagiti medical frontliners aglalo kadagiti marigrigat nga umili nga apektado ti lockdown. Ayan na ti napanan daytoy a pondo?

Nu man pay adda dagiti relief efforts dagiti LGU, adayo a saan nga makanay daytoy. Kadagiti relief packs a maited iti tunggal pamilya iti Kalinga ket saan a makaanay ti 5 a kilo ti bagas, 3 a sardinas, 3 a corned beef, 1 meatloaf, 5 a noodles, 3 a sabon ken 1 a zonrox para iti maysa a pamilya uray iti uneg laeng ti maysa a lawas. Kwestyon met laeng nu apay nga tunggal bubong wenno balay ti basaran ti panagwaras imbes a tunggal pamilya. Kasta met ket adda pay kadi sumarsaruno a relief packs a maited iti nabatbati a panawen ti lockdown? Adu ti donasyon ken tulong manipud kadagiti indibidwal ken pribado a negosyo ngem laksid ditoy ken ayan na ti pondo mismo a nagapu iti budget ti national inggana local government a mausar para kadagiti apektado ti lockdown? Rumbeng laeng nga isigurado ti reaksyunaryo a gobyerno a mausar ti buwis ti umili para iti umili aglalo iti agdama a kasasaad. Daytoy a dakkel a gatad para iti panagsango iti COVID-19 ket rumbeng a mapan iti pampubliko a salun-at, kinakasapulan para kadagiti medical frontliners ken serbisyo ken ayuda kadagiti amin nga umili kangrunaan dagiti marigrigat nga apektado ti lockdown. Rumbeng a mangted ti reaksyunaryo a gobyerno ti sustinido nga ayuda iti porma iti basaran a kinakasapulan ti maysa a pamilya kas iti makan ken pinansya bayat a saan da makatrabaho gapu iti ECQ ken lockdown.

Agpanpanwagan ti CPDF-Kalinga iti amin nga LGU iti probinsya nga isigurado ti pag-imbagan ti umili bayat nga sangsangoen tayo ti pandemya a COVID-19. Saan nga usaren iti korapsyon ken pulitika ti pondo para iti umili. Isigurado nga awan ti mabisin, maited ti basaran a kasapulan ti umili ken saan a malabsing ti karbengan da. Usaren ti calamity fund nga alokasyon ti tunggal LGU tapno maited ti kasapulan ti umili ken masango ti COVID-19.

Kadagiti umili, awan ti rumbeng nga ikabuteng tayo laketdi suroten tayo ti annuroten tapno malisiyan tayo a maakaran ti COVID-19. Ipatungpal tayo ti 1 meter a distansya aglalo nu agbokos ken agba-en tayo, kanayon nga agbuggo ti ima, papigsaen ti resistensya ken nu adda ti marikrikna ket dagus a agpacheck-up iti BHW wenno doktor. Rebbengen tayo iti tunggal maysa nga agbalin a kanayon nga updated iti kasasaad ti panagsango tayo iti COVID-19 ken liklikan tayo nga agiwaras ti impormasyon ken damag nga awan kinakumpirmado na tapno saan tayo a nayunan ti panic ken buteng dagiti kakailyan tayo. Kanayon tayo nga irupir ti karbengan tayo uray iti sango ti pandemya. Itultuloy tayo nga ipanawagan ti anti-pasista a kampanya iti il-ili tayo ta ti kinakasapulan tayo iti agdama ket medikal nga atensyon saan nga militarisasyon. Kanayon tayo a lagipen nga uray adda ti ECQ ken lockdown ken agtaltalinaed ti basaran a karbengan tayo isunga rumbeng nga irespetar daytoy ken ilaban nu malabsing. Agtignay ti amin nga umili tapno igiit iti reaksyunaryo a gobyerno ti uman-anay nga ayuda ti reaksyunaryo a gobyerno bayat nga agtaltalinaed ti lockdown ken inggana makalasat tayo iti krisis ti COVID-19.

Rumbeng met laeng nga bayat a nagsardeng ti produksyon ken trabaho ket saan pay masingir dagiti interes ti pautang, abang iti daga ken dadduma pay a mabayadan. Kasta met lang ket maited ti uman-anay a panawen tapno makapag-urnong ken makabawi ti umili iti nagbalin nga epekto lockdown kenyada. Isunga ipanpanawagan ti CPDF-Kalinga kadagiti usurero, traders ken ti amin nga agpapapaabang ti daga ken ramit iti produksyon nga ikonsidera ti kasasaad dagiti marigrigat a kakailyan tayo a nakaro nga apektaran ti COVID-19 ken ti lockdown. Kasta met laeng, agpanpanawagan tayo kadagiti negosyante ken store owners a pagtalinaeden ti patas a presyo iti mailako. Saan gundawayan dagiti kakailyan babaen iti panagpangato ti presyo ken hoarding ti produkto.

Saluduan tayo met dagiti medical frontliners iti probinsya kangrunaan dagiti BHW, midwife, nars, doktor, barangay opisyal ken tanod a napinget a sumangsango iti daytoy a pandemya uray adda ti peggad ti biag da gapu iti kinakurang kadagiti usar medikal kas iti face mask, gloves, ken kinakasapulan a personal protective equipement (PPE) tapno saan da a maakaran ti sakit. Basar kadagiti ulat dagiti sumagmamano a natungtong tayo a BHW, kurang la unay dagiti maited kenyada nga usar medikal ken proteksyon tapno sangoen da ti COVID-19. Adda dagiti medical frontliners nga isuda mismo ti gumatang ti usar da gapu ta awan wenno kurang ti naited kenyada. Daytoy koma ti maysa nga ipangruna ti gobyerno iti alokasyon iti pondo. Rumbeng laeng nga igiit dagiti medical frontliners ti karbengan da a maprotektaran laban iti COVID-19 babaen kadagiti uman-anay ken ummanatop a PPE ken kasta met lang ti panag-aywan iti salun-at da bayat a sangoen da dagiti pasyente. Rumbeng met laeng nga ipakita ti umili ti nabara a suporta da kadagiti medical frontliners babaen iti ania man a tulong a maited kenyada, materyal man wenno morale.

Kolektibo tayo latta a solbaren ken sangoen ti pandemya a COVID-19. Kadagiti amin a rebolusyonaryo a pwersa iti Kalinga, dagiti komite iti salun-at kadagiti barbaryo, NPA ken organisado a masa, agtignay tayo amin tapno labanan ti COVID-19 ken ti nakaro a krisis iti ekonomya ken biag nga epekto na daytoy. Aramiden tayo ken ipatungpal ti sanistasyon, salun-at ken produksyon ti makan a programa ti rebolusyonaryo a tignayan. Ikkan tayo ti talmeg ti panangipangato ti produksyon ti makan ken programa iti agraryo a rebolusyon tapno sakbayan tayo ti nakaro a krisis iti ekonomya gapu iti COVID-19. Aktibo tayo nga adalen ti development iti syensya kasilpo iti COVID-19 kasta met laeng ti pang-ekonomya, pulitika, militar ken kultura nga epekto na daytoy iti umili tapno makaaramid tayo ti ummanatop nga addang. Usaren tayo dagiti nainsigudan nga ag-agas, herbal ken natnateng a napneknekan tayo a makaagas kadagiti komon a saksakit ken mangpapigsa iti resistensya. Iti sama-sama a panagtignay tayo ket marimbawan tayo ti COVID-19. Payt latta!

CPP/NDF-RCTU: Labanan ang tuloy-tuloy na pahirap at pandarahas ng militar sa mga manggagawa ng rehiyong Timog Katagalugan! — RCTU-ST

NDF-RCTU propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 5, 2020): Labanan ang tuloy-tuloy na pahirap at pandarahas ng militar sa mga manggagawa ng rehiyong Timog Katagalugan! — RCTU-ST


APRIL 05, 2020

Kinukondena ng Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions-NDF-Southern Tagalog (RCTU-NDF-ST) ang papatinding pasistang atake ng sabwatang militar at malalaking kapitalista sa hanay ng mga manggagawa sa rehiyong Timog Katagalugan kahit na nasa gitna ng pananalasa ng pandemyang CoViD-19. Imbes na ang pangunahing tugunan ay ang kaligtasan ng mga mamamayan laban sa nakamamatay na virus, sinamantala pa nila ito at ang Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) para mas maisakutuparan ang malawakang panunupil sa mga manggagawa at buong mamamayan.

Sa balangkas ng TF-ELCAC, nalalapit na ang deadline ng rehimeng US-Duterte sa hibang nilang pangarap na wasakin ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan. Kaya naman nagkukumahog ngayon ang AFP SolCom at PRO-4A na maipakitang nagtatagumpay nga sila sa kanilang plano. Ginagamit nila ang hungkag at batbat ng korapsyon na programang E-CLIP upang maipakita na humihina na “daw” ang pwersa ng CPP-NPA-NDF sa rehiyon sanhi ng maramihang pagsuko ng mga ipinaparadang kasapi nito.

Gamit ang panlilinlang at pandarahas, malawakan nilang ipinatupad ang E-CLIP sa lahat ng sektor, maging sa hanay ng mga manggagawa sa layuning wasakin ang lumalakas na paglaban ng kilusang manggagawa at mas lalong mapagkitaan ang milyon-milyong gatasang pondo nito. Nagmistulang papulong ng mga MAKAPILI ang isinagawang turn-over ceremony sa Calamba City noong Marso 29 sa mga pekeng NPA surenderi. Isa sa ipinakilala at pinagsalita ay si Alyas “Rebo” na di-umano ay isang mataas na opisyal ng NPA na kumikilos “daw” sa hanay ng mga manggagawa sa Laguna.

Ipinagmalaki at ipinangalandakan ng pasistang militar si alyas Rebo bilang tagapag-ugnay sa mga Pulang mandirigma at sa mga ligal na organisasyon o unyon ng manggagawa.

Kinilala ng RCTU na ang sinasabi nilang Alyas “Rebo” ay si Rey Austria Medellin, lider manggagawa sa Coca Cola – Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Napag-alaman din ng RCTU na noong unang bahagi ng taon, nag-ulat si Rey Medellen sa unyon ng ginagawang panggigipit ng militar sa pamamagitan ng mersenaryong si Tom Garcia dahil sa pagiging aktibo sa unyon. Sa kabilang banda, binagabag siya ng magkakasunod na kakapusan sa pinansya kung paano nya bubuhayin ang kanyang 10 anak.

Pinagsikapan syang matulungan ng unyon. Ginawan ng kaukulang dokumentasyon ang ginagawang harasment sa kanya ni Tom Garcia at ng PNP/AFP. Katunayan ay nakatakda itong isumite sa pagdating ng kinatawan ng International Labor Organization (ILO) sa bansa ngayong taon, habang inaayos kung paano matutugunan ang kanyang pangangailangang pinansyal. Ngunit makaraan ang ilang linggo, nagsabi na sya sa mga opisyales ng unyon na “di na nya kinaya ang ginagawang panghaharas ng militar sa kanya” kaya dahil sa takot ay pumayag na sya sa mga ipinagagawa sa kanya.

Unti-unting nalantad ang pakikipagsabwatan ni Rey sa kapitalistang Coke at militar noong mga unang linggo ng Pebrero. Sa nakuha naming impormasyon, sa isang miting ng unyon inilabas nya ang layuning wasakin ang naitayong unyon sa pabrika. Ipinagyayabang nito na kasabwat nya si Rene Eskwadra (head ng guard sa pabrika), mga militar at ang dilawang unyon para isagawa ang Local Election ng unyon at sapilitan nilang ipwesto ang kanilang line-up na kapitalista ang pumili.

Matagal nang nagngi-ngitngit ang kapitalistang Coke na mapalitan ang militanteng unyon ng mga manggagawa. Dahil sa ipinakitang lakas ng militanteng unyon sa Coca-Cola, naipanalo nila ang pang-ekonomiya at pampulitikang kagalingan at karapatan ng mga manggagawa. Nagbunsod ito na maging regular ang mga manggagawang kontraktwal at nakakuha ng mataas na benepisyo. Malaking kabawasan sa DAMBUHALANG TUBO ng Coca-Cola ang nakamit na tagumpay ng mga manggagawa, kaya ito ang dahilan ng sabwatang militar at kapitalistang nagnanais na wasakin ang unyon at palitan ang mga tunay na kinatawan ng manggagawa sa pabrika ng mga opurtunistang lider.

Alinsunod sa kasunduan nila at atas ng militar, aktibo at tuloy-tuloy na nanghaharas si Rey Medellen sa mga opisyales ng unyon ng Coca-Cola sa pamamagitan ng pagbabahay-bahay kasama ang militar at pagsasabing “kayong mga NPA sumuko na kayo sa pamahalaan”, maging ang mga pamilya ng opisyales ay hinaharas din ng asawa ni Rey sa pagtawag nito sa mga cellphone ng mga asawa ng opisyales ng unyon at sinasabihan din silang “sumuko na kayo sa pamahalaan”.

Nito lamang Abril 1 at Abril 2, habang ang mamamayan ng Barangay Pulong Santa Cruz sa syudad ng Santa Rosa ay sumusunod sa Enhanced Community Quarantine(ECQ) dahil sa pag-iwas sa pandemic na Covid19, patraydor namang nangangatok at nagbabahay-bahay itong si Rey Medellen kasama ang 3 hanggang 5 ahente ng PNP/AFP sa mga kilalang manggagawa ng Coke. Tinatakot at pinipilit na sumuko sa pamahalaan dahil diumano ay mga NPA ang mga manggagawang ito.

Si Rey Medellen ang halimbawa ng isang opurtunistang lider na matapos makinabang sa pakikibaka ng unyon ay handang ipagkanulo ang interes ng unyon at sarili niyang kauri kapalit ng suhol at mumunting pakinabang mula sa kapitalista at mga pasista. Handa niyang ipagbili ang kanyang kaluluwa kapalit ng ga-mumong pabuya mula sa kapitalista at mga pasista.

Samantala, malinaw na ginagawang gatasan lamang ng mga KORAP sa militar at reaksyunaryong estado ang programang E-CLIP. Sa 40 Pekeng NPA surrenderee sa Calamba ay kumubra ng milyon-milyong pondo ang mga opisyales ng AFP Solcom sa kabayaran kuno sa mga pekeng sumuko. Pawang kasinungalingan ang mga ipinalalabas na balita at datos ng mga sumukong pekeng NPA na karamihan ay mga re-cycled na surrenderee at ang iba naman ay mga masang magsasaka na hinakot at hinaras. Maliban pa sa paghuthot sa pondo ng bayan, ginagamit din itong pekeng tagumpay o bilang medalya upang mabilis na tumaas ang ranggo ng mga hunghang na opisyales ng AFP.

Hindi na bago ang mga paglulubid ng kasinungalingan at panunupil ng AFP-Solcom sa mamamayan ng Timog Katagalugan. Ngayon lamang buwan ng Marso, sunod-sunod ang ginawa nilang paglabag sa sariling idineklarang unilateral ceasefire. Hindi lumubay ang paglunsad nila ng mga military operation para tugisin ang mga NPA na tumutulong, nagsasagawa at nagpapalaganap ng edukasyong medikal sa masang anakpawis upang makaligtas sa epekto ng nakamamatay na CoViD-19. Pinapasok ng mga militar ang mga interyor na barangay at patraydor nilang sinasalakay ang mga NPA na tumutulong sa mga magsasaka at mamamayan nang Brgy. Puray Montalban Rizal, Brgy. Maybunga Gumaca Quezon at Brgy. Ilayang Yuni, Mulanay Quezon.

Sa kabilang banda, mas lalong nalantad ang pasistang katangian, pahirap at kriminal na kapabayaan ni Duterte sa kawalan ng kongkretong hakbangin sa pagsugpo sa nakamamatay na CoViD-19. Marahas na sinupil at ikinulong ang mga maralita ng Sitio San Roque, Brgy. Pag-asa, Quezon City na humihiling lamang ng ayudang pagkain dahil sa nararanasang matinding pagkagutom. Imbes na Bigas, DAHAS at REHAS ang kanyang inihahambalos. Pinagbabantaan pa nyang ipababaril ang mga magpoprotestang maralita at aktibista hanggang sa mamamatay.

Dahil dito mas tumindi panunupil at lumaganap ang kagutuman sa buong bansa, kaya naman patuloy na lumalakas at lumalawak ang galit ng mamamayan na hindi na lamang panawagan sa pagbibigay ng ayudang pagkain ang hangad kundi pagpapabagsak na sa isang inutil, pasista at pahirap na rehimen.

Hindi palalagpasin ng buong rebolusyonaryong kilusan ang kawalanghiyaan at kabuktutan ng pasistang AFP/PNP, bibigwasan sila ng NPA bilang natatanging hukbo ng masang anakpawis na matagal nang nagnanais sa pagkakamit ng hustisya. Hibang at nananaginip ang rehimeng US-Duterte sa pagsasabing mawawasak nito ang CPP-NPA-NDF, hindi ito magagapi dahil patuloy itong minamahal ng masang pinaglilingkuran.





Kalinaw News: Army troops assist in distributing relief goods to IP communities

Posted to Kalinaw News (Apr 5, 2020): Army troops assist in distributing relief goods to IP communities (By 7th Infantry Division)

Baler Aurora – Indigenous People (IP) locally known as “Katutubo” is considered as one of the most neglected sectors in the society.

In other areas, IPs are very vulnerable and usually exploited by the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) to be their source of recruits to beef-up their forces against the government.

Through the implementation of EO 70 or End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC), the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Aurora Hon Mary Jane Donato in coordination and assistance with the 91st Infantry (SINAGTALA) Battalion, 7ID, PA initiated the distribution of relief goods to the IP communities in the coastal Barangays of San Luis, Aurora benefited by more or less four hundred (400) IP families on 02 to 03 April 2020.

The said activity was also in response by the said IPMR to the IPs who are in need of help in the midst of COVID-19 crisis.

The said group was received and assisted by the elements of Charlie Coy, 91IB stationed at Barangay Dimanayat, San Luis led by Sgt Randy Vergara (Inf) PA.

Relatedly, LGU of San Luis headed by Hon. Mayor Ariel A. De Jesus also distributed relief goods to the IP communities in Barangay Dibut, San Luis and it was assisted by Dibut Patrol Base, Delta Coy, 91IB led by SSg Marlon Angara on 04 April 2020 with three hundred sixty-seven (367) families benefited by the said services.

Prior to the activity, LTC REANDREW P RUBIO INF (GSC) PA, Acting Commanding Officer of 91IB directed the Charlie Company, 91IB led by 1LT GENESIS SALILI (INF) PA to help and to assist the IPRM of Aurora in the distribution of relief goods specifically to the IP communities.

LTC RUBIO expressed his sincere appreciation and gratitude to the IPMR of Aurora and LGU of San Luis for tapping the services of SINAGTALA troopers.

“Rest assured that the SINAGTALA troopers will continue to support the LGUs, NGAs, and other stakeholders in reaching out those far-flung communities to bring the government closer to the people,” RUBIO said.

Likewise, COL ANDREW D COSTELO INF (GSC) PA, Commander, 703rd Infantry Brigade, 7ID, PA lauded the troops for actively helping the LGUs and other stakeholders for the delivery of basic services. “We are facing an unseen enemy and what we need to do is to closely coordinate with each other and that our efforts should be aligned in addressing this deadly COVID-19 virus,” COSTELO 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: Sinagtala troopers provide aids to the less-fortunate families

Posted to Kalinaw News (Apr 5, 2020): Sinagtala troopers provide aids to the less-fortunate families (By 7th Infantry Division)

BALER, Aurora – During this time of crisis, we Filipinos are normally showing its generosity and act of kindness by giving of goods and other items needed by our less-fortunate constituents.

With this, the 91st Infantry (SINAGTALA) Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army headed by LTC REANDREW P RUBIO INF (GSC) PA, Acting Commanding Officer implemented the Enhanced Adopt-A-Barangay Program (Kapwa Ko, Sagot Ko) purposely to help those local folks residing near the Battalion Headquarters in one way or another by giving of food packs to 120 families on 04 April 2020.

This initiative is in line with the thrust of Higher Headquarters to adopt some families or communities to survive this COVID-19 pandemic threat.

During the activity, SINAGTALA troopers conducted house-to-house visitations to distribute the 120 food packs to the selected poorest of the poor families in Barangay Calabuanan, here.

According to LTC RUBIO, the activity was materialized through the efforts and initiatives of the SINAGTALA troopers who contributed P300.00 each from their own pocket.

“This is a good example of another “Bayanihan” concept wherein the military personnel signified its intention to extend its help to the populace in the said Barangay,” RUBIO said.

On the other hand, Ms. Judith Sindac, SK Chairman of Barangay Calabuanan, Baler, Aurora lauded the troops for delivering the goods to their constituents.

“We really thanks the SINAGTALA troopers for their unending supports and services in our barangay especially in times of emergency”, Sindac said.

Meanwhile, COL ANDREW D COSTELO INF (GSC) PA, Commander 703rd Infantry Brigade, 7ID, PA commended the recent accomplishment of SINAGTALA troopers despite of the hectic schedules brought by this COVID-19.

“Helping one another, discipline, sacrifices, and responsible citizens are significant factors to prevent the spread of this deadly COVID-19 disease,” COSTELO 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: AFP, ASG clash on pursuit operation in Sulu

Posted to Kalinaw News (Apr 5, 2020): AFP, ASG clash on pursuit operation in Sulu (By 11th Infantry Division)

Sulu Province – The operating troops of Special Forces Task Group – Dagger under Brigadier General Antonio G. Nafarrete, AFP, Commander, 1101st Infantry Brigade of the 11th Infantry Division clashed with the elements of Abu Sayyaf Group at So Gabang, Brgy. Kaunayan, Patikul, Sulu, around 5 o’clock in the morning, yesterday, April 4, 2020.

The troops encountered more or less thirty (30) fully armed men confirmed under ASG leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan with a firefight that lasted around thirty five (35) minutes. With such, the 6th Special Forces Battalion forced the terrorists to flee towards different directions.

The recent encounter was the result of continuous efforts following the clash of the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion on March 13, 2020 at Brgy. Buhanginan, Patikul, Sulu and the successive surrender of ten (10) ASG members on March 6 and 9, 2020.

Likewise, this effort was also in line with the recent conducted consultative meeting despite the confronted COVID-19 threat situation on March 31, 2020 facilitated by Colonel Ignatius N. Patrimonio, Commander of 1102nd Infantry Brigade with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) that discussed joint mechanism and peace efforts in fighting ASG, declared as persona non grata in support to end the local armed conflict in Sulu.

Major General Corleto S. Vinluan Jr., AFP, Commander of 11th Infantry Division assured that the momentum to eradicate ASG in Sulu will pursue amidst the presence of another concern brought about by COVID-19. “Your soldiers will conduct pursuit operation to eradicate remnants of ASG bandits that hinder further development in Sulu. Let us continue our united efforts together with the stakeholders and local government units to end the confronted local armed conflict despite the confronted COVID-19 situation,” he 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: Army General Orders Vigilance Amid NPA Ceasefire Violations

Posted to Kalinaw News (Apr 5, 2020): Army General Orders Vigilance Amid NPA Ceasefire Violations (By 2nd Infantry Division)

CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal — The military commander in Southern Tagalog directed his troops on Sunday to remain vigilant despite the government’s unilateral ceasefire due to the prevailing Enhanced Community Quarantine to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The pronouncement came after the soldiers recorded three NPA ceasefire violations in the provinces of Rizal and Quezon over the past week.

According to Major General Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr, Commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division which has operational jurisdiction over Region 4A and MIMARO provinces, the first ceasefire violation happened at Brgy Puray of Rodriguez, Rizal on March 28 which was followed by two more at Quezon Province’s municipalities of Gumaca and Mulanay on March 31 and April 1, respectively.

All three ceasefire violations on the part of the communist terrorists resulted to armed encounters that claimed the lives of three NPAs and one soldier as well as the recovery of three firearms, explosives and voluminous terrorist documents with high intelligence value.

Maj General Burgos earlier expressed his disgust over the NPA’s terroristic plans saying that “such were unnecessary actions”, referring to the NPA terrorists’ offensive posturing and acts of coercing the people to give in to their extortion demands, “particularly at this time when our generation is facing the greatest challenge that we will ever face.”

He added that “such posturing on the part of the communist terrorists smacks of hypocrisy because it is not in accordance with what they are publicly saying that they care for our people’s well-being.”

Maj Gen Burgos emphasized that his soldiers are constitutionally mandated to act on reports coming from concerned citizens particularly if it involves imminent threat towards the community, even during these trying times brought about by the corona virus pandemic.

In the directive which he issued, he reminded his Community Support Program Teams to remain focused in their task of providing solid community defense to safeguard the people against extortion activities and harassment.

The document also called on the Commanders to ensure the safety of all camps by following established DOH protocols because “it is imperative to preserve the force by remaining fit and healthy to continuously support our government’s efforts during this crisis.”

Maj Gen Burgos said that the Army Station Hospital in Camp Capinpin still gives medical services to people from the community through “Tele Med” using available technology.

The official document’s final paragraph invoked the power of the Almighty to defeat COVID-19 as it encourage 2ID’s subordinate units to replicate the three-times-a-day prayer being broadcasted by loudspeakers inside camp and to adjacent communities.

[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:]

Soldiers man city quarantine control points

From Panay News (Apr 4, 2020): Soldiers man city quarantine control points (By Ruby Silubrico)

ILOILO City – The Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) has deployed 50 soldiers to this city.

They will help the Iloilo City Police Office enforce the enhanced community quarantine to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

According to 3ID spokesperson Captain Cenon Pancito III, the deployment was 3ID’s response to Mayor Jerry Treñas’ request for additional personnel to man quarantine control points.

The 3ID now has helping the police in Antique, Iloilo and Capiz enforce community quarantine. 391 troops

“Your soldiers are always ready to extend help, especially during tough times like this. Our people need us,” said Pancito.

He appealed for public cooperation.

“Just stay in your homes and pray for our safety. Together we can end this pandemic,” said Pancito.

Phil. Army to rebels: Help fight COVID, stay at home

From Panay News (Apr 4, 2020): Phil. Army to rebels: Help fight COVID, stay at home (By Ruby Silubrico)

The 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) of the Philippine Army is calling on the New People’s Army (NPA) to help fight the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

But how?

The rebels should respect the unilateral ceasefire order of President Rodrigo Duterte by not launching offensive operations, according to Army Captain Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of the 3ID.

Instead of attacking government troops and vital government installations, it would be better for the rebels to just go home and observe quarantine, said Pancito.

“That is how they can help fight COVID-19. For our part, we are ensuring peace and order,” he stressed.

Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire from March 19 to April 15. He directed the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), to cease and desist from carrying out offensive military and police operations during the ceasefire period.

According to Duterte, through this ceasefire, the Philippine government aspires that the swift provision of public health assistance goes unimpeded.

The movement of health workers and medical supplies to communities, as well as of people in need of immediate medical attention, must also be unhampered, he added.

“All our troops are standing down now but remain vigilant. We have stopped offensive operations. The rebels, on the other hand, should stay in their respective houses and not discredit what our troops are doing at quarantine control points. Huwag na lang silang umalis sa kanilang bahay,” Pancito said.

Sabah police: Curfew in ESSZone extended to April 20

Posted to the Malay Mail (Apr 5, 2020): Sabah police: Curfew in ESSZone extended to April 20

The curfew in the waters off seven districts in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) which ends 6 pm today has been extended until April 20. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KOTA KINABALU, April 5 — The curfew in the waters off seven districts in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) which ends 6 pm today has been extended until April 20.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Zaini Jas said with the extension of the curfew, people living in the area were required to stay indoors and would not be allowed to be in the waters there between 6 pm and 6 am during the period.

“Outsiders will not be allowed to enter or be in the affected areas between 6pm and 6am,” he said in a statement here today.

Zaini said the curfew covered the waters off Tawau, Semporna, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Sandakan and Beluran.

He said the curfew was extended to ensure the waters would not be invaded by terrorists who could threaten the safety of international researchers as well as foreign tourists at the resort islands.

Zaini said that based on intelligence, the Abu Sayyaf militant group and those carrying out kidnappings-for-ransom from the southern Philippines are still trying to intrude into the ESSZone to commit abductions and cross-border crimes.
He said the curfew would also facilitate the enforcement and monitoring of boat movements, while the presence of security vessels would provide a sense of security for chalet operators and fishermen in the area.

“I also give all district police chiefs in the ESSZone the authority to issue permits to eligible applicants for the purpose of fishing activities or to attend to urgent matters during the curfew,” he added. — Bernama

NPA rebel surrenders in Zamboanga Sibugay

From the Philippine Star (Apr 5, 2020): NPA rebel surrenders in Zamboanga Sibugay (By Roel Pareño)

A New People’s Army (NPA) rebel surrendered in Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay on Friday.

Almadin dela Torre, alias Nike, surrendered to the 44th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Balagon, Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, 44th IB commanding officer, said.

Templonuevo said Dela Torre turned over an M16 rifle with four magazines and 80 rounds of ammunition.

He said the rebel returnee was only 16 years old when he was recruited by the Feliciano Guerrilla Front of the NPA’s Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee.

“Dela Torre was abandoned by his comrades after they attempted to harass our troops on Wednesday night,” Templonuevo said.

The military said Dela Torre would be enrolled in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP.

On Thursday, a communist rebel was killed in an encounter with soldiers conducting an information drive on the community quarantine in Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur.

There was no reported casualty on the side of the government. 

4 ‘tired, hungry’ NPA members surrender in Caraga

From the Manila Times (Apr 4, 2020): 4 ‘tired, hungry’ NPA members surrender in Caraga (By Darwin Pesco)

FOUR members of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered in the Caraga region amid the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Philippine National Police (PNP) reported on Saturday.

Based on the report of PNP-Caraga, the four rebels surrendered on Friday due to “too much hunger and tiredness.”

Particularly, the four were members of New People’s Army and Militia ng Bayan under Guerilla Front (GF) 4A, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC).

Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 Director, Brigadier General Joselito Esquivel, Jr. identified the rebels as Alias “Mon”, 51, from Agusan del Sur, Alias “Mike,” 21, Alias “Bong,” 30, Alias “Cris,” 37.

Moreover, Esquivel urged members of the NPA to surrender as to avail of the livelihood and financial assistance from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Bulatlat: ‘Lou Tangco, revolutionary doctor and people’s martyr’

From the pro-Communist Party of the Philippines/National Democratic Front/New People's Army (CPP/NDF/NPA) online propaganda publication Bulatlat (Apr 1, 2020): ‘Lou Tangco, revolutionary doctor and people’s martyr’ (ByAnne Marxze Umil)

By RAYMUND. B. VILLANUEVA Kodao Productions

Classmates of the doctor killed in a combined military and police raid in Baguio City last March 13 paid tribute to their colleague whose death they said is a great loss to the country. Members of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine (UPCM) Class of 1977 mourned the death of Dr. Ma. Lourdes “Lou” Dineros Tangco and said that while the light in her eyes had been extinguished and her laughter silenced, they will always remember the late physician’s selflessness.

“The UPCM Class of 1977 knew Lou as a principled and brave doctor committed to her ideals with the strength and tenacity to fight for them, but with the open-mindedness to accept others as they were,” the group said in a tribute.

Tangco was gunned down along with Julius Giron, a stalwart of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), who was ill with acute pancreatitis. The doctor was reportedly providing medical care to the high-ranking rebel. The military alleged that Tangco, Giron and their companion Arvie Alarcon Reyes fought back that led to their deaths.

The CPP however said the three were unarmed and were asleep when the raiding team arrived and were shot at close range. “Claims made by the military and police that they were about to serve an arrest warrant are outright lies. It was a liquidation operation, a massacre, carried out at 3 a.m. with the clear aim of assassinating Giron and eliminating all witnesses,” the CPP said.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Carol Araullo

A product of an affluent family, as her classmates fondly called her, came from a family of physicians. She was the daughter of Gorgonia Dineros and the former member of the UP Board of Regents, Dr. Ambrosio Tangco. She was the niece of former UPCM Anatomy professor Dr. Oscar Tangco and cardiologist Dr. Francisco Tangco, the tribute reads. She had sister who was a graduate of the college while Dr. LouTang’s own son is also an UPCM alumnus.

“Though a product of an affluent family, Lou had always been down to earth and felt that her heart belonged to the needy majority,” the UPCM Class of 1977 said.

Tangco, her classmates said, was a true product of the First Quarter Storm of 1970. But while she was “grim and determined” in practicing her principles, she was not beyond exchanging light banter with classmates.

“She will always be remembered for her loud and infectious laughter. She exuded joyfulness and sincerity, as her circle of relatives, classmates, friends and colleagues will attest,” they said.

Her friend and fellow UPCM alumna, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan chairperson Dr. Carol P. Araullo remembers her fried similarly. “She was easy to get along well, although over-eager (makulit) at times. She was well liked and could relate well to people from all walks of life,” Araullo told Kodao.

Araullo recalled that Tangco never exhibited any of the trappings of her comfortable, even privileged, upbringing, being a daughter of a well-respected and successful orthopedic surgeon who also served as a member of the UP Board of Regents at one point. She dressed simply, enjoyed simple pleasures and was easy-going. “She carried a certain self-assured composure that did not come from being an “anak ng Diyos” (child of God) or what we called the scion of doctors who were also professors at the UP College of Medicine-Philippine General Hospital. She was not one to compare herself with others but she just did her thing whether it was surviving the rigors of medical school and 36 to 48-hour hospital duties at PGH or going full-time into primary health care/community medicine in the far-flung areas of the Cordilleras after graduation,” Araullo said.

A selfless doctor

After graduation, Tangco went to the then single province of Kalinga-Apayao through the Rural Health Physicians Program of the government and served as a parish doctor in a far flung municipality, reachable only after a half day’s hike through mountain trails. Since then, she went on to serve communities in other parts of the Cordillera, and later all over the country, her classmates revealed.

Araullo added that Tangco enthusiastically shared funny, unforgettable stories anecdotes about her life as a doctor to the barrios, a rural physician with the Kalinga people. “She immersed herself in their world: she ate what they ate, slept in their homes, wore their native clothing, learned their language. She was more than a doctor, she was a teacher, an organizer and a beloved friend,” Araullo said.

For serving the medical needs of underserved areas, Tangco was given the outstanding alumna award by her high school alma mater, Maryknoll College.

In Class 77’s 25th anniversary yearbook, Tangco’s son described her as “somewhat a personification of the Oblation – an offering of one’s self to a higher cause.” The Oblation is a statue in each UP campus symbolizing selfless offering of oneself to the country.

In the same yearbook, Tangco wrote that, even as a child, it bothered her that doctors were leaving the Philippines when it was clear there was a need for more of them in the country. “I said then that when, and if, I become a doctor, I would not leave. I would stay in PGH [to] help improve the way it was run, and be here for my people.”

Along the way, Tangco said she found that staying in PGH was not enough. “There were too many places where health needs are too great to ignore, where basic education is wanting, where food is not enough and water is not always potable. Many do not own the land they are tilling. So, to the provinces I went. Through the Rural Health Physicians Program, I chose to go to Kalinga-Apayao,” she wrote.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Carol P. Araullo

She added that it did not take long for her to realize that the traditional doctor’s role would only end up in frustration. “People had to learn that health is not a privilege but a right and a responsibility. They must be equipped to take on this responsibility. However, I knew I could not do this alone. I found other doctors and health workers doing similar work, together we helped each other develop the community-based health programs,” she narrated.

There was a time when Tangco said she saw herself as a surgeon. But somehow all that paled in comparison to the need that stared her in the face. “So there I was, transformed into a literacy/numeracy educator, community organizer, counselor, adviser, health educator, doctor,” she narrated.

Her white coat and the red banner

Tangco’s transformation became complete when she realized that even with more fellow doctors doing pioneering work in rural communities, they would not be able to defeat the forces that keep people poor and unhealthy. She also saw with her own eyes many social injustices that compel the people to fight back.

“Dr. Tangco witnessed this in the struggle of the tribes of Kalinga and the Mountain Province, against the Chico River Dam Project being imposed on them by the US-Marcos dictatorship in the seventies,” the Mabakayang Samahang Pangkalusugan (MSP)-Cordillera in a statement said. MSP is the underground group of medical workers allied with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. Not long after, the group added, “she heeded the challenge to join the revolutionary struggle.”

MSP said that one of Tangco’s primary tasks when she went underground was the training of NPA medics from peasant, worker, and peti-bourgeoisie class origins, most of whom had never attended medical or nursing school. She trained them to become doctors to the masses,” MSP said. Tangco tempered her revolutionary work and skills in the Cordillera, Cagayan Valley and Mindanao, it added.

“She was forged by simple living and arduous struggle. She gave up the immaculately white coat worn in the hospital and the titles’ Doctor’ and ‘Ma’am’,” the statement said. She was also “active in other aspects of Party (CPP) and NPA work” and became known as “Ka (Kasama/Comrade) Del” and “Ka Morrie”.

“She was often an instructor of various Party courses. She led the Regional Medical Staff as its Secretary. She became a member of the Regional Party Committees, where she was assigned. There was a period when she worked as a trade union organizer,” MSP said.

TRADITIONAL MEDICINE. NPA guerillas are trained to utilize both traditional and modern treatment of illness. Among the basic skills they learn from the medical officers is the use of acupuncture. (Northern Dispatch file photo.)

Not a combatant

UPCM alumnus (Class of 74) and fellow activist Dr. Romeo Quijano told Kodao that Tangco could not have been armed when killed, along with Giron and their aide, however.

Quijano said that Tangco told her she was strict in prohibiting her rebel-patients from bringing along their guns while they were her medical care. “What I learned was that Dr. Lou brought her patient to Baguio City to be given better medical treatment. It would have been out of character if she violated her own policy that she strictly adhered to,” Quijano said.

Tangco and Quijano remained close friends, even if he was three years ahead of her at UPCM and she had been all over many far-flung communities of the country throughout the decades. But what cemented their friendship further was when Tangco helped him organize the International Conference on Pesticides and the Media in Makilala, North Cotabato in 1997. The event, sponsored by the Pesticide Action Network-Asia Pacific (PANAP), saw Tangco display her full mastery of the people’s right to health and helped convinced journalists from many countries about the dangers posed by pesticides. Quijano revealed that so impressed was PANAP’s officers that they have since supported the farmers’ struggles against pesticide-using corporations that endanger people’s health around their plantations.

“In my view, the event would not have been as successful without Dr. Lou’s help,” Quijano said. He added that Tangco was instrumental in strengthening community and peoples organizations in Mindanao and Luzon as well as workers’ unions.

Always busy with her organizing work, Tangco still found time to attend UPCM alumni events, sometimes with her doctor-son. She even represented her class in association meetings.

Quijano recalled the last time she saw Tangco was during his wife’s birthday in 2018. “She was happy mingling with fellow UPCM alumni and, as always, her infectious laugh rang above the din of the well-attended party. “I regret that we were not able to talk much because of the number of well-wishers who attended,” Quijano said.

Quijano revealed he was shocked when he learned of his friend’s death and incredulous at military and news reports that the three put up a fight. “Who would serve a search warrant at three o’clock in the morning when the subjects were most probably asleep. That’s an old canard by the military,” Quijano said.

Quijano, one of the country’s top toxicologist, revealed it crossed his mind that his friend may die a violent death in the hands of the military because of the dangerous life she lived. He nonetheless demanded justice for his friend.

AFP demeans Tangco with video

HEALTH MONITORING. Medical officers in NPA units are tasked to monitor the health of all fighters, keeping special tabs on those suffering from hypertension and other ailments that require maintenance medicines and regular check-ups. (Northern Dispatch file photo)

Araullo, like Quijano, was equally shocked upon hearing how their friend died. “There is a photo of a bloodied woman lying prone with a gun at her back accompanying the news report attributed to the AFP,” she said. The photos released by the AFP suggest the narrative that the three chose to suicidally exchange fire with the raiders. “Only an independent investigation into the massacre of these three can provide the facts and circumstances that can lead to the truth of their demise,” she said.

Adding insult to injury, the AFP came out with a video of Tangco’s remains being airlifted by the military and turned over to her relatives, Araullo pointed out. In the video, the military claimed it gave Tangco the chance to peaceably surrender but she refused and instead resisted arrest, thus her untimely demise which the military purports to regret.

“I happen to know that the family had to resort to asking assistance from the AFP for Lou’s remains to be brought to Manila from Baguio because of the impending lockdown of the National Capital Region on March 15. The family was constrained to accept the AFP’s condition that the ‘Left’ not be allowed to ‘politicize’ her death which I took to mean there should be no memorials or tributes organized by fellow activists during her wake,” Araullo revealed.

She said she finds it not only ironic but the height of opportunism that the AFP produced the video with its propaganda narrative that Tangco was not a victim of human rights violation but someone whom the AFP magnanimously tried to allow to surrender. Or that, even in death, the military again tried to make it appear that it magnanimously accorded Tangco a decent turn over to her family with uniformed men carrying her casket, Araullo fumed.

Araullo said the AFP likely does not realize that the woman they had “summarily executed” was a bona fide doctor with a high standing in the medical community and with influential relations and friends. She could have just been a statistic as far as they are concerned. “That is why they tried to pre-empt the story line of who she was, how she died and why,” she said.

Araullo also shared with Kodao a tweet from AFP Southern Luzon Commander Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade boasting about Tangco’s death, alleging the victim was a combatant when she was killed. “Frothing-in-the-mouth anti-communist and rabid member of the NTF-ECLAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) General Parlade had the gall to tweet: ‘In times of crisis like COVID19, Ma Lourdes Dineros Tangco of the CPP Health Bureau chose to fight it out with government forces than be captured. She should be helping our affected communities. BUT NO her warped ideological belief tells her that her services is exclusive for NPAs.’” Such trash talk, Araullo said, only gives “fascists” such as Parlade more brownie points for another promotion in the AFP ladder and reveals the true character of the regime and reactionary system that he serves.

‘Hero to the masses’

Araullo said that the manner with which Tangco was mowed down by six merciless AFP bullets to her body only underscores her heroism and selflessness. “Dr. Lourdes Dineros Tangco will be forever remembered and hailed as a martyr and a hero to the masses that she selflessly and whole heartedly served as a revolutionary doctor,” Araullo said.

Quijano for his part said Tangco deserves to be honored for dedicating her life to the Filipino masses victimized by a rotten system. “She decisively overcame her privileged upbringing to live out the principles she wholeheartedly believed in. She never allowed herself to be drowned by privilege and opportunities easily available to UPCM graduates. She showed how it was to love the masses by being one of them,” Quijano said. “I consider it an honor to be one of her closest friends,” he added.

Tangco’s classmates are equally proud of their friend. “The UPCM Class of 1977 mourns the loss of a beloved and active member of the class. She touched the lives of many classmates who dearly love her and are deeply saddened by her untimely demise. Lou will be missed by the many poor and underserved communities she had been serving her entire life, and her passing is a great loss for our country,” they said,

Tangco’s son, in bidding her goodbye composed a poem for his beloved mother:

”She gave all that she could give so that the banner may advance
Though she has fallen, she had the courage to stand up and take her chance
Her blood joins the martyrs’ that water the paddies
So rice may grow golden and in the harvest time dance.” #

(With reports by Sherwin de Vera/Northern Dispatch)

Opinion: The Philippines Moving to Active Middle Power Diplomacy

Opinion piece posted to IDN News (Apr 4, 2020) The Philippines Moving to Active Middle Power Diplomacy  (Viewpoint by Aileen S P Baviera)

(Professor Aileen Baveira died of COVID-19 in Manila on 21 March 2020.)

Photo: President Duterte and US President Donald Trump discuss matters during a bilateral meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on November 13, 2017. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The Philippines was first a colony and then a formal treaty ally of the United States for so long that many Filipinos tend to take the existence of reciprocal defence obligations for granted. For the most part, the Philippines has always supported US security objectives when asked — whether during the Pacific War, the Korean War, the Cold War, the conflicts in Indochina or the 'Global War on Terror'.

This support was not always unconditional or particularly strong. Domestic opinion and regional sensitivities still had to be considered — including US concerns over entrapment and Philippine fears of abandonment.

But even the closure of major US military bases (Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base) in the early 1990s following acrimonious negotiations to renew the basing agreement did not completely remove Manila's importance as a strategic location for US operations in the Asia Pacific. In consequence, the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) were put in place to ensure there was a legal framework to regulate the presence of US troops and the conduct of joint activities.

The security interests of the two sides continued to converge post-Cold War. As terrorist networks expanded across Southeast Asia and concerns grew over China's maritime assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea, the Philippines still found the alliance useful for deterrence, capability-building and armed forces modernisation. The 2012 Scarborough Reef standoff with China and the 2017 Marawi siege by ISIS-inspired extremists are incidents etched in recent memory that underscore the continuing value of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty for both sides.

Many were surprised, therefore, when the Duterte administration served the US government notice of termination of the VFA on 11 February this year, to take effect after 180 days.

While the move has been justifiably criticised by many as whimsical, reckless and untimely, it has taken place in a particular context. Both internal factors — improved confidence buttressed by a growing economy, winding down of the longstanding Muslim separatist movement and a declining communist insurgency — and external factors — an improvement in bilateral relations with China, the worrisome trajectory of great power competition, the Trump administration's credibility issues and the greater security efficacy of other middle powers — are pushing the Philippines out of path-dependent defence reliance on the United States.

Like other countries in the region, the Philippines fears getting caught in the crossfire should US–China animosity lead to conflict. China's effective use of carrots and sticks — economic incentives alongside coercive diplomacy and economic statecraft — has left countries ambivalent about their own priorities. The prospect of economic connectivity with China via the so-called Belt and Road Initiative is one that the pragmatic elites of the region do not lightly dismiss. This has led most regional governments to adopt hedging strategies on China, rather than balancing or containment behaviour.

At the same time, the security challenges that China presents expose the inadequacy and sometimes irrelevance of traditional security approaches. 'Grey zone' attacks cannot be countered using the old tools that defence alliances have in their arsenals.

For the Philippines, losing control of Scarborough Shoal despite the Obama administration's role in the 2012 negotiations, as well as subsequent US inaction while China embarked on major island construction activities in the South China Sea, brought home hard truth about what one can realistically expect from an ally.

President Duterte is the first Filipino leader to publicly acknowledge this. This does not mean that US support is no longer needed or wanted — only that Washington's willingness to get involved cannot be assumed, and that its support carries its own risks and uncertainties.

Many countries in Asia are coming to terms with a strategic environment where China expects a louder voice in regional affairs. The challenge for these countries is binding China to a rules-based order to ensure that it respects the rights of its neighbours as sovereign if not equal states.

In Southeast Asia, the preferred order is one that is inclusive rather than exclusionary, where larger powers engage constructively. Weak or small states usually have little influence in these processes and are often pressured into taking sides or remaining silent. But middle powers may act to preserve their autonomy amid great power competition.

This could explain why Duterte invokes the need to end dependence on the United States as a justification for terminating the VFA. Interestingly, ending the VFA reinforces the Trump administration's preference for minimising alliance obligations and comes at a time when China's assertiveness is making the Philippines' neighbours far more jittery. In this sense, the decision is creating more instability, not less.

Multilateral institutions such as ASEAN and its extended dialogue networks remain attractive platforms for middle powers to shape their strategic communities. But these institutions must be strengthened to remain relevant. As the concept of the 'Indo-Pacific' continues to be debated in terms of what it can contribute to regional stability and security, ASEAN 'centrality' will be challenged.

Will the Philippines gradually transform from a secondary power supportive of, and dependent on, US primacy into a middle power pursuing its own autonomous interests through more inclusive diplomacy? So far, no such vision has been articulated. But by moving farther away from the United States, Duterte is taking a gamble that may force him down this path. Otherwise, the only remaining alternative is alignment with China.

[This article first appeared on EastAsiaForum. Aileen S P Baviera was Professor of China Studies and International Relations at the Asian Center, University of the Philippines, and the founding president of Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress. A longer version of this article appears in the most recent edition of East Asia Forum Quarterly, 'Middle Power Game', Vol. 12 No. 1. [IDN-InDepthNews – 04 April 2020//IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.]

Troops clash with Sayyaf in Sulu

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (Apr 5, 2020): Troops clash with Sayyaf in Sulu

SULU - Troops clashed with Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippine province of Sulu where security forces continue to hunt down the pro-ISIS group.

The fighting erupted in the village of Kaunayan in Patikul town after Special Forces soldiers ran into
a group of 30 militants under Abu Sayyaf leader Hajan Sawadjaan on Saturday, according to Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the 11th Infantry Division.

There was no immediate reports of casualties, but Vinluan said the operation against the Abu Sayyaf is continuing. “We assure the momentum to eradicate the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu will pursue amidst the presence of another concern brought about by the coronavirus disease.”

“Your soldiers will conduct pursuit operation to eradicate remnants of Abu Sayyaf bandits that hinder further development in Sulu. Let us continue our united efforts together with the stakeholders and local government units to end the confronted local armed conflict despite the confronted COVID-19 situation,” he said.

He said Scout Rangers clashed with the Abu Sayyaf in the town just last month following the surrender of 10 militants.

Troops are also helping the provincial government in distributing relief aid to residents and assisting frontliners in the different towns. Gov. Sakur Tan imposed a strict general home quarantine in all 19 towns to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. (Zamboanga Post)