Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Irrigation project seen to benefit thousands of farmers in Sumisip

From the Philippine Star (Apr 15, 2020): Irrigation project seen to benefit thousands of farmers in Sumisip (John Unson)

This April 15,2020 photo shows construction on an irrigation project in Sumisip, Basilan.
via The STAR/John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Thousands in Basilan stand to benefit from a P35-million irrigation project that will connect farmlands to a river in Sumisip town.

The ongoing construction of the irrigation project that will tap water from a river near the Mahatallang area in Barangay Tumahubong in Sumisip town, is a joint project of the National Irrigation Administration and the office of Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman.

In a statement Wednesday, the Basilan provincial government said the project shall supply water to farmlands around Barangay Tumahubong in Sumisip, the largest town in the island province.

Many of the more than 200 Abu Sayyaf bandits in Basilan who surrendered in batches in the past three years and availed of rehabilitation support and subsequent reintegration into mainstream communities via a provincial security initiative dubbed Program Against Violent Extremism are from hinterlands at the borders of Sumisip and nearby towns.

The NIA and the provincial government had earlier partnered in constructing multimillion-peso irrigation facilities in Basilan’s adjoining cities of Lamitan and Isabela.

The former Abu Sayyaf members now work as farmers.

Salliman said the irrigation projects are meant to boost diversification by farmers who lost thousands of hectares of coconut farms to a pest infestation.

The provincial government had earlier constructed a greenhouse with a drip system in Isabela City as a showcase of organic farming that can be duplicated in former conflict areas.

The construction of the Tumahubong irrigation facility is being assisted by the office of Sumisip Mayor Julz Adnan Hataman and the Army’s 64th Infantry Battalion, Salliman was quoted in the provincial government’s April 15 press statement as saying.

Women for Peace in the “Land of Promise”

Posted to The Asia Foundation (Apr 15, 2020): Women for Peace in the “Land of Promise” (By Wahida A. Abdulla)

In 2019, The Asia Foundation published the report Trade in the Sulu Archipelago: Informal Economies amidst Maritime Security Challenges. The research, a product of the X-Border Local Research Network, was done by Gagandilan Mindanao Women, Inc., a small civil society organization working in the southern Philippines. This is their story.

Mindanao, despite its legacy as a strife-ridden region, is still known to us as the “Land of Promise.” Gagandilan Mindanao Women, Inc.—Gagandilan Women for short—is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to peace, development, and women’s empowerment in Muslim Mindanao. The name “Gagandilan”— courageous warrior in the local Tausug language—pays tribute to all Bangsamoro women who have worked so tirelessly for peace.

Gagandilan Women en route to the Municipality of Maimbung Sulu to conduct an interview. (Photo: Gangadilan Mindanao Women, Inc.)

I founded the organization in Zamboanga City after the infamous 2013 clash between government soldiers and a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front that became known as the Zamboanga Siege. Our members are Moros, the Muslim inhabitants of Mindanao, and we focus our efforts on mobilizing our community for small-scale projects to foster peace and build a foundation for stability in the region’s most vulnerable areas.

Today we run local programs such as orientations on gender-based violence and the role of women in preventing conflict. Our program Women Against Violent Extremism, or WAVE, was a coalition-style movement to prevent violent extremism. Our organization is led mostly by women, and the majority of our field researchers are women as well. In keeping with our commitment to gender equality, however, our researchers on the ground always include men. We focus on the provinces of Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi—fondly referred to together as Zambasulta—all on the southwestern tip of the Philippines.

A private port at Arena Blanco, Zamboanga City, where vessels from nearby islands unload their cargo and passengers (Photo: Gangadilan Mindanao Women, Inc.)

The sea borders to the west of Zambasulta are shared with the Malaysian state of Sabah and the Indonesian province of North Kalimantan, and Zambasulta has been a maritime trading region since precolonial times in the Philippines. Today, much of this trade takes the form of so-called “barter” that skirts tax and customs enforcement, yet the barter trade brings basic necessities to Zambasulta and has, in some ways, contributed to the stability of the area.

In late 2018, The Asia Foundation invited Gagandilan Women to work on a study of the informal barter marketplace. An initiative of the X-Border Local Research Network, which studies conflict in border regions, the new research project examines the nuances of the barter marketplace and the policy regimes that have both sought to suppress it and allowed it to thrive. We conducted interviews and gathered data from traders, boat operators, port authorities, and other people and institutions that contribute to informal trade in Zambasulta. We wanted to know what people were trading, how much they were earning, and how they were able to slip across international borders.

A member of the research team at the public port of Jolo, Sulu. (Photo: Gangadilan Mindanao Women, Inc.)

For a prosperous trading region, Zambasulta has earned a notorious reputation for its decades of violent conflict due to lawless elements like Abu Sayyaf, kidnap-for-ransom gangs, clashing political groups, and the episodic clan violence known as rido. Gagandilan Women hoped the X-Border project would be an opportunity to show the world a Mindanao beyond the conflict, and a Zambasulta that is home to the diverse cultures of several indigenous groups, including the Samal, Tausug, and Yakan peoples. We also saw a chance to grow as an organization by committing our time, resources, and network to a project that was larger than our previous undertakings.

The Asia Foundation encouraged us to take the lead in developing local data-gathering strategies, and they incorporated many of our ideas and insights into the research design. The Foundation provided training on interview and data-collection procedures and created a rigorous safety protocol, an important consideration given the sensitive nature of our inquiry and the volatile areas where we would be working. This was driven home for us by a kidnapping in Sulu, where some of our interviews were to take place. The incident caused us to reevaluate our approach to interviews and to plan our local movements strategically and with the utmost caution.

The Gagandilan Women pay a courtesy visit to the office of the Regional Port Management Authority. (Photo: Gangadilan Mindanao Women, Inc.)

In 2020, we continue to work with the X-Border Local Research Network, focusing on rice, the primary commodity traded from Sabah, Malaysia. The informal rice trade in Zambasulta has come to a crossroads, with a new semi-autonomous regional government looking to support the local economy while the domestic market is flooded with imported rice, and we’ve set out to see how barter traders and the public are being affected.

In the midst of our fieldwork in Sulu, a serious fire broke out in the capital city of Jolo in February. Thousands of people were affected by the conflagration, including several of our intended respondents. One pillar of Gagandilan Women as an organization is humanitarian engagement, and we changed gears to provide assistance to victims of the Jolo fire, working with various partners such as local government agencies, student organizations, and other civil society organizations to organize clothing donations. In the end we were still able to complete our intended interviews through local contacts.

The site of the conflagration in Jolo, Sulu. (Photo: Gangadilan Mindanao Women, Inc.)

We have completed the first round of research on the rice trade, and despite the temporary restrictions on movement caused by Covid-19, our work with the X-Border Network in Zambasulta will go on. In the meantime, we have been helping local governments distribute masks and pandemic information. Ultimately, we hope our research will help the Philippine national government and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao bring lasting peace and security to the Land of Promise.

The X-Border Local Research Network is a partnership between The Asia Foundation, the Carnegie Middle East Center, and the Rift Valley Institute, supported by UK Aid from the UK government.

[Wahida A. Abdulla is the founder and executive director of Gagandilan Mindanao Women, Inc. She can be reached at The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author, not those of The Asia Foundation or the UK government.]

Resilient social networks: Southeast Asia’s enduring terrorist threat

Posted to the Australia Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) Blog-The Strategist (Apr 16, 2020):  Resilient social networks: Southeast Asia’s enduring terrorist threat

[This post was adapted by the author from his chapter in ASPI’s Counterterrorism yearbook 2020. The full text of the yearbook, which includes notes and sources for each chapter, is available on ASPI’s website.]

The threat of terrorism in Southeast Asia remains high, but, as in Australia, it’s neither an existential threat nor even one of the more significant dangers most people face.

It is, however, resilient.

While the long-running, largely low-level, insurgencies of the southern Philippines and the deep south of Thailand fuel a steady stream of violence, jihadi networks and small groups inspired, directly or indirectly, by Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda are the greatest immediate threat, particularly in Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.

The drivers remain local grievances, but individuals and groups tend to become more brazen and less inhibited in using extreme violence when they see themselves as part of a cosmic struggle and their actions are praised by a global insurgent movement.

Many attacks have been inspired by the rise of IS in Syria and Iraq. Some have involved returnees from the fighting in the Middle East, but most have involved people who were inspired to act at home. This IS-inspired terrorism is built on a foundation of earlier extremist networks, the most important of which is the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network. Militant splinter elements of this network were responsible for the bomb attacks in Bali on 12 October 2002, and the series of terrorist attacks that followed over the course of the decade.

The JI network as a whole became involved in outbreaks of communal violence in eastern Indonesian in Ambon, Maluku, and in Poso, Central Sulawesi. Since the defeat of its insurgency in Poso in 2007, JI has been quietly and carefully rebuilding while largely avoiding provocative violence. This network was the product of Indonesian, Malaysian and Filipino fighters travelling to join the conflict in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Those ‘Afghani alumni’ formed the leadership and core of JI.

The territorial defeat of IS and the interrupted flow of foreign fighters and supporters have brought some respite but by no means a cessation of the threat. The lessons from Afghanistan and the rise of al-Qaeda in the 1980s are that a relatively small number of foreign fighters travelling to a conflict zone can have a disproportionate influence and that the impact at home might be felt only many years later.

The experience of Indonesia, and to some extent the Philippines and Malaysia, is that violent extremism is highly social and prone to being intergenerational. JI has its origins in Indonesia’s Darul Islam movement that began in the 1950s and was injected with fresh life in the 1970s and 1980s, partly because of political oppression and a crackdown on militants. The leaders of JI were inspired by the experience of fighting in Afghanistan in association with al-Qaeda and, while they formally broke with Darul Islam in 1993, the family and social connections woven through the fabric of the JI network draw upon decades of conflict, local grievance, increasing radicalisation and the rise of transnational terrorist networks.

Neither the end of the IS caliphate nor the arrest and sentencing of thousands of militants and supporters will end the threat or dissipate the social movements involved.

Without relentless intelligence work and regular arrests, the threat of terrorism would quickly worsen. But policing, prosecution and detention by themselves won’t eliminate or even greatly diminish the resilient threat posed by violent extremist networks. Real advances will begin only when the cycle of recruitment and radicalisation is interrupted by disengagement from malign networks, followed by individual and collective rehabilitation and re-engagement of former militants with mainstream society.

The specialist counterterrorism unit of the Indonesian National Police, Detachment 88, has become enormously effective at detecting and disrupting terrorist plots. Its work has led to the arrest of more than 1,400 suspected terrorists since its formation 15 years ago. Around 808 were arrested between 2015 and 2018, and 376 arrests were made in 2018 alone. Most of those arrested were prosecuted and sentenced.

This success has generated its own problems. Indonesia has more than 250,000 detainees in almost 500 jails, housing more than twice the number of inmates they were designed for. It has resulted in a prisoner-to-guard ratio of around 55 to 1.

Indonesian counterterrorism is better resourced and led than ever, and the important work of rehabilitation has finally commenced in earnest, but the threat remains resilient and shows no signs of abating.

Malaysia, one-tenth the size of Indonesia, has so far suffered no significant international terrorist attacks but nevertheless faces a terrorist threat that’s proportionally every bit as great as that facing Indonesia. Since 2013, Malaysian authorities, led by the very experienced Special Branch intelligence agency/counterterrorism division of the Royal Malaysian Police, have foiled at least 26 attacks and arrested more than 520 suspects. A surprisingly large number, more than 130, were foreigners from 21 countries, mostly Indonesia and the Philippines. Arrests continue.

Authorities worry about not just those who have returned from Syria, but also those who aspired to join the caliphate and are frustrated that they were left behind. Malaysia, even more than Indonesia, struggles with a febrile environment of sectarian sentiment, much of it openly propagated through religious lectures and training activities. In this context, the IS takfiri judgemental narrative of anti-Shia, anti-Christian and anti-mainstream-Muslim sentiment remains an ever-present facilitator of radicalisation, even though, so far, Special Branch has prevented successful attacks.

Of major concern in Malaysia are militants travelling between its eastern state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo, and the adjacent Sulu archipelago in the Philippines, home territory of the IS-aligned Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

The activities of foreign fighters in the Philippines remain an ongoing concern amid fears that the collapse of the IS caliphate could put even more focus on less well-governed parts of western Mindanao as safe havens for IS supporters. Terrorism in the Philippines is largely homegrown, with long-running violence in western Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago. The presence of a relatively small number of foreign fighters, however, has been an important element in helping connect local grievances with global struggles, first with al-Qaeda and now with IS. Groups such as the ASG were formed by Filipinos returning from fighting with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1980s and early 1990s.

When four major jihadi groups, including the notoriously ill-disciplined piracy–cum–kidnapping-for-ransom gang, ASG, declared their allegiance to IS in mid-2014, it was seen to be more a branding exercise than a significant strategic realignment. The five-month siege of Marawi that erupted in May 2017 and resulted in the deaths of at least 980 militants (including at least 44 foreigners), 165 security personnel and 87 civilians, made it clear that the IS connection had, in fact, substantially changed the nature of the insurgent conflict.

When the siege began, the Armed Forces of the Philippines confidently declared that the conflict would be over within days. But it was concluded only after the nearly total destruction of the Philippines’ largest Muslim-majority city. Months of artillery barrages and aerial bombardment left the city centre looking like post-IS Mosul. More than 350,000 inhabitants were forced out and most still live in squalid camps. The army declared IS comprehensively beaten, but the structural damage, physical and social, inflicted on Marawi seems certain to sow a bitter harvest of intergenerational radicalisation.

The threat of terrorism in Southeast Asia lies in resilient social networks that have adapted to survive and regenerate in the face of counterterrorism efforts that focus on the tactical and neglect the strategic.

[Greg Barton is a research professor in global Islamic politics at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University. Image: Surabaya Government/Andy Pinaria/Getty Images]

MNLF member in Cotabato town nabbed for keeping unlicensed firearms, ammo

From MindaNews (Apr 14, 2020): MNLF member in Cotabato town nabbed for keeping unlicensed firearms, ammo (By MALU CADELINA-MANAR)

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 14 April) – Authorities arrested an alleged member of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) after residents complained that he fired his gun inside his residence in the municipality of Makilala, North Cotabato Monday night.

Major Arniel Melocotones, Makilala municipal police station chief,
identified the suspect as Benjie Camensi Guangzon, resident of Purok-7, Barangay Jose Rizal.

Melocotones said his men, led by Police Executive Master Sergeant (PEMS) Cesar Olivar, caught Guangzon still holding a Colt caliber .45 pistol when they arrived at his place around 10:30 p.m. on Monday.
Olivar and his team also recovered from Guangzon’s possession six more unlicensed guns and ammunitions.

Aside from the Colt pistol, Guangzon’s other firearms were a Colt automatic caliber .45 pistol, an Armscor caliber .45 pistol, a caliber .38 revolver, two homemade handguns, and a Thompson.

Police also seized from the suspect four magazines from the caliber .45 pistols and one empty magazine for the Thompson.

The recovered items were already turned over to the Cotabato Provincial Police Laboratory Office in Kidapawan City.

Melocotones said they are digging deeper their probe as to Guangzon’s possible links with gunrunners operating in North Cotabato and nearby areas.

Initial police investigation revealed that the suspect was connected with the group of a certain Mr. Monreal, who claimed to be an MNLF sub-leader whose operations include North Cotabato.

Monreal, in 2018, was allegedly involved in recruitment of MNLF members.

Guangzon was immediately placed inside Makilala Police station’s lockup while appropriate charges are being prepared against him. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)

NDF/IO: NDFP submits letter to UN Sec-Gen disclosing the GRP’s violations of its unilateral ceasefire

NDF/International Office propaganda statement/letter posted to the National Democratic Front Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Apr 15, 2020): NDFP submits letter to UN Sec-Gen disclosing the GRP’s violations of its unilateral ceasefire
Despite the GRP violation of their own unilateral ceasefire, the health committees and revolutionary forces of the entire NDFP continue to carry out programs for the health, welfare and safety of the Filipino masses where the NDFP operates. Although the NPA refrains from undertaking attacks against GRP armed forces, it observes an active defense policy to protect the communities from serious violations of the GRP armed forces.

NDFP Executive Committee and National Council member Luis Jalandoni

Luis Jalandoni, member of the Executive Committee and National Council of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has submitted a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres disclosing the offensive military operations conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) from March 16, 2020 to April 15, 2020, in 196 villages of 96 towns, in gross violation of their own unilateral ceasefire declaration.

On the other hand, the New People’s Army (NPA) has complied fully with the unilateral ceasefire order of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in response to the humanitarian appeal of the UN Secretary General for parties involved in armed conflicts to declare a global ceasefire in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.

The offensive operations by the soldiers and police forces of the GRP are in defiance of the UN Secretary General’s appeal.

Jalandoni in his letter to Guterres said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have mounted 13 attacks or assaults against the NPA and conducted at least five aerial bombardment and artillery shelling in the 96 towns and 196 villages mentioned, citing reports from the CPP’s Information Bureau.

“The NDFP National Council has deeply valued your appreciation of the unilateral ceasefire issued by the CPP on March 16, 2020 in response to your call for a global ceasefire among warring parties in order to combat Covid-19 pandemic”.JALANDONI

Expressing deep appreciation for the UN Sec-Gen’s important call for global unity to combat effectively the COVID-19 pandemic, Jalandoni stressed that the NDFP is committed to continue its programs throughout the country to protect the people against the COVID-19 pandemic and the Duterte regime’s violations of its own unilateral ceasefire and the people’s fundamental human rights.

“The health committees and the revolutionary forces of the New People’s Army, the CPP , the NPA and the entire NDFP, continue to carry out programs in all 73 provinces where the NDFP forces operate, despite the GRP violations of their unilateral ceasefire. The NPA refrains from undertaking attacks against the GRP’s armed forces. The NPA is observing an active defense policy to protect the community from the serious violations of the GRP’s arned forces,” Jalandoni emphasized.

Jalandoni said the NDFP National Council, the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army, shall decide regarding the unilateral ceasefire of the CPP that ends on April 15, 2020.#

NDFP International Information Office
Utrecht, The Netherlands
15 April 2020

CPP/NPA-Negros Island: Sabat sang AGC-NPA sa traidor kag butigon nga pahayag sang 3rd IDPA

NPA-Negros Island propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 13, 2020): Sabat sang AGC-NPA sa traidor kag butigon nga pahayag sang 3rd IDPA


APRIL 13, 2020

Kon indi ignorante, isa ka butigon, istupido, traidor kag mapaniplang ining spokesperson sang 3rd Infantry Division sa iya pahayag nga ila ginsuspende ang direkta nga military action kontra sa CPP-NPA-NDF pero indi nagakahulugan nga pabayaan ang mga NPA nga mag “terorisa” sa pumuluyo gani kinahanglan sila nga maglunsar sang combat operation. Nagapamatuod lang nga ang pagdiklara sang ceasefire sang rehimen US-Duterte isa ka mapaniplang nga paagi agud wasakon ang rebolusyonaryong kahublagan gamit ang Covid-19 nga isyu.

Ang NPA indi “terorista” bangud nagapakig-away ini para sa interes sang malapad nga pumuluyo. Ang termino nga “terorista, nagapangilkil sa pumuluyo” pabalik-balik nga maitum nga propaganda sang berdugong AFP/PNP gani indi na ini bag-o kag indi na mapatihan sang pumuluyo. Tuyo sini nga hinabunan ang mga kapalpakan kag pagsupak sa kaugalingon nga mandato.

Ang rehimen US-Duterte kag ang idu-ido sini nga mersenaryo kag berdugo nga AFP/PNP amo ang matuod nga terorista. Nagaserbi nga goons kag armado nga hubon sang mga agalon mayduta kag dalagko komprador burgesya, nagapadayon pagpangbomba sa mga komyunidad, pagransak sang mga pamalay sang mga mangunguma ilabi na sa mga kabukiran, pagmatay sang mga ordinaryo nga mga sibilyan kag sistematiko nga nagapang-atake kag nagalapak sa tawhanon nga kinamatarung sang pumuluyo sa tunga sang gina-atubang nga krisis sa ikaayong lawas sang pungsod.

Ang pag-imposar sang Enhanced Community Quarantine kag pag-extend tubtob sa April 30 nagakahulugan nga magpadulong sa lubos nga pagdiklara sang Martial Law sa bug-os nga pungsod. Segurado nga makahalit ini sa palangitan-an sang minilyon ka pumuluyo. Ang pagpatigayon sang EJK-tokhang style nga nagpatay sang masobra 30,000 ka tawo, 89 ang biktima partikular sa Negros. Pagmasaker sang siyam ka mangunguma sa Syudad sang Sagay. Ang pagpatigayon sang SAURON 1 & 2 sa syudad sang Guihulngan kag Canlaon City sa Negros Oriental kag mga banwa sang Manjuyod, Siaton kag Sta. Catalina nga nagpatay sang 20 ka tawo kag madamu ang ginpangdakop kag ginpasakaan sang patu-pato nga mga kaso base sa ginpangtanum nga armas kag eksplosibo kag madamu pa nga porma sa paglapas sang tawhanon nga kinamatarung. Sa mata sang pumuluyo makita nila kon sin-o ang matuod-tuod nga terorista.

Panawagan sa pamunuan sang AFP-PNP ilabi na sa mga nasanagan nga mga rank and file nga may pag-ulikid sa kaayuhan sang pumuluyo, kon sensero kamu sa inyo gindiklara nga unilateral ceasefire, inyo untaton ang combat operation nga ginalunsar sa kaumhan kag kabukiran kag buligan ang mga pumuluyo sa pag-away sang makamamatay nga Covid-19 virus pareho sang ginahimo sang NPA nga pag-organisa, pagmobilisa kag paghulag sa pumuluyo agud matapna ang paglapta sang makamamatay nga virus.

Sa tanan nga NPA kag mga yunit milisya sa idalum sang Apolinario Gatmaitan Command (AGC), istrikto nga sundon ang gindeklara nga uinilateral ceasefire kag ipaseguro ang aktibo nga depensa sa tanan nga nasakupan nga Larangan Gerilya. Matinguha nga malikawan ang ginalunsar nga combat operation sang AFP/PNP sa minimum apang kon may kabudlayan sa paglikaw kag mabutang sa piligro, ipatigayon ang depensibang aksyon agud madepensahan ang pumuluyo kag ang aton hanay sa maksimum. ###

CPP/News: NPA-Masbate thwarts AFP, PNP ceasefire offensive

Propaganda news article posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 14, 2020): NPA-Masbate thwarts AFP, PNP ceasefire offensive

Another armed encounter ensued last April 10 in the Bicol region after a platoon of the 2nd Infantry Battalion and PNP led by 2Lt. Jay Zachary Tunguia attempted to encircle an NPA unit in Barangay Cabas-an, Aroroy, Masbate. This was 13th attack perpetrated by Duterte’s forces since his declaration of a unilateral ceasefire last month.

In its field report, the NPA-Masbate disclosed that around 30 soldiers and policemen were deployed to the said village at around 5:00 p.m. to encircle a squad of NPA fighters who just finished conducting a Covid-19 information drive and were set to return to camp.

As combat troops were already closing in, the Red fighters were left with no other option but to conduct active defense maneuvers to protect themselves and the residents. This resulted in a 30-minute skirmish which resulted in at least 3 casualties on the side of the military and police, with 1 dead and 2 wounded. The NPA squad suffered no casualty.

In retaliation, the soldiers and policemen arbitrarily arrested residents Romnick Vargas, Juan Dikino and Alden Javier who they paraded as members of the people’s militia. They also burned the house of Basyon Meralles and forcibly evicted residents Jun Dikino and Marven “Binoy” Grazil from the village.

Residents and local officials have criticized the 2nd IB for conducting patrol operations in the area when they were instructed by the local government to station themselves at the Masbate ports to prevent the entry of possible Covid-19 travelers. They point out that there are no reported infections in the hinterland areas of Masbate.

To save face, Joint Task Force Bicolandia spokesperson Maj. Gen. Fernando Trinidad claimed that his troops were the ones attacked by the NPA.

Contrary to this lie, however, AFP and PNP troops have continued to occupy and conduct counter-insurgency operations in at least 23 villages in the towns Mandaon, Claveria, San Pascual, Monreal, San Fernando, San Jacinto, Cawayan and Batuan.

CPP/NPA-Negros: NDF Negros calls for the Duterte regime to address the people’s needs

NPA-Negros propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 15, 2020): NDF Negros calls for the Duterte regime to address the people’s needs

APRIL 14, 2020

NDF Negros points out the double threat of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its socio-economic impact especially on the poorest families whose needs are yet to be properly addressed by the Duterte regime as soon as possible.

While it is almost commendable that politicians are donating a part or their entire salaries as a form of aid in the crisis, it is misleading the public eye. It is unnecessary for politicians to resort to a philanthropic approach if the state had the foresight to prepare for a national emergency, instead of military overspending and prioritizing pork barrel—which is billions more than the supposed donated amount of any politician.

As reported by Duterte to Congress, despite the said allocated emergency fund, government agencies are using their current appropriated funds to address the pandemic. This means the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will only realign budget towards DSWD, DOH, DOLE and other departments if necessary, making the process more stringent and prone to red tape.

The expedited release of the 275 billion budget should be of utmost priority. The granting of emergency powers to Duterte was railroaded, but the powers granted are still yet to prove its purpose. Mass testing are yet to be conducted starting today. Local Government Units (LGU) are making individual strides to cope with the crisis. Millions of families who have been waiting for support in the past three weeks are instead subjected to additional procedures that do not answer their imminent need against hunger. The 4Ps beneficiaries will only receive a top-up fund (from 5,000-8,000 down to 2,850 to 5,850), while recipients of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) are yet to be determined by LGUs. So far, the granting of ‘emergency powers’ is proving to be ironic, to say the least.

Instead of hastening aid, the Duterte government is hell-bent on the witch-hunt against critics. Duterte spent an entire conference criticizing Diokno and the call for his ouster, while his AFP-PNP lapdogs are vilifying those who show sincerity in helping the people, on top of mass arrests and threats. The AFP-PNP are also widely violating their own declaration of a unilateral ceasefire. Military and police operations continue all over the country, such as the ransacking of homes in Guihulngan, an illegal arrest in Canlaon, and aerial bombings in Mindanao. The only quick response the current administration has given amid the COVID-19 pandemic involves fascism and brutality.

Meanwhile, the CPP-NPA-NDF is strictly adhering to its unilateral ceasefire declaration. Revolutionary forces and mass organizations are focusing on mass health campaigns and emergency economic measures. Particularly in Negros, all guerrilla fronts and revolutionary forces are holding community educational discussions and are drafting plans, if not already implementing them, to confront the pandemic. A Klinikang Bayan was launched and immediate measures are being undertaken en masse.

With the threat of additional weeks of quarantines coupled with a largely disorganized manner of responding to the people’s needs, Duterte is clearly leaving the Filipino people behind to further his tyrannical interests. His ambitions will only result to a broader united front more determined than ever to oust him, and establish a social order that is rooted on social justice, genuine democracy, and a just and lasting peace. ###

CPP/NPA-Negros: Ekstensyon sang Enhanced Community Quarantine Dugang Perwisyo kag Peligro sa Pumuluyo

NPA-Negros propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 15, 2020): Ekstensyon sang Enhanced Community Quarantine Dugang Perwisyo kag Peligro sa Pumuluyo

APRIL 15, 2020

Gutom na, singgitan sang pumuluyo! ang dugang 15 ka adlaw nga Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) dugang nga perwisyo kag peligro sa seguridad sang pumuluyong Pilipino kag sang Negrosanon.

Sa una nga implementasyon sang ECQ gikan Marso 30, 2020 tubtob subong nga adlaw Abril 14, 2020, nakita ang tuman kahinay nga distribusyon sang ayuda halin sa gobyerno sa pihak sang P275B nga gin-alokar sang rehimeng Duterte sa pagpakig-away sa COVID-19 pandemic. Sandig sa pahayag ni Duterte, ini iga-partineser sa pagsuporta sa pumuluyo samtang naka-kwarantina sa tagsa sini ka mga puluy-an bilang isa ka pamaagi sa paglikaw sa paglapta sang makamamatay nga Coronavirus. Samtang uyaya naman sa pagpatigayon sang Mass Testing kag iban pa ilabe na sa paghatag proteksyon kag pag-atipan sa mga Frontliners. Sa aktwal mas nagataas pa ang indibidwal sa pungsod nga natumod nga mga PUM, PUI kag nagkalamatay sa COVID-19 sa pihak sang may pipila nga mga nakarekober. Sa subong malapit 5,000 na ka Pilipino nga inibidwal ang apektado sa Coronavirus sa pungsod.

Nakita sang kadam-an nga indi mapatay ang pumuluyo sa COVID-19 nga krisis kundi mapatay bangud sang krisis ekonomiya kag pulitika sa pungsod. Ang wala sang makaon kag wala sang sandigan nga panginahanglanon ang tagsa ka puluy-an sa ginatumod nga mga “poorest of the poor” sa diin tubtob subong kadam-an sini ang wala makabaton sang gintalana nga ayuda. Nagapakita ini sang pagka-inutil sang rehimeng Duterte.

Ang Social Amelioration Program nga tag P5,000.00-P8,000.00 nga gintalana nga ayuda sang gobyerno para sa tagsa ka pamilya ilabe na ang sahing mamumugon sa pungsod, padayon pa nga nagahangla bangud tubtob subong nagapabilin nga “nagalutaw pa sa sabaw sang tugabang” ang ayuda sang gobyerno. Kadam-an sini ang wala makabaton bunga sang marikot nga pamaagi sa paghim-os sang mga rekisitos kaangay sang pabalik-balik nga pagpirma, sulit-sulit nga pag-fill-up kag malawig nga pagpila sa tagsa ka talatapan. Nagresulta ini sang malaparan nga kinagamo bunga sang pamulitika, palapit sa luwag kag pinamilya nga pamaagi sang mga hakugan nga pulitiko kag iban pa nga burukrasya sang gobyerno.

Matuod nga nakabaton ang pipila ka benepisyaryo sang 4P’s sang SAP apang P4,650.00 lamang indi amo sa gintalana nga minimum nga tag P5,000.00-P8,000.00. Nakita ang lapnagon nga korapsyon sang natalana nga ahensya sang gobyerno base sa isip sang mga benepisyaryo kag aktwal nga kantidad nga ila nabaton.

Dugang pa ang lunsay militar nga pamaagi sa mga checkpoints dira sa mga boundaries sang baryo, syudad kag kabanwahan, nga naghalit sa dalagan kag daloy sang ekonomiya sa pungsod. Nagtuga man ini sang lapnagon nga paglapas sang tawhanon nga kinamatarung, pagpugong kag pag-ipit sa sibilyan nga kinamatarung sang pumuluyo sa pagbyahi, pagpangita sang pangabuhian kag ang pagkriminalisa sa mga nakakomiter sang paglapas kaangay sang pagbayolar sa curfew, wala sang quarantine pass, wala paggamit sang face mask, paglapas sa traffic rules and regulation kag iban pa. Kon sumahon, mas madamu pa ang nadakpan sa mga check point sa sini nga paglapas ikumpara sa naapiktuhan sang Covid-19 virus.

Nagapakita lang ini nga indi para nga kontrolahon ang paglapta sang makamamatay nga pandemya kundi plano nga kontrolahon ang paghulag sang pumuluyo sa ila matag-adlaw nga pag-ekonomiya nga kinahanglanon nga nagdugang nga nagpa-antus sa pumuluyo.

Sa tuyo kuno nga mapahapos ang pamaagi sa paglikaw kag pagpakig-away sa COVID-19 pandemic, sa baylo nag-ani sang kinagamo sa tunga sang awtoridad kag indibidwal. Subong man ang malaparan nga pagka-diskontento sang kadam-an nga pumuluyo sa rehimeng US-Duterte kag sa mga alipores sini.

Sa una nga hugna sang pagpatuman sang lockdown kag ECQ, paslaw ang pamaagi sang rehimeng Duterte sa paglikaw kag pagpakig-away sa COVID-19 pandemic. Paslaw man sa pagsabat sang socio-ekonomiko nga panginahanglan sang pumuluyong Pilipino sa diin madugay na nga naga-antus sa kagutom kag kapigaduhon bangud sang kawad-on sa duta, palangabuhian kag kakulang sang serbisyo soyal.

Agud hinabunan ang kapalpakan sang rehimen sa pagpakig-away sa epidemya nga Coronavirus, kulang sang serbisyo sosyal kag korapsyon, ginagamit sang rehimen ang pasismo batok sa mga kritiko kag nagahimakas nga pumuluyo. Gusto ni Duterte nga pahipuson ang mga nagahambal sang kamatuoran sa pagpa-aresto sa mga indibidwal dira sa tri-media kag social media. Apang paghilway naman sa mga idu-ido sini sa pagpalapnag sang fake news.

Ang COVID-19 nga isyu ilabe na ang pagpatuman sang lockdown kag ECQ ang naghublas sang pagka-inutil, pabaya, korap kag tiraniko sang pasistang Duterte.

Dapat handaan sang pumuluyo kag lubos nga pamatukan ang liwat nga pagpatuman sang Martial Law sa pungsod sa kamot sang pasistang Duterte paagi sa pagpalawig sang lockdown kag ECQ.

Ginamando man sa tanan nga yunit sang NPA idalum sa Mount Cansermon Command nga pabilin mabinantayanon, mag-alerto kag aktibo nga magdepensa batok sa mga pagpang-atake sang pasistang AFP,PNP, paramilitar kag iban pa nga mapintas nga mga makinaryas sang rehimen samtang nagapatigayon sang serbisyo medikal sa pag-away sang COVID-19 pandemic. Kadungan man ang pagtigayon sang produksyon sa pagpatuhaw sang dugang nga pagkaon kag iban pa nga kinahanglanon sang pumuluyo.###

CPP: Comment on Duterte’s refusal to entertain debt cancellation

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 15, 2020): Comment on Duterte’s refusal to entertain debt cancellation

APRIL 15, 2020

Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez, neoliberal zealot, stubbornly declared yesterday that the Duterte government will not even entertain the thought of cancelling foreign debt servicing, even temporarily, as an immediate measure to provide the wherewithal for the Covid-19 crisis.

Dominguez’s position reveals the anti-people economic policies and priorities of the Duterte government. It is such views that are causing grave hardships on the people and the continuing backwardness of the economy, which is now preventing the government from comprehensively addressing the public health and socio-economic problems brought to the surface by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Duterte and Dominguez are more concerned about preserving the regime’s “credit standing” before the foreign banks than ensuring urgently needed funds for Filipinos amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Even the IMF was obliged to recognize that continuing debt payments is an unbearable burden on third world countries which are having trouble sourcing funds to respond to the Covid-19 crisis. Yesterday, at least 25 countries were allowed by the IMF to suspend payments for six months. The least that Duterte and Dominguez could do is ask that the country be allowed to avail of such arrangements.

Duterte has allocated around P450 billion for debt payments for 2020, to service more than $82 billion in the country’s total external debt. If it suspends debt servicing for even just six months, it will have enough funds (the equivalent of around $4 to $5 billion) to fund its Social Amelioration Program to provide immediate cash to millions of families.

Duterte has complained of lack of funds and has tightfisted the people, with millions of families being left out of state subsidy causing widespread suffering during the extended quarantine and lockdown.

Instead, Dominguez has announced that the government targets to borrow an additional $5 billion in new loans to address the Covid-19 crisis, which will redound to more economic burden on the Filipino people, in the form of additional taxes in the future.

The Philippine’s external debt now stands at more than $82 billion, of which more than 80% are medium- and long-term.

CPP: Report on relentless counterinsurgency operations by AFP and PNP during Covid-19 ceasefire

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 14, 2020): Report on relentless counterinsurgency operations by AFP and PNP during Covid-19 ceasefire

APRIL 14, 2020

In the past 25 days, units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have conducted relentless counterinsurgency operations across the country. Fascist troops continue to conduct combat, psywar and intelligence operation exposing the Duterte regime’s sham ceasefire declaration issued on March 16 and effective until April 15 purportedly to concentrate on the Covid-19 crisis.

Based on field reports and public statements issued by various units of the New People’s Army (NPA) and Party committees, AFP and PNP offensive operations have been carried out in at least 216 villages in 104 towns and 31 provinces across the country since March 17. Further details are still being gathered.

The provinces with the most number of affected barangays are Bukidnon, Quezon, Negros Occidental, Zamboanga del Sur, Sorsogon, Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga Sibugay, Palawan, Davao de Oro, Abra, Western Samar, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Zamboanga del Norte, Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro.

Units of the AFP have been conducting combat operations targeting NPA units in their encampments. These armed offensives have resulted in at least 13 armed clashes between the AFP and NPA in Malaybalay City, Mt. Kitanglad and Kabasalan in Bukidnon; Pantukan, Davao de Oro; Baganga, Davao Oriental; Lambunao, Iloilo; Gumaca, Mulanay and San Narciso in Quezon; Rodriguez, Rizal; Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur; and in Kabasalan and Siay in Zamboanga Sibugay.

Despite the AFP’s insistence that these armed clashes are NPA violations of its own ceasefire, their own spot reports and media statements point to the contrary, as their units admit to mounting “security patrols” and “pursuit operations.” The NPA units attacked were on defensive mode and where either at rest, doing mass work, or busy preparing materials and supplies and training for mass campaigns.

In addition to the offensive combat operations, the AFP also conducted at least five aerial bombing and artillery shelling operations on March 17, March 24 and March 27-29 in Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro and Bukidnon provinces, all in the island of Mindanao. Reports in Bukidnon indicate that the AFP dropped several rounds of 500-pound bombs which caused widespread trauma among the residents in nearby villages and damage to the environment which serve as sources of food and livelihood of the local Lumad peasants.

On the pretext of conducting Covid-19 related activites, AFP troops roam civilian communities, set up checkpoints, prohibit people from buying food and other necessities, prevent peasants from tending to their crops, forcibly enter people’s homes, accuse them of being armed fighters or NPA supporters, and compel them to “cooperate” lest they remain in the military’s “list.” There have been several incidents of arrests of peasants, including the detention of 11 Lumad farmers in Pantukan town, as well as the arrest of a 71-year old local peasant leader Proceso Torralba in Butuan City, accused of being an NPA member. In Laguna, scores of peasants rounded up from Kalayaan and Cavinti towns, as well as from General Nakar, Quezon, were rounded up and paraded as “surrenderees.”

In addition to complaints against harassments and intimidation, village residents have raised concerns that these soldiers who come from different places do not wear face masks or any protective gear raising the probability of spreading Covid-19 among the hinterland villages. They also question why the Duterte government has deployed armed soldiers to their villages, instead of mobilizing, training and equiping local health officials and health workers to manage and prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

NPA units across the country have observed the March 25-April 15 ceasefire declaration issued by the Party Central Committee, in response to the call of the United Nations Secretary General for a global ceasefire. They have refrained from mounting attacks against the counterinsurgency troops of the AFP and PNP, although always alert to give battle to defend themselves and the masses.

Despite the AFP counterinsurgency operations, units of the NPA, in partnership with the health committees of the local peasant organizations were able to mount a still continuing public health campaign in order to help the people implement measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.

Some units have successfully mounted mass clinics where NPA medics and local health workers conducted medical check-ups, treated common ailments, gave care and advise to the elderly and pregnant women, and conducted seminars to raise the people’s awareness of the disease. This campaign is well received by the masses because they are empowered and encouraged to take the necessary action, instead of being paralyzed by fear of the virus.

There are also plans to carry out a widespread campaign to raise food production, as well as push for the just demands of peasants to lower land rent or have it temporarily waived, lower interest rates and cancel debts, raise farm wages and demand fair prices for farm produce, as well as other agrarian reforms. This campaign has become of great urgency as food shortages in some parts of the country become imminent as a result of the Duterte lockdown and the impending sharp downturn of the economy.

The revolutionary forces are also establishing cooperative efforts with friendly officials of the GRP’s local government units at various levels. Many officials are genuinely concerned with the well-being of their constituents who are in dire straits as a result of the military lockdown. They are also gravely concerned with the ever greater difficulties the people are going to face in the coming months and years.

The Party calls on all its committees, all NPA units and all revolutionary forces to continue to strengthen and consolidate their ranks in an all-sided manner in order to enable them to lead the masses in facing the public health crisis and the grave socio-economic crisis.

DOWNLOAD: Data sheet on COIN Operations (as of April 14)

Kalinaw News: Army Captures 6 CNTs, Rescues 3 Minors in Agusan del Norte

Posted to Kalinaw News (Apr 15, 2020): Army Captures 6 CNTs, Rescues 3 Minors in Agusan del Norte (By 4th Infantry Division)

CABADBARAN CITY, Agusan del Norte- After a series of encounters with the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) due to their violation of the unilateral ceasefire last April 13, 2020, the troops of the 29th Infantry (MATATAG) Battalion captured 6 CNT personalities and rescued 3 minors on the same day at Barangay Cuyago, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte.

The said CNT captured personalities were identified as Seljun A. Amol, 24y/o who was recognized by a former rebel (FR) as a former member of Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) 16A and who is not in active combat but is currently serving as a recruiter of the youth to join the NPA; Junrell E. Balbero, 24 y/o, one of the target personalities in Brgy. Baleguian tagged as a youth organizer and has a direct link with alias @Gab, who is the Political Instructor of SYP16A; Jainie A. Alatraca, 21y/o, who has a brother who is a former NPA member, who has also taken a noncombat role since late 2015, her parents were also active mass supporters/couriers in Brgy Jaliobong; Jhon T. Sayson, 21y/o, the leader of the newly recruited NPAs; Cristine P. Baghocan, 19 y/o; and James Jusua B. Amolo, 19y/o. All are recruits and attendees of the CNTs’ teach-in while three minors aged 17 y/o were also identified and rescued.

The CNTs have been recruiting minors for some time and have continued their recruitment activities despite the Covid 19 pandemic. The military has unceasingly condemned the CNTs’ recruitment of minors as combatants to join their armed struggle against the government. This strategy of the communist terrorists is a manifestation of their complete disregard for the rights of the minors as well as a violation of the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the Republic Act 7610 (Special Protection of Children against Abuse Exploitation and Discrimination Act).

According to Lt. Col. Isagani O. Criste, Commanding Officer of 29IB,” We can see how selfish and insensitive these NPAs are. That while everyone is exerting all their best efforts to solve problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic, these NPAs are busy persisting in their evil deeds recruiting people including minors. Is this what they call assistance to these people? They are deceiving young minds and leading them to a desolate and desperate life.”

“I do not know how many times we need to plead for the people to stop believing the NPAs’ lies. But I am sure of one thing, that we will never get tired of fulfilling our duty to protect our land and our people against the deadly virus that are these NPAs. And we will make sure that, like the scientists and doctors who are targeting the destruction of the pandemic virus, we will also destroy these NPAs if they do not put an end to their evil machinations. So, to all who are still blinded and are in the snares of the NPA’s chain of death, surrender now before it’s too late,” Criste boldly uttered.

The captured CNT personalities were presented to Hon. Napoleon M. Montero, the Municipal Mayor of Jabonga and then brought to the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office for inquest proceedings, where they were charged with multiple attempted murder and violation of RA 9516. They were then detained at Jabonga Municipal Police Station while the three rescued minors were confined at the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (PSWD) of Agusan Del Norte facilities at Bahay Pag- Asa in the Municipality of Tubay and Home for the Girls in Butuan City.

[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: Six members of BIFF operating in Maguindanao lay down their firearms and returned to the Fold of Law

Posted to Kalinaw News (Apr 15, 2020): Six members of BIFF operating in Maguindanao lay down their firearms and returned to the Fold of Law (By 6th Infantry Division)

Camp Siongco, Maguindanao – Amidst the occurrence of COVID-19, the 601st Brigade under the Joint Task Force Central continues its intensified collaboration with the local leaders in the area to entice lawless terror armed groups to lay down their firearms and return to the fold of the law. By embracing the way to peace, these lawless elements can contribute to the efforts of the government in fighting the spread of COVID-19 in the whole province.

Relative to this, another six (6) members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) under Bungos faction submitted themselves to 33rd Infantry Battalion and abandoned their worthless struggle under the extremist terrorist ideology on April 13, 2020 at about 10 o’clock this morning. Among the surrenderers were; Naldo Babalay, Nashrudin Kanapia, Abil Kusain, Dok Adam, Alamansa Manampad and Antok Pendatun. As a show of sincerity, they brought along with them the following high powered firearms: two (2) M14 rifles, one (1) cal .30 sniper rifle, one cal .50 sniper rifle, and two (2) M79 grenade launchers.

It was learned that through genuine commitment and comprehensive livelihood programs that were extended by the government to the previous surrenderers within the 601st Infantry Brigade area of operation, said individuals were convinced to lay their firearms and live a normal life together with their families.

“We expect a continuous influx of surrenderers in the unit area of operation as we sustain our campaign against the terrorist armed groups in collaboration with the different stakeholders in the area. We acknowledge the support of the local leaders in this period of crisis”, said by Lt. Col. Elmer M. Boongaling, the commanding officer of 33rd Infantry battalion.

It has been perceived that incessant numbers of terror armed groups from Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter and Dawlah Islamiah Turaiffe Group surrendered in 601st Infantry Brigade during the period of 1st quarter CY 2020 as the brigade continues to carry out its mandated mission in the unit area of responsibility notwithstanding the current fight against COVID19. The Bde’s effort is in consonance with the guidance set by Maj. Gen Diosdado C. Carreon, Commander, JTFC that JTFC shall be able to effectively fight in two fronts; fighting against COVID19 and fighting for peace in Central Mindanao in support to the lead agencies of the government.

Col. Joel Q. Mamon, OIC, 601IBde said, “With this challenging situation brought about by the pandemic, it is our duties and responsibilities to sustain the peace and order in the area while we work together to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Maguindanao province”.

“Our desire is to persuade the BIFF members in the area, change their perspective and ideology in accordance with the true Islamic beliefs as we harness our efforts among the local officials and religious leaders”, he added.

Meanwhile, the surrenderers will undergo the custodial debriefing and processing and they will be endorsed to the provincial government of Maguindanao for appropriate livelihood assistance. The mentioned firearms were at the Headquarters 33IB for safekeeping and proper disposition.”

[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: NPA kills another militiamen in SurSur town

Posted to Kalinaw News (Apr 15, 2020): NPA kills another militiamen in SurSur town (By 4th Infantry Division)

Tago, Surigao del Sur, Apr 15 – The Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) has brutally killed another militiaman in San Miguel town, this province, yesterday April 14, 2020.

The victim was identified as CAA Wilson Behing, 34 years old a resident So Lamesa, Brgy Carromata, San Miguel, SDS who is rendering duty at Bitaugan PB, Brgy Bitaugan, San Miguel. SDS. CAA Behing was murdered by more or less 5 NPAs believe to be a member of Platoon 2, Sub-Region Sentro de Grabidad (SRSDG) 2130 of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).

In an initial investigation, CAA Behing came from San Miguel Municipal hall because he gets the 5k assistance as beneficiary of Social Amelioration Program (SAP), upon his return to his residence at Sitio Lamesa, Brgy Carromata he was shot and stabbed that resulted to his untimely death. CAA Behing suffered multiple gunshot wounds and stabbed wounds on the different parts of his body.

Based on the Art 4, Part IV of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL): Civilian population and civilians shall be treated as such and shall be distinguished from combatants and, together with their property, shall not be the object of attack. This is another history of the Communist NPA Terrorist disrespect of the International Humanitarian Law and human rights law. The killing of innocent civilians without armed is a war crime and a crime against humanity.

It is also very clear that the communist NPA Terrorist is not sincere on their declaration of ceasefire against the government, it can be noted that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has announced a ceasefire from March 26 to April 15 to allow the government to focus on its fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country. But the CNTs are taking advantage of the ceasefire to target vulnerable and innocent civilians to cause fear on the communities to support their futile cause.

In his statement, Lt Col Jezreel Diagmel, Commanding Officer of 36th Infantry (Valor) Battalion vehemently deplores the brutal killings of the CAA Behing who just want to bring the government support to his family amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is very clear that the CNTs showed their true identity of being a murderer and butcher. This is a manifestation of a war crime and a crime against humanity,” Army Official Added.

“I call on the human rights advocate again to investigate on this matter and give justice to the families of the victim,” Lt Col Diagmel ended.

Meanwhile, troops of 36IB proceeded to the area and retrieved the cadaver and immediately transported to San Miguel MPS for post mortem examination and proper investigation.

[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: EMC encourages starving NPA to surrender amid COVID-19

Posted to Kalinaw News (Apr 15, 2020): EMC encourages starving NPA to surrender amid COVID-19 (By 10TH INFANTRY DIVISION)

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City – Amidst the crisis brought about by the COVID-19, MGen. Jose C. Faustino Jr., the Commander of Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) challenges the starving members of the New Peoples Army (NPA) to surrender and avail the Government’s Enhanced Local Integration Program and other Social Programs instead of harassing communities and grabbing their relief goods.

“Instead of harassing and gabbing the relief goods of the communities and adding to their misery, it is better for the NPA members to surrender and avail the Government’s Enhanced Local Integration Program and other Government Social Programs. We have a caring government that attends to the need of every citizen of this country in times of crisis,” MGen. Faustino Jr. said.

The challenge came after troops under the EMC figured in series of encounters after responding to reports that several members of the NPA are harassing the communities in Barangay Cuyago, Jabonga, Agusan Del Norte on April 13, 2020, and in Barangay Mahan-ub, Baganga, Davao Oriental on April 11, 2020. Previously, an encounter also transpired in Barangay Tagdangwa, Pantukan, Davao De Oro on April 7, 2020, after an AFP-PNP Inter-Agency group responded to a reported NPA extortion in the said area.

Relatedly, MGen. Faustino Jr. in his directive lauded the efforts of the different units in Eastern Mindanao in supporting the different LGUs in their initiatives against COVID-19. He also reminded them of their task in securing the communities from the terroristic acts of lawless armed groups.

“Let us continue to support the Local Government initiatives and programs to prevent the spread of the virus and mitigate its social and economic impact without compromising the security of our communities from possible terroristic acts,” MGen. Faustino Jr. directed.

[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: NPA member nabbed in Davao de Oro amid COVID-19 crisis

Posted to Kalinaw News (Apr 15, 2020): NPA member nabbed in Davao de Oro amid COVID-19 crisis (By 10th Infantry Division)

Mawab, Davao de Oro – Supply Officer of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) was successfully apprehended as the AFP-PNP jointly conducted active defense patrol in connection with the implementation of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for COVID-19 in Brgy Cadunan, Mabini, Davao de Oro, Monday morning.

Former rebels who were once with him affirmed that the apprehended CNT is Samuel T Elemino Jr @SAM, resident of Sitio Bonglas, Brgy Cabuyoan, Mabini, by. Sam is a supply officer of the Weakened Guerilla Front 2 (WGF2) of the NPA which operates in the municipalities of Mawab, Maco, Mabini and Pantukan all of Davao de Oro.

Sam was apprehended by virtue of his warrants of arrest for his crimes of robbery with homicide and multiple attempted murder with case numbers 7063 and 6966 respectively all issued in 2018 by Regional Trial Court Branch 3, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley (now Davao de Oro) with no bail bond recommended.

Samuel was involved in an armed encounter with Army’s 46th Infantry Battalion (46IB) sometime in 2018 and with 71IB in April 2019 all in the municipality of Mabini, Davao de Oro.

Joint active defense patrol was launched by 71IB and Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) of the Police in relation to the strict implementation of ECQ for COVID-19 following the reports from civilians that CNTs continued to terrorize locals in the hinterlands forcing them to give and buy food and other supplies for the rebels.

Tribal members in the municipality of Maco and Mabini earlier complained that those rebels trespassed into their ancestral domains which negatively affected the livelihood of the tribesmen.

It can be recalled that last week, locals in the hinterlands of Brgy Golden Valley and Cadunan both of Mabini and barangays of Tagdangua and Tibagon of Pantukan, were so afraid of NPA rebels’ presence in their farms forcing the locals to abandon their crops and find safe refuge in the nearest purok halls. The populace already suffered from the peril brought by COVID-19 pandemic but graver peril by the CNTs’ exploitation and abuse. “We were already at the mercy of the virus but suffered even more as the hungry rebels kept asking food forcibly and ransacked others who did not gave them the favor,” locals said in their language.

The rebels’ continued terrors upon the farmers instigated the locals to report and seek the help of the 71IB which led to an armed encounter last April 7 resulting in the recovery of high powered firearms and significant amount of medical supplies and paraphernalia among others and the death of 2 high ranking members of the CNTs who fired upon the approaching troops of 71IB and RMFB. One cadaver was recovered on the day of the clash belongs to @Asthro, (Julius Aquaiatan Jr) who was recruited at a minor age of 17 and became a child warrior as medic of WGF2, one of the fronts of Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) of the NPA. The other cadaver was that of @Neby (Benjamin Olvis) and was found on a cliff near the encounter site after 2 days of the incident when he was abandoned by his fellow NPA rebels despite his more than 30 years of service to the rebellion. He was barely 15 years old when he was recruited, another child warrior of the NPA who later became the chief of the regional medical bureau of SMRC. The 71IB in coordination with the local government units of Pantukan and Mabini and provincial government of Davao de Oro accorded decent burials to the deceased NPA members and extended small assistance to the bereaved families.

Lieutenant Colonel Sonny E Gonzales, Commanding Officer of 71IB, was elated as the unit successfully prevented CNTs’ hostile plans of ridiculing the effort of the government in its measures against COVID-19. “We will continue to successfully hamper evil plans of the CNTs that would malign the united effort of our fellowmen in easing out from the virus pandemic. Much more that local populace are now very active in providing us real-time information, an indication that rebels significantly lost the support of the exploited locals who were tired of being deceived by CNTs false ideology,” he added.

All barangays and tribal council of the municipality of Mawab, Mabini and Pantukan and many barangays of Maco have declared the CPP-NPA-NDF as persona non grata since last year and pledged not to support them in any form.

As of this writing, Sam is at the custody of PNP. Meanwhile, 71IB lobbies whatever assistance may be extended to Sam’s family.

[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 assists Surigao City distribute Cash Assistance under Social Amelioration Program (SAP) in SurNor

Posted to Kalinaw News (Apr 15, 2020): Army assists Surigao City distribute Cash Assistance under Social Amelioration Program (SAP) in SurNor (By 4th Infantry Division)

Placer, Surigao del Norte- The Philippine Army’s 30th Infantry Python Battalion (30IB) assisted Surigao City LGU release Cash Assistance under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) from April 11-13, 2020 to qualified families of eleven Island barangays of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte.

Surigao City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) headed by Ms. Gloria Salvador, facilitated the release of the SAP cash assistance amounting to P5,000 to P8,000 to 1,008 qualified beneficiaries from eleven island barangays of Surigao City on 11-13 April 2020. The SAP cash assistance distribution to the rest of the barangays of the City will be done thereafter. Said activity was assisted by 30IB together with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP).

This social amelioration program from the national government aims to provide cash assistance to qualified beneficiaries to help them mitigate the effects of the dreadful Corona Virus Disease 19 (Covid-19) pandemic. Target beneficiaries of the SAP are low-income earning families or those on subsistence economy or workers in the informal economy, and with members belonging to the vulnerable sector, assessed to be the most affected by the declaration of Enhanced Community Quarantine given their existing life situations or circumstances.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey A Villarosa, Commanding Officer of 30IB said, “Our government, from the national to the barangay level, are closely working so that help will timely reach the rightful beneficiries, those who are most affected by this Covid-19 pandemic. As for the SAP, the Social Welfare and Development Officers are the focal persons in its implementation. To ensure the success of the distribution of cash assistance, your AFP and PNP, as well as other government agencies, will always jointly work with the Social Welfare personnel of the LGUs.”

“It is everyone’s desire to keep our province, our communities Covid19-free. As we speak, Surigao del Norte and the Province of Dinagat Islands are Covid19-free. Let us keep it this way. Our government is doing all it can to end this health emergency. SAP is among the programs of our government to help us endure this emergency. It is important that all will contribute so that we will finally end this emergency. With everyone’s cooperation, we will heal as one,” Villarosa ended.

[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:]

PH Army deploys new troops in Quarantine Assistance Stations in Metro Manila borders

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 15, 2020): PH Army deploys new troops in Quarantine Assistance Stations in Metro Manila borders (By Rhodelia R. Divina)

Philippine Army deploys personnel to Quarantine Assistance Stations to ensure safety and security during the implementation of the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine. (Photo by Philippine Army)

CALOOCAN CITY, April 15 (PIA)--The Philippine Army deployed a new set of troops that will man the Quarantine Assistance Stations (QAS) in the border of Metro Manila starting yesterday, April 14.

Soldiers from the 92nd Infantry Battalion will take over the QAS after the troops from the Army Security Escort Battalion (SEBn) manned the Luzon checkpoints for 30 days.

A total of 150 Army personnel were deployed in QAS, Metro Manila at Mc Arthur Highway, Barangay Malanday, Valenzuela City; Camachile, Caloocan; Smart Connect Interchange, Mindanao Avenue, Valenzuela City.

SEBn troops, upon return to Ft Bonifacio underwent decontamination procedure at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani. After which, they will proceed to designated quarantine stations inside Army Headquarters and Army Wellness Center for their 14-day quarantine.

“The Philippine Army will continue its mission in the protection of our communities against the threat of Covid-19 by deploying more troops to ensure safety and security during the ECQ,” Army Spokesperson Col Ramon Zagala said.

“We assure our soldiers that we will provide them with appropriate health assistance as they undergo their quarantine period,” Zagala added. (PH Army/PIA-NCR)

Tagalog News: Army, GMA Foundation namahagi ng relief goods sa Meycauayan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 15, 2020): Tagalog News: Army, GMA Foundation namahagi ng relief goods sa Meycauayan (By Vinson F. Concepcion)

LUNGSOD NG MALOLOS, Abril 15 (PIA) -- Nagsagawa ng Operation Bayanihan ang mga sundalo ng 48th Infantry Battalion o 48IB at GMA Kapuso Foundation sa barangay Malhacan sa lungsod ng Meycauayan.

Ayon kay 48IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Felix Emeterio Valdez, layunin nito na matugunan ang mga pangunahing pangangailangan ng mga residente habang umiiral ang Enhanced Community Quarantine.

Nagsagawa ng Operation Bayanihan ang mga sundalo ng 48th Infantry Battalion at GMA Kapuso Foundation sa barangay Malhacan sa lungsod ng Meycauayan. (48th Infantry Battalion)

May 650 pamilya o katumbas na 2,600 indibidwal ang nabigyan ng mga relief goods. Bawat isa ay naglalaman ng dalawang kilong bigas, isang loaf bread, isang pakete na may walong slices na frozen chicken, sampung pirasong instant noodles, walong lata ng sardinas, apat na pakete ng seasoning, isang dosenang kape, biscuit at anim na pirasong sabon.

Kasama sa nakibahagi sa naturang aktibidad ang iba’t ibang kumpanya gaya ng Ajinamoto, Jollibee Food Corporation, Gardenia, Kopiko at Vouno Trading and Marketing. (CLJD/VFC-PIA 3)

Tagalog News: 84IB, tumulong sa mga mahihirap na pamilya sa San Jose

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 15, 2020): Tagalog News: 84IB, tumulong sa mga mahihirap na pamilya sa San Jose (By Camille C. Nagano)

LUNGSOD NG SAN JOSE, Abril 15 (PIA) -- Nasa 75 pamilya ang binigyang ayuda ng mga kasundaluhan ng 84th Infantry Battalion o 84IB sa lungsod ng San Jose.

Ayon kay 84IB Commander Lieutenant Colonel Honorato Pascual Jr., sa pamamagitan ng munting gawain ay hangad ng hanay na makatulong sa mga higit na nangangailangan lalo ngayong nakararanas ng krisis dulot ng coronavirus disease.

Patuloy aniyang maaasahan ang pagtulong, paghahatid serbisyo at pagtupad sa sinumpaang tungkulin ng mga kasundaluhan. 

Ang pamamahagi ng mga kasundaluhan ng 84th Infantry Battalion ng mga food packs sa mga higit na nangangailangang mamamayan ng lungsod San Jose. (84th Infantry Battalion)

Kabilang sa mga nakatanggap ng food packs ang mga residente ng Zone-6 Barangay Sto. Niño II na naglalaman ng apat na kilong bigas, isang buong manok, mga de lata, tig-isang bote ng bagoong at mantika.

Pinuri naman ni 7th Infantry Division Commander Brigadier General Alfredo Rosario Jr. ang gampaning ito ng mga kasundaluhan na nag-ambag ambag mula sa sariling sweldo upang makatulong sa mga nangangailangang nasasakupan.

Kaniya ding hinihikayat ang mga kapwa kasundaluhan sa mga kagayang inisyatibong magbigay tulong sa abot ng makakaya. (CLJD/CCN-PIA 3)

Army distributes rice in Dinalupihan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 15, 2020): Army distributes rice in Dinalupihan  (By Mar Jay delas Alas)

Featured Image

BALANGA CITY, April 15 (PIA) -- The 48th Infantry Battalion (48IB) distributed Tuesday sacks of rice to residents of Barangay Pita in Dinalupihan town.

In a statement, 703rd Brigade Commander Col. Andrew Costelo said 932 families received the rice as aid during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) period.

Personnel of the 48IB delivered each sack, which is equivalent to 25 kilos, house-to-house in coordination with the municipal and barangay officials.

48th Infantry Battalion delivers sacks of rice to 932 families in Barangay Pita of Dinalupihan, Bataan. (48th Infantry Battalion)

Costelo extended gratitude to the municipal government of Dinalupihan for their assistance and asked residents to abide rules being implemented in their area.

“The efforts of our different local government units are superb in order to satisfy needs of the deprived especially that we are in the middle of ECQ. With this, we ask the public to just stay home and strictly follow ECQ protocols,” Costelo stressed. (CLJD/MJSD-PIA 3)

Air Force buys veggies for poor families in Manila

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 15, 2020): Air Force buys veggies for poor families in Manila (By Liza Agoot)

VEGETABLES FOR DONATION. The Philippine Air Force (PAF) led by team leader Capt. Edward Licnachan is transporting 16 tons of assorted vegetables bought from farmers in Benguet which will be donated to the poor families in Manila affected by a recent fire. Some of the vegetables would be distributed to indigents in Metro Manila affected by the enhanced community quarantine. (PNA photo by Liza T. Agoot)

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Philippine Air Force (PAF), through its civil-military operations office, has purchased more than 13 tons of assorted vegetables from farmers here for distribution to poor families in Metro Manila affected by the enhanced community quarantine.

The PAF also got three more tons, mostly carrots, from the farmers as part of their donation.

Capt. Edward Licnachan, PAF team leader, said on Wednesday they decided to buy the vegetables after seeing a social media posting showing farmers already disposing of their produce due to the minimal number of buyers.

“Nabuo ang idea noong nanggaling ako sa Ifugao at nag uwi ako sa Manila ng gulay tapos nakita pa namin mga post na nagtatapon ng gulay ang mga farmer kasi nabubulok kaya naisip namin na tulungan ang farmers at the same time, makatulong sa mga mamamayan sa Manila (The idea was conceptualized when I brought with me vegetables from Ifugao and matched with what we saw on social media where farmers have been throwing their vegetables as they were rotting. We thought of helping the farmers at the same time, help Manila residents),” said Licnachan, also a native of Mayaoyao town in Ifugao.

He said the money came from the PAF community relations fund and the cash donations they received to buy the vegetables.

“We are bringing it to Villamor where it will be repacked and will be donated to the residents in areas where there were fire incidents,” Licnachan said.

He said they will also bring to Binondo, Baseco and if there are still remaining vegetables, they will give to front-liners and to the hospital personnel who lead the fight against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19)

“Marami po tayong mapagbibigyan (There are many we can give these vegetables to),” he said.

He said it is the first time they are doing the said community relations activity, hitting two birds with one stone- helping the farmers and aiding the victims.

He said they might have succeeding trips, especially if there are donors.

Agot Balanoy, public relations officer of the league of associations at La Trinidad Trading areas and the Benguet farmers' marketing cooperative head, said they were contacted by the PAF about buying vegetables and give them as donations.

“Of the 16 tons, they bought about 80 percent composed of assorted vegetables and we added about three tons mostly carrots,” she said.

NPA supply officer nabbed in Davao Oro

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 15, 2020): NPA supply officer nabbed in Davao Oro (By Che Palicte)

Google map of Mabini town, Davao de Oro.

Government troops arrested a supply officer of the communist New People's Army (NPA) in the Davao de Oro town of Mabini on Monday morning, an official said Wednesday.

2Lt. Kim Carlos, civil-military operations officer of the Army's 71st Infantry Battalion (71IB), identified the arrested rebel as Samuel Elemino Jr., supply officer of the NPA's "weakened" Guerrilla Front 2 operating in the Davao de Oro towns of Mawab, Maco, Mabini, and Pantukan.

Carlos attributed Elemino's arrest in Barangay Cadunan, Mabini, to the heightened enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“Prior to his (Elemino) apprehension, the tribesmen in the area already reported to us their presence in their ancestral domain,” Carlos told Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Wednesday.

According to Carlos, the AFP and PNP recently formed a Covid-19 joint defense patrol following reports from civilians that the NPA continued to terrorize locals in the hinterlands, often extorting money and vital food supplies from residents.

For instance, he recalled that villagers in Mabini and Pantukan towns complained of the rebels' presence, forcing them to abandon their crops and seeking refuge in other areas.

Carlos said Elemino has standing warrants of arrest for robbery with homicide and multiple attempted murders issued in 2018 by a regional court in Nabunturan, Davao de Oro. No bail has been recommended for his temporary liberty.

According to Carlos, Elemino was also involved in the armed encounter with Army’s 46IB in 2018 and with 71IB in April 2019, in Mabini.

Lt. Col. Sonny Gonzales, 71IB commander, vowed the Army will "thwart evil plans of the CNTs (communist NPA terrorists)" that would disrupt the government's effort to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

As of this posting, Elemino is in the custody of the PNP while the 71IB said they are trying to find ways to provide financial assistance to the rebel's family.

NCIP condemns slay of unarmed tribal militiaman in Surigao Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 15, 2020): NCIP condemns slay of unarmed tribal militiaman in Surigao Sur (By Alexander Lopez)

KILLED UNARMED. Soldiers and villagers load onto a military vehicle the dead body of Estar Behing, 34, a government militiaman who was killed by armed men believed to be members of communist New People’s Army in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, on Tuesday (April 14, 2020). Authorities condemned the killing, as they called on human rights advocates to investigate the rebels' latest atrocity. (Photo courtesy of 36th IB, Army)

The National Commission on Indigenous People in Caraga Region (NCIP-13) condemned the killing of an unarmed militiaman believed to be perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur.

In a statement Wednesday, acting NCIP-13 Director Marlon P. Bosantog, said Wilson Estar Behing, 34, of the Manobo tribe, and member of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), was killed Tuesday while he was clearing weeds on his farm to prepare for planting in Sitio Baroboan, Barangay Carromata, San Miguel.

“As our world continues to plunge into the uncertainty brought about by the unrelenting assault of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus Disease) pandemic, the CPP-NPA-NDF is also doing its best, as it has always done, to sow chaos and terror throughout our country,” Bosantog said, referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines, the NPA's mother organization, and the National Democratic Front, the rebel movement's political arm.

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

Reports said the victim was killed in front of his children. His body was retrieved the following day at about 9:30 a.m.

“Our farmers are indispensable front-liners in the fight against this pandemic," he said. "Our indigenous cultural communities are significant sources of our food supply. Let them plant and harvest, so that you (NPA) have something to steal."

CPP-NPA-NDF members, he added, are ransacking and snatching relief goods in Samar intended for the people with the direst of needs.

“This terrorist group is also extorting food supplies and relief goods from farmers all over our country,” he said, adding that last week they gunned down and killed Ildefonso Tobias, a farmer in Samar, while he was is tilling his fields.

A week before, they killed a Manobo tribal chieftain.

“To the CPP-NPA-NDF and to all your legal fronts, I beg you the impossible. Stop killing our farmers. Stop killing our indigenous peoples. Even the worst of evils must know reason,” Bosantog said.

Farmers, he said. are indispensable frontlines in the fight against this pandemic while indigenous cultural communities are significant sources of our food supply.

“Let them plant and harvest, so that you have something to steal. I understand you go hungry, too. Stop killing them and we will not speak of how a self-styled anti-government organization is living on stolen relief goods from the same government,” he added.

He assured fellow farmers and indigenous brothers and sisters that they will never be just victims, or survivors of Covid-19 and the CPP-NPA-NDF virus, but will be triumphant conquerors.

“Just as the human spirit has never seen defeat, Our Nation, we as People, with the blessings of the earth in our Indigenous Cultural Communities, with hope and resiliency, with grace from our One God of many names, be it Kabunian or Magbabaya, we will emerge triumphant. And we will be here to witness the CPP-NPA-NDF draw its dying breaths,” he added.

The police and military also condemned the killing.

“We condemn this act of the NPA considering that the victim was attending to his farm for a living. He only has in his hand's farm tools,” said Col. James Goforth, chief of the Surigao Del Sur Provincial Police Office.

He said the victim died on the spot while the perpetrators immediately fled towards the mountainous portions of Barangay Carromata.

The relatives of the victim were not able to immediately report the incident to authorities due to fear as they believed some NPA members were still in the area, he said.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Army's 36th Infantry Battalion said Behing was killed by rebels believed to be members of Platoon 2, Sub-Region Sentro de Grabidad 2130 of the NPA's North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee.

“It is very clear that the CNTs (communist NPA terrorists) showed their true identities as murderers and butchers,” said Lt. Col. Jezreel Diagmel, 36IB commander.

Diagmel also called on human rights advocates to investigate the NPA's apparent violation of the International Humanitarian Law.

Army lieutenant who died on Holy Week negative for Covid-19

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 15, 2020): Army lieutenant who died on Holy Week negative for Covid-19 (By Priam Nepomuceno)

2nd Lt. Vince Magbanua. (Photo courtesy of PMA Alab-Tala Class of 2018 Facebook page)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced that 2nd Lt. Vince Magbanua, who passed away last week in Bulacan after experiencing difficulty in breathing, tested negative for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

"We wish to announce that the late Army 2nd Lt. Vince Magbanua’s test for Covid-19 infection yielded negative per RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) test," AFP spokesperson Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a message to reporters late Tuesday.

Magbanua, 24, was a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 2018. He was assigned as a platoon leader and executive officer of the weapons company of the Headquarters Service Battalion, 48th Infantry Battalion based in Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan.

He was declared dead on arrival at the Norzagaray Municipal Hospital on Holy Wednesday where he was rushed after complaining of severe difficulty in breathing.

Magbanua's remains were cremated at the Bernard de Guzman Funeral and Crematory in Barangay Sta. Clara, Sta. Maria, Bulacan on Maundy Thursday.

His brother, 2nd Lt. Vico Magbanua, represented his family during the cremation rites.