Saturday, September 26, 2020

US Bill Aims to End Aid to Philippines Military and Police

From The Diplomat (Sep 25, 2020): US Bill Aims to End Aid to Philippines Military and Police (By Nick Aspinwall)

The Philippine Human Rights Act would end American security assistance to Manila unless it commits to reforms. 

U.S. and Philippine Marines board an assault amphibious vehicle in San Antonio, Zambales during the Balikatan joint exercises in 2018.Credit: Flickr/U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would block funding to military and police in the Philippines due to the recent passage of a controversial anti-terrorism law and other human rights abuses under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Philippine Human Rights Act, introduced on September 23 by Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), would require the Philippines to make substantial human rights reforms within its military and police forces or lose its substantial security funding from the U.S.

Duterte’s administration, which in July pushed through an anti-terror act that critics say is aimed at crushing legal dissent, is using this law to “ramp up efforts targeting labor organizers, workers and political opponents,” Wild said in a speech on the House floor.

“Let us make clear that the United States will not participate in the repression,” she added. “Let us stand with the people of the Philippines.”

The security relationship between Washington and Manila has been in the spotlight this year as Duterte navigates his country’s longstanding American ties and his own desire to forge closer ties to Beijing, much to the dismay of the U.S.

In February, Duterte said he would terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement, which serves as the foundation for U.S. troops to conduct training and joint exercises with the Philippine military.

That move, opposed by generals within his own military, came after the U.S. suspended the visa of Senator Ronald dela Rosa, a Duterte ally and former police chief, due to his role in extrajudicial killings in the country’s drug war.

But Duterte temporarily reversed his decision to terminate the agreement in June shortly after the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump approved two potential sales of attack helicopters, worth around $2 billion, to the Philippines.ADVERTISEMENT

Duterte has been cast as having turned Manila away from Washington and toward Beijing, enjoying a warm relationship with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and refusing to challenge China’s presence in Philippine areas of the South China Sea.

Chinese companies have invested billions in energy and transportation infrastructure in the Philippines since Duterte took office in 2016. Earlier this month, a telecommunications company partly owned by China Telecom was given permission to build cell towers on Philippine military bases.

But Duterte and Trump have had a mostly cordial relationship. In April 2017, Trump congratulated Duterte on “an unbelievable job on the drug problem,” referring to the anti-drug campaign that the Philippines Commission on Human Rights estimates has killed more than 27,000 people. In February, Duterte said Trump deserves to be re-elected.

Ties between U.S. and Philippine armed forces remain strong and the military has proven reliable in tempering Duterte’s urges to move the country closer to China and Russia, with whom Duterte has also attempted to forge closer security ties.

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The threat of Manila building closer ties with Beijing and Moscow has led the U.S. under Trump to mostly hesitate in directly criticizing Philippine rights abuses, even at the peak of Duterte’s drug war.

But Philippine security forces could lose their access to U.S. funding should the Philippine Human Rights Act pass. Between 2016 and 2019, the U.S. provided $554 million in military aid to the Philippines.

The bill would require the Philippines to commit to several reform measures in order to lift the suspension on U.S. aid, including prosecuting members of security forces who violate human rights and establishing measures of protection for government critics and other targeted groups.

Philippine lawmakers have since criticized the bill. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, playing off Rep. Wild’s name, called the bill a “very wild idea.” Senators Panfilo Lacson and Vicente Sotto III noted the bill, if passed, would essentially end the Visiting Forces Agreement.

The armed forces of the Philippines called the bill “unfair” and a spokesperson insisted the armed forces has no human rights abuses in its record. Domestic and international rights groups, journalists, and opposition politicians have documented dozens of rights abuses at the hands of Philippine armed forces.

The bill currently has 24 cosponsors, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), all of whom are Democrats.

‘Is Facebook being ‘used’ by state enemies to fight gov’t?, AFP spokesperson asks

From the Manila Bulletin (Sep 25): ‘Is Facebook being ‘used’ by state enemies to fight gov’t?, AFP spokesperson asks (By Martin Sadongdong)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday defended the social media chief of the Philippine Army who was named as among the administrators of a network of accounts that were taken down by Facebook management for its “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”


Major General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, said the military leadership did not see anything wrong with the social media activities of Captain Alexandre Cabales, head of the Army’s Social Media Center, as he raised the possibility that the social media giant is being “used” by “enemies” of the state to fight the government.

Last Wednesday, Facebook announced that it removed over a hundred of fake and coordinated accounts with links to Chinese individuals and Philippine military and police for “interfering” with local politics and attacks against government critics, particularly the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Cabales was identified by The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Lab (DFRLab), a US-based research group specializing in the study of disinformation, as the administrator of multiple accounts with alleged spurious online activities.

“Si Captain Cabales ay mabuting opisyal ng Philippine Army. He attests — and we believe him and you can see from his posts — na wala siyang inilagay na mga fake news. Lehitimo at legal ang kanyang mga aksyon na ginagawa. Wala po tayong nakita sa ginagawa niya na paglabag sa policy ng AFP on social media and news upang ma-charge siya (Captain Cabales is a good official of the Philippine Army. He attests — and we believe him and you can see from his posts — that he did not release any fake news. The actions he did were legitimate and legal. We did not see any violation of the AFP’s policy on social media and news from his activities),” Arevalo said in a Laging Handa press briefing.

As the Army’s social media chief, Cabales handles the Kalinaw News, its online news platform under the supervision of the Civil Military Operations Regiment.

Kalinaw News regularly publishes posts about the activities of the Army — from its military offensives up to its engagements with the communities.

There were also some posts attacking the CPP-NPA where — to some extent — activists, journalists and even some lawmakers critical of the government are being “red-tagged.”

Cabales’ personal Facebook account, where he regularly shares the contents of Kalinaw News, was among the hundreds taken down by Facebook.

Further, it was revealed that Cabales was also among the administrators of Facebook page “Hands Off Our Children,” a community of parents whose children allegedly joined the NPA. The Hands Off Our Children Facebook page was also among those removed by Facebook.

Arevalo called out DFRLab for revealing the identity of Cabales which, the military spokesperson said, “is a breach of [Cabales’] identity and personal security.” He urged them to revisit their policy on data privacy.

“Dahil sa paglabas ng pangalan at di nabigyan ng pagkakataon na maipaliwanag ang kanyang panig, nailagay po sa alanganin ang kanyang kapakanan at reputasyon sa mata ng kanyang pamilya, komunidad at sa lipunan (Because his identity was released without giving him the opportunity to explaain his side, his welfare and reputation in the eyes of his family, community, and society was put in peril),” Arevalo said.

Nonetheless, Arevalo said the AFP has already requested the Facebook management to explain in detail why Cabales’ personal Facebook account and Hands Off Our Children page were shut down.

“Gusto rin natin malaman anong accounts o ilan ang may kaugnayan sa AFP upang makita at matanggal ang haka-haka sa isipan ng iba na ang AFP is engaged din sa fake news or using fake accounts (We also want to determine what accounts, or how many were linked to AFP for us to see and erase the doubts that the AFP is engaged in [the propagation of] fake news),” he noted.

“Bagamat ang Facebook ang may-ari at sila ang nagdidikta ng polisiya, baka pwede nilang tignan. Baka hindi nila nababatid sa pag-takedown, hindi nila binisita ang nilalaman, nagagamit na sila ng mga kalaban ng estado at nagiging partisan na sila (Although the Facebook manages and dictates their policy, maybe they can also look into it. Maybe they are not aware that in taking down these accounts, they fail to visit the contents, and they are unknowingly being used by the enemies of the state, and they are becoming partisan).”

“Baka po sila ay biktima naman ng ‘CIB’ o coordinated inauthentic behavior sapagkat itong mga kalaban ng pamahalaan ay nagtutulong-tulong upang gamitin ang Facebook upang ma-takedown itong napakahalaga nating mga organisasyon (Maybe they are victims too by ‘CIB’ or coordinated inauthentic behavior because the enemies of the government are joining forces to use Facebook to take down these very important organizations,” he said.

Nonetheless, Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay, AFP Chief, has issued a reminder to all unit and combatant commanders to observe “proper behavior” in their social media activities as part of the military’s policy.

Army finds BIFF bomb factory in Maguindanao believed to be linked to IS

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Sep 25, 2020): Army finds BIFF bomb factory in Maguindanao believed to be linked to IS (By: Edwin O. Fernandez, Julie S. Alipala)

TERROR TOOLS. Bomb-making components seized in a shanty believed being used by Islamic State followers as a bomb factory in Maguindanao province. PHOTOS FROM ARMY 6TH ID

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao—Government forces in pursuit of Islamic State (IS) followers in Maguindanao province discovered a factory where IS-allied groups were believed to be making land mines and improvised explosive devices, according to the Army.

Soldiers from the Army’s 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion
found the bomb-making components at the village of Salman in Ampatuan town, not far from the site of the infamous Maguindanao massacre in 2009 that left 58 people dead, including 32 journalists.

Major Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said f
ound in a shanty a few kilometers from the national highway were unexploded ordnance, bomb-making ingredients, spent bazooka shells, black powder and a notebook with instructions on making land mines.

The explosive-making area was found by soldiers past noon on Friday (April 25).

A day earlier, a soldier was killed and two others were wounded when one of them stepped on a land mine while conducting a clearing operation at the village of Saniag, also in Ampatuan town.

Lt. Col. Alaric Delos Santos, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, said the unexploded ordnance were 105mm and 60mm artillery rounds.

Authorities said they believed the shanty and its surrounding area was where the bombs used in attacking soldiers in past weeks were made.

In the past days, two soldiers had been killed in roadside blasts in Ampatuan town.

Since last month, the Army has resumed a full offensive against Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Front, a group that broke off with Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in the mountains of Shariff Aguak, Datu Hofer and Ampatuan towns.

AFP wants ‘advocacy’ accounts back on Facebook

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Sep 25, 2020): AFP wants ‘advocacy’ accounts back on Facebook (By: Nestor Corrales)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines wants Facebook to restore the accounts of private promilitary “advocacy” groups which were taken down by the social media giant for violating its standards, military spokesperson Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said on Thursday.

Arevalo said Gen. Gilbert Gapay, the chief of staff, asked Facebook head of public policy in the Philippines Clare Amador in a meeting on Wednesday whether they could restore specifically the Hands Off Our Children (HOOC) page.

He did not identify the other groups, saying only that they were “of similar advocacies like preventing child exploitation and trafficking of minors, and combating terrorism.”

Arevalo said Gapay urged Amador and her team “to look into the process they observe in unilaterally removing accounts and for them to give due regard to the cause the account owner espouse to remove doubts of FB being partisan.”

Facebook on Tuesday announced that it had taken down more than 100 fake accounts and pages linked to the Philippine military and police that targeted activists and dissidents, and over 150 others based in China that supported President Duterte and the possible presidential bid by his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

Facebook said these accounts, whose true owners were not fully disclosed, had engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” which violated its community standards. That is broadly defined as using fake accounts to, among other purposes, “artificially boost the popularity of content.”

‘Demonizing leftists’

The promilitary accounts appear to have been part of a systematic propaganda against “communism, youth activists and opposition, the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military wing, the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines,” Facebook said. Their operation intensified between 2019 and 2020, coinciding with the debate on, among other things, the then pending antiterrorism law, increased Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea and the closure of the ABS-CBN network, it said.

The HOOC page was found to have been administered by Army Capt. Alexandre Cabales, chief of the Army Social Media Center.

The Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) of the US-based Atlantic Council found that Cabales was also the operator of a network of fake accounts that had been “demonizing leftists and youth organizations” and “Red-tagging the President’s critics.”
Army defends captain

Speaking to the Inquirer by phone, Philippine Army spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala decried the DFRLab’s “sweeping” statement against Cabales and asked for its basis in making accusations against the officer.

“We will not tolerate any wrongdoing or inaccurate information and we are confident that Captain Cabales is not doing that. That is why we’re alarmed. If they have evidence, I think they should present or Facebook should tell us,” he said.

Zagala said Cabales told him he had not posted “anything inaccurate” and that HOOC was a group of “parents looking for their children who were recruited by the New People’s Army.”

“This is a legitimate advocacy,” he said, adding that it was the parents who asked Cabales to be the page administrator.

Zabala said the HOOC was not an official page of the AFP but the group’s advocacy “is okay for us.”

“We are making an inquiry if there’s any wrongdoing,” Zagala said. “In the past we have punished people who have done wrongdoings in the Army when it comes to social media, so this is something we take seriously.”

‘Admission’ of troll army

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said Gapay’s request to restore HOOC page was a “clear admission” of the AFP’s hand in maintaining a “troll army.”

Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said the “’Duterte Troll Army,’ some of whom are literally soldiers of the Armed Forces” were used to “spread lies, disinformation, and life-threatening slanders and terrorist-tagging.”

“General Gapay should also stop misrepresenting their sponsored pages and fake accounts as belonging to advocacy groups, because clearly, spreading malicious lies, deception, and life-threatening terrorist-tagging are not advocacies,” he said.

Brosas backed calls for Congress to scrutinize the payrolls and intelligence expenses of the AFP and the Philippine National Police to determine how much funding was “wasted for so-called communications specialists who are in essence, trolls.”

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque defended government officials and employees who may have Facebook or other social media accounts, saying “even government officials do have freedom of expression.”

“What is prohibited is if this is done in official mediums maintained by the Republic of the Philippines,” he said. 

Wary of FB ‘impunity’

Amid the current furor, a social media observer said Facebook must also be held accountable for any disinformation on its platform that threatens democracies.

“While most criticism will be focused on those responsible for this coordinated disinformation campaign, we’re also concerned that Facebook will once again get away with impunity,” said Red Tani, communications and advocacy director of EngageMedia, a non-profit media/technology Asia-Pacific organization focusing on digital rights.

“[We] also need to demand more responsibility and proactivity from Facebook and other social media platforms, and when they fail, we need to demand accountability, too,” he said.

Tani cited a 2018 report where Facebook admitted that its platform was used to incite the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar.

But two years later, groups that incite violence against activists and try to silence critics of the government were allowed to use the platform until their attention was called by independent analysts like DFRLab and Oxford University.

‘Artificial’ Duterte popularity

“Until Facebook and other corporate social media platforms take responsibility, we need to continue to demand transparency and accountability when they fail to act,” he added.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), one of the main targets of the promilitary Facebook accounts, said the takedowns showed that Mr. Duterte’s popularity was artificially created using the people’s money, which, it said also was used in “promoting fascism and blind Duterte idolatry.”

“It is now becoming exposed that the so-called Duterte Diehard Supporters is a manufactured trend generated by a state-funded troll-farm of hundreds of networked government-controlled Facebook and other social media accounts,” it said in a statement on Thursday.

Southeast Asian Analysts: IS Steps Up Recruitment in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines

 From BenarNews (Sep 23, 2020): Southeast Asian Analysts: IS Steps Up Recruitment in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippine (By Noah Lee, Tia Asmara, Ronna Nirmala, Mark Navales and Shailaja Neelakantan)

Filipino soldiers at the site of twin suicide bombings in Jolo island, Sulu, Philippines, Aug. 24, 2020. Reuters

The Islamic State extremist group is stepping up recruitment in Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia as well as the Philippines, amid the distraction of a global pandemic, security analysts in these countries told BenarNews.

There are signs that Islamic State is trying to regroup after its territorial defeat in Syria last year through increased efforts to attract new members in Malaysia, other parts of Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, said Mizan Aslam, a counter-terrorism expert at Universiti Perlis Malaysia.

“ISIS never died,” said Aslam, using another acronym for IS. “Only we said they died, but they themselves never declared it. [M]alaysians are still there [in Syria and Iraq]. Thousands of global jihadists are still there.”

“With all countries focusing on health security and food security, it has given ISIS room to sneak in. This can become a real problem for Malaysia in the near future,” he told BenarNews.

According to him, the group is actively recruiting and indoctrinating supporters through online platforms such as Facebook.

“Recruitment is through social media and not just Malaysia but in the global community affected by [COVID-19] lockdowns,” Aslam said, adding, “People are staying home longer and going through social media non-stop, so the chances of being influenced are there. Islamic State is also seen to have doubled up their effort in dispersing propaganda materials on social media.”

In neighboring Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, pro-Islamic State (IS) militants are trying to expand their ranks and plot attacks, the country’s counterterrorism chief said in June.

Police in Central Sulawesi province – a hotbed of extremist activity – told BenarNews in April that Indonesian militants “indeed see the pandemic as an opportunity.”

Indonesian IS-affiliated groups have sworn a pledge of alliance to new IS chief Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi, whom the U.S. government calls Amir Muhammad Sa’id ‘Abd-al-Rahman al-Mawla, analysts said.

Meanwhile, a senior Philippine military official told BenarNews that those involved in planning and carrying out twin attacks by female suicide bombers that killed at least 15 people and injured more than 70 on southern Jolo Island last month were members of Daulah Islamiya, the local name for IS, or Philippine groups affiliated with it, including the Abu Sayyaf Group.

There is evidence of more participation by women in the recent strike and vastly improved and accurate deployment of suicide bombers, one analyst said.

The military official said about two dozen pro-IS groups were active in predominantly Muslim southern areas in Jolo, Basilan and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“They are the two most prominent IS factions,” the official said, referring to Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

“Though all fall under Daulah Islamiya in some way or form, perhaps in seeking support, and for multiplying numbers to thwart military advances on the ground. The Maute group, which made a name in Marawi, is also on this list,” he said.

He also was referring to a 2017 siege by pro-IS Filipino and foreign fighters in Marawi that unleased a five-month battle, which left the southern city in ruins.

US counterterrorism chief’s testimony

The analysis by Aslam and other security experts is in line with intelligence received by counterterrorism officials in the United States who say that despite U.S. and coalition efforts, Islamic State and affiliated groups are still pursuing an aggressive global strategy.

IS’s last bastion in Syria fell in March 2019, and its then leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed during a raid by U.S. Special Forces last October.

Since then, the U.S. and its partner countries have successfully targeted other prominent IS figures, but the group continues to persevere, Christopher Miller, director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, said last week.

“Despite these successes, ISIS has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to rebound from severe losses over the past six years by relying on a dedicated cadre of veteran mid-level commanders, extensive clandestine networks, and downturns in CT [counterterrorism] pressure to persevere,” Miller told a hearing of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee.

He said that the terror group in May trumpeted attacks in Syria and Iraq under new leader al-Mawla even as it promised more such operations around the world.

Outside of the neighboring Mid-East countries, IS “continues to prioritize the expansion and reinforcement of its global enterprise, which now encompasses some 20 branches and networks,” Miller added.

Since last year, these branches had launched five global campaigns that tout terror attack claims and circulate propaganda videos, he said.

A police officer stands guard as the bomb squad lead a sniffer dog during a security sweep ahead of the Christmas holiday at The Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Surabaya, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 23, 2019. [AP]

‘IS threat persists in Indonesia’

In June, Indonesia’s new counterterrorism chief, Boy Rafli Amar, sought congressional backing for a 65 percent hike in his agency’s budget, saying it needed more cash and resources as he warned that militants were looking to increase recruitment during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Radical groups are still actively carrying out recruitment propaganda both online and offline during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) chief said. “We are seeing today the rampant abuse of the cyberspace to spread the ideology of terrorism.”

Analysts in the country agree.

The threat from the Islamic State persists in Indonesia, Sidney Jones, director at the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, or IPAC, told BenarNews.

Several pro-IS cells are active in Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi, as is the pro-IS Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen, or MIT, in the jungles of Poso, a regency in Central Sulawesi, she said.

MIT staged a series of attacks earlier this year which were “the direct result of local extremists seeing COVID-19 as an ally in the war against Islam’s enemies,” IPAC said in a report.

“The arrival of the virus gave the Mujahidin of Eastern Indonesia (MIT) a new hope that victory was near, and buoyed by the addition of new recruits, it began a series of attacks.”

The death of al-Baghdadi and the end of the IS-proclaimed caliphate, IPAC’s Jones said, didn’t lead to a decrease in support for IS in Indonesia as some had hoped.

“Several of the pro-IS groups in Indonesia have renewed their bai’at [pledge of allegiance] to al-Quraishi [the new IS leader known also known as al-Mawla],” Jones said, about MIT and another pro-IS hardline group, Jamaah Ansharut Daulah.

“They understand that leadership can change in war, since most belong to groups that have undergone leadership changes themselves.”

Meanwhile, a group to keep an eye on is Jamaah Ansyaarut Khalifah (JAK), which is active in the Javanese cities of Solo and Bekasi, and Palembang, a city in southern Sumatra, a senior researcher at the Center for Radicalism and Deradicalization Studies (PAKAR), told BenarNews.

“This moderate group has hardly ever engaged in violence or planned attacks but that does not mean they are harmless,” PAKAR’s Muhammad Taufiqurrohman said.

“They have been focused on da’wah [preaching] and recruitment, but now they are drawing up plans to send jihadists to the Philippines. In the long run, JAK is more dangerous because it is organized and has a wider network.”

Officials at Indonesia’s National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to respond to queries for this report. Meanwhile, calls by BenarNews to Malaysia’s Home Minister, the Inspector General of Police and the counterterrorism chief went unreturned.

Social media recruitment in Malaysia

In Malaysia, there is no indication that the terror threat has increased in the country but another analyst agreed that Islamic State was attempting to recruit more members there via social media.

“The absence of overt activities and arrests do not mean the IS recruitment drive has stopped. Low-profile recruitment in Malaysia remains a big headache for our police,” Ahmed El Muhammady, a counterterrorism specialist at the International Islamic University of Malaysia, told BenarNews.

“There may be no increase in the terror threat but the attempt to recruit by spreading propaganda on social media during the COVID-19 lockdown is happening. IS planted the seed of its ideology globally via extensive propaganda via social media, and by doing so, it has a global reach and therefore a global following,” he said.

Even before the pandemic, it appears that social media was being used as an IS recruitment tool in Malaysia, police said last year.

Sixteen suspected militants arrested by Malaysian police in September last year had been actively promoting IS and recruiting new members via social media, said Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, the then national police’s counter-terrorism chief.

Special Forces demonstrate skills during a drill in combatting terrorism from a helicopter after the launching of joint patrols between Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippine at the Subang military airbase in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Oct. 12, 2017. [AP]

IS as dangerous as ever

In the Philippines, pro-IS militants have used the opportunity of a pandemic to bolster their ranks, while security forces have been sidetracked with other tasks in helping the government battle the highly contagious and deadly novel coronavirus disease, London-based International Alert, an NGO that advocates for conflict resolution, said in a report in April.

However, even before the pandemic hit, reports from the autonomous Bangsamoro region in the south pointed to the renewed presence of IS-affiliated groups and a general resurgence of violence perpetrated by them, Nikki C. de la Rosa, Country Manager of peacebuilding group International Alert Philippines, told BenarNews.

The Abu Sayyaf-planned twin suicide bombings in Jolo in August were a harbinger of more such deadly attacks, she warned.

“What is now certain is that this [latest] terrorist strike is a clear message that ISIS is as active, committed, and dangerous since it went underground [after the Marawi siege in 2017] and that its force of suicide bombers has not been depleted,” de la Rosa said about the attacks that were carried out by two female bombers.

“The attack [in Sulu province] had the hallmarks of the kind of terrorist assaults waged by ISIS-inspired groups associated with the Abu Sayyaf Group,” de la Rosa said.

She referred to two similar previous attacks in January and June last year in the Sulu province, both of which involved two suicide bombers working in tandem.

“The effective use of asynchronous bombing attacks that we see happening in Sulu may be a foretaste of even worse things to come,” de la Rosa said.

What’s more, the ASG appears to have expanded its operations to radicalizing women, and the involvement of female suicide bombers is “a cause for concern,” she said.

“Some explanations portray this as evidence of the increasing radicalization of women and a higher level of capability of local [violent extremist] groups to prepare, provide logistics, and deploy suicide bombers.”

While this may be true, de la Rosa cautioned that women’s involvement shouldn’t be oversimplified.

“The analysis cannot be devoid of the context – or the role played by poverty, inequality, injustice, and discrimination that is felt more intensely by women and is central to the thesis of a potentially significant gender link to violent conflict specifically among poor female-headed households in Muslim Mindanao.”

NPA rebel nabbed in Southern Leyte

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Sep 25, 2020): NPA rebel nabbed in Southern Leyte (By: Joey Gabieta)

An alleged member of the New People’s Army who linked to the death of a policeman 27 years ago was arrested in Anahawan town, Southern Leyte province on September 23.

Renato Rodriguez did not resist arrest.

He was allegedly among the rebels that staged an ambush in Saint Bernard, also in Southern Leyte, last March 7, 1993.

Rodriguez, who also carried the aliases of Alex and Mao and a member of the Southern Leyte Front Committee of the communist group, has been in hiding for years now.

The arrest was made under a warrant of arrest for the crime of murder issued by Judge Jose Mijares.

Recovered from his possession was one homemade shotgun with four live ammunition and a long-bladed weapon locally known as “sundang”.

According to Anahawan police chief, Lt. Denver Gabitan, the rebel’s whereabouts were discovered upon the information they received from the people in the community.

“Indeed, the active support of the community is vital in achieving the mission of the Philippine National Police as a whole. Good and timely intelligence is also a factor. Of course, our progressive and relentless efforts are likewise a great tool to the success of this operation,” he said.

Army: 12 NPA fighters surrender in Quezon, Oriental Mindor

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Sep 24, 2020): Army: 12 NPA fighters surrender in Quezon, Oriental Mindor (By: Delfin T. Mallari Jr.)

File photo of the New People’s Army (NPA) Guerilla Front 21 with their high powered firearms and the communist flag along the mountains of Marihatag town in Surigao del Sur. PHOTO BY ERWIN MASCARIƑAS

At least a dozen New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Southern Tagalog have surrendered to government authorities over the last week, a Philippine Army regional spokesman said Thursday.

Captain Jayrald Ternio, head of the public affairs office of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, said in a press statement that four former rebels turned themselves into the government’s local negotiating team under the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF ELCAC) in the region.

The supposed surrender happened on Wednesday in Barangay (village) Canaway in General Nakar town in Quezon province at the slope of the Sierra Madre mountain ranges.

Last Sunday (September 20), another eight former Red-fighters surrendered to government representatives in the town of Bulalacao in Oriental Mindoro, Ternio said.

The identifies of the rebels were being withheld for security reasons, the statement said.

Army soldiers also recovered one M16 rifle, one hand grenade, and an anti-personnel landmine in Barangay Magsaysay in Infanta, Quezon on Wednesday allegedly hidden by NPA rebels.

Lieutenant Colonel Jesus Diocton, commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry Battalion, said their informant from the village pointed them to the location of the weapons.

“These NPA terrorists hide their firearms and other war materials whenever they want to evade our forces and recover them once the government troops leave the area,” Diocton said.

More than 200 firearms have been turned over to the government by former rebels in the region since the implementation of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-Clip since 2016, according to Ternio.

He claimed that at least 678 former rebels across the region have returned to the folds of the law under the E-Clip program.

“The NPA forces in the region are diminishing in number and influence because of snowballing surrenders,” Ternio said in an online interview. He declined to provide numbers of still active rebels in the Southern Tagalog region.

He noted that Laguna, Cavite, Marinduque, and Romblon provinces have already been declared as “insurgency free” or areas with “Stable Internal Peace and Security” (SIPS) status.

“Most of the remaining provinces under 2nd ID are also headed to the same status pending final validation,” he said.

The Army’s 2ID covers the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) region and the island provinces of Mindoro Oriental, Mindoro Occidental, Marinduque, and Romblon.

Ternio said the rebel returnees would be subjected to reintegration protocols — medical checkups, debriefing, and enrollment under the E-Clip.

E-Clip offers free medical treatments, education, housing, and legal aid to rebels who would give up.

President Duterte created the National Task Force ELCAC through Executive Order No. 70 on December 4, 2018.

It aims to provide an efficient means to implement the “whole-of-nation approach” to achieve peace.

EO 70 taps government agencies and the private sector to bring basic services to the countryside and address the root causes of rebellion.

CPP/CIO: Is Duterte’s kowtowing to China over?

Propaganda article posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Sep 26, 2020): Is Duterte’s kowtowing to China over?


SEPTEMBER 26, 2020

When Duterte spoke before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) a few days ago, he asserted that the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Arbitration Court is “now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon.” He declared: “We firmly reject attempts to undermine it” and welcomed the support of a number of states for the award.

Since 2016, Duterte has shelved this ruling in exchange for promises of loans worth several billion dollar and infrastructure projects. Thus, Duterte’s address appeared to be a turnaround from years of bowing and bootlicking to China’s power. It, thus, prompted not a few comments of commendation by some quarters praising Duterte for “finally” standing up to China.

Duterte’s address before the UN has prompted the Filipino people to raise the following questions:

Will Duterte now demand China to dismantle the seven military facilities it has illegally built within the country’s territorial waters?

Will he now demand China to pay remuneration for the damage to hundreds of hectares of coral reefs and mineral resources amounting to not less than P30 billion?

Will he now demand China to stop further land reclamation and construction of military and other facilities in the country’s territorial waters?

Will he now heed the clamor of the Filipino people to blacklist large Chinese firms involved in the destruction of the country’s marine and mineral resources in the South China Sea?

Will he now demand China to withdraw its large Coast Guard ships which has intimidated and prevented Filipino fishermen from accessing the Scarborrough Shoals?

Will he now assert the removal of hundreds of Chinese militia fishing boats which prevent Filipinos from fishing in Philippine waters?

Will he now demand China to stop overfishing in Philippine waters which has resulted in massive loss of fish supplies for Filipino fishermen?

Will he now demand China’s military to pull back and recognize Philippine sea and air space?

Will he now invoke the 2016 award before the United Nations and other international bodies and raise the question of China’s refusal to abide by the ruling?

Without these steps and assertions, Duterte’s address before the UNGA are hollow and will prove to have been made only to satisfy the growing number of countries who are standing up to China’s refusal to abide by international agreements.

Just one day after Duterte’s address, MalacaƱang clarified Duterte’s address and said his policy on China “has not changed” and that his speech before the UN was merely restating a legal fact and that “nothing else has to be done.” Without concrete action assertive of Philippine sovereignty, Duterte’s UN address are empty words.

Thus, to the question: Will Duterte now stop kowtowing to China and genuinely stand for Philippine sovereignty? Clearly not.

The Filipino people must hold to account the Duterte regime for national treachery for having failed to assert the country’s sovereign rights under the 2016 arbitral ruling and for having allowed China to construct seven military facilities and continue expanding its power within the country’s territorial seas. Duterte must be put to task for colluding with the Chinese government and big Chinese companies in plundering the country’s resources and allowing China to gain greater control of the commanding heights of the country’s economy.

CPP/CPDF-NDF: Buong sigla at tapang na ipagdiwang ang unang taong pagkakatatag at patuloy na pagsulong ng KASAMA-CPDF!

Propaganda article posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Sep 26, 2020): Buong sigla at tapang na ipagdiwang ang unang taong pagkakatatag at patuloy na pagsulong ng KASAMA-CPDF!


SEPTEMBER 26, 2020

Pahayag ng Katipunan ng Samahan ng mga Manggagawa – Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (KASAMA-CPDF), Wilfredo “Ka Hoben” Aluba Balangay sa unang anibersaryong pagkakatag nito.

Ngayong buwan ay ipinagdiriwang ang unang taong pagkakatag ng KASAMA-CPDF Wilfredo “Ka Hoben” Aluba Balangay. Ito ay mapagpasyang naitatag noong nakaraang taon sa kabila ng tumitindi at tuloy-tuloy na pasistang atake sa mamamayan at pambansang minorya. Ito ay dinaluhan ng mga kasapi mula sa mga kabataan, kababaihan, at mga nirerespetong nakakatatanda ng iba’t ibang komunidad, mga drayber at operaytor, at mga maliliit na manininda.

Sa nagdaang mga taon matatag na kinukumpronta ng masang anakpawis sa mga sentrong bayan at mga syudad ang tumitinding pang-aapi at pagsasamantala ng malakolonyal at malapyudal na lipunan dulot ng imperyalismo, pyudalismo, at burukrata kapitalismo.

Bago pa man ang pandemya ay nararanasan na ng mga manggagawa at mala-manggagawa ang tumitinding kapabayaan at kahirapan mula sa gubyernong nagsisilbi sa kanyang imperyalistang amo at mga ahente nitong malalaking kumprador at panginoong maylupa.

Ipinatupad ang pagbabawal sa pag-aalaga ng baboy sa mga bakuran ng mga komunidad upang bigyan daan ang pamumuhunan ng mga pribadong kumpanya’t kapitalista. Ang nasabing polisiya ay nagdulot ng signipikanteng pagbawas sa kakarampot na pangkabuhayan ng mga maralitang taglungsod.

Ipinagpatuloy ang mga hakbang sa pagpapatupad ng pagphase-out sa mga pampublikong sasakyan gaya ng jeepney, van, tricycle, at maliliit na bus upang bigyan daan ang peke at maka-imperyalistang modernasisyon. Ang nasabing polisiya rin ay tinatayang may higit 6,000 mga drayber, operaytor at kanilang pamilya ang mawawalan ng kabuhayan.

Patuloy ring lumaki ang bilang ng mga manggagawang kontraktwal sa mga minahan, pagawaan, at mga establisyemento. Ang paglaganap ng kontraktwalisasyon ay nagdudulot ng tuwirang paglabag sa mga batayang karapatan ng mga manggagawa gaya ng karapatan sa pag-uunyon, makatamasa ng makatwiran at nakakbuhay na sahod, regular at ligtas na trabaho at iba pa. Ang iskemang kontraktwalisasyon ay nagmumula sa kagustuhan ng mga kapitalista na magkamal na super ganansya.

Sa pagharap sa pandemya, pinalala pa ng militaristang tugon ni Duterte at ng mga pinunong ng lokal na ehekutibo sa rehiyon ang kalagayan ng mga mala-manggawa.

Tinatayang nasa mahigit 1,000 manininda at kanilang mga pamiya ang pansamantalang nawalan ng pangkabuhayan at naka-ambang maging permanente ng ipagbawal ang pagtitinda. Hindi rin sapat at nakakabuhay ang ayudang kanilang natanggap.

Sa halip na tulungan ang mga drayber at operyator na nawalan ng pangkabuhayan dulot pandemya, nagpatuloy ang mga hakbang sa pagpapatupad ng peke at maka-imperyalistang modernisasyon sa mga pampublikong sasakyan.

Maraming mga manggawa ang nawalan ng trabaho dulot ng pansamantalang pagsasara ng mga establisyemento na naka-ambang maging permanente.

Nagpatuloy rin ang pagpapatupad ng mga anti-mamamayan at maka-imperyalistang proyekto gaya ng planong rehabiltasyon ng pampublikong pamilihan at ang puwersahang pagpapatupad ng cashless na pagbabayad gamit ang card na kinakraghan ng salapi. Ang mga nasabing proyekto ay pangunahing magsisilbi sa mga kapaitalista at dayuhang korporasyon.

Kasabay ng nagpapatuloy na atake sa kabuhayan, tumitindi rin ang mga paglabag sa karapatang pantao ng mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng Executive Order 70 at Anti-Terrorism Law. Ang tuloy-tuloy na pgalabag sa karapatang pantao at pandarahas ay naglalayong supilin at patahimikin ang mga lumalakas na diskuntento ng mamamayan.

Sa halip na pangibabawan ng takot at mawalan ng pag-asa lalo lamang naitutulak ang masang anakpawis na tahakin ang demokratikong rebolusyong bayan. Sa nagdaang taon, ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan ng mga mala-manggagawa ay patuloy na sumulong sa kabila ng matindi at mahirap na kalagayan dulot ng pasismo at pandemya. Tunay na walang maasahan ni kaunting ginhawa ang mga mala-manggagawa sa kasalukuyang sistemang panlipunan. Ang matagal na pagtiis sa matinding kahirapan ay napapalitan ng kapasyahang lumaban. Dagdag pa, higit na nagiging malinaw sa masang anakpawis na tanging ang armadong rebolusyong ininululunsad sa kanayunan ang solusyon sa kanilang kahirapan. Ang pagtatagumpay ng demokratikong rebolusyon lamang ang papapawi sa pagsasamantala at pang-aaping kanilang nararanasan. Sa pamamagitan lamang ng pagtatayo ng sosyalistang lipunan matatamasa ng mamamayan, partikular ng masang anakpawis, ang tunay na demokrasya at karapatan.

Lumahok sa Demokratikong Rebolusyong Bayan!

Masang Anakpawis, sumapi sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan!

Ipagtagumpay ang Digmang Bayan!

Itatag ang sosyalistang lipunan!

CPP/CIO: Human rights are weapons against Duterte’s state terrorism

Propaganda article posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Sep 26, 2020): Human rights are weapons against Duterte’s state terrorism


SEPTEMBER 26, 2020

Before the entire world, Duterte revealed himself a remorseless fascist when speaking before the United Nations General Assembly a few days ago, he denounced how human rights have been “weaponized” against his regime. Duterte used the term “weaponize” to denigrate human rights as if it were some malevolent tool used for underhanded aims and to denounce the advocates of human rights as subversives.

In fact, human rights are weapons of the people to defend themselves against state abuses. Only the oppressor and abusers who covet limitless powers would condemn human rights the way Duterte does.

READ RELATED: Duterte avoids vulgarities in UNGA speech but dishes out lies and slander against Filipinos—JMS

Human rights instruments were forged in response to abuses perpetrated by state powers against the powerless for them to have something to hold the abusers accountable for their actions. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular, was forged so that the slaughter and torture perpetrated by Hitler under Nazi rule, and the gross abuses of rights during the World War II will never be repeated.

The existence of various human rights instruments, however, have not guaranteed against the emergence of abusers and oppressors. Indeed, state terrorist regimes have emerged in the Philippines and various parts of the world under which human rights have been wantonly violated by ruling class tyrants possessing an insatiable crave for power.

Invariably, human rights have been asserted and promoted to pursue the protection of the people in the face of state terrorism. To be effective, however, human rights and its various instrumentalities must be wielded by the people as weapons as they defend their rights and resist armed suppression by state forces. These must be used as a political, legal and moral instrument to expose and oppose the grave abuses perpetrated by state terrorists, unite the people and embolden them to resist and carry forward their democratic cause.

READ RELATED: NDF-Negros: Puno sang kabutigan nga pahayag ni Duterte sa UNGA

However, under the Duterte fascist regime, human rights instruments are brazenly being disregarded and unscrupulously thrown aside. Thus, it will take more than the defense and advocacy of human rights to end the grave sufferings under the brutal state terrorist regime.

In their struggle against the Duterte fascist regime, the Filipino people, possess the New People’s Army (NPA) as their ultimate weapon to defend their rights against the oppression of the regime’s armed instrumentalities. They have the NPA in order to fight back and seek an end to the oppressive and exploitative system on which sprout such outgrowths as Duterte.

Kalinaw News: Army-LGU empower farmers association

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 26, 2020): Army-LGU empower farmers association

ESPERANZA, Agusan del Sur – The Local Government Unit of Esperanza together with the 41st Civil-Military Operations (CMO) Company, 4CMO Battalion, and 26th Infantry (Ever Onward) Battalion of the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division, Philippine Army empowered the members of Esperanza United Farmers Association (EUFA) through an election of its officers held at Barangay Piglawigan Gymnasium, Esperanza, ADS, September 24, 2020.

The said farmers association consists of 15 redirected organizations which have 390 members and were formerly members and supporters of the Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Agusan del Sur (NAMASUR), a recently exposed Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).

After realizing the futility of their membership in NAMASUR, they disowned the said UGMO and decided to legalize their group by redirecting and reorganizing it through the assistance of the LGU-Esperanza, 41st CMO Company, and 26IB. “Dili na nato tugotan nga padayun kita limbongan sa mga rebeldeng grupo. Kaniadto gigamit kita sa ilang sayop nga ideolohiya ug dili kana masubli pa. Kitang tanan magtinabangay para sa kalamboan, kaayohan ug kahapsay alang sa katawhan sa atong lungsod.”, Sancino G. Mandapiton, the newly-elected President of EUFA said.

Maj. Jerson B. Igloria, the Officer-in-charge of 41st CMO Company stressed out the role of the elected officers in their organization. “This is the right step in going to the right direction. To the newly-elected officers of EUFA, you must work together to reach the goals of your organization. As the leaders, you have to protect your group from the deceptive tactics of the CTG in using our farmers against the government.”, he said.

Hon. Leonida P. Manpatilan, the Municipal Mayor of Esperanza, encouraged the leaders of the said association to craft project proposals for the betterment of their organization. “The door of LGU-Esperanza is wide open for you. If you have project proposals, we are here to support and assist the farmers of Esperanza.”, she said.

Meanwhile, Hon. Erwin G. Dumaguing, Sangguniang Bayan (SB) Member of Esperanza and the Chairman for Peace and Order lauded the Philippine Army’s efforts in fighting insurgency in their municipality. “Dako akong pasalamat sa Philippine Army labi na sa 26IB ug 41st CMO Company nga walay hunong nga paningkamot aron wagtangon ang walhong grupo. Ingon usa ka miyembro sa komunidad, magtinabangay kitang tanan aron sa pag undang ug pagwagtang sa insurgensiya sa atong pinalanggang nasod.”,he said.

Lt. Col. Reynald Romel A. Goce, the Commanding Officer of 26IB, commended the newly-elected officers of EUFA. “These farmers were victims of deception and exploitation of the CTG and I commend your group for turning your back against the terrorists.”,he said. “Our farmers are the reason why we eat today. We should protect them and their land from these terrorists. Let’s start working together and defeat these left-leaning organizations towards lasting peace and development.” Lt. Col. Goce added.

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

Kalinaw News: NPA logistics, finance officer of Western Mindanao surrender, amid defeat

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 26, 2020): NPA logistics, finance officer of Western Mindanao surrender, amid defeat

CAMP SANG-AN, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur – Communist NPA Terrorist Logistics/Finance officer of Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee and one of his comrade, surrendered and conceded defeat to Army in Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay province Saturday, September 26, 2020.

“Their surrender came after four of their members including one of the Front Committee Secretary yielded last Thursday to our unit and their Main Regional Guerilla Unit including thier armory surrendered to 97IB”, said Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, 44 Infantry Battalion Commander.

The NPA officer and his comrade were identified as Antonio Roda y Dialagdon, known as alias Dondon/Cindoy and Ronel Racho y Camporedondo or known as alias Bobby.

Dialagdon spent 32 years in the terrorist organization while Camporedondo struggled for 8 years.

According to Lt. Col. Templonuevo, during the initial debriefing, Dialagdon admitted that they were losing their grounds and the continuous surrender of their commanders and members made their organization in Western Mindanao in close to defeat.

Local’s support, more government projects in hinterlands, visibility of troops, relentless military operation and the pandemic were also the factors of their dwindling.

Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander who has operational jurisdiction of Zamboanga Sibugay, attributes the continuous surrender of NPAs to the stakeholders, local communities, local government units and local chief executives who supported the EO 70 signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

“Convergence played a great role on our quest for peace and development in our area of responsibility”, said Brig. Gen. Nicolas.

Maj. Gen. Gene Ponio, the 1st Infantry Division commander, stressed to remain relentless despite the NPA’s revelation.

“There are still remnants of their guerilla fronts and other threats groups in our area of operation that needed to be addressed. Rest assured that we will neutralize and defeat them in due time”, said Maj. Gen. Ponio.

“Peace and progress is now felt by the constituents of Western Mindanao and this is because of our cooperation and collaboration that we need to sustain”, said Maj. Gen. Ponio.

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

Kalinaw News: Another 2 ASG members under Radulan Sahiron’s group yield to Joint Task Force Sulu

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 26, 2020): Another 2 ASG members under Radulan Sahiron’s group yield to Joint Task Force Sulu

September 25, 2020, Camp Bautista, Jolo, Sulu – Focused military operations and persistent support of local government units of Patikul and Talipao resulted to the surrender of two (2) Abu Sayyaf members under Radulan Sahiron. Sensing the pressure of Joint Task Force Sulu’s ground, air, and marine operations, Sawadjaan and Sahiron followers are crumbling and finding ways to submit to authorities.

In a report submitted by BGen Ignatius Patrimonio, Commander, 1102nd Brigade to BGen William Gonzales, Commander, JTF Sulu, alias Jepoy, 35 y/o, and Abu Omar, 26 y/o, yielded to Ltc Rafael Caido, CO, 6th SF Bn at 10:00 o’clock this morning bringing their M16 Rifle and M79 Grenade Launcher firearms; both surrenderees are residents of Patikul and Talipao, Sulu. Jepoy and Omar narrated that they were enticed by their former comrade, Amah Adin who surrendered last September 10, to leave the group and take advantage of the program offered by Patikul and Talipao Task Force ELACs headed by respective mayors.

For this week, a total of 10 ASG members give in to JTF Sulu. This substantial number of surrenderees destroyed the group of Idang Susukan and further weakens the group of Mundi Sawadjaan. Focused military operations are still ongoing in the general areas of Patikul, Talipao, and Indanan to pursue the escaping terrorists.

“Our combat operations will never stop until we have cornered and neutralized the groups of Sawadjaan and Sahiron. As we employ the full force of the Joint Task Force in finding the terrorists, we are also actively supporting the efforts of the Local Government of Sulu in operationalizing their respective Task Forces to accommodate the surrenderees in the localized social integration program.” – BGen William N Gonzales PA

[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: 6th Infantry Division Commander attends turn-over of ‘PAMANA’ projects in Sultan Kudarat

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 26, 2020): 6th Infantry Division Commander attends turn-over of ‘PAMANA’ projects in Sultan Kudarat

CAMP SIONGCO, Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao – The 6th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Central Commander, Major General Juvymax R. Uy attended the turn-over ceremony of PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) projects of 2017 at the Provincial gymnasium of Sultan Kudarat province today (September 24, 2020).

To help farmers increase crop production and reduce post-harvest losses, the provincial government of Sultan Kudarat headed by Gov. Suharto Mangudadatu distributed various farming equipment through the Pamana program.

Likewise livelihood programs were given by the same national government agency through the Provincial government of Sultan Kudarat to the qualified beneficiaries in the province and the turn-over of certificates to the People’s Organizations.

“We believe that the only way to attain peace is through a progressive economic program. Nawala ang kaguluhan sa Sultan Kudarat, nawala ang nakawan at nawala ang buwis na kinukuha ng mga rebelde dahil sa suporta ng gobyerno sa mga mamamayan” Hon. Mangudadatu said in his message.

The program was attended by the Presidential Peace Adviser Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr.; Usec David Diciano, Chair GPH Implementing Panel and Head, Joint Normalization Division; Asec. Andres Aguinaldo Jr., Head, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Reconciliation and Unity; Dir. Cesar De Mesa, Head, PAMANA National Program Management Department, Dir. Darwin Wally Wee, Head of Communications and Public Affairs Department and LTC Francel Taborlupa, Head Executive Assistant; Hon. Jose Remus Segura, Vice Governor of Sultan Kudarat; Hon. Bai Princess Rihan Mangudadatu Sakaluran, Congresswoman 1st District of Sultan Kudarat; Hon. Bai Mariam Magudadatu, Provincial Governor of Maguindanao; Mr. Arlan Mangelen, Regional Executive Director of Department of Agriculture 12; Former Provincial Governor/Consultant of Sultan Kudarat Sultan Pax Mangudadatu. BARMM Executive Secretary Abdulraof ‘Sammy Almansor’ Macacua; Brigade Commander of 601st Brigade represented by Col. Joel Mamon, Deputy Brigade Commander and Head Secretariat of CCCH and AHJAG; Provincial Police Director P/Col. Noel Kinazo; MILF Commanders – Uztadz Wahid Tundok, Commander 118BC; Uztadz Zacaria Guma, Base Commander 105BC, Commander Haun Sindatok, Deputy Base Commander of 105BC, Sheik Mauti, Deputy Base Commander 118BC and Butch Malang of MILF CCH.

Also in attendance were the local chief executives of the different municipalities of Sultan Kudarat including the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID 19 Medical Adviser, Dr.Teodoro Herbosa.

PAMANA is a national government convergence program that extends development interventions to isolated, hard-to-reach and conflict-affected communities, ensuring that they are not left behind.

The event successfully ended with the message of support from the participants and stakeholders.

[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: Serbisyo caravan moves on amidst pandemic in Agusan del Norte village

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 26, 2020): Serbisyo caravan moves on amidst pandemic in Agusan del Norte village

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – The persistent threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) did not hamper the conduct of the series of “Serbisyo Caravan” to the villages in Las Nieves town in Agusan del Norte through the efforts of the local government unit (LGU), the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion, and the other line agencies of the government under the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP).

The implementation of RCSP started on September 15, 2020, and was followed on succeeding dates until September 24, 2020 in five (5) different barangays in Las Nieves that are once considered affected by armed conflicts due to the presence of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs).

Recently, these five barangays, namely Casiklan, Durian, Ibuan, Lingayao and Maningalao were already cleared by the 23rd IB, but the residents in the areas need actual interventions through the provision of government programs and services as recommended by the RCSP team that bridged the situation of the residents to the LGU and line agencies and led to the conduct of the five-day service caravan.

Las Nieves town Mayor Avelina S. Rosales was among those who led the service caravan that benefited around 3,000 households from the five barangays. They received free services to include medical and dental, and the circumcision and haircut for the children. Residents also had the chance to make direct consultations with the different line agencies of the government especially concerning birth registration, legal matters and counseling among mothers and women. Food packs were also served to the residents while children received their slippers during the caravan.

“Ang inyong lokal nga panggamhanan dili moundang sa pag serbesyo ug kanunay andam nga mutabang ug musuporta sa mga panginanglanon sa mga Las Nievesnon. Bisan pa naay pandenmya nga gi atubang nato karon dili gyod magpa pugong ang inyong lokal nga panggamhanan sa pag serbesyo kaninyo,” Mayor Rosales said.

She also urged the residents in said barangays to support the different initiatives and interventions of the government to fight the pandemic and address the security and peace concerns to prevent the entry and recruitment of the CNTs in the area.

“Kitang tanan responsable sa insurhensiya nga gina atubang nato karon. Mao mag tinabangay kita aron mawala na ang Terroristang CPP-NPA nga maoy naghatag ug kagubot sa atong lugar. Magtinabangay ug magkahiusa kita aron makab-ot nato ang dugay na nato nga gipangandoy nga kalinaw sa atong nasud,” Rosales said.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the commander of the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion also extended his full support to the five-day activity as he joined the troopers and other line agencies during the activity.

He also recognized the untiring support of the local government of Las Nieves to the efforts of the Philippine Army in the different campaigns the led to the clearing of the five barangays from the influence and infestation of the CNTs and turning the said areas into Peace and Development Zones (PDZs) in the province.

“We cannot win this war against our common enemy, the terrorist NPAs if we will not work hand in hand. I know that it is hard, but at this time we need to help and support each other. We cannot achieve progress unless we can accept the challenges,” Paulo said.

He also emphasized that with the issuance of Executive Order No. 70 that institutionalized the whole-of-nation approach to defeat the CNTs, all government agencies were also directed to deliver free social services especially to the far-flung areas.

“As one, we need to address the primary issues of the people for them to feel the true government interventions for the development of their lives. These issues and concerns have been used and manipulated by the CNTs, in wrong perspectives and directions, just to advance their ideology and destructive agenda,” 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: Soldier slain, 2 others wounded in Maguindanao APM explosion

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 26, 2020): Soldier slain, 2 others wounded in Maguindanao APM explosion

CAMP Siongco, Maguindanao – A novice soldier was killed while two others were injured in an Anti-Personnel Mine (APM) explosion in Barangay Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao at 7:15 in the morning of September 24, 2020.

Major General Juvymax Uy, Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, said that the troops of 57th Infantry Battalion led by 2nd Lt. Larry Panghunasan were conducting a combat clearing operation against suspected members of a local terrorist group when one of them tripped on an APM.

The casualty is identified as Private Rodjin Macanas while the other two namely Cpl. Ebrahim Kudtig and PFC Dominic Agustin were wounded and are now being treated at a military hospital.

“Another soldier hero has offered his life and two others are wounded as a result of the relentless effort of the Joint Task Force Central to destroy the terror groups in Central Mindanao,” said Maj. Gen. Uy, JTFC Commander.

Troops under the Joint Task Force Central have been targeting the local terrorists in the area to prevent them from conducting bombing attacks within the vicinity of Central Mindanao.

Kalinaw News: Farmer dead in Maguindanao rice field blast

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 26, 2020): Farmer dead in Maguindanao rice field blast

Camp Siongco, Maguindano – A farmer was killed when he stepped on an explosive device in a rice field at Sitio Gantong, Barangay Tonggol, General Salipada K. Pendatun (GKSP), Maguindanao at the early morning of September 23, 2020.

The victim, identified as Mujahid Guialudin, was hit when an anti-personnel mine (APM) went off. After an hour, another APM was found by a civilian near the same area.

Troops of 40th Infantry Battalion together with the PNP personnel of GSKP responded to the reported presence of APM and cordoned the area for safety. After the APM was safely disarmed, it was brought to the Army’s Explosive and Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team for proper disposition and further investigation.

Likewise, at 8:00 in the morning of the same date, two suspected APMs were found in Barangay Bagumbayan, President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat. The same safety procedure was applied for the recovery and disposal of the said explosives.

The Commander of Joint Task Force Central directed the troops to hunt down the suspects behind the bombing incident. “The on-going operation of the Joint Task Force Central targeting the local bomb-makers is meant to contain the terrorists from doing their terroristic plans in Central Mindanao,” Maj. Gen. Uy added.

[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: Barangay in Bilar declared CPP-NPA-NDF persona non grata

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 26, 2020): 3 Barangay in Bilar declared CPP-NPA-NDF persona non grata

CARMEN, Bohol – Three barangays in Bilar town passed a resolution declaring the Communist Terrorist Group persona non grata. The initiative was spearheaded by the Barangay Peace Council in support to National Task Force in Ending the Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Barangay Bugang Sur, Bugang Norte and Cansumbol of Bilar Municipality has approved Resolution Number 16 Series of 2020 condemning the atrocities ruthlessly perpetrated by the CPP-NPA-NDF and declaring them as persona non grata.

The barangay resolution emphasized that the Communist Terrorist Group will only threaten the economic, social and political stability of the barangay and its people with their illegal and unlawful activities that could hinder the continuing production and development of Bohol Province. Moreover, to brace its tenacity, an Oath Taking of Allegiance to the Government was conducted and spearheaded by the barangay officials together with their constituents.

These barangays were known earlier as the advantage areas for the CTGs in the recruitment and mass organization. Thus, the 47IB deployed its Community Support Program (CSP) Team together with the PNP and Provincial Community Organizers to ascertain issues and concerns being oppressed by the terrorist insurgents.

“The presence of the Philippine Army in our barangay has a great impact to the peace and order. During their stay, we felt secure and safe from these lawless elements of the NPA. We are grateful that the army has taken its part in clearing our barangay and declaring it free from the threats of CPP-NPA-NDF,” Hon Tito Ancog said in his message during the Oath Taking in Bugang Norte. The other two barangay chairpersons were also thankful and firm that they will support the government programs to sustain the peace and order in their own barangay.

The intensified peace campaign of the 47th Infantry Battalion in the province shows that more Local Government Units are trusting the army and willing to provide full support in order to sustain the peace and order in Bohol.

[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: Malipayon former rebels, 701st Brigade unite in friendship

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 25, 2020): Malipayon former rebels, 701st Brigade unite in friendship games

Mati City, Davao Oriental – The Youth For Peace Movement-Davao Oriental sponsored a friendship basketball game pitting former NPA fighters and troops of 701st Brigade today September 25, 2020 in Mati City.

The game unites the Army and the Former Rebels (FRs) who recently graduated from the de-radicalization program, as they played and bonded on and off the court in solidarity for peace.

Troops from the 701st Brigade and the Company Commanders and CMO Officers from 28IB, 66IB and 67IB joined the FRs while sharing pictures, food, cheers and stories of life with each other.

According to Edgar Ligue, YFP from North Cotabato Chapter, “Kini nga activity nagapadasig sa relasyon sa mga sundalo ug dating rebeldeng NPA”.

On the other hand, aka Junjun the former rebel said, “Karun makita nato nga ang dating magkalaban nag amigo na pinaagi sa dula nga basketball aron maabrihan ang dalan ngadto sa panaghiusa alang sa kalinaw ug kalambuan”,

The YFP officers actively promote and work for peace and development in the area of operations of the 10th Infantry (Agila) Division, Philippine Army.

[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:]

Zambo folks panic after reports of explosion

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (Sep 26, 2020): Zambo folks panic after reports of explosion

Security forces locked down a busy road Saturday in the southern Filipino port city of Zamboanga after receiving reports of an improvised explosive device left at a garbage dump near where soldiers are manning a checkpoint.

A radio station was quick to report of an alleged explosion in the area only to correct it later. The baggage was discovered by two trashmen and immediately reported it to village officials, who quickly informed the police about the find.

Police and soldiers quickly cordoned off the road and prevented vehicles and civilians from getting near the area as they waited for the bomb squad which came late.

A member of the police explosive ordnance disposal team carefully inspected the baggage and disrupted it from afar and eventually found two rifle grenades.

It was not immediately known whether the grenades, which are usually placed in the barrel of a rifle, was deliberately thrown or hidden among the pile of trash because of the strict security checkpoint up ahead.

Zamboanga remains under heightened alert because of threats of bombings by the pro-ISIS group Abu Sayyaf responsible in the deadly twin suicide attacks in Sulu province in August. Because of the threats, security forces launched a massive hunt for 2 Indonesian and a Filipino Abu Sayyaf terrorists who are planning attacks in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Mayor Beng Climaco also released the photos of the terrorists and warned the public to keep on the lookout for the trio. She said the government has offered a P3 million reward for the capture of the Indonesian Andi Baso and his female partner Reski Fantasya; and Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Mundi Sawadjaan, who is being linked to the recent twin suicide bombings in Jolo town in the neighboring province of Sulu.

“Authorities warn the public against 3 members of the Sulu-based ASG believed to have been sent out for a mission to sow terror in Zamboanga Peninsula. The national government is offering a reward of P3 million for the information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of each of the suspects,” Climaco said in an advisory alongside photos of the terrorists.

The photos were provided by the military’s anti-terror Joint Task Force Zamboanga which also called on the public to stay vigilant. “The community is advised to be vigilant and immediately report any suspicious person / local terrorist,” it said.

Combined AFP-PNP operations recovers 3 firearms in Rizal

From the Philippine Information Agency (Sep 26, 2020): Combined AFP-PNP operations recovers 3 firearms in Rizal (By PA 2ID DPAO)

CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal, Sept 26 (PIA) –Combined elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) recovered three firearms following the serving of a warrant of arrest in a joint law enforcement operation in Rodriguez, Rizal on Wednesday, September 23.

Police Lt. Col. Respher Gaoiran, Chief of Police, Rodriguez MPS, said the government forces jointly implemented the warrant of arrest against Juan Raga, known as alias June, for murder and violation of illegal possession of firearms filed at RTC Br 76 issued by Judge Josephine Fernandez in San Mateo, Rizal.

Lt. Col. Rimrad Feraer, Commanding Officer of 80IB said that the joint AFP-PNP forces were accompanied by the local officials in the area towards the suspect's hideout, however, Raga was able to escape but led authorities to recover firearms and other paraphernalia he left behind.

BGen Alex Rillera, Commander of the 202nd Brigade that has operational jurisdiction in the area, said the government’s security forces recovered one M4 carbine, one M1 .22 Cal, a cal.45 pistol, assorted magazines as well as ammunition from Raga's safe house at Phase 1, Villa San Isidro, Brgy San Isidro, Rodriguez.

Rillera also mentioned that the cooperation of the community and local officials, as well as the seamless relationship of the soldiers and police, played an important role in thwarting those who go against the law and commit acts to harm the lives of our citizens.

"We and our PNP counterparts will continue to exert effort until Raga and the rest of his cohorts are finally in jail," he added.

For his part, MGen Greg Almerol, Commander of the Army's 2nd Infantry Division that covers the Southern Tagalog region, complimented the joint AFP-PNP team for the successful enforcement of the law despite an urgent call in responding to local communist threats which continue to hinder the Filipino nation's move towards a peaceful and prosperous future.

He commended the combined operating troops for their collaboration and synergy in attaining common aspirations of prosperity and development in this part of the country as he vowed that the military’s commitment will be relentless, in coordination with the police force to end violence brought about by lawlessness and terrorism.

"Nobody can escape from the arms of the law, and the government forces will continue to pursue those who perpetrate crimes against the people until law and order finally prevail," said Almerol.

Joint AFP-PNP coordination and pursuit law enforcement operations will be launched to go after those who have to face the law so that justice for their victims will soon prevail. ­­(PIA-4A/PA 2ID DPAO)

Farmers in ELCAC-identified brgys get livelihood intervention

From the Philippine Information Agency (Sep 26, 2020): Farmers in ELCAC-identified brgys get livelihood intervention (By PIA with reports from PGO)

MOUNTAIN PROVINCE--Farmers from barangays affected by the issue on insurgency in the province recently received layer chickens and carabaos under the Special Area for Agriculture and Development (SAAD) Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) - Cordillera Regional Office.

DA in partnership with the Mountain Province Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MP-PTF-ELCAC) distributed 2,000 heads of layer chickens and 37 heads of carabaos to augment their livelihood.

The 37 farmer-beneficiaries from barangays Guina-ang and Dalican in Bontoc municipality received their carabaos at the Provincial Veterinary Office Compound.

For the layer chickens, the Governor orderedthe transport and delivery to the farmer-recipients in their respective barangays considering the current limitations on movement of people due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Lacwasan who chairs the PTF-ELCAC, the livelihood intervention is a result of a series of consultations conducted last year in the listed barangays to identify the needed intervention from the government.

“This is among the results of the wholistic approach that the government has introduced to further help our constituents,” he said.

The Governor expressed gratitude to DA for its continuous intervention to uplift the lives of local farmers amidst the current pandemic.

In behalf of the recipients, “Salasalamat iti blessings nga inmay iti ili mi. Daytuytimangipaneknekngaararamidentigubyernotikabaelan da ta matulungan kami ngaaddaitisulinek,” Eric Banganan from Dalican said. (with reports from PGO)

CPP-NPA-NDF atrocities, deceptions denounced

From the Philippine Information Agency (Sep 26, 2020): CPP-NPA-NDF atrocities, deceptions denounced (By Lorenzo O. Lambatin, Jr.)

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Sept. 26 (PIA)—Farmers organizations and government entities here denounced the atrocities and deceptions of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and its allies, while also declaring the group as persona non grata.

The Philippine Army, Philippine National Police and barangay officials recently conducted an oath of allegiance and burned the NPA flag at Brgy. Pilar, Hinigaran town, 303 Infantry Brigade Civil Military Officer Captain Kelvin Bayaban said.

Punong Barangay Benjamin Yulo of Brgy. Pilar led the Oath of Allegiance "Pagsumpa Para sa Kalinong" followed by "Panumpa Para sa Katutum sa Republika Nang Pilipinas" headed by 62 Infantry Battalion Commander Lt. Colonel Melvin Flores.

Pastora Hope Biasca of Trinity Baptist Church spearheaded the candle lighting activity and led a candle lighting prayer calling for the end of the armed conflict caused by the communists.

Hinigaran Mayor Jose Nadie Arceo in his message said the people’s living condition will not progress if the evil doings of the terrorists are supported.

“If there's no peace, there's no progress and development. My office is always open to all your concerns, please don’t hesitate to come and approach me as I and our local agencies are willing to help you with your concerns,” he said.

Present during the activity were 303rd Infantry Brigade Commander Colonel Inocencio Pasaporte, Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office Director Colonel Romy Palgue and representatives from the different local, provincial and national government offices.

Also present were Commanding Officer of 62 Infantry Batallion Lt. Colonel Melvin Flores, Commanding Officer of 2nd Negros Occidental Police Mobile Force Company Police Lt. Colonel Ryan Manongdo, Chief of Police of the town of Hinigaran Police Major James Latayon and Civil Military Officer of 62 Infantry Batallion Captain Raymund Jamisal.

Colonel Inocencio Pasaporte lauded the united efforts of the local farmers and LGU of Hinigaran in condemning Communist NPA terrorists in their area.

“We are one with other agencies, LGUs and even your local officials in extending our services for you. Help your government and condemn these NPAs and its allies. Don’t let them manipulate you for eventually they will destroy your lives, Colonel Pasaporte said. (JSC/Lljr/303IB-CMO/PA)

2 more ASG members surrender in Sulu

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 26, 2020): 2 more ASG members surrender in Sulu (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

MORE SURRENDERERS. Two more Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members surrender to the military on Friday (Sept. 25, 2020) amid the latter’s continuous focused offensives against the terrorist group in Sulu province. The two are photographed with military officials led by the commander of the Army’s 6th Special Forces Battalion, Lt. Col. Rafael Caido (rightmost). (Photo courtesy of the Joint Task Force Sulu)

Two more members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have surrendered amid the sustained focused military operation against the terrorist group in Sulu province, officials said Saturday.

Brig. Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio, commander of the Army's 1102nd Infantry Brigade, said
Abu Jepoy, 35, and Abu Omar, 26, surrendered at about 10 a.m. on Friday and turned over an M-16 Armalite rifle and an M-79 grenade launcher to Lt. Col. Rafael Caido, commander of the 6th Special Forces Battalion.

Abu Jepoy and Abu Omar, residents of Patikul and Talipao, respectively,
told the military they were convinced by their former comrade, Amah Adin, to surrender and take advantage of the reintegration programs being offered by the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC) of the two towns.

Adin surrendered on September 10.

Patrimonio said the pressure from the continuous military operations against the groups of ASG leaders Mundi Sawadjaan and Radulan Sahiron was also partly instrumental to the ASG members’ surrender.

Their surrender came two days after eight of their comrades yielded to the Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu, bringing to 10 the total number of ASG surrenderers in Sulu this week.

Patrimonio said focused military operations are ongoing in Patikul, Talipao, and Indanan towns to pursue fleeing ASG bandits.