Tuesday, October 13, 2020

NPA officer killed, Army soldier wounded in series of encounters in Bukidnon

 From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 14, 2020): NPA officer killed, Army soldier wounded in series of encounters in Bukidnon (By Mike Crismundo)

CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – A New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was killed, while a government trooper was wounded, in a series of armed skirmishes between soldiers of the 88th Infantry (Maringal) Battalion (88th IB) and insurgents in Barangay Nakabuklad in San Fernando town, and Barangay Minungan in Quezon town, both in Bukidnon province.

In a statement sent to The Manila Bulletin on Wednesday, 88th IB Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer Capt. Norven Jay Garcia said the Communist rebels were members of the Guerilla Front Malayag of Sub-Regional Committee 2 of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA North Ventral Mindanao Regional Committee.

Garcia also said there were an undetermined number of NPAs who were wounded in the encounters.

The first encounter started at 1 p.m., Tuesday, October 6, that lasted for about 10 minutes in Mt. Miyangki, Sitio Supon, Barangay Nagkabuklad, San Fernando.


“The terrorist group that was encountered by the government forces was composed of 20 members under the leadership of an alias Ka Migs”, the 88th IB CMO officer said.

The terrorists scampered to different directions after the firefight.

“Bloodstains indicating an undetermined number of casualties were discovered by government troops while scouring the abandoned terrorist temporary hideout,” Garcia said.

The fatality was later identified as a certain Ka Ladong, who also had the aliases Kalipay and Bahubali, vice commanding officer of Platoon 1, GF Malayag. The body was later turned over to the local government unit (LGU )of San Fernando for proper disposition, the 88th IB CMO officer said.

Meanwhile, the same unit also encountered some 30 heavily armed CNTs at around 8:55a.m. on Friday, October 9, in the hinterland area of Barangay Minungan, Quezon town of that same province.

The firefight lasted for about 15 minutes.


While the government troops were scouring the encounter site, another gun battle transpired at around 12:33 in the afternoon on that same day.

The exchange of gunfire lasted for another 20 minutes, and resulted in the wounding of a government soldier due to a landmine explosion.

The wounded soldier was immediately picked-up by a gunship helicopter of the Philippine Air Force strike wing of Tactical Operations Group, and evacuated to Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro for medical attention. He is currently in stable status, Garcia said.

The government troops seized an anti-personnel landmine, ammunitions, detonating wires, assorted medicine and personal belongings of the Communist terrorists after the encounter.

“It is sad that another Filipino who was deceived by misleading ideals of the communist terrorist died in one of the encounters,” said Lt. Col. Franklin F. Fabic, commanding officer of the 88th IB.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the bereaved family. I encourage the remaining NPA members to surrender now, and be with your families while you still have the chance,” he added.

https://mb.com.ph/2020/10/14/npa-officer-killed-army-soldier-wounded-in-series-of-encounters-in-bukidnon/

89 families flee village amid Army-NPA clashes in Bukidnon town

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Oct 14, 2020): 89 families flee village amid Army-NPA clashes in Bukidnon town (By: Jigger J. Jerusalem)



HELPING HAND. Soldiers and local government workers hand out food and non-food items to persons displaced by the fighting between government forces and communist rebels in Quezon town of Bukidnon. Photo courtesy of Quezon Municipal Information Office

Eighty-nine farming families comprising 363 individuals fled their neighborhood in a hinterland village of Quezon town in Bukidnon province after government troops clashed with New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas during the weekend.

Quezon municipal information officer Lyle Justin Egay said the evacuees come from Mahayag village and are temporarily seeking shelter in Minongan village.

Thirty-five families are sheltered at the Minongan Elementary School, while the rest stay at the house of their relatives.

Egay said the municipal government provided the evacuees with food packs and bedding kits, and even helped transport those who have no means of transportation to Minongan.

Lt. Col. Frank Fabic, commanding officer of the Army’s 88th Infantry Battalion, said the clashes with NPA rebels occurred on three occasions last October 9 and 10 in a sub-village of Mahayag.

At one time, the rebels blasted an improvised bomb, slightly injuring a soldier who is now recovering in a hospital.

Fabic said the rebels wanted to retake the village after they were driven out by government forces. Mahayag, he added, serves as a gateway to other villages of Quezon and nearby towns.


Citing information shared by villagers, Fabic said four guerrillas were killed and several others wounded in the armed encounters. They were loaded onto horses.

Fabric said they continued the pursuit operation to further put pressure on the rebels.

He added that the rebel forces, numbering about 50, split into two groups as they fled the village.

Col. Roel Lami-ing, Bukidnon police director, raised their alert status in Quezon town as well as intensified “blocking operation” to intercept wounded NPA rebels seeking medical attention.

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1347633/89-families-flee-village-amid-army-npa-clashes-in-bukidnon-town

AFP looking into possible involvement of Islamic schools in recruitment of suicide bombers

 From ABS-CBN (Oct 13, 2020): AFP looking into possible involvement of Islamic schools in recruitment of suicide bombers


Screenshot of the virtual media forum with Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay on Oct. 13, 2020, organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is looking into the possible involvement of some Madrasah, or Islamic schools in the country in the radicalization and alleged recruitment of suicide bombers, its chief said Tuesday.

"You know, the Madrasas and other schools in Sulu, we are monitoring them really, where we suspected there is some sort of radicalization activities going on," AFP Chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay said in an online briefing organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP.

"We are looking now, coordinating with DepEd, looking into different schools, particularly in Sulu and other parts of Mindanao because it is one of the institutions or areas where recruitment is occurring, particularly in the youth (sector)," the military chief added.

Gapay said the military has taken steps to enhance its program to prevent and counter violent extremism, saying the involvement of Filipinos in suicide bombing incidents was an "eye opener."

As well, the military is coordinating with other government agencies to prevent the recruitment of the youth, he said.

Gapay said social media is one platform also being used by terrorists to recruit members, based on accounts by those who have surrendered to authorities.

"We have found out some of those who surrendered and captured, quite a number of them, have been recruited and radicalized through the social media," said Gapay.

According to him, a whole-of-nation approach has to be adopted in order to counter terrorism in the country.

"The military side will come in after. It's on the reactive already when terrorists are identified and due for neutralization. But the larger part of effort would be for the preventive side of it, preventing the youth and some people to get recruited, preventing foreign terrorists slipping into our country, preventing other local terrorists slipping out of the country and getting deployed in Syria or Afghanistan," said Gapay.

The military has recorded five suicide bombing incidents in the country in a span of two years, taking place in Sulu and Basilan provinces. The most recent was on Aug. 24 in Jolo, Sulu which left 17 people dead, including two suicide bombers, and injured 74 others.

Military, police ramp up search for more suspects in Jolo bombings

Last week, a 17-year-old female Indonesian suicide bomber was arrested in Zamboanga City. Officials said the suspect, who is five months pregnant, was planning to carry out a suicide attack in Zamboanga City after giving birth.


Aside from communist terrorists, the government's security forces are also fighting the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and the Maute Group.

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/10/13/20/afp-looking-into-possible-involvement-of-islamic-schools-in-recruitment-of-suicide-bombers

AFP to monitor schools, social media to prevent ASG recruitment

From PTV News (Oct 13, 2020): AFP to monitor schools, social media to prevent ASG recruitment



The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will monitor schools and social media to prevent possible recruitment of minors by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

The military is aware that the ASG is strengthening its forces after the successive arrests of its high profile members.

According to AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay, they are coordinating with the Department of Education (DepEd) and local government units (LGUs) to watch closely the Madrasah School in Mindanao.

The military will also keep an eye on social media especially now that most of the students are under distance learning.

AFP Chief Gapay has stated that aside from launching operations against the terrorist group, they will also focus on strategies to keep the ASG from fortifying its forces.

“As part of the national strategy in countering terrorism, still it’s a whole of nation approach that’s why we had these comprehensive anti-terrorism program of the government” – Report from Bea Bernardo

https://ptvnews.ph/afp-to-monitor-schools-social-media-to-prevent-asg-recruitment/

8 inmates, including Sayyaf member, kill guard, bolt Basilan jail

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Oct 13, 2020): 8 inmates, including Sayyaf member, kill guard, bolt Basilan jail (By: Julie S. Alipala)

Eight inmates of the Basilan provincial jail overpowered and killed a jail guard during their escape on Tuesday (Oct. 13).

Lt. Col. Homer Dumalag, police chief of Isabela City in Basilan, identified the slain jail guard as Asbi Florencio Asbi.

In a report to the Western Mindanao regional police office, Dumalag said Asbi was trying to prevent the inmates’ escape but was overpowered. He was shot and killed with his own service firearm.

Dumalag said the jailbreak took place past 5 p.m. The facility is at the village of Sumagdang in Isabela City.

The escapees are now being hunted, according to Dumalag.

Col. Domingo Gobway, commander of the Army’s Joint Task Force Basilan, said the military would help police hunt the escapees especially since one of them was in jail for seven counts of murder.

Gobway identified the escaped inmate as Hassan Lahaman, a member of the Abu Sayyaf, and a native of Bohe Ibu village in Lamitan City, also in Basilan province.

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1347421/8-inmates-including-sayyaf-member-kill-guard-bolt-basilan-jail

DND chief: PHL still lacks ‘credible’ defense posture

From the Business Mirror (Oct 12, 2020): DND chief: PHL still lacks ‘credible’ defense posture (By Rene Acosta)

Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana has admitted that the military is yet to attain the so-called minimum defense posture requirement for the country, even as he supported the call of Sen. Imee Marcos for the creation of maritime militias similar to the paramilitary units deployed by China to the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

The defense chief and top military officials appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance on Monday to defend the proposed 2021 budget of the Department of National Defense and its attached agencies.

“We are not yet at 25 percent,” said the defense chief when Marcos asked at what stage the military is already positioned in its defense posture in relation to its ongoing capability upgrade program.

“You are scary,” Marcos said in reply to Lorenzana’s answer.

“That’s true Mr. Chairman,” the defense secretary said, this time addressing his answer to Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the committee vice chairman.

Lorenzana explained that the country can say that it already has a minimum defense stance when it can protect its interests and “ward off” intruders in its territory, especially in the WPS where Beijing has maintained its presence through its fleets of swarming maritime militias.

“We really do not have assets to face armed intruders into our territory,” he lamented, adding that the country must need to develop its maritime, air and land defense systems, as well as a joint command and control system in order to put up a credible posture.

“Even if we have ships, they do not have armaments,” the defense chief said.

Lorenzana’s statement solicited a reaction from Lacson, who noted that since the military is already in its second phase of its modernization program, the Armed Forces of the Philippines should have at least increased its capability.

The military is implementing its modernization under three phases dubbed as Horizons 1, 2 and 3, with the second phase covering 2018 up to 2022.

The absence of a credible posture also forces Lorenzana to candidly admit that the military cannot defend the country’s territory, especially with its current inventory of assets.

“Until we get the armaments for the two frigates, we do not have the posture to defend our territory,” he said referring to the two brand-new South Korean frigates, one of which has already been delivered.

The defense chief said the military also plans to acquire at least five corvettes, with South Korea still as the possible source and six offshore patrol vessels.

With Lorenzana’s admission of the “incapable” state of the military to defend the country’s stakes, especially in the WPS, Marcos proposed that the defense department form a Chinese-like maritime militia, which the defense chief admitted, was being used by the “other side” in the territory that it claim.

Lorenzana said that he would order the Navy to study the “good proposal.”

Still, Lorenzana said, “We have effort to develop similar assets but we do not have assets [boats] to operate in our territory.”

Marcos however said: “Whether we have boats or not, the least we can do is to train and develop our fishermen.”

https://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/10/12/dnd-chief-phl-still-lacks-credible-defense-posture/

Philippines explores plans to buy South Korean UH-1H and MD500 helicopters

Posted to Airforce Technology (Oct 12, 2020 Philippines explores plans to buy South Korean UH-1H and MD500 helicopters

Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana has announced plans to purchase UH-1H and MD500 helicopters from the Republic of Korea.

MD Helicopters MD-500E. Credit: Adrian Pingstone (Arpingstone).

Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana has announced plans to purchase UH-1H and MD500 helicopters from the Republic of Korea.

The Philippine Information Agency added that Lorenzana also revealed plans to carry out Joint Visual Inspection (JVI) in the fourth quarter of this year.


It will be carried out by a team made of the Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ representatives.

The JVI will follow ‘strict biosafety protocols’ that are in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The acquisition of the UH-1H and MD500 helicopters is said to be in the exploratory phase. Details of the timeline and quantity have not been finalised.

In a separate development, the last two of the six new Embraer Defense and Security A-29 ‘Super Tucano’ close-air support aircraft landed at Clark Air Base near Manila.

Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong as saying: “The two remaining Super Tucanos arrived yesterday (Thursday).

“The first aircraft touched down at 1304H (1:04 pm) and followed by the other at 1327H (1:27 pm).”

The helicopters are expected to boost the 15th Strike Wing of the Philippines Air Force (PAF).

The first four of the A-29 helicopters were delivered last month after the initial delivery schedule was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a part of the agreement, PAF pilots will be trained by Embraer pilots for two months.

Last month, the US delivered four A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to the Afghan Air Force as part of the Nato-led Resolute Support Mission.

https://www.airforce-technology.com/news/philippines-explores-plans-to-buy-south-korean-uh-1h-and-md500-helicopters/

Hunt on for 8 foreign terrorists

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Oct 12, 2020): Hunt on for 8 foreign terrorists (By: Tina G. Santos)

The military has intensified a manhunt for at least eight other foreign terrorists after the arrest of a young Indonesian widow who was allegedly planning another suicide bombing in Mindanao.

Gen. Gilbert Gapay, the military chief of staff, said
the arrest of Resky Fantasya Rullie, alias Cici, 19, and two others on Saturday was a blow to terrorists in Mindanao.

Gapay had ordered troops to focus and further degrade terror groups, said Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, spokesperson for the AFP.




Gapay commended Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., the Western Mindanao Command chief, and Brig. Gen. William Gonzales of Joint Task Force Sulu for the accomplishment but urged them to press the hunt for other foreign terrorists, including Indonesians and Egyptians, but did not identify them.

On the other hand, the Bureau of Immigration (BI), which was also involved in Saturday’s raid in Jolo, said they would file a deportation case against Cici but she would first have to face criminal charges and serve the sentence in the country before deportation.

“A deportation case has been recommended to be filed against Rullie for terrorism, being an illegal entrant, and for undesirability, apart from the criminal charges that she faces,” said BI Mindanao Intelligence Task Group head Melody Gonzales in a statement.

Under surveillance

“Cici was the subject of months of surveillance and was found to have been planning a suicide bombing in Sulu before the arrest,” Gonzales said, adding that Cici is a high-value target.

Authorities said Cici began to plan another bomb attack after her compatriot and husband Andi Baso was allegedly killed in a fight with security forces on Aug. 29. His body was not found.

Andi Baso was an ardent recruiter for the Abu Sayyaf in Malaysia and Indonesia.

The military had also claimed that, aside from Baso, key Abu Sayyaf leader and bomb maker Samir Nani was also killed in the Aug. 29 clash while another bomb maker Arsibar Sawadjaan, a nephew of Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, was also killed on Sept. 28.

Cici, who was pregnant, was arrested by security forces before dawn on Friday along with locals Nur-Aina Alihasan and Fatima Sandra Jimlani-Jama at a house in Jolo, Sulu, that was believed to be owned by one Ben Quirino Yadah, alias Ben Tatoo, an Abu Sayaff subleader, according to Gonzales.

Alihasan, also known as Inda Nurhaina, is the wife of Ben Tatoo, while Jimlani is the wife of another Abu Sayyaf member, Jahid Jama.

Cici is believed to be the daughter of the Indonesian couple Rullie Rian Zeke and Ulfah Handayani Saleh, who blew themselves up during a Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Jan. 27, 2019, killing at least 18 people and injuring 82 others.

The Rullie family, which included two more children aside from Cici, were under the protection of Abu Sayyaf bomb maker Mundi Sawadjaan, who planned the twin bombings in Jolo on Aug. 24 that killed 15 people. Sawadjaan is also a nephew of the Abu Sayyaf leader.

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1346456/hunt-on-for-8-foreign-terrorists

Mid-term review recommends extension of Bangsamoro transition until June 2025

From MindaNews (Oct 12, 2020): Mid-term review recommends extension of Bangsamoro transition until June 2025 (By CAROLYN O. ARGUILLAS)

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 October) – A mid-term review of the three-year transition in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) listed accomplishments, ongoing programs and legislation and what have yet to be done, and, citing results of focus group discussions, recommended an extension of the transition period until June 2025 to allow the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) and the national government “sufficient time to fully accomplish their priority tasks and duties especially those that need to be jointly implemented”

The BARMM is the third autonomous region set-up in the predominantly Moro areas in the past four decades but the first to adopt a parliamentary system within a highly-centralized Presidential system of government.


One of the focus group discussions conducted during the mid-term review of the Bangsamoro transition. Photo courtesy of MPC

Lawyer Mary Ann Arnado, Secretary-General of the Mindanao Peoples’ Caucus (MPC), a peace advocacy group that conducted the mid-term review, told MindaNews on Sunday that the call to extend the transition period came not only from the FGDs “across sectors and political persuasions” but also from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Maguindanao and the Governor and the League of Municipalities of the Philippines’ (LMP) chapter in Tawi-tawi.

The Maguindanao SP on October 15, 2019 passed Resolution 2019-349 urging Congress to “enact a law providing for sufficient transition period for the (BTA) to accomplish and complete the purpose for which it was created” by amending the date of the first election of the Bangsamoro Parliament from May 9, 2022, to May 12, 2025. The LMP-Tawi-tawi passed a similar resolution on July 2, 2020.

Covering the period from January 25, 2019 – the ratification of Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law for the BARMM – to September 30, 2020, the mid-term review pored over documents and conducted key informant interviews and 21 focus group discussions involving 232 participants in the BARMM provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi including the cities of Marawi and Lamitan, and Cotabato City and from the 63 villages in North Cotabato.

The BARMM is a product of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the peace agreement signed by government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in March 2014, with RA 11054 as its enabling act.


Presentation of the results of the mid-term review of the transition in the Bangsamoro at the Coffee for Peace on 07 October 2020. Photo courtesy of MPC

In their public presentation of findings and recommendations held at the Coffee for Peace on Tuesday, Arnado said that as of October 7, there were only 643 days left until June 30, 2022, the end of the transition period and supposedly the beginning of the term of the first set of elected BARMM officials. At present, the 80 members of the MILF-led BTA, the body governing the BARMM during the transition, are appointed by the President.

Arnado said no transition funds were released in 2019 as the BARMM inherited the 2019 budget of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The BARMM, she said, ended up implementing projects of the ARMM that were already budgeted and contracted for under the 2019 General Appropriations Act.

The ARMM was abolished upon the ratification of the Bangsamoro law.

Arnado also reported that the 2019 and 2020 Social Development Fund of 5 billion pesos a year, had not been released as of the review period, and transition work in 2020 suffered delays both on the part of the BTA and the national government as the region and the rest of the country grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also cited the “circuitous” and installment release of the block grant, even as the law provides for a direct and comprehensive release.

2 phases

Arnado cited two stages of the transition: from the now defunct ARMM to the BARMM through the BTA — the appointed transition government — and from BTA to the elected Bangsamoro Government.

“In practical terms, transfer is completed,” Arnado said, referring to the first phase, but noted that it was not in accordance with the Bangsamoro law. She said the turnover was between the ARMM and the BARMM, “without the participation of the national government.”

“The turnover was actually deficient as it lacked participation of the inter-agency committee,” Arnado said, adding the law provides for the committee to ensure the liabilities of the ARMM are assumed by the national government, “to give the BARMM a clean slate.”


Mujiv Hataman, the last governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (L) welcomes Interim Chief Minister Al Haj Murad Ebrahim of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority at the Office of the Bangsamoro People after the turnover rites at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Center in Cotabato City on February 26, 2019. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman handed over volumes of documents to MILF chair and BARMM’s interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, more popularly known by his nom de guerre Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, in symbolic rites held at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex on February 26, 2019. The inauguration of the BARMM, however, was on March 29, 2019, graced by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The second stage of the transition, she added, is “much more challenging and complex as it necessitates the establishment of a parliamentary form of government ”and both the Bangsamoro and the national government are embarking on an “unchartered political experimentation which is laden with more questions than answers.”

The Bangsamoro law mandates the BTA to pass five priority codes: Administrative, Revenue, Electoral, Local Government, and Educational Code.

It also tasks the BTA to pass a Civil Service Code and the Indigenous Peoples Code; determine the parliamentary districts for the first regular election for Members of Parliament in May 2022; organize the bureaucracy, including the approval and implementation of a transition plan, and the institution of a placement process for hiring of personnel during transition, setting up of office and other institutions necessary for the continued functioning of government and delivery of social services and those necessary for the smooth operations of the first elected Bangsamoro Government in 2022.

Inter-Governmental Relations

The law provides for a National Government-Bangsamoro Government Intergovernmental Relations Body or IGRB, “to coordinate and resolve issues on intergovernmental relations through regular consultation and continuing negotiation in a non-adversarial manner.”

The IGRB is tasked to “exhaust all means to resolve issues brought before it.” Unresolved issues are to be elevated to the President, through the Bangsamoro Chief Minister.

The IGRB is headed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez for the government, and Mohagher Iqbal for the Bangsamoro. Iqbal is the MILF peace implementing panel chair and concurrent Minister of Basic, Higher and Technical Education.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process serves as the Secretariat.

As of September 30, the IGRB had met only thrice: on December 16, 2019; May 29, 2020; and August 28, 2020. (Its fourth meeting was held on Thursday, October 9).


Mid-term review team interviews Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim. Photo courtesy of MPC

As of September 30, the IGR bodies that have been constituted are the Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board which had its first meeting on May 29, 2020 via video conference and the Terms of Reference (TOR) signed; Intergovernmental Infrastructure Development Board scheduled to be convened in October 2020 by the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Ministry of Public Works-BARMM; the Joint Body for the Zones of Joint Cooperation which held its first meeting on June 26, 2020 where the details of the TORs were discussed, and the Intergovernmental Energy Board whose task is to resolve all matters related to energy and other energy issues referred to it by the IGRB.

The other IGR bodies that have yet to be constituted are the Philippine Congress-Bangsamoro Parliament Forum for purposes of cooperation and coordination of legislative initiative, the Council of Leaders whose task is to “advise the Chief Minister on matters of governance in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” and the Bangsamoro Sustainable Development Board.

The Council is to be headed by the Chief Minister and shall have as members, provincial governors and city mayors as well as members of Congress from the Bangsamoro region; representatives of traditional leaders, non-Moro indigenous communities, women, settler communities, the Ulama, youth, and Bangsamoro communities outside of the Bangsamoro region, and representatives of other sectors as may be determined by the Parliament.

The Bangsamoro Sustainable Development Board will be composed of representatives from the National Government and the Bangsamoro Government to “ensure the integration and harmonization of economic, social, and environmental considerations as vital dimensions of sustainable development policy and practice” in the Bangsamoro region.”

“Full transfer of powers and properties”

The BTA is also mandated to effect the “full transfer of powers and properties” of the defunct ARMM to the BARMM, except those properties, land, and structures located outside the region which shall be “purchased by the National Government at a price to be determined through the intergovernmental relations mechanism within one year from the ratification” of the law and proceeds from the purchase “shall be remitted to the Bangsamoro Government.”


President Rodrigo Roa Duterte sounds the agong to signal the inauguration of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City on March 29, 2019. Joining the President is BARMM Interim Chief Minister Al Haj Murad Ebrahim. ROBINSON NI√ĎAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

“One year from ratification” would have been January 25, 2020 but the national government has yet to purchase the ARMM properties outside the region.

But it is not only the purchase of the ARMM properties that has not been accomplished by the national government.

The transfer and/or turnover of national government agencies, offices and government-owned and controlled corporations to various areas in the BARMM have yet to be implemented. Under the Bangsamoro law, these are supposed to be transferred “within three months from the organization” of the BTA or June 29, 2019 if reckoned from the March 29, 2019 inauguration.

The review listed these offices awaiting transfer and/or turnover: Departments of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, Education, Interior and Local Government, Public Works and Highways, Science and Technology, Trade and Industry, Tourism, Transportation, and the Land Transportation and Franchising Board, Land Transportation Office, Philippine Ports Authority, Maritime Industry Authority and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

Cotabato City

Also to be turned over is Cotabato City which voted ‘yes’ to inclusion in the BARMM. The Ministry of Interior and Local Government is still awaiting transfer of the office of the Department of Interior and Local Government in the city to the BARMM.

Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, who campaigned against the city’s inclusion in the BARMM, appealed to President Duterte in February this year to hold in abeyance its turnover to the BARMM until June 30, 2022 when the three-year transition period “has been completed and the BARMM bureaucracy would have been fully operational.”

Duterte asked both the city government and the BARMM for position papers but everyone’s attention soon shifted to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Mayor Sayadi in a Facebook post in February quoted Local Governments Secretary Eduardo Ano as saying “i-defer muna pag-transfer sa December 2020.” Iqbal says they have yet to receive a copy of the President’s decision, if at all a decision had been made.

Arnado said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has yet to transfer to the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resource and Energy, the management and protection of nature reserves and aquatic parks, forests, watershed reservations and other protected areas in the territorial jurisdiction of the BARMM;


Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. (right), Philippine Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconcialiation and Unity inspects weapons from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that were decommissioned during the launch of the second phase of the decommissioning process of MILF weapons and combatants in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat on 7 September 2019. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

On the normalization track, several issues have yet to be attended to, Arnado said, including the benefit package (housing, socio-economic livelihood, scholarship, Philhealth) for the 12,000 decommissioned combatants has yet to be completed.

The public presentation last Tuesday focused only on the legal and political track of the transition. A separate presentation, she said, will be made on the normalization track.

Arnado said they will also present their findings and recommendations to the BTA.

Ongoing

Lawyer Hanan Romanda Kahalan, a member of the review team, said the five priority codes (Administrative, Revenue, Election, Local Governments and Education) are in various stages of legislation.

Due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and border restrictions, sessions of the BTA Parliament which is tasked to pass these codes, were suspended in March, April and May.


The Bangsamoro Parliament in session under the “new normal” at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex. Photo courtesy of the Bangsamoro Government

Kahalan said the BTA Parliament has filed the proposed Administrative Code, Local Governance Code and Civil Service Code. The proposed Education Code has been approved by the Cabinet and it is ready for filing while the proposed Electoral Code is expected to be filed before the year ends.

The filing of certificates of candidacies in the synchronized national, regional (BARMM) and local elections of May 9, 2022 is in October 2021.

Arnado said the Revenue Code is still at the Technical Working Group (TWG) level as the drafting process awaits decisions from the Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board (IFBP) as issues on taxable elements within the Bangsamoro jurisdiction, among others, need to be determined and agreed upon.

Within six months from the establishment of the BTA, the IFPB is supposed to “determine the participation of the Bangsamoro Government in the Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines and the Southern Philippine Development Authority. This has not been done, Arnado said.

Kahalan said the BTA’s other accomplishments include the drafting and approval of the Parliamentary Rules and Procedures, the establishment of the Parliament, enactment of the Bangsamoro Appropriations Act, gradual phaseout of the ARMM personnel and organizing the BARMM bureaucracy, submission of Transition Plan and its approval by the BTA Parliament, placement process for hiring of personnel during transition and the launching of the Bangsamoro Job Portal.

It also released the internal revenue allotment (IRA) of 11 towns created during the administration of then ARMM Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, but which had no IRA until it was provided for in the Bangsamoro law.

The 63 barangays in North Cotabato that voted for inclusion in the BARMM are now under its supervision.

COVID-19 response

Also listed as accomplishments is the quick response of the BARMM in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, a move commended by Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez, Jr., now Chief Implementer of the National Action Plan against COVID-19; allocation of 1.9 billion pesos for augmentation of medical equipment and supplies, hazard pay for health workers, medical assistance for COVID 19 patients through Ayudang Medical Mula sa Bangsamoro Government (AMBAG), and financial assistance for infected frontline workers; distribution of food packs and relief goods.


Dr. Dims Dimatingkal, chief of the professional medical staff of the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC) in Cotabato City, gives a thumbs up sign inside a misting tent to be used in disinfecting all medical staff and visitors of the hospital. The new misting tent was among several personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies donated by the Bangsamoro Region to augment the dwindling supplies of CRMC in the fight against COVID-19. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

AMBAG, Kahalan said, also provides medical assistance to BARMM indigents and enhances the accessibility of health services, medicines, and medical procedures to its constituents.

The Office of the Chief Minister also allocated 155 million pesos to the local government units of the BARMM’s five provinces, three cities and 116 towns at 5 million pesos per province, 2 million pesos per city, 1 million per municipality and 8 million pesos for the 63 barangays in North Cotabato. The 2-M peso allocation for Cotabato City was not released as the city government did not submit the required documents.

Kahalan added that the BTA also built isolation centers for COVID-19 and distributed the Social Amelioration Program cash assistance to the region’s 506,954 beneficiaries. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

https://www.mindanews.com/peace-process/2020/10/mid-term-review-recommends-extension-of-bangsamoro-transition-until-june-2025/

CPP/Larab | October 10, 2020

Propaganda publication posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Oct 13, 2020): Larab | October 10, 2020

LARAB | PUBLICATIONS
OCTOBER 13, 2020


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CPP/NDF-EV: AFP’s indiscriminate artillery shelling in Matuguinao hits house, dogs

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Oct 13, 2020): AFP’s indiscriminate artillery shelling in Matuguinao hits house, dogs

FR. SANTIAGO “KA SANNY” SALAS
SPOKESPERSON
NDF-EASTERN VISAYAS
NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES

OCTOBER 13, 2020



The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today strongly condemned the 8th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the indiscriminate artillery shelling operations by its troops which hit a farmer’s house and killed two dogs in Matuguinao, Western Samar.

The NDF-EV said it received reports from the New People’s Army-Arnulfo Ortiz Command (AOC) that the 155mm howitzer fired by the 19th Infantry Battalion on September 26 in Brgy. San Isidro hit the house of a certain “Aido” and two pet dogs, completely avoiding the NPA-AOC that successful ambushed AFP troops in nearby Brgy. Santa Cruz a couple of hours earlier.

NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas said the military conducted the shelling which put at risk mass civilian casualty as it hit an area between a school building and a waiting shed. He also noted that in Northern Samar, the 20th IB also conducted consecutive shelling operations towards farmlands in Palapag and Mapanas towns last September which were supposedly in retaliation for the successful guerrilla operations of the NPA. Dozens of peasant families busy with their annual harvest have been driven to evacuate as bombs dropped on their farmland. The heavy shelling prompted them to compare their experience with the AFP’s bombing campaign in Marawi City in 2017.

“We condemn the indiscriminate artillery shelling by the 8th ID which has hit farmlands and civilian structures and harmed animals. The 8th ID stays true to the AFP’s total war policy against the NPA by way of wholesale bombings, shelling and terrorizing the peasant masses. This is the Duterte regime’s drugged-out crackdown against everyone whom they accuse of supporting the NPA or anyone opposed to his fascist dictatorship,” Fr. Salas said.

“Since July, the 8th ID in Samar island has fired at least 113 artillery rounds but has yet to hit a single Red fighter. The AFP and its commander-in-chief Rodrigo Duterte are morally-bankrupt and bloodthirsty warmongers who sweep aside human rights, international humanitarian law and basic decency to waste away millions of the people’s money through futile operations.”

Fr. Salas enjoined the people of Samar and all advocates of human rights, members of the clergy, human rights organizations, and other peace-loving individuals and institutions to condemn the indiscriminate attacks against peasant communities by the 8th ID, AFP and Duterte.

“We urge them to conduct fact-finding missions and hold accountable the commanders by calling to remove them from their posts. We urge them to raise their voices louder against Duterte’s total war policy and to join the widening call to oust and end his regime.”#

https://cpp.ph/statements/afps-indiscriminate-artillery-shelling-in-matuguinao-hits-house-dogs/

CPP/NPA-STROC: Pasismo at pambubusabos sa magsasaka, tumitindi habang may COVID-19! Panahon na upang ibagsak ang inutil, terorista at anti-magsasakang rehimeng Duterte!

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Oct 13, 2020): Pasismo at pambubusabos sa magsasaka, tumitindi habang may COVID-19! Panahon na upang ibagsak ang inutil, terorista at anti-magsasakang rehimeng Duterte!

ARMANDO CIENFUEGO
SPOKESPERSON
NPA-SOUTHERN TAGALOG REGIONAL OPERATIONAL COMMAND
MELITO GLOR COMMAND
NEW PEOPLE'S ARMY

OCTOBER 13, 2020



Walang kaparis ang malubhang kalagayan ng mga magsasaka ngayong panahon ng COVID-19. Sinamantala ng rehimeng Duterte ang krisis sa pampublikong kalusugan bilang opurtunidad para isulong at paigtingin ang mga anti-magsasakang patakaran at pakana nito. Ipinataw ni Duterte ang de facto Martial Law sa tabing ng pagpigil sa paglaganap ng virus at walang habas na inatake ang kanayunan at pinatay ang daan-daang magsasaka. Ginugutom nito ang mga magsasaka habang kinukurakot ang pondong nakalaan para sa kanila.

Sukdulang pagkamuhi ang nadarama ng mga magsasaka kay Duterte. Kaya naman, mula kanayunan hanggang kalunsuran, maririnig ang kanilang sigaw: Ibagsak ang papet, inutil at teroristang rehimeng Duterte!

Makatarungan ang panawagang ito ngayong ginugunita ang Buwan ng mga Magsasaka. Kasalukuyang dumaranas ng matinding gutom at hirap ang mga magsasaka dahil sa pagpapabaya ng rehimen sa gitna ng pandemya. Hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa naaabot ng ayuda ang 9.7 milyong magsasaka, manggagawang-bukid at mangingisda ayon sa Department of Agriculture (DA). Sadyang mabibigo ang ahensya dahil 90% ng pondo nito ay inilaan para sa mga walang kwentang proyekto na hindi tutugon sa kagutuman sa kanayunan habang may COVID-19. Sa Quezon, papatak na higit P2,000 lamang kada buwan ang ayuda para sa mga magniniyog sa loob ng anim na buwang pananalasa ng pandemya.

Wala ring programa para sagipin ang kabuhayan ng milyun-milyong magsasakang naapektuhan ng pandemya, kabilang ang higit 75,000 manggagawang-bukid sa mga tubuhan at lampas 700,000 na iba pang nakaasa sa industriya ng asukal. Malaki ring pahirap ang mga restriksyon sa pagbibiyahe na hadlang sa pagdadala ng produkto sa pamilihan. Ang masama pa’y kinokotongan ng mga sundalo’t pulis ang mga nagluluwas ng produktong bukid gaya ng nangyayari sa Mindoro.

Tusong sinasamantala ng rehimen ang pagbagsak ng ekonomya para ilusot ang mga neoliberal na programang yuyurak sa karapatan ng mga magsasaka. Isa rito ang iskemang pagtatayo ng mga mega farm na taniman ng mga pang-eksport na high-value crop gaya ng saging, kamoteng-kahoy, at iba pa. Idineklara rin ng rehimen ang pagbubukas ng operasyon ng mga kumpanya ng mina para diumano’y lumikha ng mga trabaho at manumbalik ang sigla ng ekonomya. Malaki itong kalokohan dahil pulos pagdurusa ang dulot ng mga minahan na responsable sa malawakang pangwawasak sa kalikasan at pang-aagaw sa lupa ng mga magsasaka’t katutubo.

Malawakang kagutuman din ang dulot ng covid-related missions ng AFP-PNP na sa esensya’y mga mababagsik na operasyong militar at pulis. Hindi makapagkaingin ang mga magsasaka’t katutubo sa interyor dahil sa paghihigpit sa oras ng pagkakaingin at sa takot na abutan ng mga sundalo sa kanilang lupa.

Bukod sa pandudusta sa kabuhayan, hinaharap din ng mga magsasaka ang panganib na mahawa ng COVID-19 dahil sa tuluy-tuloy na focused military operations at pagpapabaya ng rehimen. Walang pondo para sa pamimigay ng libreng face masks at iba pang proteksyon sa mga magsasaka. Wala ring isinagawang pagsasaayos ng imprastraktura sa kalusugan sa kanayunan. Wala rin sa katinuan ang rehimen sa paggigiit sa programang balik-probinsya na maaaring magresulta sa pagkalat ng sakit sa kanayunan.

Ang mga pasakit na dala ng palyadong tugon ng rehimeng Duterte sa COVID-19 ay dagdag sa malaon na nitong atraso sa mga magsasaka. Laganap sa ilalim ni Duterte ang pangangamkam ng mga dayuhan, panginoong maylupa at burgesya kumprador sa mga produktibong lupain ng mga magsasaka’t katutubo sa pamamagitan ng pagpapalit-gamit sa lupa. Biktima nito ang mga magsasaka’t katutubo sa Palawan kung saan agresibong ikinukumbert ang lupa para gawing plantasyon ng oil palm.

Hinding-hindi rin mapapatawad ng mga magsasaka si Duterte sa pagpapatupad ng Rice Liberalization Law (RLL). Sa isang taong pag-iral ng batas, nawalan ang bawat magsasaka ng palay ng hanggang P30,000. Nakapanlulumo ang ibinagsak ng presyo ng palay dahil dito. Sa Occidental Mindoro, umabot ito sa napakababang P10-12 kada kilo—wala pa sa kalahati ng gastos sa produksyon ng magsasaka na P23 kada kilo.

Sa gipit na kalagayan, lalong kailangan ng mga magsasaka sa palay ang pangakong ayuda ng Social Amelioration Program. Ang problema, napakabagal ng DA at wala pa sa 10% ng 591,246 magsasaka ng palay ang naabot ng P5,000 na ayuda noong Abril.

Ang labis na pambubusabos at kahirapan ang nagtutulak sa mga magsasakang magbigkis at kumilos para sa kanilang demokratikong interes. Bigo ang pasistang lockdown na pigilan ang kanilang sama-samang pagkilos. Sa Hacienda Yulo ipinamalas ang pagkakaisa ng mga magsasaka nang sagkaan nila ang demolisyon sa kanilang panirikan at sakahan noong Hulyo at Agosto. Nagpupunyagi rin hanggang ngayon ang mga kilusang okupasyon sa mga asyenda at lupaing gustong agawin ng mga burgesya kumprador tulad nina Henry Sy at mga Ayala. Patuloy ring naninindigan ang mga katutubo laban sa pagpasok ng mga mapaminsalang proyekto sa kanilang lupaing ninuno. Dahil dito’y matagumpay na napipigilan ang mga proyektong tulad ng Kaliwa Dam sa Quezon at malakihan at dayuhang pagmimina sa Palawan at Mindoro.

Dahil nangangahas makibaka para sa kanilang karapatan, naging target ang mga magsasaka at katutubo ng kontra-rebolusyonaryong gerang JCP Kapanatagan at ng NTF-ELCAC. Daan-daang magsasaka na ang pinaslang ng AFP-PNP, kabilang si Adonis Shu na isang magsasaka at lider ng mga maliliit na gold panner sa Palawan na pinatay noong Pebrero. Kaliwa’t kanan din ang iligal na pagdakip at pagkukulong sa mga magsasaka tulad ni Hilario de Roxas, 56, residente ng Catanauan, Quezon, na pinagbintangang NPA. Iligal ding dinetine at sinampahan ng gawa-gawang kaso ang Calaca 6 na pinag-initan ng militar dahil sa matagal nilang pakikibaka laban sa panginoong maylupang pamilya Lopez sa Batangas. Libu-libo na ring magsasaka ang tinakot at sapilitang pinasuko bilang kasapi ng BHB.

Labis na terorismo ang pinakakawalan ng estado, subalit hindi nito naitumba ang kilusang magsasaka sa rehiyong TK at sa buong bansa. Higit pa rito, naging gatong ang terorismo ni Duterte upang lalong mag-alab ang suporta ng masang anakpawis sa demokratikong rebolusyon ng bayan. Mayamang bukal ng rekrut ang kilusang magsasaka sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan. Pinanghahawakan nila ang kawastuhan ng digmang bayang pinangungunahan ng PKP-BHB-NDFP bilang radikal na solusyon sa problema sa lupa. Napakarami nang mabuting ehemplo ng mga magsasakang nag-armas para sa adhikaing ito kabilang ang mga dakilang martir ng TK na sina Bonifacio “Ka Nato” Magramo at Noel “Ka Selnon” Siasico.

Ang paglahok sa digmang bayan ang pinakamataas na anyo ng pakikibaka ng masang magsasaka at siyang susi para mapawi ang imperyalismo, pyudalismo at burukrata kapitalismo na nagpapahirap sa kanilang uri at buong sambayanang Pilipino. Sa pagtatagumpay nito, matatamo ng mga magsasaka ang kalutasan ng suliranin sa kawalan ng lupa at kabuhayan. Sa programa ng DRB at burador ng Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms na pinakapusong usapin sa sa peace talks sa pagitan ng GRP at NDFP, nakahain ang pagpapatupad ng tunay na repormang agraryo at pambansang industriyalisasyon bilang mga kongkretong hakbangin sa pag-aangat sa kabuhayan ng masang magsasaka at pagpapaunlad sa sektor ng agrikultura. Ibinasura ni Duterte ang mga programang ito nang talikuran niya ang peace talks sang-ayon sa interes ng kanyang mga imperyalistang amo at ng lokal na naghaharing-uri laluna ng mga panginoong maylupa na tutol sa pamamahagi ng lupa sa mga magsasaka.

Ibayong galit at determinasyong makibaka ang kailangan ng uring magsasaka at ng buong bayan sa harap ng tumitinding pasismo at pambubusabos ng rehimeng Duterte sa masang anakpawis at sa buong sambayanan. Sinusuportahan ng MGC-NPA ST ang kahilingan ng mga magsasaka at ng buong bayan na pabagsakin mula sa poder si Duterte at ang kanyang bulok na rehimen. Ang bawat matagumpay na taktikal na opensibang ilulunsad ng NPA ay pakikiisa sa makatarungang laban ng mga magsasaka para sa lupa at karapatan. Sa lakas ng saligang alyansa ng uring manggagawa at magsasaka, ibayong susulong ang rebolusyon hanggang sa makamit ang masagana, mapayapa at maaliwalas na bukas para sa sambayanang Pilipino. ###

https://cpp.ph/statements/pasismo-at-pambubusabos-sa-magsasaka-tumitindi-habang-may-covid-19-panahon-na-upang-ibagsak-ang-inutil-terorista-at-anti-magsasakang-rehimeng-duterte/

CPP/NPA-South Central Negros: Mt. Cansermon Command renews call for justice for Bernardo Guillen, denies claim of a father and child-soldier son surrender

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Oct 13, 2020): Mt. Cansermon Command renews call for justice for Bernardo Guillen, denies claim of a father and child-soldier son surrender

DIONESIO MAGBUELAS
SPOKESPERSON
NPA-SOUTH CENTRAL NEGROS
MT. CANSERMON COMMAND
NEGROS ISLAND REGIONAL OPERATIONAL COMMAND
APOLINARIO GATMAITAN COMMAND
NEW PEOPLE'S ARMY

OCTOBER 13, 2020

 

In a hopeless attempt to deflect the roaring cry for justice for Bernardo Guillen and all victims of human rights violations, the 94th Infantry Batallion is spinning another lie of a father and child-soldier son surrender.

“The 94th IB led by Ltc. Angelo Guzman is desperate to whitewash their cowardly crimes against the people of South Central Negros that they resort to spewing lies and black propaganda in a vain attempt to gain public sympathy. The people is seething with outrage over their barbaric mutilation of Bernardo Guillen, a farmer from Brgy. Tan-awan, Kabankalan City, and they demand for justice,” Ka Dionesio Magbuelas states.

The 94th IB reported that a certain alias Joker and his 16-year old son surrendered on October 9. Ka Dionesio Magbuelas, spokesperson of the Mt. Cansermon Command New People’s Army – South Central Negros, utterly denies this claim.

“All units of the NPA conscientiously study and abide by the Geneva Conventions and Protocol I and II in the conduct of the civil war in the Philippines. There are no child soldiers in the roster of members of the New People’s Army. The AFP, however, has a track record of unbridled human rights abuses. What is certain also is that the AFP forces ordinary civilians to surrender in order to corrupt funds from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP),” Ka Dionesio Magbuelas said.

This is not the first time that the AFP used and abused the child warrior narrative in order to smear the name of the NPA. On May 4, 2019, operating troops of the 62nd Infantry Batallion captured a 13-year old civilian following an armed encounter with a unit of the MCC-NPA. They then paraded him as a child warrior.

“The people can easily unmask this charade. Together with Duterte, the AFP should be held accountable and be made to answer to their numerous transgressions. The NPA will continue to heed the call for justice for all the victims of state-sponsored violence and will continue to launch all-out offensives to end the reign of terror of the Duterte regime,” ended Ka Dionesio Magbuelas.

https://cpp.ph/statements/mt-cansermon-command-renews-call-for-justice-for-bernardo-guillen-denies-claim-of-a-father-and-child-soldier-son-surrender/

CPP/CIO: On change of leadership in the reactionary congress

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Oct 13, 2020): On change of leadership in the reactionary congress

MARCO VALBUENA
CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER
COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES

OCTOBER 13, 2020



Speaker Velasco is a Duterte factotum. With Cayetano and the rest of Duterte’s minions, he supported the Anti-Terror Law, the shutting-down of ABS-CBN and giving Duterte extraordinary powers to divert public funds.

Thus, what do we expect from his speakership but more of the same rubberstamping of Duterte’s state terrorism and corruption? With Velasco at the helm, Congress is set to railroad the 2021 budget for pork barrel and state terorism: bloated funds for infrastructure, counterinsurgency and debt servicing; and meager financing for health, education and other urgent services.

The people will gain nothing from Velasco’s speakership: no mass testing and free treatment of Covid-19 infections, no wage increases and no subsidies for the unemployed, no job security, no land reform.

The speakership duel was all about getting a bigger share of power and bureaucratic loot. Cut from the same rotten tree of political dynasties, Velasco has bigger political ambitions, and is busy toadying up to Sara Duterte and Bong Go.

https://cpp.ph/statements/on-change-of-leadership-in-the-reactionary-congress/
https://cpp.ph/statements/on-change-of-leadership-in-the-reactionary-congress/

Kalinaw News: LGU and Army CIIPSO Pre-Organizational Meeting

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 14, 2020): LGU and Army CIIPSO Pre-Organizational Meeting

BALER, Aurora-In line with the campaign against terrorists, the Philippine Army’s 91st Infantry “Sinagtala” Battalion, and Local Government Unit of Dingalan conducted Critical Infrastructure, Investment Protection and Security Operation (CIIPSO) meeting on Monday (October 12, 2020).

CIIPSO is part of the tightening the security and preventive measure for the possible extortion in the flagship projects of the government by the NPA and other organized crime groups.

The Local Government Unit of Dingalan hosted the CIIPSO meeting headed by Mayor Shierwin H. Taay and the 91st Infantry (Sinagtala) Battalion, 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, Philippine Army under the leadership of LTC REANDREW P RUBIO INF (GSC) PA.

The activity was attended by Project Engineers from different companies, PNP, SB members headed by Vice Mayor Edgardo Galvez and local officials held at Municipal Hall of Dingalan, Aurora.

The CIIPSO Pre-Organizational Meeting aims to prevent the extortion, and violent atrocities of NPA.

LTC RUBIO said that the involvement of LGU in addressing NPA extortion activity is very much important.

“This NPA extortion work is not just the responsibility of the government security forces but it is everybody’s concern. And I would like to thank and commend LGU Dingalan headed by Mayor Taay for spearheading the CIIPSO Meeting which was attended by Project Engineers from different construction companies in Dingalan, Aurora. This is part of our effort in addressing the NPA extortion works and prevent the latter from conducting harassment, threat, intimidation and extortion against private companies in the area,” LTC RUBIO said.

He added that possible offensive attacks by the enemies can be expected by construction companies, especially while the province is under the modified general community quarantine (GCQ).

“Construction businesses could be prone to extortion activities or attacks by the rebels. CIIPSO is a mechanism created to bridge and strengthen the relationship between government troops and construction-related companies,” LTC RUBIO ended.



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

https://www.kalinawnews.com/lgu-and-army-ciipso-pre-organizational-meeting/

Kalinaw News: 7 Former Rebels in Iloilo get gov’t aid

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 13, 2020): 7 Former Rebels in Iloilo get gov’t aid

MIAGAO, ILOILO – A total of seven Former Rebels (FRs) in Iloilo received firearms remuneration, immediate cash and livelihood assistance through the Enhanced–Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E–CLIP) on Monday, October 12, 2020.



The turn-over of assistance was held at Governors Hall, Provincial Capitol, Iloilo City.

Iloilo Governor, Hon. Arthur R. Defensor Jr. led the distribution of the E–CLIP package assistance to the FRs together with Director Teodora P. Sumagaysay, DILG-Iloilo; Lieutenant Colonel Joel Benedict Batara; Commanding Officer of the 61st Infantry Battalion; Police Colonel Gilbert Gorero, IPPO Provincial Director, and Rev. Reynaldo Romero, Civil Society Organization Representative.

The beneficiaries received a total of 589, 000 pesos E-CLIP assistance.

According to the former rebels (FRs), the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) promised them to support and provide the financial needs of their family if they join in the organization, but in reality this are just false promises. They decided to abandon the armed movement after realizing that they are fighting for a senseless struggle.

Meanwhile, Ltc Batara said this peace advocacy program shows that our government is serious in giving the former rebels a chance to start a new and peaceful life.

Likewise, Batara assured that the Philippine Army will always support the former rebels not only through empowerment but likewise by giving them security assistance as they return to the mainstream society.

“As we turn their dreams for a peaceful life into reality through E-CLIP, we are looking forward to more number of rebels not only in Iloilo but in whole Panay laying down their firearms to embrace peace and development,” he 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: kalinawnews@cmoregiment.com]

https://www.kalinawnews.com/7-former-rebels-in-iloilo-get-govt-aid/

Kalinaw News: NPA mass supporters in Bohol village withdraw support to NPA

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 13, 2020): NPA mass supporters in Bohol village withdraw support to NPA

CARMEN, Bohol – Former NPA mass supporters of Brgy Cambigsi in Bilar town of Bohol Province denounced the terroristic activities committed by the members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and withdrew support to the communist terrorist groups. The activity was witnessed by the LGU-Bilar, PNP and the 47IB and supported by the Provincial Government of Bohol.

The Former NPA mass supporters together with the barangay officials sworn their full allegiance to the government in a ceremony held at their barangay hall on October 11, 2020. Their oath of allegiance to the government emphasized that they will no longer provide support to the unlawful organizations including the New People’s Army may it be physical, material or financial support.

One of the highlights during the activity was the raising of placards with messages calling on the NPAs to refrain from threatening their community and stop terrorism acts in the country. The CPP-NPA-NDF flag was also burned to symbolize their total denigration of the communist terrorist group.

The Barangay Chairman Hon Serapion Organiza expressed his call to his constituents to strengthen their guards against the NPA atrocities as he read Barangay Resolution Number 23 Series of 2020. The resolution states that the communist terrorist groups would only bring extreme poverty and misery to the people. Thus, Barangay Cambigsi declares the members of the CPP-NPA-NDF as Persona Non Grata in their village.

It can be recalled that a firefight transpired in the hinterlands of Cambigsi on February 29, 2020 resulting in casualties from both sides. Another encounter in the barangay was on April 26 when the troops from 47IB responded to the reports from the populace that armed men were sighted in the area a day before the distribution of the Special Amelioration Program for the populace of Cambigsi and was then followed by another firefight when the convoy of the Philippine Army and the civilians who attended the Barangay Symposium were fired by members of the NPA on July 21 making the civilians panic and acquire scratches due to rushing in hiding themselves.

“Because of these communist terrorist groups, we’ve suffered poverty even more; unlike the government that is continuously making its best to provide help and basic needs to maintain peace and order in our barangay. We have come to understand that the core purpose of taking the oath is for us to totally condemn the atrocities of this CPP-NPA-NDF and gain more development for our barangay. May we achieve the peace that all of us longed for,” a statement from one of the mass supporters who pledged cooperation in helping the government in ending the armed conflict in the area.

The oath taking was also graced by the presence of Hon Mayor Manuel Jayectin of Bilar town who strongly supports the activity as a scheme of sustaining peace and order in one of his constituent barangays.

“The peace and order is very important. Once there is peace and unity, the progress and development will surely be achieved. The government is doing its best to help Brgy Cambigsi be more developed and organized. If we will not help each other to achieve peace and order then all of us will be affected and the progress we have dreamt of will not come to reality,” Mayor Jayectin stressed during his speech as he mentioned future projects intended for the development of the barangay.

Likewise, a message from Governor Arthur Yap was virtually delivered. He commended and appreciated the populace’s taking their oath of allegiance to the government and decided to live by the law. Along with his message telling the villagers that while we still have brothers and sisters who live as terrorist members and bandits; we will remain a failure.

Moreover, according to Governor Yap, clutching the attention of the government is no longer hard since modern technology plays a big part in bridging the people. The provincial government and the Local Government Units are always doing their best for the good of its people even during this time of COVID 19. If the people will also persevere, there is a chance of resolving problems.

“The terrorism against the government is not a solution to end the problems in communities. The government is not perfect but has continued striving for you. I hope starting today, you will be part of our battle against poverty and ignorance on these leftists who are fighting against the government. Let us work together and trust the government who truly loves you”, Yap emphasized.

The pledge that happened in Brgy Cambigsi is a courageous pace towards ending insurgency and securing lasting peace in order to have more sustainable development in the barangay.

The army is in deep gratitude to the barangay’s populace for hearing the call for a just and long lasting peace and to the PGBh and LGU-Bilar as well as for the outpouring support to the army. Truly, we will commit stronger holds to the ground and together we will save more Filipinos from deceptive recruitments and lies from these NPA terrorists.

[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: kalinawnews@cmoregiment.com]

https://www.kalinawnews.com/npa-mass-supporters-in-bohol-village-withdraw-support-to-npa/

Kalinaw News: 26IB recognizes 16 newly promoted Enlisted Personnels

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 13, 2020): 26IB recognizes 16 newly promoted Enlisted Personnel

TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur – Sixteen (16) Enlisted Personnel of 26th Infantry (Ever Onward) Battalion were recognized in a simple ceremony of donning of ranks for the newly promoted enlisted personnel held at the Battalion Headquarters, Monday morning, October 12, 2020.

The 16 newly promoted Ever Onward troopers are composed of two (2) Master Sergeants, three (3) Technical Sergeants, two (2) Staff Sergeants, seven (7) Sergeants, and two (2) Corporals.

“It is indeed that promotion into our next higher rank is one of the momentous events in our military career. I am grateful seeing all of you who were constantly moving forward into a more developed and professional army that are highly trained, effective and efficient to carry on our unit’s mission,” Major Ariel S. Fabria said, the Battalion Executive Officer.

“The additional layer on your rank insignia is not just a mere decoration nor a display but somehow it is associated with a bigger responsibility coming on your way that will capacitate your ability and power as Senior Non-Commission Officers (NCOs) and role models to your subordinates,” he added.

Likewise, Lt. Col. Reynald Romel A. Goce, commanding officer of 26IB congratulates the newly promoted enlisted personnel of the unit for their courage and determination to carry on bigger and broader responsibility as they assumed into their next higher rank. “As you go up the ladder of your military service and face more responsibilities, I am confident of your ability to adapt accordingly as we focus on our mission, and neutralize all kinds of threats to our area of responsibility, including our collaborative efforts with the LGUs against the COVID-19”, he said.

“Let us also appreciate our families who always love, supports, and understand the nature of our work as we are always far to them due to the call of duty in serving our nation. May this promotion become your motivation to strive harder in accomplishing the tasked given to each of you”, 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: kalinawnews@cmoregiment.com]

https://www.kalinawnews.com/26ib-recognizes-16-newly-promoted-enlisted-personnels/

Kalinaw News: 5ID, DOST sign MOP to address insurgency in Cagayan Valley

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 13, 2020): 5ID, DOST sign MOP to address insurgency in Cagayan Valley

Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz, Upi, Gamu, Isabela- In order to continuously support programs and projects on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC), the 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 02 signed a Memorandum of Partnership Agreement (MOPA) on October 12, 2020 through Video Tele-Conference following the protocols of Inter-agency task force against CoVid 19.

The MOPA between 5ID and DOST Region 02 establishes cooperation, coordination and collaboration in ensuring that the basic social protection programs shall be delivered to the beneficiaries to alleviate poverty and distress that fuels insurgency, terrorism and lawlessness. This is also in support to the government’s effort in institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation Approach under the Executive Order 70 in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.

DOST R02 is committed to implement the Community Empowerment Support thru Science and Technology prioritizing areas that are insurgency affected, geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in Cagayan Valley. They also guarantee their intense support and effort to eradicate the exploitation of the insurgents, terrorists, and lawless groups to be able to address social, economic, political and cultural issues.

DOST Region 02 Director said that the memorandum of partnership between their agency and 5ID is harmonizing services in making communities resilient from terrorist recruitment, propaganda, and exploitation. He also cited one of their upcoming projects to provide solar panels to the residents in Zinundungan Valley in Rizal, Cagayan.

The 5ID will be responsible for the coordination with the Local Government Units of conflict-affected areas. The Command will also provide security and transportation requirements especially in geographically isolated areas. The 5ID assured that all assistance and provisions will be delivered to the intended beneficiaries.

In his message, BGen Laurence E Mina PA, Commander of 5ID stressed the importance of unity of all government agencies to address the issues of the people. “Insurgency is primarily economic and political problem in nature which requires political and economic solutions. Military answer is just a part of the greater solutions. The signing of Memorandum of Partnership Agreement is a display of government agencies and departments desire to get involved in order to achieve the national objective of insurgency free country.”

As a sign of oneness and support, TESDA Region 02 Director Jerry Pizon and DILG Region 02 Director Jonathan Paul Leusen witnessed the said event.

[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: kalinawnews@cmoregiment.com]

https://www.kalinawnews.com/5id-dost-sign-mop-to-address-insurgency-in-cagayan-valley/

Kalinaw News: 1 NPA dead, 1 Army wounded after series of clashes in South Bukidnon

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 14, 2020): 1 NPA dead, 1 Army wounded after series of clashes in South Bukidnon

MARAMAG, Bukidnon- Series of gun battles between the troops of 88th Infantry “Maringal” Battalion and NPA terrorists of Guerilla Front Malayag, SRC2, NCMRC transpired in the uninhabited and hinterland areas of Brgy Nakabuklad of San Fernando and Brgy Minungan of Quezon both of Bukidnon on 06 and 09 October 2020 respectively.

The first encounter started on 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon of October 06 2020. The gun battle lasted for about ten minutes at the vicinity of Mt. Miyangki, Sitio Supon, Brgy Nagkabuklad, San Fernando. The terrorist group that was encountered by the government forces was composed of 20 members under the leadership of alias MIGS. The terrorists scampered to different directions after the firefight. Bloodstains indicating casualties were discovered by government troops while scouring the abandoned terrorist temporary hideout. A male cadaver with gunshot wounds was also discovered hastily buried not far from the encounter site. The cadaver was later identified as Loloy Gayuran Dal-anay alias Ladong/Kalipay/Bahubali, the Vice Commanding Officer of Platoon 1, GF Malayag. The cadaver was later turned over to the LGU of San Fernando for proper disposition.

Meanwhile, government troops also encountered more or less 30 communist terrorists at around 08:55 in the morning on 09 October 2020 in the hinterland area of Brgy Minungan, Quezon, Bukidnon. The firefight lasted for about 15 minutes. While the government troops were on the process of scouring the vicinity of the encounter site, another gun battle transpired at around 12:33 in the afternoon on that same day. The exchange of gunfire lasted for another 20 minutes. It resulted to the wounding of a government troop due to landmine explosion. Said personnel was immediately picked-up by helicopter of Philippine Air Force and evacuated to Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro for medical attention. He is currently in stable status. The government troops seized an anti-personnel landmine, ammunitions, detonating wires, assorted medicine and personal belongings of the CNTs during this encounter.


Ltc Franklin F Fabic, Commanding Officer of 88IB said, “It is with sadness that another Filipino who was deceived by misleading ideals of the communist terrorist died in one of the encounters. We extend our deepest sympathies to the bereaved family. I encourage the remaining NPA members to surrender now and be with your families while you still have the chance.”

“The commitment and sacrifices of the Maringal Troopers in performing their duty of securing communities from the communist terrorists is greatly appreciated. The information provided by the locals to the government troops led to these engagements. These manifest the strong support of local communities to the efforts of the government in ending the local communist armed conflict in the area.” He 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: kalinawnews@cmoregiment.com]

https://www.kalinawnews.com/1-npa-dead-1-army-wounded-after-series-of-clashes-in-south-bukidnon/

Kalinaw News: Project Millenial Ph, Army and PNP distribute food packs and hygiene sanitations to IPs

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 14, 2020): Project Millenial Ph, Army and PNP distribute food packs and hygiene sanitations to IPs

BALER, Aurora-Project Millenial PH, Philippine Army and PNP delivered food packs and hygiene sanitations to 150 households of Indigenous People’s residents of Sitio Dupinga, Barangay Ligaya, and Sitio Pag-asa, Barangay Malinao, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija on Sunday (October 11, 2020).

LTC REANDREW P RUBIO, (GSC) PA, Commanding Officer of 91st Infantry “Sinagtala” Battalion, Philippine Army said that the Alpha Company led by 1LT JUN NIÑO O ESPORA (INF) PA, together with PCPT GUY R PACAMO, Chief of police (COP) of Gabaldon Municipal Station and Project Millennials PH Hedead by Logistics and Communication Director Ms. Marahia June Inna Santos conducted the distribution in the said villages under their area of responsibility (AOR).

Transportation vehicles from the 91st IB were used in the distribution of relief goods to the residents of said places.

LTC RUBIO said that the Sinagtala troopers has been assisting in the distribution to the families affected by the month-long community quarantine in their AOR.

Meanwhile, Patricia Pineda Santos, chief executive officer/Founding Member Project Millennials PH extended her sincerest thanks to all donors, partners, 91st IB, and volunteers who continually help them to make sure that no one gets left behind.

“We would also like to thank our military partner (military name, personnel, etc.) and the barangay officials for assisting us from the start of the mission till the end,” Santos 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: kalinawnews@cmoregiment.com]

https://www.kalinawnews.com/project-millenial-ph-army-and-pnp-distribute-food-packs-and-hygiene-sanitations-to-ips/

Kalinaw News: Army deploys community support teams in San Luis, Aurora

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 14, 2020): Army deploys community support teams in San Luis, Aurora

BALER, Aurora-Five Community Support Program (CSP) teams under the Army’s Community Support Program have been deployed in the different barangays in the town of San Luis, Aurora on Monday (October 12, 2020)

A send-off ceremony for the CSP teams of the Army’s 91st Infantry (Sinagtala) Battalion, 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division held at the Municipal Hall of San Luis, Aurora, signaled the start of the deployment of teams.

The ceremony was led by LTC REANDREW P RUBIO INF (GSC) PA, Commanding Officer of 91st IB, San Luis town Mayor Ariel de Jesus together with 1LT CANDIDATO S PADUMAN (INF) PA CMO Officer 91IB and 1LT CARLO OMAYON (SC) PA, Charlie Company Commander.

The five (5) CSP team is set to be deployed to five barangays of Diteki, El Pimentel, Ditumabo, Dikapinisan and Dimanayat.

It was also attended by PNP, BFP, Sangguniang Bayan Members, Barangay Officials and Barangay Captains of five barangays, Municipal Officials and employees.

The deployment of the CSP teams is in line with the Development Support and Security Plan “Kapayapaan” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to conduct development support operations; sustain peace efforts; ensure security; and help maintain public order to foster the foundation for economic and human development.

“The deployment of CSP teams to five (5) Brgys in San Luis, Aurora will basically contribute to peace and development efforts in the area. Said teams will also act as the bridge between the government and the community in identifying different issues and facilitate the resolution of same in collaboration and partnership with LGU and National Government Agencies. The deployment of CSP teams will somehow affects the recovery and logistical works of the NPAs in the area,” LTC RUBIO said.

CSP aims to help the local government in addressing the peace and security concerns of the communities and to deliver basic government services especially in the far flung and conflict-affected areas. It also aims to bring the government closer to the people.



[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: kalinawnews@cmoregiment.com]

https://www.kalinawnews.com/army-deploys-community-support-teams-in-san-luis-aurora/

AFP chief contradicts Lorenzana: South China Sea 'becoming more tense'

From Rappler (Oct 13, 2020): AFP chief contradicts Lorenzana: South China Sea 'becoming more tense' (By RAMBO TALABONG)



Philippine military chief General Gilbert Gapay says the West Philippine Sea remains a 'potential flash point' given the rising tensions in the region

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Gilbert Gapay said that the South China Sea situation "remains volatile and uncertain" – quite different from the picture painted by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana just the day before.

"The situation in South China Sea remains volatile and uncertain. We have seen aggressive actions in the part of China in reclaiming the area and deploying warships there and coast guards are very visible in the area as their maritime militias there," Gapay said at a Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) forum on Tuesday, October 13.

Gapay, who was responding to questions on the volatility of the situation in the South China Sea, added that the situation "becomes more tense" because China is conducting more operations, and even recently launched a missile in the area. The United States, meanwhile, continues with its patrols to maintain freedom of navigation and trade in the area.

"We still need to prevent hostile actions to start in the West Philippine Sea because it really is a potential flash point in this part of the globe," Gapay said.

What did Lorenzana say?

Lorenzana said at a budget hearing on Monday, October 12, that the situation in the South China Sea was "stable" and "manageable."

Lorenzana made the statement when senators asked him to describe the biggest national security threats to the country.

The defense chief said that instead of China, the Philippines' biggest threats are communist rebels and terrorists.

"We can focus more our attention on our internal threats," Lorenzana said, despite the military and the police already claiming that they have decimated the forces of both threats.

https://www.rappler.com/nation/afp-chief-contradicts-lorenzana-south-china-sea-more-tense

AFP chief Gapay 'open' to Duterte gov't post after retirement

From Rappler (Oct 13, 2020): AFP chief Gapay 'open' to Duterte gov't post after retirement (By RAMBO TALABONG)



'Helping the country does not stop in a career in the military,' says Philippine military chief General Gilbert Gapay, who will retire in February 2021

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Gilbert Gapay said he is open to another government position after he retires in February 2021.

Gapay made the statement in a forum organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) on Tuesday, October 13, when asked on his stand on retired generals accepting government appointments despite their lack of expertise, and if he would accept an offer if one is made.

"I am open to accepting another post. Helping the country does not stop in a career in the military," Gapay said.

The military chief then jested that if the Duterte government was already considering him, he would request a 3-month rest before he goes back to work.

Prior to becoming the AFP chief, Gapay was the commanding general of the Philippine Army. He is set to retire on or before February 4, 2021, when he hits the mandatory age of retirement of 56.

President Rodrigo Duterte has been appointing retired military and police generals to government posts. He has been criticized for appointments in government agencies tor for positions that the retired military or police officials have no expertise in.

https://www.rappler.com/nation/afp-chief-gapay-open-duterte-government-post-after-retirement

Navy to deploy over 200 militiamen to West Philippine Sea

From Rappler (Oct 13, 2020): Navy to deploy over 200 militiamen to West Philippine Sea (By RAMBO TALABONG)



'This is response to the Chinese, to their maritime militia in the West Philippine Sea,' says Navy chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo

The Philippine Navy is preparing to send over 200 militiamen to the West Philippine Sea to execute patrols and protect fishermen who have long been harassed by encroaching Chinese forces.

In a phone interview with Rappler on Tuesday, October 13, Navy chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said they are set to deploy two Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) companies – around 120 men each – to the West Philippine Sea.

One company will be assigned with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Command, which watches over the Kalayaan Island Group, and another company to the AFP Northern Command, which secures Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

"The purpose of this is response to the Chinese, to their maritime militia in the West Philippine Sea," Bacordo said.

Filipino fishermen have been victim to harassment of Chinese naval and militia forces for years. Still, the Duterte administration has chosen to largely resort to diplomatic protests when these harassment claims surface.

The harassment came to a head in June 9, 2019, when a Chinese trawler rammed a Filipino fishing vessel then abandoned its 22 crew members to float in cold water, sparking a controversy over the alliance built by President Rodrigo Duterte with the Asian superpower.

The militia forces' deployment date has not been set, as they will first undergo training care of the Navy.

How do the maritime militias work?

The Navy militias were plucked from the militia of the Philippine Army from the same regional commands.

After their training, Bacordo said they will board motor boats and will be armed with rifles before being deployed.

Aside from protecting fishermen, the militia will be tasked to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations to obtain useful information for the Philippine military.

Their deployment to protect fishermen will also allow the Philippine Navy to focus its efforts on protecting the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Bacordo admitted 240 is still a small number, but he said the effort may be expanded in the future if the AFP deems it effective.

The Navy is also aiming to deploy one company each for the 6 regional commands of the AFP, but they are prioritizing the commands watching over the West Philippine Sea.

On Tuesday, AFP chief General Gilbert Gapay warned the area was "becoming more tense" and that it had become a "potential flash point" in the region.

https://www.rappler.com/nation/philippine-navy-deploy-militiamen-west-philippine-sea