Sunday, February 21, 2021

Philippines: End Of The Road For The VFA?

Posted to the ASEAN Post (Feb 21, 2021): Philippines: End Of The Road For The VFA? (By Anna Malindog-Uy)

This file photo shows militants holding placards during a protest in front of the Department of National Defense in Manila on 21 February, 2020. (AFP Photo)

The bilateral relations between the United States (US) and the Philippines are currently at a critical juncture. This is because of the latest tirades of President Rodrigo Duterte telling the Americans that the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the US and the Philippines is a “shared responsibility,” therefore, the US must pay or kiss it goodbye.

The VFA signed in 1998, which came into effect in 1999 was the first military agreement since the closing of US bases in 1992.

In his recent weekly address to the nation, Duterte reiterated that the US should give the Philippines something in return, especially since the latter is the “nearest, possible and convenient outpost of the US.

“You want the Visiting Forces Agreement done? Well, you have to pay. It’s a shared responsibility. But your share of responsibility does not come free because after all when the war breaks out, we all pay. We’re nearest to the garrison there, a lot of arsenals of the Chinese armed force. I hope that the Americans would take notice of that.”

He also contended that the US government has failed to deliver on some of its previous promises to the Philippines.

These statements from the maverick president have not only placed uncertainty on the future of the US-Philippines strategic alliance, but also garnered all sorts of reactions from Filipinos.


Among the political personalities who have misunderstood where Duterte is coming from and the intentions behind his latest remarks concerning the VFA include Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Panfilo Lacson. These politicians have interpreted Duterte’s latest tirades against the VFA as “embarrassing” and akin to “extorting money from its long-time ally,” – the US.

However, there are also political personalities who have expressed a more supportive stance and understand where Duterte is coming from and why he made those statements about the VFA.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on 16 February pointed out that Manila has a right to "expect some measure of lethal parity" in its Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the US. The MDT between the Philippines and the US refers to a pledge by both countries to defend each other's territory in the case of external attack or aggression. The treaty was signed on 30 August, 1951.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri was also in agreement and expressed that, “I think in a way, we’re always getting the short end of the stick in getting assistance from our friends in the USA.”

While Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano on 17 February urged the public to trust Duterte’s handling of the VFA with the US. In a media interview, Cayetano said Duterte has the best interests of the Philippines at heart when he said that the US government must pay for the continuation of the agreement.


Amid the various reactions among Filipinos concerning the latest bluster from Duterte about the VFA, it is important to understand the context and to shed light on why Duterte has been exasperated and riled-up by the Americans.

This is not the first time Duterte has challenged the status quo of the 22-year-old VFA. On 11 February, 2020, the Philippine government officially notified the US that it would be terminating the VFA. This was in response to an accumulation of unwanted interferences from the US in the domestic affairs of the Philippines, including a horde of “disrespectful acts” by some US senators directed against the sovereignty of the country.

The termination of the VFA came after the cancellation of Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa’s US visa following an amendment to the US 2020 budget, which had authorised by then US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to bar Philippine government officials involved in Senator Leila de Lima’s illegal drug-related charges from entering the US.

Apart from the amendment to the US budget, the American senators also passed Senate Resolution 142, asking US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on Philippine government officials allegedly behind de Lima’s detention.

As a response to the travel ban imposed by the US at the time, Duterte ordered his cabinet officials to “boycott” Washington. Duterte also rejected Trump’s invitation to attend the Southeast Asian Leaders’ Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada on 4 March, 2020. However, just a few months after, the President decided to temporarily suspend the abrogation of the 22-year-old VFA due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A few months ago, Duterte once again harked-back at the Americans telling them that he will abrogate the VFA if they are not serious about their commitments with the Philippines concerning the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.

“The VFA is nearing its end. If they fail to deliver even a minimum of 20 million vaccines, they better get out. No vaccine, no stay here,” Duterte said. He also further reiterated that “If you want to help, if America wants to help, you deliver. Stop talking. What we need is the vaccine, not your verbose speeches.”

Indeed, the fate of the VFA is “hanging by a thread” and its survival or demise depends on how serious the US is in delivering its part of the bargain.

Hindsight And Perspective

To put things into perspective, the demands of President Duterte for compensation from the US is long overdue and a step in the right direction. Moreover, this is not the first time that a Philippine president has demanded compensation for the presence of military troops and equipment in the country. Even the late President Ferdinand Marcos made similar demands during his administration.

In an interview on the CBS program “Face the Nation,” in 1986, Marcos asserted that Washington had failed to live up to its end of a 1983 bargain that promised US$900 million in US military and economic aid over years while ensuring American use of the strategic Subic Bay Naval Base and Clark Air Base on the main island of Luzon through 1991.

Specifically, Marcos complained that, in implementing the bases accord, the US had so far shorted his country by about US$70 million in promised military aid.

Source: Social Weather Report 2018

The VFA is not primarily for the security of the Philippines rather it is to project and promote US strategic interests in the Philippines and in the Indo-Pacific region more specifically in the disputed waters of the South China Sea (SCS). This can be substantiated by the location of some of the US forces and equipment in the country in Basa Air Base, Fort Magsaysay, Antonio Bautista Air Base, Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base, and Lumbia Air Base which are strategically located to serve US strategic security interests and purposes.

Some of these military bases are located near the disputed waters of the SCS, which substantially boost the US’ military ability to challenge Beijing while putting the Philippines in a precarious situation if in any case a military confrontation between the two superpowers happens.

Given the “cold war” atmosphere between the two superpowers at the moment, if a “hot war” were to break-out, China would target the Philippines because of the presence of US military forces and equipment in the country.

In this regard, it is justified that the Philippine government demands some form of compensation for the Filipino people.

In April 2015, the US asked for access to eight bases in the Philippines including the formerly American Subic Bay Naval Base and Clark Air Base as well as bases in Cebu, Luzon, and Palawan. On 19 March, 2016 the Philippines and the US agreed on the location of five military bases for American troops under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). These include the Mactan Cebu (Benito Ebuen Air Base); in Palawan (Antonio Bautista Air Base); in Pampanga (Basa Air Base); in Nueva Ecija (Fort Magsaysay); and Cagayan de Oro (Lumbia Airport).

The EDCA is an agreement between the US and the Philippines that allows the US to rotate troops in the Philippines for extended stays and allows the US to build and operate facilities on Philippine military bases for both, American and Filipino forces though not permanently, but realities say otherwise.

The EDCA is a supplemental agreement to the VFA. It allows US forces to preposition and store defense material, equipment, and supplies with the exclusion of nuclear weapons.


In retrospect, no Philippine president has challenged the status quo surrounding the VFA and the MDT until Rodrigo Duterte, who more often than not, has defied the US in terms of how the country handles its domestic affairs and even its foreign policy in relations to the US and the rest of the world while asserting its independence and sovereignty.

Duterte refuses to be intimidated and undermined and is standing up to protect the country’s national security and to promote its interests.

The VFA, MDT, and EDCA are very much connected to Philippine sovereignty and independence. Adequate compensation, and the costs and benefits of having a US military presence in the country are issues very much intertwined with the country’s national security and interests.

President Duterte would want the Philippines to have more leverage and advantage given the existing geopolitical realities where the US-China rivalry for dominance and influence in the Indo-Pacific region, especially in the disputed waters of the SCS, has unwittingly dragged the Philippines into the equation because of its strategic location.

Likewise, the Philippines is in a position to demand compensation from the US because it has been an ally for more than a century, as well as a major non-NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) ally, that is quite important to America’s defense/military strategy in the Indo-Pacific.

Thus, it should renegotiate the VFA with the US from a position of strength and that’s what Duterte is trying to do at the moment. However, if in any case, the Duterte administration is unable to renegotiate a more balanced deal on the VFA and if the US refuses to extend compensation, then it is better for Duterte to just abrogate the VFA.

This is Part 1 of a series of articles by the author.

Related Articles:
Cold War Brewing Over South China Sea Tensions
South China Sea: Wise To Provoke China?

[Anna Rosario Malindog-Uy is Professor of Political Science, International Relations, Development Studies, European Studies, SEA and China Studies. She has worked with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other local and international NGOs as a consultant. She is President of Techperformance Corp, an IT-based company in the Philippines.]

Duterte approves amnesty for rebels – but not Abu Sayyaf

Posted to the Daily Express (Feb 20, 2021): Duterte approves amnesty for rebels – but not Abu Sayyaf (By: PNA)

The Philippine President has approved an amnesty programme for Muslim and communist rebels who would agree to surrender their weapons as they return to normal life in the latest such attempt to tame rural insurgencies that have raged for half a century.

Thousands of guerrillas belonging to two large Muslim groups in the country’s south and a communist rebel faction could apply for the amnesty within a year after it gets approved by Congress, according to President Rodrigo Duterte’s (pic) signed orders made public late Tuesday (Feb 16).

The three rebel groups have signed separate peace deals with Duterte’s predecessors which have eased decades of fighting but have not been fully enforced due to unresolved issues.

Leaders of the largest armed group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, have been put in charge temporarily of administering a new Muslim autonomous region in the south while thousands of its fighters are disarmed.

“It’s welcome as long as it’s based on our peace agreement,” Moro Islamic Liberation Front spokesman Von Al Haq told The Associated Press by telephone.

He said that his rebel group’s peace deal with the government provides for a general amnesty with an agreed manner of “decommissioning, ” a subtle term for disarming thousands of its combatants in batches depending largely on government compliance with the peace pact.

Duterte also agreed to include former insurgents who once belonged to the main communist New People’s Army in his amnesty programme.

He labelled the NPA a “terrorist group” in his amnesty proclamation. His administration’s peace talks with the Marxist group collapsed after both sides accused each other of launching attacks despite peace negotiations brokered by Norway.

The 75-year-old Duterte has promised to resolve Muslim and communist insurgencies before he leaves office. His six-year term ends in June next year.

“There is a need to reintegrate as soon as possible all rebels and insurgents into the mainstream society under the rule of law, including those who may have committed unlawful acts,” Duterte said in his amnesty proclamation.

The amnesty “shall extinguish any criminal liability for acts committed in pursuit of political beliefs” and restore political and civil rights, which were lost due to criminal conviction, the proclamation said.

The amnesty would not cover kidnappings for ransom, massacres, rape, terrorism, drug trafficking and certain crimes the UN says should never be covered by amnesties, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and torture.

The amnesty programme excludes the notoriously brutal Abu Sayyaf and other small armed bands associated with the Islamic State group.

The Abu Sayyaf has been blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist organisation for kidnappings for ransom, beheadings and suicide bombings. It has been weakened by years of battle setbacks, surrenders and continuing military offensives but remains a security threat.

Esperon explains why Davao got bulk of anti-insurgency funds

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Feb 21, 2021): Esperon explains why Davao got bulk of anti-insurgency funds (By: Dexter Cabalza)

The bulk of the funds of the controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) was allocated to the Davao region and Davao City, home of President Rodrigo Duterte, because of the military’s success in quelling the communist insurgency there, according to National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

In a statement dated Feb. 21, Esperon, who sits as the vice chair of NTF-Elcac, said that a total of 215 barangays in the Davao region have been cleared of the influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its guerrilla arm, the New People’s Army (NPA), from 2016 to 2019.

“The former NPA communities are now ripe for developmental projects through the Barangay Development Program (BDP),” said Esperon, who was Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff from 2006 to 2008.

The development projects are to be funded from the P16.4 billion earmarked from the NTF-Elcac’s P19-billion budget.

Of the P16.4 billion for the BDP, the Davao region is set to receive a hefty P4.3 billion—the largest among the regions, with Davao City getting almost 40 percent of that amount, or P1.64 billion.

Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

P20M per barangay

The BDP is an incentive for barangays that have cleared their areas of communists. Under the program, each of the 822 barangays listed by the NTF-Elcac is set to receive P20 million.

This will be earmarked for socioeconomic development such as for farm-to-market roads (P12 million), livelihood (P1.5 million), irrigation (P1.5 million), health stations (P1.5 million) and school buildings (P3 million).

“The Davao region will be receiving projects and funding for school buildings, among other projects, in order to provide places of learning which will replace the closed NPA learning and recruitment institutions,” he noted.

“The dismantling of guerrilla fronts necessitates a comprehensive process involving coordination between security operations and developmental intervention projects,” Esperson said.

Regional committees

He said the numbers of barangay beneficiaries in Mindanao appear to be huge because “the AFP had prioritized its previous clearing operations in Mindanao due to the CPP-NPA’s expansion of operations in the said area.”

According to the military, there are five CPP-NPA regional committees in Mindanao running several guerrilla fronts, two of which are in the Davao region.

But Esperon noted that since last year, the tally of barangays cleared of communists reached 1,376, with most of them in the Bicol, Caraga, Eastern and Western Visayas regions.

But the funds will be managed by the NTF-Elcac, chaired by Mr. Duterte himself, and opposition lawmakers have questioned why the lion’s share of the funds went to Davao region and Davao City instead of Bicol, Caraga, Eastern and Western Visayas.

Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite even suggested, without evidence, that the BDP would be used to fund the Duterte camp’s electoral campaign machinery.

FLAGGING INFLUENCE Once rampant in Mindanao, the communist insurgency is waning, according to the government. —ERWIN MASCARIÑAS

‘General’s pork barrel’

Of the 822 barangays listed as beneficiaries of the BDP, 215 are in Davao region, followed by 191 in Caraga and 119 in the Northern Mindanao region (Region 10).

Of the 182 total barangays in Davao City, 82 are included in the BDP—more than the 74 total barangay beneficiaries of the entire Western Visayas region (Region 6).

Following Davao City with the most number of barangay beneficiaries is Panabo City in Davao del Norte. Of its 40 barangays, 20 would receive BDP allocation.

Critics have assailed the BDP for being what they considered “generals’ pork barrel,” saying the NTF-Elcac would have almost complete autonomy in the allocation and disbursement of its multibillion-peso anti-insurgency funds

NPA lauds NegOr SP for slashing intel funds

Posted to the Visayan Daily Star (Feb 20, 2021): NPA lauds NegOr SP for slashing intel funds (BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

The Rachelle Mae Palang Command (RPMC) of the New People’s Army lauded the decision of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Oriental to markedly slash the budget intended for “intelligence gathering fund” in order to allocate more resources for Covid-19 response.

The SP earlier approved the reduction of provincial government intelligence fund from P11 million to P1 million.

Although the amount involved is not enough to effect a massive consequence in the anti-Covid drive of the province, such measure sets a good precedent related to the question of budget prioritization and making independent policy decision, local rebel group spokesperson Estrella Banagbanag said in a statement.

Banagbanag said they admired the courage of Negros Oriental SP members for standing up to what is right out of their own volition, and thoughtful consideration of the situation.

The RMPC also called on SP members to hold on to their independence, and persist in rendering meaningful services to the people of Negros Oriental, through relevant legislation and other means.

The members of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) of Negros Oriental have asked the SP to retain the P11 million intelligence-gathering funds.

The Council members made the request after Police Col. Bryant Demot, provincial director of the Philippine National Police, raised the need for the funds.

Col. Leonardo Peña, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade, reiterated the importance of the funds to address the insurgency problem in the province.

Peña said the intelligence gathering fund can greatly help in the fight, not only against insurgency but also criminality and illegal drugs.*with report from PIA

Tagalog News: Pito pang miyembro ng BIFF sumuko sa militar

From the Philippine Information Agency (Feb 21, 2020): Tagalog News: Pito pang miyembro ng BIFF sumuko sa militar (By PIA Cotabato City)


LUNGSOD NG COTABATO, Peb. 21 (PIA) -- Pito pang mga miyembro ng rebeldeng grupo na Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) na nag-ooperate sa Maguindanao ang nagbalik-loob sa pamahalaan kamakailan.

Ito ay matapos silang sumuko sa 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion (2MIB) sa Barangay Midtimbang, Datu Anggal Midtimbang sa nabanggit na probinsya. Itinurn-over din ng mga sumukong rebelde ang isang 60mm mortar, isang Cal .50 Sniper rifle, isang 5.56mm M16A1 rifle, isang M1 Garand Cal .30, at isang M1 Garand Cal .30 converted to M14 rifle.

Binigyang-diin ni 2MIB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Omar Orozco na ang pagbabalik-loob ng mga dating rebelde ay isang patunay aniya na naniniwala sila sa kapayapaang inaalok ng pamahalaan.

Inalala naman ng isa sa mga sumukong rebelde ang kanyang naging karanasan sa grupo. Aniya, pagod, gutom, at hirap ang kanyang dinanas kaya naisip nito, kasama ng anim pang kasamahan, na sumuko at magbalik-loob sa pamahalaan.

Samantala, sinabi ni 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division at Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) Commander Maj. General Juvymax Uy na ang patuloy na pagsuko ng BIFF ay resulta ng ‘AGILA-HAVEN’ o Anak na may GInintuang LAyunin upang Hintuan Ang Violent Extremism Ngayon na programa ng JTFC kasama ang pamahalaang panlalawigan ng Maguindanao.

Simula noong Seytembre 7, 2020, nasa kabuuang 78 mga BIFF na ang sumuko at nagbalik ng kanilang armas sa pamahalaan. (LTBolongon-PIA Cotabato City/With reports from DPAO-6ID).

Free housing for 36 ex rebels in Jose Abad Santos town

From the Philippine Information Agency (Feb 21, 2020): Free housing for 36 ex rebels in Jose Abad Santos town (By Rudolph Ian Alama) 

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MALITA, Davao Occidental - Thirty-six (36) former rebels were fortunate to receive free housing under the Community Pabahay sa Barangay (CPB) Shelter Program.

Situated in Barangay Marabatuan, Municipality of Jose Abad Santos this is a project of the local government of Davao Occidental carrying the theme “Balay Aron Pamilya Mahamugaway” (A house so the family will be eased).

During the Feb. 12 groundbreaking of the CPB Shelter Program, the former rebels expressed their happiness thru songs and dances. The ceremony was attended by provincial government agencies, police and soldiers belonging to the 73rd Infantry Battalion. The Provincial Government also gave food pack to the former rebels.

Lt. Col. Ronaldo Valdez voiced his gratitude to the provincial government of Davao Occidental which responded to the needs of its constituents.

The former rebels expressed their thanks as their needs were finally addressed by the local government leading to a new and peaceful life. They returned to their homes with smiles and hope that they can achieve their dream of a new life with the help of the present administration. (PIA/RG Alama with reports from 73rd IB)

NPA’s clout over IP slowly diminishing says NCIP

From the Philippine Information Agency (Feb 21, 2020): NPA’s clout over IP slowly diminishing says NCIP (By Jan Albert K. Araña) 

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CAGAYAN DE ORO, Feb. 16 (PIA) -- “The clout that the NPA has with the IPs is slowly diminishing due to the ELCAC (End Local Communist Armed Conflict) program that the government is pursuing now.”

This was the statement of Atty. Dexter Precioso, legal officer of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP)-10 during the recent episode of “Talakayan sa PIA: ELCAC Series.”

With the implementation of Executive Order No. 70 or (ELCAC), the indigenous people community is now being armed with the knowledge that the government is doing its best to serve its people and the far-flung communities.

Being part of the ELCAC, Precioso said the NCIP is now implementing strategies of how they can present everything that the government is doing for the IP community and to make sure that the IPs are well informed of the government projects and programs.

The NCIP led by Chairperson Allen Capuyan together with various government agencies has already conducted 14-day visits to ancestral domains. The activity aimed to answer inquiries and issues that are being experienced by the IP community.

“Before this whole-of-nation approach, the government is not as aggressive in informing [the IPs of] its accomplishments, programs and projects. They [IPs] do not know especially those in the far-flung areas that the government is implementing certain programs such as free legal services from the Public Attorney’s Office,” he said.

The NCIP is now also strengthening the IP governance since within the ancestral domain, there is an indigenous political structure, which is considered as the highest governance of the place. This aims to equip the IPs with the needed knowledge and information to govern their domains.

“We now make sure that the efforts of the government are visible to the people. The government exists and the government cares for the people,” Precioso said. (JAKAraña/PIA10)

Mapagsamantala ang mga CPP-NPA, sigaw ng 150 dating taga-suporta ng rebeldeng grupo

 From the Philippine Information Agency (Feb 21, 2020): Mapagsamantala ang mga CPP-NPA, sigaw ng 150 dating taga-suporta ng rebeldeng grupo (By Mark Djeron C. Tumabao)

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LAL-LO,Cagayan, Pebrero 21 (PIA) - - - Walang naitulong sa kanilang pamumuhay at pawang pagsasamantala at pabigat lamang ang mga Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) sa kanila.

Ito ang sigaw ng mga ng nasa 150 na mga miyembro ng Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) sa Cagayan na sabay sabay na nagbalik-loob sa pamahalaan noong ika-19 ng Perrero taong kasalukuyan.

Sa buong bilang, 52 rito ay mga miyembro ng Militia ng Bayan (MB) mula sa Barangay Masi, dalawa sa Barangay Bural, habang 18 naman ang mula sa Barangay San Juan, Rizal, Cagayan; 16 ang nanggaling sa Barangay Balagan, at 21 sa Barangay Calassitan, Sto. Niño.

Kabilang din sa mga tumalikod sa teroristang CPP-NPA ay mula sa grupong Pambansang Katipunan ng Magbubukid (PKM) na mayroong 19 na kasapi, siyam mula sa grupong MAKIBAKA, at 13 mula sa KABATAANG MAKABAYAN.

Bilang patunay ng kanilang pagbalik loob sa pamahalaan ay kanilang sinunog ang bandila ng teroristang CPP-NPA, pisang simbolismo sa pagtatapos ng paghihirap na kanilang naranasan mula sa kamay ng mga rebeldeng CPP-NPA.

Nagkaisang nagbalik-loob sa pamahalaan ang mga dating miyembro ng CTG bunsod na rin ng pagsusumikap ng 17th Infantry Battalion, 501st Infantry Brigade sa tulong ng Pamahalaang Panlalawigan ng Cagayan at ng Kapulisan na mapaliwanagan ang mga mamamayan sa panlilinlang ng teroristang grupo.

Sa mensahe ni Ka Fred, isang katutubong Agta na kasama sa mga nagbalik-loob mula sa Barangay San Juan, Rizal, nanawagan ito sa mga miyembro ng teroristang CPP-NPA na itigil na ang pananakot at paggamit sa kanila dahil nais na rin nilang makapamuhay ng maayos at malayo sa banta ng rebeldeng CPP-NPA.

“Isardeng yo ti panabbubuteng yo kinyami ta awan mapasamak kadakami nga sibilyan. Agbalbaliw kayun ta kayat mi ti narang-as nga biag. Arakupin tayon ti gobyerno para iti pamilya tayo,”aniya.

(Itigil niyo na ang pananakot sa amin dahil walang masamang mangyayari sa aming mga sibilyan. Magbagong-buhay na kayo dahil gusto na namin ng normal na pamumuhay. Yakapin natin ang totoni gobyerno para sa kapakanan ng ating mga pamilya.)

Inihayag naman ni Col Steve E Crespillo Inf (GSC) PA, commander ng 501st Infantry Brigade, na ang kanilang ginawang pagkalas sa teroristang CPP-NPA ay napakalaking tulong upang matugunan ang problema sa insurhensiya sa kanilang mga lugar.

Aniya, tama ang naging desisyon ng mga residente dahil dito magsisimula ang pagbabago at pag-unlad ng kanilang komunidad.

“Sa tulong ng mga programa ng pamahalaan, sama-sama nating isulong ang pag-unlad sa inyong mga lugar. Tulong-tulong tayo sa pagkamit ng ating pangarap na maayos na pamumuhay at itaboy ang teroristang CPP-NPA papalayo mula sa ang inyong lugar,” dagdag ni Crespillo.

Siniguro naman ni PBGen Crizaldo Nieves, regional director ng Police Regional Office 02 ang seguridad ng mga kumalas at kakalas pa sa teroristang CPP-NPA.

“Ang pagbibigay ninyo ng tiwala sa pamahalaan ay tutumbasan namin ng nararapat na seguridad. Wala kayong dapat alalahanin dahil nakahanda ang kapulisan at kasundaluhan upang tiyakin ang inyong seguridad,” sinabi ni Nieves.

Nagpakita naman ng suporta si Cagayan Governor Manuel N. Mamba sa hakbang ng mga residente upang mapalayas ang mga teroristang CPP-NPA sa kanilang barangay at sa buong probinsya ng Cagayan.

Samantala, sa ipinaabot naman na mensahe ni MGen Laurence E Mina PA, commander ng 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, kanyang kinilala ang mga nagawa at patuloy na ginagawang mga programa ng 501st Infantry Brigade upang mapaliwanagan ang mga mamayan sa panlilinlang at pagsasamantalang ginagawa ng CPP-NPA sa mga mamamayan.

Kinilala din ng heneral ang ginagawang pagpapaabot ng mga serbisyo ng pamahalaan sa mga residente ng Cagayan. Pinasalamatan din niya ang mga miyembro ng CTG na kumalas ng suporta sa teroristang CPP-NPA at nagbalik loob sa pamahalaan.

“Ang pagbabalik loob ng mga dating taga suporta at miyembro ng teroristang grupo ay bunga sa masigasig na pagganap ng iba’t ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan kabilang ang lokal at panlalawigang pamahalaan at ng kasundaluhan at kapulisan upang tuluyang wakasan ang insurhensiya sa bansa. Hindi magsasawang magpapaliwanag sa mamamayan ang mga alagad ng pamahalaan upang maprotektahan ang taumbayan mula sa panlilinlang ng teroristang CPP-NPA,”aniya.

Dumalo rin sa pulong balitaan sina LtCol Angelo Saguiguit, Commanding Officer ng 17IB, LtCol Rowan Rimas, Commading Officer ng Marine Battalion Landing Team-10, PCol Ariel Quilang, Provincial Director ng Cagayan Police Provincial Office at Darwin Sacramed, Provincial Administrator ng Cagayan. (MDCT with reports from 5ID/PIA-2)

Dating rebelde, hinikayat ang mga kasamahan na sumuko na sa pamahalaan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Feb 21, 2020): Dating rebelde, hinikayat ang mga kasamahan na sumuko na sa pamahalaan (By Merlito G. Edale Jr.)

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LUNGSOD NG ILAGAN, Isabela, Pebrero 17 (PIA) – Hinikayat ng dating rebelde ang mga kasamahan nito na sumuko na sa pamahalaan upang makapamuhay ng normal sa piling ng mga mahal sa buhay.

Ang paghikayat ni Ivy Lyn Corpin o Ka Red ay isinagawa nitong Pebrero 16, 2021 sa bayan ng San Mariano sa isinagawang Peace and Security Awareness forum.

Aniya korapsyon sa loob ng aramadong grupo ang naging dahilan kung bakit siya tumiwalag at talikuran ang teroristang Communist Party of the Philippines – New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA).

“Wala kaming kamalay-malay na ang simpleng mandirigma ng CPP-NPA na gaya ko ay nagagamit lamang sa mga pansariling interes ng mapanlinlang na kadre,” ani Ka Red.

Naniniwala siya na kapag maraming mahihikayat na sumuko o bumaba sa kilusan ay mapababa ang banta ng kanyang seguridad at ang mga kasamahang sumuko na sa pamahalaan.

“Ang takot kasi 52 years na tayong nilamon ng takot at kung patuloy tayong matatakot aabot pa ito ng 53 years at aabot pa ng 100 kung patuloy ang takot sa ating sarili na sumuko,” ani Ka Red.

Ang Peace and Security Awarness forum na isinagawa ay dinaluhan ng iba't ibang mga ahensiya ng pamahalaan na kinabibilangan ng Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), SK Federation officials, at Isabela Police Provincial Office (IPPO). (MDCT/MGE/PIA 2-Isabela)

NPA killed in Lanao del Sur clash

From the Philippine Information Agency (Feb 21, 2020): NPA killed in Lanao del Sur clash (By 1st Infantry Division, Philippine Army)

LANAO DEL SUR, Feb. 21 – A member of the New People's Army (NPA) was killed after an encounter with the Army's 5th Infantry Battalion (5IB) in the hinterland barangay of Maguing, this province, on Saturday afternoon, February 20.

LtCol. Romulus Rabara, 5IB commanding officer, confirmed that one cadaver was left behind by the fleeing NPA terrorist after fierce engagement with the troops.

"Our troops also recovered two M16 rifles, two M79 grenade launchers, one KG9 sub-machine gun, a hand grenade, Bandoleers, magazines with ammunition, combat packs with personal belongings," he added.

No casualty was recorded on the government side after the firefight.

BGen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, 103rd Infantry Brigade Commander who has operational jurisdiction of Lanao del Sur, stressed the importance of accurate and timely reports of the civilians regarding the terrorist presence.

"Our troops can immediately respond and quell any threats in the province if they (civilians) continuously report and collaborate with us," he said.

Meanwhile, MGen. Gene Ponio, 1st Infantry Division Commander, lauded the troops for the accomplishment and the civilians who reported the terrorist.

"This encounter is another significant blow to the CTGs that will definitely demoralize their ranks and we are hoping that they will abandon their senseless and irrelevant armed struggle," he said. (1st Infantry Division)

Rebel slain in Lanao Sur as Army retrieves remains of NPA fighter

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 21, 2020): Rebel slain in Lanao Sur as Army retrieves remains of NPA fighter (By Divina Suson and Richel Umel)

REMAINS. File photo of Hope Capangpangan, an 18-year-old New People’s Army fighter who was killed by her comrades after she was accused as a government asset. She was recruited at the age of 16, and government troops on Saturday (Feb. 20, 2021) retrieved her skeletal remains in the hinterland village in Maguing, Lanao del Sur. (Contributed photo)

One New People's Army (NPA) rebel was killed in the hinterlands of Lanao del Sur as Army troopers advanced to exhume and retrieve the remains of an 18-year-old female rebel killed by her comrades two years ago.

Brig. Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo, commander of the Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade (103rd IBde) based in Marawi City, said on Sunday troops of the 5th Infantry Battalion (5IB) were securing a composite team for
an "exhumation mission" of Hope Capangpangan when they encountered the armed men in a firefight around 4 p.m. on Saturday which lasted for an hour.

Once brought down from the encounter site, the cadaver will be brought to Amai Manabilang town for burial.

"We will give the cadaver a decent burial in Amai Manabilang. We are coordinating with the LGU (local government unit)," Cuerpo said.

Capangpangan, who hailed from Bukidnon, was recruited by the NPA when she was 16.

Another former colleague, who surrendered to the military, provided the information including the burial site, and Capangapangan's family asked the help of the military to retrieve the cadaver.

As to the dead fighter, Lt. Col. Romulus Rabara, commanding officer of 5IB, confirmed one cadaver was left behind by the fleeing NPA armed group after the fierce engagement with the troops.

The government forces retrieved the cadaver and recovered several war materiel composed of two M16 rifles, two M79 grenade launchers, a KG9 9mm PCR, hand grenade, assorted ammunition and packs of personal belongings.

No casualty was recorded on the government side after the firefight.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Gene Ponio, 1st Infantry Division Commander, lauded the troops for the accomplishment and the civilians who reported the existence of the armed group.

"The encounter is another significant blow to the communist terrorist group that definitely demoralized their ranks and we are hoping that they will abandon their senseless and irrelevant armed struggle," Ponio said.

Mother in Cagayan begs CPP-NPA to return her teen daughter

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 21, 2020): Mother in Cagayan begs CPP-NPA to return her teen daughter (By Marita Moaje)  

RETURN MY DAUGHTER. A blurred identification card of 17-year-old Grade 11 student Rosemalyn of Cagayan province. Her mother Venancia Gayagas appealed to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army to let her daughter return home so that she can study again and live a better life. (Contributed photo)

A mother from Cagayan province appealed to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to let her daughter return home so she can continue her studies and live a better life.

“Sa mga rebeldeng NPA, ibalik ninyo ang anak ko! Wala na kayong ginawa kundi sumira ng kinabukasan ng mga kabataan. Ibalik ninyo ang aking anak! Hindi niyo alam kung gaano kasakit mawalay sa anak (To the NPA rebels, give me back my daughter! You have done nothing but ruin the future of our children. Give me back my daughter. You do not know how painful it is to be separated with your child),”
said Venancia Gayagas, a resident of Barangay Bural, Zinundungan Valley, Rizal, Cagayan on February 15.

Gayagas said her daughter Rosemalyn is just 17 years old and a Grade 11 student.

She said the last time she saw her daughter was in November 2020 and since then, they have not heard any information about her.

Cayagas said she strongly believes that the CPP-NPA recruited Rosemalyn because it was not the first time that minors in their community left their homes to join the communist terrorist groups (CTGs).

“Natatakot ako. Labing-pitong gulang palang ang anak ko. Paano kung pinabayaan na siya ng mga NPA tulad ng mga napapabalitang ginagawa nila sa kanilang mga kasamahan kapag hindi na nila mapakinabangan pa. Ramdam kong nahihirapan na ang aking anak (I’m afraid. She is only 17. What if the NPA just neglects her like what they do with their other members when they become irrelevant. I can feel that my daughter is suffering),” the teary-eyed Gayagas said.

Gayagas said she can no longer sleep at night.

“Anak, huwag kang matakot na magpakita sa amin. Kasama natin ang mga sundalo. Tutulungan ka nila. Bumaba ka na para maipagpatuloy mo pa ang iyong pag-aaral at upang muli ka na naming makasama (My child, do not be afraid to return to us. The soldiers are with us, they will help you. Please come down so you could continue your studies and be with us),” Gayagas said.

Major Jekyll Julian Dulawan, Officer-in-charge of the Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) of 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, said Zinundungan Valley is known to be a guerilla base of the CPP-NPA.

Dulawan said Gayagas came to them to ask for help in retrieving her daughter.

On Feb. 13, some 300 residents of Zinundungan Valley held a peace rally to oppose the terroristic activities of the CPP-NPA in their area.

During the celebration of the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers on Feb. 12, Commission on Human Rights Spokesperson lawyer Jacqueline de Guia said it is tragic to see children being recruited to become child warriors in areas of armed conflict.

De Guia said the CHR joined the call in ending the practice of using children as warriors.

“In the Philippines, CHR has monitored and is continuously investigating cases of children in situations of armed conflict. We have noted cases allegedly perpetrated by the New People’s Army where children are being harmed, killed, or seriously injured in armed battles, among others. We strongly condemn these acts,” de Guia said.

She also reminded the state and non-state groups that using children as warriors is a war crime and robs them of their chance to have a better life.

De Guia said the CHR will continue to investigate cases of child soldiers in the country.

Maj. Gen. Laurence Mina, commander of the 5th ID, said the military does not stop in trying to protect the children and the youth against the deceitful acts of the CPP-NPA.

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

‘Common sense’ dictates need to back Duterte’s payment demand

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 21, 2020): ‘Common sense’ dictates need to back Duterte’s payment demand (By Azer Parrocha) 

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo (File photo)

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Sunday insisted that those criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte’s demand for the United States (US) to pay the Philippines for hosting American troops should allow the chief executive to “strategize” since it was part of his job.

While acknowledging critics’ right to free speech, Panelo said their sentiments would give the US the impression that there is disunity among Filipinos.

He reiterated that the President is the chief architect of foreign policy as mandated by the Constitution and that he can enter into treaties and to make these treaties effective before it goes to Congress for its concurrence.

“Pero during the time na nakikipag-negotiate siya e, prudence and common sense require na yung mga nandiyan sa Senado o yung nandito sa gobyerno ay sumuporta muna kayo kasi nga yung Presidente dumidiskarte, manuevering nga e (But during the time he is into negotiation, prudence and common sense require that those in the Senate and those in the government support the President while he is strategizing, he’s maneuvering),” he said in his Counterpoint program.

Panelo said Duterte is only upholding national interest in asking a higher amount of compensation.

“Huwag niyo muna guluhin, huwag niyo muna siraan. Kasi nga pag ginagawa po ninyo ‘yun, siyempre nakakarating dahil ina-announce mo. ‘Yun namang mga peryodista natin siyempre ibabalita rin naman ‘yan. Pag nalaman nila na di tayo nagkakaisa dito, gagamitin nila (Don’t mess it up, don’t destroy it. Because if you do that. Of course, it reaches other countries because journalists report them. If they find out we’re not united, they’ll use it against us),” he added.

Panelo hit back at a Manila Standard editorial for describing his statement that one needs to be elected president before criticizing the administration’s foreign policy initiatives as “silly and childish.”

“If you are really insisting that this President is wrong, o e di ikaw mag Presidente. Kaya lang natin sinasabi na tumahimik muna kayo kasi nga nagne-negotiate e (then you should be President. That’s why we’re asking critics to stay quiet first is because we’re negotiating),” he said.

He said since the US is providing the Philippines with a smaller military aid compared to other Asian countries, it is only natural for the President to demand more.

“Ang gusto ni Presidente tratuhin tayo ng equal. Tratuhin tayo fairly, pareho ng pagtrato niya dun sa mga ibang bansa na ginagamit ang kanilang mga lugar at binbayaran nila ng wasto. Tayo ang binibigay sa atin, tira (What the President wants is that we are treated fairly, just like how he treats other countries whose land is being used and paid for fairly. What they’re giving us is loose change),” he said.

Last Feb. 12, Duterte said the US should “pay” the Philippines first before he reconsiders another suspension of the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), a defense deal which gives American troops the privilege to visit the Philippines without visa and passport.

Duterte ordered the termination of the VFA in February last year after the US revoked the visa of his close ally Senator Ronald Dela Rosa.

He suspended the termination of the VFA in June 2020 due to “political and other developments in the region.”

Last month, the government suspended the termination of the agreement anew while negotiations are ongoing.

BDP needed for dev't of CPP-NPA cleared villages in Davao Region

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 21, 2020): BDP needed for dev't of CPP-NPA cleared villages in Davao Region (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., National Security Adviser (PNA File photo)

National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. on Sunday said the improvement of the peace and order situation in the Davao Region highlights the need for the Barangay Development Program (BDP) as communities cleared from the influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) are now ready for further growth and progress.

Esperon, who is also vice-chair of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), said the presence of the CPP-NPA has long hindered the development of Mindanao including Davao Region and Davao City.

"Notwithstanding the geographical abundance and economic activity in Davao City, the presence of the NPA has long been a force that has hindered the development of Mindanao, the Davao Region, and of Davao City," Esperon said in a statement forwarded to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Sunday.

The BDP, he said, is a package of socio-economic development programs earmarked for areas cleared of NPA infestation.

BDP major programs

The major programs under the BDP namely, farm-to-market roads, livelihood, irrigation, and health stations, are precisely what formerly affected communities have asked for.

"In fact, these programs address the issues commonly exploited by the NPA. In its entirety, the BDP consists of a package of development programs that aim to alleviate the conditions of barangay recipients," Esperon said.

He added that projects earmarked for each barangay are as follows: PHP12 million for farm-to-market roads; PHP3 million for school buildings; PHP2 million for water and sanitation systems; and PHP1.5 million for health stations, and PHP1.5 million for livelihood and other projects

The BDP funds amounting to PHP16.4 billion will come from the NTF ELCAC's PHP19 billion budget for 2020.

He added that the Davao Region will be receiving projects and funding for school buildings, among other projects, in order to provide places of learning that will replace the NPA learning and recruitment institutions ordered closed by the Department of Education 11 in 2019.

Addressing gaps

"As the BDP is envisioned with the end goal of bringing development to conflict-prone communities, the initiatives under the program aim to address the gaps identified by both the civilian agencies and the security sector in Davao. It had been a goal for the Regional Task Force of Region XI that the BDP package for the Region shall address the main drivers and causes for NPA recruitment among disgruntled and marginalized communities, such as the lack of education infrastructure, inaccessibility, basic services, healthcare, and connectivity in its isolated and disadvantaged areas," he said.

He added that a substantial number of cleared barangays are in regions where CPP-NPA influence has been earlier weakened by government operations since 2016.

Based on figures from the security sectors like the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Esperon said most of the barangays cleared as of 2019 are located in Mindanao.

"The AFP had prioritized its previous clearing operations in Mindanao due to the CPP-NPA's expansion of operations in the said area. But for the year 2020, the initial tally of barangays cleared of CPP-NPA influence has reached 1,376 and most of these are in the Bicol and CARAGA regions, as well as in the Eastern and Western Visayas regions," he added.

Multi-stakeholder grassroots initiatives

Through the multi-stakeholder grassroots initiatives of the BDP, Esperon said the NTF ELCAC is confident that the implementation of the projects under the BDP in Region 11 will produce the positive results desired for these former communist terrorists controlled communities.

"It is our hope that through the BDP, vulnerable communities will no longer find themselves helpless against the conditions that forced them to have faith in the CPP-NPA and to join the communist armed insurgency. It cannot be overstated that the BDP is an innovative and comprehensive undertaking that has never been launched before. For the record, the Duterte administration is determined to leave a lasting legacy by way of utilizing a Whole-of-Nation Approach in eradicating the decades-long communist armed conflict," he added.

Esperon also said that it is the goal of the Duterte Administration to transform former guerilla bases into peaceful and productive communities via the BDP.

"I must emphasize the fact that we are all stakeholders in the nationwide goal of ending the local communist armed conflict. It is, therefore, the goal of this administration that former guerilla bases become peaceful and productive communities which we can refer to as 'Tahimik at Maunlad na Pamayanan'," he added.

He added that by transforming former areas of conflict in the country, Filipinos are now closer to the goal of sustainable grassroots development and lasting peace.

Davao Region located near strategic Red enclaves

Of the five CPP-NPA Regional Party Committees (RPC) in Mindanao, four are in Eastern Mindanao.

Esperon said these are Northeast Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC), the South Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC), and the Far South Mindanao Regional Committee (FSMRC).

"Both the FSMRC and SMRC are operating in Davao Region. The SMRC comprises five sub-units, known as guerilla fronts, threatening Davao City. Of particular concern to our security forces is that within Davao City is an existing armed guerilla unit, the Pulang Bagani Command (PBC), which has weakened after barangays therein have been cleared of CPP-NPA influence," he added.

He said the guerilla fronts seek to expand the influence and control over a population within a specified territory through a pseudo-political structure and an armed element.

These guerilla fronts, he added, also serve as the politico-military-geographical units of the CPP-NPA, which is listed is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

"GFs (Guerilla Fronts) consist of political and military components within a specified territory. Each territory consists of several municipalities straddling provincial and even regional boundaries. The territory of a Guerilla Front has a tactical center located at the remote common boundary of several municipalities or provinces where the NPA exerts total control or influence on the population," Esperon said.

He added that these guerilla fronts are considered vital to CPP-NPA operations particularly in the Davao Region as these organizations have access to barangays or communities where they exert influence over and thus preventing developmental projects from entering.

This, Esperon said, causes a cycle of poverty, isolation, disease, hunger, and lack of educational and livelihood opportunities hindering growth and prosperity in these CPP-NPA-controlled communities.

"For progress to begin, communities must be first freed from the threat and influence of the NPAs in their vicinity," he added.

He said the dismantling of guerilla fronts necessitates a comprehensive process involving coordination between security operations and developmental intervention projects.

An improved community service program

This intervention, he added, is carried out through the Community Service Program (CSP) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that was improved further by the NTF-ELCAC in 2019.

"The clearing operations necessitate the disassembling of firstly, the politico-military structure that has been established and controls the community; and secondly, a community effort that culminates in the rejection of the NPA and their eventual denial of access into the area they have formerly controlled," Esperon said.

From 2016 to date, there have been four guerilla fronts dismantled in Davao City, two have been dismantled in Davao de Oro, three in Davao del Norte, two in Davao Occidental, two in Davao Oriental, and one in Davao del Sur.

A total of 215 barangays in the Davao Region were cleared of CPP-NPA influence from 2016 to 2019.

"The former NPA communities are now ripe for developmental projects through the BDP," Esperon said.

Davao Region: Massive chunk of PH real estate

The Davao Region has a total land area of 20,357 square kilometers and is composed of 4 provinces – Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, and Davao del Sur, and the independent City of Davao.

The region, which has five component cities – Panabo City, Tagum City, Digos City, Island Garden City of Samal, and Mati City, is characterized by mountain ranges encompassing the western border, the northern central area, and the northwestern area leading to the point in the southeast, with irregular distribution of plateaus and lowlands.

Davao City is the hub for tourism, commerce, and trade-not just in the region, but for the whole of Mindanao. It is likewise the center for logistics, banking, and industry particularly for plantation and mining companies in the region.

Considered the largest city in the Philippines with a total land area of 2,443.61 square kilometers, Davao City is bigger than the combined land areas of Rizal and Metro Manila, which has a total land area of| 1,830.49 square kilometers.

Davao City is comprised of 182 barangays. Its population, based on the 2020 census, is 1,825,450 – almost the same as that of the population of the City of Manila.

"Unlike Metro Manila, a highly urbanized area and the center for socio-economic development in the country, Davao City is characterized as a rural area despite being classified as an independent city with the largest land area among the cities in the country. The fact remains that there are numerous isolated and remote barangays within the city. Hence, with the large land area of Davao City, there still is a need for development and infrastructure for the growth of the city," Esperon said.

WESTMINCOM: Communist terrorist killed, high-powered firearms seized in Lanao del Sur

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Facebook Page (Feb 21, 2021): Communist terrorist killed, high-powered firearms seized in Lanao del Sur

Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City- February 21, 2021
Following an armed confrontation with elements of the Joint Task Force ZamPeLan, the Communist Terrorist Group suffered the loss of a member and several war materials including four high-powered firearms on Saturday afternoon (February 20, 2021).

Western Mindanao Command Chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr. said the operating troops of the 5th Infantry Battalion under the Joint Task Force ZamPeLan were conducting combat clearing operations when they encountered an undetermined number of communist terrorists in Barangay Ragayan, Maguing, Lanao del Sur at around 4:30 p.m., the same day.

Said exchange of gunfire lasted shortly, after which the militants withdrew.
“Our troops scoured the encounter site and recovered one enemy cadaver; four high-powered firearms consisting of two M16 rifles and two M79 Grenade Launchers; one low-powered firearm; and several other war materials including one hand grenade, one bandoleer, ten magazines with ammunition, 22 rounds of ammunition for M203; and five combat packs with personal belongings,” said Lt. Col. Romulus Rabara, Commanding Officer of the 5IB.

Lt. Col. Rabara further stated that the soldiers also saw bloodstains in the area and on the enemy withdrawal route which show the numerous casualties incurred by the group.

“I would like to congratulate the troops of the 5th Infantry Battalion for this laudable accomplishment,” said Brig. Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, Commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade.
As of this report, pursuit and blockade are being conducted by the troops to thwart the extrication of the terrorists.
"The Joint Task Force ZamPeLan will continue to conduct focused military operations, maximize intelligence monitoring, and intensify our whole-of-nation approach to convince those who are still confused to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law, with the assistance of our partners, the local government, and the civilians in the Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces," said Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, Commander of the Joint Task Force ZamPeLan.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. said, the Western Mindanao Command through all of its joint task forces will exhaust all means to disallow the remaining terrorists to thrive in the communities and continue doing their horrendous activities.

“We urge all peace-loving citizens to be one with us in this fight for as long as we are together, we will surely win over the threat groups that hinder the peace and progress in the communities,” Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. added.
The identity of the slain terrorist is yet to be verified.

Kalinaw News: Medical Officer ng rebeldeng CPP-NPA, nagbalik-loob sa pamahalaan; mga pampasabog isinuko

From Kalinaw News (Feb 21, 2021): Medical Officer ng rebeldeng CPP-NPA, nagbalik-loob sa pamahalaan; mga pampasabog isinuko

CAMP MELCHOR F DELA CRUZ, Upi, Gamu, Isabela- Boluntaryong sumuko at nagbaba ng mga pampasabog ang isang medical officer ng Regional Sentro De Gravidad (RSDG), Komiteng Rehiyon-Cagayan Valley (KRCV) ng teroristang Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army sa hanay ng 86th Infantry Battalion noong ika-20 ng Pebrero taong kasalukuyan sa Barangay Jose Ancheta, Maddela, Quirino.

Kinilala ang nagbalik-loob sa pamahalaan na si alyas Nika, Squad Medic ng Squad Dos ng rebeldeng RSDG na kumikilos sa mga bayan ng Echague at Jones sa lalawigan ng Isabela. Ayon kay alyas Nika, isang nagngangalang alyas Brando ang nagpasampa sa kanya sa rebeldeng CPP-NPA noong Oktubre taong 2017. Ngunit matapos ang anim na buwan mula nang siya ay marekrut, agad din siyang naglie-low dahil sa mga naranasang hirap sa loob ng kanyang inanibang rebeldeng grupo. Pagbabahagi niya na hindi nabibigyan ng karampatang atensyong medikal ang dati niyang mga kasamahan na napupuruhan sa mga engkwentro laban sa tropa ng pamahalaan.

Dagdag pa niya, bagamat naaawa siya sa mahirap na kalagayan ng kanyang mga kasamahan sa tuwing napapalaban sa kasundaluhan man o kapulisan, pinili ni alyas Nika na distansiyahan ang terroristang CPP-NPA dahil hindi na rin niya kaya pang sikmurain ang mas higit pang pagpapahirap na ginagawa ng mga kadre ng teroristang CPP-NPA sa kanilang mga simpleng mandirigma. Kaya naman, malaki ang kanyang pasasalamat sa mga ginawang hakbang ng mga kasundaluhan ng 86IB upang tuluyan na niyang maputol ang kanyang ugnayan sa mga rebeldeng CPP-NPA.

Sa kanyang pagbabalik-loob sa pamahalaan, bitbit ni Alyas Nika ang apat na Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Ikinagalak ni MGen Laurence E Mina PA, Commander ng 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army ang ginawang pagbabalik loob ni alyas Nika. Isa na naman itong malaking dagok sa rebeldeng grupong CPP NPA. Ang mga isinukong pampasabog ay malaking bagay naman upang makaiwas sa kapahamakan ang mga alagad ng pamahalaan pati na rin ang mga inosenteng sibilyan. “Muli nating hinihikayat ang mga nalalabi pang mga rebeldeng nalinlang sa maling ideyolohiya ng CPP-NPA. Nakahanda ang pamahalaan upang kayo’y alalayan sa inyong pagbabagong buhay. Nakahanda rin ang kasundaluhan at kapulisan upang kayoy protektahan laban sa mga pang-aabuso at pananakot ng mga rebeldeng CPP-NPA.”

[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, LGUs and Engineers collaborate for Surigao del Norte development

From Kalinaw News (Feb 21, 2021): Army, LGUs and Engineers collaborate for Surigao del Norte development

Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte – Eighteen (18) Project Engineers / Project In-Charge of Constructions Companies and several members of Local Government Units within 30IB area of responsibility attended the First Contractors and Business Establishments Security Forum held at Headquarters 30IB in Brgy Mahanub, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte, February 19, 2021.

Said Forum aimed to enhance coordinative mechanism among said economic Stakeholders, Local Government Units and the Security sectors emphasizing “Shared Security Responsibility” concept to ensure that implementation of all government projects and economic activities unhampered and uninterrupted as offshoot to the Communists Terrorists threats and intimidation usually resulting to sabotage and destruction of company properties particularly those in the remote areas.

Salient points of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) was also presented to the participants in order to raise their respective awareness on their rights and protection as non-combatants against all attacks and human rights abuses where huge number of them already suffered cruelty and abuses from these communist terrorists. The CARHRIHL was an agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army CPP-NPA-NDF) to ensure the protection of Civilians against all forms of human rights abuse.

An information briefing was presented by LTC Ryan Charles G Callanta, Commanding Officer of 30IB on the concept of shared security responsibility among the involved/concerned stakeholders (Construction Company, Community, LGU, Integrated Territorial Defense System (ITDS) and Security Sectors) of which each component has separate but equally important roles and responsibilities to ensure that peace and security is maintained and attained unhampered implementation of government projects within the area.

The activity was organized by the Army’s 30IB under the supervision of the 901st Brigade and partnered by several Local Government Units within the province of Surigao del Norte.

Brigadier General George L Banzon, Commander of 901st Brigade personally graced the activity despite his hectic schedules. In his message BGen Banzon assured the attendees that securing and protecting the entire province’s economic activities are among the topmost priorities of the entire 901st Brigade together with its two Infantry Battalions and the PNP.

“Extortion is a lifeblood of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG). If we can work together and stop the extortion scheme of the Communist Terrorist in Surigao del Norte, it will be a significant blow to its weakening posture. I therefore encouraged all of us to work together and do our respective part in this specific endeavor. If we can do this then, we can expect peace, progress and development will take its full throttle in this part of the country. Lastly, I thanked everyone for giving us your time.” BGen Banzon said.

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

CPP/Ang Bayan: Paaralang Bakwit sa Cebu, sinalakay ng mga pulis

Propaganda article from the Tagalog language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Feb 21, 2021): Paaralang Bakwit sa Cebu, sinalakay ng mga pulis

Sinalakay ng pulis ang Paaralang Bakwit, ang pansamantalang eskwelahan ng mga Lumad sa loob ng kampus ng University of San Carlos sa Talamban, Cebu City noong Pebrero 15. Nagpakanlong dito ang mga Lumad at kanilang mga guro nang hindi sila makabalik sa Mindanao matapos ipataw ang lockdown noong Marso 2020. Itinuturing silang mga panauhin ng unibersidad.

Sa nakuhang bidyo ng reyd, makikita na nagsisisigaw at nag-iiyakan ang mga batang Lumad habang pwersahan silang isinasama ng mga pulis. Dalawampu’t anim sa kanila ang inaresto at ikinulong, kasama ang 19 na menor de edad. Isa sa mga dinakip si Chad Booc, gurong boluntir na isa sa mga nagpetisyon sa Korte Suprema para ipawalambisa ang Anti-Terror Law.

Kakutsaba ang militar, grupong paramilitar na Alamara at mga lokal na upisyal ng Talaingod, pinalabas ng pulis na “operasyong pagsagip” ang reyd. Kinasuhan nila ng kidnapping at iligal na detensyon si Booc at anim pang nakatatandang nagsisilbing guro ng paaralan.

Sinalubong ng kabi-kabilang batikos ang iligal na reyd at pag-aresto. Agad na nagtungo sa Commission on Human Rights (CHR) ang mga estudyante ng Paaralang Bakwit na nasa loob ng University of the Philippines sa Diliman, Quezon City at kanilang mga tagasuporta para magprotesta. Pinabulaanan mismo ng CHR ang paratang ng pulis na “pinilit” ang mga batang Lumad na manatili sa eskwelahan.

Naghapag ang blokeng Makabayan ng resolusyon para imbestigahan ang insidente sa Kongreso. Sa Korte Suprema, iniutos ng mga mahistrado na isama ang kaso ni Booc sa ihahapag na petisyon para pansamantalang ipatigil ang Anti-Terror Law.

Nangako naman ang Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas na pananagutin ang mga nang-aapi sa mga Lumad. Kinundena nito ang NTF-ELCAC na walang dudang may pakana sa insidente.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: 4 na opensiba sa 4 na araw, inilunsad ng BHB-Bukidnon

Propaganda article from the Tagalog language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Feb 21, 2021): 4 na opensiba sa 4 na araw, inilunsad ng BHB-Bukidnon

Apat na magkakasunod na opensiba ang inilunsad ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB)-Bukidnon noong Pebrero 10-13 laban sa berdugong 8th IB at 3rd Special Forces Battalion (SFB). Limang sundalo ang napatay habang 10 ang nasugatan.

Apat na sundalo ang agad na nasawi nang pasabugan sila ng BHB sa Barangay Kibalabag, Malaybalay City noong Pebrero 10. Dalawang operasyong haras pa ang inilunsad sa parehong barangay noong Pebrero 11 at 12.

Isa naman ang nasawi sa pwersa ng 3rd SFB na nakahimpil sa Sityo Elyan, Sta. Filomena, Quezon. Notoryus ang 8th IB sa pananakot sa mga komunidad at iligal na pag-aresto sa mga Lumad sa Bukidnon.

Quezon. Isang sundalo ng 85th IB ang napatay nang ambusin ng BHB-Quezon ang kanilang sasakyan sa Barangay dela Paz, Buenavista noong Enero 23.

Oriental Mindoro. Pinaputukan ng BHB-Mindoro ang nag-ooperasyong mga elemento ng 4th IB sa Sityo Paraiso, Happy Valley, Roxas noong Enero 26. Dalawa ang naiulat na nasugatang sundalo.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: 5 gawa-gawang kaso, ibinasura

Propaganda article from the Tagalog language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Feb 21, 2021): 5 gawa-gawang kaso, ibinasura

Limang kasong isinampa laban sa mga aktibista at konsultant ang sunud-sunod na ibinasura ng mga korte sa nakaraang 10 araw. Ang mga ito ay ang mga gawa-gawang kaso ng illegal possession of explosives laban sa lider ng Gabriela na si Beatrice Belen; illegal possession of firearms and explosives laban sa tagapagsalita ng National Democratic Front-Panay na si Concha Araneta; “pagpapalaganap ng pekeng balita” laban sa mga brodkaster ng Radyo Natin Guimba; inciting to sedition laban sa gurong si Ronnel Mas; at illegal assembly laban sa mga aktibistang tinaguriang Marikina 10. Ang desisyon sa kaso laban kay Araneta ay noon pang Enero 6 inilabas pero nitong Pebrero 18 lamang naisapubliko.

Una nang ipinawalambisa ng korte noong Pebrero 5 ang search warrant na ginamit para arestuhin at kasuhan sina Lady Ann Salem at Rodrigo Esparago. Gayunpaman, hanggang ngayon ay nananatili silang nakakulong.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: Dalawang paslit, biktima ng maruming gera ng rehimen

Propaganda article from the Tagalog language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Feb 21, 2021): Dalawang paslit, biktima ng maruming gera ng rehimen

Habang pinagdedebatehan sa loob ng Korte Suprema kung paano nilalabag ng Anti-Terror Law ang demokratikong mga karapatan, walang puknat ang pang-aatake ng estado sa mamamayan, laluna sa mga lugar na malayo sa mata ng mga mahistrado at midya. Dalawang paslit ang naging biktima ng maruming gera ng rehimeng Duterte na tumatarget sa mga sibilyan. Marami sa mga biktima ang kasapi ng mga organisasyong paulit-ulit na ni-red-tag ng militar sa nakaraan.

Pagyurak sa mga karapatang-bata. Namatay ang isang buwang sanggol na si Baby Carlen, babaeng anak ng bilanggong pulitikal na si Nona Espinosa noong Pebrero 14 dulot ng kumplikasyon sa baga at dugo.

Tatlong araw pa lamang ang sanggol nang ihiwalay siya sa nakakulong niyang ina. Inaresto si Espinosa at walong iba pa noong Setyembre 2020 sa Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

Sa Maguindanao, tuluyan nang namatay ang batang si Saad Abdulkadir Tumbi noong Pebrero 14 dulot ng impeksyon sa mga sugat na natamo niya mula sa pambobomba ng 6th ID. Tulog siya nang tamaan ng splinter ng mortar ang bahay ng kanyang pamilya sa Barangay Sambulawan, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao noong Disyembre 13, 2020. Apat pang sibilyan, kabilang ang isang bata, ang naiulat na nasugatan sa pambobomba.

Pulitikal na pamamaslang. Binaril hanggang sa mapatay ng dalawang salarin si Lucresia Tasic, konsehal ng barangay, sa kanyang tahanan sa Hanopol Norte, Balilihan, Bohol noong Pebrero 16. Tagasuporta at nangampanya si Tasic para sa Anakpawis Party-list sa nagdaang mga eleksyon.

Tatlong magsasaka ang pinatay ng mga elemento ng 90th at 72nd IB sa Marinangao, Barangay Sarayan, Pres. Roxas, North Cotabato noong Pebrero 8.

Pinalabas ng mga pulis na “nanlaban” sina Buenaventura Dawal, ang kasama niya sa bahay na stap ng isang lokal na institusyon sa agrikultura at si Dennis Nogollos na opereytor ng makinang pang-ispray sa sakahan ng baryo.

Pag-aresto. Inaresto ng mga pulis si Rogelio de Asis, tagapangulo ng Pamalakaya-Caraga at myembro ng Promotion of Church People’s Response, sa kanyang tahanan sa Barangay Matabao, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte noong Pebrero 11. Sinampahan si de Asis ng gawa-gawang kasong pagpatay.

Inaresto ng mga pulis noong Pebrero 6 ang aktibistang si Vilma Dalangin-Yecyec, 72, sa Mainit, Surigao del Norte. Ang biktima ay isang manggagawang pangkalusugan sa komunidad na pinaratangang myembro ng BHB.

Sa Baggao, Cagayan, sinalakay ng pulis ang bahay ni Ruben Salvador, kapitan ng Barangay Agaman, noong Pebrero 8. Hinalughog ang bahay sa bisa ng search warrant na inilabas ni Judge Shiela Gacutan-Labuguen ng Baggao Municipal Trial Court. Pinalabas ng mga pulis na nakakuha sila ng armas at eksplosibo.

Pambobomba. Makailang-ulit na binomba ng militar ang mga kalapit na komunidad ng Barangay Masaya, Buenavista, Quezon matapos makasagupa ng yunit nito ang isang yunit ng BHB noong Pebrero 5 ng madaling araw sa naturang barangay. Dahil dito, mahigit 26,200 residente sa magkakanugnog na bayan ng Buenavista, San Narciso, Catanauan at Mulanay ang nagambala at natroma. Sa ngayon, ipinaiilalim ng mga sundalo ang 20 bayan ng Lopez, Macalelon, General Luna at Catanauan sa nakapokus na mga operasyong militar.

Sa Mountain Province, dalawang helikopter ang nambomba sa sakahan at pastulan ng mga residente ng Barangay Tamboan, Besao noong Pebrero 11. Sinundan ito ng walang patumanggang istraping ng mga tropa ng 7th ID at Philippine National Police-Cordillera.

Panggigipit. Pinalalayas ng Bureau of Immigration sa bansa si Otto De Vries, isang misyunero mula sa the Netherlands at kasalukuyang boluntir na mananaliksik sa Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education & Research.

Demolisyon. Higit 50 bahay ang iligal na dinemolis ng 150 tauhan ni Pablito Encarnacion, mangangamkam ng lupa, katuwang ang mga pulis, sa Barangay Liwayway, Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija noong Pebrero 17.

Walang permit o abiso ang mga pulis na sumugod sa komunidad.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: Palabigasan ng militar ang programang pambarangay ng NTF-ELCAC

Propaganda article from the Tagalog language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Feb 21, 2021): Palabigasan ng militar ang programang pambarangay ng NTF-ELCAC

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Tulad ng E-CLIP, “balik-baril” at iba pang programang pangkontra-insurhensya, tiyak pakikinabangan ng mga upisyal ng militar ang inilaang ₱16.4 bilyong pondo sa Barangay Development Program (BDP) ng National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). Ang programang ito ay hitik ng mga pagkakataon para sa korapsyon sa porma ng mga kikbak mula sa mga proyektong imprastruktura sa liblib na mga sityo at barangay.

Ipinagmamalaki ng NTF-ELCAC na “ilalayo” ng BDP ang mga magsasaka sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB). Ilalaan diumano ang pondo nito sa konstruksyon ng mga daanan, pagtatayo ng eskwelahan, patubig at sentrong pangkalusugan, at programang sanitasyon at reporestasyon. Napakarami nang ganitong mga proyekto sa nagdaang mga rehimen na walang saligang binago sa buhay ng masa. Ang mga proyektong ito ay lumilikha lamang ng ilusyon ng pagbabago dahil hindi nito tinutugunan ang malawakang kahirapan, kagutuman, pang-aapi at pagsasamantala na ibinubunsod ng kawalan ng sariling lupa ng mga magsasaka. Tulad ng naunang mga programa rito, walang dalang pagbabago sa saligang sosyo-ekonomikong kalagayan ng mamamayan ang BDP.

Mas litaw sa BDP ang daloy ng korapsyon. Ang pinakamalaking bahagi ng pondo nito ay nakalaan sa Davao City na mayroong 82 barangay na nakapaloob sa programa. Sumunod dito ang Bukidnon, Davao de Oro, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Iloilo, Misamis Oriental at North Cotabato. Lahat nang ito ay nasa Mindanao, bukod sa Iloilo. Halos kalahati ng pondo ng BDP ay paghahatian lamang ng dalawang rehiyon—Rehiyon 11 at Rehiyon 13. Ang matitira ay paghahatian ng 12 rehiyon.

Ang mga barangay na paglalaanan ng pondo ay “malinis” na umano sa impluwensya ng BHB. Pero kung titingnan ang datos, mula 2020, mayroong hindi bababa sa 100 armadong engkwentro na naganap sa mga barangay na tinukoy ng NTF-ELCAC.

Ang ₱20-milyong alokasyon kada barangay ay nabunyag na pamamahagi lamang ng pantay na kikbak sa mga lokal na upisyal. Pinasisinungalingan nito ang pahayag ng NTF-ELCAC na nakabatay ang kanilang listahan sa pangangailangan ng mga barangay samantalang tiyak na magkakaiba ang pangangailangan ng bawat isa. Gayundin, magkakaiba ang populasyon ng mga ito. Resulta nito, mayroong malaking agwat sa distribusyon ng pondo ng BDP mula ₱457 kada residente sa pinakamalaking barangay hanggang ₱181,818 sa pinakamaliit na barangay.

Para ipagtanggol ang programa, iginiit ng NTF-ELCAC na ang mga proyekto ay mula sa masusing pag-aaral at multisektoral na mga konsultasyon. Pero mismong si Sara Duterte, meyor ng Davao City, ang napilitang magsabing hindi siya kinonsulta kaugnay sa mga proyekto. Ginawa niya ang pagtanggi matapos makwestyon ang ₱1.64-bilyong alokasyon sa kanyang syudad, na 40% sa ₱4.3 bilyong nakalaan sa buong rehiyon ng Davao. Malinaw ang pagsapaw ng NTF-ELCAC sa burukrasyang sibil at mga lokal na upisyal.

Kalokohan ang pahayag ng NTF-ELCAC na 15% ng pondo ng BDP ay ilalaan sa pagtatayo ng mga eskwelahan (₱3 milyon kada barangay). Kung titingnan ang datos ng Department of Education, 216 sa 822 barangay na nasa listahan ang mayroon nang paaralan.

Sa Rehiyon 11, kung saan nabigay na ang unang bugso ng ₱4.3 bilyong pondo para sa BDP, 89 sa mga barangay dito ay mayroon nang paaralan. Kabilang dito ang siyam na paaralan sa Malabog, Davao City; anim na paaralan sa Colosas, Davao City; tiglimang paaralan sa Barangay Kingking, Pantukan, at mga barangay ng Tamugan at Malamba sa Davao City; at apat na paaralan sa Suawan, Davao City. Dagdag pa, sa naturang listahan ng mga barangay sa Rehiyon 11, mayroong 13 barangay na may hindi bababa sa tigatlong paaralan; 18 barangay na mayroong tigalawang paaralan, at 52 barangay na may tig-isang paaralan.

Sa 82 barangay na kabilang sa BDP sa Davao City, 70 (o 85%) ay mayroon nang paaralan, kung saan may 65 barangay na mayroong isa hanggang tatlong paaralan, at apat na barangay na mayroong hanggang dalawang paaralan at isang barangay na mayroong siyam na paaralan.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]