Thursday, March 4, 2021

Reds behind 141 incidents of anti-personnel mine use: AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 4, 2021): Reds behind 141 incidents of anti-personnel mine use: AFP (By Priam Nepomuceno)

FIGHTING NPA ATROCITIES. AFP Human Rights Office chief, Col. Joel Alejandro Nacnac (right) hands over the report on the NPA's use of anti-personnel mines to Commission on Human Rights chairperson Chito Gascon (left) during a meeting in Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday (March 4, 2021). The report said the communist terrorist group is behind 141 incidents of use, stockpiling, transport and production of anti-personnel mines or landmines which has so far caused 224 casualties since 2010. (Photo courtesy of AFP Human Rights Office)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday confirmed that the communist movement is behind a total of 141 incidents of use, stockpiling, transport and production of anti-personnel mines or landmines which have so far caused 224 casualties since 2010.

“The number of reported incidents from 2010 to date has risen to 141 incidents that resulted in the death of 32 military personnel and five civilians, and wounding of 163 soldiers and 24 civilians for a total of 224 casualties. Data collected by our Office from field units provides a factual and verifiable basis for the report,” AFP Human Rights Office (AFPHRO) chief Col. Joel Alejandro S. Nacnac said in his report.

He added that they have already submitted to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for appropriate action a list of these incidents which covers incidents using land mines that killed, maimed, or injured civilians and AFP personnel.

Nacnac said these incidents are mostly perpetrated by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

"The CPP-NPA-NDF’s acts of using, stockpiling, transporting and producing land mines is a clear violation of RA (Republic Act) 9851 which penalizes as a war crime the employment of means of warfare prohibited under international law, such as weapons, projectiles, materials and methods of warfare that cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering or which are inherently indiscriminate when inflicted on soldiers and civilians,” he added.

The year 2020 has shown to have the highest number of incidents at 68, followed by 24 in 2017 and 20 in 2019. Eastern Visayas has 68 reported casualties followed by Cagayan Valley and the Cordillera Administrative Region, both with 31.

Bicol Region has the highest number of reported incidents of actual use of anti-personnel mines by the communist terrorists with 19 incidents, followed by Eastern Visayas with 17, and Davao Region with 12.

The report was also submitted by AFPHRO to the Philippine Human Rights Committee, International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in the Philippines, Administrative Order 35 Secretariat and the Office of the United Nations International Organizations of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

It will also be submitted to the UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines and the Senior Human Rights Adviser of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights to the Philippines.

Nacnac also informed the public of the resolution adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on Dec. 8, 2005 which declared the 4th of April of each year as International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

“The UN resolution called for continued efforts by States, with support from the UN and other concerned organizations, to help establish and develop national mine-action capacities in countries where mines constitute a serious threat to the lives of people. The day aims to raise awareness about landmines and progress toward their eradication. The Mine Awareness Day is a global observance and not a public holiday,” Nacnac said.

As part of its mandate, the AFPHRO continues to monitor Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law violations by non-State armed groups such as the CPP-NPA-NDF including the use of anti-personnel or land mines that have maimed or permanently injured soldiers and civilians.

“With the assistance and support of the Commission on Human Rights, we may be able to put a stop to the CPP-NPA-NDF’s criminal acts. The AFP, through the Human Rights Office, will continuously coordinate with the appropriate agencies in this whole-of-nation approach towards just and lasting peace,” Nacnac 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.

2,290 AFP personnel vaccinated as of March 4

 From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 4, 2021): 2,290 AFP personnel vaccinated as of March 4 (By Priam Nepomuceno)

File photo

A total of 2,290 military healthcare workers have so far been inoculated with Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac vaccines since the rollout of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) vaccination drive earlier this week.

Latest data from the AFP showed that as of Thursday, 598 military personnel were vaccinated at the Victoriano Luna Medical Center (VLMC), 583 at the Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo Station Hospital, 349 at the Manila Naval Hospital, 566 at the Philippine Army General Hospital, and 194 at the Philippine Air Force General Hospital.

"I am confident that our front-line personnel will make good use of this opportunity to confidently and safely dispense their duties as we collectively seek an end to this pandemic," said AFP chief-of-staff, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, in a statement.

The AFP is also conducting a troop information and education (TI & E) program in every camp to address issues, concerns, and apprehension of soldiers about being vaccinated.

The VLMC is also facilitating the program to train and capacitate healthcare personnel for the ongoing vaccination program while information dissemination materials are also provided to military training facilities in unified commands.

With the availability of the Sinovac vaccine in the country, Sobejana reiterated that medical front-liners of the military will be prioritized in the inoculation drive.

“The AFP is grateful to the national government to have our health workers be among the first to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. This gives protection to our military front-liners as they carry out their duties to serve and treat our citizens,” he said.

Sobejana also urged personnel to support the ongoing vaccination program as the military continues to serve at the frontlines in the battle against Covid-19.

“The vaccination program will be our shield that shall aid us in protecting and preserving Filipino lives against the pandemic,” Sobejana said.

Meanwhile, the AFP remains to be on a support role in the government’s vaccine rollout.

A total of 304 medical service personnel already conducted simulation activities in preparation for the vaccination campaign.

There are 72 vaccine teams and 47 vaccination sites in AFP camps with military treatment facilities (MTFs) nationwide.

The AFP is actively working with local government units and Department of Health counterparts where there are no MTFs.

“The AFP remains ready to serve our people in these challenging times. The availability of the vaccines is a welcome development that allows us to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Sobejana said.

Rappler needs to apologize to IPs: PCOO exec

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 4, 2021): Rappler needs to apologize to IPs: PCOO exec (By Christine Cudis)

Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy (File photo)

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy said online news site Rappler should issue an apology for supporting the narrative of Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) regarding the use of the term 'lumad' to refer to the Indigenous People (IP).

"Rappler owes our indigenous peoples an apology for being party to the unbearable Grief and Suffering they’ve had to endure in the hands of these communists terrorists... the word “LUMAD” is a word the CPP-NPA-NDF stripped of its real meaning and reinvented to mean ‘ALL TRIBES OF MINDANAO” to support their terrorist activities—not the least of which are the massive fundraising and extortion of non-government organizations and government organizations here and around the world," Badoy said in a statement on Thursday.

Badoy said for years, the "deliberate killing of thousands upon thousands of our indigenous brothers and sisters---GENOCIDE, the destruction of their culture by the theft of their identity and the murder of THOUSANDS of their tribal leaders—just 3 of 17 unforgivable atrocities they have committed against our indigenous tribes were made easier and more convenient by that one despicable word, LUMAD".

When Badoy issued her statement online explaining the implication of the term "lumad" to the IP communities nationwide, Rappler followed up with their own saying the former's words were false.

IPs don't want to be identified as lumads

Earlier this week, Badoy said the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the body that represents and is tasked to care for and protect “our indigenous brothers and sisters”, crafted a resolution that seeks to denounce the use of the term lumad to refer to Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCS/IPS) particularly of Mindanao.

The resolution also enjoins the public to address ICCS/IPS by their respective affiliation or ethnolinguistic group.

It said the term ‘lumad’ is a Cebuano term meaning native.

“’Lumad’ referring to indigenous peoples of Mindanao was adopted by members the Lumad Mindanao People’s Federation (LMPF) on 26 June 1986 during its First Congress/Assembly in Kidapawan, Cotabato,” the resolution added.

Badoy said LMPF is an above ground organization of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

She said the terms “lumad” and “kalumaran” were then widely used to solicit foreign and local funding in finance generation activities of the terrorist group.

“Whereas, looking at the historical context of the term ‘lumad’ emerged, it is but just and proper to put order and in order to correct the injustice committed by the CPP-NDF-NPA and to put a stop to the corruption of the IP struggle, that this group condemns and denounces the use of the term ‘lumad’ to refer to the ICC/IP groups of the Philippines," she added.

The NCIP resolution was signed by Commissioner Gaspar Cayat representing the indigenous peoples of Cordillera Administration Region and Region 1 (Ilocos); Commissioner Norberto Navarro representing the indigenous peoples of Region 2 (Cagayan Valley); Commissioner Rolandao Rivera representing Regions 3 (Central Luzon) and the rest of Luzon; Commissioner Jeorge Largado representing the IPs in the Island groups and the rest of Visayas; Commissioner Jennifer Pia S. Las representing IPs in Central Mindanao; Commissioner Dominador Gomez representing IPs of Northern and Western Mindanao; and Secretary Capuyan, NCIP Chair and Commissioner representing the IPs in Southern and Eastern Mindanao.

"The entire IP sector of the Philippines represented and heard. A far better representation than a blogsite known for its unethical brand of journalism that having them as Fact-checker is a joke of monumental proportions, don’t you think so?," Badoy said.


Badoy said Rappler also claimed that she was wrong in claiming that Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) taught their students how to become members of NPA, armed wing of the CPP.

“In fact, ALCADEV is a creation of the CPP-NPA-NDF that targeted senior high school indigenous children in Region 13,” she said.

ALCADEV, a supposed educational institution but recently proven to be not qualify to the Department of Education's standards.

"It was the legal front, MAPASU that got funding from the hapless Belgian government who gave generously not knowing they were funding terrorism and the destruction of our indigenous peoples," she said.

Rappler, in one of its fact-checking reports, said ALCADEV is ‘privately-owned and government regulated’.

"ALCADEV, when it existed, had NO government regulation at all. Their curriculum was the curriculum of the CPP-NPA-NDF –the PADEPA or the Pambansang Demokratikong Paaralan – a course that utilizes systematic brainwashing, radicalization and agitation of its recruits regarding Philippine history and the National situationer that will justify armed revolution as the only solution to the ills of society," Badoy explained.

ALCADEV, she added, did not operate with licensed teachers, student registrations.

"Students there did not have SLN—Student Learner’s Number –meaning they were out of the school system so a LOT of them wasted precious years learning to be a CPP operative then when they decided to get back into the fold of the law, learned that all those years in that phoney school didn’t count for anything and that they would need to go back to square one," she added.

Badoy said the “most heinous of all: ALCADEV made possible the kidnapping and trafficking of indigenous children for political propaganda and then too, to make them into child warriors.”

"Rappler, therefore, supports and propagates the propaganda lines of the CPP-NPA-NDF. In behalf of the IP of the Philippines, I demand that apology from Rappler," she said.

Drop ‘lumad’, use ethnic group names instead: NCIP

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 4, 2021): Drop ‘lumad’, use ethnic group names instead: NCIP (By Marita Moaje)

NO TO ‘LUMAD’. The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples wants to correct the misnomer that all ethnic groups can be called “lumad”. In Resolution 08-009-2021 issued on March 2, 2021, the commission said the elders, leaders, and members of different ICC/IP groups in Mindanao requested that they not be called “lumad”. Instead, they want to be referred to by their ethnolinguistic group names. (Photo courtesy of NCIP)

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) issued a resolution denouncing the use of the term “lumad” when referring to Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICC) and different Indigenous Peoples (IPs) groups.

NCIP Resolution 08-009-2021 issued on March 2 stated that the elders, leaders, and members of different ICC/IP groups in Mindanao requested that they not be called “lumad”.

They said the term has been widely used even by some government offices and public officials to refer to members of the ICCs/IPs, especially those from Mindanao.

“Lumad” is a Cebuano term that means “native”.

It was first adopted by members of the Lumad Mindanao Peoples Federation (LMPF) on June 26, 1986 during its First Congress held in Kidapawan, Cotabato. From then on, it has been used to refer to ICCs and IPs.

IP elders, leaders, and members refused to be called “lumad” because the LPMF, they say, is not the recognized representative of the ICCs and IPs of Mindanao.

As such, it does not represent their collective sentiments.

"’Lumad’ is not an indigenous term. Its emergence and continued use (are) marred by its association with the CPP, NDF, and NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines - National Democratic Front - New People’s Army) whose ideologies are not consistent with the cultures, practices, and beliefs of ICCs/lPs,” the NCIP resolution read.

It further stated that “lumad” is associated with national minorities who are opposed to IPs, and thus weakens the true identities of ethnic communities.

The first congress and the subsequent meetings and activities of the LPMF were initiated and sponsored by the CPP-NPA-NDF and were attended by some IP members of the LPMF, which they said were not composed of genuine elders and leaders.

The NCIP further stated that Datu Lito Omos, who was elected the first secretary-general of the LMPF, attested to it.

The term “lumad” was chosen to control the identification of the lPs under the banners of the CPP-NPA-NDF, according to Omos.

It also hides solicitation activities by insurgents.

The NCIP said using “lumad” to refer to ICCs and IPs in Mindanao is like refusal to recognize their genuine identity and rights.

“The term has no ancestral domain or indigenous territory to speak of and is condescending and derogatory,” NCIP Chairperson and Commissioner for Eastern and Southern Mindanao Allen Capuyan said.

With the resolution, the NCIP encouraged all government offices to refrain from using the term “lumad” in their official documents and communications, and the general public as well when referring to IPs.

“The public is enjoined to use the respective ethnolinguistic group or Indigenous Cultural Communities, Indigenous Peoples, Katutubong Pamayanang Kultural or Katutubong Pamayanan when referring to IPs collectively,” the resolution read.

The country has 122 IP groups as of December 2019, but “lumad” is not one of them.