Monday, July 13, 2020

WESTMINCOM: Soldiers, CTG clash anew in Zambo del Norte

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Facebook Page (Jul 13, 3030): Soldiers, CTG clash anew in Zambo del Norte

While conducting combat operations, troops of the 53rd Infantry Battalion encountered the members of Communist Terrorist Group in the boundary of Sitio Tumanong, Barangay Macasing and Sitio Lacnapan Barangay Pange, all of Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte at late afternoon of July 11.

Firefight lasted for ten minutes, after which the enemy withdrew along with their casualties.

"While scouring the encounter site, the troops recovered one caliber .50 rifle (Barrett) with 20 ammunition, one rocket-propelled grenade with two ammunition, one M16 rifle, medical paraphernalia, assorted medicines, propaganda materials and personal belongings," said Col. Leonel Nicolas, 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander.

Joint Task Force ZamPeLan Commander, Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, also lauded the troops for their successive gains.

"I commend the troops of the JTF ZamPeLan for their steadfast courage in fighting against the Communist Terrorists Group and all the challenges posed by the pandemic," said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Commander, Western Mindanao Command.

"On the other hand, I ask our prayer warriors to constantly pray for the safety of our soldiers as they advance towards the enemy strongholds and pursue the remaining terrorists," Lt. Gen. Sobejana added.

6th Infantry Division - Kampilan 601 Infantry - Unifier Brigade 602nd Liberator Troopers 603 Persuader Brigade 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade Unang Marinong Brigada Team Tabak Joint Taskforce Basilan Haribon Magbalantay Cmo 11 Infantry Division "Alakdan Troopers" 2MBde Red Shield Gagandilan Siete 1102 Infantry "ganarul" Brigade 1st BCT Aegis Kwatromarinobrigada Sulu Jtf Tawi Tawi Indomalphi Joint Task Force Zamboanga Joint Task Force Zamboanga Virtual Center Unbeatable Ranger Battalion Matatag Battalion Tow Westmin Cmo Tow Westmin Pio Naval Forces Western Mindanao Cmou Western Mindanao Katapatan Pangkatihan-Dagatan 33rd Infantry Makabayan Battalion 57th Infantry Masikap Battalion 1st Mechanized Lakan Battalion 90th Infantry Bigkis Lahi Battalion Seventh Infantry Tapat Battalion Reliablecmo R Section 6IB Redskin 37IB - Conqueror Battalion 40 Infantry "Magiting" Battalion 2nd Mechanized Infantry-MAKASAGBattalion OnlyOurBest MbltFive 38th Infantry "We Clear" Battalion Breathe Heart Ruel Casanes Ar-ar Galvez Afman Rosales Jr. Antriosanjh Espenida Nenea Sancus Princy Necessitas La Independencia Filipinas Drei Eldrei Hiloma

No photo description available.

No photo description available.

No photo description available.

They’re not our members – NPA

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jul 14, 2020): They’re not our members – NPA

A spokesman of the New People’s Army Apolinario Gatmaitan Command yesterday vehemently denied military and police claims that four arrested persons on Friday in Brgy. Magballo, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, are ranking officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army.

They are not even members of the NPA, rebel spokesman Ka Juanito Magbanua claimed, adding that those arrested are but victims of the government intensifying of state terrorism, targeting innocent civilians and labeling them as NPA top brass for bounty and to demoralize the revolutionary movement..

Maj. Cenon Pancito III, Public Affairs Office chief of the 3rd Infantry Division, said yesterday that there is nothing new in the denial of Magbanua, stressing that they are masters in making excuses each time their group commits blunders and are now crippled by the series of combined operations against them.

Instead of wasting efforts in distorting facts, Pancito advised them and their allies to do better in the legal battle.

The arrest of the four alleged NPA leaders also yielded explosives, and guns, among other items.

Magbanua, meanwhile, said in a statement that the NPA-Negros continue operating in five guerilla fronts in the entire Negros Island.

He claimed that the focused military operations of the AFP against the NPA have only angered the people even more as they only brought terror, hunger, and now even the virus to communities.

Magbanua also said that as state attacks worsen, the NPA will surely grow in numbers as a result, and thanked President Rodrigo Duterte, the AFP and PNP for being their number one recruiters.

‘4 rebel leaders nabbed’

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jul 14, 2020): ‘4 rebel leaders nabbed’

Four suspected leaders of the New People’s Army were arrested by the combined forces of the Philippine Army and National Police in Sitio Mamposo, Brgy. Magballo, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, Friday.

Lt. Col. Erwin Cariño, 15th Infantry Battalion commander, yesterday said that the arrest of the four NPA leaders yielded four hand grenades, a .45 caliber pistol with a magazine containing seven ammunition, a .38 caliber revolver with five ammunition, P119,354 in cash, 26 cellular phones with chargers, assorted medicines, USBs and subversive documents.

Nabbed were Emmylo Cañares, with the aliases of Sid and Drey, alleged secretary of the Cebu Party Committee; George Buga-ay of Brgy. Punta Taytay, Bacolod City, claimed by authorities to be the Finance and Logistic officer of the Komiteng Rehiyonal- Negros Regional Strike Force; and Relyn Moreno of Brgy. Orong, Kabankalan City, political instructor and former member of the NPA Special Partisan Unit and Raffy Patajo, alias Paolo, of Brgy. Pinggot, Ilog, who are also both staff members of KR-Negros Regional Communication Bureau.

Carino reported that Buga-ay, 42, with the alias of Samantha Alexa, served as former secretary general of the fisherman group PAMALAKAYA, while Cañares, a resident of San Fernando, Cebu, was also tagged by the police as secretary of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros-Cebu-Bohol-Siquijor Regional Communication and former finance chief of the Bohol Party Committee, and Patajo as squad leader of South West Front platoon 2.

He also said that the arrest of the four NPA leaders was a product of a joint intelligence operation, following an encounter between government forces and NPA rebels on July 8 in Brgy. Pinggot, Ilog, Negros Occidental.

Col. Noel Baluyan, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, who supervises the 15th and 11th Infantry Battalions in southern Negros, said the arrest of the ranking rebel leaders is a big blow on the terrorism and exploitation activities of the New People’s Army in Negros Island.

Brig. Gen. Rene Pamuspusan, regional police director of Western Visayas, also credited the arrest of the suspected NPA leaders to the vigilance of the community in Brgy. Magballo, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.

All the arrested suspects will be charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, Cariño said.

PRRD hopes Jolo incident won’t spark animosity between AFP, PNP

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 14, 2020): PRRD hopes Jolo incident won’t spark animosity between AFP, PNP (By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos)

NO GRUDGES. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte salutes the wounded soldiers he visited at the Camp General Teodulfo Bautista Headquarters in Jolo, Sulu on Monday (July 13, 2020). Duterte advised the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) not to hold a grudge against the Philippine National Police (PNP) despite the police officers’ fatal shooting of four military intelligence officers last June 29. (Presidential photo)

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday expressed hope that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) would maintain a good working relationship despite the recent shooting incident between cops and soldiers in Jolo, Sulu.

During his visit to Camp General Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo, Sulu, Duterte advised the AFP to not hold a grudge against the PNP despite the police officers’ fatal shooting of four military intelligence officers.

Duterte provided the advice in a taped speech aired Tuesday morning on state-run PTV-4 as he offered condolences to members of the AFP following the deaths of the four soldiers.

“We have the deaths of your fellow soldiers where certain members of the Philippine National Police were involved. As your Commander-in-Chief, I grieve for our fallen men,” he said. “It is my hope that this isolated incident will not spark any animosity between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP.”

Killed in the June 29 shooting incident between personnel of AFP and PNP in Jolo, Sulu were Maj. Marvin Indammog, Capt. Irwin Managuelod, Sgt. Jaime Velasco and Cpl. Abdal Asula.

The nine police officers involved in the killing of the four members of the Army intelligence unit were relieved of their posts and placed under the custody of the provincial police headquarters in Jolo.

They are S/Sgt. Almudzrin Hadjaruddin, Pat. Alkajal Mandangan, Pat. Rajiv Patulan, Senior M/ Sgt. Abdelzhimar Padjiri, M/Sgt. Hanie U Baddiri, S/Sgt. Iskandar Susulan, S/Sgt. Ernisar Sappal, Cpl. Sulki Andaki and Pat. Mohammad Nur Pasani.

Impartial probe
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has already been directed to uncover the truth behind the shooting incident involving cops and soldiers.

Duterte, in his latest remarks, assured the military that the NBI would conduct an “immediate and impartial” probe into the incident.

“I already tasked the National Bureau of Investigation to do justice by conducting an immediate and impartial investigation to ferret out the truth,” he said.

Duterte guaranteed that truth will come out, “be it in favor of the police or the military.”

“Ang hinihingi ko lang, ang totoong nangyari (All I ask is to know the truth). So you can rest assured that justice will be done to the family and the troops here in Jolo),” Duterte said.

Continued support

Duterte, in his latest speech, also renewed his vow to provide continued assistance to soldiers.

He made the pledge, as he thanked the military for their bravery and “undying” service to maintain peace and order in the country amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Let me assure you that as you fight to protect our nation, your needs and those of your families will be taken care of. The government will continue to implement policies and programs that will secure your future,” Duterte said.

Duterte was also optimistic that his administration, with the help of the government forces, would be able to foil the unlawful acts of terror groups and other lawless elements.

This, as he acknowledged that some groups and individuals continue to sow chaos amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

“You have a crucial role to fulfill that relates to a cause higher than yourselves. I move forward with you as we advance the common good and promote the security of the nation. With your continued support and commitment, I am confident that terrorists and all those who want to bring our nation down will have no place in our country,” he told the military.

Experience, seniority top criteria for next AFP chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 14, 2020): Experience, seniority top criteria for next AFP chief (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Seniority, experience, and competency topped the criteria used by the Board of Generals in selecting and submitting the names of 10 senior generals as candidates for the next Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff.

In an online interview with reporters Monday, AFP spokesperson Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo added that other factors considered were positions held, education and training, and maturity.

"(Also taken into consideration was their) overall personality as a manager, leader, and commander in the different echelons of command where they went through prior their present position," Arevalo said.

The successful candidate to be picked by President Rodrigo Duterte will replace Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., who will mandatorily retire from service upon turning 56 on August 4.

All of these criteria were looked upon and deliberated by the Board of Generals before the names of these senior military officials were forwarded to the Department of National Defense, which then transmitted it to Malacañang last week.

Santos is a member of Philippine Military Academy Class of 1986 and is the 53rd AFP chief, replacing Gen. Noel Clement who retired on January 4.

CPP: Ang Paghimakas | July 2020 (Special Issue)

Propaganda publication posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 13, 2020): Ang Paghimakas | July 2020 (Special Issue)

Download PDF

CPP/Ang Bayan: Reign of state terror during the first half of 2020

Propaganda report posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 13, 2020): Reign of state terror during the first half of 2020

JULY 13, 2020

Report on the human rights situation (January-June 2020)
Ang Bayan

Download EN | PIL

This summary report is based on Ang Bayan’s compilation of reports on various human rights violations perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and other armed agents of the reactionary US-Duterte regime during the first half of 2020.

Based on information collated by Ang Bayan, there have been at least 24,661 (136 per day) victims of human rights violations from January 1 to June 30 this year. The figure excludes the tens of thousands of civilians who were arrested and detained for purportedly “violating” lockdown protocols imposed during the pandemic.

On average, there are at least two cases of political killings every week, while 17 others were arrested and detained. Approximately 18 individuals were threatened and harassed daily.

Human rights violations
(January-June 2020)

Political Killing 46
Frustrated Killing 21
Arrest and detention 446
Threat, harassment, intimidation 3,296
Evacuation 17,193
Destruction of property 72
Illegal search and seizure 46
Abduction 1
Torture 7
Physical assault and injury 16
Demolition 2,268
Food and economic blockade 1,200
Coercion 40
Violation of the rights of hors de combat 12

These cases are a direct result of Duterte’s intense counterinsurgency campaign led by his National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Attacks are bound to worsen following the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Act last July 3. The said law will further boost Duterte fascist arsenal to suppress people’s struggles especially amid increasing unrest due to Duterte’s tyranny which has further escalated during the pandemic.

We would like to note that numerous human rights violations are yet to be recorded as many cases in the countryside remain unreported due to intense military operations. Ang Bayan enjoins all Party units, both in urban centers and the countryside, to submit reports of additional cases to complete this summary.

Killing, frustrated killing, torture

There have been at least 106 victims of political killings across the country in the past six months. Majority of those killed (32) were farmers. Many were killed in Bicol (14) and Eastern Visayas (8), regions both covered by the Memorandum Order 32. Duterte issued the said order in 2018 which directly deployed additional battalions to the said regions.

There were four massacres during the same period. Massacre victims were falsely presented to have been been “killed in encounters” or to have “fought back.” The starkest case is the massacre of five farmers by joint forces of the 31st IB and PNP in Barangay Dolos, Bulan, Sorsogon on May 8. One of the victims was mentally challenged.


Julius Marquez; Ennabel Balunos; Ma. Finela Mejia
| Namatican, Santa Lucia, Ilocos Sur
BHB (hors de combat) 81st IB
Julius Soriano Giron, Dr. Ma Lourdes Denero Tangco, at Arvie Alarcon Reyes
|MRR-Queen of Peace, Baguio City
(hors de combat) 2 PKP, 1 sibilyan
Jeric Vuno, Jerry Palanca, Robert Villafuerte, Raymundo Tañada at Jaime Tañada
| Dolos, Bulan, Sorsogon
31st IB, 9th Special Action Battalion
Rogen Orcales Languido; Danny Boy Tibay Pepito, Sr.; Jessie Boy Amador Pepito (minor)
| Mahayhay, Placer, Masbate
PNP-Masbate, 2nd PMFC

The victims also include Carlito Badion, the national secretary general of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) who was killed in Leyte on May 28.

Badion was among the 12 civilians who were killed in May. Killings surged in May after Duterte offered a ₱2-million reward for anyone who will be able to kill or provide information on the whereabouts of New People’s Army (NPA) commanders.

On top of this, Ang Bayan also recorded at least 21 victims of frustrated killing and seven victims of torture.

Arrest and detention

At least 446 cases of arbitrary arrest and detention were recorded by Ang Bayan in the past six month. The month of May saw the highest number of cases with at least 218 victims.

Majority of those arrested (280) are farmers. The highest number of victims (140) were recorded in North Central Mindanao.

Ang Bayan also recorded 30 incidents of mass arrests during the same period. The biggest of these was the mass arrest May 18 of at least 100 Lumads in Barangay Mabuhay and Magkalungay, San Fernando, Bukidnon by operating 88th IB troopers. They were detained at the headquarters of the said military unit in Maramag and were presented as “NPA surrenderees.”

At least 147 rallyists and volunteers were also arrested since April 1 for purportedly “violating” lockdown protocols.

Additionally, Ang Bayan also recorded at least 3,296 victims of threat harassment and intimidation.

Attacks on communities during the Covid-19 pandemic

Even amid a health crisis, the regime deployed thousands of soldiers in the countryside to intensify its counterinsurgency operations and squander billions of pesos in its extravagant combat and psywar operations, bombings and drone surveillance.

Counterinsurgency operations during Covid-19 pandemic
(March 15-June 2020)

Bombing, strafing, artillery shelling, aerial surveillance
Bombing and/or strafing 12
Artillery shelling 5
Aerial surveillance 54

From March 15, Ang Bayan recorded various types of military attacks in at least 625 barangays of 247 towns in 54 provinces simultaneous with the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic. The highest number of affected barangays were recorded in Southern Tagalog (149), next to Eastern Visayas (106) and Bicol (101). The said regions are among those that recorded the highest number of cases of human rights violations during the same period. Meanwhile, 26 incidents of aerial surveillance were also recorded.

At least 17 cases of indiscriminate bombing, strafing and artillery shelling were reported during the same period, 14 of which were perpetrated in Mindanao. Four bombings were recorded in North Central Mindanao and three each in Northeast and Southern Mindanao.

Most brutal of these was the indiscriminate dropping of 230-kilo (500-pound) bombs by the Philippine Air Force and 4th ID near Lumad communities in Barangay Mandahikan, Cabanglasan on March 27. After two days, the military dropped 10 rockets in the same barangay and shelled it using artillery cannons.

These attacks resulted in the evacuation of at least 15,768 residents from their respective communities across the country. Majority of the evacuees are from Western Mindanao (11,810).


Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 13, 2020):  Pagmasaker, Ekstrahudisyal na pagpatay at iba pang paglabag sa karapatan pantao ng AFP/CAFGU at PNP ginawang ligal sa ilalim ng bagong batas na Anti-Terrorism Law ng berdugo, diktador at tiranikong rehimeng US/China – Duterte


JULY 13, 2020

Tahasang kinukundina ng Jose Rapsing Command-BHB Masbate at ng mamamayang Masbatenyo ang nangyaring pagpatay sa tatlong sibilyan madaling araw ng Hulyo 5, 2020 sa hangganan ng Brgy. Bagacay at Marintoc, bayan ng Mobo.

Karumal dumal ang sinapit na kamatayan ng mga biktimang sina Edgar Minggoy, Marlon Bajar at Rolly Dela Cruz na nagtamo ng tama ng bala sa ibat-ibang parte ng kanilang katawan. Si Mingoy ay Brgy. Tanod ng Brgy. Bagacay, habang sina Bajar at Dela Cruz naman ay Brgy. Tanod at Brgy. Kagawad sa Brgy. Mapili, Balud, Masbate.

Hindi sa labanan sa pagitan ng BHB at pinagsamang pwersa ng PNP-RMFB5, PNP Masbate PIB, PNP –PPO Masbate, PNP-RIU5, 93rd at 95th, 9th PNP-SAB, MOBO MPS, 1st PNP-Masbate PMFC at 96th MICO PA namatay ang tatlong biktima dahil walang yunit ng kasama ang nasa lugar ng mga oras na iyon.

Ayon sa mga saksi sa pangyayari, kinuha sa bahay niya si Edgar Mingoy noong hatinggabi ng Hulyo 4, 2020, habang sina Bajar at Dela Cruz ay kinuha sa kanilang bahay sa Brgy. Mapili, Balud ng mga armadong kalalakihan na nagpakilalang mga kasama.

Para maging kapani-paniwala ang kanilang ginawang pagpatay ay mahigit isang oras na nagpaputok sa hangin ang mga pasista para palabasing may labanang nangyayari sa lugar. Wala itong pinagkaiba sa ginawa nilang pagdukot at pagpatay sa mag-amang Joning at Jerome Dela Cruz ng So. Dalakit, Brgy. Mc Arthur, Monreal noong Abril 23, 2020, at ganundin kina Junie Letada at Dante Jardin na mga residente ng Brgy. Mc Arthur. Monreal at Brgy. Interior, San Jacinto na pagkatapos dukutin sa kanilang baryo ay dinala sa Claveria, Masbate para lang patayin. Nito lamang nakalipas na linggo ay pinatay din ang tatlong katao sa Brgy. Mahayahay, Placer ng mga kasapi ng 2nd PMFC na nakabase sa Sto. Nino, Cataingan.

Lahat ng mga patayang nagaganap sa lalawigan ng Masbate na ang mga biktima ay mga inosenting sibilyan ay madalas pinararatangan na mga kasapi ng BHB. Kung kaya naman ang bagong batas na Anti-Terrorism Law ay lalong magbibigay legal sa mga sundalo at pulis na pumatay ng pumatay ng mga sibilyan.

Para sa kaalaman ng mamamayang Masbatenyo, meron man o walang anti-terrorism law ay nmgpapatuloy ang mga patayan sa Masbate na kagagawan ng mga berdugo at uhaw sa dugo na AFP/CAFGU at PNP. Ito ay dahil na rin sa pahintulot ng kanilang kumander in tsip na si Rodrigo Duterte na isa ring berdugo at uhaw sa dugo ng mga PIlipino.

Nananawagan ang JRC-BHB Masbate sa mamamayang masbatenyo na maging alisto at mapagbantay sa terorsimong inihahasik ng estado sa pamamagitan ng kanilang instrumeto na AFP at PNP. Maging matapang at matatag sa paglaban para isulong ang interes ng sambayanang Pilipino para sa tunay at makabuluhang pagbabago sa lipunang Pilipino. Tayo ang mapagpasya sa mga pagbabagong ito kaya kumilos para mag-organisa at magpakilos ng laksa-laksang tao para makamit ang tagumpay ng bayan laban sa teranikong rehimeng US/China Duterte.

Nais rin naming ipaalam sa mga magigiting na miembro ng Hunta-Probinsyal na di kaila sa inyo at tiyak namang nakakaabot sa inyo ang mga balitang patayang nangyayari na kinasasangkutan ng AFP at PNP subalit wala kayong ginagawang imbestigasyon lalung-lalo na ang komite sa karapatan pantao. Huwag niyo nang hintayin pa na kamuhian kayo ng mga taong inyong pinangakuang pagsisilbihan sa panahon na kayo ay nangangampanya.

Duterte, AFP at PNP, numero unong Terorista!
Isulong at kamtin ang tagumpay ng Digmang Bayan!
Mabuhay ang mamamayang Masbatenyo!
Mabuhay ang mamamayang lumalaban!

2 suspected leftist rebels killed in clash in southern Philippines

From Xinhua (Jul 12, 2020): 2 suspected leftist rebels killed in clash in southern Philippines

Two suspected rebels have been killed in a clash with government troops in Zamboanga del Norte in the southern Philippines, the military said on Sunday.

Major Arvin Encinas, the spokesperson for the military's Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said troops clashed with an undetermined number of New People's Army (NPA) rebels on Friday afternoon in a forested village near Kalawit town in Zamboanga del Norte while conducing combat operation in the area.

Encinas said the NPA rebels withdrew after battling with troops for 45 minutes.

Troops recovered the body of a slain rebel along with an M16, an AK17 assault rifle and several rounds of ammunition while clearing the encounter site, he said.

He added the body of the second slain rebel was found on Saturday.

The NPA rebels have been fighting the government since 1969, making the group one of Asia's longest-running insurgencies. They concentrate their attacks in rural areas and in small-scale skirmishes with the military.

The NPA strength is estimated at 3,500, a number significantly lower than its peak strength of around 25,000 in the 1980s.

PH gov’t seeks international community’s help in holding accountable communist terrorists

From the Manila Bulletin (Jul 13, 2020): PH gov’t seeks international community’s help in holding accountable communist terrorists (By Genalyn Kabiling)

The Philippine government has asked for assistance from the international community to hold accountable communist rebels for their atrocities, alleging their terrorism poses a challenge to the country’s democracy and development.

In an extensive report to the United Nations (UN) human rights body, the government highlighted its resolve to end the insurgency waged by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’ Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) which it claimed has cost 60,000 lives and destroyed billions of public infrastructure.


The 137-page report entitled “The Philippine Human Rights Situationer May 2020” includes government data on how the communist group allegedly exploited human rights issues and democratic spaces “for advancing their agenda of an armed revolution and covering crimes and atrocities.”

The report, recently submitted by the country’s mission to the UN in Geneva to the UN Human Rights Office, was published and released by the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

“The government is determined in its efforts to put an end to five decades of communist insurgency and calls on the international community to assist national efforts to hold to account the perpetrators of atrocities and crimes and to examine in this light the motives of the sources of allegations on the Philippines,” the report read.

“The terrorism of the CPP-NPA-NDF constitutes a challenge to the democracy and development of the Philippines. The insurgency has cost at least 60,000 lives – of civilians, CPP- NPA-NDF cadres and rebels, and soldiers. Decades of this armed struggle have ruined communities and families across the country, damaged billions worth of public infrastructure, and undermined democratic and community structures in the Philippines,” it said.

The government also alleged that the NPA harassment and extortion of revolutionary taxes from mines, plantations, transport, telecommunications, and project contractors have blocked the development of vital infrastructure in the countryside.

Legal actions have been taken against the communist leadership and members to answer before local courts “for decades of commission of terrorism and other crimes,” according to the government.

“There are numerous cases currently filed against the members of the CPP-NPA-NDF in different trial courts. These cases include murder, homicide, arson, illegal possession of firearms and explosives, and violation of Republic Act 9851, the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Law, Genocide and other Crimes Against Humanity,” the report said.

Duplicity of communist rebels
In the same report, the government told the UN body about the communist group’s alleged “duplicitous” and “insidious” revolutionary dual tactic that blurs the boundaries of social activism and armed struggle towards bringing down the government and installing a communist regime.

The group “weaponizes” human rights and uses UN platforms and legal spaces to advance its anti-human rights and anti-democratic political agenda, according to the government. The communist have also allegedly used sectoral-organizing work “for political manipulation and agitation, influence operations, and as a tool for launching diplomatic offensives against the state.”

The Philippine report to the UN body included the list of communist-created underground, front organizations, alliances, and networks.

“Most members of the front/ open mass organizations including networks and alliances are unwitting and to some extent are innocent prey to the duality of the predation and deception of the CPP-NPA-NDF. This happens because the recruitment for the CPP is being done discreetly and individually, not en masse,” the report read.

“The recruited cadres assume leadership positions within the front organizations/ alliances giving them the opportunity to shape and steer the organization’s agenda toward advancing and aiding the CPP’s political agenda,” it added.

President Duterte recently called the communist rebels as terrorists, days after signing the country’s new anti-terrorism law. He said communist rebels, who engaged in on and off peace negotiations with the government, think they are “a different breed.”

“They would like to be treated with another set of law. When as a matter of fact, they are terrorists,” he said in a televised address last Wednesday.

The government terminated the peace talks with the communist rebels in 2017 in protest of its violent armed activities including attacks on troops. The CPP-NPA has been declared a terrorist organization in a proclamation issued by the President in the same year.

4-point plan led Moro to get autonomy in Philippines

From Anadolu Agency (Jul 12, 2020): 4-point plan led Moro to get autonomy in Philippines (By Riyaz ul Khaliq)

Former guerrilla leader, now chief minister Ebrahim recalls details of negotiation process and bats for autonomy to Kashmir

A four-point program helped the Moro people living in the southern Philippines achieve their goal, said the chief minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Addressing an international webinar -- titled An Islamic Way of Struggle: Bangsamoro Perspective -- on Saturday, Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim said the plan formed the basis of his struggle.

"There were disagreements over the administration of the MNLF [Moro National Liberation Front] and ideological impasses," he said, referring to a division in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1978, seven years after its foundation.

Ebrahim joined the faction led by Ustad Sheikh Salamat Hashim as chief of armed forces now called Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which had recruited and trained over 100,000 combatants.

The international virtual meet was hosted by Turkey-based International Youth Forum (IYFO) and South Asia Youth Organization (SAYO).

“We promoted consultative and collective leadership in running the affairs of the organization,” said Ebrahim, who is a trained civil engineer.

He said MILF adopted a four-point program to “achieve our objectives”.

“The four-point program included, Islamization, strengthening of organization, military buildup, and self-reliance,” he said adding the MILF mobilized 70-80% population of Bangsamoro.

Bangsamoro has nearly 5 million population, mostly Muslims.

From 1982 onwards when the MILF was established, Ebrahim said the group also “organized political committees in villages”.

“We also procured weapons and other military equipment from abroad through our self-reliance and also managed to establish our factory of arms inside the jungle producing small arms and even rifle grenade launchers or RPGs including its ammunition,” he said.

He said the group continuously conducted regular Islamic lectures and orientation among armed forces and also established thousands of Islamic schools in villages, military units, and political committees.

After several years of fighting, the Philippines government invited the MILF leadership in 1997 for negotiations.

“We agree and formed our negotiating panel and signed a ceasefire agreement,” said Ebrahim while addressing an online audience from over a dozen countries.

The two sides reached a 9-point agreement including solving the Bangsamoro problem.

“But during negotiations [former Philippines] President [Joseph] Estrada announced an all-out war against our forces thus ending the peace talks and thereafter hostilities resumed in the Bangsamoro homeland,” he said.

Negotiations resume after Estrada exit

Ebrahim said the negotiations with the Manila government resumed after Estrada’s exit from power with a condition that there will be third party intervention – Malaysia. “There was an agreement that all talks will be conducted outside the Philippines,” he added.

The two sides held talks in Tokyo, Japan in 2012 to fast track the process.

In 2014, two sides again met in Manila, however, the agreement reached between the two sides needed to be translated into law but it was not approved by the Philippines Congress.

“Under current President Rodrigo Duterte, negotiations continued and after he won, he continued the negotiations and in 2019 the Bangsamoro Organic Law was passed in the Philippines Congress,” he said.

“The law was approved by a majority through a plebiscite creating what is now the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, composed of five provinces and three cities,” he explained.

The interim transitional authority was sworn in February 2019 as Ebrahim as chief minister with 41 lawmakers nominated by MILF.

Bangsamoro strongman for Kashmir autonomy

The Bangsamoro chief minister also advocated for a “meaningful autonomy” status to people of Kashmir – a disputed territory between India and Pakistan who are fighting for right self-determination.

“During our struggle, the MILF leadership stayed in Pakistan for several years,” he said.

“The issue of Kashmir is very, very challenging because we have one country, India, not very eager to grant autonomy to Kashmir,” he said.

He said Moro people know “hardship and difficulties people of Kashmir are facing”.

“I think there must be enough mobilization of the Islamic world to pressure the Indian government to give, at least, meaningful autonomy to Kashmiri people,” the Bangsamoro leader said.

Cop wounded in MisOcc quarantine checkpoint attack dies

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 13, 2020): Cop wounded in MisOcc quarantine checkpoint attack dies (By MOCPPO PIO)

Featured Image

OZAMIZ CITY, Misamis Occidental, July 13 (PIA)-- PCpl Marvin Alcala Intong, one of the four cops wounded during the attack of the quarantine control point (QCP) in Barangay Putongan, Concepcion in Misamis Occidental died on July 10 while undergoing treatment at Mayor Hilarion Ramiro, Sr (MHARS) Medical Center here.

Misamis Occidental Provincial Police Director PCol Danildo Tumanda said he is saddened by the loss of one of its brave police officers.

Intong, 29, a native of Calamba Misamis Occidental, was among the four wounded personnel manning the checkpoint when an undetermined number of armed men believed to be members of the New People's Army (NPA) launched a surprise tactical offensive maneuver around 7:50 a.m., July 9.

Intong sustained a gunshot wound on his right thigh and was immediately transported to MHARS Medical Center in Ozamiz City to undergo operation and medical treatment.

Police said Intong’s death was due to hemorrhagic shock, massive severe bleeding, vascular injury, fractured right femur, and impending compartment syndrome secondary to gunshot wound.

Tumanda assures the surviving family as well as the other wounded PNP personnel that they will receive the full benefits from the PNP and other agencies. (MOCPPO PIO/PIA Misamis Occidental)

Ex rebels receive starter kits from DTI

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 13, 2020): Ex rebels receive starter kits from DTI  (By 58IB)

Featured Image

CLAVERIA, Misamis Oriental, July 13 - Former Rebels (FRs) in Misamis Oriental were given livelihood starter kits and equipment from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in a simple turn-over ceremony held at Headquarters 58IB, So Migbanday, Brgy Poblacion, Claveria, Misamis Oriental on July 10, 2020.

The turned-over starter kits that composed of 90 sacks of cement, 60 pieces of shovel and 60 pieces of molder is under the Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PBG) program of DTI. These will be used for the hollow block making project organized and initiated for the livelihood of our former rebels through the team effort of DTI, STEAG and 58IB.

Moreover, one unit of chiller under the Shared Service Facility (SSF) program was also awarded to the former rebels to help preserve and maintain the freshness of the mushroom. The SSF is a program of DTI that provides equipment in order to improve the productivity of a business, and to maintain and increase the income of the community.

Alias Macmac, one of the former rebels said in deep appreciation, “Sa ngalan sa mga FR sa 58IB, kami nagapasalamat ug dako sa kahigayunan nga dako na gihatag nga makadawat niining starter kit sa hollow block making alang sa among panginabuhian samtang kami nagahulat sa among mga benepisyo nga madawat sa E-CLIP.” (On behalf of the former rebels at 58IB, we are very grateful for the great opportunity to receive this hollow block making starter kit for our livelihood as we await our benefits under the E-CLIP.)

Almer Masillones, DTI Misamis oriental provincial director delivers her message to former rebels in a turnover of livelihood kids in Claveria, Misamis Oriental. (58IB)

Among the guests were Almer Masillones, Provincial Director of DTI, Ms. Elsie Limosnero, DTI Chief Business Development Division, Mr. John Magdurulang, Security Officer of STEAG Power Plant, Hon. Meraluna S Abrogar, Municipal Mayor of Claveria, Lt. Col. Ricky L Canatoy, Commanding Officer of 58th Infantry (Dimalulupig) Battalion, and the beneficiaries of said starter kits and equipment.

Masillones said in a statement, “Our aim today is to capacitate our former rebels to innovate an income generating activities that could advance their economic status.”

Furthermore, Mr Madurulang assured that STEAG is always ready to assist and support the government and the military agency towards any program that provides income to the community and any program that leads to the peace and development of our nation.

“This program manifests the government’s all-out support to all those who have the willingness to thrive, especially our former rebels. Your Philippine Army is here to serve as an instrument to your success in your chosen business. We are willing to help if you are willing to change your lives,” Lt. Col. Ricky L Canatoy, Commanding Officer of 58 IB said.

Aside from the starter kits, DTI also supports the End Local Communist Armed Conflict initiative of the government through capacity building programs and orientation on the services of the agency to help beneficiaries return to the mainstream of society. (58IB)

10 generals eyed as new AFP chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 13, 2020): 10 generals eyed as new AFP chief (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief-of-Staff, Gen. Felimon Santos, Jr. 

Some 10 senior generals are being eyed as the possible successor of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff, Gen. Felimon Santos, Jr., who is set to retire on August 4 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.

Marine Major Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, said the Board of Generals has convened and assessed the shortlist of candidates.

"There were about 10 names contained in the list that includes Major Service commanders, Unified Command chiefs, and other three-star generals at the GHQ (General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City)," he said in a statement Sunday.

He said the recommendation has been submitted to Malacañang, through the Department of National Defense, on the first week of July.

Santos, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1986, is the 53rd AFP chief replacing Gen. Noel Clement who retired on January 4.

Arevalo said it is the prerogative of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to extend the term of Santos if he wishes to do so, especially now that the country is in the midst of a pandemic.

The AFP Board of Generals, as a matter of course, needs to convene to submit and assess the best possible candidates as next AFP chief, he added.

"So if the President feels or sees that there is a need for him to extend the term of the current Chief-of-Staff, then it (is) within his prerogative to do so," he added.

AFP head also known as chair of Joint Chiefs: AFP spox

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 13, 2020): AFP head also known as chair of Joint Chiefs: AFP spox (By Priam Nepomuceno)

To be aligned with its foreign counterparts, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff will also be known as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, AFP spokesperson Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said on Monday.

Arevalo said this is based on the Department of National Defense's Order 174 issued on June 19.

The order also renamed the AFP The Deputy Chief of Staff to be known as Chief of the Joint Staff and the Chiefs of the Major Services formerly known as the Commanding General Philippine Army, Commanding General Philippine Air Force and Flag-Officer-in-Command Philippine Navy who are the "force providers".

"The reason for this we would like to be aligned, coordinated with the conventions (being used) by (other) Armed Forces in the world and in the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region," he said in an online interview with reporters.

He will have administrative control over these services, Arevalo added.

"Basically, the purpose of the designation and the renaming of key positions of the AFP is for effective command, control, and supervision by the Chief of Staff of the AFP who is also the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs," Arevalo said.

He said the renaming will make the AFP more responsive and capable to address current and future non-conventional threats, adding this will entail no added personnel, remuneration, or powers bestowed.

With his designation as the Chair Joint Chiefs, the Chief-of-Staff and head of the AFP will have operational supervision and control over the Joint Force Commanders of the Unified Commands, which are the "force employers".

The AFP's Unified Commands consist of the Northern Luzon Command, Southern Luzon Command, Western Command, Central Command, Eastern Mindanao Command, Western Mindanao Command, and Joint Task Force National Capital Region.

More SoCot ex-rebels to undergo job skills training

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 13, 2020): More SoCot ex-rebels to undergo job skills training (By Richelyn Gubalani)

Lt. Col. Celestino Daniel, chief of the South Cotabato 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company (Photo courtesy of TESDA-12) 

An additional 50 rebel returnees from parts of South Cotabato province will undergo technical-vocational (tech-voc) training under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) as part of the government’s reintegration program.

Lt. Col. Celestino Daniel, chief of the South Cotabato 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC), said Monday the preparations are underway for the inclusion of former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels under their custody in the skills training of TESDA.

He said they are specifically processing the required documents to allow the returnees to take part in the program, which is a component of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

The returnees, who were previously under the NPA’s Guerilla Front 73, surrendered these past months following a series of negotiations facilitated by their unit.

The 1st PMFC’s operational jurisdiction covers Koronadal City and the municipalities of Polomolok, Tupi, Tampakan, Tantangan.

Daniel said the returnees are currently undergoing profiling and evaluation to establish the proper training program that they should avail.

“We’re looking at enrolling them in tech-voc training that will provide them the opportunity to have stable livelihood when they eventually return to their communities,” he said in a statement.

In late May, TESDA-Region 12 enlisted some 45 former NPA rebels from Lake Sebu town for a skills training program under the agency’s Agripreneurs towards a Collective End (IPEACE) program.

Rafael Abrogar II, TESDA-Region 12 director, said the tech-voc training complements with the financial and livelihood assistance provided to the returnees by the local and national government agencies.

Early this year, some 25 former NPA rebels from Barangay Ned, Lake Sebu graduated and received national certificates (NC) on Electrical Installation and Maintenance-NC II.

Guns, cash seized from 4 nabbed CPP-NPA officials in NegOcc

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 13, 2020): Guns, cash seized from 4 nabbed CPP-NPA officials in NegOcc (By Nanette Guadalquiver)

ARRESTED. The four officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army in Negros Occidental arrested in a joint military and police operation in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental on Friday (July 10, 2020). Operatives seized from the suspected rebels firearms, cash, mobile phones and subversive documents. (Photos courtesy of 15th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army)

Some four suspected officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Negros Occidental were arrested in a joint military and police operation in the southern city of Kabankalan on Friday.

Their arrest in Sitio Mamposo, Barangay Magballo was confirmed by both the Philippine Army and the Police Regional Office-Western Visayas (PRO-6) in separate reports over the weekend.

The four suspected rebels were identified as Emmylo Cañares, 38, a resident of South Poblacion, San Fernando, Cebu; George Buga-ay, 42, of Barangay Punta Taytay, Bacolod City; Relyn Morino, 22, a resident of Barangay Orong, Kabankalan City and Raffy Patajo, 21, of Sitio Montelo, Barangay Pinggot, Ilog, also in Negros Occidental.

Cañares is a former finance officer of Bohol Party Committee and the current secretary of the Second National Urban Center Party Committee while Buga-ay is former squad leader, finance logistics officer of the Regional Strike Forces of Kilusang Rehiyon-Negros (KR-N) and former secretary-general of Pamalakaya-Negros and currently with the KR-N Regional Communication (RCOM).
Morino is a staff of KR-N RCOM and Patajo is a former squad finance logistic officer of Platoon 3, squad leader of Platoon 2, South West Front, KR-N, and a staff of RCOM.

Both Cañares and Morino are facing charges for violation of Republic Act 10591 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act and RA 9516 or Illegal Possession of Explosives; Buga-ay, for RA 10591; and Patajo, for RA 9516.

According to the 15th Infantry Battalion (15IB), the operatives seized from the suspected rebels a .45-caliber pistol, .38-caliber revolver loaded with five pieces of ammunition, and four hand grenades along with assorted mobile phones and chargers, USB flash drives, subversive documents and personal belongings.

They also recovered cash amounting to PHP119,354.

Their arrest was a result of the joint intelligence operation conducted after an encounter between government troops and CPP-NPA rebels in Barangay Pinggot on July 8.

Army and police officials commended the troops for the accomplishment.

Col. Noel Baluyan, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade, said the joint efforts to apprehend the four suspects will lead them to face appropriate charges in court.

“Certainly, the arrest of these high-ranking CPP-NPA personalities will cause a big blow to the terroristic and exploitation activities of the organization in Negros Island,” he added.

Brig. Gen. Rene Pamuspusan, director of Police Regional Office-6, said the four suspects were arrested because of the cooperation and the information provided by the community and concerned government agencies.

“We will continue neutralizing all members of the communist terrorist-group and together we can accomplish our mission to end local communist armed conflict in Western Visayas,” he said.

Lt. Col. Erwin Cariño, commanding officer of 15IB, said the development is a major setback to the CPP-NPA and its political wing, National Development Front, operating in Negros Island and a victory of the government’s campaign against terrorism.

“In coordination with the police, there will be more operations in Negros. With the active help of the local populace, the CPP-NPA will be suppressed and defeated,” he added.

Bohol rebel returnee gets gov't aid through E-CLIP

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 13, 2020): Bohol rebel returnee gets gov't aid through E-CLIP (By Angeline Valencia)

GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE. Alias "Mariel", a rebel-returnee, takes her oath of allegiance to the government before Governor Arthur Yap in Bohol. Also in photo are (from left) Office of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Head Carmelita Tecson, Carmen Mayor Ricardo Francisco Toribio and Department of the Interior and Local Government-Bohol Provincial Director Jerome Gonzales. (Photo courtesy of Bohol Provincial Capitol PIO)

A former member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) who returned to the fold of the law has received livelihood assistance that will enable her to have a fresh start.

Bohol Governor Arthur Yap, in an interview on Sunday, said the livelihood assistance was handed over as part of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the national government which is being implemented by the Department of National Defense, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Office of the President and the National Housing Authority to former members of the rebel group.

Alias "Mariel", 38, from Carmen town of Bohol, received a check worth PHP65,000 representing the PHP50,000 livelihood assistance and PHP15,000 immediate cash aid last week. She was among the 12 rebel returnees that Yap endorsed for inclusion to E-CLIP.

Mariel was with the rebel fighters who clashed with government troops in 1997 in Bohol and sustained injury in the right arm. She was only 15 years old when she was injured in the encounter.

When she decided to end her involvement in the underground movement, she was given a job in the municipal government and later in a department of the provincial government.

Later on, she was listed as one of the beneficiaries for assistance under DILG-DND Joint Memorandum Circular 2018-01, implementing assistance package for former rebels (FRs) who formerly fought for the CPP-NPA and National Democratic Front and the so-called “militia ng bayan” (MB).

The goal of the joint memorandum circular is to facilitate the mainstreaming of FRs as productive citizens, enhance capacities of local government units and national government agencies and compensate all surrendered firearms.

Qualified as beneficiaries of the program are regular members of the NPA who surfaced from April 3, 2018 and onwards and have expressed the desire to abandon armed violence and become productive members of society, including their immediate family members, or all former rebels who surfaced starting July 1, 2016, as well as those who have been processed but did not receive the full assistance under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program, and members of MB who surfaced starting April 3, 2018.

They are eligible to receive immediate assistance, reintegration assistance, and firearms remuneration.

The benefits and assistance include safety and security guarantees, immediate assistance of PHP15,000, livelihood assistance of PHP50,000, reintegration assistance of PHP21,000, firearms remuneration in the amount that is double the cost valuation of turned-in firearms based on Circular 2018-17 dated July 5, 2018, PhilHealth enrollment and registration to government entities.

FRs can avail of the services of a halfway house while their enrollment to the E-CLIP is being processed.

They are also entitled to healing and reconciliation initiatives that will be the source of psycho-social support for FRs, their families and communities.

Other additional forms of assistance that may be sourced out from partner institutions or agencies will also be extended to them. These may include capacity-building, skills training, provision of shelter legal assistance, employment and medical assistance, among others.

Caraga traders, firms urged to stop giving money to NPA

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 13, 2020): Caraga traders, firms urged to stop giving money to NPA (By Alexander Lopez)

Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine, commander of the 402nd Infantry Brigade. (PNA file photo by Alexander Lopez)

A top official of the Philippine Army in the Caraga Region has called on traders and business groups in the area to stop giving money to the communist New People’s Army (NPA).

In a statement Monday, Brig. Gen. Maurito Licudine said over PHP236 million was reportedly generated by the NPA nationwide from their extortion activities.

“This amount of came from mining construction and politicians among others,” said Licudine said, commander of the Army's 402nd Infantry Brigade (402Bde).

Licudine said the NPA and its fronts in Northern Mindanao and Caraga managed to collect around PHP118 million through extortion activities in 2019.

“This amount of money is more than enough to finance its terroristic activities in the area,” the Army official said, as he urged the business sector in the region "to stop giving in to the demands of the communist rebels."

Businesses, Licudine said, can rely on the security being provided by government forces in the area to ensure the safety of their operations.

“We mean business to end the insurgency here in Caraga Region. Let’s stop giving to this terrorist. It is time that Caraganons will be free from the bondage of fear that the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) had implanted into communities. Everyone must be part of this initiative. Let’s us make strong advocacy and together end this insurgency,” he said.

Licudine issued the call after he and the 4th Infantry Division (4ID) commander, Maj. Gen. Andres Centino, met with Agusan del Norte Governor Dale Corvera and representatives of the business sector on July 8 here to seek solutions on the rebels' extortion schemes in the region.

Maj. Francisco Garello Jr., 402Bde civil-military operations officer, said at least 25 contractors from Agusan del Norte joined the meeting.

The 402Bde statement quoted Corvera as telling the contractors of their vital role in ending the insurgency in Agusan del Norte and in the region, and even tackled the salient points of President Rodrigo Duterte's Executive Order No. 70, which institutionalized the "whole-of-nation" approach to end the local communist conflict in the countryside.

“For a long time, the people think insurgency was the concern of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP). Now it’s time for a change. Everyone must understand that it is a Whole-of-a-Nation Approach and we must get involved and help end this problem,” Corvera said.

Meanwhile, Centino appealed to the contractors to help and support the government in its effort in addressing the resource generation schemes of the NPA.

“The CNTs are still thriving despite the AFP’s notable success over the years because their extortion scheme was not stopped. It enables them to sustain and continue their terroristic activity because they have the resources,” Centino said

Centino also vowed that the Army in Northern Mindanao will not stop its effort to break the flow of the NPA’s sources of income.

“The AFP’s efforts and focus now will be on identifying those individuals and institutions that are providing and supporting this group. We have the list of these supporters and we are urging them to stop what they are doing,” the 4ID commander said.

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

US troops now in Cebu for civil operations

From the Manila Bulletin (Jul 13, 2020): US troops now in Cebu for civil operations (By Mars Mosqueda Jr.)

Personnel of the United States Armed Forces are in Cebu for the 33rd Balikatan exercises between the Philippines and the US.

Philippine and US servicemen pose for a photo during the send-off ceremony in Camp Lapu Lapu Central Command Monday for joint civil and military operation as part of this year’s Balikatan.
(Juan Carlo de Vela|Manila Bulletin File Photo)

The exercises, however, will focus on humanitarian and civil assistance, according to Lt. Col. Mendel Aguilar, commander of the Philippine Joint Civil Military Operations task force.

“Our activities are more on humanitarians and civil assistance. Meaning, constructing disaster-resilient facilities and developing our capabilities, the community capabilities. That’s why we have our cooperative engagement to transfer knowledge and skills on how we should react during emergency situations especially strong typhoons,” said Aguilar.

The personnel of the US Navy, Air Force, and Army will go to northern Cebu to help rebuild schools that were badly damaged during the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

The force is expected to build two school buildings each in Panay, Leyte, and Eastern Samar with the use of materials that would make the structures capable to stand against strong typhoons and other calamities.

Aguilar said Cebu was not included because the province is better off than those three provinces, specifically in terms of economic stability.

Meanwhile, the Central Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has declared that Bohol province is back to being safe to travel, less than two weeks after Abu Sayyaf Group members sneaked into the province.

“Actually, palagi namang safe yan eh. Mayroon lang kaunting nanggulo pero nawala na sila. Actually hindi naman sila nakapanggulo dahil naunahan natin. The people of Bohol are very active when it comes to protecting their own province,” said Aguilar.

He said mopping-up operations against the remaining three alleged ASG members are still ongoing but he assured that there is already nothing to worry about because security by the Philippine National Police is tight in the province.

Aguilar also added that military officers were doing their job 24/7 to protect the people and the visitors of Bohol.

“Safe naman, we are on top of the situation. We assure everybody that we have enough forces to secure the area and we are initiating actions that will make sure that any armed group that has no good intention on the people or visitors could not do anything there,” he said.

Other countries like Korea had issued travel advisories for their citizens not to travel to Bohol after the encounters with the terrorists in the towns of Inabanga and Clarin.

Augmenting threats of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the Philippines

From New Dehli Times (Jul 13, 2020): Augmenting threats of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the Philippines (By NDT Bureau)

The ASG is the most violent of the Islamic separatist groups operating in the southern Philippines and claims to promote an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.

The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is an Islamic separatist organization in the Philippines founded by Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani in 1991. Heavily influenced by Al Qaeda in its early stages, the ASG started as a splinter group of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The ASG is the most violent of the Islamic separatist groups operating in the southern Philippines and claims to promote an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. The ASG membership consists primarily of young Tausug Filipino Muslims from the Sulu Archipelago, south of Mindanao. The ASG attracts poverty-stricken unemployed young Muslims in the southern Philippines.

Significant attacks which have been claimed by, or reliably attributed to the ASG include kidnapping of 20 people from the Philippine tourist resort of Dos Palmas on the Palawan Island on May 27, 2001; bombing of a karaoke bar in Zamboanga City on October 2, 2002; killing four people, including a US soldier and injuring 24 other; bombing of Superferry 14 in Manila Bay on February 27, 2004, which is estimated to have killed over 100 people; bombing of a convenience store in Jolo on March 27, 2006 killing nine and wounding 24 when extortion demands were not met; kidnapping of seven workers who were subsequently beheaded when a ransom wasn’t paid in April 2007, etc.

From 2007 onward, the ASG has mainly engaged in kidnapping activities, often threatening to behead hostages unless a ransom is paid. Most kidnapping victims are Filipinos, although the ASG also targets foreigners in the southern Philippines, including tourists at resorts and foreign worker. In January 2009, the ASG kidnapped three International Red Cross workers in the Sulu province, holding one of the hostages for six months. In March 2013, the ASG released an Australian citizen the group had held hostage for fifteen months. The ASG has also established criminal links and collaborates with criminal groups in kidnapping incidents. Criminal groups have executed kidnappings and handed hostages over to the ASG for a share of the ransom.

The ASG also has nominal links to the Islamic State (IS). The first known instance of Filipino’s support on social media for the ISIS was posted on July 2, 2014. It showed Filipinos in prison, many of whom were members or former members of the Abu Sayyaf, gathering around a black flag and swearing allegiance to the ISIS. These linkages have likely continued till this date. An Indonesian couple carried out a complex suicide attack during Mass at the Jolo Cathedral in Sulu on January 27, 2019, killing 23 people and wounding 102. Philippine officials linked the plot to the ASG and ISIS, both of which claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The Philippine government policy has been to apply military pressure on Abu Sayyaf. On June 27, 2020, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said that it has so far killed 28 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists and forced the surrender of 29 and arrested four others during intense military operations from January 1 to June 18 this year. “The success of our operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group can be attributed to the strong support of the national leadership, interagency cooperation, and the soldiers’ high state of morale. The AFP will sustain this momentum against the terror group so that once and for all, peace and development will be genuinely felt by our people,” AFP Chief-of-Staff, General Felimon T. Santos Jr. said.

On June 26, 2020, four alleged Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members were killed in a police raid at Don Bosco district in Parañaque City. According to police reports, Merhama Abdul Sawari, who was killed along with her husband, had a “connection” to ASG sub-Commander Mundi Sawadjaan, a nephew of Islamic State Philippine leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan. Sawari is also reportedly known through open sources to have received remittances from Yoga Febrianto, a member of the Indonesian terrorist group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD). Before his arrest in Sabah, Malaysia, in June 2019, Febrianto served as JAD’s liaison to the Islamic State in the Philippines, and was tasked with moving funds, fighters, and weapons. He was also one of the plotters, alongside Mundi Sawadjaan, in the January 2019 Jolo Cathedral Bombing.

Two black Islamic State flags, grenades, an assault rifle and bomb-making materials were recovered during the raid, showing that the pandemic has not stopped the group from plotting future attacks. Authorities said the suspects were planning to stage a terrorist attack in the country.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief-of-Staff Felimon Santos Jr. said the neutralization of the suspects and the discovery of the supposed terrorist attack plan “proves that terrorist groups know no pandemic or people’s suffering in the Philippines or elsewhere in the world”.