Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Tagalog News: Pahayag ng NPA sa pagpatay sa opisyal ng Rizal, kinondena ng PTF-ELCAC

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 1, 2020): Tagalog News: Pahayag ng NPA sa pagpatay sa opisyal ng Rizal, kinondena ng PTF-ELCAC (By Leila B. Dagot)

PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan, Dis. 1 (PIA) -- Kinondena ng Palawan Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) ang inilabas na pahayag ng New People’s Army (NPA) sa pamamagitan ng Bienvenido Vallever Command (BVC) hinggil sa kaso ng pagpaslang sa Municipal Planning and Development Officer ng Rizal na si Engr. Gregorio Baluyot.

Sa inilabas na opisyal na pahayag ng PTF-ELCAC, sinasabing hindi ito katanggap-tanggap sapagkat nagdudulot lamang ito ng karagdagang hinagpis sa mga naiwang pamilya ni Baluyot na sa kasalukuyan ay naghahanap pa ng hustisya.

Ayon pa sa pahayag ng PTF-ELCAC, paraan lamang umano ito ng NPA upang mapaniwala ang mga mamamayan ng lalawigan na malakas pa ang kanilang puwersa sa kabila nang mahina na sapagkat karamihan sa mga dating miyembro nito ay bumaba na sa kabundukan at nagbalik-loob na sa pamahalaan.

Ayon pa dito, propaganda lamang ng makakaliwang grupo ang kanilang muling pagpaparamdam dahil naalarma na umano ang rebeldeng grupo sa sunod-sunod na pagsuko ng kanilang mga kasamahan.

Nilinaw ng PTF-ELCAC na nagpapatuloy ang imbestigasyon sa pagpaslang kay Baluyot, at tiniyak nitong mananagot sa batas ang sino mang may kagagawan sa pagpatay sa opisyal.

Ang pahayag na ito ng PTF-ELCAC ay kasunod ng kalatas na ipinalabas ng BVC, kung saan inaako nito ang ginawang pagpatay kay Baluyot dahil sa umano’y sumbong ng ilang nasa komunidad laban sa pinaslang na opisyal. (LBD/PIAMIMAROPA)


AFP mobile kitchen rolls out in Rizal

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 1, 2020): AFP mobile kitchen rolls out in Rizal (By Patricia Bermudez)

TAYTAY, Rizal, PIA (Dec. 1) – Personalities from various organizations, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, prepared hot meals as part of the feeding program for the victims of the recent typhoons.

Together with Hands Off Our Children, the Armed Forces of the Philippines – 7th Civil Relations Group led by their commander, Maj. Celeste Frank Sayson, Miss Philippines 2020 first runner-up Bella Ysmael and actress Kris Bernal, the AFP Mobile Kitchen has officially rolled out in Sitio Tapayan Elementary School, Lupang Arenda in Brgy. Sta. Ana.

Previously deployed during the Marawi siege to sustain government troops, the AFP Mobile Kitchen was stationed right after the onslaught typhoon Ulyses.

Designed to cook for 1,500 individuals per meal, the Mobile Kitchen currently stationed in Taytay is furnished with state of the art cooking technology that can supply hot meals to the recuperating communities who suffered due to the two typhoons.

“Bilang isa sa mga adbokasiya ng Armed Forces of the Philippines, dito sa paglulunsad ng AFP Mobile Kitchen gumagana ang whole of nation approach dahil bukod sa pamahalaan sa pangunguna ng AFP, nandito rin ang pribadong sektor,” said Sayson.

[As one of the advocacies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the launching of the AFP shows the whole nation approach because aside from the government [through the AFP], the private sector is also here.]

The AFP has also called for optimism and unity as the nation recovers from the aftermath of the recent disasters.

As part of the national government’s Whole of Nation Approach in solving societal problems, such as hunger, the AFP mobile kitchen boasts a state-of-the-art technology that can feed up to 1,500 individuals per meal and has already served during the Marawi Siege to feed the stationed troops.

Right after the ceremony, Bernal and Ysmael led the distribution of packed food to the residents and encouraged everyone to use their platforms in helping various causes.

They emphasized that helping our fellow Filipinos may not always come in monetary assistance, but also through promoting important causes.


Youth group calls on reds to end communist terrorism (

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 30, 2020): Youth group calls on reds to end communist terrorism (By Oliver T. Baccay) 

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, Nov. 30 (PIA) - - The Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terrosimo (KKDAT) Cagayan Chapter has called on rebels to end local communist armed conflict and spare youth from their black propaganda.

During the symbolic candle lighting spearheaded by the provincial police department, Hervilord Escobar, KKDAT president, said there have been a lot of young individuals who were persuaded by the New People's Army to believe in their ideologies and join their arm battle against the government.

He said the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army- National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) continuously recruit young people that lead to the destruction of their future and their lives.

"They destroy the dreams, aspirations and goals of the youth. They destroy the family and the life of the young recruits," Escobar said.

He also urged the authorities to exert more efforts to end the armed conflict with the rebels to enable a peaceful and progressive society.

Escobar also expressed his gratitude to the police officers and the soldiers whom he considered the shield of the civilians against terrorism.

On the other hand, Escobar rendered his salutation and expressed his gratitude to the police and the soldiers for their services and sacrifices during the height of health crisis as well as during the series of calamities in the province. (MDCT/OTB/PIA 2-Cagayan)


AFP sends off military team carrying 6,000 relief packs to Cagayan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 1, 2020): AFP sends off military team carrying 6,000 relief packs to Cagayan (By Jimmyley E. Guzman) 

PASIG CITY, Dec. 1 (PIA) -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday morning held a send-off ceremony for military personnel transporting 6,000 relief packs to victims of the recent flooding in Cagayan Valley.

The relief goods, which include canned food, instant noodles, and water were donated by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) through the AFP Civil-Military Coordinating Center (AFPCMCC).

These were being transported via 10 military trucks and 13 trucks from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The team composed of 13 security personnel from the AFP General Headquarters and 20 from the Northern Luzon Command departed from the AFP Grandstand in Camp Aguinalo and are expected to arrive in Isabela and Cagayan on Tuesday, December 1.

“The AFP extends its gratitude to the Asian Development Bank for their generosity in helping our people who are still in need. The leadership likewise salutes our personnel for their tireless work in ensuring that help will come to the people of Cagayan,” AFP Chief of Staff, General Gilbert Gapay said.

Present in the ceremony were Major General Benedict M. Arevalo, Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations; Brigadier General Gabriel C. Viray III, Director of the AFPCMCC; Mr. Joven Balbosa, Advisor to the South East Asia Department for ADB; and Director Emmanuel P. Privaldo from the DSWD.

Since the start of its relief operations for victims of Typhoon Ulysses, the AFP has distributed a total of 55,250 food packs in Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon and National Capital Region as of November 28. Collection of food and non-food donations is still ongoing through the AFPCMCC in all military camps nationwide.

The civil-military operations initiative was launched early November turning military units into donation drop-off centers for those who wish to donate and send help to affected individuals. The collected items will then be delivered to communities as part of the AFP’s relief operations service.

In Northern Luzon Command, 1,135 family food packs consolidated by the Naval Forces Northern Luzon through the AFPCMCC, were transported and distributed in Alcala, Cagayan on Saturday. In the same day, the Tactical Operations Group 1 also transported relief items that weigh 895 kg from Baguio City to Tuguegarao City.

Meanwhile the Joint Task Force – NCR is continuing its provision of manpower assistance in the transfer of donated relief goods, repacking of items, and clean-up operations in Marikina City and Rodriguez, Rizal.

“The AFP remains committed in the conduct of relief operations to alleviate the distress of our people who are still experiencing hardship caused by the recent calamities. The AFP will continue to assist them and the local government units in providing manpower, mobility and equipment to help affected communities rise stronger,” Gapay said. (PIA NCR)


6ID chief lauds Maguindanao’s new roadmap for peace and development

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 1, 2020): 6ID chief lauds Maguindanao’s new roadmap for peace and development (By Aida Agad)

BULUAN, Maguindanao, Dec. 1 (PIA) – The LGU-newly-launched roadmap for peace and development earned accolades from a high ranking army official in Central Mindanao, during the simple launching rites held this morning at the Provincial Capitol in Buluan town in Maguindanao.

6ID commander MGen Juvymax R. Uy and Governor Bai Mariam Mangudadatu show to visitors and partners the blueprint of the First Provincial Action Plan for peace and development.

Philippine Army MGen Juvymax R. Uy, commander of the 6th Infantry “Kampilan” Division commended the efforts of the local government of Maguindanao under the stewardship of Governor Bai Mariam S. Mangudadatu for the boldness and hardwork in realizing the crafting of a real blueprint for peace contained in the Provincial Action Plan on Preventing and Transforming Violent Extremism (PAP-PTVE).

The Maguindanao PAP-PTVE roadmap, the "first" in the whole Philippines, is a comprehensive and responsive local plan that would address problems and threats on violent extremism. Maguindanao province has been noted for intercultural clashes, conflict in ideologies, political differences, warring clans which foster and aggravate violent extremism.

The 6ID commander said, “yung ginawa po ng ating local government ng Maguindanao ay napakaganda po ng kanilang ginawa, gaya ng aming mga experiences sa counter terrorism, pabalik-balik na kami dito sa Mindanao for so many times, but terrorist still exist, and they are now called extremist.”

“For the past 30 years ang counter-terrorism program ng ating government ay anchored on punishment. All offenses ng ating mga Muslim brothers are anchored on punishment.”

In previous meetings with the lady governor, MGen Uy said “if we craft our own strategy, it should be localized, that we own the program, lahat tayo mag-i-implement, and second, we must follow our own model, which would mean following the leadership of our governor, anchored on the national action plan.”

Uy lauded the efforts of LGU Maguindanao saying, “ito pong ginawa ninyo ay napakaganda, as a theoretical guide, and a doable and purposive plan ang ginawa po ng ating governor,” referring to the Malasakit ng Agila Program espoused by Governor Bai Mariam.

“Yun ay doable blueprint kung bakit gumaganda ang image ng Maguindanao and all of us are on one roof to change the image of the famous SPMS Box and the whole Armed Forces ay nasa likod niya para makamit ang tagumpay nitong programa na ito by the yearend of 2022.”

As a support to the provincial government’s initiative in ending violent extremism, the MGen Uy commits the help of the armed forces under the 6th ID and the Joint Task Force Central in an all-out support for Governor Mangudadatu's effort in ending the violent extremism in the whole of Maguindanao.

In her message, Governor Mangudadatu said the “PAP-PTVE goes beyond textbook definition of change. It is the grasp of change that every Maguindanaon is longing for. From workshops to tangible pages, I am pleased that we now have the First Provincial Action Plan in the country, to aid us in understanding the needs and concerns of our communities and take them under the wings of the Makabagong Maguindanao.”

Maguindanao governor Bai Mariam S. Mangudadatu stressing the urgent need to adopt and realize a comprehensive and responsive plan to address violent extremism.

Both public and private multi-sectoral stakeholders help in the crafting of the Maguindanao PAP-PTVE as well as partners like the Asia Foundation, UNDP and Balay Mindanaw.

After the unveiling of the peace and development blueprint, Governor Mangudadatu together with the officials of the 6th ID Philippine Army, PNP and PDEA awarded livelihood grants and farm machineries to 20 drug surrenderers and 15 returnees from various threat groups. (AC Agad PIA 12)

Farm implements given to drug surrenderers and rebel returnees.


7 NPA members yield to Army in Sultan Kudarat

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 30, 2020): 7 NPA members yield to Army in Sultan Kudarat (By Noel Punzalan)

SURRENDER. Four of the seven members of the New People’s Army who gave up to the military in two towns of Sultan Kudarat province on Sunday (Nov. 29, 2020). The surrenderers vowed never to return to rebel life and be duped again by the false promises of the communist terrorist group. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Seven combatants of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) have surrendered to the military here on Sunday, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) said Monday.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, 6ID commander, said
the guerillas decided to yield after experiencing hardship in the mountains due to persistent military pursuit operations.

“They could not withstand the pressure of being always on the run,” Uy told reporters here.

Four of the surrenderers were identified as Bryan Berallo Bransuela and Julito Blag, both of Barangay Kuden, Senator Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat; and Joseph Manguda and Justie Mayao, both of Sitio Tudi, Barangay Legodon, Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat.

They were members of the NPA’s East Daguma Front - Far South Mindanao Region (EDF-FSMR).

The three other surrenderers, identified as Joselito Kantem, and Bebeng Dimaog, both of Barangay Lagubang, Senator Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat; and Daniel Policia, of Barangay Midtungok of the same municipality were members of the Larangan Guerilla Unit 3, also of the EDF-FMSR.

The former rebels handed over one M-14 rifle, Garand rifle, M1 Carbine rifle, two M1 Carbine sniper rifles, Garand rifle, a .45-caliber pistol, and .357-magnum revolver.

“We just got tired from being hunted by military troops and decided to give up just to be with our families again,” Bransuela, an NPA team leader, said.

Uy, for his part, said that NPAs who wish to return to the mainstream society are always welcome to come down from the mountains to be with their families once more.

The 6ID chief thanked the Sultan Kudarat provincial government and its local government units for partnering with them in the peace and development efforts of the national government.

“We continue to gain grounds and sustain the momentum because of the unwavering support of the local government and the peace-loving people of Sultan Kudarat," Uy said.

He said the surrenderers would all be enrolled under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government to give them a chance to recover from lost times and opportunities.

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


Tight security up in C. Mindanao after BIFF bomber’s killing

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 30, 2020): Tight security up in C. Mindanao after BIFF bomber’s killing (By Edwin Fernandez)

SHOOTOUT SITE. Police officers check the site where suspected terror bomber Abdul Rashid Lamalan was killed following a shootout with pursuing lawmen along the Isulan-Tacurong City section of the highway in Sultan Kudarat province on Nov. 26, 2020. Recovered at the scene were two improvised bombs, a fragmentation grenade, a .45-caliber pistol, and Lamalan’s motorbike. (Photo courtesy of Max FM 91.1 Tacurong)

COTABATO CITY – Police and military authorities in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) and Maguindanao are closely watching Dawlah Islamiya extremists involved in the Marawi siege and Jolo Cathedral bombing for possible retaliatory attacks in the region, security officials said Monday.

This came after state forces killed a suspected bomber during a running gun battle along the Isulan-Tacurong City highway in Sultan Kudarat province last week (Nov. 26), resulting in the death of Abdul Rashid Lamalan, allegedly a bomb expert of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Police found beside the slain body of Lamalan a .45-caliber pistol, a laminated sack with rice to conceal two rifle grenades and a fragmentation grenade.

The Dawlah Islamiya, also known as the BIFF, operates in the 220,000-hectare Liguasan marshland situated in the borders of North Cotabato, Maguindanao, and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

Col. Roy Galido, Army’s 601st Infantry Brigade commander, said all Army units in the region are on high alert status following the death of Lamalan, who was linked to the 2019 Jolo Cathedral bombing.

Lt. Col. Romeo Galgo, police chief of Isulan, the capital of Sultan Kudarat, said all police units and quarantine checkpoints have also been placed on double red alert status.

“Army intelligence reports showed that Lamalan was linked to the Marawi siege and managed to escape along with other Abu Sayyaf terrorists,” Galido said.

Lamalan allegedly guided the Jolo Cathedral bombing perpetrators in January 2019 that left 28 people dead, including the two alleged Indonesian bombers, and more than 100 churchgoers and soldiers were injured.


'Abused' female NPA yields in Agusan Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 30, 2020): 'Abused' female NPA yields in Agusan Sur (By Alexander Lopez)

ABUSED. Eighteen-year-old "Banjie" (not her real name), a communist New People's Army regular, yields to the military on Nov. 26, 2020 in Talacogon town, Agusan del Sur. She said she was abused inside the movement, with one colleague impregnating her while she was with the guerilla group for seven months. (Photo courtesy of 26IB)

Claiming she was abused, an 18-year-old member of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) who served as a medic of its Guerrilla Front (GF) has recently surrendered to the Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion.

2Lt. Cecille Tappa, 26Ib civil-military operations officer, told Philippine News Agency Monday
that “Banjie” (not her real name) had only stayed in the communist rebel movement when another rebel sexually abused her.

“She was impregnated by her colleague inside the movement. Now she is pregnant,” Tappa said.

Banjie and another female NPA member, “Denden,” 40, voluntarily surrendered on November 26 to the 26IB headquarters in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur.

Denden, who served at GF 88 as a Militia ng Bayan (MB) for seven years, is a mother of eight children, Trappa said, adding that she handed over a .45-caliber pistol with a magazine and ammunition.

In a statement issued by 26IB on Monday, Denden was quoted as saying that the hardships she experienced inside the NPA pushed her to surrender.

“I could no longer endure the hardships inside the movement. My eight children need me now. There’s no use fighting with the communist movement. We also have the right to live peacefully with our family, especially with my children,” Denden said.

Lt. Col. Reynald Romel A. Goce, 26IB commanding officer, noted that Denden and Banjie's surrender coincided with the “18 Day Campaign to End Violence against Women, “under Presidential Proclamation 1172.

Goce said the observance seeks to protect women's rights and address all forms of gender-based violence.

“The deceptive recruitment of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) on women to be fighters for the communist cause and even become sex slaves where they are physically and sexually abused is a grave violation of women’s rights and fundamental freedoms,” Goce said.

"You don't have the right to abuse these women, many have spoken out about your violations against women, and it must be stopped now,” the Army official added.

He also called on the other female NPA rebels to abandon the revolutionary group and return to their families.

“Surrender now, just like what Denden and Banjie did. Your children and your families are waiting for you. Be a mother to your children and a child to your mother," Goce said.

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


Army aids families of NPA rebels killed in Sorsogon

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1, 2020): Army aids families of NPA rebels killed in Sorsogon (By Connie Calipay)

ASSISTANCE. A member of the 9th Infantry Division (9ID) of the Philippine Army in Bicol extends aid to Alex Mapula's family on Nov. 23, 2020. Mapula was a New People's Army member killed in an encounter with soldiers in Sorsogon province. (Photo courtesy of 9ID)

Immediate cash assistance, sacks of rice, and grocery items from the 9th Infantry Division (9ID) were given to the families of three New People’s Army (NPA) rebels killed during recent encounters in Sorsogon province.

Capt. John Paul Belleza, 9ID spokesperson, on Tuesday said assistance was given to Alex Mapula’s family last Nov. 23 and to Reynaldo Palmiano’s family on Nov. 28.

“The families of Alex Mapula and Reynaldo Palmiano gratefully received the said assistance from the Spear Division and implored the communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) to return to the folds of the law,” he said in an interview.

Belleza said tears streamed down the face of Alex’s father as he begged other communist terrorist group (CTG) members to come down from the mountains and avail of the various programs the government has for them instead of suffering the same fate as his son's.

"Sa mga NPA, dapat magbagong-buhay na sila dahil naririnig ko sa balita na tinutulungan sila ng gobyerno upang maka pagsimula muli ng bagong buhay,” (To the NPAs, you need to come down and surrender because I hear news reports that the government is helping them start a new life)," the Army official said, quoting the elder Mapula.

Alex's mother was at a loss for words to describe the heartbreak of burying her 42-year-old son. "Sa mga NPA, sana po wag na silang magrecruit para hindi na maulit kasi mahirap kung may mangyayari [gaya nito]. Mabuti na lang kung tutulong sila eh hindi naman,” (To the NPA, I hope they will not recruit anymore so that this will not be repeated. It would be good if they help. But they don't)," she said.

“Malaking pasasalamat ko sa mga kasundaluhan sa mga tulong na naibigay ninyo sa amin," (I’m truly grateful for the help you are extending for us) she added.

The slain rebel's parents said they had no idea that Alex, who was a construction worker in Marikina City, joined the CTG.

A few days ago, Alex’s daughter gave birth to her first child and the new grandfather did not have the chance to see his grandchild.

Affected by the pandemic and the calamities that hit Bicol, his family had to borrow money just to give him a decent burial as the CTG did not even bother to assist them.

It also angered Alex's parents that his supposed comrades simply left him to die alone as they scampered off in retreat.

Isidro and Tania Palmiano, Reynaldo's siblings, shared the same sentiments after he was brought home lifeless.

"Talagang masama ang loob ko sa nangyari sa kapatid ko tapos wala namang naitulong ang NPA. Walang magandang naidulot ang pagrecruit sa kaniya. Tiisin na lang namin ang nangyari na namatay siya kasi wala na kaming magagawa (Truly we are angry about what happened to our brother. Nothing good happened when they recruited him. We just have to bear with his death because there is nothing more we can do)," they said.

Aside from them, the family of another CTG member who was also killed in an encounter with government soldiers received assistance from the Philippine Army.

Maj. Gen. Henry Robinson Jr., Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) chief and 9ID commander, in a statement said "Sinong matinong tao ang kayang iwan ang kaniyang naghihingalong kasamahan? (Could a person in sound mind just leave a comrade who is dying?) This only proves the real face of the CTG — manggagamit (user)! Thus, we are once again warning the Bicolanos, not to allow this terrorist group to deceive any of you. Joining their useless cause will only ruin your life and the future of your family".

Robinson also appealed to NPAs' family members to convince their relatives to return to the fold of the law.

“Huwag ninyo silang konsentihin. Mas masayang uuwi sila sainyo ng buhay kaysa patay (Don’t give them your consent. It would be happier if they will come home alive than dead)," he said.


PRO-13 hits NPA ambush in Surigao

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1, 2020): PRO-13 hits NPA ambush in Surigao Norte (By Alexander Lopez) 

Google map of Sison town, Surigao del Norte.

The Police Regional Office in Caraga (PRO-13) has condemned the communist New People’s Army (NPA) for the ambush that wounded a civilian and a police officer on Monday in Barangay Mayag in Sison town, Surigao del Norte province.

Capt. Dorothy M. Tumulak, PROI-13 public information officer, said several officers of the Sison Municipal Police Station (SMPS) were in the area to serve a warrant of arrest on a suspect when waylaid by at least 15 rebels.

“Although outnumbered, the police personnel of Sison fought back and foiled the ambush staged by the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG),” Tumulak said on Tuesday.

The attack wounded Rene G. Daguhoy, arrested for violation of Republic Act 9262, otherwise known as "Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act of 2004," and Pat. Jayson Custodio.

Tumulak said the two were immediately brought to the nearest hospital for treatment and are now safe.

“Our investigation is underway to identify the suspects for filing of charges against them,” said Brig. Gen. Romeo M. Caramat Jr., PRO-13 director, in a statement Tuesday.

Caramat said they believe the NPA's Guerrilla Front 16 was responsible for the ambush.

“We urge the community to withstand against the deception of NPA rebels who pretend to be protectors of the people but are the ones involved in various crimes and atrocities,” Caramat said.


Guns, bomb-making components seized in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1, 2020): Guns, bomb-making components seized in Maguindanao (By Edwin Fernandez)

SECURING THE PERIMETER. Two members of the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion take cover during a law enforcement operation against armed lawless elements on Tuesday morning (Dec. 1, 20202) in Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao. While the suspects eluded arrest, government forces found in their safe house assorted high-powered guns. (Photo courtesy of 40IB)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao -- Government forces on Tuesday seized assorted high-powered firearms and bomb components from the safe house of lawless gunmen in Sultan sa Barongis town of the province.

Lt. Colonel Rogelio Gabi, commander of the 40th Infantry Battalion who led the focused military operation in Barangay Langgapanan, said government forces
were after Edsrafil Manalasal Guiwan, a field commander of Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and a certain Lakim Esmael, a member of a kidnap-for-ransom gang.

“These armed men are roaming freely in the communities, we were told,” Colonel Gabi said, adding that Guiwan was linked to a series of improvised bomb attacks in Pres. Quirino, Sultan Kudarat and was facing murder charges.

Esmael, on the other hand, was also known in the village as a big-time illegal drug pusher.

However, Gabi said the two managed to elude arrest and fled before the military arrived in the village around 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Both have warrants of arrests for murder, frustrated murder, illegal drug pushing, and extortion.

In Guiwan's house, Esmael said the troops found two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades, a homemade 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, two-way radio sets, bomb-making materials, and mobile phones.

“We will not allow these armed groups inflicting terror in the communities within the 40IB area of operation,” Gabi told local officials in a meeting on Monday.


4 ISIS-inspired Dawlah Islamiya terrorists yield in Lanao Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1, 2020): 4 ISIS-inspired Dawlah Islamiya terrorists yield in Lanao Sur (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

SURRENDERERS. Four members of the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria-inspired Dawlah Islamiya pose with military officials after they surrender and turnover high-power firearms Monday (Nov. 30, 2020) at the headquarters of the Army's 82nd Infantry Battalion (IB) in the municipality of Saguiran, Lanao del Sur. The surrenderers say they feared for their lives and want to return to their families. (Photo courtesy of 82IB)

Four members of the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-inspired Dawlah Islamiya (DI) surrendered and turned over high-power firearms in the Lanao del Sur town of Saguiran, officials said Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Rafman Altre, 82nd Infantry Battalion (IB) commander,
identified the DI surrenderers as Calandada Pungima Lumondot, 55; Jamal Mamadra Radiab, 30; Muhaimen Mamualas Abdul Carim, 30; and Imam Sultan Moctar, 22.

Upon verification, Altre said Lumondot, Radiab, and Carim participated in the five-month Marawi siege in 2017, which killed dozens and caused widespread destruction of homes and properties in the city.

Altre said the three went into hiding after their recruiter, a certain Imam Dimacaling, was killed in a firefight with the military.

The four surrenderers feared for their lives and wanted to return to their families, the Army official said, adding that local officials facilitated the surrender of the four DI gunmen.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, 103rd Infantry Brigade commander, reiterated his call to the remaining members of the ISIS-inspired group to surrender "to prevent further escalation of violent extremism in the area of Lanao."


'BIFF bomber' killed in Cotabato City shootout

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1, 2020): 'BIFF bomber' killed in Cotabato City shootout (By Noel Punzalan)

KILLED IN SHOOTOUT. Suspected bomber Abraham Abad Abdulrahman lays dead inside his hideout following a predawn shootout with authorities in Barangay Bagua 2, Cotabato City on Tuesday (Dec. 1, 2020). A report from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group says the suspect was one of those who planned and carried out the Dec. 31, 2018 bombing at the entrance of South Seas Mall in Cotabato City that killed two and injured 34 other shoppers. (Photo courtesy of Brigada News FM Cotabato)

COTABATO CITY – Members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (CIDG-BARMM) killed a suspected terror bomber at his hideout here during a pre-dawn operation on Tuesday.

Maj. Esmael Madin, CIDG-BARMM deputy regional chief, identified the suspect as Abraham Abad Abdulrahman alias Abu Suffian, one of the primary suspects behind the South Seas Mall bombing on Dec. 31, 2018.

The explosion that took place just outside the mall’s main entrance door killed two and injured 34 others.

“A surprised Abdulrahman was killed after pulling out a handgun from underneath a pillow on his bed and firing at our arresting team,” Madin said of the 1:30 a.m. operation against Abdulrahman and his group in Barangay Bagua 2.

Madin said the arresting team was in the area to serve a search warrant issued by Judge Allan Edwin Boncavil of the 12th Judicial RTC Branch 19 in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, against Jasmiya Camsa Ibrahim, an alleged cohort of Abdulrahman, for violation of Republic Act 10591, or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition Act.

“Unfortunately, Ibrahim, who is the primary target, managed to elude arrest,” Madin said.

Recovered from the slain suspect were a .45-caliber pistol, a hand grenade, and bomb-making components, and other evidence, he said.


US commits P875-M to support Manila's HIV/AIDS programs

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1, 2020): US commits P875-M to support Manila's HIV/AIDS programs (By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora)

The United States government committed more than PHP875 million to support the Philippines' efforts to prevent and treat HIV-AIDS, the US Embassy in Manila announced Tuesday.

Washington launched the new President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-funded program, which will begin this month, in observance of World AIDS Day.

Through the program, over PHP875 million (USD18.2 million) funding will be used to address the increasing number of people who are living with HIV in the Philippines, which has the fastest-growing HIV epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Embassy.

For two years, the project will be implemented by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), US Centers for Disease Control, US Health Resources and Services Administration, and US Department of Defense, in cooperation with the Department of Health (DOH) and local community organizations.

“As a friend, partner, and ally of the Filipino people, we remain committed to assisting the Philippine government in addressing this disease so that the country can meet its development objectives in health and progress along its journey to self-reliance,” said USAID Acting Mission Director Patrick Wesner.

Most recent data from the DOH-Epidemiology Bureau estimates that more than 110,000 Filipinos are living with HIV in 2020; 37,000 have not been diagnosed, and among those previously diagnosed, at least 18,500 still need to be enrolled in life-saving antiretroviral (ART) therapy.

The new PEPFAR program will support the Philippine government in reaching the ambitious UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets for HIV epidemic control, meaning 95 percent of those infected with HIV know their status, 95 percent of those who know their status receive treatment, and 95 percent of those on treatment achieve viral suppression.

The initiative currently targets Metro Manila, Region 3 (Central Luzon), and Region 4A (Calabarzon), the highest HIV burden areas in the country, where an estimated 63 percent of PLHIV nationwide reside.

USAID will expand the country's prevention strategy through increased access to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, strengthen HIV testing and case-finding in the post-Covid era, and connect HIV-diagnosed clients with better HIV treatment regimens and retention programs.


Jevilyn remains desecration claims just propaganda: Parlade

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1, 2020): Jevilyn remains desecration claims just propaganda: Parlade (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., Southern Luzon Command chief (PNA File photo)

Claims that the dead body of 22-year-old Jevilyn Cullamat was desecrated by government troops following the November 28 clash in Marihatag, Surigao Del Sur with the New People's Army (NPA) that the former is affiliated with, are only propaganda, a ranking military official said Tuesday.

This, according to Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) chief, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., in a statement forwarded to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Tuesday.

"I strongly deny accusations made by the Kamatayan (Makabayan) bloc that our troops desecrated the body of Jevilyn Cullamat alias 'Reb'. How could they make that claim when even Jesryn Cullamat, the elder brother of Jevilyn, expressed his thanks to our troops for respecting and taking care of Jevilyn's remains, along with their family," he said in Filipino.

Parlade, who is also a spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC), said this desecration claim is being turned into a propaganda piece by party-list representatives connected with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as the incident involved the younger daughter of Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Eufemia Cullamat.

"This is another propaganda of the CPP's representatives who are liars, especially that the incident involved the child of a Bayan Muna official. What is clear here is they do not have any explanation yet as to why (Rep.) Cullamat has a child who sacrificed her life to the NPA while their children are studying in exclusive schools or living in luxury in Europe and other countries. They should explain it. Who knows, the people might listen to them," he added.

In dismissing Makabayan bloc's desecration claim, Parlade said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has no record of human rights violations to taint its reputation during the past seven years.

Maybe this why the CPP-NPA is using the incident involving Jevilyn as propaganda to smear the good reputation of AFP, he added.

If the Makabayan bloc is really looking for incidents of desecration involving remains of fallen NPA combatants, Parlade said, then militant lawmakers should try investigating the NPAs as communist terrorists have a record of just leaving the bodies of their slain members on the field or hurling them off cliffs especially when tasting defeat from government forces.

"They do not spare anybody, whether it is a child or spouse of a ranking CPP-NPA official. If we remember it correctly, Ka Insay, the wife of Ka Roger Rosal who was killed in an encounter in Laguna, the NPA carried her remains to a high hill and pushed it towards the center of two big rocks, damaging her skull. What kind of desecration is that? Who are they calling as pigs again?" he said.

He also scored the CPP-NPA and its allies for insisting on the observance of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL) and other international laws and conventions to suit and magnify their propaganda piece.

Medic with a gun

But this, he said, seems not to be getting any momentum as Jevilyn, whom they described as a medic, was carrying an M-653 at the time of the clash.

"Now, they are insisting CAHRIHL and whatever international laws and conventions. Can they explain why their medic alias 'Reb' was carrying an M-653 when it is clear that they cannot be combatants? Why can't they explain why is it always that landmines and explosives are seized from the NPA during clashes? Can they explain what Joy James Saguino or Ka Amihan said before that they slit the neck of the soldier that they killed in an encounter?" Parlade said.

He also urged the CPP-NPA and its allies to explain the desecration and rape of women cadres among their ranks and the minors they forced to join their ranks.

"Isn't this their biggest atrocity as they turn them into goons of the Kamatayan (Makabayan) bloc? Now, you make it appear as these are being committed by the AFP as part of your wild imagination and propaganda?" he added.

High trust rating

Parlade said committing abuses and atrocities against the Filipino people is not the work of the AFP that is sworn to protect the country and its people, adding that its troops are too well disciplined and trained to commit such infractions.

"That is not the work of the AFP and the Special Forces. Our AFP soldiers are disciplined, hence the high trust rating from the people. Can the CPP-NPA boast of a 78 percent trust rating even if Rappler would commission such a survey? I know the rigorous training undertaken by the SF members because I myself experienced it. I know the discipline of the SF because I’ve been with them for 14 years. Ask Ka Satur (Ocampo) and (Karapatan Secretary-General) Tinay Palabay how we respect and take care of our rebel captives when I was still an SF commander," he added.

Not poverty

Parlade also dismissed claims that it is poverty that is pushing many people to join the NPA ranks, adding that there are people being recruited to such a senseless cause due to the posturing of the CPP.

"You claim that poverty is the reason why the NPA exists? No. There are poor people in Batanes, Camiguin, Romblon, Marinduque, and other areas but there are no NPA members there. It is because there is no CPP who lures the people into joining their armed struggle," he added.

He said there are more than 50 countries in the world that are much poorer than the Philippines and yet these nations don't have any insurgency problems.

"Why? Because they do not have a communist party that aims to overthrow their government, hence, they are now inching closer to the Philippines in terms of economic growth. Why are we ranked 10th in the world’s terrorist index? It’s because of the killings committed by the NPA. They kill fellow Filipinos, which is even worse than the victims of the ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) and Muslim secessionists," he added.

Misinterpretation of revolution

Parlade slammed the Makabayan Bloc for misinterpreting and disgracing the revolution and nationalism espoused by Gat Andres Bonifacio and his patriot followers.

"Kamatayan (Makabayan) bloc, you are blind. We have been commemorating the anniversary of Gat Andres Bonifacio’s heroism but it is saddening how his revolution and nationalism are being marred by your own interpretation for your own agenda. Your crooked principles and ideology disgrace the nationalism of Gat Andres and other heroes who put their lives on the line for peace and freedom. The battle against the Spaniards, Americans and the Japanese is over. Why are we forcing our fellow Filipinos to fight against one another?" he added.

He said the reckless propaganda being spewed by the CPP-NPA is dangerous as it misleads the youth and leads to danger and has the potential to destroy the country,

"How many Jevilyn Cullamats have to die for a senseless purpose? It’s time for your foolishness to end, (former Bayan Muna Representative Teddy) Casiño, Renato Reyes, (France) De Castro, (Carlo Isagani) Zarate, (Ferdinand) Gaite and (Carol) Araullo, unless you would include your children in the armed struggle. Follow now, (Neri) Colmenares, (Sarah) Elago, (Sister Mary John) Mananzan and the others, except if you yourselves would climb up the mountains and leave the comfort of your condominiums and convents," Parlade said.

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

''You cannot be considered as honorable. You are horrible and if Gat Andres Bonifacio was alive, he himself could have red-tagged all of you and would cut off all your heads, for the sake of the freedom of our beloved nation and our flag. Now, I just want to ask? What flag are you waving? Is that the one with a sickle, mallet, and hammer?'' he added.


Navy units conduct successful 'vertical replenishment' exercise

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1, 2020): Navy units conduct successful 'vertical replenishment' exercise (By Priam Nepomuceno)

(Photo courtesy of Naval Public Affairs Office)

MANILA – Participating Philippine Navy (PN) units in this year's Joint Exercise "DAGIT PA" on Monday have successfully completed a so-called "vertical replenishment" (vertrep) exercise involving an AgustaWestland AW-109 naval helicopter and strategic sealift vessel, BRP Tarlac (LD-601).

"DAGIT-PA" stands for “Dagat-Langit-Lupa” and is a unilateral exercise that aims to further enhance the joint force interoperability and cohesiveness of the AFP across defense mission areas.

"During the exercise, the PN’s naval helicopter (with tail number) 432 showcased its vertrep capability that utilized the cargo hook suspension system. The drill was carried out on the naval vessel LD-601 or BRP Tarlac which was stationed 1.3 nautical miles west of Capones Grande (Zambales). This was part of the amphibious operations that are underscored in the 4th iteration of the AFP-wide drills," "DAGIT-PA" exercise director, Marine Major Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement Tuesday.

Vertrep capability is vital in operations when ground and water transport for armed units is seemingly impossible.

This can be employed for ship-to-ship reprovision and replenishment of units especially those stationed in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Vertrep capability is ideal in situations and in mission areas when the transfer of cargo and other provisions and logistical requirements is more practical than landing a helicopter on deck.

The drills also featured flight deck operations aboard BRP Tarlac using AW-109 helicopters which aims to enhance the capability of its personnel in handling rotary-wing aircraft.

Also completed was the well-deck operations or embarkation of Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) amphibious assault vehicles aboard BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602).

The amphibious forces also completed its final meeting of units to synchronize efforts in preparation for the amphibious assault operation on December 1.

“The December 1 schedule of events for AJEX (Armed Forces of the Philippines Joint Exercise) 'DAGIT-PA' is the highlight of this year’s iteration of the exercise. It will test some of the AFP’s capabilities and competencies in amphibious operations given the sea, air, and land assets made available. Territorial defense capability will also be tested on the same day involving a different set of participants," Arevalo, who is also AFP spokesperson, said.

He added that the learning outcome from "DAGIT-PA" will impact the existing doctrines and those that are being developed.

"While we continue to modernize, our techniques, tactics, and procedures (TTPs) we likewise ensure that our doctrines are continuously updated and developed,” Arevalo said.

These activities are part of AJEX "DAGIT-PA's” Joint Interoperability Exercise which seeks to enhance the AFP’s proficiency in sea to land operations. It demonstrates the military’s ability to seize a littoral objective in a scenario of an island defense deploying land, sea, and air assets.

"DAGIT-PA" was launched on November 23 to further enhance the Joint Force interoperability and cohesiveness of the AFP across defense mission areas. It will conclude on Friday.

These exercises are aimed at elevating the military’s operational effectiveness in contingencies concerning maritime security, territorial defense, counter-terrorism, and natural disasters and calamities.

“This manifests the AFP’s commitment to strive towards a world-class armed forces which is a source of national pride. By further elevating our readiness, we are confident that we will serve the best interest of the Filipino people. We will match our readiness and capability with the ever-changing in-country security environment and in the region,” Arevalo said.


'Renounce armed struggle', Palace to Makabayan bloc

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1, 2020): 'Renounce armed struggle', Palace to Makabayan bloc (By Azer Parrocha)

Malacañang on Tuesday dared the Makabayan bloc and other leftist groups to admit that they are legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and say that its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), should renounce the armed struggle.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night identified the Makabayan bloc, Bayan, Gabriela, and other groups as legal groups of the CPP, alleging that they are part of a “grand conspiracy” to overthrow the government.

Roque said Duterte was irked because the alleged legal fronts have been “lying” about their links with the CPP-NPA by accusing security forces of “red-tagging” when they are “actually red.”

“First and foremost, let’s be honest. Tigil na ‘yan na nagsisinungaling pa sila na red-tagging e red naman talaga sila sabi ni Presidente. Totoo naman po ‘yan e (Stop accusing the government of red-tagging when they’re really red, according to the President. It’s true),” he said in a Palace press briefing.

While communism itself is not illegal, Roque said these groups could not deny that there are “ties that bind the CPP with the NPA.”

“It (communism) may not be a crime, but they have consistently been lying. Kasi nga sinasabi nila yung mga legal fronts nila (They say that legal fronts) have nothing to do with the CPP. Eh ako naman (I think), hello? Since the time of Cory, na-decriminalize na nga yung pagiging member ng CPP (being a member of CPP has been decriminalized), come out with it and admit ‘Oo, member kami ng (Yes, we are members of the) Communist Party of the Philippines. But the crime is the New People’s Army because that is the crime of rebellion, taking up of arms against the government, killing civilians and soldiers,” he said.

He said it is difficult to separate the CPP from the NPA, especially since all of their statements were always signed as “CPP-NPA.”

“Kung ikaw ay member ng CPP, puwede ka maging (If you’re a member of CPP, you can be) legal but you have to renounce the use of arms…bakit hindi pa nila i-renounce yung use of arms? ‘Yun lang po ang hinihingi (Why don’t they renounce the use of arms? That’s all we’re asking),” he said.

Since they refused to consider the CPP-NPA as enemies, Roque said the leftist groups will always be associated with criminal activity.

“Habang hindi nila ni-renounce at habang sila po ay nakikibahagi pa dito sa paggamit ng dahas at sandata laban sa republika, criminal po ‘yan (While they have yet to renounce and still get involved in the use of violence and arms against the republic, it’s criminal),” he said.

‘Personal experience’

Roque said Duterte could confirm that Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, a member of the Makabayan bloc, had links to the communist movement because of his “personal” experience and knowledge.

He said the President wanted to “expose” their lies.

“Si Congressman Zarate cannot deny that. Matagal na sila magkakakilala. At saka ang Presidente mismo (They have known each other for a long time. And the President himself) admitted more than once na he was part of the legal front, yung (the) precursor ng (of) Karapatan. He was head of that group in Davao so alam niya yung (he knows the) link between these legal fronts,” he said.

Roque rejected claims made by Zarate that Duterte’s tirade against alleged leftist lawmakers was meant to “discredit” them in the upcoming elections.

“Katotohanan lang ang sinasabi ni Presidente. Alam ko rin ‘yan (The President is telling the truth. I know that) having spent more than 15 years in UP as a student and another 15 as a professor there. Alam po natin ‘yan. Bakit pa kasi dini-deny? Hinihingi lang natin buwagin niyo na yung mga partylist niyo, tawagin niyo nang CPP pero huwag na kayong susuporta sa NPA. Dahil yung pagsuporta sa NPA makes it illegal (Why do they have to deny it? We’re only asking them to abolish the partylist, call yourselves CPP but stop supporting the NPA. Because supporting NPA makes it illegal),” he said.

He also brushed aside the statement made by the Commission on Human Rights that red-tagging “endangers lives.”

“That’s naivete at its best. Alam po ng Presidente kung sino yung mga taong ‘yan. At alam na po ng Presidente na hindi po red-tagging ‘yan, red talaga (The President knows those people. And he knows that it’s not red-tagging, they’re really red). Siguro (Perhaps) it’s for CHR to do its own research,” he said.

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


House okays AMLA amendments on final reading

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1, 2020): House okays AMLA amendments on final reading (By Filane Mikee Cervantes)

The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on final reading a bill strengthening the country's anti-money laundering law.

A total of 213 lawmakers voted in favor of House Bill 7904, which introduces amendments to Republic Act 9160, or the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001. Only seven voted against the bill, and three abstained from voting.

The bill expands the scope of predicate offenses by including tax crimes and violations of the Strategic Trade Management Act on the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

It also expands the definition of covered persons to include real estate developers and brokers who engage in the buying and selling of real properties.

The proposed law seeks to authorize the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to implement targeted financial sanctions including the ex-parte freezing of funds and assets belonging to individuals or entities designated and listed under United Nations resolutions relating to the prevention, suppression, and disruption of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and its financing.

The AMLC shall also be authorized to preserve, manage, and dispose assets subject to freeze orders or asset preservation orders, and to retain forfeited assets pending turnover to the government.

The bill enhances the investigative powers of the council, particularly its subpoena and contempt powers.

With the exemption of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, the courts are prohibited from issuing temporary restraining orders or writs of injunction against the AMLC in its exercise of freeze and forfeiture powers under the proposed measure.


DOJ to finalize terrorist 'designation' rules before yearend

 From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1, 2020): DOJ to finalize terrorist 'designation' rules before yearend (By Benjamin Pulta)

MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is finalizing rules on the identification of persons who are members of terrorist organizations as mandated by Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

"We are in the process of crafting the rules. We hope to submit the rules for the ATC's (Anti-Terrorism Council) consideration within the month," Justice Undersecretary Adrian Ferdinand Sugay said media statement on Tuesday.

Under Section 25 of the law, the ATC may designate individuals or groups as terrorists upon finding of probable cause that they are in a conspiracy to commit or are committing acts of terrorism.

"I understand that there is a meeting set for next week. We will try to finish the rules before then" he added.

After the publication of names of designated terrorists, their assets may be subject to a freeze order by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the law was completed in October.

Signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte in July, RA 1179 repealed Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007. It seeks the detention of suspected terrorists for up to 24 days with no warrant of arrest.

It also allows the police or the military to conduct a 60-day surveillance with an allowable 30-day extension on suspected terrorists.

The law also imposes a 12-year jail term on a person who voluntarily or knowingly joins a terrorist organization.


Troops carried Jevilyn's remains abandoned by NPA comrades: AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1, 2020): Troops carried Jevilyn's remains abandoned by NPA comrades: AFP (By Benjamin Pulta)

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deputy chief of staff, Rear Adm. Erick Kagaoan. (Screengrab from Senate live video)

Government troops carried the remains of slain New People's Army (NPA) rebel Jevilyn Cullamat for five hours after she was abandoned by her comrades who fled after a clash in Surigao del Sur, a military official told the Senate on Tuesday.

"We treated the body with respect and dignity. In fact, our soldiers carried her body for almost half a day,"
said Rear Adm. Erick Kagaoan, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deputy chief of staff, during the resumption of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation hearing.

He added that
Jevilyn, daughter of Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Eufemia Cullamat, "died as a non-state combatant of a group, the CPP-NPA (which was) already declared as an armed terrorist group".

Kagaoan said government troops were responding to reports of armed groups disturbing the peace in the locality.

"The AFP did not commit the cause of her suffering. She died in the midst of a legitimate gun battle," Kagaoan said, adding that the soldiers "merely performed their constitutional mandate as the protector of the people and we stand by our mandate to protect the Constitution".

Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), added that the body of Jevilyn was abandoned by her comrades.

"Instead of leaving the body there, our soldiers took the body, wrapped it very gently. Hindi po ginawang tropeo (It was not turned into war trophy)," Badoy added.

The clash occurred between the members of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion and the communist terrorists who were part of the Guerilla Front 19, in Sitio Mabug in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur on November 28.

The troops seized a major terrorist base with two kitchens, 22 tents, and a strong cellular signal.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., appearing before the Senate, said the site has long been part of several anniversary celebrations of the communist terrorist groups.

"That is really a guerilla base. We do not do that in the armed forces," Esperon said, referring to alleged acts of desecration of the remains of fallen terrorists.

The Senate is conducting the hearing in the exercise of its oversight authority over the defense sector on the issue of alleged red-tagging/red-baiting of certain celebrities, personalities, institutions, and organizations.

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


Groups ask Makabayan bloc solons to resign; end youth recruitment

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1, 2020): Groups ask Makabayan bloc solons to resign; end youth recruitment (By Lade Jean Kabagani)

RESIGN. Rallyists burn a tarpaulin bearing the image of Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Joma Sison during a rally at the Senate grounds on Tuesday (Dec. 1, 2020). The anti-communist groups and other civil society organizations group called on the Makabayan bloc legislators to resign and denounce the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army’s terroristic attacks. (PNA photo by Lade Kabagani)

Anti-communist groups and other civil society organizations on Tuesday called on the Makabayan bloc lawmakers to resign for allegedly recruiting minors to join the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Members of the League of Parents of the Philippines (LPP), Liga Independencia Pilipinas (LIPI), Hands Off Our Children (HOC), and Yakap ng mga Magulang along with former NPA members and parents of student activists who were reportedly recruited by progressive youth organizations, gathered at the Senate grounds to condemn the Makabayan bloc representatives for "continuously denying their ties with the communist groups."

During the rally, the groups criticized the Makabayan bloc for not denouncing the atrocities and violence committed by the NPA members, saying "the representatives seem to serve as the rebels' spokespersons and propaganda mouthpiece."

LPP chair Remy Rosadio asked anew the youth organizations allegedly linked with the CPP-NPA to end the recruitment of minors to fulfill their "senseless cause."

"You are just destroying our families. Stop using our children for your senseless revolution. Stop brainwashing them," Rosadio said.

The groups said the vulnerability of the student activists is the primary target of the CPP-NPA recruitment.

As the Senate probes the issue of red-tagging, the Makabayan bloc denied anew the allegations of the former NPA cadres that their organizations are legal fronts of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said it is wrong to associate him with the CPP-NPA without evidence.

"To conclude that I am engaged in the armed struggle, to conclude that I am doing something illegal and that is guilt by association, trial by publicity. That is what we want to avoid," Casiño said.

Former Bayan Muna congressman Neri Colmenares said, "nobody should red-tag anybody on the ground of how he walks or talks."

On the other hand, LIPI Secretary-General Ka Pep Goita called on House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to investigate the Makabayan bloc lawmakers for ethical violations.

“Hinahamon namin si Speaker Velasco na magsagawa ng imbestigasyon sa ethics committee at patalsikin na sila bago mahuli pa ang lahat (We are challenging Speaker Velasco to conduct an investigation through the ethics committee and remove them before it would be too late)," Goita said.

A mom's fight

Relissa Lucena, mother of Alicia Jasper (AJ), a student activist who was reportedly recruited by the youth group Anakbayan, hit the Makabayan bloc members for exploiting student activists outside their safe zones.

"They are using the public funds to destroy our children, to destroy our families," Lucena said.

Lucena together with parents of youths who were missing for years, condemned all the politicians supporting the illegal activities of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

"This armed conflict, exploitation of youth, and disgracing women's dignities will not end unless these politicians will withdraw their support to the communist rebels," Lucena said.

Lucena is the founder of the newly created group 'Yakap ng mga Magulang' which aimed at addressing the roots of youth recruitment to the communist groups. It also targets to protect children from exploitation, radicalization, as well as to save them from possible exposure to the communist revolution and other terroristic activities.

Meanwhile, National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson and Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy slammed the CPP-NPA-NDF's recruitment schemes using various deceptions and lies, through its alleged legal-front organizations.

"They don't really care about social justice, they don't really care about human rights," Badoy said, adding that the communist movement is only destroying the country, Filipino values, and the children's better future.

Badoy said it is the moral responsibility of the public servants to defend and protect the Filipino people.

During the rally, the protesters burned a tarpaulin bearing the image of CPP founding chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison as they condemned the 52 years of atrocities, killings of innocents, unhampered terror attacks, and relentless recruitment of minors by the communist rebels.

The groups also presented a live mural painting that depicts the struggle of the parents against the continuous brainwashing and exploitation of the youth by the CPP-NPA-NDF.

The anti-communist groups pleaded for an end of the armed conflict caused by the NPA, armed wing of the CPP.

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