Saturday, January 30, 2021

20 ex-rebels in Sorsogon thank gov't for new lease on life

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 30, 2021): 20 ex-rebels in Sorsogon thank gov't for new lease on life (By Connie Calipay)

Image courtesy of 9ID, Philippine Army

A total of 20 members of the New People's Army (NPA) who have surrendered to the 22nd Infantry Battalion (22IB) and the 9th Infantry (Spear) Division (9ID) in Sorsogon thanked the Philippine Army and the government as a whole for helping them start a new and peaceful life.

Captain John Paul Belleza, 9ID spokesperson, on Friday said the government’s sincerity in helping former rebels has been encouraging their comrades still with the movement to also return to the fold of the law.

The 20 surrendered rebels were presented to government officials headed by Gov. Francis Escudero in a simple ceremony at the headquarters of the 903rd Infantry Brigade in Castilla town, Sorsogon province last Wednesday, Jan. 27.

One of them, "Peter", said he was deceived by the terrorist group’s false claims that is why he hesitated numerous times in going down from the mountains to surrender.

“Hindi naman pala pinapatay at binabalatan ng buhay ang mga NPA kapag sumusuko. Maling-mali ang sinasabi sa amin ng aming mga lider dahil nakita ko ang dati naming mga kasamahan na NPA na nagbalik-loob sa pamahalaan na naging maayos naman ang kanilang buhay at masayang kapiling ang kanilang pamilya, namuhay ng normal na walang iniisip na panganib, hindi kailangan gumising ng alanganing oras para lang maglipat ng base. Kaya ngayon, hindi po ako nagdalawang-isip na magbalik-loob sa gobyerno,” (NPAs who surrender are not really killed, nor tortured. What our leaders told us are all lies, because I saw that my former comrades who returned to the fold of the law are now living well and happy with their family, living normally without worries. There is no more need to wake up very early to go and find a new base. So now, without second thoughts or hesitation, I decided to go back to the fold of the government),” Peter added.

Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., commander of the Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) who was present during the event, lauded the 9ID and its units for the persistent campaigns against the communist terrorist group and recognized Gov. Escudero’s good governance which, according to him, contributed significantly to the continuous surrender of rebels in the province.

“Gaano man kayo katagal sa hukbo, kami ay nagagalak at napag-isip-isipan ninyo na magbalik-loob. Ito ay hindi lang nangyayari dito sa Sorsogon o sa Masbate, sa Kabikolan. ‘Yong mga pagsuko po, ito ay nangyayari sa buong Pilipinas,”( No matter how long you have been in there, we are pleased that you are now with the government. This kind of event does only happen here in Sorsogon, Masbate, Bicol but in the entire country.), Parlade said.

Escudero, on the other hand, emphasized that the five-decade armed struggle by the communist terrorist group (CTG) is already long enough and must be put to an end.

“Hindi na angkop at hindi na nababagay ang pag-aaklas at pagpatay ng Pilipino sa kapwa Pilipino sa panahong ito lalong-lalo na sa panahon ng pandemya. Anuman ang problema sana magtulungan tayo para maresolbahan ang problema. Anuman ang pagkukulang ng pamahalaan o ninyo man, sana makipagtulungan tayo para mahanapan ng solusyon ang problemang ‘yon,” (It is not adequate and timely for rebellion and killing fellow Filipinos especially in this time of the pandemic. No matter what the problem is, let’s all help one another to resolve the problem. No matter what the shortcomings of the government as well as yours are, we have to help each other to solve the problem),” the governor said.

Maj. Gen. Henry Robinson Jr., commander of Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB), in a statement, commended the persistence, commitment, and passion of all the Spear Troopers especially the 903rd Infantry Brigade under Brig. Gen. Noe Alberto Peñafiel and the 22IB under Lt. Col. Nelson Mico which led to the rebels' surrender.

“The increasing number of surrenderees is a great manifestation that the people can no longer be deceived by the CTG’s erroneous ideology and empty promises. Ito ay isang patunay na sila ay namumulat na sa katotohanan na ang inaasam nilang pagbabago ay makikita lamang sa pamamagitan ng pakikiisa sa ating gobyerno,” he said.

The former rebels yielded to the government some two weeks ago, bringing with them 20 high-powered firearms.

They will now undergo the process of reintegration into mainstream society.

The surrenderers received gift packs during their presentation rites.

Law enforcement nets Basilan village exec, 3 others

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 30, 2021): Law enforcement nets Basilan village exec, 3 others (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

ARRESTED. Authorities arrest a village official who allegedly has ties with the Abu Sayyaf Group bandits, including three of his companions in a law enforcement operation in Sumisip, Basilan province on Thursday (Jan. 28, 2021). In photo are the arrested suspects as they are being transported from Basilan to the Anti-Kidnapping Group headquarters at Cmp Batalla, Zamboanga City. (Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard District Southwestern Mindanao)

Authorities have arrested a barangay official and three other companions for their alleged ties with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in a law enforcement operation in the hinterlands of Basilan province.

The Coast Guard District South-Western Mindanao (CGDSWM) identified the arrested persons as Jamiron Ajijon, the barangay chairperson of Marang in Sumisip, Basilan; Bassel Ajijon Eting, 30; Alnasre Amigos, 21; and Johan Amigos, 20.

CGDSWM said the four were nabbed by virtue of warrants of arrest around 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Barangay Marang.

In a statement Friday, CGDSWM said Ajijon has a standing warrant of arrest for murder issued in 2005 by a court in Isabela City, Basilan. The other three arrested suspects are his associates.

Ajijon is the primary suspect in the killing of businessman Roberto Musablin in 2004 in Barangay Manaul, Sumisip, CGDSWM said.

He is also an associate of Basilan-based ASG leaders Furuji Indama, Pasil Bayali, and Radzmil Jannatul, according to the coast guard.

It added that Ajijon is also the leader of the “City Hunter”, a known gun-for-hire group operating in Basilan province.

The arresting team consisting of the coast guard, military, police, and the Basilan Parole and Probation Administration Office recovered from the suspects two M-16 Armalite rifles and a .45-caliber pistol with ammunition.

CGDSWM said the arrested suspects were transported from Basilan aboard the coast guard’s BRP-Bagacay and taken to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Kidnapping Group Mindanao Field Unit headquarters at Camp Batalla in this city.

Meanwhile, Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman belied claims that the arrested suspects are members of the ASG.

“They are our allies in the fight against the ASG bandits,” Hataman said in a statement Friday. “The unfounded claims will again taint the image of Basilan province, which we have sacrificed a lot to improve."

Backlash continues after NPA attacks on Surigao Norte town

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 30, 2021): Backlash continues after NPA attacks on Surigao Norte town (By Alexander Lopez)

PURE TERRORISM. The terroristic acts of the communist New People’s Army Terrorism in any form "will never be accepted,” says Mayor Karissa R. Fetalvero-Paronia of Sison, Surigao del Norte in a statement on Friday (Jan. 29, 2021). The attacks on the town's police station and the mayor's residence are roundly condemned by residents and officials alike. (Photo grab from Sison on the Rise Facebook Page)

Residents of the Surigao del Norte town of Sison rejects all acts of terrorism perpetrated by the communist New People’s Army (NPA), Mayor Karissa R. Fetalvero-Paronia said Friday.

“Terrorism in any form will never be accepted,” Paronia said in a statement, as Thursday's twin attacks by the rebels continue to receive backlash from various quarters.

“The local government of Sison condemns in the strongest possible terms these acts of violence, intimidation, and hatred especially against civilians perpetrated by the communist terrorist group (CTG) and their supporters,” Paronia said.

Thursday's attacks at the municipal police station of Sison and the residence of the town’s mayor, which lasted for about 15 minutes, caused panic and fear among the town residents, particularly the members of the senior citizens who were near the municipal hall for the release of their pension.

Residents also widely condemned the NPA for putting their lives in danger.

Brig. Gen. Romeo M. Caramat Jr., the director of the Police Regional Office in Caraga (PRO-13), described the NPA attack as “blatant disrespect, not to the law enforcers, but the peace-loving residents” of Sison.

“This senseless act of the CTG was an insult to the desire of Surigaonons to live peacefully and a clear manifestation of the continued insolence of the CTG to the government's call for real and lasting peace,” Caramat said.

No one was hurt during the attacks.

In a separate statement Friday, Surigao del Norte 1st District Rep. Francisco Jose F. Matugas II said the NPA's lawlessness does not have a place in a civilized society.

“More than that, we are in the middle of a pandemic. It is a difficult time for everybody. I plead with them to think of their families, relatives, and fellow Filipinos who are trying to survive the devastating effects of this health crisis,” Matugas said.

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

BARMM reaches out to Moro lawless groups

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 30, 2021): BARMM reaches out to Moro lawless groups (By Edwin Fernandez)

BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Murad Ebrahim. (Photo by BIO-BARMM)

Efforts are underway to reach out to Moro lawless groups to return to the mainstream and build peace in the Bangsamoro region, Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim of the Bangsamoro Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) said.

"We are trying to open a dialogue with them, convincing them to join us, to join the government," Ebrahim told a news conference organized by the Foreign Correspondent Association of the Philippines during a peace forum on Friday.

Ebrahim said his emissaries held backdoor talks with officials and members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) I Maguindanao, the remnants of Maute terrorist group and BaSulTa (Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi) based Abu Sayyaf Group.

Two of the three factions of the BIFF operating in Maguindanao have also opened their doors for negotiations, he said.

Ebrahim said many outlawed Moro rebels have expressed willingness to join the mainstream and be with their families.

He said government law enforcement operations would continue BIFF radicals who refused to surrender.

About 200 BIFF still operate in various areas in Maguindanao, while almost the same number have already surrendered to the government through the Army’s 6th Infantry Division since 2017.

NegOr bizmen to transform former rebel lair into 'zone of peace'

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2021): NegOr bizmen to transform former rebel lair into 'zone of peace' (By Mary Judaline Partlow)

ZONE OF PEACE. Mayor Edgar Teves (right) of Valencia, Negros Oriental is shown in a recent meeting with Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer (APCO) of Negros Oriental Sarah J. Perocho, and Edward Du, Central Visayas regional governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The proposed Tamlang Valley Zone of Peace was discussed during the meeting. (Photo courtesy of Edward Du)

Businessmen in the province of Negros Oriental are set to transform Tamlang Valley, which once was a haven for Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels, into a zone of peace.

The project is seen to benefit four local government units (LGUs) that straddle the area's boundaries.

Once known as a “no man’s land” during the late '80s and early '90s at the height of the insurgency in the province, the remote Tamlang Valley is bounded by the towns of Sta. Catalina, Siaton, Valencia, and Sibulan.

Only two barangays are now the only ones still affected by the insurgency, namely Dobdob in Valencia and Talalak in Sta. Catalina and the valley has seen some developments over the past years.

However, there is still much work to be done to uplift the lives of the people there, said Dumaguete-based entrepreneur Edward Du, former president of the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI) and now Central Visayas regional governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

Initial talks with the LGU chief executives were held recently to discuss the proposed Tamlang Valley Zone of Peace Integrated Development Project (TVZPIDP) and they have expressed their intent to support the project, he said in an interview on Friday.

“For the longest time, Tamlang Valley has never been developed fully in the absence of funding from the national government, and the insurgency-affected barangays there are covered by the ELCAC (End Local Communist Armed Conflict),” Du said in a mix of English and Cebuano dialect.

The ELCAC is a program under the Whole of Nation Approach of President Rodrigo Duterte to end the insurgency and attain sustainable and inclusive peace.

“So, as a result of the ELCAC consultation, there is a need to develop Tamlang Valley because of the insurgency in that area, so we have asked the NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) in Region 7, headed by regional director Efren Carreon, to contact the Hungarian government to assist us in making the feasibility study for Tamlang Valley,” Du said.

The project, according to him, is seen to provide better living conditions for the farmers and other residents of the valley, with an integrated development project to include infrastructure, irrigation, education, health, and agriculture, among others.

“We are hoping that we can obtain a foreign loan of 100 million US dollars from the Hungarian government,” he said.

Last week, a consultation was held with Tamlang Valley farmers in Barangay Kakha and Sitio Avocado, Barangay Talalak in Sta. Catalina, attended by Department of Agriculture Region 7 regional director Salvador Diputado, Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer (APCO) of Negros Oriental Sarah J. Perocho and party, he added.

Du said they are hoping to get the respective resolutions from the different municipal councils endorsing the project soon so that these can be forwarded to the Hungarian government.

“This is also part of our Covid recovery program of NOCCI, together with our partners,” he said.

AFP exec goes on leave after NPA list gaffe

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2021): AFP exec goes on leave after NPA list gaffe (By Priam Nepomuceno)  

AFP Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations, Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo. (File photo)

The head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)'s civil-military operations group whose office is responsible for the posting of the erroneous list of alleged New People's Army (NPA) members which drew flak on social media decided to take a leave of absence in light of the investigations into the matter.

"In the light of these developments, I will go on a leave of absence so as not to influence the ongoing investigation," AFP Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations, Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo said in a message to reporters late Thursday.

Arevalo said he is coming out with this statement to reiterate what he had said many times in "past interviews."

He also reiterated that the erroneous list was a mistake committed by a staff of his office, adding that he will take responsibility for the matter.

"I personally take responsibility for their actions. This is the reason why I issued a public apology and reiterated it in my succeeding interviews. The procedure my staff did to post in FB (Facebook) was confined in my office," Arevalo said.

Meanwhile, AFP spokesperson Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said AFP chief, Gen. Gilbert Gapay commended the magnanimity of the head of the Civil-Military Operations.

"The CSAFP (Chief-of-Staff AFP) commends the magnanimity of Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo in requesting for a leave of absence while the investigation is ongoing. CSAFP granted his request and relieved him as J-7 for purposes of the investigation," he added.

The military spokesperson added that the decision was made official by the Board of Generals (BOG) that resolved also to relieve Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Intelligence Maj. Gen. Alex Luna for purposes of investigation.

"The BOG likewise agreed that the deputies of the offices of J-7 and J-2 be designated as Chiefs in acting capacities," he added.

Likewise, he said the inquiry ordered by Gapay seeks to determine the extent of responsibility and accountability of those involved in the erroneous post; how the AFP can improve its systems of vetting and release of information; what updates are needed in our social media policy; and measures that may be instituted to ensure that the incident will not happen again.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, meanwhile, said Arevalo's decision to go on a leave of absence is totally unnecessary.

"That is a laudable act of Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo but totally unnecessary as I don’t think the case warrants a formal inquiry. It is an open and shut case: a list was given by an office to another office which proved to be garbage and coming from the intelligence division? As I said it was an unpardonable gaffe," he said when sought by reporters for a reaction on the matter.

Lorenzana also said the morale of the AFP is not affected by the relief of Luna from his post over the incident.

"I think the morale of the AFP is not adversely affected by the relief of MGen Luna. Everyone knows the principle of command responsibility: a commander is responsible for whatever his unit does or fails to do. My action means that every one knows this by heart and abides by it. I will not allow subordinates to be scapegoats," he added.

Earlier, the military apologized for those who were inadvertently affected by inconsistencies regarding the list of students who joined the NPA (died or captured) that was posted in the AFP Information Exchange Facebook account.

The article has since been immediately taken down or deleted from the military's social media accounts.

"The Office of the J-7 (Civil-Military Operations) AFP is already conducting an internal investigation as to how the list got published. Personnel who are responsible will be held to account," it added.

On Thursday, Lorenzana has ordered the immediate relief of Luna following the gaffe.

He added the publication of an erroneous list, originating from Luna's office of alleged NPA members killed by the military is an unforgivable lapse.

PH to safeguard sovereignty amid geopolitical issues: Lorenzana

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2021): PH to safeguard sovereignty amid geopolitical issues: Lorenzana (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. (File photo)

The Philippines will continue to maintain its independent foreign policy to protect its sovereignty and national interest amid geopolitical issues, the country's defense chief said on Friday.

"We will continue to uphold our independent foreign policy to safeguard our sovereignty and national interest. We will maintain and enhance our existing alliance while exploring potential partnership, all for the advancement of our country and the welfare of our people," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a virtual conference organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP).

Lorenzana also maintained that the long-standing geopolitical rivalry between the United States and China will continue to test the Philippines' adeptness in balancing its relationship between the two nations.

"It is necessary for us to continuously engage with China not only for existing cooperation in various areas but also for the peaceful resolution of our competing claims in the South China Sea," he added.

Lorenzana said the Philippines must remain mindful of the role of the US "as the stabilizing force in the Indo-Pacific Region and a counterbalance to China."

He also noted that maintaining a stable international rules-based order is in the best interest of all.

Lorenzana also hoped that Manila would benefit from Washington DC's "pivot to Asia strategy" under the administration of President Joe Biden.

"Thus, we welcome with great optimism the change of leadership in the US government, hoping that the strong and reliable friendship between the Philippines and the US would flourish ever further," he added.

He also expressed hope that the appointment of former Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim as an assistant secretary of the US Department of State, who has a deeper understanding of the country, will result in the exercise of prudence and restraint in dealing with other countries' domestic affairs.

"American leaders must note that the foundation of our alliance is our shared commitment to the preservation of democracy and protection of human rights and that the Philippines has never reneged from such commitment," he said.

Noting that bilateral relations is a two-way concern, Lorenzana said the Philippines must do its share in fulfilling its comment to the alliance and undertake its role in preserving this decades-old friendship.

"Our country can be a more responsible partner by exerting efforts commensurate to those of the US and its neighbors such as investing in the modernization and capability upgrade of its own Armed Forces and developing its own defense industry. By taking a relatively larger responsibility in the alliance in terms of burden-sharing, the Philippines can generate openness and confidence with the US and its neighbors," he noted.

PH's 2nd missile frigate certified 'ready for delivery'

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2021): PH's 2nd missile frigate certified 'ready for delivery' (By Priam Nepomuceno) 

Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy

The country's second missile frigate, the prospective BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), was approved for delivery and acceptance by a joint Department of National Defense (DND) and Philippine Navy (PN) inspection team on Friday.

"A joint DND and PN inspection team has approved for delivery and acceptance the future BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), the country's second new-built missile frigate. The first frigate, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), was delivered and commissioned in July 2020," said Navy public affairs office chief, Commander Benjo Negranza, in a message.

He added that the joint DND-PN inspection team and the head of the DND defense procurement service director Leodegario dela Paz found shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) compliant with all "contractual deliverables and obligations" after the conduct of harbor/sea trials from January 25 to 29.

"For technical matters and ship performance, PN inspectors led by Rear Admiral Alberto Carlos, the Chairman of the Frigate Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee, has declared FF-151 built according to agreed technical specifications," Negranza said.

Carlos earlier said that BRP Antonio Luna performed remarkedly well in the series of harbor and sea trials conducted from Sept. 25 to Dec. 18, 2020.

He added that the BRP Antonio Luna has satisfactorily passed all vessel performance test protocols.

"Moreover, we are happy to report that the HHI has provided additional equipment and sustainment items, more training activities, and ship design improvements, which are over and above its contractual obligations. HHI's goodwill gesture has an estimated value of USD 7.4 million," Carlos said.

Meanwhile, dela Paz said that "since FF151 has passed all the performance tests and the contractor has delivered on its contractual obligations, we will recommend to the Secretary of National Defense the delivery and acceptance of FF-151."

HHI project manager Bokyung Kang said he is very "honored and happy to see the finale of this PN Frigate Project."

He added that HHI has fully demonstrated its world-class shipbuilding capability and is now looking forward to extending its capability to upgrade partnership with the Philippine Navy thru more ship construction projects such as corvettes and submarines.

Based on the agreed timeline, BRP Antonio Luna is scheduled to sail out of Ulsan, South Korea on February 5 and is expected to arrive in Subic, Philippines on February 10.

The delivery of the FF-151 is one month ahead of the contractual delivery date of March 6.

After the mandatory coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) RT-PCR tests and quarantine of the crew, the PN will conduct the formal commissioning ceremony of FF-151.

Murder raps filed vs. 7 suspects in ex-Jolo police chief's slay

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2021): Murder raps filed vs. 7 suspects in ex-Jolo police chief's slay (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan) 

Police officers have filed murder charges against seven persons for the killing of former Jolo, Sulu police chief, Lt. Col. Walter Annayo in November last year, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Friday.

In a statement, PNP chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, said the results of the probe conducted by the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) “Annayo” led to the filing of the murder complaint against Rasul Nahang Radja aka Rasul Asula; Nara Kagatan Asula; and five John Does before the Maguindanao Provincial Prosecutors' Office.

“This is a major breakthrough and turning point in the investigation of the murder case of PLTC Annayo,” Sinas said. “In the meantime, we will mobilize tracker teams to monitor the respondents before we can launch manhunt operations when warrants of arrest are issued by the court.”

Annayo was shot dead by the suspects onboard a white sports utility vehicle after he parked his car along the Narciso Ramos Highway in Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao to buy coconut water.

He was earlier reassigned to the Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit of Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Parang, Maguindanao upon his relief as Jolo police chief.

Annayo was the chief of the Jolo police when six of its personnel were involved in a shooting incident that resulted in the death of four Philippine Army personnel in June last year.

Rally mere propaganda; protesters refuse dialogue: NCIP chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29, 2021): Rally mere propaganda; protesters refuse dialogue: NCIP chief  (By Marita Moaje)

MERE PROPAGANDA. Secretary Allen Capuyan, Chairperson of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (2nd from left, with back to the camera), watches protesters outside the NCIP building on Thursday morning while waiting for a chance to have a dialogue with them but failed. Capuyan said it was not the intention of the more or less 50 rallyists to talk with NCIP officials and even threw away copies of the Commission’s 2019 accomplishment report. (Contributed photo)

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) top official said the rally staged in front of their building along Quezon Avenue, Quezon City on Thursday was mere propaganda as protesters refused to have a dialogue.

Secretary Allen Capuyan, NCIP Chairperson, said it was not the intention of the more or less 50 protesters led by
Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Eufemia Cullamat to talk with NCIP officials pertaining to alleged claims of atrocities against indigenous peoples (IPs).

“It’s all propaganda and no talks. Ironically, Cong. Cullamat was there at hindi nagsalita (and she did not speak),” he said.

He added that he decided to take a break from a Zoom meeting when he learned of the rally, hoping to have a dialogue with rally leaders.

Instead of insisting on the dialogue, he said they distributed copies of the NCIP Annual Accomplishment Report for 2019.

Still hoping for a peaceful meeting with them so he can hear them out, Capuyan advised his chief of staff, lawyer Ardy Fajutan, to stay behind because he needs to go back to his meeting.

“Tinapon nila ang NCIP Reports (they threw away the NCIP Reports) and did not engage in a dialogue,” Capuyan said. A link to the video posted on NCIP’s Facebook page shows the protesters throwing away copies of the annual report.

Air Force gets C-130H aircraft from US

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 30, 2021): Air Force gets C-130H aircraft from US (By Priam Nepomuceno)

JUST ARRIVED. Philippine Air Force officials pose in front of the Lockheed C-130H aircraft that arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Friday (Jan. 29, 2021). The airplane is the first of two C-130H aircraft granted to the Philippines by the US government through the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency. (Photo courtesy of the Air Force Public Affairs Office)

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Friday formally welcomed one of the two Lockheed C-130H aircraft it has acquired through a grant from the United States government.

The aircraft, which came from Tucson, Arizona and had a tail number of 5125, was welcomed in a simple arrival ceremony in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City that was graced by PAF vice commander Maj. Gen. Florante M. Amano.

"The C-130H with (tail number) 5125 is the first one of the two C-130H aircraft granted by the US government through the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The aircraft will provide enhanced capability in terms of heavy airlift missions to support the movement of troops and cargoes during territorial defense security and stability and humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations," PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Aristide Galang said in a statement on Saturday.

Galang said a series of technical inspections by concerned committees and home station checks by flight and maintenance crew would be conducted in the next two weeks.

"The PAF will then conduct a formal acceptance, turnover, and blessing of the C-130H aircraft at Villamor Air Base, Pasay City," he said.

The cost of acquiring the two C-130H aircraft was earlier placed at PHP2.5 billion, with the Philippines contributing PHP1.6 billion and the US about PHP900 million.

The C-130 is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin.

Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport aircraft.

PNP boosts operational capability with 3 more choppers

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 31, 2021): PNP boosts operational capability with 3 more choppers (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

PNP AIR ASSET. One of three brand new H125 Airbus single engine turbine helicopters received by the Philippine National Philippine Friday (Jan. 29, 2021) at the Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay City. The PNP fleet now has seven Airbus H125, two R-22 Robinson police helicopters and a fixed-wing trainer aircraft, all stationed in Metro Manila. (Photo courtesy of PNP)

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has acquired three additional multirole helicopters to boost its operational capability against insurgency and terrorism.

PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas announced that the Special Action Force-Air Unit (SAF-AU) has formally received the three brand new Airbus H125 single engine turbine helicopters from Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia PTE LTD on Jan. 29, 2021 at the Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay City.

“These new air assets will further boost our operational capability in support of the anti-insurgency and anti-terrorism campaign,” Sinas said in a statement on Saturday.

He said the latest acquisition of police helicopters was done through funds from the General Appropriations Act 2019.

The new police helicopters with registry numbers RP-2420, RP-6088, and RP-9710 are now at the PNP-SAF Air Unit hangar at the Manila Domestic Airport, he added.

Sinas said the PNP fleet now has seven H-125 Airbus, two R-22 Robinson police helicopters and a fixed-wing trainer aircraft, all stationed in Metro Manila.

The PNP is eyeing the deployment of two helicopters each in Central Visayas and Southern Mindanao, and one in Northern Luzon, Sinas said.

The PNP has included an air-ambulance to its shopping list of programmed procurements.

CPP/CIO: NTF-ELCAC cannot defeat NPA with band-aid solutions

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jan 28, 2021): NTF-ELCAC cannot defeat NPA with band-aid solutions


JANUARY 28, 2021

Share and help us bring this article to more readers.

Read in: Pilipino

Last weekend, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) boasted in a press conference in Davao City that it allotted P20 million to fund various projects under its Barangay Development Program for 215 barangays in Region 11. This is part of the P19.2 billion fund which the NTF-ELCAC got under Duterte’s 2021 budget.

1. The band-aid projects of roads, school buildings and health centers under the Barangay Development Program of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) merely cover up the roots of peasant unrest in the countryside.

Because these do not address their fundamental demand for genuine land reform and the clamor for respect of ancestral lands, the peasant masses and Lumad people will remain poor, oppressed and exploited. The NTF-ELCAC’s barangay projects only aim to further entrench the AFP in civilian communities in order to secure the economic power of mining companies, big landlords and big agribusiness companies in Southern Mindnao. Under the NTF-ELCAC, the peasant masses continue to be driven away from their land.

The NTF’s barangay projects will fail to quell the growth of resistance in the countryside. The clamor for land and urgent agrarian reforms continue to stir the peasant masses and Lumad people to wage struggles and to support and join the New People’s Army.

2. The Barangay Development Program of the NTF-ELCAC merely aims to smokescreen the bloody dirty war being waged by the AFP against the peasant masses and Lumad people. It seeks to dress up the military as an agency concerned with economic development, education, health and so on. These, however, cannot cover up the reality of killings, unlawful arrests, intimidation and threats, restrictions on movement and economic and community activities, red-tagging and forcing people to surrender and cooperate with the military. Under its Retooled Community Service Program (RCSP), the AFP occupy communities endangering the lives of civilians and commiting gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

3. The NTF-ELCAC said that the ₱20 million will be broken down to P12 million for “farm to market roads”; ₱3 million for school buildings; ₱2 million water and sanitation projects; ₱1.5 million for reforestation; and ₱1.5 million for health stations. What will the NTF-ELCAC’s ₱20 million bring to 215 barangays (which if distributed equally amounts to ₱93,000 each). Practically nothing. Just think, each barangay will get a health center worth ₱6,976? Or P13,953 for a school building?

4. In implementing the Barangay Development Program, the military-dominated NTF-ELCAC is practically taking over the functions of civilian agencies. It is using its funds to direct the priorities of these different agencies. The NTF-ELCAC undermines the principle of “civilian supremancy” by insisting that everyone follow its “whole of nation approach.”

This shows how the military and the defense establishment is taking over the whole bureaucracy in the name of anti-communism. All national agencies and local units of government are being made to prioritize counterinsurgency. They are compelled to “cooperate” with the AFP and comply with all its programs and orders.

5. The NTF’s ₱20 million for 215 barangays (which is so far the only announcement made this January) raises the question where the rest of ₱19.2 billion NTF-ELCAC funds will go.

According to its officials, these funds will go to the “development” of more than 800 “cleared” barangays. Going by the Region 11 allocation of P93,000 for the “holistic development” of each barangay, then the NTF would be spending a total of ₱74.5 million, which is less than 1% of its budget. Even if it releases P20 million monthly, it would be spending only ₱240 million, a mere 1.25% of its budget. So, where really will its billions of pesos go?

The billions of pesos of funds of the NTF-ELCAC is the AFP’s own war chest for electioneering. It can choose to support the pro-military local officials and prioritize their for-show projects to boost their election plans for 2022. On the other hand, local officials will seek favors of the military to have themselves prioritized for funding and thus boost their election chances.

CPP/NPA-Southeast Negros: Use of dead NPA photo in Army fb profile condemned

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jan 27, 2021): Use of dead NPA photo in Army fb profile condemned


JANUARY 27, 2021

The New People’s Army (NPA) in Southeast Negros strongly denounced the malicious use and exploitation of the photo of a recently martyred Red fighter by a Facebook account of an 11th IB psywar operative.

The account “Tagabantay Kami Kaninyo” (We Are Your Guardians) maintained and managed by M/Sgt. Borja utilized the photo of Wilbert/Ebit “Ka Mj” Fuentes who died along with another comrade last December 24, 2020 in an armed clashed in Siaton that resulted in four AFP casualties.

This account was employed by Borja on orders by 11th IB and NTF-ELCAC overlords as front in its red tagging and vilification campaign against the masses especially the members of legal peasant organizations.

“This is clearly a desecration of dead person which is taboo in our culture and strictly prohibited in International Humanitarian Law. It only show how desperate 11th IB is given the unrealistic and unattainable marching order of AFP chief of staff to dismantle all NPA guerilla fronts in 2021. They cannot even wipe out a small team, let alone an entire guerilla front,” Rachelle Mae Palang Command (RMPC) spokesperson Ka Estrella Banagbanag said.

Banagbanag added that out of desperation the 11th IB is using all malevolent methods available in its books of dirty tricks to deceive, hoodwink and browbeat the masses into submission.

Borja has been implicated in several cases of red tagging, death threat, blackmail and attempted ejk. The farmers of barangay Tayak, now the epicenter of RSCP mischief in Siaton, and adjacent barangays of Napacao and Casalaan are in the process of filing appropriate legal cases and other actions. ###

CPP/NDF-Bicol: Mga mersenaryong ahente ng estado ang pumaslang kay Jobert ‘Pulpog’ Bercasio

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jan 27, 2021): Mga mersenaryong ahente ng estado ang pumaslang kay Jobert ‘Pulpog’ Bercasio


JANUARY 27, 2021

Mapanlinlang, walang katotohanan at taliwas sa ebidensya ang paninisi ng RTF-ELCAC sa CPP-NPA-NDFP sa pagpaslang sa brodkaster na si Jobert ‘Pulpog’ Bercasio. Mga mersenaryong ahente ng estado, hindi ang NPA, ang pumaslang sa kanya nitong Setyembre 14, 2020. Sadyang walang ibang inaatupag ang rehimeng US-Duterte kundi magwaldas ng bilyun-bilyong pondo ng bayan para sa paghahabi ng mali-mali at hindi kapani-paniwalang datos.

Isang oras bago siya pagbabarilin ng riding-in-tandem sa Sorsogon City, isiniwalat pa lamang niya sa kanyang programa na mayroong ilang truck mula sa quarry site sa Bulan, Sorsogon na walang dalang wastong dokumento. Mayroong kaugnayan ang naturang quarrying sa isang pulitiko ng prubinsya. Matapos ang apat na buwang imbestigasyon, mismong institusyon ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno ang nagdeklarang kaugnay sa insidente ang kanyang mga nakatunggali sa pulitika.

Walang kasong nakasampa kay Bercasio sa rebolusyonaryong hukumang bayan. Pinagpupugayan pa nga ng NDF-Bikol ang mga kagawad ng midyang tulad ni Bercasio sa mapangahas at matapang na paggamit ng kanilang propesyon upang makapagbigay ng tinig sa masang pamalagiang pinagkakaitan ng daluyan ng pasistang estado.

Tanging pakay ng RTF-ELCAC ang paninirang-puri at pagpipinta sa CPP-NPA-NDF bilang mga mersenaryo, walang habag at marahas. Isinisisi nito sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan ang lahat ng krimen at suliranin sa lipunang tunay namang pinasimunuan, higit na pinalubha at ipinagpapatuloy ng rehimeng US-Duterte. Sa desperadong pagturo sa CPP-NPA-NDFP bilang salarin sa pagkakapaslang kay Bercasio, higit na nahahalatang nagkukumahog ang RTF-ELCAC, NTF-ELCAC, AFP-PNP-CAFGU at iba pang galamay ng pasistang diktadurang pagtakpan ang halos 200 kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang tao sa rehiyon. Tahasang pinabayaan ng rehimeng US-Duterte ang mamamayang Pilipino sa harap ng isang pandemya at sunud-sunod na krisis sa ekonomya para lamang pagkagastusan at ilaan ang limpak-limpak na salapi mula sa kabang bayan upang pondohan ang mga task force at iba pang programa upang linlangin ang mamamayang Pilipino.

Higit lamang nagmumukhang hangal ang pasistang estado sa bawat pekeng impormasyong ipalaganap nito. Mulat ang mamamayan kung sino ang tunay na salarin sa kawalang-katarungan at patuloy na sumisidhing kahirapan sa lipunan. Ang kanilang bawat hakbang tungo sa paghahanap ng katarungan at tunay na pagbabago ang higit na nagpapalakas at nagpapalawak sa kanilang suporta sa CPP-NPA-NDFP. Kongkretong patunay nito ang kaliwa’t kanang tagumpay ng mga opensiba ng NPA sa buong bansa pagpasok ng bagong taon.

Mahigpit na nananawagan ang NDF-Bikol sa masang Bikolano, laluna sa mga kagawad ng midya, na ibayong maging mapanuri at kritikal sa mga pahayag at isyung naririnig o nababasa sa iba’t ibang daluyan. Walang kapagurang isiwalat at labanan ang anumang hakbang ng rehimeng US-Duterte na higit pang linlangin ang mamamayan. Sa pamamagitan ng sama-samang pagkilos at walang humpay na pakikibaka, tiyak hindi kailanman mapipigilan ng anumang kampanyang saywar at disimpormasyon ng pasistang rehimen ang pangingibabaw ng tunay na naratibo ng mamamhayan.

CPP: An Open Letter to all LGU Officials of the Third District of Negros Oriental

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jan 27, 2021): An Open Letter to all LGU Officials of the Third District of Negros Oriental

JANUARY 27, 2021

Since the promulgation of Executive Order No. 70 in 2018 that institutionalized the so-called “whole-of-nation” strategy and the subsequent formation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the unsparing Duterte regime has been dragging local government officials across the country in its dirty and brutal war against the revolutionary movement.

Local chief excutives were brazenly exploited to embellish ELCAC local task forces to project an image of “civilian-led anti-insurgency campaign” and compelled to serve as its figurehead chairperson. But in reality, this is only for show since the AFP/PNP is in complete control and ultimately determine its programs and courses of action.

In fact, NTF-ELCAC is Duterte regime’s instrument to impose a de facto martial law in areas it lay siege where the authority of the LGU enormously diminished, if not at all substituted.

Furthermore, city and municipal councils were made to sign a template and pre-written statement from DILG declaring the CPP, NPA and the NDF as “persona non grata” entities.

Out of pressure and fear for retribution, many of LGU officials perfunctorily go along with ELCAC’s activities.

But now the ungrateful Duterte has the gall to sweepingly accuse (without naming names and presenting an iota of evidence) LGU officials of supporting the NPA. The AFP recently revealed that they have in possession a supposed list containing the names of LGU officials abetting the revolutionary movement.

Duterte is waving this list like a magic wand to exact submission and obedience from LGU officials especially with the election season forthoming and he is desperately clingling to power by all means among them using the “Sarah for president” card that requires massive local political support.

Duterte’s madness must end. Enough of his reign of state terrorism, catastrophic neoliberal economic policies and unbridled bureacratic corruption.

Stand up for your rights and resist Duterte’s arm-twisting! Desist from being use as cannon fodder in Duterte’s war against the people and schemes to perpetuate himself in power!

CPP/CIO: Repression stirs youth intellectual ferment for armed struggle

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jan 26, 2021): Repression stirs youth intellectual ferment for armed struggle


JANUARY 26, 2021

Intellectual ferment for armed struggle among the youth and urban intellectuals has long been stirring, especially under the openly repressive Duterte regime. This ferment cannot be killed by Secretary Lorenzana by abrogating the UP-DND accord. In fact, in doing so with the aim of restricting academic freedom, he is only succeeding in further stoking the students and youth’s intellectual interest in the NPA and the armed revolution.

The more that Duterte’s military and police carry out surveillance and monitoring, arrests, imprisonment and killings against his regime’s critics, activists and oppositionists, the more that the question of waging armed struggle as a means of resistance and defense becomes an urgent concern for the youth and the people, and the more that they are drawn to support or join the NPA.

Defense Secretary Lorenzana and his fascist-minded ilk in the AFP want to suppress this intellectual ferment. He has gone to the extent of unilaterally abrogating the 1989 UP-DND accord to threaten academic freedom in the University of the Philippines and stop students and teachers from using their brains to discuss the question of revolution and armed resistance.

In the name of “saving the youth,” what Lorenzana actually wants is to suppress the critical and creative minds of the youth. He wants the youth to think like the military which demands blind obedience to all orders, acceptance of the status quo, and rejection of all notions of radical change.

He wants the military to establish its intimidating armed presence in UP and other universities to instill fear in the student population and stop them from thinking and acting critically against the corruption, mendacity, treachery and tyranny of the ruling Duterte regime. He wants students to stop thinking about the armed struggle, stop knowing the truth about what the NPA stands for, and stop them from asking the question why the NPA continues to enjoy the growing support of the people.

Students and intellectuals are defending academic freedom because it gives them the opportunity to decide for themselves and not merely follow what the military tells them to believe or do. Under a liberal atmosphere of academic freedom, students and intellectuals do research and intelligently observe society, its problems and their solutions.

With this freedom, many intellectuals make the insightful observation that the Duterte government has failed to put science and democracy ahead of militarism and corruption in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic; that majority of the Filipino people, especially workers and peasants, are gravely suffering under the severe economic crisis, pandemic and calamities; and other truths that are being buried by the regime’s official lies and disinformation drive.

They also keenly observe how Duterte’s Anti-Terror Law is being used to threaten the people; how people are being intimidated, silenced and suppressed by the military and police’s acts of state terrorism; how they are being prevented from defending their rights and well-being through peaceful means.

Many students, teachers and other intellectuals can see for themselves how the people are being left with no other recourse but to join the NPA. And indeed, among them some have made decision and commitment to join the people in armed resistance. They are not victims of deception. They are people’s servants enlightened by their intellectual honesty.

As the Filipino mark today the start of the First Quarter Storm of 1970 and the 50th anniversary of the Diliman Commune, let us support the struggle of the youth and students, teachers and intellectuals to defend academic freedom against military interference in universities. The students and youth must affirm their determination to fight for their rights and welfare. They must advance the cause of serving the oppressed and exploited people and joining their movement for national liberation and social justice.

CPP/NPA-Sorsogon: Wala pang hustisya sa pagkamatay ni Jobert Bercasio

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jan 26, 2021): Wala pang hustisya sa pagkamatay ni Jobert Bercasio


JANUARY 26, 2021

Share and help us bring this article to more readers.

Kinukundena namin ang paggamit ng PNP-Sorsogon sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan upang makatakas sa kanilang responsibilidad at di masilip ang kanilang katamaran, kainutilan at kawalan ng kakayanang resolbahin ang pagkapaslang kay Jobert Bercasio, isang mamamahayag, noong Setyembre 14, 2020.

Nitong Enero 21, sa pangunguna ni Lt. Col. Benito Dipad, ay idineklara ng PNP na resolbado na ang kaso ni Bercasio at ang BHB ang itinuturong salarin.

Kumbenyenteng sangkalan para sa pulisya ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan para hindi na nila gawin ang nararapat na masusing pag-iimbestiga sa kaso ni Bercasio. Nakagawian na ng PNP ang padaskuldaskol na imbestigasyon sa mga kasong hawak nito–tanda ng kawalan ng tunay na interes na magsilbi sa ikatatamo ng hustisya. Kamakailan lamang ay naging kontrobersyal ang napakabilis na deklarasyon ng pulisya na resolbado na ang kaso ng paggahasa at pagpatay kay Cristina Dacera samantalang wala pa ni isang salaring nadadakip.

Kung gagawin lamang ng pulisya ang sinumpaan nilang trabaho, hindi imposibleng matuklasan nila na mga kabaro nila ang pumaslang kay Bercasio. Sino ba ang numero unong kaaway ng malayang pamamahayag? Hindi ba’t ang gubyerno mismong pinagsisilbihan ng PNP at AFP?

Ang walang batayang deklarasyon ng PNP na lutas na ang kaso ni Bercasio ay paglapastangan sa kalayaan sa pamamahayag at hustisya.