Sunday, November 15, 2020

CPP/NDF-KM: Duterte must answer for all the victims of his apathy and inaction

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Nov 14, 2020): Duterte must answer for all the victims of his apathy and inaction


NOVEMBER 14, 2020

Duterte and his minions will never be able to wash the blood off their hands—not even with floods from a thousand storms.

The Filipino people last night witnessed a tragedy as traumatic as they get. After bringing utter devastation to several cities in NCR and neighboring areas, typhoon Ulysses left Cagayan Valley and Isabela with floods unlike anything in the past. Pleas for help from residents of those areas crowded social media sites, accompanied by several audio recordings of people screaming for help. Private individuals were compelled to use personal contacts to call for immediate rescue. Citizens from across the country stayed awake all night in hopes of exhausting all means to help in whatever way they can.

The death toll is continuously rising as more people are being reported missing in places most affected by mudslides and severe flooding. At the same time, people are grieving over all their destroyed livelihoods — farms are unrecognizable, vendors’ products are consumed by floods, animals are drowned. Up until now, thousands are yet to be rescued.

In spite of all the chaos, neither Duterte nor any of his lapdogs are anywhere to be seen or heard, much less felt.

The Filipino masses are fuming. The lives of hundreds upon thousands of people were put in peril but their national government seemed to not be bothered at all. In fact, a day previous, Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque took to the press to insult the masses by saying that the calls to make Duterte accountable were merely plotted by the political opposition; and that the aftermath of typhoon Ulysses actually is “not so bad” considering less casualties were reported.

This is the scripted narrative heard from all of Duterte’s fascist gofers. Whenever the story of false resilience does not prove effective, victim-blaming is their go-to — all in vain effort to take the attention and blame away from the administration’s own lack of response.

The people know that this is not an isolated case for the Duterte regime. Particularly, this is the same regime that has been killing the people since 2016, and has now totally abandoned them amid the coronavirus pandemic for eight months and counting.

As much as coronarivus and the recent onslaught of typhoons have proved themselves to be brutal, ruthless, and deadly, the Duterte regime’s negligence and apathy is worse.

The administration should be made accountable for all their crimes that lead to this catastrophic event for the people. Immediately, the people must demand that the budget for the AFP and PNP’s sham modernization program be funneled to calamity response. For instance, military personnel were reportedly saying around 1AM today that aerial rescue operations should be put off until daybreak because night flying was “too dangerous” for civilian aircraft. It was very evident to the masses how the new boats and helicopters purchased for the military’s counter-insurgency — that costs billions —were nowhere to be seen.

The administration must also scrap the budget for NTF-ELCAC — a “task force” that does nothing but spread fake news even during a calamity. While thousand were still facing the typhoon and the very real threat of death, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lorraine Badoy was red-tagging media outlet CNN for merely sharing a donation drive being hosted by the League of Filipino Students — a legal organization that Badoy incessantly accuses of being a part of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

The youth and masses must decisively demand justice for all the victims of the regime’s criminal negligence. The longest pandemic lockdown that the world has seen thus far, as well as the record-breaking typhoons that has battered the country in the past three weeks, only intensifies the need to oust the Duterte fascist regime immediately. The people cannot take a minute longer of being under a regime that apparently has the energy, funds, and capability to wage a war against its own people, but seems to fall dead every time the masses need it the most.

Sabah’s dusk-to-dawn sea curfew extended till Dec 1

Posted to The Star (Nov 15, 2020): Sabah’s dusk-to-dawn sea curfew extended till Dec 1

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s dusk-to-dawn sea curfew, which ends on Sunday (Nov 15), has been extended for another two weeks until Dec 1.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali said the extension of the 6pm to 6am curfew was needed due to continuous threats from cross-border criminals, including from kidnap-for-ransom groups.

The curfew covers areas up to three nautical miles off Tawau, Semporna, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Sandakan and Beluran.

"There is a need to continue the curfew in these waters to prevent the encroachment of terrorists and criminals who can threaten the safety of locals, international researchers and tourists on islands," he said in a statement.

Hazani said according to intelligence sources, kidnap-for-ransom groups and Abu Sayyaf militants are still trying to attack and commit cross-border crimes.

“We also want to ensure the safety of the people of Sabah who use the waters and are staying near the Esszone (Eastern Sabah Security Zone), ” he said.

He added that the curfew was to facilitate enforcement and monitoring of boat activities in the area as well as establish a sense of security with nearby chalet owners and fishermen through the presence of a security team.

"I have also given the authority to all district police chiefs to issue permits to any eligible applicants who fit the criteria to conduct fishery activities in the areas affected by the curfew." Hazani said.

The curfew was first implemented on July 19,2014, following a spate of kidnappings which saw the beheading of Sarawakian Bernard Then Ted Fed and the killing of several others, including a policeman and tourists.

Former EU diplomat heads Bangsamoro peace process monitoring body

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 15, 2020): Former EU diplomat heads Bangsamoro peace process monitoring body (By: Taher G. Solaiman)

A German economist who has retired from the diplomatic service of the European Union (EU) is the new head of the Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) of the Bangsamoro peace process.

Heino Marius takes over from former EU Ambassador to the Philippines Alistair MacDonald who passed away last year.

Marius’ designation as TPMT chair was confirmed by the peace implementing panels of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The TPMT was organized by the parties in 2013 to oversee the implementation of the peace deal, beginning with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2012 and its related Annexes that was compiled into the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2014.

It issues an annual public report on the progress of the implementation of the peace agreement.

The EU is traditionally expected to provide a person who will serve as chair of the five-member body. The government and the MILF each nominate two members to the TPMT.

The other TPMT members are Karen Tañada of the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute, Rahib Kudto of the United Youth for Peace and Development, Huseyin Oruc of the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, and Sam Chittick of The Asia Foundation.

Armed with graduate and postgraduate degrees in Economics, Marius started his career with the International Labor Organization in Indonesia.

He joined the European Commission in 1993, serving in EU delegations in Ethiopia and India, then handled external relations work in Afghanistan, Pakistan and South East Asia.

Sema new MNLF chairman

From The Manila Times (Nov 15, 2020): Sema new MNLF chairman (By Asangan T. Madale)

COTABATO CITY: Members of the Moro National Liberation Front Central Committee (MNLF-CC) have unanimously voted for former city mayor of Cotabato, Datu Muslimin Sema, for the second time as chairman of the front, replacing former Sulu governor and representative Yusop Jikiri, who died at the age of 66, officials confirmed.Datu Muslimin Sema, 

Other MNLF officials elected by the Central Committee during the meeting held at Maseer Hotel on November 11 are Datu Ali Montaha DH Babao, chairman of the MNLF Bangsamoro People’s National Congress; Tong Jikiri, vice chairman for military affairs, replacing MP Punduma Sani; Minister Romeo Sema, retained as vice chairman for political affairs; Hatmil Hassan, vice chairman for foreign affairs; PM Punduma Sani, vice chairman for internal affairs; Uttoh Salem Cutan, deputy secretary general for Political Affairs; and Jubair Macaumbos, deputy chief, National Intelligence bureau.

According to Judge Casan Ali Limbona Sr., a member of MNLF, Datu Muslimin Sema, who was the chairman of a faction of the MNLF since 2008, stepped down as chairman to adhere to the collective leadership of the Central Committee and “to reiterate to the whole that no one man shall forever rule the MNLF and the Bangsamoro.”


During the 2013 hostage crisis in Zamboanga City, an MNLF faction, led by Muslim Sema, condemned the violence and refused to participate. Because of the attack, the MNLF Central Committee allegedly ousted Misuari in absentia on Feb. 10, 2014, a move supported by the Organization of Islamic Conference, the Moro National Liberation Front official said.

The MNLF is an Islamic separatist organization, based in the Southern Philippines that seeks autonomy for Filipino Muslims, called Moros. The MNLF was established in 1972, and it led the Moro Separatist Movement until the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the MNLF and the Philippine Government. Since 1996, the MNLF has been surpassed in strength and influence by its rival group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which began its own peace talks with the Philippine government.

Nowadays, the MNLF consists of many factions, some of which support current negotiations between the Philippine government until, finally, Republic Act 11054 or the “Bangsamoro Organic Law” was implemented, creating the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, an MNLF official said.

Bangsamoro chief minister backs extending transition by 3 years

From Rappler (Nov 15, 2020): Bangsamoro chief minister backs extending transition by 3 years (By TAJ BASMAN)

'You can't do it overnight,' says Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim echoed the recommendation of the Mindanao People’s Caucus to extend the Bangsamoro transition period by 3 years – until 2025, from the original 2022.

The BARMM, created after the Bangsamoro Organic Law was ratified in January 2019, is currently in a transition period. During this transition period, the interim Bangsamoro government is expected to set up the bureaucracy of the region, along with priority laws such as revenue, electoral, civil service, and education codes.

In veteran journalist Christian Esguerra’s Facts First podcast, Ebrahim explained that because the BARMM government is a new entity, “we have to strengthen the government in order that we can really deliver.”

“This needs time in order to do it, you can’t do it overnight,” Ebrahim said in the Facts First episode uploaded on Thursday, November 12.

The BARMM chief minister added, “Turning the homeland which has been devastated for decades, introducing progress and development, is challenging and it needs to be explained to our people.”

Ebrahim also said moral governance, being the banner advocacy of the interim government, needs qualified people in the bureaucracy to achieve a “higher level of good governance.”

Alan Balangi-Amer of 1BANGSA also supports the need for the extension of the transition period of the region. He said transition periods in other countries exceed 3 years, and the interim regional government has been deprived of the chance to implement projects because of the pandemic.

If the transition’s extension will not be granted, the Bangsamoro region will hold its first regular elections in 2022, which will include the election of its new members of parliament.

A product of decades-long peace talks between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Bangsamoro region is a bigger and a more autonomous version of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Army, police operatives nab MB member in AgNor

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 14, 2020): Army, police operatives nab MB member in AgNor (By 23rd Infantry Battalion) 

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte, Nov. 14 -- Joint forces of the 23rd Infantry “Masigasig” Battalion (23rd IB) and the Butuan City Police Office (BCPO) from Stations 1 and 5 arrested an active member of the Militia ng Bayan (MB) and Sanga sa Partio sa Lokalidad (SPL) under the Guerrilla Front (GF) 4-A, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) of the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) Terrorist (CNT) during a law enforcement operation conducted on November 1, 2020, at Purok 22, Bagong Silang, Barangay San Mateo in Butuan City.

The apprehended CNT member was identified as Eduardo Namaog Bagsican @LOLONG, 55, and a resident in the area.

The police personnel and the 23rd IB troopers were in the area for the service of an arrest warrant issued against the subject CNT member. Bagsican is wanted for the crime of Attempted Murder docketed as Criminal Case No 2020-985 at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 3 in Butuan City. His arrest warrant was issued by Judge Marigel S. Dagani-Hugo with a recommended bail bond of PHP150,000.00. After the arrest, authorities brought the CNT member to BCPO station 5 for custody and proper disposition.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the Acting Commander of 23rd IB commended the Army and police personnel involved in the arrest of Bagsican.

“No one is above the law,” Paulo said, referring to the remaining members and supporters of the CNTs in Butuan City and Agusan del Norte.

He pointed out that the government will not stop in performing law enforcement operations against CNT members who have standing warrants of arrest and the implementation of the programs and services under Executive Order No. 70, or the Whole-of-Nation approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC).

“We will do our best to neutralize all the spoilers of peace and those who destroy our country. It is always the aim of the government to make this country constantly soaring high to achieve lasting peace and sustainable development,” Paulo said.

He also urged the remaining members of GF 4-A of the CNT to surrender as the government continue to offer them programs and services.

“Stop exploiting, manipulating, harassing and extorting from the people, especially those in the countryside. You are only making the lives of our people miserable and their communities impoverished,” Paulo said.

He also reminded the CNT members that criminal charges will be filed against them once they continue to harass and intimidate residents. (1Lt. Roel T. Maglalang, CMO Officer, 23IB PA/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

BARMM engages young Muslims to strengthen peace, dev't

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 15, 2020): BARMM engages young Muslims to strengthen peace, dev't (By Bureau of Public Information - BARMM)

MARAWI CITY, Nov. 15 —To increase the meaningful participation of the youth in promoting peace and development, the Bangsamoro Youth Commission (BYC) held a two-day Bangsamoro Young Ulama Conference (YUC) on November 12 to 13 in Cotabato City.

The ulama or Muslim scholars from Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Cotabato City attended the program at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex.

BYC chairperson Marjanie Macasalong said the conference is anchored at Bangsamoro Youth Transition Priority Agenda (BYTPA) 2020-2022's three priority areas of peacebuilding and security, governance, and active citizenship.

Macasalong, who is also a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament, said the conference will equip the participants to become active partners in the quest for moral governance of the Bangsamoro Government.

"Our main goal for this conference is to engage young Islamic scholars—not just in our work to equip and empower the youth, but in our pursuit of the moral governance agenda," Macasalong said.

In a video message, Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim expressed his gratitude to the young scholars who continued to support and make sacrifices for the Islam religion.

"Kayo, bilang mga bagong Ma’aalam sa ating relihiyon, ang isa mga sektor na inaasahan naming makakatulong sa pagkakabuklod buklod ng Bangsamoro ayon na rin sa katuruan ng Sunnah at ng Qur'an," Ebrahim said.

Bangsamoro Mufti Abu Hurarira Udasan, who is also the executive director of the Bangsamoro Regional Darul Ifta, said the youth as constituents of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) “can contribute greatly to building the Moral Governance by embodying the teachings of Islam as Muslim scholars in their respective places.”

Several scholars also discussed various topics, including Sheikh Abdulhadie Gumander, Dr. Nadheer Ebil, and Sheikh Badiuzzaman Saliao.

Meanwhile, BTA Parliament Majority Floor Leader Lanang Ali, Jr. and Member of Parliament Naguib Sinarimbo also delivered updates on the efforts of the BARMM and BTA.

Members of BTA Parliament Abdulwahab Pak, Ibrahim Ali, and representative of Ahmad Gayak delivered their messages during the event.

Bangsamoro Wali Khalipha Usman Nando called for unity amongst scholars to further strengthen its support to the Bangsamoro Government.

The YUC was organized by the BYC in partnership with the Hay-Atol Ulama El Muslimina Bil-Filibbin, Inc. and the Union of Muslim Youth Organizations (UMYO).

Nasserudin Dunding, chair of BYC's programs and operations, said the first cluster of this series of the conference was held in Marawi City for the Muslim scholars from Marawi City and Lanao del Sur on July 23.

A similar conference for young Islamic scholars from Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi is slated in the first quarter of 2021. (BPI/PIA-ICIC)

14 towns in Lanao del Sur unite to condemn terrorists

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 15, 2020): 14 towns in Lanao del Sur unite to condemn terrorists (By Christine Lyn G. Viajante)

MARAWI CITY, Nov. 15 (PIA) - To strengthen the government's grip on sustaining peace, order, and safety in Lanao del Sur, 14 local government units (LGU) in the province's second district conducted a 'Peace Rally' to express their commitment and dedication in maintaining security and welcoming progress in their respective localities.

Municipal leaders, together with influential personalities in their towns, simultaneously burned flags to show their condemnation of the atrocities brought by different local terrorist groups (LTG) and communist terrorist groups (CTG).

All under the watchful eye of the 55th Infantry 'Vigilant' Battalion (55IB), Lt.Col. Franco Alano established a rapport with the communities to yield rebels who are at its breaking point in leaving their terrorist group.

Alias Abu Sufian, a 29-year-old former Dawla Islamiyah - ISIS inspired Maute terrorist group member who battled in the 2017 Marawi siege, narrated his experiences and regrets when he was within the clutch of the rebel group.

"Pinagsisihan ko ay yung madamay ang mga sibilyan sa away ng aming grupo kontra gobyerno. Kaya lumabas ako, iniintindi ko yung pamilya ko, mga anak ko na hindi na naging masaya sa buhay namin sa bukid," Abu Sufian confessed.

[I regret seeing civilians getting hurt in our fight against the government troops. That's why I went out of the group, I thought about my family, my kids that were not happy in our life as rebels hiding in the mountains.]

Lt.Col. Franco Alano, commanding officer of the 55IB signs declaration of persona non grata to LTG and CTG.

Meanwhile, the 103rd Infantry 'Haribon' Brigade (103IBde), carried out their obligations to end insurgency and maintain an environment conducive for economic growth in the whole province as its implementing unit.

"Sa pamamagitan ng partisipasyon ng ating mga local government units, tayo ay umaasa na lalong mas mapabilis pa ang pagtatapos ng ating suliraning pangakapayapaan," said deputy brigade commander Col. Noli Anquillano.

[With our local government units participation, we hope that we could fastrack ending our peace problem.]

He reiterated the core goal of Executive Order No. 70 or the whole-of-nation approach which is the participation of each Filipino citizen is essential in achieving sustainable peace in the area.

"A convergence of effort from all the government agencies, non-government organizations, and civilians will be needed to attain the said goal," he added.

However, the government troops wanted assurance from participating local chief executives on their commitment to manifesting the same aim.

"Hindi dito nagtatapos, let us walk the talk. Ipakita natin na ang mga sinasabi natin sa mga meeting, sa mga conferences ay kaya nating gawin at e-actualize. Kailangan after ng activity na ito, ang ating mga participants should take action in accordance to EO70, EO25, and the Anti-terrorism Law," Anquillano said.

[This is not the end, let us walk the talk. Let's show that we could really actualize what we committed during our meetings and conferences. After this activity, our participants should promptly take action in accordance to EO70, EO25, and the Anti-terrorism Law.]

Being the host municipality, Madalum town vice mayor Sultan Usman Saranggani Sr. conveyed their faithfulness on behalf of all the participating LGUs.

"We've passed a resolution declaring terrorist groups as persona non grata. The municipal officials are in constant coordination with the military and the police so that insurgency will not get a hold in our areas. We commit to reporting to the authorities if there are any unusual individuals that impose a threat to our communities," Saranggani shared (CLGV/PIA-ICIC)

Mangompia Brigade welcomes new commander

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 14, 2020): Mangompia Brigade welcomes new commander (By Apipa P. Bagumbaran)

ILIGAN CITY, Nov. 14 (PIA) - The 55th Engineer (Mangompia) Brigade of the Philippine Army (PA) welcomed Col. Irineo F. Sebastian as its new acting commander in a change of command ceremony held Friday, November 13, at the Mangompia Brigade headquarters in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte.

Lieutenant General Cirilito E. Sobejana, commanding general of the PA, presided the turnover of leadership between Sebastian and Brigadier General Nestor I. Abando, who is retiring.


Irineo F. Sebastian signs his assumption order as the acting commander of the 55th Engineer Brigade, Philippine Army. 

During his remarks, Sobejana told Sebastian to strike a balance between mission accomplishments and looking after the troops' morale and welfare.

He further reminded him to practice good governance which he considered as the hallmark of a world-class army and the source of national pride.

The Army commanding general also urged all officers, enlisted personnel, and civilian employees of the Mangompia Brigade to support their new acting commander and continue to fulfill their duties.

He said the unit plays a critical role as the development arm of the PA in Northern Mindanao especially in rehabilitating Marawi City and its neighboring communities.

"The 55th Engineer Brigade has remained a reliable builder for 22 years, there may be some distractions because once upon a time, the unit was deactivated. But because of the compelling need for them to be reactivated, especially for the expeditious rehabilitation of the city of Marawi, the unit was reactivated," he further said.

Lieutenant General Cirilito E. Sobejana, commanding general of the Philippine Army hands over to Brigadier General Nestor I. Abando his Command Plaque during the 55th Engineer Brigade change of command and BGen. Abando's retirement ceremony. 

In his acceptance message, Sebastian said he is not a stranger to the affairs and challenges faced by the 55th Engineer Brigade as he served as the deputy brigade commander of the unit for one year and eight months.

He expressed confidence that under his leadership the Army engineers can face the challenges in supporting the Army's combat units and contribute to the development of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom).

"Let us always be prepared and continue to serve our countrymen by supporting the recovery and rehabilitation of Marawi City and its adjoining communities and municipalities, the very reason why the 55th Engineer Brigade was reactivated in December 2018," he said.

Meanwhile, Sobejana commended Abando for his notable accomplishments as brigade commander.

"The Mangompia brigade has completed 27 development projects and provided engineer support operations to Wesmincom campaign plan Kasanyagan. During the pandemic, it has ably assisted the local governments of Iligan, Marawi, and other parts of the Lanao provinces on their Covid-19 response operations. Its CMO-related activities benefited 200,000 Mindanaons," he said.

Outgoing 55th Engineer Brigade commander Brigadier General Nestor I. Abando takes his oath as a new member of the Reserve Force.

In his valedictory address, Abando thanked his parents, siblings, family, as well as the officers, enlisted personnel, and civilian employees that he has worked with, and all the partners of the 55th Engineer Brigade. "Isa kayo sa malaking bahagi ng aking tagumpay," he remarked.

After receiving his command plaque, Abando also took his oath as a new member of the Reserve Force. (APB/PIA-ICIC)

Recruited at 17, surrenderer tells woes within NPA

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 15, 2020): Recruited at 17, surrenderer tells woes within NPA (By Alexander Lopez)

LURED, DECEIVED. Nineteen-year-old Leilan (not her real name) was recruited by the communist New People's Army at the age of 17 but surrendered on Nov. 9, 2020 after two years inside the rebel movement. She got impregnated by her own squad leader, she says, and experienced hardships inside the movement. (Photo courtesy of 29IB)

Hatred, lies, and failed promises.

A young female combatant of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) said these were the things she encountered during her two "grueling" years within the communist rebel movement, forcing her to yield to government forces on Nov. 9 this year.

Leilan (not her real name) said she was 17 when lured by NPA recruiters into the movement, enticed by the promise she would be sent to school for free, as well as financial support for her family.

Unlike the other cases of surrenders involving NPA rebels, her case was unusual in many ways.

First, police and military authorities had to travel some 500 kilometers to fetch her and her child from North Cotabato to bring her to Surigao City, her hometown.

Her "extraction" also required some degree of secrecy and careful planning because the NPA leadership hid her at a secure location, on orders of her squad leader who impregnated her.

“The promises of a good life, free education will really entice you to join the movement. After agreeing to join them, I, together with other young recruits, was radicalized through indoctrination and teach-ins on their ideology, propaganda, and hatred to the government,” the Army's 29th Infantry Battalion (29IB) quoted Leilan as saying.

Before joining the NPA full-time, Leilan narrated that she was first asked to join the underground mass organization in her hometown, participate in protest rallies, and other activities of left-leaning groups that have known ties with the communist rebel movement.

“I also served as a courier of the armed group before formally taken in as a regular NPA member,” she said.

She was then assigned to the Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda 16B (SYP16B) of Guerrilla Front (GF) 16, under the NPA's Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).

After several months inside the movement, Leilan said she slowly realized that the promises made to her by the leaders were false.

“There was no support to the family, no education. That’s my realization inside the NPA movement. The movement only gave me daily miseries, hardships, and fear,” she said.

She said she was worried about what the leaders would do to her if she asked to leave the movement. Adding to the fear was her mounting concern that she would die if their poorly-equipped unit would clash with government forces.

Several times, Leilan said she would ask if she could take some time off but was immediately refused. Her break, she said, came when she got impregnated by her squad leader, who ordered that she be hidden somewhere in North Cotabato until she gives birth.

Leilan said she arrived in North Cotabato in December last year and gave birth there in August this year.

“The situation of Leilan was relayed by her parents to the members of our Community Support Program (CSP) Team assigned in Quezon, Surigao City. It’s a good thing that Leilan maintained contact with her parents here in Surigao,” 1Lt. Edmar C. Colagong, 29IB civil-military operations officer, told the Philippine News Agency Saturday.

Leilan was first apprehensive about connecting with the Army as NPA leaders told her that soldiers would kill her if she got caught.

“The CSP team and her parents finally convinced her to surrender after days of negotiations,” Colagong said. “For security reasons, we have to conceal the exact barangay and town where we fetched Leilan for her surrender."

Lt. Col. Isagani O. Criste, 29IB commander, praised Leilan for her courage.

“Leilan is a living example of the human rights violations committed by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the NPA, and their political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF),” Criste said.

There was no question that the NPA deceived Leilan, who was still a minor when she was recruited, Criste said, adding that her "dream of attaining education went for naught through lies by the CPP-NPA leadership."

Another top military official in the area, Col. George L. Banzon, commander of the Army's 901st Infantry Brigade, called on Surigao del Norte residents to help the government shield the youth from the recruitment of the NPA.

“The communist terrorist group (CTG) are opportunists who capitalize on the vulnerabilities of our youth, and the case Leilan was a classic example of this. By luring her to join the violent armed struggle, the CTG deprived her of the opportunity to have a better future,” Banson said.

Military officials said Leilan is now being enrolled to avail the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) for her to attain opportunities that she was denied while fighting for the NPA.

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

7 rescued, war materiel seized from rebel's house

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 15, 2020): 7 rescued, war materiel seized from rebel's house (By Sarwell Meniano)

SEIZED. Some of the war materiel recovered by government troops from the house of a suspected New People's Army fighter in an upland village in Carigara, Leyte. Soldiers also rescued five minor-aged children of the couple during the raid on Friday (Nov. 13, 2020). (Philippine Army photo)

Some seven children of a suspected rebel, including five minors, were rescued, while war materiel were recovered when Army soldiers raided their house near a New People’s Army (NPA) lair in an upland village of Carigara, Leyte on Friday.

The Philippine Army reported late Saturday night that
the children were those of suspected NPA member Edencio and his wife Nora Dionaldo. One of the children, a 14-year-old girl, is suffering from meningitis.

The children reportedly welcomed the government troops into their house while their parents were not around.

Army's 802nd Infantry Brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Zosimo Oliveros, said
the pursuit against suspected NPA fighters who recently abandoned a nearby lair led government troops to the house of the Dionaldo family.

“The soldiers saw in plain view the revolutionary books, sphygmomanometer and binocular. A closer examination of the house exposed the weapons and explosives in a corner,” Oliveros said in a statement.

Soldiers recovered from the house a .38-caliber revolver, an improvised shotgun with six rounds of live ammunition, a fragmentation hand grenade, two pieces of long magazine for M16 rifle, 16 rounds of caliber 7.62mm ammunition, five rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, 50 meters of black electrical flat cord used as detonation wire, an improvised dry cell-powered detonator, binocular, sphygmomanometer, four textbooks on revolutionary underground mass movement and bomb-making manual, and identification card of Kabataan party-list group.

Nora arrived at their house late Friday while soldiers were preserving the evidence and waiting for the arrival of the police tasked to investigate the incident.

The Carigara municipal police station took custody of the war materiel, and arrested the mother and 21-year-old son, Ernie on Saturday noon. The eldest son was inside the house when soldiers discovered the materiel.

The police will file on Monday charges of illegal possession of firearms, ammunition, and explosives against the couple and their son, Ernie.

Lt. Col. Robert Beatisula, commander of the 93rd Infantry Battalion, turned over the rescued children to Municipal Administrator, lawyer Wenceslao Narido, and the local social welfare and development office, except one, who was left behind to tend to their animals.

The minors were later on left in the custody of their uncle.

Meanwhile, before dawn on Saturday, two groups of mostly young men appeared near Diolano’s house, prompting soldiers to hold them overnight for verification and interview.

The 11 men turned out to be related to a family in Libo village in Carigara town linked to the communist terrorist group.

“Some of them admitted that they were misled to support Anakpawis party-list in the 2019 national and local elections,” Oliveros said.

The military turned them over to the local government on the same day. The village chiefs of Canlampay, Libo and Upper Hiraan received the men.

"Once again, this incident proves the evil practice of the NPA of destroying families as in the case of the Dionaldo children who bore witness to the illegal practices of their father including the bomb-making instruction. Edencio Dionaldo alias Bernie Bates abandoned her 10 children, prompting three of them to work for a living. He stored weapons and explosives in the house without regard to the young kids’ safety," Oliveros said.

He challenged local officials who “seemed to be playing deaf” to the illegal activities of the NPA in their areas to be more active in countering communist terrorism in their locality.

The NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization in the United States, the European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

PH thanks Australia for supporting 2016 arbitral ruling

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 15, 2020): PH thanks Australia for supporting 2016 arbitral ruling (By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora)

PH-AUSTRALIA. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte together with other leaders from Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries are shown on-screen with Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison as the plenary meeting with Australia is livestreamed by this year's host country, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Duterte, who attended the virtual Asean summit at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on November 14, 2020, is accompanied by some members of his Cabinet. (Presidential photo by King Rodriguez)

President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday thanked the Australian government for its "consistent support" for the 2016 arbitral ruling, which invalidated China's vast claims in the South China Sea.

Duterte said this during his intervention speech at the 2nd Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean)-Australia Biennial Summit, where he underscored the strategic importance of maintaining peace, security, and stability in the disputed waters.

"Maintaining peace, security, and stability in the South China Sea is a shared strategic objective. We can do this only if -- together -- we uphold the primacy of law over brute force," he said.

"Prime Minister (Scott) Morrison, thank you for Australia’s consistent support for 2016 Arbitral Ruling on the South China Sea," he added.

He likewise thanked the Australian prime minister for his "kind words" following his previous speech at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), where he brought for the first time the issue of the West Philippine Sea years after the release of the arbitral award.

"Your Government’s formal manifestation before the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf reinforces our efforts to counter claims and assertive actions [that] contradict international law, particularly UNCLOS," he told Morrison.

Duterte said the Australian government’s formal manifestations “are of utmost significance to the integrity of the Convention and the procedures it has established.”

“The growing chorus of nations affirming and defending what is right strengthens the legal order over our seas and oceans," he added.

At the 75th Session of the UNGA last September, Duterte said the 2016 landmark decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration is "now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond reach of passing government to dilute, diminish or abandon."

The chief executive said the Philippines "firmly reject" attempts to undermine the arbitral ruling.

Long, tough grind for PAF, PN personnel in Cagayan rescue efforts

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 15, 2020): Long, tough grind for PAF, PN personnel in Cagayan rescue efforts (By Priam Nepomuceno)

RESCUE MISSIONS. Philippine Air Force aircraft and personnel prepare for rescue missions in Cagayan Valley in this undated photo. The province was heavily affected by the massive flooding caused by Typhoon Ulysses. (Photo courtesy of PAF)

Philippine Air Force (PAF) personnel and aircraft are working hard to deliver aid and rescue residents of communities in Cagayan Valley that were heavily affected by the massive flooding caused by Typhoon Ulysses.

In a statement Sunday, PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Aristides Galang said Air Force efforts included the deployment of water search-and-rescue (WASAR) teams from the 505th Search and Rescue Group that were transported by two Bell 412 combat utility helicopters from the 207th Tactical Helicopter Squadron to Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Saturday.

The two helicopters also conducted rapid damage assessment and needs analysis (RDANA) and humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) missions over Cagayan Valley.

Galang said the PAF rescue teams and assets established their staging area in the provincial capitol of Cagayan and prioritized rescue efforts in the most affected areas of the province.

He added that a PAF SF-260 aircraft also conducted RDANA over the affected areas.

Two Huey II helicopters also conducted aerial surveys and subsequently performed HADR missions over Amulung, Cagayan while two more UH-1H helicopters focused on rescue efforts in Iguig, Cagayan.

Galang said three C-295 aircraft were also used in transporting more 505th Search and Rescue Group personnel with their equipment as well as rescue personnel from the Philippine Navy (PN) for the sustained conduct of WASAR operations.

Photo courtesy of PAF

Among the equipment transported were seven boxes of rescue gear, three spineboards, two rubber boats fitted with outboard motors, two rope ladders and one portable floodlight generator.

Galang said part of the PAF's latest effort include the deployment of a C-130 cargo which left Villamor Air Base, Pasay City for Tuguegarao City early Sunday morning for the transport of additional WASAR teams and their equipment for the ongoing rescue missions.

"With the leadership of its Commanding General Lt. Gen. Allen T. Paredes, the PAF will continue to perform its mandated task to protect its people by providing prompt and timely response especially in times of calamities and disasters," he added.

PN reserve units join relief ops

As this developed, the PN is also hard at work conducting various rescue operations in different parts of Luzon and Metro Manila for residents and communities affected by "Ulysses".

The PN reservists and assets have been in the frontlines and helping regular Navy units and other government agencies in evacuating and rescuing affected families.

In a statement Sunday, PN public affairs office chief Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas said the PN Reserve Force has been helping in relief efforts since Nov. 12.

"Naval Affiliated Reserve Force (NARF)-NCR (WesPhil) deployed two amphibious trucks with one rescue team of well-trained and capable reservists onboard each truck. The two six-man teams braved the typhoon and immediately headed to several affected areas in Navotas City to respond to the distress call of around 105 stranded individuals. The teams then proceed to heavily flooded Provident Village in Marikina City due to the continuous rising of water level in Marikina River," she added.

NARF-NCR responders also met with another rescue team from the 27th Naval Affiliated Reserve Group (NARG) headed by Chief Petty Officer Peter Negrido (Res), one of the first PN reserve units to respond during the onslaught of Typhoon Rolly in Bicol last week.

Roxas said NARF-NCR and 27th NARG (Rescue Recon 1) joined forces to conduct rescue operations for the victims of Typhoon Ulysses.

She said these deployments are being supervised by the Naval Reserve Command headed by Maj. Gen. Ariel Caculitan in coordination with Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR).

Philippine Navy reservists assist the government relief efforts for victims of Typhoon Ulysses on Nov. 14, 2020 (Saturday). (Courtesy of PN)

In Region 2 (Cagayan Valley), PN reservists from Northern Luzon have joined local government units (LGUs) in Cagayan in the conduct of search-and-rescue operations in the affected communities of widespread flooding in the province.

PN reserve force across Luzon have participated in packing and distribution of relief goods to different communities in Metro Manila and other Luzon provinces.

Meanwhile, Naval Reserve Center-Southern Luzon through the navy reservists from Camarines Sur under 31st Naval Group Reserve (NRG) augmented to inter-agency relief efforts of distributing relief goods to Barangay Sta. Eulalia and Barangay Iyagan, both in Baao, Camarines Sur.

Roxas said relief distribution for Typhoon Ulysses victims was also initiated by 22nd NRG-Team Star in Rodriguez and Montalban, Rizal.

"Said disaster response and relief operations demonstrated the invaluable contributions and selfless service of our reservists as force multipliers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during calamities and other types of human and natural disasters," she added.

Roxas said the Civil Military Operations Group-Philippine Navy (CMOG-PN) and other PN units have begun to deliver relief packs to the evacuees in different parts of Marikina City and nearby areas.

Rescue operations in these areas being augmented by disaster relief and response teams from the PN and its reserve force are still ongoing, she added.

Meanwhile, PN vessels BRP Pangasinan (PS-31), under the operational control of Naval Forces Southern Luzon and BRP Batak (LC-299) from Naval Forces Central transported relief goods and vehicles from Cebu City intended for the victims of recent typhoons that struck the Bicol Region.

"These sustained rescue and relief efforts manifest the preparedness and resolve of our PN and the whole of the Armed Forces to provide prompt humanitarian assistance for our fellow countrymen in need," Roxas said.

Suspected ASG member, cohort killed in Zamboanga Sibugay

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 15, 2020): Suspected ASG member, cohort killed in Zamboanga Sibugay (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

ENCOUNTER. Police operatives kill suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member Jomar Aukasa (right) and his cohort in a police operation in Zamboanga Sibugay on Saturday (Nov. 14, 2020). Aukasa turned violent as the arresting officers tried to serve a warrant of arrest which eventually resulted in an armed encounter. (Photo courtesy PNP-PIO)

A suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member and his cohort were killed in a police operation in Zamboanga Sibugay, the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) said on Sunday.

Based on the report submitted to PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas, acting SAF Director Brig. Gen. Bernabe Balba identified the fatalities as Jomar Aukasa and a certain Buchoy, whose true identity remains unknown.

The two died in an armed confrontation with police commandos from the 5th Special Action Battalion led by Maj. Rodel Silaran, backed by operatives from the Zamboanga Sibugay Police and Regional Mobile Force Battalion in Barangay Sisay, Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Balba said Aukasa turned violent as the arresting officers tried to serve the warrant of arrest which eventually resulted in an armed encounter.

Aukasa is the subject of four warrants of arrest for murder, and another arrest order for robbery, he added.

Aukasa, Balba said, is also listed as the fifth most wanted person in the Zamboanga Peninsula region with links to the ASG as facilitator and financier of kidnap for ransom activities.

Balba said the neutralization of Aukasa culminated in eight months of extensive manhunt operation that began on March 17, 2020 under Case Operational Plan or COPLAN “Assassin”.

Police operatives seized a Belgian-made FN (Fabrique National) rifle, a Glock 17 pistol, and assorted ammunition.

Balba said the recovered Glock 17 pistol turned out to be a PNP property issued to PO1 Mohammad Nur Alamia of Tungawan Municipal Police Station that was grabbed by Aukasa when he escaped from police custody in 2018, and was the same gun used in shooting PO3 Rommel dela Cruz as the suspect fled. Fortunately, dela Cruz survived the attack.

Tungawan Municipal Police Station is conducting further investigation into the incident.

PH, Indonesia army chiefs discuss security issues

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 15, 2020): PH, Indonesia army chiefs discuss security issues (By Ben Cal)  

Lt. Gen. Cirilito E. Sobejana (File photo)

Lt. Gen. Cirilito E. Sobejana, commanding general of the Philippine Army, has discussed with his Indonesian counterpart, Gen. Andika Perkasa, wide range of issues of mutual interests, especially on security threats and in containing the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In a text message, Sobejana described his discussion with Perkasa on Saturday as “very fruitful virtual meeting”.

“We discussed matters of mutual concerns, especially in addressing the security threats in the territorial boundaries of the Philippines and Indonesia,”
Sobejana said.

The two neighboring countries, both members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), are facing terrorist threats by the Abu Sayyaf for several decades now.

Abu Sayyaf terrorists were responsible for several terror attacks in southern Philippines and Indonesia.

The latest twin attacks by the Abu Sayyaf were in Sulu last August, killing 14 people including 11 Army soldiers and wounding more than 80 others.

Sobejana is a veteran in combat against the Abu Sayyaf and a Medal of Valor awardee, the highest award by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), given to a soldier for gallantry in combat.

During his virtual meeting with Perkasa, Sobejana said they discussed on how to stop the spread of the deadly Covid-19 in their respective countries.