Friday, February 19, 2021

BARMM official says around1,000 MILF members to be granted amnesty

From ABS-CBN (Feb 19, 2021): BARMM official says around1,000 MILF members to be granted amnesty

Some 1,000 members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front who committed crimes for their political beliefs will be granted amnesty by President Rodrigo Duterte, an official of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) said Friday.

BARMM Interior Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said this was part of the normalization track of the comprehensive agreement on the fledgling self-governing region with the rebel group.

As a confidence-building measure, the amnesty proclamation encourages combatants to transition into civilian life, he said.

"The other one is if they are to participate in political exercises such as the right to vote or being voted for in the event they want to participate in the political process, [criminal] cases would affect their chances of running for public office," Sinarimbo told ANC.

The amnesty erases criminal liability and restores political rights of an individual.

Among those set to benefit from the proclamation are members of MILF's central committee and senior commanders, Sinarimbo said.

Some of them are officials of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which serves as the interim government of the region, he added.

Sinarimbo hopes the process of amnesty proclamation, which had been delayed, will be completed quickly.

"There has been concern expressed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that some aspect of the agreement has been moving very, very slowly," he said. "Part of that is the issue on amnesty pardon. We’re happy this time amnesty has been proclaimed by the President."

BARMM is the region created in Mindanao out of the peace agreement between government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is seen as key to ending the decades-long rebellion in the restive south.

The region is composed of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato City and 63 barangays of North Cotabato.

Duterte grants amnesty to rebel group members

Documents released on Tuesday showed Duterte has granted amnesty to members of several groups who committed crimes for their political beliefs.

Members of the Moro National Liberation Front, Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa–Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade Tabara Paduano Group and Communist Terrorist Group will also be granted amnesty.

An End in Sight for the Philippines’ Maoist Insurgency?

Posted to The Diplomat (Feb 19, 2021): An End in Sight for the Philippines’ Maoist Insurgency? (By Jack Broome)

The Philippine military claims that a breakthrough is around the corner, but a continuation of the conflict is convenient for many.

In this Nov. 23, 2016 photo, members of the communist New People’s Army hold their weapons during ceremonies before a clandestine news conference at their guerrilla encampment in the Sierra Madre mountains, southeast of Manila, Philippines.Credit: AP Photo/Aaron Favila,

The Philippines’ Maoist insurgency has spanned over five decades and is one of the world’s longest ongoing armed conflicts. The roots of militant communism in the Philippines can be traced as far back as World War II, when communist guerrillas led by the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas-1930 (PKP-1930) fought a campaign of resistance against the Japanese occupation. After the war, they continued to fight against the government of the newly independent Republic of the Philippines, in what became known as the Hukbalahap Rebellion.

The beginning of the current conflict, however, dates to 1969 and the emergence of the New People’s Army (NPA). With the end of Hukbalahap Rebellion in 1954 and the virtual dissolution of PKP-1930, communist revolution in the Philippines appeared a thing of the past. However, the 1960s saw a resurgence in the popularity of radical left-wing politics, particularly Mao Zedong Thought, which was welcomed as a necessary revision to Marxist-Leninist ideology. In 1964, Jose Maria Sison — who at the time was still involved with PKP-1930 — founded Kabataang Makabayan, a socialist youth organization which had among its members Rodrigo Duterte, the current president of the Philippines. After leading a rectification campaign to address the failures of PKP-1930, in 1968 Sison then went on to found the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). A year later, the NPA was established as the armed wing of the CPP with the help of a former member of the Hukbalahap guerrilla movement.

Since then, the NPA has conducted an unrelenting insurgency against the Philippine government, with units based across the length and breadth of the country, from Luzon to Mindanao and Palawan to Samar. Despite the best attempts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to drive the NPA into submission, as well as over 40 rounds of peace talks hosted by the government, both the NPA and the CPP’s political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF), remain active.

NPA on the Brink of Collapse?

Over the last few months, however, both the AFP and the government have claimed that the NPA is on the verge of collapse and expressed confidence that peace can be achieved by 2022, the end of Duterte’s term in office. These statements have accompanied a steady stream of spectacular reports detailing the number of NPA soldiers killed, captured, or capitulated.

For instance, a group of 50 NPA members surrendered en masse in Saragani on March 28; between June 6 to 12 in the space of less than a week, a staggering 480 NPAs laid down their arms, with fighters based in North Luzon making up the majority of these; and then on 16 November, 63 NPA rebels in Sultan Kudarat indicated their wish to return to the legal fold. In Mindanao in particular, the NPA has suffered significant losses—from January 1 to November 16 2020, the AFP claims to have “neutralized” or captured, killed, or accepted the surrender of 3,832 NPA members and supporters in the Eastern Mindanao region alone.

Upon closer inspection, however, these figures are problematic. According to the AFP, by December 18 the number of neutralized NPAs in Eastern Mindanao had risen to 5,985, meaning an increase of 2,153 in the space of just over a month. Additionally of the 5,985, 4,300 were members of Underground Mass Organizations (UGMOs) and other pro-communist organizations and were therefore unlikely to be armed fighters. Given that current estimates of the NPA’s size tend be in the region of 4,000-5,000, it is difficult to accept that in a single year as many as 1,685 fighters were neutralized within a single region.

CPP founder Jose Sison instead argues that the NPA has managed to expand its ranks and has “thousands of Red fighters well-trained and battle-tested in more than 100 guerrilla fronts in 73 provinces out of the 81 Philippine provinces.” Sison further claims that the NPA is able to operate freely in more than 80 percent of areas in the Philippines and that its 14 regional commands remain capable of “waging battles that…[they] can win.” This runs counter to the AFP’s assessment, which only accounts for a total of 54 remaining guerrilla fronts, with nine other regional armed groups on the brink of collapse. Similarly, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported an increased number of surrenderees in 2020: it claims a total of 3,155 NPA fighters turned themselves in, compared to 405 in 2019 (this does not include those logged by the AFP).

A Conflict of Interests

Determining the truth of these claims is complicated by the fact that all parties involved are subject to their own, often conflicting, interests, which dictate how the insurgency is framed. At the head of the Philippine government is Duterte, whose election was due, in part, to promises he made while still on the campaign trail to end the 50-year-long conflict with the NPA. Duterte was seen as uniquely placed to secure a resolution to the communist insurgency due to his past involvement with radical socialist organizations and his personal connection with Sison, a former university professor of Duterte’s. Early attempts at engagement resulted in a historic ceasefire, but this soon collapsed over disagreements relating to the release of political prisoners. The extent to which Duterte was, and still is, politically invested in the peace process was made clear by the rather tortuous attempts he made to revive negotiations with the CPP. For over a year, Duterte oscillated between levying threats and offering concessions before finally announcing in November 2016 that peace talks had been terminated and, a month later, declared the CPP-NDF-NPA a terrorist group. Since then, with the exception of a brief ceasefire in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Duterte has refused to engage with the CPP-NDF-NPA.

Despite being a source of pressure for Duterte, the communist threat also provides a useful political device to tackle opposition and legitimize some of his more controversial policies. “Red-tagging,” the practice of labelling someone as an affiliate of the CPP-NDF-NPA, has spiraled out of control since the beginning of Duterte’s administration. In particular, Duterte has been accused of using red-tagging to target the Makabayan bloc, a coalition of leftist political parties, in a bid to remove them from government. Duterte has also been blamed for using the conflict with the communists to justify the introduction of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which has been widely criticized for its failure to uphold human rights, as well as for its potential to be used to silence opposition. Currently, the law is under review in the Supreme Court after numerous petitions have been filed against it, including by two Aetas (indigenous peoples from the island of Luzon) who were accused of being members of the NPA. The men were the first to be charged under the law, but say they were wrongly convicted and subjected to torture.

For the AFP, the communist insurgency provides a key part of its raison d’être and, more importantly, one of the main justifications for its bloated budgetary requirements. This is because a significant proportion of the military’s resources are devoted to counter-insurgency operations, and this is reflected in the allocation of its funding from the government. One such source of funding is the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which was created by Duterte as part of his “whole of nation” approach to mobilize the entire bureaucracy, rather than just the state security apparatus, to resolve the 50-year-old conflict.

As part of its responsibilities on the NTF-ELCAC, the AFP participates in various peacebuilding initiatives. Working in partnership with Local Government Units, the AFP delivers community outreach and capacity building programs to local communities in conflict-affected regions. Members of the AFP are also usually present at oath-taking ceremonies in which communities swear allegiance to the government, as well those in which former rebels are awarded with financial assistance through what is known as the Enhanced Comprehensive and Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). The importance of these activities in drawing local support away from the CPP-NDF-NPA and towards the government means that the AFP is effectively able to approach the government with an open hand when making funding requests.

Not surprisingly, the Makabayan bloc has described the NTF-ELCAC as a pork barrel fund. Whether this is true or not, there are clear financial incentives for the AFP to prolong the conflict with the Maoist rebels in order to avoid the reduction in its budget that a peace agreement would surely entail. This may explain why when the question of declaring the usual holiday ceasefire came up this Christmas, the AFP recommended against the idea and then made sure to thank Duterte for heeding its advice.

Local Government Units (LGUs) also find themselves in an equally conflicted position. LGUs are major recipients of NTF-ELCAC money due to the fact they are in charge of administering village development schemes. In fact, in the NTF-ELCAC budget for 2021, the majority of funds have been allocated to village development, meaning that this year LGUs will receive more from the NTF-ELCAC than either the Department of Labor and Employment or the Department of Tourism. To qualify to receive the funds though, LGUs may have to prove that villages have been cleared of communists. Senator Risa Hontiveros has pointed out the potential for abuse here, whereby the release of funds could be tied to the granting of political favors. Village leaders are crucial in mobilizing voters and with the 2022 elections approaching this could provide the government with a way of siphoning support away from progressive candidates. Again, though, should the insurgency come to an end, LGUs would not only lose a significant portion of their funding, but also a key source of political leverage. There are even LGUs which are sympathetic to the communist cause, as demonstrated by news that the Department of the Interior and Local Government is filing charges against a member of the Quezon provincial board for sheltering two members of the NPA.

Seeing as the ideological goals of the NPA provide for a typically zero-sum game when it comes to negotiations with the government, it is unlikely to abandon armed resistance any time soon. This being said, among individual members of the group there are incentives to engage with the government. Surrendering NPAs frequently cite the general hardship of the guerrilla lifestyle, particularly the scarcity of food and other basic necessities, as the main factor behind their decision. Other factors include: failures to provide adequate financial support; ideological divisions, especially regarding taxation of the poor; and isolation from family members. Recently, there has been more than one case of female members leaving the NPA after suffering sexual abuse. Former rebels have also stated that the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the difficulties they faced.

Aside from these push factors, E-CLIP and other government-run schemes offer significant incentives for NPA fighters to reintegrate with society. Those that do, receive immediate assistance in the form of a cash sum between 5,000 and 20,000 pesos; livelihood assistance (usually between 10,000 and 50,000 pesos); housing assistance, which can be as much as 450,000 pesos; and firearms remuneration. Former rebels are also provided with skills training through organizations like the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority.

This does not mean, though, that the number of surrenderees is necessarily a good metric for the rate of attrition among NPA fighters. For instance, it is a known occurrence for fighters to surrender in order to claim financial assistance and then swiftly return to the ranks of their unit. This is particularly true for those fighters faced with immediate and pressing demands for large sums of money from family members, such as for medical bills or loan repayments. The government has also been accused of falsely presenting ordinary citizens as former NPA insurgents in its photo-ops.

Another feature of government reports throughout 2020 has been the large number of civilians withdrawing their support for the insurgency. Announcements of several hundred people, or even entire villages, denouncing the CPP-NDF-NPA during mass surrenders and oath of allegiance ceremonies are not uncommon. In addition to the financial assistance provided to former fighters by schemes like E-CLIP, as mentioned above, the NTF-ELCAC also allocates funds to LGUs for the purposes of village development. In December 2020, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) declared that 1,546 LGUs — at least 90 percent of the country’s total — have designated communist sympathizers as persona non grata in their localities.

It should be noted, however, that the DILG’s assertions were immediately called into question after the mayor of Quezon City, which was included among the list of LGUs, denied ever having made such a statement. Similarly, comments made by the AFP on multiple occasions suggesting that only Mindanao can still be considered an NPA stronghold don’t hold up to scrutiny. Frequent clashes continue to occur in other traditional NPA strongholds, such as Samar Island, Leyte, Mindoro, and even Central and Northern Luzon, where the AFP has claimed the NPA is apparently close to “extinction.” These areas would not be NPA strongholds without the support of the local population. Recently, for example, it was necessary for the mayor of a town in Samar to warn local leaders that they will be arrested if they continue to assist the NPA. The reality in most areas, though, is that people are forced to cooperate with which ever armed force is at their doorstep on any given day, whether it be it the NPA or the AFP.


As Marco Valbuena, the information officer of the Central Committee of the CPP said himself, “[w]e must remember that through the past decades, all of the AFP’s past predictions of crushing the NPA have all been proven wrong.” The NPA’s ability to survive is not only down to factors like the enduring appeal of communism among rural communities and the Philippines’ indigenous peoples (see my recent article), but also because there are clear incentives for the government and the AFP to prevent its total collapse. As long as sustained conflict is mutually beneficial for all sides involved, it is difficult to see an end to the insurgency by 2022.

[Jack Broome is a security analyst focusing on Southeast Asian and East Asian regional politics, with a specialization in ethno-religious violence, intra-state conflict, anti-state activity and secession struggles.]

U.S. Military turns over C-130 Hercules aircraft to Philippine Air Force

Posted to Palawan News (Feb 19, 2021): U.S. Military turns over C-130 Hercules aircraft to Philippine Air Force (By Bryan Medina)

The C-130H Hercules aircraft turned over by the U.S. Military to Philippine Air Force (PAF) on February 18, 2021, at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. | Photo by the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines

The first of two Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft with tactical airlift capability has been turned over by the U.S. to the Philippine government as part of strengthening the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) logistical capacity for military and civil support operations.

A press statement sent Friday by the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines stated that the aircraft was turned over Thursday (February 18) at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City by Chargé d’ Affaires (CDA) John Law, alongside their representatives from the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) in the country.

Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana (3rd from left) with Chargé d’ Affaires John Law and other PAF officials during a tour of the C-130H Hercules aircraft. | Photo by the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines

It was delivered under a recent transfer to Department of National Defense (DND) Sec. Delfin Lorenzana and the Philippine Air Force (PAF) leadership.

It was handed over to the PAF through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grant program to step up the AFP’s logistical capacity for military and civil support operations, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) and distribution of COVID-19 supplies.

The C-130H Hercules aircraft is capable of a maximum payload of 19,000 kilograms, with a flying range of over 1,900 kilometers. The 220 Airlift Wing at the PAF headed by Brigadier General Benito N. Ebuen Air Base in Cebu will own and operate the aircraft.

“The C-130 is a proven aircraft and demonstrated its reach and capability to deliver COVID-19 supplies across the country over the past year. We hope this additional aircraft will continue to be a steady workhorse for the Philippine Air Force for years to come,” said Law.

In a Philippine News Agency (PNA) report, Lorenzana said the arrival of the aircraft is a “timely augmentation” to the country’s present C-130 fleet.

“Certainly, this will make our Air Force soar higher since this new asset will enhance its heavy aircraft capability in missions to support the movement of troops and cargoes during territorial defense and internal security,” Lorenzana said.

“With the government’s upcoming vaccination program to start in the next few months, the Air Force will be very much involved in the transportation of vaccines to all parts of the archipelago,” he added.

With tail number 5125, the aircraft arrived in the Philippines on January 29. The cost of acquiring the two C-130 aircraft was earlier placed at P2.5 billion, with the Philippines contributing P1.6 billion and the U.S. about P900 million, the state bureau’s report said.

The United States, as a longstanding ally of the Philippines, continues to provide support to the AFP through both grants and expedited sales of arms and munitions to assist with urgent logistical and HADR requirements, bolster long-term AFP modernization goals, and buttress maritime security and counterterrorism efforts.

The Philippines is by far the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance in the Indo-Pacific region. Since 2015, the United States has delivered more than Php37 billion ($765 million) worth of planes, ships, armored vehicles, small arms, and other military equipment to the Philippines, while also training side-by-side with our Filipino allies.

850 cops on anti-insurgency training

From Panay News (Feb 19. 2021): 850 cops on anti-insurgency training (By Ruby Silubrico)

The 850 personnel of the Police Regional Office 6 during the send-off ceremony on Feb. 18. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN

Eight hundred fifty personnel of the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) are training on internal security operations to combat insurgency.

The Basic Internal Security Operations Course (BISOC) for 323 policemen started yesterday at the PRO-6’s mobile group training center in Sara, Iloilo, said Police Lieutenant Colonel Joem Malong, PRO-6 spokesperson.

The remaining 527, on the other hand, started immersing in the villages of Antique and IIoilo province known as “centers of gravity” of the rebel movement in Panay Island.

They are expected to apply the skills they learned during training, said Malong.

The 323 cops would also undergo community emersion once they finish the BISOC – a mandatory training for all police personnel.

The 60-day training course provides the cops with the right knowledge, attitude, skills, and values that will make them more capable and qualified to be assigned in the mobile forces of the Philippine National Police whose primary function is to confront problems on internal security, said Malong.

PRO-6 conducted a send-off ceremony for the cops led Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac, chief of the PNP Training Services in Camp Crame.

“Tayo lalapit sa mga tao para mag–serbisyo at para malaman natin ang kanilang mga concerns,” Banac told the policemen.

After the training, the policemen will be assigned to various mobile force companies in Region 6.

Phil. Army soldier hurt in gunfight with Reds

From Panay News (Feb 19. 2021): Phil. Army soldier hurt in gunfight with Reds (By Ruby Silubrico)

Troops of the Philippine Army’s (PA) 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB) engaged New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in a gunfight in Barangay Iglilico, San Joaquin, Iloilo yesterday. A soldier was wounded.

The soldier, with a rank of Private First Class, had gunshot wounds on the chest and right arm.

He received medical treatment and was already in stable condition,” according to Captain Cenon Pancito III, PA’s 3rd Infantry Division spokesperson.

The firefight lasted for about 30 minutes. It began around 1:51 p.m. while 79IB soldiers were conducting house-to-house visits in Barangay Iglilico.

Pancito believed the rebels belonged to the NPA’s Suyak Platoon led by Joven Ceralvo alias “Ka Lex.”

They withdrew after Army augmentation troops arrived.

Pancito urged local residents to immediately report to authorities the presence of suspected NPA rebels in their villages.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. It was founded on March 29, 1969.

Rebel tagged in slay of four Negros cops dies in shootout

From the Visayan Daily Star (Feb 19. 2021): Rebel tagged in slay of four Negros cops dies in shootout (BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

The prime suspect in the brutal killings of four members of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 7 in Negros Oriental more than a year ago was killed in a shootout with the police in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, yesterday.

PNP chief, Gen. Debold Sinas,
identified the suspect as Ryan Sandag Manguilimutan, with aliases of James and Ignacio, who had a pending arrest warrants for four counts of murder, and theft, issued by Bais City Regional Trial Court Judge Rosario Carriaga.

Sinas said Manguilimutan died in a shootout during a joint intelligence operation of the PNP Special Action Force, PNP Intelligence Group, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, National Capital Region Police Office, and the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office at Gen. Kalentong, Daang Bakal, Mandaluyong City.


He said Manguilimutan was recruited to join the New People’s Army in 2013, and became a member of the Regional Strike Force of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor in 2016.

Two years after, he became a regular member of the Central Negros Front 3 of KR-NCBS, Sinas said.

Manguilimutan, with six NPA members and supporters, waylaid and murdered the four RMFB 7 troopers, who were conducting information gathering in Brgy. Mabato, Ayungon, Negros Oriental, and took their firearms, on June 18, 2019, the police said.

Sinas also said that a 9mm Canik pistol, that was issued to one of the four slain troopers with three magazines containing 39 ammunition were among the items recovered from Manguilimutan. Policemen also recovered a brown sling bag containing his personal belongings, and four empty shells of a 9mm, at the crime scene.

3 NPAs killed, 4 firearms seized in AgSur clash

From the Philippine Information Agency (Feb 19. 2021): 3 NPAs killed, 4 firearms seized in AgSur clash

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 19 – Three members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed and three firearms to include assorted war materiel were seized after a five-minute firefight between the government troops and the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) Terrorists (CNTs) at Sitio Damming, Barangay Zillovia, Talacogon, Agusan del Sur at around 2:00 p.m. on February 15, 2021.

Troops of 26th Infantry (Ever Onward) Battalion under the operational control of 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade clashed against more or less seven CNTs believed to be members of Guerilla Front 88 of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC).

Said firefight resulted to the tragic demise of three CNTs and the seizure of the following items at the encounter site: one M16 rifle; two shotguns; one cal. 38; two hand grenades; one anti-personnel mine (APM); assorted ammunitions; five cellphones; one binocular; medical paraphernalia; 15 sets of Army Battle Dress Attire (BDA); lousy caps; combat boots; numerous ammunition of different caliber; and various subversive documents.

Brigadier General Maurito Licudine, the Commander of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade, lauded the troops’ decisive victory and its persistent determination in tracking the NPA terrorists who were pestering the communities in the area. “This victory is for the people who for the longest time wanted to live without the intimidation and threat from the NPA Terrorist. We urge the CNT to stop using violence as it will not solve our problems,” he said.

Licudine also offered his sympathies to the dead NPAs and ensures that the cadavers will be turned over to the families once it will be identified for decent and proper burial. However, he emphasized that the tragic fate of the dead NPAs was a reminder of the futility of the armed struggle which the communist terrorist group is espousing and placing the lives of innocent youths and the masses who were deceived and exploited, to extreme danger during skirmishes.

“We reiterate our call to the remaining members of the NPA to voluntarily surrender and heed the call of peace. We want to assure the CNTs that our troops will be relentless in pursuing them, there is no other way for them but to lay down their arms or continue hiding and be hunted. It’s their choice but we insist that they follow the path of peace for the sake of their families and for the people who longed to live normal lives in peace,” BGen. Licudine bared.

No casualty on the government side and troops are still on pursuit operations. (Major Francisco Garello, Jr., CMO, 402nd Brigade/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

Tagalog News: Rebeldeng NPAs, supporters nagbalik-loob sa gobyerno

From the Philippine Information Agency (Feb 19. 2021): Tagalog News: Rebeldeng NPAs, supporters nagbalik-loob sa gobyerno (By Nora C. Lanuza)

LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Pebrero 19 (PIA) -- Handang tumulong sa pamahalaan ang mga rebeldeng nagbalik loob sa gobyerno kasama ang halos 500 myembro ng underground mass organization o UGMO na sumusuporta sa mga terorsitang NPA sa bayan ng Las Nieves sa Agusan del Norte.

Sa kanilang pababalik loob sa gobyerno siginuro ni Tommy, presendente ng UGMO ang kanilang suporta. Malaki din ang kanilang pasalamat sa 23rd Infantry Battalion at nakabalik-loob na sila sa gobyerno.

Ayon din kay Agusan del Norte provincial administrator Gerry Joey Laurito, handa at patuloy ang tulong ng pamahalaan sa barangay Casiklan at sa mga malalayong lugar ng probinsya.

Maliban sa tulong ng probinsya, handa din ang TESDA na mabigyan ng livelihood at skills training ang mga nagbalik-loob upang makapagbagong buhay at magkaroon ng hanapbuhay.

Boluntaryo ding isinurender ng mga nagbalik loob ang dala nilang armas sa 23rd IB. (NCLM, PIA Agusan del Norte)

PTF ELCAC holds first RCSP immersion in Mansalay

From the Philippine Information Agency (Feb 19, 2021): PTF ELCAC holds first RCSP immersion in Mansalay (By Luis T. Cueto) 

A Mangyan woman receives food pack from the government during the recent immersion of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF ELCAC) held in Brgy. Panaytayan, Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro. (Photo credit: 203rd Bantay Kapayapaan Brigade, Philippine Army)

MANSALAY, Oriental Mindoro, Feb. 19 (PIA) -- The Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF ELCAC) recently conducted a three-day Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) Immersion in Brgy. Panaytayan in this town.

The PTF ELCAC and the Municipal Task Force (MTF) immersed in the place of Hanunuo Mangyan tribe in order to personally know their actual situation so they can respond to their needs.

A ‘Serbisyo Caravan’ was held to serve the needs of Mangyans in the barangay especially those who are living from Sitios Sinariri, Taytay, Bukana, Kipalinay, Gaang, Padilag and Dagum. These sitios belonged to the category of Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs) where basic services of the government could hardly be reached due to inaccessibility and far-off places.

During the caravan, the government provided the Mangyan with free medical consultation, free registration of birth, membership registration for PhilHealth, distribution of vegetable seeds, distribution of food packs and orientation on the existing programs of different government agencies.

Aside from the government, some Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) like Operation Blessing and Akayin Group, also extended their help to the Mangyan tribe. The Operation Blessing gave 63 reams of A4 bond paper which can be used by students in the modular learning. The Akayin Group also provided the children with school supplies and toys.

In his message, Brigadier General Jose Augusto Villareal, head of the 203rd Infantry (Bantay Kapayapaan) Brigade, Philippine Army, thanked the local government and the national governments for their support to the program.

“Sa ating sama-samang pagmamalasakit at pagtutulungan ay ating matutuldukan ang mga problemang panlipunan na syang ginagamit ng mga teroristang CPP-NPA sa kanilang panlilinlang sa mga Mangyan. Sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng tamang impormasyon at dekalidad na serbisyo sa ating mamamayan ay ating mabibigyang-daan ang kapaypaan at pag-unlad ng bawat pamayanan [With unity, concern and support, we can ease the burden of society, which is being used by the CPP-NPA terrorists to deceive the Mangyans. By g iving the right information and quality service to the people, we pave the way for peace and progress in every community.],” said Villareal.

The immersion is in line with the RCSP as mandated in Executive Order No. 70, which is institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation Approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, creating a national task force to end local communist armed conflict, and directing the adoption of a national peace framework.

Villareal encouraged all Mangyans living in Brgy. Panaytayan to avail all programs and services of the government and ostracize the communist beliefs that lead them to danger.

The immersion was organized through the leadership of Oriental Mindoro PTF ELCAC Chairman Gov. Humerlito A. Dolor with the active participation of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer (PSWDO)/PTF ELCAC Focal Person Zarah C. Magboo and Mansalay MTF ELCAC Chairman Mayor Ferdinand Maliwanag, in a person of Vice-Mayor Leynette G. Postma.

The program was supported by different government agencies, such as Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Philippine National Police (PNP), PhilHealth, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Philippine Army, DepEd and the local government of Mansalay. (LTC/PIA-OrMin)

A program beneficiary fills up a form for free registration to PhilHealth. Philhealth shoulders the contribution of qualified indigents. A total of 649 indigents were registered to PhilHealth during PTF ELCAC immersion in Mansalay according to PhilHealth Provincial Officer Ma. Neresa C. Reganit. ((Photo credit: 203rd Bantay Kapayapaan Brigade, Philippine Army)

Soldier wounded in encounter with Reds in Iloilo town

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 18, 2021): Soldier wounded in encounter with Reds in Iloilo town (By Perla Lena)

SUPPORT PROGRAM. A community support program (CSP) was carried out in geographically isolated barangays in Tubungan, Iloilo last month. The Philippine Army said Thursday (Feb. 18, 2021) it targets to introduce CSPs in 30 locations this year to address insurgency. (Photo courtesy of Maj. Cenon Pancito III, 3ID, Philippine Army)

A government trooper was wounded following an encounter with members of the communist-terrorist group in the vicinity of Barangay Iglilico, San Joaquin, Iloilo past 1 p.m. on Thursday.

A spot report furnished by Maj. Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), said the team of the wounded personnel of the 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB) was conducting a house-to-house visitation as part of their community support program (CSP) when they chanced upon more or less 10 members of the Suyak (SDG) Platoon, Southern Front Komiteng Rehiyon Panay under Joven Ceralvo.

The firefight lasted for about 30 minutes and the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels withdrew southwest towards Antique.

The Army trooper obtained a slight wound on his chest and the upper portion of his right arm but is in stable condition, Pancito said.

Last month, the 61st Infantry Battalion introduced CSPs to barangays identified as geographically isolated and disadvantaged in the municipalities of San Joaquin, Miagao, Tubungan, and Leon to help address the insurgency in their areas.

These municipalities are categorized as areas affected by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)–NPA but they have passed resolutions declaring the group as persona non grata.

In an interview, Pancito said they are eyeing to increase areas in Iloilo with CSPs from the current 12 to 30.

The CSP is carried out by military personnel, however, there are stages where interventions of other government agencies are necessary as part of the whole-of-nation approach.

“Our end-goal is to liberate Panay from (the) CPP-NPA. So before they will be liberated, there are parameters to include the dismantling of guerilla fronts, not just about fighting but about clearing the communities from their influence,” he said.

The CSP serves as their tool and also a prelude to the barangay development program worth PHP20 million, Pancito said, adding that they intend to “alienate” the barangays from the influence of the NPA and want them to “be resilient when the NPA is going back to their communities.”

“We intend to finish clearing all influenced areas within the year as per our national headquarters’ directive. This is part of our goal that next year, if not eradicate NPA, at least their legal fronts will be dismantled. We can make the NPA irrelevant already to the community, just like what we did to the eastern front,” he said.

The 61st IB is focusing on the southern front of the NPA that operates from Miagao towards Antique.

Another group is also operating against the Central Front of the NPA that operates from Calinog town towards Tapaz, Capiz.

“In order for us to clear the two remaining fronts of the NPA, we need to focus on clearing of barangays,” Pancito said.

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

PH acceptance of C-130 plane 'timely reinforcement': DND

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 19, 2021): PH acceptance of C-130 plane 'timely reinforcement': DND (By Priam Nepomuceno)

As the Philippine Air Force (PAF) formally accepted the first of two Lockheed C-130H cargo transport aircraft acquired through a grant from the US government Thursday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana called the arrival of the airplane a "timely augmentation" to the country's existing C-130 fleet.

"Certainly, this will make our Air Force soar higher since this new asset will enhance its heavy aircraft capability in missions to support the movement of troops and cargoes during territorial defense and internal security," Lorenzana said during the turnover ceremonies of the aircraft at Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.

He said the arrival of the C-130H plane came at an opportune time as the PAF was tapped, since the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, to facilitate the transport of millions of medical and non-medical supplies nationwide.

"With the government's upcoming vaccination program to start in the next few months, the Air Force will be very much involved in the transportation of vaccines to all parts of the archipelago," he noted.

The C-130, with tail number 5125, arrived in the country last January 29.
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 urges CHR to look deeper into IP kids’ rescue

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 19, 2021): PNP urges CHR to look deeper into IP kids’ rescue (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan) 

PROTECTING CHILDREN'S RIGHTS. PNP chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, speaks in a press conference in Cebu City on Friday (Feb. 19, 2021) regarding the recent rescue of 19 IP children from a retreat house inside the University of San Carlos. The PNP said it will be uncompromising in protecting the rights of children from any form of exploitation. (Photo courtesy of PNP PIO)

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday called on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to look deeper in its investigation into the rescue of indigenous peoples (IP) children in a Cebu university earlier this week.

“These children, and their parents, have a lot of stories to tell. If they care enough about the best interest of these children, CHR needs to deepen their objective views in their investigation. Pare-pareho naman kami sa CHR at mga pulis nag-aral ng mga prinsipyo, pagmamalasakit,at pagsulong sa karapatan ng mga bata (We, the CHR and the police, are studying principles on compassion and advocating the rights of children),” PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said in a message to reporters.

This came as the CHR in Central Visayas released its findings, saying there is no proof that the children were forced to join the communist movement while they are staying at the University of San Carlos (USC) campus in Talamban, Cebu City.

"Indoctrination from the Reds borders on radicalization. CHR should know better. People might begin to wonder again who do they work for in their investigation if, at face value, after going back to their office they would write that kind of assessment without looking closely on the plight of these Lumad children exploited in communist indoctrination," Usana added. “Kung hindi ba mga Lumad children ang na-rescue from this form of child trafficking (If the children who were rescued from this form of child trafficking were not Lumads), would the CHR have the same view that children did not actually fall victims to the manipulation of their recruiters."

Usana, meanwhile, reiterated that the PNP is uncompromising when it comes to upholding the protection and welfare of children.

“Nakakaawa ang mga 19 na batang (Ata) Manobo (The plight of these 19 Ata Manobo children are pitiful) and there have been more children like them who are similarly situated now. Kapakanan po ng mga batang Lumad ang focus po natin dito. Wala po dapat pinagtatalunan pagdating sa karapatan ng mga batang nabibiktima ng pananamantala sa anumang kaparaanan (Our focus here is the welfare of the 19 Lumad children. There should be no disputes when it comes to upholding the rights of children who are being exploited in any way),” he said.

He said a case of human trafficking, among other cases, has been filed by PNP women and children protection investigators.

“Let us allow our the PNP-DSWD authorities to do their work according to what they see is fit for the best interest of the Lumad children,” he noted.

Meanwhile, PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas insisted on the legality of the rescue operation after some groups described as "fake" the rescue operation of the IP minors.

"Anyway, we have filed a case in court. If they have a case to file against us in court, then we will answer it. We will not sign in to media mileage just to say something the PNP is here to assist the family and file a case. We are basing on facts and hindi po (not) hearsay at gawa gawa lang (or made-up stories). We will wait when the time comes. So anyway we do not want to engage in media releases. We will just wait and answer it in the right forum," he told reporters during his visit to Cebu City to meet with the Lumad children and six of their parents on Friday.

A police report said of the 19 rescued IP students, 15 are minors — nine are from Talaingod, Davao del Norte, five from Sultan Kudarat, and one from Zamboanga. Their ages are said to be between 14 and 17 years.

The four others, of Talaingod, Davao del Norte are above 18 years old.

The children were reportedly taken away from their families by teachers of Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanogon without the parents' consent.

Some 55 Salugpungan schools, an alternative learning hub reportedly run by communist groups, were ordered closed by the Department of Education 11 in 2019 due to several violations, including the relocation of students away from their homes without their parents' consent.

DepEd 11 also found out that the teachers of Salugpungan schools do not have the professional license to teach, and operated within the ancestral domain of tribal communities without obtaining the mandatory Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) and certification from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

The parents said they were made to sign a paper when their children were taken from them but they did not even understand its content.

No 'canvass' of personnel willing to get Covid-19 vax: AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 19, 2021): No 'canvass' of personnel willing to get Covid-19 vax: AFP (By Priam Nepomuceno)

File photo

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday said that it is not running a canvass on its personnel on whether or not they are willing to get inoculated with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines.

"We do not have a canvass as to who are willing to be vaccinated and who is not," AFP spokesperson Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a message to reporters.

Arevalo, however, added that as professional soldiers, they will simply get inoculated with government-approved vaccines to better perform their mandate.

"But we are mindful to give priority to the medical/health front-liners amongst us. That number constitutes around 25 percent of the entire AFP's strength," Arevalo said.

Among troops who would get the first shots of the Covid-19 jabs are those tasked to conduct security operations to protect the areas for vaccinations.

Also included are those involved in the delivery and transportation of these vaccines to the cold storage and vaccinations areas and those assigned to medical support operations.

Meanwhile, Arevalo said members of the Presidential Security Group who were earlier inoculated are all safe at the moment.

"We are pleased that PSG Personnel who have volunteered to be vaccinated in the pursuit of their mission to protect the President did not only perform a selfless act, they were also safe as an aftermath of the inoculation. No adverse side effects as we speak," he added.

Earlier, AFP chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said he is giving way for other sectors, especially front-liners, to get inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccines first before he himself gets vaccinated.

NDF: Compelling Visions of Just Peace: The Ethical Imperative of Human Dignity in Social Transformation

Posted to the National Democratic Front Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Feb 19, 2021): Compelling Visions of Just Peace: The Ethical Imperative of Human Dignity in Social Transformation

By Julieta de Lima
Interim Chairperson, Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines

February 18, 2021

I am honored to speak at the 9th Ecumenical Church Leaders’ Summit on Peace February 18-19, 2021 commemorating 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines and celebrating God’s gift of human dignity on the subject of Compelling Visions of Just Peace: The Ethical Imperative of Human Dignity in Social Transformation.

The 9th Ecumenical Church Leaders’ Summit on Peace is a chance once again to express our unity amidst our diversity as the 500 years of Christianity in our country is being commemorated.

In the spirit of Pope Francis, let us seek unity in diversity in dealing with issues that beset society such as when he pontificated: “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ, all of us, not just Catholics. …Even the atheists. Everyone!” on careerism, on judging homosexuals, on consumerism, on the environment, on marriage, remarriage and divorce and most importantly, on the option for the poor (Evangelii Gaudium) as he strives to make the Church relevant to the lives of the people.

Oppression and exploitation are a systematic violation of human dignity. It is in this regard that I wish to discuss human dignity as the core of the revolutionary process of transforming the oppressive and exploitative society we have in the Philippines towards a life of dignity for the Filipino people.

I share your vision of a just and enduring peace for the Philippines, which means peace beyond the silence of guns to the active presence of justice, right relationships with others and the rest of creation. It is tangible and manifested through food on the table, decent jobs and wages, clothing, shelter, education and access to the basic needs. To me this means Man proposes and God disposes, with the masses not only voicing the will of God but realizing it on earth. We make the plan but it is up to the masses, the people, to make this successful. In other words, our prayers are not enough, these must be substantiated by human effort.

Let me present to you the just demands and just aspirations of the people that have inspired the rise of the armed revolutionary movement in the Philippines. I shall also refer to the willingness of the same movement to negotiate a just peace, so brutally frustrated by the all-out war policy and termination of the peace negotiations by the Duterte regime.

These aspirations and demands are precisely among the objectives of the Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution as well as the 12-Point Program of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which you may find at <>

In both documents are the most important objectives of the national democratic revolution in the Philippines, which are to achieve full national independence and people’s democracy. The old democratic revolution of 1896 was anticolonial and led by the liberal bourgeoisie and was aimed at building a bourgeois democratic republic.

It was preceded by the secularization movement of the clergy in the Philippines led by Monsignor Pedro Pelaez, ecclesiastical governor of the Church and continued by native (Filipino) priests, the most famous of whom were the martyred priests Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora. Their martyrdom, their Christian sacrifice, inspired the national consciousness and coherence of the Filipino people as single nation of diverse ethno-linguistic communities. It is a historical fact that Spanish colonialism brought Christianity to the Philippines. But it is also a historical fact that the Filipino people have adopted it as a redemptive and liberating moral force in the same manner as one type of society after another has adopted science and technology as a progressive factor in advancing civilization.

Today’s new democratic revolution is led by the working class and is aimed at proceeding to the socialist revolution in consonance with the era of modern imperialism and the world proletarian revolution. The revolutionary leadership of the working class and its vanguard party ensures that the new democratic revolution has a socialist perspective, takes a socialist direction and is the preparation for the socialist revolution.

With the peasantry as the main force of the revolution, it is certain that the main content of the democratic revolution is fulfilled with the satisfaction of the peasant demand for agrarian revolution through free land distribution. And the line is set for agricultural cooperation and mechanization when the stage of socialism is reached.

It is necessary for us to study the different classes in Philippine society in order to know who are the motive forces and friends and who in varying degrees are the enemies of the revolution.

The motive forces of the revolution are the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie and middle bourgeoisie.
The enemies of the revolution are the imperialists and their domestic collaborators: the comprador big bourgeoisie, the landlord class and the bureaucrat capitalists. They are the forces of counterrevolution that wish to perpetuate the semifeudal ruling system of oppression and exploitation.

The comprador big bourgeoisie are the chief financial and trading agents of the US and other imperialist countries. The landlord class perpetuates private ownership of lands and subjects the peasants and farm workers to feudal and semifeudal conditions of exploitation and oppression.

The bureaucrat capitalists are the political agents of the big compradors and landlords but they have become a distinct class by accumulating power and wealth by using their governmental authority. They have gained notoriety as political dynasties wanting to perpetuate themselves in power in order to accumulate private capital and land

The big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists are considered the class enemies because they exploit the people, especially the workers and peasants, and they use the semicolonial state to oppress the people and keep them within the bounds of the ruling system through violence and deception.

Within the framework of the broad united front policy and tactics, the CPP refers to these enemy classes as the reactionary classes in order to focus the term “enemy” on the most reactionary clique that is in power. The sharpening of the term is meant to take advantage of the splits among the reactionaries and narrow the target of the revolution to the ruling reactionary clique as the enemy in a given period.

As I explained above, the motive forces and the friends of the revolution are the following: a. the working class as the leading class from the new democratic stage to the socialist stage of the Philippine revolution, b. the peasantry (essentially the poor and middle peasants and the seasonal farm workers) as the main force or democratic majority of the people and c. the middle social strata of the urban petty bourgeoisie and the middle bourgeoisie.

Their needs and demands are expressed in the program of people’s democratic revolution (PPDR). And they participate in the revolution in order to realize this program. Their participation in the revolution spells the growth and advance of the revolution towards victory.

Why are the workers called the leading class of the revolution? The working class is the leading class of the revolution because it is the most advanced productive and political force among the various classes in Philippine society and in the world. It is the class that can sustain and further develop an industrialized economy even without the bourgeoisie. It is indispensable in the development of an industrialized socialist economy.

It is the class that is capable of leading the toiling masses to overthrow the state power of the bourgeoisie and replace it with the state power of the proletariat and fulfill the historic mission of socialist revolution and construction. The working class has the most developed theory for revolutionary change and the accumulated practice of leading successful socialist revolutions, despite the subsequent revisionist betrayal and capitalist restoration in the Soviet Union and then in China. The theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism encompasses philosophy, political economy and social science.

The working class has created the Communist Party as the vanguard party to focus on revolutionary theory and practice on the basis of the revolutionary mass movement. The Communist Party is the instrument of the working class for leading the revolution from the people’s democratic stage to the socialist stage of the revolution.

The peasant class (mainly the poor and middle peasants and traditional seasonal farm workers) is still the most numerous class in the Philippines and comprise the democratic majority of the people. The satisfaction of their demand for land through agrarian revolution is the main content of the revolution.

The protracted people’s war in the new democratic revolution is possible in the Philippines because the peasant class has provided the people’s army with the social and physical terrain as well as the widest area of maneuver for the people’s war against the enemy that is superior in terms of military personnel, equipment and training before the people’s army gains the upper-hand by capturing the weapons from the enemy.

The actual social investigation and class analysis done by the CPP belies the claim of the enemy that the Philippines is already a newly-industrialized country, even without having the capability to produce industrial capital goods. The trick of the enemy is to claim that out of the 45 million labor force or manpower in the Philippines 58 per cent are workers in the service sector and 19.1 per cent are workers in the industry sector. Thus, the working class is now supposedly 77.1 per cent, while the peasantry has dwindled to 19.1 per cent without the need of genuine land reform and national industrialization. Most of the so-called service workers are odd jobbers and are the off-shoot of the semifeudal economy and not the consequence of industrial capitalism.

The CPP is the principal instrument of the working class for leading the national democratic revolution and, subsequently, the socialist revolution. To be able to take this role, the CPP has to build itself as an ideological, political and organizational instrument of the working class. It has to realize the class leadership of the working class in the entire revolutionary movement of the people.

As the ideological instrument of the working class, the CPP is guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and has applied this theory on the history, circumstances and revolutionary practice of the proletariat and people.

As political instrument, it has formulated the general line of people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war and with a socialist perspective and has done the political work to build itself, the people’s army, the revolutionary mass organizations, the united front and the revolutionary organs of democratic power.
As the organizational instrument, it has built itself organizationally under the principle of democratic centralism in order to make collective decisions on the basis of democracy.

The CPP established the New People’s Army (NPA) to defend , advance and serve the people’s interests. In upholding human dignity in the Christian and Marxist sense as well as in accordance with the international covenants on human rights and humanitarian conduct in war the CPP sees to it that as an imperative, every fighter abides by the simply-worded three main rules of discipline and the eight points of attention to wit

Obey orders in all your actions.
Do not take a single needle or piece of thread from the masses.
Turn in everything captured;

Speak politely,
Pay fairly for what you buy,
Return everything you borrow.
Pay for anything you damage
Do not damage crops,
Do not take liberties with women,
Do not ill-treat captives.

The NPA is the Party’s principal mass organization. It is not only a fighting force. It conducts propaganda work for party building, it carries out the agrarian revolution in the countryside, builds and protects rural bases and the people’s government.

In contrast, we do not experience the reactionary armed forces of the oppressive classes observing such a code of conduct. What we observe daily is the abuse of authority and the lack of concern for the welfare of the masses on the part of the armed forces as instrument of the bourgeoisie for protecting their interests as exploiting classes.

The CPP also established and built the National Democratic Front, which seeks to develop and coordinate all progressive classes, sectors and forces in the Filipino people’s struggle to end the rule of US imperialism and its local allies of big landlords and compradors, and attain national and social liberation. The earliest of its current 18 organizations is the Christians for National Liberation, which preceded the NDFP by two years. Its formation was inspired by the anticolonial priests Gomez, Burgos and Zamora martyred in the old democratic revolution as well as by Camilo Torres and liberation theology.

Your concept paper states: “The unpeace in our country has violated, defaced and deformed human dignity in our country and is a constant occurrence.” We must understand that imperialist powers and the local exploiting classes have built an economic system that grabs most of the social wealth creating by the toiling masses of workers and peasants and have developed a system of organized violence to enforce exploitative and oppressive laws and to suppress any critique or movement that is construed as a threat to the fundamentals of the ruling system.

In representation of the revolutionary forces the National Democratic Front has agreed with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines to engage in peace negotiations in order to address the roots of the armed conflict with mutual agreements on social, economic and political reforms in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration. It is not entirely impossible to agree on these reforms, which are of a bourgeois-democratic character and which have been carried out in a number of East Asian countries, such as in post-fascist Japan and the so-called newly-industrialized countries since the 1970s.

This is the reason why revolutionary and progressive organizations like PEPP persist in campaigning for the resumption of the peace negotiations under all circumstances. They remain optimistic that their efforts would alleviate the dire situation of the masses even under the worst of circumstances.

As you have noted, communities, both in urban and rural areas, live in fear of constant threat – threat from an unseen virus, threat from increasing poverty, threat from arbitrary use of power from those who have sworn to protect them – and other forms of violence from the virus of tyranny.

Because of the violent resistance of the Duterte regime to basic social, economic and political reforms and Duterte’s termination of the peace negotiations, it becomes ethically and morally imperative for the Filipino people to participate and advance the protracted people’s war in pursuit of national and social liberation. It is also for this reason that a people’s armed force is both an ethical and moral imperative for the people to mobilize and defend themselves. Inaction on their part is to allow unpeace to reign in our country. It means allowing a tyrannical, treasonous and corrupt government to trample on the rights and interests and, therefore, the dignity of the people, especially the toiling masses.

The Duterte government unilaterally terminated the peace negotiations with the NDFP when it issued Proclamation 360 in November 2017 and designated the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations under Proclamation 374 of December 2017.

It has since launched an all-out war against the NDF, the New People’s Army, the Communist Party of the Philippines and organizations it accuses as “front organizations”. The breakdown of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations has also led to unbridled ‘red-tagging’ of government critics, and church people and churches were not exempted from this practice by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Not satisfied with all the repressive measures it had already taken, the Duterte regime took advantage of the lockdown necessitated by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic to impose further sufferings on the people through racketeering and profiteering on the procurement and purchase of medical equipment, masks, etc and appropriating donations medical aid from from governmental and private charitable institutions to line their pockets.

As we celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the country, let us strive ever harder to uphold human dignity and as your concept paper states, put this “at the center of our nation’s life in order for us to get in the right track for our collective journey towards peace”.

Let us strengthen our struggle for peace by ousting the tyrant and all his instruments that victimize the people. We can then hope that upon the tyrant’s ouster or stepping down , or in the meantime being miraculously struck by lightning on the road to Damascus, the tyrant Duterte gives way to a new administration that is patriotic, democratic-minded and concerned with the rights and welfare of the people, would be willing to resume the peace negotiations with the NDFP.

Thank you.

NDF/CPP-CIO: Message of solidarity with the CNL’s 49th anniversary

Posted to the National Democratic Front Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Feb 17, 2021): Message of solidarity with the CNL’s 49th anniversary

Marco Valbuena
Chief Information Officer
Communist Party of the Philippines

February 17, 2021

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) extends greetings of solidarity to Christians for National Liberation (CNL) on its 49th anniversary. Through the CNL, the Party works with the patriotic and democratic religious community who seek to serve the broad masses in their struggle to be free from national and social oppression.

We remember today Fr. Frank Navarro, Fr. Nilo Valerio, Fr. Zacarias Agatep and scores of other religious who saw their calling in the path of the people’s revolutionary struggle. They braved the dark reign of terror. Their martyrdom will forever be remembered.

We recall as well the 149th anniversary of the execution of Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora who fought for freedom from Spanish colonialism. Indeed, our current struggle for national liberation traces its path to the 500-year continuum of resistance against colonialism and neocolonialism.

We share with the community of Catholics, Christians, Muslims and other Philippine religious their abhorrence of gross injustice, inequity, exploitation and repression, which has grown severe under Duterte’s tyranny.

The CNL plays an important role in the Filipino people’s resistance against the fascist-terrorist regime. It must rouse the people and give them courage to fight amid grave dangers and great adversity.

By making sacrifices in difficult struggle, the CNL will surely share with the Filipino people the joy of inevitable victory against Duterte’s tyranny even as they determinedly tread the longer path towards national and social liberation.

Kalinaw News: Philippine Army, CAFGU and PNP completed Urban Combat Orientation Training in Aurora

From Kalinaw News (Feb 19, 2021): Philippine Army, CAFGU and PNP completed Urban Combat Orientation Training in Aurora

BALER, Aurora-42 selected individuals from 91st Infantry “Sinagtala” Battalion, Philippine Army, Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), and Aurora Police provincial Office (APPO) successfully completed a four-day training in Urban Combat Orientation Training (UCOT) on Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 91st IB headquarter, Barangay, Calabuanan, Baler, Aurora.

Lt. Col. Reandrew P. Rubio, commander of 91st IB said that there were 30 enlisted personnel from 91st IB, 6 CAFGU and 6 PNP members of the APPO who were graduated and now more capable of neutralizing terrorists planning to conduct attacks in cities and highly populated areas wherein the training was started last Monday, February 15, 2021.

“They were trained in order to become well-rounded, effective, and efficient urban warfare operators and capable of dealing with terrorist threats and not only on the insurgency menace,” Rubio said in an interview, who also graced the occasion.

Rubio said that the training is designed to develop skills of the participants to respond in crisis and terrorist incidents in mostly urban situations.

“We develop them (participants), we honed them in anti-terrorist methods in conducting operations, to enter an assault, strategies in extrication of hostages, and close-quarters battle,” Rubio said.

The top army official in this province also said that the training participants can be deployed to deal with urban warfare scenarios.

Rubio also expressed his sincerest thanks and gratitude to the trainees.

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

Kalinaw News: Army’s 3ID Forges Stronger Ties with Religious Sector in Panay

From Kalinaw News (Feb 19, 2021): Army’s 3ID Forges Stronger Ties with Religious Sector in Panay

CAMP PERALTA, Jamindan Capiz – To forge a better and stronger partnership with the religious sector in Panay, the Army’s 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division through its 301st Infantry (Bayanihan) Brigade reached out to the Archdiocese of Jaro in Iloilo City on Thursday, February 18, 2021.

Col. Orlando Edralin, the Deputy Brigade Commander, of the 301st Bde and party met Jaro Archbishop Jose Romeo Lazo to have a brotherly and friendly dialogue.

Bishop Lazo was joined by the directors of the Social Action Centers (SACs) of Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, and Antique.

During the dialogue, both parties expressed willingness to converge and work together in the future endeavors that will uphold the people’s welfare and the society as a whole.

With this, the 3ID thanked Bishop Lazo and SACs’ directors for welcoming the Army and letting them sat with their table to talk about the future collaboration of the two key sectors of the society.

The 3ID likewise underscored the significant role of the religious sector in the Whole -of – Nation Approach in attaining peace and development not only in Panay Island but also in the country.

On February 08, 2021, the 3ID also paid a visit to San Jose de Antique Bishop Most Rev. Marvyn Maceda to solidify their partnership.

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

Kalinaw News: 16 Former Rebels receive Financial Assistance grant in Misamis Oriental

From Kalinaw News (Feb 19, 2021): 16 Former Rebels receive Financial Assistance grant in Misamis Oriental

CLAVERIA, Misamis Oriental – A total of 16 Former Rebels (FRs) received an initial financial assistance amounting to Php80,000.00 from the Provincial Government of Misamis Oriental during an awarding ceremony held at Headquarters 58th Infantry “Dimalulupig” Battalion (58IB), Sitio Migbanday, Poblacion, CLaveria, Misamis Oriental, February 17, 2021.

The awarding was headed by Hon. Yevgeny Vincente Emano, Provincial Governor of Misamis Oriental who was represented by Mr. Filmark Y. Jumawid, RSW, E-CLIP focal person, and Ms. Janiene L. Pasicaran, RSW; together with Major Hermilando T. Corvera Jr., the Executive Officer of 58IB.

The financial assistance is a benefit under the Enhanced Comprehensive and Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) which is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s advocacy in reintegrating the FRs back to mainstream society and help them improve their living conditions.

Each of the 16 beneficiaries receive Php 5,000 in cash, which could ultimately help them start a small business to help improve their lives in community and nation-building. In doing so, the beneficiaries expressed their gratitude to the government for remaining sincere in supporting those who were victims of the Communist terrorist groups’ lies and deceit.

This is only an initial help under the E-CLIP benefits. There are more benefits to come such as housing benefits, modified conditional cash assistance, sustainable livelihood programs, assistance to individuals in crisis situations and protective and basic services for individuals and their families.

Meanwhile, Sir Filmark Jumawid thanked the surrenderers in their cooperation and asked them to use the cash wisely. He also assured the FRs that they will do their utmost best to speed up the processing of their other benefits under the E-CLIP. “Dili pa man ni ingon na dako no pero kay kinasing kasing ni na paghatag gikan sa gobyerno. Maningkamot gihapon kita na sa inyohang pagbalik sa sabakan sa gobyerno, atong paspason ang pagprocess sa assistance na makuha pa ninyo. Unta lang, gamiton ni ninyo sa sakto na pamaagi. Salamat kayo sa tanan sa inyong kooperasyon. Hinaot na magpadayon kita na maningkamot alang sa inyong nakuhang tabang na makuha pa gyud nato ang atong mga pangandoy sa kalibutan.”

Lt. Col. Ricky L Canatoy, Commanding Officer of 58IB, remains steadfast in his belief that the political will and commitment of the line agencies and the local chief executives together with the full support of their constituents, are the keys to ending insurgency in every region.

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

Kalinaw News: 180 Ex-NPA Supporters Unite for Peace Building Seminar

From Kalinaw News (Feb 18, 2021): 180 Ex-NPA Supporters Unite for Peace Building Seminar

Kibawe, Bukidnon – Some 180 former mass-based supporters of the Communist-Terrorist Groups (CTGs) operating in nine barangays of Kibawe, Bukidnon completed the two-day peace building seminar, 15-16 February 2021.

The participants to the said activity consist of former supporters of the underground mass organization (UGMO) in the barangays of Bukang Liwayway, Cagawasan, Kisawa, Magsaysay, Mascariñas, Pinamula, Sampaguita, Sanipon and Tumaras which was organized by the NPA Guerilla Front 53.

During the two-day activity, the participants underwent lectures and workshop on deradicalization, government programs and services, as well as government initiatives for peace and development.

The activity was highlighted by a peace rally wherein participants marched along Sayre Highway carrying placards and tarpaulins and converged at Kibawe Bus Terminal for a program. They also burned the flag of the CPP-NPA-NDF and signed a pledge of commitment to symbolize rejection and denouncement to the group’s atrocities and continuing recruitment of minors and indigenous people.

Solomon Priolo, member of Militiang Bayan in Brgy Bukang Liwayway said that he regretted his allegiance towards the deceitful propagandas of the CTGs. He also encouraged other participants to live peaceful lives, condemn the atrocities and other activities of the CTGs and support the initiatives of the government for peace and development.

In addition, the Local Government of Kibawe headed by Mayor Reynaldo S. Ang Rabanes expressed their gratitude and support to the efforts of the 16th Infantry (Maglilingkod) Battalion and the Philippine Army.

The Peace Building Seminar 2021 was a joint project of the 16th Infantry (Maglilingkod) Battalion and the Local Government Unit of Kibawe which aims to capacitate the populace of Kibawe to become active players in peace and development in the municipality.

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

Kalinaw News: NOL asserts the Country’s Sovereignty in Northern Maritime Territory

From Kalinaw News (Feb 18, 2021): NOL asserts the Country’s Sovereignty in Northern Maritime Territory

Camp Aquino, Tarlac City— Northern Luzon Command continues to assert the country’s sovereignty in the northern maritime territory, following the establishment of another two (2) sovereign markers at Mabaag and Barit Islands in Aparri, Cagayan on Wednesday.

The two newly installed sovereign markers are in addition to the 11 sovereign markers that were already installed last year to the 11 uninhabited islands located north of Cagayan province, within the Babuyan Channel.

Like the other markers, the two markers are emplaced in prominent areas of the two islands, making them clearly visible to vessels transiting the waterways in the country’s northern maritime territory.

Commodore Caesar Bernard N Valencia, Commander of Naval Forces Northern Luzon whose personnel are responsible in establishing the two sovereign markers, explained the significance of the markers in asserting our claim in these maritime areas, saying that “These islands and their surrounding territorial waters are an integral part of the country’s territory. Thus, these markers will help us ensure that our sovereignty will be recognized in these areas.”

In his statement, Lieutenant General Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr, the Commander of Northern Luzon Command and concurrently the Commander of Area Task Force – North, expressed that ‘the establishment of these sovereign markers is our proactive way of asserting our sovereignty in the northern maritime territories.’

He added by emphasizing the need to assert our sovereignty in the areas, saying that “We give utmost importance to our country’s northern maritime territory, as we treat these maritime areas as a significant part of our country. It is a key source of livelihood due to its abundant marine resources, and a strategic trading route to boost our economy. Thus, it must be secured, and our sovereignty must be asserted in these areas.”

Lieutenant General Burgos ended his statement by reaffirming their commitment in preserving the integrity of our national territory, saying that “rest assured that we will remain proactive and vigilant in ensuring the security of our people, as we safeguard our sovereignty and preserve the integrity of our national territory in this part of our country.”

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

Kalinaw News: 6 CTG Members Yield and turn in 5 firearms to the JTF Bicolandia and 9ID, PA

From Kalinaw News (Feb 18, 2021): 6 CTG Members Yield and turn in 5 firearms to the JTF Bicolandia and 9ID, PA

CAMP ELIAS-ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur-Six regular members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) joined the growing number of surrenderees in Bicol as they surrendered to the government, Wednesday, February 17.

Three caliber .45 semi- automatic pistols, one M653 assault rifle and one caliber .38 revolver pistol were also turned in by the said surrenderees to the 83rd Infantry Battalion (83IB) based in Mabalod-balod, Tigaon, Camarines Sur.

“Matagal ko ng gustong mag-surrender kaso tinatakot nila kami na i-sasalvage daw kami ng mga sundalo kapag mag surrender kami. Ako ang buhay na patotoo na kabaliktaran iyon sa mga sinasabi ng kasama,” one of the surrenderees said, exposing the lies of the CTG.

This new batch of former rebels (FRs) will immediately undergo the process of reintegration to the mainstream society and will enroll to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) right away.

Under the E-CLIP, they will receive firearm remuneration, cash, livelihood, medical, educational, and housing assistance.

Lt. Col. Clark Dalumbar, Battalion Commander of 83IB thanked the surrenderees for finally heeding the call of the government to abandon the CTG citing that their decision honors their families and the country as well.

MGEN HENRY A ROBINSON JR PA, Commander of Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) attributed this development to the effective implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70 (EO70) where the military and all other government agencies work in unison to bring the basic goods and services to the people.

Also contributing to this accomplishment is the growing support of the Bicolanos who have been clamoring for genuine peace.

“CTG members and supporters yielding to the government is now the trend and we expect the number of surrenderees to rise in the coming days. With the government’s numerous programs for the people, communist insurgency is already negated in the communities. Moreover, our intensified efforts to encourage our lost brothers who got deceived by the false ideology of this terrorist group to return to the folds of the law is gaining momentum. Inaamin natin na hindi ganun kadali ang pagsugpo sa insurhensya dito sa ating bansa ngunit sa nakikita nating resulta ng ating mas pinaigting na kampanya ay higit nating napatunayan na hindi imposibleng tuldukan ang mahigit limang dekada ng armadong tunggalian,” MGen. Robinson said.

It can be recalled that in January of this year, a group of twenty (20) CTG members surrendered in Sorsogon bringing with them twenty (20) high powered firearms and just this February 1, the Army’s successful military engagement resulted in the killing of four CTG members, arrest of one communist NPA terrorist and capture of ten (10) high powered firearms in Garchitorena, Camarines Sur.

This string of accomplishments against the CTG clearly manifest their waning capability both in manpower and firepower that will soon lead to their defeat and total extinction.

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