Sunday, September 13, 2020

MOA inked to enhance economic reintegration of ex-combatants

From Politiko (Sep 13, 2020): MOA inked to enhance economic reintegration of ex-combatants (By Prince Golez)

The government is committed to fulfilling the agreements contained in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) recently signed memoranda of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) that will create economic opportunities, rehabilitate irrigation facilities, and build key infrastructure
that will help transform former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants into peaceful and productive members of the communities.

Under the MOA, the OPAPP and the DTI will jointly carry out the P70-million Peaceful Return and Aggressive Inclusion Social Entrepreneurship Program that aims to provide livelihood and entrepreneurial projects, conduct a product-area feasibility study, and partially implement a special project for a host local government unit.

The DTI will establish a Technical Working Group to implement the operating guidelines and policies of the project under the oversight of the Joint Steering Committee of the Inter-cabinet Cluster Mechanism on Normalization’s Socioeconomic Cluster.

The project, which will run from October 2020 to June 2021, will be supervised by a Project Management Team consisting of representatives from local and national government agencies.

The MOA also states that the OPAPP and the NIA will jointly carry out the rehabilitation of major irrigation facilities and build much-needed infrastructure facilities to boost agricultural productivity and economic development in the region.

The P77-million project will cover identified areas in Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Lanao del Sur.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. thanked the DTI “for partnering with our agency so that we can help decommissioned MILF-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces members make the successful transition to mainstream society.”

Galvez stressed the importance of creating livelihood opportunities for the former combatants and their families so they can live peaceful and productive civilian lives.

“The Bangsamoro region has a vast agriculture potential that is just waiting to be unlocked. With sufficient funding and technical support from the government, there is no doubt that the area can become one of the top agricultural hubs not only in Mindanao but throughout the country,” he said.

Galvez also expressed gratitude to the NIA for “scaling up efforts to help develop the agriculture potential of the region through the provision of adequate irrigation facilities and other much-needed infrastructure.”

Parlade dares Makabayan bloc to debate over Red tags, NTF-ELCAC budget

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Sep 13, 2020): Parlade dares Makabayan bloc to debate over Red tags, NTF-ELCAC budget (By: Delfin T. Mallari Jr.)

Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr., commander of the military’s Southern Luzon Command (Solcom), on Sunday challenged members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives to a debate over the issue of Red-tagging and the controversial P16.44 billion budget allocated for the government’s counter-insurgency program.

“So, mga kagalang galang na representante ng CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) NPA (New People’s Army), are we on for a bare-all debate on this Red-tagging issue and the NTF-ELCAC budget?” Parlade, who is also spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), said in a statement sent to the Inquirer by Lt. Colonel Dennis Cana, Solcom public information officer.

Parlade, also the NTF-ELCAC spokesperson, said: “How difficult is that if you say you are not communists? Let’s end this hypocrisy now, with or without budget.”

“We have been challenging you for a debate even before the creation of the NTF ELCAC. What do you stand to lose if you take the challenge? Let’s pursue the truth behind all your attacks and oppositions to NTF ELCAC,” he added.

The House’s Makabayan bloc includes Bayan Muna party-list representatives Eufemia Cullamat, Carlos Isagani Zarate, and Ferdinand Gaite; Gabriela Women’s party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas; ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro and Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Jane Elago.

The Makabayan bloc and the NTF-ELCAC have clashed over several issues, at the center of which is the issue of some lawmakers being red-tagged — or accused of being involved with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.

Parlade denied that it was the government who tagged the Makabayan bloc as alleged members of the CPP-NPA.

“You have all been tagged as Red by your fellow Red,” he claimed.

He added: “So if you have been exposed and now feel threatened, don’t blame us and don’t put on hostage our agencies budget.”

The leftist solons have called for the removal of the P16.44 billion budget allocated for a anti-communist insurgency program amid their claims that it may be used as the President’s and military officials’ pork barrel.

The Makabayan bloc also raised concerns that the funds might be used for the upcoming 2022 national elections.

Parlade defended the budget and insisted that it will be used to provide services to the marginalized sectors “you have exploited, so we can end insurgency and conflict”.

Bulatlat: Ed Villegas: The ‘Mad Marx’ with a heart for the poor

From the pro-<CPP/NPA/NDF online propaganda publication Bulatlat (Sep 12, 2020): Ed Villegas: The ‘Mad Marx’ with a heart for the poor (By Raymund Villanueva)

“He asked us to read Karl Marx’s Das Kapital and made us compute how workers are systematically exploited using a case study of Cola-Cola employees. “He told us it is important to master them not to graduate with latin honors but to be able to contribute whenever we meet workers and farmers. Praxis, always.”

Edberto Malvar Villegas’ death last Monday sparked many recollections by colleagues and admirers of his legend. He was not an activist mass leader remembered long after his heyday nor was he a revolutionary who took up arms and died in a glorious battlefield. He is fondly remembered for achievements and contributions to national liberation that are as expansive as they are profound. And he achieved them all in his unique way. Tatak EdVil.

Most anyone who knew and listened to Ed/Doc Ed/EdVil would agree he was unabashed about being on of Miguel Malvar’s grandchild. There is no descendant of the illustrious patriot more determined than him in telling the late general’s fight with United States imperialism as well as correcting falsehoods about him. He even debated with those who benefitted from the largesse given by the US from among the Malvar clan so much that he was asked to no longer talk about their forefather during family reunions. Being who Ed was, he, of course, declined and carried on.

His relatives would probably agree it was Ed who carried on with the general’s patriotic fervour the most. While his siblings and the rest of the clan carved out names and careers in accordance with their lofty social and economic status, it was Ed who consciously sought to continue their grandfather’s unfinished war for genuine Philippine liberation.

‘Good-looking scholar’

Ed Villegas in his younger years.

Ed was mestizo and was said to be mucho guapito in his younger years, probably benefitting from his mother Dona Chabeng’s legendary beauty. It was Atty. Edre Olalia, his peace talks colleague who publicly acknowledged it after Ed’s death. “I always wondered how you really were when they said you were a looker during your heyday!” Olalia wrote.

Ed himself said he had many girlfriends in his high school days at De La Salle University. “We did not date girls from nearby St. Scholastica’s College so much then. We preferred going over to Makati to woo Assumptionistas,” he said.

But the youngster who fought with his brothers Joselito and Bernardo for the use of their family car to go on dates became a serious student in college. He took up English and Journalism at the University of the Philippines, becoming a college scholar in his sophomore year. In his junior year in 1961, he topped the comprehensive examinations for English and Journalism majors. He graduated in 1962 at the top 10% of UP’s graduates of the year, thus becoming a Phi Kappa Pi International Honor Society member. He also became a member of the illustrious Phi Gamma Mu International Honor Society for the social sciences.

Ed’s generation started the social movements that today still influences and defines Philippine society. Its best and brightest gravitated with each other and Ed found himself in the company of fellow scholars Jose Maria Sison, Monico Atienza, Fidel Agcaoili and others who formed the Student Cultural Association of the U.P. (SCAUP) in the early 1960s. “We fought for academic freedom and the right to write and publish articles advocating national and social liberation from foreign and feudal domination. [I]n the spirit of fighting for greater freedom and a better future of the Filipino people, we were together with Ed in envisioning the national democratic and socialist stages of the Philippine revolution. For the purpose, we in the SCAUP engaged in the study of Philippine revolutionary history and the current social circumstances as well as the application of Marxism-Leninism in the successful revolutionary experiences of the proletariat and people abroad,” Sison recalled of their days at UP.

When the group decided to form the Kabataang Makabayan (KM), Ed was among its founding members. Sison said they once had a pre-founding caucus at the Villegas’ house along Singalong Street in Manila. “Ed became a charter member of KM when it was founded in 1964. He contributed greatly to political education and mass work among students in several universities, among young teachers and professionals, among young workers in trade unions belonging to Lapiang Manggagawa (later named Socialist Party of the Philippines) and mostly children of peasant members of MASAKA, then under the leadership of Felixberto Olalia,” Sison said in his tribute to Ed.

From 1967 to 1969, Ed was president of the UP Philosophical Society. Being the scholar that he was, Ed was asked by the then newly-founded Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to continue teaching in universities.

Heavily tortured

Sison said Ed would have readily agreed had they asked him to join them upon the establishment of the New People’s Army (NPA) in 1969. “But we thought that he could accomplish more for the national democratic movement by educating and inspiring the youth in the university. By then, Ed had become highly respected as an excellent educator by doing research, writing books and teaching. After earning his Master of Arts degree in philosophy at UP in Diliman in 1970, he became the chairperson of the Division of the Humanities of UP College, Baguio and was responsible for holding the first ever First Summer Writers’ Workshop in 1971.

“Paradoxically, despite his non-involvement in the armed struggle, he went to prison ahead of us in 1976 on mere suspicion of giving shelter to NPA commanders. He was subjected to intense physical and psychological torture along with his late wife Lilia. He was detained for two years by the Marcos fascist dictatorship,” Sison wrote.

Fellow martial law political detainee Hermie Garcia recalled that Ed was known in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, Rizal as the bearded nerd always discussing ideological theories. “There was this joke that if you had some urgent thing to do, do not get near Ed because he won’t let you go before listening to his brilliant ideas. But Ed, with the nerd look and serious interest in ideas, had a soft heart for detainees, especially those who came from poor families. He would be seen talking to them for hours and listening to their stories. That was the Ed Villegas I knew,” Garcia said.

To heal himself from the effects of intense physical and psychological torture (he was made to listen to the screams of Lilia being tortured in the next room) Ed learned yoga and meditation in prison. Decades later, during long study sessions and meetings, Ed would be in a lotus position for hours and do headstands even when he had grown fat and heavy.

Great academic and teacher

After his release from prison, Ed transferred to UP’s Manila campus where he became chairperson of the Development Studies Program of its Department of Social Sciences for 22 years (1983- 2005). He initiated three revisions and improvements of the Development Studies curriculum that molded thousands of scholars to become development workers. After earning his Doctorate in Public Administration from UP Diliman in 1987 as a university scholar, Ed became chairperson of the Department of the Social Sciences from 1988 to 1994. A true innovative leader that he was, he also initiated the annual holding of the Social Science Week in 1989 that today still features forums, competitions, exhibits, and concerts to arouse consciousness in the Social Sciences, which particular emphasis on the Philippine situation. In 1996, Ed was named the Dr. Antonio Sison Professorial Chair of the UP System for research on the history of the International Monetary Fund in the Philippines.

As a teacher, Ed influenced thousands of his students through theory and practice. Now an academic herself, Neen Sapalo said it was her Professor Villegas who thought her valuable concepts like political economy, wage, semi-feudal mode of production, and the surplus theory of profit-labor-value. “He asked us to read Karl Marx’s Das Kapital and made us compute how workers are systematically exploited using a case study of Cola-Cola employees. “He told us it is important to master them not to graduate with latin honors but to be able to contribute whenever we meet workers and farmers. Praxis, always,” she recalled.

Agrarian reform advocate Amihan Euza Mabalay said Ed was such a compelling teacher he changed her life and perspectives about society and the world. “He was fearless and always passionate. Often, when there were forums at (UP Manila’s) Rizal Hall and there were raised voices in righteous anger, it was Doc Ed for sure,” Mabalay said. “As his student, I admired how Doc Ed was able to put into praxis his academic theories and radical activism. He understood the theories and exposed fallacies of neoliberal economics and his development approaches were rooted in the people’s struggles…It was an honor to have known him and be his student inside and outside the halls of UP Manila,” she added.

Ed also taught at De La Salle University, tutoring students who later became top government technocrats and politicians.

Ed’s way of ending an illustrious teaching career

UP Manila’s information sheet on Ed as a teacher showed an exemplary teacher, beloved by students. He was consistently rated “very satisfactory” by his development studies students. Ed retired from UP when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 65 in 2005. As a pillar of UP Manila’s College of Social Sciences, Ed was retained as professorial lecturer in 2006.

Ed Villegas (far left) with fellow academic Carl Ramota and parents of Kristel Tejada

But his radicalism was too much for university administrators who took the very first opportunity presented them to get rid of one the university’s best teachers ever. When Kristel Tejada, a student who committed suicide for her inability to pay school fees in 2013, Ed could not contain his outrage and openly denounced UP Manila’s administration. After a lightning rally by KM members, Ed conducted his own strike against the then chancellor and vice chancellor who advised poor students like Tejada to file leaves of absences if they could not pay school fees.

“I will never forget what Doc Ed did. He stood in front of the university theater and everyone heard what he had to say. The next school year, his contract was no longer renewed. The development studies program was stunned, as Doc Ed was the catalyst even among non-activist faculty. He was a great loss to the program,” Sapalo said.

Indeed, very few would risk a long and illustrious teaching career just to call for justice for a student. Ed did and walked his talk, proving he was both theory and practice.

Ed’s teaching skills were not confined to UP and La Salle classrooms, however. He relished being invited to informal classes, teaching thousands of budding activists.

“Ed Villegas was one of our favorites when we were still young activists in UP. He and Elmer Ordonez provided us with the theoretical framework for opposing the commercialization of UP We enjoyed his lectures and how he would crush the neoliberal dogma of liberalization, privatization and deregulation,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. wrote. “He was always funny in our interactions. Hilarious was more like it. He was not our classroom teacher but our generation learned so much from him. He was endearingly called ‘Mad Marx’, a spin on the 80’s movie Mad Max, because of his gung-ho attitude in lectures and debates. He was a true patriot and he will be greatly missed,” Reyes added. Reyes is the last, but definitely not the only Bayan secretary general Ed mentored.

Defend Jobs Philippines spokesperson Thaddeus Ifurung said Ed was also the favorite lecturer among Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) activists in the early 1990s. “He was among those who sharply and profoundly explained political economy and class analysis to us. He was a favorite and a mainstay in our educational discussions,” Ifurung said.

“We always invited him to discuss political economy and other serious topics he explained with ease and lots of humor,” University of the East-Manila alumnus and PUP Professor Prestoline Suyat added.

Extra-curricular functions

Ed’s numerous activities also went beyond teaching. On top of his teaching and administrative duties at UP Manila, he became vice-president of Pamantasang Assembleya from 1990 to 1993 that ensured the university’s relevance with local and national issues of the day. He was also UP Academic Employees Union vice-president from 2000 to 2005.

From 1996 to 2001, Ed served as secretary general of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), playing a vital role in reviving what was then a moribund national teachers’ movement. Ed remained an active member of ACT, which is now joined by other teachers’ formations such as the Congress of Teachers-Educators for Nationalism and Democracy, ACT Teachers’ Party, ACT Unions, and ACT Private Schools. He was among the 50 recipients of ACT’s Guro ng Bayan Award in September 2013 honoring the stalwarts of the teachers’ movement in the Philippines.

Ed was also a convenor of Anakpawis and Bayan Muna parties. In addition, he was a founding member of the National Advocates for Land Reform in 1995; founding member of the research group on workers’ issues CREATE in 1995; chairperson Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research from 1994 to 1996; chairperson of the Marine Education and Research Center, an organization servicing overseas Filipino seamen, from 1989 to 1994; chairperson of the Center for Applied Research and Library Services, an organization servicing the Filipino working class, from 1985 to 2000; and a founding member of the Nationalist Alliance in 1984. He also led the Philippine Anti-Imperialist Studies and board president of the Crispin B. Beltran Resource Center.

At the time of his death, Ed was a board member of IBON Foundation and IBON International that he also served as chairperson and vice-chairperson at various times during his long involvement with the research group.

Former IBON Foundation executive director and current head of research Rosabella Guzman said he is proud and grateful for having Ed as teacher. “If you taught sports, I would have learned extreme sports from you. I am grateful when we worked together. Thank you for being a mainstay IBON board member,” Guzman wrote. She added Ed was even good at judging the staff’s cultural presentations and parlor games, complete with clear criteria, during Christmas parties.

Prodigious writer

Ed wrote many books on political economy, several of which becoming bestsellers and required reading for activists. As a recognized Marxist political economist, he wrote Studies in Philippine Political Economy; Global Finance Capital and the Philippine Financial System; Political Economy of Philippine Labor Laws; Japanese Capital and Investments in Southeast Asia; A Guide to Karl Marx’s Das Kapital; Oil Imperialism in the Philippines; Japanese Capitalism and the Asian Development Bank; Global Finance Capital and the Philippine Financial System as well as many pamphlets and essays.

“Back in college myself, [Ed’s] studies on the commodification of higher education was a great lesson on demystification and humility, resulting in a desire on my part to cultivate more serious understanding of national democratic and socialist alternatives,” UP Professor Sarah Raymundo wrote.

“As a member of the Philippine Anti-Imperialist Studies, [Ed] wrote popular material on the history of the Katipunan-led revolutionary struggle against Spanish colonialism and the ensuring armed struggle against US imperialism, focusing on the lives of Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, and his own grandfather, General Miguel Malvar,” Sison, himself the author of many books, added.

In its tribute to Ed, IBON said Ed wrote tirelessly. “His writings were not just technically razor-sharp but always fiery with anger at exploiters and oppressors, while full of optimism that a more humane world was being built and coming eventually,” IBON said.

For his outstanding scholarship, Ed is included in the International List of Google Scholars and books archived at the Washington Library of Congress.

Aside from poetry, Ed also wrote two novels, Sebyo and Barikada. Describing the books, Sison said the first novel, which Ed wrote using the pseudonym Carlos Humberto, depicted the activists mainly in the early period of the national democratic movement the 1960s. The second depicted various characters in the later development of the movement in the post-Marcos period. “In both novels, the positive characters talk like activists who have studied Marxism, the people’s democratic revolution and socialism,” Sison wrote. “The third book comprises of short stories about people from the lower depths of society. His collection of 12 short stories, Mga Kuwento Mula sa Lipunan (Stories from Society), was published in 2016,” Sison added. Ed’s literary chops made him the chairperson of the Amado V. Hernandez Resource Center, an organization promoting the literary capabilities of the working class, from 1989 onward.

Peace warrior

Ed Villegas with consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

One of Ed’s activities well-known to many was his role as National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel resource person.

As an instrumental member of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms from its formation in 1994 up to his death, Ed was able to attend formal negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), negotiating with former students like Hernani Braganza. “As a political economist truly knowledgeable about the socioeconomic and political conditions of the Filipino people, Ed made highly significant contributions to the formulation of the NDFP Draft of the Comprehensive Agreement of Social and Economic Reforms,” Sison wrote. “In the many consultations and internal discussions on the aforesaid draft, he stood for genuine land reform and national industrialization as the way to the economic and social development of the Philippines. At the same time, he was among the most persistent in reminding others on ensuring that the interests of the toiling masses of workers and peasants be given the highest priority and that the dangers of imperialist machinations be blocked,” Sison added.

IBON said Ed’s penetrating views on social and economic issues found ready outlet in his enthusiastic work in the NDFP-GRP peace process. “Much like his grandfather on the Pact of Biak-na-Bato truce between Spain and Filipino revolutionaries in 1897, he was keen that any peace deal should properly address the needs and aspirations of the Filipino people,” the group added.

IBON’s current executive director and peace talks colleague Jose Enrique Africa said Ed was always the most radical in the room and used all [his] energy to make sure that everyone in the NDFP team looked as far ahead as him. “Political economy was never as hilarious — and won’t be the same without [Ed],” he said.

Olalia added Ed always managed to emphatically make his profound and uncompromising points during peace consultations like a passionate and driven professor that he was. There were even stories that Ed was sometimes “unleashed” by the NDFP to deliver his lengthy lectures on workers and peasant rights whenever its GRP counterparts were being very obtuse on important points in the negotiations.

“Given the chance to speak, Ed was known for his expansive explanations, historical sweep, and irreverent asides. There was always much color and energy – even if, often, listeners were left perplexed and unable to follow his elaborate thoughts and machine-gun delivery of ideas. And those gestures – he wasn’t just verbally explosive but also gestured dangerously and frantically,” IBON said.

Indeed, Ed did not vary much from the Camp Bagong Diwa political prisoner Garcia remembers.

Fiery and funny

But the “Mad Marx” is not beyond having silly moments or finding himself in hilarious situations. Olalia recalls a time when he, Ed and another peace talks colleague were left waiting in a cold and quiet room at an embassy waiting for their visa application to be processed. “We had such a great laugh killing time and muffling our guffaws…[he was] giggling like a child when we were having silly wordplays that it became a LSS even after we stepped out hours later,” Olalia wrote. He also recalled an oft-repeated scene after a round of formal peace talks in The Netherlands when Ed “gave a barge long anchored [at a lake] the finger, motioned to strafe it with a ‘rat-a-tat-tat-tat’ sound [and] with machine gun fingers, with a matching flying kick to boot because Fidel Agcaoili and Randall Echanis (both recently departed) joked that it was probably a listening post of the CIA or the Dutch intelligence.”

Olalia also recalled Ed had to frantically search for an NDFP consultant at the Sistine Chapel (inside Vatican City) because their passports were switched and he could not check in at the airport on his flight out. “But you instantly concluded with absolute certainty that it was the CIA that was behind the mix-up,” Olalia wrote. “You are another eloquent proof that being firm, grim and determined does not mean one cannot be wacky and witty,” Olalia added.

Teachers rights advocate Laramei Austria remembers Ed to be quite the raconteur. When he found out that they were Sto. Tomas, Batangas townmates, he always regaled her with stories of the many events held at the Malvar-Villegas mansion. It turned out, Austria used to play angel in one of Dona Chabeng’s Flores de Mayo while her grandmother and mother helped in the cooking when there were parties and functions at the old house.

“Since then, whenever we see each other, he never failed to ask if I have had the chance to visit the old town,” she said. And when he stood as sponsor at her wedding, Ed “gave the longest speech at the reception, of course.”

“Ed is immortal because of the great educational and political service that he rendered to the Filipino youth and people,” Sison and wife Julietta de Lima wrote in their official tribute. “His revolutionary ideas and deeds will continue to inspire the people in their revolutionary struggle for national liberation, democracy and socialism. The historical record, the testimonies of his comrades, his own written works and most importantly the continuance and victorious advance of the Philippine revolution will ensure his immortality from one generation to another,” they added.

“Indeed, what Ed wrote on his post, two weeks before charging into the night, was brightly appropriate for our irrepressible and larger-than-life Mad Marx: ‘Long live the continuing struggle of the Filipino people for social justice, democracy and national sovereignty!’” IBON said.

The CPP summed Ed nicely in its tribute to its life-long member. “With Dr. Villegas’ passing, the Filipino people lost one of the country’s most fervent patriots, champion of anti-imperialism and revolutionary intellectual,” the CPP said.

Opinion: Of red-tagging, DepEd infiltration by communists and NPA’s crazy merry-go-round

Opinion piece posted to The Manila Times (Sep 12, 2020): Of red-tagging, DepEd infiltration by communists and NPA’s crazy merry-go-round (By Mauro Gia Samonte)

The Manila Times editorial headline last Friday read, “Badoy red-tagging case demands serious attention and scrutiny.”

To that I say, “Indeed!”

So, I hastened to lift this post from the Facebook account of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. by which to prove that point.

“The recent encounter at Brooke’s Point Palawan between the NPA (New People’s Army) and Force Reconnaissance Group of the Philippine Marine Corps resulted [in] the killing of Bonifacio “Salvador Luminoso” Magramo, the secretary of the Sub-Region Military Area (SRMA) 4E of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee (STRPC) [of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)], Andrea “Ka Naya” Rosal, daughter of late NPA [spokesman] Ka Roger Rosal and deputy secretary of the group, Noel “Ka Celso” Siasico, and Ren RJ “Ka Amir” “Lemon” Manalo; all from the NPA’s Bienvenido Vallever Command (BVC) Palawan.”

The Facebook post identifies Rona Jane Manalo as “a member of [Pamlakaya] and infiltrated legal [organizations] in [M]indoro such as [Samakasamin] or Samahan ng mga Kababaihan sa Mindoro as the [p]rovincial [c]oordinator, [Haggibat] and [Bayan] Mindoro.”

Finished with a long litany of rebel casualties in that encounter, Lt. General Parlade waxes sarcastic, “So, Cristina Palabay, explain why an activist like REN @Lemon/Pandan was there in a violent incident in Palawan if she is not a terrorist like @Eboy and the rest of the NPAs killed? You have been complaining of being Red-tagged, so aren’t you?”

Might not the general address that sarcasm, too, to those that The Times editorial reported as complaining of similar re-tagging (i.e., Rep. Arlene Brosas of Gabriela party-list, Rep. Eufemia Cullamat of Bayan Muna and Rep. France Castro of ACT Teachers)?

“In quick succession,” the editorial said, the women lawmakers issued strongly worded statements, protesting the online posts of Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy. The representatives felt they had been alluded to by Badoy’s allegation that some lawmakers, who are members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives, are high-ranking members of the CPP-NPA.

Although the lawmakers cried out their protests to high heavens, none of them ever issued a denial. It will take the same fate as that suffered by Rona Jane Manalo to prove they are CPP-NPA members after all.

It is doubtful though that any of the vociferous legislators will go the poor girl’s way. In the Sisonite protracted people’s war, only the combatants in the field really suffer the grueling rigors of battle. Those in the lead enjoy wine, women and song in the cosmopolitan life of The Netherlands.

Among those that called out Badoy for red-tagging and actually demanded her resignation is the ACT Teachers representative. This must be particularly troubling for Parlade. In a text interview, he reveals that the Department of Education (DepEd) is the “most heavily infiltrated organization” by the CPP-NPA, citing ACT’s 150,000 teacher members.

“DepEd is hostaged by ACT,” Parlade said. “Its action to control [CPP-NPA] recruitment of students is wanting.”

Now as then, Jose Maria Sison’s strategy at poisoning the minds of idealistic youth in order that they join the armed struggle seems not to have changed. But unlike then - meaning the First Quarter Storm, which spawned the top CPP cadres that guided the CPP’s growth to 25,000 regulars on the eve of the Marcos downfall in 1986 - now sees the government anti-insurgency campaign well propped up by the Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL).

Rona Jane ‘RJ’ Manalo (right in photo above), who as a Gabriela official cried ‘red-tagging’ while infiltrating legal organizations in Mindoro, recently died in Brooke’s Point, Palawan as an NPA combatant, fighting for the cause of the ‘demigod womanizing in the Netherlands.’ CONTRIBUTED PHOTOs from the COLUMN’S FOLLOWER

According to Parlade, preparatory acts such as involvement in planning, preparation, etc. of a terror act are included among punishable offenses under the ATL.

So, although the DepEd, as the general avows, might be remiss in its duty of ensuring that schools are not made grounds for spawning enemies of the government, the very existence of the ATL effectively neutralizes this shortcoming.

“Recruitment and providing financial and other forms of support make one principally liable,” Parlade said.

He admitted that ending the insurgency this year, as he had vowed to do upon assumption of the top Southern Luzon Command post in March, will be difficult given the sudden additional burdens heaped upon the government on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless, Parlade cited figures representing the success of the government drive in this respect. From January to August 2020, the NPA rebels killed numbered 34; captured, 40; and surrendered, 93 regulars and 214 non-regulars. The total manpower reduction in the NPA ranks is 381.

That number corresponds to one whole company annihilated.

In terms of firearms lost to the government, there were a total of 193, broken down into 106 high-powered and 87 low-powered weapons.

According to Parlade, the wipeout of the SRMA 4E in Mindoro has completely frustrated the NPA plan to complement its Regional Operations Command and its Main Regional Guerilla Unit. This has prompted the entire CPP STRPC to try and seek sanctuary in Palawan, but with the Brooke’s Point encounter resulting in similar wipeout of the Bienvenido Vallever Command Palawan, the STRPC can be on a crazy merry-go-round.
There’s nowhere to run, guys.

Anyway, Lt. General Parlade is giving you one last option or perish: “Give up your armed struggle and join us in pursuing peace, justice and development in the countryside.”

DA fulfills livelihood commitment to ex-rebels in Aklan

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 12, 2020): DA fulfills livelihood commitment to ex-rebels in Aklan (By Perla Lena)

LIVELIHOOD ASSISTANCE. Department of Agriculture 6 (Western Visayas) Executive Director Remelyn R. Recoter (center, in green) turns over chicken and forage plantlets to the Kapatiran in Ibajay, Aklan on Aug. 28, 2020. The assistance was the department’s commitment to helping the former rebels, she said. (PNA photo courtesy of Engineer Remelyn R. Recoter)

ILOILO CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) 6 (Western Visayas) has fulfilled its commitment of providing livelihood to the community of former rebels in Ibajay, Aklan, its chief said Friday.

The department has provided agriculture assistance to the Kapatiran Para sa Progresong Panlipunan, Inc. (Kapatiran) during the decommissioning that was led by President Rodrigo Duterte in Camp Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz in August last year, DA-6 Executive Director Remelyn R. Recoter, said in a phone interview.

Kapatiran is an association of former rebels, particularly those of the Rebolusyonaryong Partidong Manggagawa Pilipinas, Revolutionary Army - Alex Boncayao Brigade.

During a workshop in December last year, one of the identified interventions for the association was native chicken production.

Recoter turned over 1,500 heads of native chicken last month.

Since they are breeder stocks, she recommended that one-half be left to their communal project and the other half be given to their members.

The Kapatiran has been provided with a 50-hectare lot by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) under its National Greening Program (NGP), which can be developed into an agri-tourism area, Recoter said.

Native chicken production is deemed advantageous to the Kapatiran and Ibajay because the municipality is close to Boracay.

“Hopefully, they would grow and they would not go back to the mountains,” she said.

Since the group has already been engaged in a “kandingan” (goat) restaurant located near the hospital in Ibajay, they were also provided with 100 forage plantlets intended for goat production.

It was learned that they still source their goats from as far as Romblon.

Aside from Aklan, Recoter said they also have a commitment to former rebels in Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental.

She said she still has to look into the result of the workshop output.

“Mostly, its seeds, planting materials, stocks, and machinery,” she said.

CPP/NDF-KM-Southeast Negros: As millions of students are disenfranchised by Duterte”s “blended learning program”, more youths are turning to revolution and enlist in the people’s army

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Sep 13, 2020): As millions of students are disenfranchised by Duterte”s “blended learning program”, more youths are turning to revolution and enlist in the people’s army


SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

As admitted by DepEd top officials in a recent Senate hearing, it is expected that around four million will become out-of-school youth this year and, thus, deprived of their fundamental right to education by Duterte’s anti-people blended educational program.

More than half of school age youths in the hinterland villages of Southeast Negros failed to enroll due the mounting difficulties attendant with this blended learning program, the deteriorating socio-economic situation not only because of the pandemic but mainly as a result of the US-Duterte’s neoliberal economic policies, and the immense demand of production work.

The calendar year 2020-2021 will start a few weeks from now. The enrolment coincides with the corn harvest season and the “opening” of classes with land preparation and cultivation period.

For the rural youth, blended learning is anathema to their desire for an education that is relevant and in sync with their class and sectoral demands and interests.

This particular situation, and the over-all worsening economic condition and instensifying state terrorism, will only drive the youths in their vast numbers to the path of armed revolution by enlisting in the NPA and also by expanding manifold times their revolutionary organizations and mass movements.

The rottenness of the ruling semi-colonial and semi-feudal system as futher unmasked by the pandemic is indubitable and only by waging a National Democratic Revolution through People’s Protracted War can it be overthrown in order to pave way for a bright socialist future.
KM-Southeast Negros is determined to broaden and intensify its education work among the youths by conducting PADEPA instructors’ trainings and establishing PADEPA core of instructors in their mass organizations and villages.

Through PADEPA, out of school youths and those disenfranchised by Duterte’s blended learning wlll be educated and trained within an educational framework that is truly patriotic, scientific and mass-oriented. ###

CPP/NDF-KM-Southeast Negros: Samtang minilyon ka estudyante ang mahikawan sa “blended learning” nga programa ni Duterte, mas daghang kabatan-onan ang mopadulong sa rebolusyon ug mosampa sa hukbo sa katawhan

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Sep 13, 2020): Samtang minilyon ka estudyante ang mahikawan sa “blended learning” nga programa ni Duterte, mas daghang kabatan-onan ang mopadulong sa rebolusyon ug mosampa sa hukbo sa katawhan


SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

Subay giangkon mismo sa mga kadagkoan sa DepEd sa miaging hearing sa Senado, gibanabanang moabot sa upat ka milyon ka estudyante ang mahimong out-of-school nga kabatan-onan ug, sa ingon, mahikawan sa ilang pundamental nga katungod nga maka-eskwela sa kontr-katawhan nga blended nga program sa edukasyon ni Duterte.

Sobra katunga sa mga kabatan-onan nga anaa sa tukmang pangidaron sa pag-eskwela ang napakyas pag-enrol tungod sa dagkong kalisdanan bunga sa maong blended nga programa, sa nagkatiurok nga sitwasyong sosyo-ekonomiko dili lang tungod sa pandemya apan nanguna resulta sa mga neo-liberal nga ekonomikanhong palisiya sa rehimeng US-Duterte, ug dakong demanda alang sa produktibong gimbuhaton.

Ang calendar year 2020-2021 magsugod pipila ka semana gikan karon. Ang enrolment mitakdo sa panahon pagsanggi sa mais samtang ang ‘pag-abli” sa klase sa pag-andam ug pagkultibar sa yuta.

Alang sa mga kabatan-onan sa kabanikanhan, ang blended learning sukwahi sa ilang mithi nga usa ka edukasyon nga haum ug nagtubag sa ilang hut-onganon ug sketoral nga mga demanda ug interes.

Kini nga partikular nga sitwasyon, ug ang kinatibuk-an nga nagkagrabeng kondisyon ug nagkakusog nga terorismo sa estado, motukmod sa dinaghang kabatan-onan sa dalan sa armadong rebolusyon pinaagi sa pagsampa sa NPA ug usab sa pagpalapad sa ilang mga rebolusyonaryong organisasyon ug pangmasang kalihukan.

Ang kadunot sa nagharing alang-alang kolonyal ug alang-alang pyudal nga sistema nga dugang nahukasan sa pandemya dili malalis ug pinaagi sa paglunsad usa ka Nasudnong Demokratikong Rebolusyon pinaagi sa Malanatong Gubat sa Katawhan kini madugmok aron mahikyad ang dalan padulong sa usa ka mahayag nga sosyalistang kaugmaon.

Ang KM-Southeast Negros determinado nga mopalapad ug mopakusog sa iyang gimbuhatong edukasyon sa han-ay sa kabatan-onan pinaagi sa paglunsad sa mga PADEPA instructors’ trainings ug pagtuko sa mga PADEPA core of instructors sa ilang mga pangmasang organisasyon ug baryo.

Pinaagi sa PADEPA, ang mga out-of-school nga kabatan-onan ug kadtong nahikawan sa blended learning ni Duterte ma-edukar ug mabansay ilawom sa usa ka gambalay sa edukasyon nga tinud-anay ga patriotiko, siyentipiko ug pangmasa.###

CPP/NPA-Ilocos Sur: Nalabbaga a mannakigubat, kalalaingan nga annak ti umili

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Sep 13, 2020): Nalabbaga a mannakigubat, kalalaingan nga annak ti umili

SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

Sungbat ti Alfredo Cesar, Jr. Command iti pablaak ni Dumbrique a ni Ka Eugene ken dadduma nga out of school youth ket “utu-uto ken naallilaw” tapno pumaset iti armado a rebolusyon

Awan ti karbengan ti reaksyunaryo a gubyerno a birngasan dagiti kabataan nga utu-uto ta ti kinaagpayso na, ti gobyerno ti makagapu nu apay nga adu kadagiti kabataan ti saan a maka-eskwela; kurang ti pondo para iti edukasyon ken awan ti naan-anay a suporta para iti pangkabiagan ti umili isu nga dagiti kabataan ket maiduron nga agtrabaho imbes nga ageskwela.

Kasta met a saan a pudno a dagiti kabataan ket nalaka a maallilaw. Naka-eskwela da man wenno saan, nalaing da nga agamiris ken mangbigbig ti kinapudno ken nainkalintegan. Silulukat ti panunot da ken addaan ti galad a managparnuay. Kas kenni Ka Eugene, maysa a kabataan nga uray saan a nakabaddek iti eskwelaan ket nariing, naorganisa, ken nagtignay kas Nalabbaga a Mannakigubat kadua dagiti kapada na a marigrigat tapno baliwan ti agar-ari ken bulok a sistema ti kagimongan a mangpatpatalinaed ti panagsagaba ti naruay nga umili.

Saan a kasla iti AFP ken PNP nga aso-aso ti reaksyunaryo a gubyerno; ipatungpal da aniaman nga ibaga ti terorista a ni Duterte uray malabsing ti karbengan ti umili a Pilipino tapno laeng protektaran ti interes dagiti imperyalista, daddakkel a kumprador ken appo’t daga, ken korap a pupulitiko.

Iti uneg ti NPA kas ‘Pulang Paaralan,’ adun a kabataan ti nakasursuro saan laeng nga agbasa ken agsurat nu di ket nu kasanu a syentipiko nga agamiris , kasanu a baliwan ti kagimongan, ken kasano a pudno nga ayaten ken pagserbian ti interes dagiti mannalon ken dadduma a demokratiko a sektor. Inggana nga agtaltalinaed a mala-kolonyal ken mala-pyudal ti gimong a Pilipino, adu pay a Ka Eugene ti sumampa ken mangituloy iti rebolusyon.

CPP/NPA-Ilocos Sur: Pammapatay kenni Junior Valdez, aramid ti berdugo nga 81st IBPA

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Sep 13, 2020): Pammapatay kenni Junior Valdez, aramid ti berdugo nga 81st IBPA

SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

Iti amin a tay-ak ti trabaho ti New People’s Army, ipangpangruna dagiti Nalabbaga a mannakigubat ken kumander ti interes ti naruay nga umili. Kadagiti maisaysayangkat a taktikal nga opensiba ken iti panangiyabante iti gubat ti umili, ni kaanuman saan a nagbalin a target dagiti sibilyan. Saan laeng a panagsurot daytoy kadagiti linteg ken pagannurotan iti gubat, no di ket nairot a panagpetpet iti prinsipyo a bugas ti pakinakem ti maysa a komunista – ti panagtarigagay ti pagsayaatan saan a para iti bukod no di ket para iti umili.

Ti pammapatay ti 81st IBPA kenni Junior Valdez idi Agosto 8, 2020 sadiay Suagayn, Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur ti mangpaneknek a para kadakuada nga aso-aso dagiti gamrud ken pasista nga agturturay a dasig, napatpateg ti bukod nga interes, bileg, ken posisyon ngem ti pagsayaatan ti umili.

Nalawag a linabsing ti 81st IBPA ti nakalanad iti Artikulo 4 Paset 4 ti Comprehensive Agreement for the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) nu sadinno a “[t]i sibilyan a populasyon ken dagiti sibilyan ket maitrato kas sibilyan ken maiduma kadagiti mannakigubat ken, karaman dagiti sanikua da ket saan a mabalin nga atakeen. Isuda ket masalakniban laban iti awan sarday a panagbomba manipud iti tangatang, istraping, panagkanyon, panagmortar, panagpuor, panagbuldoser, ken dadduma pay a kapada a langa ti panangperdi iti biag ken sanikua, panagusar kadagiti bomba kasta met ti panagurnong ti paltog, bala, bomba, ken dadduma pay iti asideg da wenno iti tengnga ti kaaddaan da, ken ti panagusar kadagiti armas a kemikal ken bayolohikal”:

(1) Naranggas a pinapakleb da ni Junior Valdez sakbay ti rugi ti panagputok da imbes a pinaawid wenno inyadayo iti lugar ti labanan;

(2) Pinagbalin da a kalasag dagiti umili agraman dagiti sanikua da kas iti balay ken lugan;

(3) Nagurnong da a naka-full battle gear iti asideg ken tengnga ti sibilyan a populasyon, ken dagiti lugan ken tangke da ket nakaparada iti asideg ti komunidad;

(4) Nalabes ti panagputok da ti riple, M203, ken tangke a nangdangran iti dua pay a sibilyan.

Nayonna, no inta’y amirisen, dagiti berdugo nga AFP ken PNP ti kangrunaan a manglablabsing iti Anti-Terror Law. Isuda ti nangpapatay iti sibilyan. Isuda ti nangperdi kadagiti sanikua ti umili. Isuda ti mangliplipit ken mangpangpangta kadakuada. Isuda ti mangpatpataud ti buteng iti uneg ti komunidad. Saan aya nga aramid ti terorista dagitoy?

Ngarud, saan tayo nga agpaallilaw. Saan tayo nga itulok nga agraira ti terorismo ti estado ken dagiti aso-aso nga armado a pwersa na. Agkaykaysa a labanan ti militarisasyon ken papanawen dagiti pudno a terorista. Tumipon iti armado a rebolusyon tapno naan-anay a masalakniban ken mailaban ti karbengan ti kaaduan.#

CPP/News: The Marcos borrowing binge, a recurring historic phenomenon

Propaganda news story posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Sep 13, 2020): The Marcos borrowing binge, a recurring historic phenomenon

SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

Third part of the series on the Duterte regime’s borrowing binge. Read the first part, “Pandemic borrowing binge,” in Ang Bayan, August 21, 2020; second part, “Predicament to be caused by Duterte’s borrowing spree,” Ang Bayan, September 7, 2020.

This coming September 21, the Filipino people will mark the 48th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. This was the start of an era marked by innumerable atrocities, cronyism and rampant corruption by the ruling Marcos clique. It was also an era of unprecedented accumulation of foreign debt. After more than 14 years of martial rule, Marcos left the country in ruins and heavily in debt.

Much like Duterte today, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos colluded with imperialist financial institutions to fund his grandiose infrastructure program purportedly to spur economic growth in the country. Marcos borrowed heavily from the US-controlled International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) to fund 61 of these projects. These included the notorious Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in Morong, Bataan, and many other projects that turned out to be white elephants and provided Marcos and his cronies huge kickbacks.

The IMF-WB were all too willing to lend the US-Marcos dictatorship with massive amounts of dollars. Since the start of the 1970s and through the 1980s, the US imperialists pushed for debt-driven “sustainable development” to unload the imperialists of their surplus dollars.

Upon declaring martial law, Marcos liberalized borrowing and made policy adjustments in compliance with IMF-WB conditionalities. He immediately removed the ceiling on public borrowing dismantling the debt margin which was initially pegged at $1 billion with an annual ceiling of just $250 million.

By allowing unlimited borrowing, Marcos accumulated $2.6 billion in loans from the WB alone in 1973-1981, nearly eight times bigger than what the country received between 1950 to 1972. By 1980, the Philippines became the WB’s 8th top recipient of loans among 113 poor countries. Simultaneously, loans from foreign private banks also ballooned from just $2 billion in 1972 to $24.5 billion in 1983. All in all, Philippine foreign debt, including state-guaranteed private debt (so-called “behest loans”) skyrocketed from just $600 million (current value at ₱30 billion) in 1965 to more than $26 billion in 1986 (₱1.3 trillion).

The borrowing binge was managed by former Prime Minister Cesar Enrique Virata, a WB-trained technocrat, who concurrently served as Finance Minister and head of the dictatorial regime’s National Economic and Development Authority. In turn, the IMF-WB openly supported the dictatorship, clearly symbolized by its annual general meeting in 1976 which was held in Manila.

By 1980, the Philippines became the top recipient in Asia and 2nd in the world for structural adjustment loans (SALs). These loans came with conditionalities including tariff cuts, removal of import licenses and quantitative restrictions, additional taxes, privatization of public assets, deregulation, labor-export, wage cuts and many other anti-people and market-oriented reforms. These neoliberal measures will later be come to be known as the Washington Consensus.

The SALs incurred from 1980 to 1984 totaling to more than $500 million were accompanied by policy conditions which mark the beginning of decades of Philippine neoliberal restructuring. Among others, average tariff protection was significantly cut from 43% in 1981 to just 28% in 1985 resulting in bankruptcies among local enterprises leading to massive job losses. By 1985, the unemployment rate reached 12.6% from just 3.9% in 1975. Prices of basic goods and services also dramatically increased as the inflation rate soared to nearly 30% in 1985 from 6.8% in 1975.

Contrary to attempts at historical revisionism which conjure the illusion of “golden years” under the US-Marcos dictatorship, the economy actually collapsed during martial law under IMF and WB promises of development.

Despite the nominal restoration of democracy after the dictator was ousted in 1986, all succeeding regimes, including the incumbent Duterte regime continue to uphold and implement IMF-WB-imposed neoliberal reforms. This has been a constant with all post-Marcos regimes, as the country continue to grapple with chronic budget and trade deficits borne out of its export-oriented, import-dependent economy.

Starkest among these reforms is the policy for automatic debt servicing which was implemented by Marcos through Presidential Decree 1177 in 1977. Speaking before the US Congress after rising to the presidency at the heels of the EDSA uprising, Corazon Aquino, notoriously promised that the Philippines will pay all of Marcos’ debt. She later issued the Administrative Code of 1987 to institutionalize automatic debt servicing. Over the past decades, the Philippines has appropriated from 20 to 45% of the national budget to service its foreign debt and has assiduously implemented neoliberal policy measures. In the 1980s, this was to earn the so-called “seal of good housekeeping” of the IMF. These days, this is to get positive reviews by imperialist credit-rating agencies and earn the triple-A rating of “credit worthiness” in order to borrow more money.

Duterte’s corrupt-ridden infrastructure program and insatiable appetite for massive borrowing brings back memories of the dark period of crisis under the Marcos dictatorship. In this aspect, as in all aspects of tyranny, the people are correct in saying “never again” to unbridled public borrowing.

Kalinaw News: NPA attacks community, kills tribal defender in Davao de Oro

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 13, 2020): NPA attacks community, kills tribal defender in Davao de Oro

ASUNCION, Davao del Norte — Acting from an emergency call by a resident who reported that a CPP-NPA terrorist group has been camping nearby, the local tribal defenders (locally called “bagani”) of Barangay Sto. Niño in Laak town, Davao de Oro were attacked by the said terrorist group, killing one (1) bagani and wounding another, on Friday.

Armed only with homemade shotguns which they use for traditional boar and fowl hunting, the bagani exchanged fires with the CPP-NPA who were not only better armed but were also positioned on higher ground which put the bagani at a very disadvantageous position.

According to witnesses, Bensar Alcano, the bagani who was killed in action, held his ground to fire towards the communist-terrorists while ordering his fellow bagani to run and find cover. After about 15 minutes of firefight, the terrorists fled the area leaving Alcano suffering from several gunshot wounds. Alcano died at the encounter site.

Another bagani suffered from a graze gunshot wound and was immediately brought to the hospital for treatment.

60IB Commander, Lt. Col. Ronaldo Sarmiento, said that the bagani, through their barangay officials, were able to immediately notify the nearest military detachment about the communist-terrorists’ presence. However, the said terrorist group have already attacked the bagani before the military reinforcement was able to arrive at the area.

The group who attacked the bagani is believed to be from the Weakened Guerilla Front 33, Sub-Regional Command 4, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee who has purportedly been “re-visiting” their former contacts and members in the said town.

In a later interview with authorities, the same resident who reported the group’s presence said he was personally approached by the terrorists who asked him for rice, canned goods, and other foodstuffs. He said that the terrorists even threatened him that “babalikan ka namin” (we will come back for you) if he ever mentions anything to anyone about their presence. But having surrendered to the authorities earlier this year, being a former CPP-NPA supporter himself, the said resident chose to risk reporting the incident to his local officials.

The said resident was among the 1,000 former members and supporters of the CPP-NPA-NDF in Laak who publicly withdrew all their support and allegiances to the said communist-terrorist group and declared the same Persona Non Grata from their entire municipality last June.

Earlier in February, over 1,000 bagani of the Dibabawon tribe in Laak have also formally established their tribal defense association and effectively declared the CPP-NPA-NDF and all its legal front organizations as an enemy of their tribe and also Persona Non Grata from their ancestral domains. These bagani have since been implementing their tribal defense system with respect to their customary laws and in cooperation with local authorities.

“We’ve come to some solid realizations with this incident,” Lt. Col. Ronaldo Sarmiento adds.

“First, we have proven, time and again, that the CPP-NPA is nothing but a terrorist group who says that they are fighting for an ideology—for the ‘oppressed masses’ even—when the truth is that the only thing they care about now is the money that comes with the persistence of the armed conflict they so deliberately, if not desperately, nourish. Second, and I think most importantly, we see that the people, indigenous peoples and ordinary citizens alike, are genuinely tired of the CPP-NPA’s terrorism to the point that many of them are already taking it up to themselves to rid their communities of the festering trails of these terrorists.

Meanwhile, Col. Luis Rex Bergante, Commander of the 1001st Infantry Brigade, also expressed his condolences to the family. He commended the heroic act of Alcano and his fellow bagani and urged the community to never falter in their conviction against the CPP-NPA in spite of the incident.

“Let us remember Bensar Alcano: the brave tribal defender who, despite being an ordinary citizen and armed only with his love for his family and community, stood up against the CPP-NPA’s terroristic bullying. Let us be inspired by his heroic deed and follow the example he has made,” Bergante said.

In a separate statement, Laak Mayor Antonio Libuangan said that he is personally, deeply saddened by this incident and committed to help the family of Alcano in whatever means possible. Libuangan further assured Alcano’s family that his sacrifice will not go unacknowledged.

[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: 60 FRs from AgNor receive livelihood assistance

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 12, 2020): 60 FRs from AgNor receive livelihood assistance
BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – A total of sixty (60) former rebels (FRs) from the different municipalities in Agusan del Norte received government support through the Livelihood Settlement Grant (SLG) program in a ceremony held on September 11, 2020, at the Provincial Covered Court, Capitol Compound, Butuan City.

Of the total number of FRs granted with aid, thirty-six (36) are currently housed at the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion while the other twenty-four (24) are temporarily staying in the 29th Infantry Battalion. Each eligible FR received financial assistance in the amount of PHP20,000 to support the establishment or continuity of their livelihood upon their reintegration to their respective communities.
The distribution of livelihood assistance was graced by Agusan del Norte Governor Dale B. Corvera, Agusan del Norte 2nd District Rep. Ma. Angelica Amante-Matba, Mayor Norbert B. Pagaspas of Buenavista town, SP Member Elizabeth Marie R. Calo, DSWD CARAGA Director Ramel F. Jamen, PSWD Agusan del Norte Director Silver Joy B. Tejano, TESDA Agusan del Norte Director Rey M. Cueva, Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, commander of 23rd IB and Maj. Roger Gersava of 29th IB.

The SLG is a capability-building program that provides access to opportunities to help improve the socio-economic conditions of former combatants of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorist (CNT) through accessing and acquiring necessary assets to engage and maintain thriving livelihoods. LSG is a process intended for the provision of livelihood to the FR beneficiaries under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which aligns with the mandate of Executive Order 70 that institutionalized the Whole-of-Nation approach to end the local communist armed conflict.

Rep. Matba, in her statement, expressed gratitude to the former CNT combatants who bravely made the decision to abandon the communist movement and return to the folds of the law.

“The provincial government of Agusan del Norte is always ready to help and develop you in order for you to be confident with yourselves when you return to your respective communities. Always remember that this financial assistance you receive today cannot sustain your needs for a lifetime that is why I encourage you to use it wisely,” Amante-Matba said.

Gov. Corvera thanked the DSWD for the agency’s untiring efforts to find ways to support the former CNT combatants.

“Ang inyong nadawat nga financial assistance karon nga gihatag sa gobyerno inyo ning tarungong pag gamit kay kini nga kwarta sama lang ni sya sa isa ka liso nga gitisok sa gobyerno aron inyong patuboon para sa inyong kaugmaon. Anaa ninyo ang tanan, kung inyo bang patyon ang liso o inyo ba ning buhion. Kining tanan gibuhat sa gobyerno aron kamo nga mga FRs makabaton og kinasing kasing nga panghunahuna, nga atong gobyerno wala mag pasagad kaninyo kay walay kauswagan kung walay kalinaw ug wala poy kalinaw kung walay kauswagan,” Corvera said.

Among the FRs from the 23rd IB who received the livelihood assistance was Alias Amats who expressed gratitude to the government for the support and opportunities he received.

“Dako among pasalamat sa gobyerno labi na sa DSWD ug sa kasundaluhan kay naningkamot sila aron matabangan kami sa pag bag-o sa among kinabuhi. Sugod sa pagbiya nako sa kalihukan, daghan na kaayo ang mga ayuda, tabang ug oportunidad nga gihatag sa amo sa gobyerno. Diri ra gayod nako nakita ang tinuod nga kabag-uhan ug nakita namo kung giunsa gyod mi sa pag suporta sa gobyerno aron nga mabag-o ug mulambo ang among kinabuhi. Karon namo nakita ang kaayo sa gobyerno kay sa una nga naa pami sa kalihukan, kanunay man gisulsol sa among mga lideres nga way ayo ang gobyerno. Puro na lang negatibo ang ilang gitudlo sa amo pero ang tinuod nga kaayo ug pagtabang diri lang namo nabati ug nakita sa gobyerno,” Amats said.

Lt. Col. Paulo, in his message, made an assurance that the government and the Army will continuously look forward to help the former CNT combatants to live progressively and peacefully with their families.

“Our government offers many opportunities to help you become independent individuals especially when you will soon be reintegrated into your communities. We hope that all the assistance provided by the government will be your instrument in renewing and starting positive lives,” Paulo said.

He added that it was the lack of basic services, an issue usually exploited by the CNTs, forced the FRs to once join the terrorist movement in the area of Agusan del Norte.

“The government is providing you now with different assistance and services for you to truly feel that this government is always working for the benefit of its people. We know that it is not easy on your part to live normally after a couple of years in believing the ideologies of the armed group. Now that you are on the right path with the government, you are assured of the protection and help that you and your families need,” Paulo said.

He also urged the former rebels to make plans on how to manage properly the finances they received and make use of all the assistance wisely in order to have a sustainable livelihood in the near future.

“May this program help you transform your lives from miserable into a productive one,” Paulo said.

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

Kalinaw News: ASG Returnees Receive TUPAD Benefits

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 12, 2020): ASG Returnees Receive TUPAD Benefits
ISABELA CITY, Basilan – Former Abu Sayyaf bandits receive relief goods from the government in Barangay Cabunbata last September 11.

The Department of Labor and Employment’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) provided sacks of rice, cash assistance, and other goods for 38 Abu Sayyaf Group Returnees.
The relief distribution was made possible through the 4th Special Forces Battalion’s collaboration with the Provincial Government of Basilan and Nagdilaab Foundation.

Helping Former Insurgents through TUPAD

The TUPAD Program is a community-based package assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed and seasonal workers.

However, the employment is only for a minimum period of 10 days, but does not exceed the maximum of 30 days. The longevity of the employment depends on the nature of work to be performed.

Program Against Violent Extermism

Additionally, these former ASG bandits are currently enrolled in the Program Against Violent Extremism (PAVE).

As part of PAVE, the ASG returnees complemented their work through the application of their training in vegetable production.

Lieutenant Colonel Alex D. Amapati, the Commanding Officer of 4SFBN, expressed his sincere gratitude for the program. PAVE encourages other ASG rebels to lay down their arms.

“Sa mga kapatid natin na hanggang ngayon ay nakikibaka pa rin sa kabundukan, may panahon pa po kayo para magbago,” said Lt Col Ampati.

He added, “Handa kayong tulungan ng gobyerno.”

It can be recalled that the same group of ASG returnees had undrgone the Agri-livelihood Training. It was conducted by the Office of the Provincial Agriculture-Basilan and Balay Mindanaw Foundation Incorporated last month.

[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:]

6 years after killing Jennifer Laude, US soldier Pemberton now a free man

From Rappler (Sep 13, 2020): 6 years after killing Jennifer Laude, US soldier Pemberton now a free man (By LIAN BUAN)

(3rd UPDATE) President Rodrigo Duterte broke his promise, says Jennifer Laude's mother Julita

After 6 years in detention at a special facility inside the Philippine military headquarters, convicted killer US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton is now a free man.

Pemberton was deported from the Philippines at 9:14 am on Sunday, September 13, said Bureau of Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval.

"Officially po, successfully deported na po si Pemberton (Pemberton has successfully been deported)," Sandoval said on state-run PTV, the only station accredited to physically cover Pemberton's release.

Sandoval said Pemberton was escorted to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) by personnel from the military and the US embassy. She said she cannot disclose the exact number of personnel who escorted Pemberton.

PTV did not air live footage of Pemberton being deported.

PTV correspondent Bea Bernardo said Philippine authorities strictly carried out the deportation process for Pemberton, whose flight details were not officially disclosed to reporters. The media was also not allowed to enter NAIA to document Pemberton's departure.

"May he find peace of mind," said Laude family lawyer Virgie Suarez after Pemberton's departure. She said their camp is hoping "he has learned from all these the value of life and dignity regardless of gender and nationality."

"Jennifer's case has ended. But not the poverty and struggle borne by the administration's incompetence to curb COVID-19 and corruption that continue to plague our nation," Suarez said.

Pemberton, on the other hand, extended to the Laude family "his most sincere sympathy for the pain he caused." Pemberton's lawyer Rowena Garcia Flores said, "He wishes he had the words to express the depth of his sorrow and regret."

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in his own statement, "I am relieved to see the end of the Pemberton episode."

"Though attended with intense conflict, it has provided valuable insights and lessons to ponder on regarding the future of the visiting forces agreement, the administration of criminal justice, and the exercise of the President's constitutional powers," Guevarra said.

LOOK: When Pemberton, who killed Jennifer Laude, walked free

Blacklisted from Philippines

Pemberton has been blacklisted in the Philippines, on account of his conviction for homicide, which means involvement in a crime of "moral turpitude." Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said that if one is blacklisted based on moral turpitude, the person "may apply to lift the order of blacklisting 10 years after its implementation."

The Philippines had earlier ensured a smooth release process for the American soldier, who was convicted of homicide in the 2014 case of transgender woman Jennifer Laude.

On Friday, September 11, government agents went to him in Camp Aguinaldo to process his documents. His send-off was later done as discreetly as possible, as the family of his victim is given a check for $94,000 (P4.56 million)* in court-awarded civil damages.

Pemberton left the Philippines with a criminal record: killing Laude in a motel in the red light district north of Manila in 2014.

Enraged by the sudden discovery that Laude was a transgender woman, "a he-she" in Pemberton's words, the visiting US Marine choked, arm-locked, and dunked her head into the toilet bowl and left her there to die.

It's a brutal story of killing that rehashes old colonial wounds, and reignited narratives of the Philippines being subservient to the United States despite President Rodrigo Duterte's self-portrayal as a stern critic of the West, especially the US.

Laude family shocked

Duterte's grant of pardon to Pemberton came as a shock to the Laude family: the President himself broke his pledge to them.

"Siya pa mismo nagbigay ng tulong pinansyal noon dahil masaya raw siya na pinakipaglaban namin ang kaso dahil sabi niya na hangga't siya raw ang nakaupo, hinding-hindi niya papayagan na makalaya si Pemberton," Laude's mother, Julita Cabillan, said in a statement sent through Suarez. (He personally gave us financial help before because he said he was happy that we fought for this case, and he said that as long as he was president, Pemberton would never be free.)

Julita said that Duterte had given the family financial assistance on 3 occasions since 2017. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who lawyered for the Laudes during trial, confirmed this.

Pemberton was charged and tried for murder but was convicted only of homicide and sentenced to a maximum of 10 years – a verdict that disappointed the Laude family.

Pemberton got a court victory on September 1 that granted him full credits under the Good Conduct Time Allowance law, allowing him early release even though he had only served for 6 years.

The Laudes, as well as the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), appealed the court ruling, but on the first day of hearing the appeals on September 7, Duterte stepped in and cut the process short by giving Pemberton absolute pardon, which cannot be appealed. (READ: In US Marine Pemberton pardon, Duterte undermines state lawyers)

"Ayos lang sana kung hindi siya nagbigay ng absolute pardon, para kahit papaano ay may laban naman kami – 10 taong pagkakakulong lang sana ang hinihingi naming kabayaran para sa buhay ng anak ko. Napakaiksing panahong kabayarang pagkakakulong para sa buhay ng anak ko," said Julita (It would have been okay if the President did not give absolute pardon, so that at least we could have had a chance – we were only asking for 10 years as payment for the life of my child. That's a very short period of imprisonment compared to the lost life of my child.)

Pardon in exchange for vaccine?
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, whose department had even stopped the immediate execution of Pemberton's initial release order, said on Friday that with the President's grant of pardon to the soldier and his explanation for it, it was time to "move on."

"I consider this matter closed. My sentiments are irrelevant," said the justice secretary.

Roque, who again found himself speaking on presidential actions that go against his previous principles as an erstwhile human rights lawyer, told media his "guess" is that the pardon was in exchange for securing US coronavirus vaccine for the Philippines, if one is successfully developed.

To this, Guevarra said: "I cannot speculate on the President’s motives. Let’s move on."

Pemberton's case raised new issues with the thorny GCTA law, but as far as Guevarra is concerned, it is settled that even Americans like Pemberton, who are protected under the Philippines-US Visiting Forces Agreement, are entitled.

With that, the DOJ is left to answer for the rest of Filipino convicts who have not yet availed of their GCTAs. – with reports from Mara Cepeda/

Jennifer Laude camp on Pemberton departure: 'May he find peace of mind'

From Rappler (Sep 13, 2020): Jennifer Laude camp on Pemberton departure: 'May he find peace of mind' (By MARA CEPEDA)

'Jennifer's case has ended. But not the poverty and struggle borne by the administration's incompetence,' says Laude family lawyer Virgie Suarez

The lawyer of slain transgender woman Jennifer Laude said their camp is hoping her convicted killer, US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, has learned the value of life "regardless of gender and nationality."

Lawyer Virgie Suarez made the statement on Sunday, September 13, after Pemberton's plane flew out of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport en route to the US, completing his deportation process.

"May he find peace of mind. Hoping he has learned from all these the value of life and dignity regardless of gender and nationality," Suarez said.

But Laude's lawyer also had scathing words for President Rodrigo Duterte, who granted Pemberton an absolute pardon despite giving financial support to the Laude family in the wake of Laude's murder.

"Jennifer's case has ended. But not the poverty and struggle borne by the administration's incompetence to curb COVID-19 and corruption that continue to plague our nation," Suarez said.

Duterte vowed to keep Pemberton detained during his presidency, says Jennifer Laude's mom

After spending 6 years in detention at a special facility inside the Philippine military headquarters, Pemberton is now a free man after he was officially deported at 9:14 am on Sunday.

He has been blacklisted in the Philippines on account of his homicide conviction.

Pemberton – who was part of an American team that joined military exercises with Filipino troops – had initially been sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2015 over the killing of Laude in 2014.

The US soldier was about to have sex with Laude at a motel in Olongapo City, but he was enraged after discovering that she had male genitals. Pemberton then choked Laude, arm-locked her, and dunked her head in the toilet bowl of their motel room. 

(READ: Remembering 'Ganda': The tragedy of Jennifer Laude)

Six years later, Pemberton got a court victory after an Olongapo City judge ruled to free him 4 years earlier than his scheduled release due to his Good Conduct Time Allowance credits.

The Laudes, as well as the Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor General, appealed the court ruling.

But on the first day of hearing the appeals on September 7, Duterte stepped in and cut the process short by giving Pemberton absolute pardon, which cannot be appealed.

It's a shocking move from a President who has portrayed himself a stern critic of the West, especially the US whom he accused of meddling in his bloody war against drugs.

Duterte has since faced widespread condemnation for pardoning Pemberton, with Filipino lawmakers calling him an "American lackey" and tagging his decision as an "affront to the Filipino people."

Freed Pemberton to Laude family: My 'most sincere sympathy'

From Rappler (Sep 13, 2020): Freed Pemberton to Laude family: My 'most sincere sympathy' (By MARA CEPEDA)

'He wishes he had the words to express the depth of his sorrow and regret,' says the camp of US soldier Joseph Scott Pemberton

US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton extended his "most sincere sympathy" to the family left behind by Jennifer Laude, the transgender woman he killed in the Philippines in 2014.

Pemberton's camp issued the statement on Sunday, September 13, as the convicted killer of Laude was deported to the US following the absolute pardon granted to him by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

"To the family of Ms Jennifer Laude, he extends his most sincere sympathy for the pain he caused," read the statement issued by Pemberton's legal counsel Rowena Garcia Flores.

Flores claims her client had already contemplated "the many errors in his ways" regarding the night of October 11, 2014, when Pemberton – enraged after finding out Laude had male genitals – choked her to death, arm-locked her, then dumped her head in a motel room in Olongapo City, a red light district north of Manila.

"He wishes he had the words to express the depth of his sorrow and regret," said the Pemberton camp.

The US soldier also thanked Duterte for pardoning him, saying he is "extremely grateful for this act of compassion."

But Filipinos were up in arms over the Pemberton pardon, rekindling their calls for justice that has remained ever elusive for Laude and her family. 

(READ: Remembering 'Ganda': The tragedy of Jennifer Laude)

In 2014, an Olongapo court found Pemberton guilty of homicide, a lesser sentence than what the Laude family had demanded. The US soldier then served time in a special facility inside the Philippine military headquarters, affording him special treatment. 

Six years after his conviction, Pemberton secured a court victory that allowed for his early release due to his Good Conduct Time Allowance credits.

The Laudes, the Department of Justice, and the Office of the Solicitor General tried to appeal the ruling.

But their petitions were all rendered moot when Duterte decided to pardon Pemberton, which cannot be appealed.

The President has since faced public backlash, with critics accusing the tough-talking chief executive of being subservient to the US and allowing himself to be an "American lackey."

As Laude's killer returned to his home country, Laude family lawyer Virgie Suarez hoped he would "find peace of mind" and learn the value of life "regardless of gender and nationality."

LOOK: When Pemberton, who killed Jennifer Laude, walked free

From Rappler (Sep 13, 2020): LOOK: When Pemberton, who killed Jennifer Laude, walked free

US soldier Joseph Scott Pemberton, convicted killer of transgender woman Jennifer Laude, is now a free man

US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton is now a free man 6 years after he killed Filipina transgender Jennifer Laude.

Pemberton was deported at exactly 9:14 am on Sunday, September 13, less than a week after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte made the controversial decision to grant him absolute pardon.

[Video: Exact moment Pemberton became a free man]

Pemberton on Sunday extended to the Laude family "his most sincere sympathy for the pain he caused," while the Laude family said of Pemberton, "May he find peace of mind."

Here are images of Pemberton's release, as provided by the the Bureau of Immigration.

NO MORE HANDCUFFS. Pemberton's handcuffs are removed just before he boards the van that would take him to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Photo from Bureau of Immigration

ESCORTED OUT. Pemberton is escorted out of his detention facility. Photo from Bureau of Immigration  BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION

Pemberton was convicted in 2015 for killing Laude, whom he choked to death in a motel room in Olongapo City after discovering she was transgender.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for homicide, but was set to be released 4 years early after he was recently granted full credits of Good Conduct Time Allowance under Philippine law.

Duterte's pardon eventually paved the way for Pemberton's release.

WAITING. Pemberton looks out the window as his van heads towards NAIA. Photo from Bureau of Immigration  BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION

[Video: US Marine Pemberton at NAIA]

NPA leadership in Palawan suffer major blow

From the Palawan News (Sep 13, 2020): NPA leadership in Palawan suffer major blow (By Aira Genesa Magdayao)

Brig. Gen. Nestor Herico, commander of the 3rd Marine Brigade, said the leadership of the communist armed group has been decimated.

Brig. Gen. Nestor Herico, commander of the 3rd Marine Brigade. // Image by Shoogar Santos.

The death of a top NPA leader and several other key rebel leaders in a military operation in Brooke’s Point last week has dealt a major blow on the group’s overall capacity, a senior defense official has said.

Brig. Gen. Nestor Herico, commander of the 3rd Marine Brigade, said the leadership of the communist armed group has been decimated.

“Puwede natin sabihin na durog. It really has a tremendous impact on the NPA,” Herico said.

Killed in the brief encounter was Bonifacio Magramo, believed to be the head and spokesman of the Bienvenido Vallever Command, known also with the aliases Boywan, Tuna, Bonglay, and Salvador Luminoso.

Also killed were Andrea Rosal, reportedly the “secretary” of the NPA’s Kilusang Larangang Guerilya-Palawan. She was also known as Naya and was the daughter of former CPP spokesperson Roger Rosal. Noel Siasico, alias Celnon, was a front operational commander of the rebel group, along with Rona Jane Manalo alias Pandan/Amir and certain RJ.

“Napakalaki ng impact sa kanila. Malaki din ang impact sa atin dahil this is a challenge on our part,” Herico added, saying they continue to remain alert on whatever plans the NPA will be.

“But the impact is very challenging on our part because getting them will lead to an end supposedly. I’m seeking the support of everybody to put this to an end. We need the support of everybody,” Herico said.

The military operation involved the 2nd Platoon, 61st Marine Company, Force Reconnaissance Group in Barangay Mainit, Brooke’s Point.

Meanwhile, the items confiscated from the NPA hideout including subversive documents and firearms were presented to the media on Thursday.

Kins finally claim remains of NPA rebels killed in Palawan encounter

From the Palawan News (Sep 13, 2020): Kins finally claim remains of NPA rebels killed in Palawan encounter (By Celeste Anna Formoso)

The remains of Andrea Rosal (Ka Naya), Bonifacio Magramo (Salvador Luminoso), Rona Manalo (Ka Amir), and Noel Siasico (Ka Celnon) left the Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPIA) at 3 p.m., September 12, via a Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight that landed at the NAIA Terminal 2.

The remains of the NPA leaders and members killed in the encounter in the mountains of Mainit, Brooke's Point on September 3, 2020.

The remains of the communist rebels who were killed in an encounter in Palawan were finally claimed Saturday by their families and flown out of the province, ending a week-long dilemma if they could take them back home for proper burial rights.

The remains of Andrea Rosal (Ka Naya), Bonifacio Magramo (Salvador Luminoso), Rona Manalo (Ka Amir), and Noel Siasico (Ka Celnon) left the Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPIA) at 3 p.m., September 12, via a Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight that landed at the NAIA Terminal 2.

Casey Cruz, Karapatan paralegal and spokesperson for the families of the “Brooke’s Point 5”, told Palawan News in a phone call that they will be taken to their respective provinces so they can rejoin other relatives.

Cruz said Manalo, touted to be a Gabriela official in Mindoro by Southern Luzon Command (SolCom) chief, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., will be given a funeral tribute by her University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) classmates.

“After makumpleto ang dokumento ay maiiuwi na sila sa kanilang mga lugar para sa maayos na libing. Si Manalo ay bibigyan din ng tribute ng kanyang mga kaklase sa UPLB,” she said.

They were allowed to go home after completing local requirements, including proof of family ties, and after the release of their death certificates by the Palawan Provincial Crime Laboratory (PPCL) headed by Lt. Col. Marites Tecson.

Unclaimed remains of Ka Rj
Karapatan is also appealing for local government officials to help give a proper burial to Jay-ar Sento, alias Ka Rj, who was among those killed in the encounter at Sitio Kubuyoan, Barangay Mainit, Brooke’s Point.

“Sana mabigyan din ng maayos na libing, kung hindi man ma-claim. Baka dahil katutubo ay walang documents na maipakita,” Cruz said.

Sento was a Pala’wan indigenous people recruited in the armed struggle from Barangay Ipilan, Brooke’s Point.

But sources at the provincial government said his body had already been claimed by the chairman of Ipilan.

The coffins of the NPA rebels at Heaven’s Gate Funeral Homes.

Complaint before CHR

On September 11, Rosal’s relative Jose Inandan went to the Commission on Human Right’s (CHR) main office in Quezon City with Karapatan and meet with Commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz to seek help on claiming the bodies.

Inandan also filed complaints of “red-tagging” against the Palawan Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF ELCAC) for harassing the families and the Karapatan paralegals while they are in the quarantine facility of the city.

“Dahil po yong nanghihingi nga kami ng tulong para mapadali ang pag-uwi ng labi ng aming kaanak na nasawi. Noong pagdating namin, akala namin ay okay na pero, ang dami pa palang problema,” he said.

He claimed the families, while in Puerto Princesa, were persecuted by WESCOM after branding them as individuals affiliated to the communist.

The movements of the families or claimants of the remains and the Karapatan humanitarian team were also constantly kept under surveillance, making them worried and anxious, Inandan said.

Karl Vegnotea, also a Karapatan paralegal, said the families are complaining about the “apparent intervention” of WESCOM in delaying the transportation of the remains.

“Una, yong apparent na intervention ng Western Command sa mga local government units. Kasi di naman po naitago sa amin ng mga taga-local government units. According to them, kailangan daw ng clearance from Western Command ng mga ginagawa namin. Saang mandate yon nagfa-fall, hindi ba?” he said.

“Ang reason po ay yong tuloy-tuloy na vilification at saka red-tagging habang nandoon kami. Medyo intimidating at saka harassing po siya sa families at sa paralegal. Habang sumusunod at nakikipag-cooperate kami properly with the LGUs, may mga online red-tagging na ginagawa… una, kinukwestyon yong validity kung bakit kami (Karapatan) nandoon,” Vegnotea added.

He said as a human rights group, it is not Karapatan’s fault if the families came to them to seek help to claim the remains of their dead loved ones.

WESCOM denies accusations of harassment

Fr. Stephen Penetrante, spokesperson of WESCOM, said the accusations of Karapatan that they are harassing them are “all baseless”.

He said WESCOM has nothing to do with the delay in the claiming of the remains because the “jurisdiction” was entrusted to the police and the local government after military troops brought them down from Sitio Kubuyoan, Barangay Mainit after the clash.

“Saan ang basis nila at maayos na ebidensya? We do not harass them, we do not hostage the cadavers or whatever. We want to make it clear that WESCOM does not have jurisdiction anymore over the bodies of the slain NPAs as the responsibility was already entrusted to the PNP and the LGUs for appropriate disposition,” Penetrante said.

He said Karapatan and the families must understand that health and safety protocol is “obviously in effect and strictly implemented in the province, exempting no one”.

Penetrante added it is not a question of delay, but what was Karapatan doing in Palawan.

“Every day, they keep ranting and raving for the immediate release of the cadavers, but everyone else knew that they are just making propaganda out of it, considering they are not even the legitimate next of kin,” he added.

Penetrante said Karapatan is a group of “heartless and hypocrite individuals” who is afraid of being red-tagged yet will likely show up every time they hear their armed group or NPAs suffer defeat.

“It is high time that people should know and understand the real color and motive of this group. The decision of the release of the body is not a part of WESCOM. There is no harassment. Even the 3rd Marine Brigade carried down the bodies of their relatives — they retrieved them and turned them to the local government units concerned. Hindi iniwanan ang mga bangkay doon sa place of encounter. What harassment are they talking about?” Penetrante said.