Friday, April 2, 2021

Top NPA leader killed in Surigao

From the Manila Times (Apr 3, 2021): Top NPA leader killed in Surigao (By Cris Diaz)

A rebel commander of the outlawed New People’s Army (NPA) was killed while another was captured in a clash with government forces in Surigao del Norte, the military reported on Thursday. 

A belated military report identified the rebel only as alias “WAR,” vice commanding platoon officer of the armed propaganda unit of the GF16 of the Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee. 

His fellow fighter who was slightly wounded and identified only as alias Ka Bebot was given first aid by the troops at the clash site and later evacuated to the Municipal Health Unit in Gigaquit for further medical treatment. 

Lt. Benjamin Elisand de Dios, spokesman for the Philippine Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion based in Gigaquit, said the true name of the slain NPA commander was withheld pending notification of the relatives. 

He added that WAR’s body was brought to a funeral home in Bacuag town for proper burial. 

Recovered from the scene of the encounter were one M16 rifle, one M203 grenade launcher, fragmentation grenades, foodstuff and personal belongings.

Chinese ship to Filipino aircraft in West PH Sea: 'Leave immediately, keep out'

From Rappler (Mar 31, 2021): Chinese ship to Filipino aircraft in West PH Sea: 'Leave immediately, keep out' (By JAIRO BOLLEDO)

AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo says it is not the first time they received a warning from a Chinese ship

It was like you were inside your house and a guest told you to get out.

This was how it looked Tuesday, March 30, when a Chinese vessel in the West Philippine Sea told a patrolling aircraft of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to leave the area.

A voice speaking on radio in halting English could be heard in a video posted by ABS-CBN Reporter Chiara Zambrano. The person speaking was presumably aboard one of the Chinese vessels moored in the West Philippine Sea.

Why we shouldn’t be complacent about Chinese vessels in Julian Felipe Reef

“You are approaching a Chinese reef. To avoid any move that may cause misunderstanding, please leave immediately and keep out,” said the person on the radio.

However, the Filipino soldiers insisted on continuing their maritime patrol as planned.

They responded to their Chinese counterpart: “This is gov’t Philippine aircraft C295. We are conducting routine maritime patrol over Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ). We are proceeding based on our planned route.”

During its patrols on Tuesday, the military said it received 5 warnings from the Chinese ship. The military said they see and hear similar warnings each time they conduct a maritime patrol in the disputed seascapes.

AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said it was not the first time that they received such a warning from the Chinese.

“It’s not the first time. And those challenges have been customary. Hence, our reply is likewise customary. That we are conducting routine maritime patrol over our EEZ,” the AFP spokesperson said in a message to reporters.

Since the 220 Chinese vessels were first spotted at Julian Felipe Reef on March 7, the military had been conducting aerial and maritime patrols in the area to assess the situation.

On March 25, Arevalo said the military ordered the deployment of Philippine vessels to beef up the country's presence in the area.

For years, China had been asserting its dominance in the South China Sea by claiming territories and islands in the region. It justifies its claim of these territories by virtue of the 9-dash line – a claim that was rebuked by the Hague Ruling.

The Hague Ruling in 2016 mandated that all islands in the disputed seascapes within its 200-mile exclusive economic zone belong to the Philippines. It upheld the claims of the Philippines in the disputed territories in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

White House: Statement by National Security Council Spokesperson Emily Horne on National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s Call with National Security Advisor Hermogenes Esperon of the Philippines

Posted to the US White House Website (Mar 31, 2021): Statement by National Security Council Spokesperson Emily Horne on National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s Call with National Security Advisor Hermogenes Esperon of the Philippines

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke by phone today with National Security Advisor Hermogenes Esperon of the Philippines. The National Security Advisors discussed their shared concerns regarding the recent massing of People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia vessels at Whitsun Reef. Mr. Sullivan underscored that the United States stands with our Philippine allies in upholding the rules-based international maritime order, and reaffirmed the applicability of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty in the South China Sea. The National Security Advisors agreed that the United States and the Philippines will continue to coordinate closely in responding to challenges in the South China Sea.

With anti-terror law, red-tagged campus press struggle to report during pandemic

Posted to Rappler (Apr 2, 2021): With anti-terror law, red-tagged campus press struggle to report during pandemic (By JEZREEL INESANGEL TURIANO)

Despite these threats and limitations, affected campus publications try to continue operations and remain true to their mandate

Under the COVID-19 pandemic and the passage of the anti-terror law, the threats to campus publications take on a greater severity and pose serious challenges to student journalists' reportage.

This is on top of campus publications already being subjected to attacks and suppression, even by their own school administrations. The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) has recorded almost 1,000 violations against campus press freedom since 2010.

Heightened harassment, red-tagging

Aside from universities, student publications are among the targets of the government’s red-tagging spree, after several were described as legal fronts of the communist movement without basis.

Tinig ng Plaridel, the official student publication of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC), was a recent target.

In a Facebook post on March 1, Tinig ng Plaridel reported that it had received a death threat from a suspected troll account.

“Binabalaan namin kayo. Itigil niyo na ang ginagawa niyo. Kung ayaw niyong itumba namin kayo,” a part of the troll's message read. (We're warning you. Stop what you're doing already, if you don't want us to bring you down.)

In their statement, the publication emphasized its tradition of critical reportage and maintained its commitment against any threats to campus press freedom.

“We also call on fellow campus journalists to resist, hold the line, and seek the government accountable for the vicious cycle of impunity that reigns supreme in this country,” the publication said.

DEFEND. Campus publication members join the protest on Monday, March 1 in UP Diliman to denounce the red-tagging against campus publications. PHOTO FROM THE COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES

Himati, the official student publication of the University of the Philippines Mindanao has also been a subject of red-tagging on social media.

In a now-deleted February 6 Facebook post by Kalumuran Mindanao, a page backed by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), Himati was accused of being an “ally” of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army (CPP-NDF-NPA), along with UP Mindanao alumnus Jayvie Cabajes and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines-Haran.

Prior to this, Sinag, the official student publication of the UP College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP), was also accused, by individuals claiming to be members of the Indigenous People Mandatory Representatives (IPMR), of being a legal front for the New People’s Army.

On January 11, Manila Times columnist Roberto Tiglao also accused the Philippine Collegian, the official student publication of the University of the Philippines Diliman, of being a front for communist rebels.

In their statement, the Philippine Collegian pointed out that the accusations “imperil the life and safety of student journalists” and strongly denied being a legal front for communist groups.

“While none of us are wanted nor terrorists, this is not something we take lightly, especially at a time when even such implications could lead to unlawful arrest and, even worse, death in cold blood,” the statement read.

UP Solidaridad, an alliance of student publications and writers' organizations in UP, strongly condemned these incidents.

“Kung pananakot din lang ang ibinabato sa amin, natitiyak din naming higit na nakakatakot, ngunit wasto at makatwiran, ang tugon ng mamamayan at mga mamamahayag na nananawagan ng tunay na hustisya at kalayaan sa lipunan,” said in their statement. (If threats are going to be thrown our way, we're going to make sure that we citizens and journalists, who call for true justice and freedom in our society, will respond just as fiercely, but in a just and proper way.)

Impacts of red-tagging

These red-tagging incidents, although already dangerous, take on a whole new meaning now that the anti-terror law is in place. Critics have long raised concerns about the highly contested law, saying this could give the government more power to arrest or detain dissenting individuals and groups due to the policy’s vague definition of terrorism.

The law has made it all the more difficult for campus publications to do critical reportage and has even affected the operations of campus publications in a bid to protect their members.

Cristina Chi, editor-in-chief of Tinig ng Plaridel, said measures such as using only the initials of their writers in bylines are being imposed to ensure their safety after the attack on their publication. Chi added that she wanted to make sure that the members would be safe from personal threats.

“It’s one thing for the publication to receive death threats through its FB page, it’s another if someone manages to get a hold of our numbers, text us death threats, while monitoring us in person,” Chi said.

Miguel de Borja, editor-in-chief of Sinag, also mentioned using pen names for the additional protection of their writers and requiring them to beef up their security on social media to protect their identities.

He added that the red-tagging incident also affected their writers' mental health. However, he also said that this had no effect on the kind of articles they wrote.

Himati’s publishing of stories, in the meantime, has been slower than usual due to the anxiety and burnout faced by their staff after being red-tagged.

“The publishing of articles has slowed down due to the political climate. Though we try to stay militant with our content, this has certainly pushed a number of our contributors to go by pseudonyms,” Red Masacupan, editor-in-chief of Himati, said.

A warning to others

Masacupan said that while they have already used pseudonyms to protect their writers’ identities, others are still hesitant, leading to Himati working with a limited number of writers.

COMPLAINTS. Campus journalists file a complaint at CHED, CHR on Friday, July 24, 2020 against campus press freedom violations. CEGP said these violations prevent student writers from becoming critical. It tames, paralyzes, and even shuts down militant student organizations. PHOTO FROM PUP THE CATALYST

De Borja also shared that those who continued to write stories were not forced or pressured to contribute.

While others are threatened by the incidents, Chi said the attacks reminded them of their role as watchdogs.

“The red-tagging incidents made student journalists more conscious of their role as journalists, which is to provide context to [the] national issues, including red-tagging, that kept plaguing the communities,” Chi added.

De Borja also emphasized the need for a law protecting campus journalists and penalizing red-tagging.

How campus journalists can be protected

Although there is an existing law to protect campus journalists, publications such as Tinig ng Plaridel, Sinag, and Himati said the current provisions did not offer them much security from red-tagging incidents.

Several campus publications from different universities, including the University of San Carlos and the University of the Philippines System, have banded together to call for the repeal of the Campus Journalism Act.

“This spineless law that promises safe spaces for campus journalists condones transgressions due to its lack of a penalty clause. It provides school administrations a leeway to commit offense after offense and get away without any punishments,” the statement read.

Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago has also renewed her push for House Bill No. 319 or the Campus Press Freedom Bill that seeks to repeal the Campus Journalism Act of 1991.

The said bill seeks to amend provisions in the current law on the non-mandatory collection of the publication fee and the non-mandatory establishment of student publications.

“The protection of campus journalists against these attacks is now important more than ever, and if that comes from the amendment of CJA, then that's a step good enough for now,” Masacupan said.

As of March 2021, the bill is still pending with the House committee on higher and technical education.

Despite these threats and limitations, affected campus publications try to continue operations and remain true to their mandate.

Sinag, Tinig ng Plaridel, and Himati said that they will continue to expose cases of state-sponsored harassment in the community, adding that student journalists are especially important in amplifying issues that do not get covered much on mainstream media.

“As the continuous red-tagging spree transpires, campus publications always advocate for a free press, which starts by keeping up the flame of militancy and giving light to stories that are worth telling,” Masacupan said. –

[Jezreel Ines is a Rappler intern. He is a 3rd year journalism student at the University of the Philippines Diliman.]

[Angel Turiano is a Rappler volunteer under Move PH. She is a 2nd year broadcasting student at Ateneo de Naga University.]

Opinion: At long last, NPA shouts its last

Opinion piece posted to the Manila Times (Apr 2, 2021): At long last, NPA shouts its last (By Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.)

LAST March 29, the communist New People’s Army (NPA) celebrated its 52nd year of terrorizing our people — 50,000 civilians dead, another 13,000 soldiers and policemen killed, and counting. There were 144 incidents of land-mining resulting in 224 casualties, both from the military, police and civilians. The NPA also had 544 child warriors recruited, killed or surrendered. Yet some people are blind to all these.

“No, they are not terrorists,” they proclaim. “They are activists.”

Are these people for real?

Whatever, but that day marks the last of their anniversaries because from this day onwards, we will see clearly how they will evolve into modern- day bandits and scammers, thanks to their supporters in Congress, the academe, the media, artists, the clergy, local government executives, the business sector.

But thanks to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), we will reverse all these, even before the year ends. How? By consistently exposing how Jose Ma. Sison had red-tagged them. By meeting their propaganda head-on.

Cagayan Valley folks angrily burn the CPP-NPA flag commemorating the 52nd NPA anniversary last March 29. FACEBOOK PAGE OF 5ID STARTROOPERS PHILIPPINE ARMY

Is there even a plan for these? None. There is no need for anything so elaborate. We will simply present the truth and facts that we have gathered through 52 years of their deception and lies. We just have to be persistent in drowning them with all the lies they have concocted through those years, until the people realize how they have been hoodwinked by these instruments of Satan. How ironic, though, because many of them are actually priests and nuns, or former members of the clergy.

To illustrate how people have been fooled by these communist terrorists, wittingly or unwittingly, I would start again with this strange coalition of sorts called 1Sambayan. From what we heard from them and their supporters, they simply describe themselves as the coalition of the “righteous.” They use adjectives and allegories for integrity, character, good governance, blah, blah, blah. No wonder then that they use Church personalities talking of “rule of law” and how it is being abused by this administration. They speak of adherence to human rights, empathy for the poor, decency in utterances, and many more general statements. We can’t help but agree with all these criteria. However, the people in the coalition hardly qualify for these set of criteria.

From the extreme left, there is Neri Colmenares. How can anyone decent enough align with this person? He cannot even denounce the atrocities of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP). As a member of Lupon ng Manananggol ng Bayan (Lumaban), steering the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL), he is mandated to defend at all costs all those terrorists apprehended by the authorities. It is not surprising therefore that he will be at the forefront in the petition at the Supreme Court against the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The NDFP website names Lumaban as a member organization, along with the Kabataang Makabayan (KM), Kalipunan ng mga Gurong Makabayan (Kaguma) of ACT, and the NPA. To illustrate the NDFP’s direct participation in the armed struggle, other than the inclusion of the Bagong Hukbong Bayan in the NDFP, let’s refresh ourselves with NDF-Negros Concha Araneta’s statement during their anniversary in April 2019. Araneta proudly proclaimed the 46 years of NDFP’s contributions to the armed struggle. She said that they “celebrate with heads high the indispensable role in advancing the Philippine revolution, including inflicting casualties of not less than 50 enemies in Panay.” Indeed, she said “the NDFP have continually filled the ranks of the NPA-CPP through the years.” (

Going back to 1Sambayan, I saw the name of Samira Gutoc. It is the same Samira who, during a Senate hearing, accused soldiers of molesting women at checkpoints during the Marawi siege. Asked by Armed Forces of the Philippines commanders to provide more details of these abuses so that they can take action, she just shrugged it off saying she just heard the story from someone. In short, tsismis lang para sa media. Is this the person 1Sambayan has chosen to represent “integrity” and “character,” especially as a Muslim woman? Kaya n’yang ‘sumira’ ng dangal ng mga sundalo, para lang s’ya ay sumikat? This is the same Samira who would later give a speech in a forum called Babae Abante, together with Sarah Elago and Maria Sol Taule, both of whom are known liars and provocateurs. You can check their speeches in that forum and hear for yourself how they tried to radicalize grade school students of Humss at St. Bridget School. Listen how they feed children with lies so they will start hating their government. I cannot believe this is the same Samira whom the Army asked to help the organization in its transformation by being a member of the Multi Sector Advisory Board (MSAB).

I will get back to this line-up of 1Sambayan in my next piece. But for now, I would like to explain a bit how the NPA will capitulate by the end of the year.

As of this writing, 14,000 of their followers, including NPA regulars and Militia ng Bayan (MB), have returned to the fold of the law in a span of two years. From a strength of 11,930 armed regulars in 2001, they are down to 3,706 at the end of 2020. Nowadays it is common to hear NPA regulars surrender by platoons or in batches of four to six. This time though, they do not expect to be replenished by their MBs, who have already surrendered and continue to capitulate in large numbers.

The NTF-Elcac has also dismantled most of the organs of political power (OPPs) and the underground mass organizations (UGMOs) that comprise their revolutionary (shadow) government, which provides support to the red area. In its stead, the barangay development program of the NTF-Elcac is in full swing to provide the needs identified by these remote, isolated, disadvantaged areas which were once under the influence of the CPP-NPA.

The exposure by former cadres belonging to Sambayanan of the real nature of these UGMOs have contributed to the downtrend in the recruitment of new members. These are the “activists” in the white areas, providing the NPA members all their requirements, including legal assistance when captured, medical needs when wounded, or safehouses when they run away from pursuing soldiers in their bases.

With the convergence of all government agencies in NTF-Elcac addressing the CPP programs, especially its propaganda machinery, foreign funding to CPP front organizations has been drastically reduced. Front organizations like Gabriela, ACT, LFS, KMU and Courage are crumbling. Many of their members have severed their ties with their hardcore leaders. Some continue to be advocates for change, activists for real and legitimate issues, but never the violent terrorists that these CPP fronts had envisioned them to be.

Today we end the reign of the NPA. Tomorrow we wake up a free and progressive country.

Cops link groups to Reds based on documents seized in raid

From GMA News  Online (Apr 2, 2021): Cops link groups to Reds based on documents seized in raid (By JOVILAND RITA)

The Police Regional Office 4A on Thursday linked several organizations to communist-terrorist groups based on documents operatives recovered during the raid in Laguna on Tuesday.

PRO4A said the documents possessed by
respondent identified as Marites David or Teacher Laly in the search warrant are strong evidence that the groups are associated with the rebels.

Police Brigadier General Albert Ferro, chief of the Crime Investigation and Detection Group, said t
he searched house was allegedly a supply line of the New People’s Army for rebellious activities.

Citing former rebel Jeffrey Celiz or Ka Eric Almendras, the PRO4A said there were several information indicating that David is involved in underground activities against the government.

According to the police, the rebels planned an attack and assassination of government officials as well as police and military personnel, as allegedly stated in the seized documents.

Moreover, police said, David is affiliated with several progressive groups such as the Alyansa ng Manggagawa sa Enklabo (AMEN).

On Tuesday, rights group Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said the police raid was conducted at the former office of AMEN in Sta. Rosa.

She said staff and members of AMEN pointed out that the old office has not been used nor visited for more than a year.

Palabay added that David, whom she addressed as staff of Olalia KMU, has not been in the place during the same period.

GMA News Online is still trying to contact Olalia KMU for its comment on the matter.

“The incident is another form of harassment against trade unionists and activists in Southern Tagalog, after the March 7 Bloody Sunday incidents,” she said in a Facebook post.

“The use of questionable search warrants to justify the filing of trumped up charges through planted evidence and perjured testimonies should stop,” she added.

On Tuesday, Philippine National Police chief Debold Sinas said a suspected "armorer" of the CPP-NPA Special Partisan Unit (SPARU) was the subject of the search warrant.

David was not around during the search but Barangay Market Area officials acknowledged the inventory of seized weapons, according to the PNP.

Recovered items from the search include:
  • an M1 caliber 30 carbine
  • an M2 cal.30 automatic carbine
  • a Bushmaster rifle
  • a unit of M16 Elisco rifle
  • three cal .45 handgun
  • 38 rounds of live ammunition
  • nine rounds of 40mm grenade
  • 15 pieces of improvised anti-personnel mine
  • an improvised anti-troop carrier mine
  • three pieces improvised Claymore mine
  • a piece of Claymore mine
  • a laptop with charger
  • four pieces of envelope containing documents and streamers;
  • materials for making IED such as wires, switches, blasting caps and detonating cord

Explosives, food supplies for NPA intercepted in Caraga

From Tempo (Apr 2, 2021): Explosives, food supplies for NPA intercepted in Caraga (By MARTIN A. SADONGDONG)

Security forces arrested two young men who yielded explosives and food supplies intended for the New People’s Army (NPA) at a checkpoint in Santiago, Agusan del Norte, the Philippine National Police (PNP) disclosed on Good Friday.

Citing reports from the Caraga Police Regional Office, PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas identified the arrested suspects as Darnel Jaudian, 24, and Raymund Tanghal, 24, both residents of Barangay Telesfora, Tubay, Agusan del Norte.

According to the report, Jaudian and Tanghal were intercepted at a checkpoint manned by the Caraga PNP and Philippine Army in Brgy. Poblacion 2 on Wednesday, March 31.

A 15-meter detonating cord and one pipe bomb-type improvised explosive device (IED) were found on the two motorcycles used by the suspects, the report said.

Police and military also confiscated from the suspects various ammunition, assorted goods, and food supplies, it added.

Police Brig. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr., regional director of Caraga Police, said the explosives and food supplies were supposed to be delivered by the suspects to the members of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front (GF) 16, Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee under the command of certain Rolando Leyson Jr. alias “Ka Edroy.”

“The confiscated items are supplies for the 52nd NPA anniversary celebration on March 29 but were delayed due to tightened security measures and law enforcement operations region-wide,” Caramat told Sinas in his report.

Caramat assured that the police has tightened security measures in Caraga to ensure the peaceful observation of the Holy Week in the region. The suspects were brought to Santiago Municipal Police Station while appropriate charges were already prepared for filing in court.

PNP, Army foil NPA’s Holy Week bomb plot in Caraga

From the Manila Bulletin (Apr 2, 2021): PNP, Army foil NPA’s Holy Week bomb plot in Caraga (By Martin Sadongdong)

A potential bombing plan to disrupt the peaceful observation of the Holy Week was prevented by security forces after two young men allegedly yielded explosives and food supplies intended for the New People’s Army (NPA) in a checkpoint operation in Santiago, Agusan Del Norte, the Philippine National Police (PNP) disclosed on Good Friday, April 2.

Citing reports from the Caraga Police Regional Office, PNP Chief Gen. Debold Sinas identified the arrested suspects as Darnel Jaudian, 24; and Raymund Tanghal, 24; both residents of Brgy. Telesfora, Tubay, Agusan del Norte.

According to the report, Jaudian and Tanghal were intercepted in a checkpoint operation jointly conducted by the Caraga PNP and Philippine Army in Brgy. Poblacion 2 on Wednesday, March 31.

A 15-meter detonating cord and one pipe bomb-type improvised explosive device (IED) were found on the two motorcycles used by the suspects, the report said.

Police and military also confiscated from the suspects various ammunition, assorted goods, and food supplies, it added.

Police Brig. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr., regional director of Caraga police, said the explosives and food supplies were supposed to be delivered by the suspects to the members of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front (GF) 16, Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee under the command of certain Rolando Leyson Jr. alias “Ka Edroy.”

“The confiscated items are supplies for the 52nd NPA anniversary celebration on March 29 but were delayed due to tightened security measures and law enforcement operations region-wide,” Caramat told Sinas in his report.

Caramat ensured that the police has tightened security measures in Caraga to ensure the peaceful observation of the Holy Week in the region.

The suspects were brought to Santiago Municipal Police Station while appropriate charges were already prepared for filing in court.

Bulatlat: The members of the Anti-Terrorism Council and their track record

Anti-government propaganda piece posted to the pro-CPP/NDF online propaganda outlet Bulatlat (Apr 2, 2021): The members of the Anti-Terrorism Council and their track record

Illustration by Dee Ayroso

Under the Anti-Terrorism Act or Republic Act 11479, the Anti-Terrorism Council is given vast powers, including the power to designate individuals and groups as terrorists without due process.


Under the Anti-Terrorism Act or Republic Act 11479, the Anti-Terrorism Council is given vast powers, including the power to designate individuals and groups as terrorists without due process.

Human rights groups argued that such power “violates due process clause, the right to be presumed innocent, and freedom of association.”

The ATC’s power of designation, they added, is a violation of the principle of separation of powers and a usurpation of judicial prerogatives.

Under Section 29 of the law, the ATC also has the power to authorize the arrest and detention of suspects without warrants for up to 24 days. Advocates maintained this violated the right to due process and impartial trial.

The ATC can also conduct surveillance operations against those who are merely suspected of terrorism.

As the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers has put it, “The ATC, in a manner of speaking, will yet again act as
prosecutor, judge and executioner. Granting such powers in one executive body of a political branch of government is an evil sought to be prevented by the framers of the 1987 Constitution, which is why they lodged upon judges the sole and exclusive discretion to determine reasonable intrusions into liberty and privacy.”

Know about the members of the ATC and their track record.

Chairperson: Executive Secretary

The Office of the Executive Secretary is the head and highest-ranking office of the Office of the President and a member of the Cabinet. The Executive Secretary is also called “Little President” due to the vast powers he/she has. The Executive Secretary can issue orders in the name of the President, can review and modify decisions of other cabinet secretaries on appeal and can perform numerous other functions as allowed or delegated by the Chief Executive.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea is a childhood friend of President Rodrigo Duterte. He is the son of former Supreme Court Associate Justice Leo D. Medialdea who served from 1988 to 1992 under President Corazon C. Aquino.

In 2000, he was appointed by then President Joseph Estrada as presidential assistant for political affairs.

When Duterte declared the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist groups in December 2017, Medialdea was tasked to instruct the Department of Justice to pursue charges against the communists.

Vice Chairperson: National Security Adviser

The National Security Adviser is the Director General of the National Security Council who serves as the chief adviser to the President on national security issues.

In 2016, President Duterte appointed retired general and former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Hermogenes Esperon Jr. as his national security adviser.

Esperon’s history is shaded with gross human rights violations during his stint at the AFP under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Esperon started as the commander of the Presidential Security Group in 2002; in 2004 he became the commander of Task Force Hope (Honest, Orderly, Peaceful elections) for peace.

In 2006, Esperon became AFP chief of staff. Progressive groups said his promotion was his prize for helping Arroyo win the 2004 national elections. Esperon was among the generals mentioned in the “Hello Garci” tapes, which revealed Arroyo’s order to pad her votes in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

During his term in the army, Esperson led the implementation of the counterinsurgency programs Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2. Human rights group Karapatan has recorded 1,206 individuals killed and 206 cases of enforced disappearances and 2,059 cases of illegal arrests and detention during the nine-year rule of Arroyo.

In 2010, Esperon ran for public office as congressman of the 6th district of Pangasinan but lost despite alleged massive vote-buying. It is also during this election year that Esperon linked former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Liza Maza to the communist groups.

Esperon has also implicated National Democratic Front of the Philippines chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison, NDFP executive committee member Luis Jalandoni as well Ocampo and 50 others to the alleged Leyte mass graves.

Under Duterte, Esperon continues his manhunt for the communists as national security adviser and vice chairperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. He continues to label legal personalities as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

He also filed perjury charges against 11 human rights defenders including Karapatan’s Cristina Palabay and church workers such as the 80-year-old Rural Missionaries of the Philippines Coordinator Sr. Elsa Compuesto, MSM.

Secretary of Foreign Affairs

The DFA was among the first government departments created following the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. The agency has pursued the promotion of trade and investments, and led in pushing for military agreements with the United States.

Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr. was appointed by Duterte as foreign affairs secretary on October 17, 2018. Locsin is a lawyer, diplomat and a former journalist. Before his DFA post, Locsin was the Philippines’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Active on Twitter, Locsin drew flak from netizens on several occasions. His most controversial tweets included his support for Duterte’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs, likening it to the Nazi’s Final Solution , and his post saying that rape is not a heinous crime.

Locsin rejected the UN Human Rights Council resolution in 2019 seeking investigation into the human rights situation in the Philippines. In October 2020, Locsin declared he himself would block United Nations officials whom he branded as “a lynch mob” should they decide enter the country.

Locsin also defended Duterte’s decision to pull out from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March 2018, following complaints filed by relatives of victims of drug-related killings.

On Feb. 5, 2021, the DFA issued a directive stating that all foreign diplomatic missions in the Philippines have to seek “appropriate clearance” from the DFA before channelling funds to non-government organizations (NGOs) in the country.

Secretary of National Defense

The Department of National Defense is a line agency under the executive department that supposedly guarantees the country’s security, territorial integrity and sovereignty. On its website, the department traces its history when the US established the Philippine constabulary and tracked down the remaining Filipino revolutionaries who fought under the banner of the Katipunan.

The DND, however, was only formally created on Nov. 1, 1939, which allegedly took away the “free hand” from Gen. MacArthur to decide on the country’s defense policies.

After the Pacific war, the government looked into the so-called “proliferation of loose firearms” in the hands of the Hukbalahap, the Filipino revolutionaries who fought against the Japanese army. The Joint US Military Advisory Group became the primary agency that coordinated the government’s campaign against the Huks, and Ramon Magsaysay, who, as then defense secretary and later president, also intensified its war against them.

Under the Marcos dictatorship, Juan Ponce Enrile, the then minister of national defense, was also considered as the architect and implementer of martial law. He later staged an ambush, which was among the purported reasons for the declaration of martial law.

In the succeeding administrations after the Marcos dictatorship, the DND was repeatedly involved in various anomalies. It also continued to enjoy the biggest shares in the national budget.

It is also among the government agencies leading the counterinsurgency campaigns, resulting in thousands of human rights violations from one administration after the other.

Under President Duterte, the defense department has unilaterally terminated its accord with the University of the Philippines, which prohibits state security forces from entering the university without prior notice to UP officials. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also threatened to do the same with the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Due to strong backlash, Delfin Lorenzana repeatedly called out Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. to be cautious on his red-tagging spree. He also axed the military intelligence chief over the erroneous list of supposed UP students turned rebels, calling it an “unforgivable lapse.”

Lorenzana, however, reinstated the same officials, saying he believes in a “second chance.”

Lorenzana also backed the red-tagging of progressive organizations during a Congressional hearing last year, claiming they have “documents” to prove it.

Secretary of Interior and Local Government

The Department of Interior and Local Government traces its history to the revolutionary government that the Katipuneros established with Andres Bonifacio as the first interior officer.

This was enshrined in the Biak na Bato Constitution as the Department of Interior. Over the years, however, it has undergone reorganization until the Republic Act No. 6975 or the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990 was passed. As a line agency under the Office of the President, it provides general supervision over local governments, particularly on public order and safety, disaster prevention and mitigation, and the training and equipping of the police force.

Under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the DILG initiated the Task Force Usig in 2006 purportedly to probe the spike in extrajudicial killings and arrests, under the counterinsurgency programs Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2. At the end of its accomplishment report, the task force claimed to have looked into 114 “valid” cases of killed activists, a far cry to the 977 victims of extrajudicial killings that human rights group Karapatan documented from January 2001 to October 2008.

The department was also part of the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group, which led the filing of trumped-up charges against scores of activists. Though this was later abolished, following the findings of UN rapporteur Philip Alston, the filing of trumped-up charges against dissenters and activists has continued to this day.

Under the Duterte administration, the DILG is among those considered as a militarized civilian agency, with retired general Eduardo Año as its head.

Año is implicated in various human rights cases, per documentation of human rights groups. He was tagged as the mastermind behind the enforced disappearance of farmer-activist Jonas Burgos.

With Año as commanding officer, the 10th Infantry Division in Davao City killed an ailing Leoncio “Ka Parago” Pitao and his medic. The same division of the military is implicated in the Paquibato massacre, which resulted in the killing of three indigenous peoples in 2015.

Recently, Año red tagged the five civilians killed during the “Bloody Sunday” in an attempt to justify the killings and desecration of the victims’ remains.

Secretary of Finance

The Department of Finance is managing the government’s financial resources. Among its duties are policy formulation, revenue generation, resource mobilization, debt management, and financial market development. The department is also tasked with the rationalization, privatization, and public accountability of corporations and assets owned, controlled, or acquired by the government.

Under the DOF are other government agencies including Bureaus of Customs, Internal Revenue and Treasury among others.

Under President Duterte’s administration, the DOF proposed a Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, now known as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN). The law has led to higher consumption taxes through the removal of value-added tax exemptions, such as on socialized and low-cost housing and power transmission; new excise taxes on fuel, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), and automobiles; and reduced personal income tax rates, estate taxes, and donor’s taxes.

Under the administration of President Duterte, the DOF also became a part of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict that was established under the Executive Order No. 70 and now part of the Anti-Terror Council under the Anti-Terror Act of 2020.

DoF also signed a memorandum of agreement with the Anti-Money Laundering Council to step up joint efforts against money laundering and terrorism financing.

The current Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III who hails from Davao City has been working in the government since the late President Corazon Aquino as Secretary of Agriculture and Minister of Natural Resources. He also previously worked for private companies.

Secretary of Justice

The Department of Justice is the government’s principal law agency. As such, the DOJ serves as the government’s prosecution arm and administers the government’s criminal justice system by investigating crimes, prosecuting offenders, and overseeing the correctional system. Several agencies, including the Bureau of Corrections, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of the Solicitor General, are under the leadership of the DOJ.

Apart from being the government’s prosecution arm, it administers the government’s criminal justice system by investigating crimes, prosecuting offenders, and overseeing the correctional system.

As the principal law agency, the DOJ held key positions in several programs concerning national security implemented by present and past administrations.

In 2012, then-president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III issued Administrative Order No. 35, which created an inter-agency committee on extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations of the right to life, liberty, and security of persons.

The committee, which was chaired by the Secretary of Justice and worked with several other heads of government institutions, was called the AO 35 Task Force. It was mandated “to serve as the government’s institutional machinery dedicated to the resolution of unsolved cases of political violence.”

As of December 2019, the group has handled 385 cases including 270 cases of extra-legal killings, 80 cases of torture, 28 cases of enforced disappearances, and seven cases relating to grave violations of International Humanitarian Law.

However, seven years after its inception, the group had only 13 convictions while 12 resulted in acquittals. The other cases are either dismissed, or undergoing investigation or trial.

President Duterte’s counterinsurgency measures came in the form of the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA) which was created in October 2017. It was likened to the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) of the Arroyo administration, which filed trumped-up criminal charges against activists, and was abolished in 2009 upon the recommendation of United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston.

Progressive groups feared that the creation of IACLA was the Duterte administration’s legal mechanism in targeting and harassing critics and opposition members through fabricated charges.

In 2018, the DOJ was, again, in hot waters when it filed a 55-page petition seeking to proscribe as terrorist the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army, as well as 657 alleged ranking members of these organizations.

Many of those listed are human rights defenders, peace advocates, and victims of political persecution by previous administrations – who were detained and eventually released after all the charges against them were dismissed.

Further, the incidents cited to be terrorist acts committed by the CPP were previously filed in court and eventually dismissed for lack of evidence.Some of the incidents took place at a time when there was no law yet defining terrorist acts, years before the passage of the Human Security Act 2007.

When Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra was asked whether the Justice Department validated the names of the implicated individuals, he admitted that the department did not verify the list, and based only on information handed over by intelligence agencies.

Guevarra was appointed in April 2018. Prior to his appointment, Guevarra was the senior deputy executive secretary where he represented the Executive Secretary in the Cabinet Cluster on Justice, Security, and Peace; the Anti-Terrorism Council, the Strategic Trade Management Committee; and the National Coast Watch Council.

Secretary of Information and Communications Technology

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, and administrative entity of the Executive Branch of the government. Under Republic Act 10844, the DICT plans, develops, and promotes the national ICT development agenda.

Its current secretary, Gregorio ‘Gringo’ B. Honasan II, was appointed by the President in 2019 with promises of leading the country in the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” This included developing algorithms, Wi-Fi connectivity, 5G networks, and 3D printing, among others.

In 2020, the Commission on Audit (COA) issued an observation memo stating that the DICT advanced P300 million for confidential expenses in late 2019. The memo also declared that Secretary Honasan requested the funds in his name, “for confidential expenses in connection with cybersecurity activities.”

After which, the DICT admitted to using P300 million for “lawful monitoring and surveillance of systems and network infrastructure.” Honasan added that the department needed the funds to monitor possible cyberattacks against government offices.

The issue surfaced after the resignation of DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio, questioning the lack of transparency in the department’s disbursement of confidential funds for surveillance saying, “My original position has always been [that] the DICT cannot use a confidential fund because it’s not in our mandate to do intelligence and surveillance work.”

COA also said that the government agency underspent for projects due to the budget being used as confidential funds.

COA said Honasan violated rules on confidential funds. State auditors believe that the department was unable to perform its mandate, particularly for cybersecurity.

Executive Director of Anti-Money Laundering Council

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) was created pursuant to “protect the integrity and confidentiality of bank accounts and to ensure that the Philippines shall not be used as a money laundering site for the proceeds of any unlawful activity.”

The AMLC is composed of the Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas as Chairman, and the Commissioner of the Insurance Commission and the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission as members. It acts unanimously in the discharge of its functions.

Its current Executive Director is lawyer Mel Georgie Racela. Before entering AMLC, Racela worked for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for 21 years. He held positions in various areas such as banking supervisions, legal counseling, and litigation and as well as financial investigation.

Racela took office after the former executive director Julia Bacay-Abad stepped down after Duterte’s constant allegations and threats to AMLC and BSP officials.

Racela helped develop the framework of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Just recently, AMLC ordered the freezing of accounts and assets of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines’ (UCCP) Haran Center. AMLC claimed that UCCP’s assets are allegedly being used to finance “terrorism.”

AMLC also ordered the freezing of bank accounts of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) . Like the UCCP Haran, RMP also helped set up Lumad schools in Mindanao. Both the UCCP Haran and RMP found the allegations of financing terrorism as downright unacceptable.

On the contrary, AMLC recently partnered with PhilHealth to “promote and encourage cooperation and coordination to effectively prevent, control, detect, investigate and prosecute unlawful and money laundering activities as well as terrorism financing.” The health insurance agency received flak over P15-billion in funds allegedly pocketed by PhilHealth officials.

National Intelligence Coordinating Agency as secretariat

Illustration by Dee Ayroso

The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency was created by virtue of former President Elpidio Quirino and later greatly expanded under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, NICA was also tasked to carry out intelligence collection, counterintelligence measures, and anti-terrorism efforts.

Under President Duterte, NICA heads the Situational Awareness and Knowledge Management of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

In 2017, the intelligence agency, along with the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, provided government prosecutor Peter Ong the information it used to file a proscription case, seeking to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations. The petition named more than 600 individuals as supposed leaders and members of the CPP and the NPA, among them were 36 peace consultants, 61 legal activists, 17 detained political prisoners, 83 women activists, four former and present United Nations officials, nine dead, two victims of enforced disappearance, and dozens of aliases.

NICA, through its director Alex Monteagudo, is among the government agencies charged with administrative complaints for linking the Kabataan Partylist to the CPP. The youth partylist group argued that red-tagging violates Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The intelligence agency, according to Dutch missionary Otto De Vries, was also behind the false accusations that he is engaged in acts of terrorism. Vries is currently facing deportation charges, a first in the nearly three decades of his missionary work in the country.

Bulatlat: Wife of peasant leader in Central Luzon recalls threats before his arrest

Posted to the pro-CPP/NDF online propaganda outlet Bulatlat (Apr 2, 2021): Wife of peasant leader in Central Luzon recalls threats before his arrest (By SINAG JOAQUIN)

Streamers red-tagging Joseph Canlas and other activist leaders in Central Luzon were seen hanging along the streets Barangay Cristo Rey in the town of Capas, Tarlac on May 8, in Angeles, Pampanga on May 23, in the municipalities of Guiguinto and Pandi in Bulacan on May 30, and in Baler, Aurora and Sta. Cruz, Zambales on June 7 and 8, 2020. (Based on a fact sheet provided by Karapatan-Central Luzon)

Apart from the red-tagging of Joseph Canlas on social media, threats were felt by members of his family in their own homes.

The wife of Joseph Canlas, one of the activist leaders arrested on the morning of March 30 in simultaneous raids in Central Luzon, couldn’t remember when she last saw her husband of 34 years.

In a phone interview with Bulatlat, 54-year old Mercelina said her husband was supposed to come home a few weeks ago but had to back off the last minute when he sensed someone was tailing him. That has been the case since the lockdown was imposed last year, she said. It was also around this time that social media posts on several Facebook Pages like the Samahang Kontra Makakaliwa and Wanted Kapayapaan – Inner Peace started red-tagging Joseph and other activist leaders in Central Luzon and other regions. There were also several tarpaulins bearing the face of Joseph and other activists in Central Luzon which claimed that they were recruiters of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

It is even worse in their ancestral home in the town of Arayat, also in the province of Pampanga, Mercelina added. In several instances, she said her siblings would call her to caution against going home because unfamiliar vehicles would park in front of their ancestral home without anyone alighting from the vehicles for hours. Several unidentified men would also frequent the same house asking for Joseph’s whereabouts.

“He [Joseph] would just call to ask how we are coping, he would ask about our grandchildren,” Mercelina recalled.

Mercelina said she would sometimes ask her husband if there were other threats to his life while he is away from home but Joseph can only shrug it off. “It is better that you do not know anything to avoid being frightened,” she recalled him telling her.

“But we know their situation and we cannot help but be frightened, especially now,” she told Bulatlat in Filipino.

It was around noon last Monday, March 29, when Marcelina last heard from her husband. The next thing she knew, her husband was already in jail.

Police operatives and army intelligence units led by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group -Regional Field Unit 3, arrested Joseph inside the AMGL office past six in the morning, March 30, 2021. They were armed with two warrants of arrest, the first was issued by Angelica T. Paras-Quiambao, Executive Judge, RTC, Angeles City for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, and the second was issued by Hon. Theodorick K. Ayungco, Presiding Judges, MCTC, Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija for malicious mischief.

“It’s absurd. With my age, I haven’t seen him hold any kind of gun,” Mercelina said about the warrants.

Mercelina sounded optimistic when she said counter charges will be filed by Joseph’s lawyer on Monday right after the Holy Week. Her voice started to break, however, when asked what was her appeal to the government. “Freedom for Joseph and other political detainees who stand with and help poor people like us,” she uttered.

“Is it a crime to help those who are in need? Is it a crime to help people who do not know their rights? He is their voice, why is he being silenced?” she asked.

Joseph is now detained at Camp Olivas in San Fernando City, Pampanga. He currently chairs AMGL while also holds the vice chair position in the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, a national peasant alliance.

Iligan CTF-ELCAC brings serbisyo caravan to Sitio Cadayunan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 2, 2021): Iligan CTF-ELCAC brings serbisyo caravan to Sitio Cadayunan (By Claire R. Gigje)

ILIGAN CITY, Mar. 30 (PIA)--The City Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (CTF-ELCAC) kicked off a serbisyo caravan for peace and development at Sitio Cadayunan in Brgy. Rogongon Monday, March 29 to bring in various government services to the citizens in the area.

"Ania kita karon aning serbisyo caravan para pagsulti kaninyo nga ang kasamtangang local government wala gayud kalimot kaninyo. Among paningkamutan kung unsay among mahimo alang sa kaayuhan ninyong tanan,” said Vice Mayor Jemar Vera Cruz in his speech.

[We are here right now in this serbisyo caravan to tell all of you that our current local government has not forgotten you. We will try our very best for what we can do for all of your goodness.]

Lt. Col. Rommel Pereña, the newly-installed commander of the 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, conveyed that the caravan was realized and many more government projects will be witnessed with the peace upheld by the people in the locality which they maintained through reporting malicious activities brought by the rebel group.

"Papasok na iyong mga serbisyo dito, itong serbisyo caravan, iyong paggawa ng kalsada, paggawa ng eskwelahan. Kasi nga kapag may peace dito sa area, papasok na iyong investments, papasok na iyong mga proyekto ng gobyerno. Hopefully, uunlad na tayo… Dapat ituloy-tuloy na natin ito. Huwag na tayong magpaimpluwensiya,”

[Services will already enter here, this serbisyo caravan, the repairing of roads, the construction of schools. That is because if there is peace in the area, investments will already enter, the services of the government will already enter. Hopefully, we will already progress. Let us continue this. Let us not be influenced already.]

Dr. Glenn Manarpaac of the City Health Office checks on a baby at Sitio Cadayunan, Brgy. Rogongon, as he delivers medical services to the people in the area during the serbisyo caravan of the CTF-ELCAC. (PIA-ICIC)

Meanwhile, residents in the said Sitio extended their gratitude to the outreach done by the CTF-ELCAC.

“Nagpasalamat mi og dako sa suporta sa gobyerno kay ania mo karon. Kani pa gyud ang napahigayon nga pag-ari sa gobyerno… Dako kaayo ni nga tabang,” Datu Lito Hondelay of Sitio Cadayunan expressed.

[We are very much thankful for the support of the government because you are here. This is the first time that the government is here… This is a big help.]

They also hoped that such effort will not be put to an end, rather, it will continue as the people in the area need their helping hand.

A resident of Sitio Cadayunan, Brgy. Rogongon packs the relief assistance he received from the CTF-ELCAC during the serbisyo caravan in the area as he prepares to go home. (PIA-ICIC)

“Hinaot unta nga pinaagi sa atong LGU karon nga nagtambong, tutukan kining part sa Cadayunan. Nanghinaot sila nga suportahan gyud sila sa LGU sa Iligan,” stated Rogongon Brgy. Captain Raby Pugoy.

[I hope the LGU who attended today will focus on this part of Cadayunan. They also hope that they will really be supported by the LGU of Iligan.]

Some of the government services received by the Sitio Cadayunan were relief packs from the Iligan City Police Office, school supplies and other home necessities from the 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, medicines and other medical services from the City Health Office, and food distribution by the City Social Welfare and Development, among others. Information drive against violent extremism was also conducted by the group of army and policemen present during the event. (CRG/ PIA-ICIC)

LGU Iligan, CTF-ELCAC urge public to resent influence by CPP-NPA-NDF

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 2, 2021): LGU Iligan, CTF-ELCAC urge public to resent influence by CPP-NPA-NDF (By Claire R. Gigje)

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ILIGAN CITY, Apr. 1 (PIA)--The city government of Iligan together with the City Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (CTF-ELCAC) strongly calls on the public to reject any form of influence delivered by the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF).

This after the local government continues its fight to put an end to armed conflict brought by the local communists.

“Kami nanghinaot nga musuporta [kamo] sa atong gobyerno. Kinahanglanon gyud namo inyong suporta pinaagi niining pagdili sa pagpasulod sa mga New People’s Army dinhi sa inyong lugar kay wala kini madala nga kaayuhan sa ato kung dili kagubot,” urged City Councilor Ian Uy, chairperson of the Committee on Peace and Order, during the CTF-ELCAC’s serbisyo caravan at Sitio Cadayunan, Brgy. Rogongon.

[We are hoping that [you] will support our government. We really need your support through refusing the entry of this New People’s Army here in your place because this does not bring us any goodness but just chaos.]

Lt. Col. Rommel Pereña, commander of the 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, assured the citizens that although they have diverse culture, they hold one goal which is peace of mind, and that they should not worry as they are backed with the city’s army and policemen.

Further, PCol. Rolando Cuya Jr., Iligan City Police Office (ICPO) city director, stressed that residents should always note that leftist rebels bear many lies which should not be believed.

“Ang mga NPA mga bakakong dako. Bakakon sila kay mag-ingon sila paeskwelahon mo, tagaan mo og maayong panggobyerno, tagaan mo og trabaho pero muabot ang panahon nga naa namo sulod diha, kamo na ang mangayo ug kamo ang pangayoan. Ang gobyerno muhatag sa inyo og hinabang ug serbisyo pero sila mangayo sa inyo. Dako ang kalainan,” he firmly stated.

[The NPA are big liars. They are liars because they say they will send you to school, they will give you good governance, they will give you jobs but time will come when you are already inside, you will be the one to ask and you will be asked of something. The government will give you relief and services but they will just ask from you. There is a big difference.]

Meanwhile, Pereña disclosed that with their battalion’s continuous operation for peace and development in the area, Brgy. Rogongon is now free from the activities of the communist terrorist group (CTG).

“Last week lang po nadeklara na ang Brgy. Rogongon ay free na from the influence of CTG. Ang ibig sabihin po niyan ay wala na silang mga organisasyon sa barangay na ito,” he announced.

[It was just last week when Brgy. Rogongon was declared free from the influence of CTG. This means they have no more organizations in this barangay.]

“Subalit, mayroon tayong mga report na umaaligid sa malayong lugar pero it just shows na iyong mga taga dito ay sa atin na dahil nirereport kaagad nila ang mga movement ng kalaban. At the same time, makikita natin na ayaw na nilang malinlang,” Pereña positively added.

[However, we have reports of their movement in far places, but it just shows that the people here are already with us because they report immediately the movement of the opponents. At the same time, we can see that they do not want to be deceived.]

Apart from Brgy. Rogongon, three more barangays were also declared CTG-free, to wit, Brgy. Mainit, Brgy. Panoroganan and Brgy. Kalilangan. (CRG/ PIA-ICIC)

Sitio Cadayunan residents burn CPP-NPA-NDF flags, vow loyalty to gov't

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 2, 2021): Sitio Cadayunan residents burn CPP-NPA-NDF flags, vow loyalty to gov't (By Claire Gigje) 

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ILIGAN CITY, ​Apr. 1 (PIA)--Residents of Sitio ​C​adayunan​ in ​Brgy. Rogongon publicly incinerated flags of the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) during the City Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (CTF-ELCAC’s) serbisyo caravan in the locality.

The rite transpired to denounce any act of rebellion in the city and to symbolize bold engagement and commitment to stand hand-in-hand with the government in its battle against rebel communists in line with the 52nd founding anniversary of the CPP-NPA.

With this, constituents of Sitio ​C​adayunan vowed to firmly support the government in concluding vicious activities brought by the CPP-NPA​-​NDF.

“Ipakita namo sa ilaha kung unsa ang among paghigugma sa ila ug kung unsa pud ilang pagsuporta sa amoa. Gikan karon ug hantud sa hantud, kining ilang pagpakita sa amoa mukutay,” Datu Romel Hundilay conveyed.

[We will show them how much we love them and what kind of support they also give to us. From now on and forever, what they showed to us will continue.]

“Uban sa mga Datu ug mga Bae, kung mahimo, dili gyud mi muuban sa pikas kay makahatag og problema,” he added.

[Along with the Datus and Baes, if possible, we will not really go with those on the other side because it will just give us problems.]

They also call on their fellow residents to not be persuaded by the deceiving promises and lies by the rebel group.

“Among kasilinganan, kung naa moy mamatikdan sa inyong dapit ug sa inyong panimalay nga muawhag sa inyo, ayaw mo og tuo. Ang atong tuohan ang gobyerno,” Datu Lito Hondelay expressed.

[My neighbors, if you observe someone in your area or vicinity who will convince you, do not believe. What we will believe is just the government.]

To fully show their adherence to the government, residents in the said sitio took an oath for their allegiance to their pronounced promise of support.

Meanwhile, the government also urged remaining active rebels to return to the fold of law as new life awaits them.

“Ang gusto lang namin ay kapayapaan. Hindi po kami naghahangad ng away so sa mga rebelde na nanandiyaan pa, sumuko na po kayo dahil nakita niyo naman po iyong mga sumukong kasama niyo. Kung susuko kayo, maraming benepisyo ang ibibigay ng gobyerno sa inyo at sana mahikayat niyo rin ang mga kasama niyo,” ​said ​Lt. Col. Rommel Pereña, commander of the 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion​.​

[What we all want is peace. We do not aim for chaos so to all the rebels who are still there, please surrender already because you already saw your comrades who already surrendered. If you surrender, lots of benefits will be given to you by the government and we hope that you also convince your other companions.] (CRG/ PIA-ICIC)

NDF/KM-Europe: Cherish and Take Pride in Our People’s Army! The Filipino People’s First and Last Defense!

Posted to the National Democratic Front Philippines Website (Mar 29, 2021): Cherish and Take Pride in Our People’s Army! The Filipino People’s First and Last Defense!

Kabataang Makabayan – Europa

Amidst the social turmoil brought about by the pandemic and the exacerbating attacks of the fascist US-Duterte regime against the progressive and revolutionary forces in the Philippines and abroad, the People’s War in our motherland is aflame! Whether abroad or back home, the Filipino people and the peace-loving citizens of the Western countries show their support, love, and respect for the New People’s Army. For over five decades, the NPA stands in defense of the Filipino people and the country’s national sovereignty. It is already etched in history as one of the longest-running people’s revolution in the world.

As young Filipinos abroad, we are in the most favorable position to gain critical analyses of the concrete condition of the Philippine society and the impact of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism to the Filipino migrants. While indeed we live in far more decent homes, eat far more decent meals, receive far more decent opportunities, the wide disparity between our host country and motherland has open our eyes to the just necessity of having a New People’s Army under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

We bear witness to the ineptitude of the governments and their overseas representation, in particular, the Philippine government. The embassies and consulates abandon the Filipino migrant workers – with no compensation or aid to the undocumented and the unemployed, they leave our kababayans to look after one another. Rather than providing solutions, they go after the progressive forces who protest against their abandonment and inutility. The activists and revolutionary forces in Europe were harassed and put under surveillance by the embassies and directly attacked by the NTF-ELCAC. Recently, Facebook pages of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) intelligence usually based in France, Germany, and Italy were seen. They conduct seminars, teachings against the people’s national democratic movement and meetings. In London, the progressive organizations reported that comics and brochures against progressive forces and communism were left at the doorsteps of the embassy. It looks like they have unlimited resources for their unsuccessful anti-people operations but none to support the Filipino people.

The wide-range unemployment in the Philippines continues to contribute to the burden of the Overseas Filipino Workers. The OFWs are left alone to provide for their families. The quarantine restrictions add to the frustration, depression, and stress of the migrants. Deprived of their only relaxation and being with their families back home.

Abusing the disruption of life’s normalcy due to the pandemic. The Duterte administration intensifies the difficulties of Filipino students and educators through the blended learning system, distance learning, and even online learning. This newly devised system is not only unplanned and poorly executed but it does not correlate to the reality of Filipino families as a large number have no gadgets or are unable to afford electricity or internet. Expecting too much while giving so little is one of the common words that blurt out of the mouth of the reactionary government officials.

Thousands of Filipino scholars have left the country even before the pandemic, and thousands more will leave once travel restrictions are lifted. Our society champions the murdering of our dreams. Without the right opportunity to study and practice their field, the scholars opt to slave under foreign educational institutions. No matter how patriotic they are, no matter how much they love to dedicate their strength, knowledge, and talent to our motherland, our social condition forces them to be the new milking cows. As long as there are remittances, as long as there are dollars coming in, the government couldn’t care less if our country runs out of our skilled and brightest citizens.

And Duterte is Philippine’s very own Count Dracula. No amount of blood can quench his thirst and no pile of bodies can satiate his hunger for relentless killings. What the swamp of crocodiles around his castle is to Count Dracula, the AFP-PNP and NTF-ELCAC surrounding Malacañang fortress is to Duterte. His agenda to pulverize the revolutionary movement through black propaganda, fake surrenders, and even rampant brutal killings, are failing. After all, the people and their organizations such as Kabataang Makabayan – Europa and COMPATRIOTS – Europe stand firm. Duterte makes it easy for the revolutionary forces to popularize the program of the National Democratic Front. The relevance of the teachings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, and Mao Zedong is easier to grasp than ever before – the system of monopoly capitalism is rotten to its core, and anything rotten is bound to crumble.

Duterte could try to crush the revolutionaries but all his efforts will be in vain. It is nature’s dialectics that there will be a struggle between the two existing classes until such time that the oppressing and exploiting classes shall be defeated and eradicated and a classless society shall exist. The mass murders, mass arrests, raids, red-tagging and terrorist-tagging will only speed up the revolutionary victory of the Filipino people. In the past months, we witnessed the merciless and brutal murders of innocent people by the Duterte government. As recently as Sunday, March 28, Ka Dandy Miguel of Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa ng Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK – KMU) was killed by this regime. The masses call on the revolutionary army to give justice to the victims of the violent killings and human rights violations by the Duterte regime. To those who can join – Duterte can only be certain that they will join the armed revolution in defense of their lives and communities.

The Kabataang Makabayan – Europa salutes the New People’s Army on its 52nd anniversary. We cherish and take pride in our people’s army as the first and last defense of the Filipino masses. While the high-ranking officials of the reactionary state forces sit comfortably behind their swivel chairs, receiving a salary of thousands simply by commanding their lower ranks wreak terror among the people and to give their lives to a violent war against the people; the commanders and officers of the NPA are in the forefront of the war, leading their armies, facing death head-on while assuring the safety of their fighters. All the while committed to serving the people through medical missions, literacy and numeracy programs, helping in the household chores, and production in farmlands.

In truth, the government of Duterte fears the NPA. They master the art of guerrilla warfare. Their only compensation is the safety and wellbeing of the Filipino people. It is the love and support of the masses that stand as the People’s Army’s shield and inspiration against the enemy. No amount of advanced weaponry and military intelligence will ever defeat them. Why else would this regime resort to assaulting the non-combatants and activists in the urban areas, accusing them of being NPA and armed to the teeth?

As young revolutionaries abroad, it is our utmost duty to spread the revolutionary ideas and principles amongst our fellow Filipinos and youth in our respective host countries.

Our generation may not live to see total victory, but rest assured that we have contributed to its realization.

Amid the uncertainty, lurking fear, and even comfort brought by our lives here in Europe we must decide to take the highest form of struggle and join our kababayans in the countryside. The semi-colonial and semi-feudal system has taken away everything from us. Our right to live in our motherland, our right to education and living wages, even our identity – to struggle is all that is left for us. Be not afraid to take the difficult path to liberation. Be not afraid of difficulties, sufferings, and challenges. Let us not be restricted by the comfort of our rooms, computers, or phones. And whenever fear visits us, let us remember that only by being selfless can we become fearless. Draw inspiration from the People’s Army and the masses.

On the 52nd anniversary of the New People’s Army, Kabataang Makabayan – Europa vows that the young revolutionary forces abroad will go back home to live with the workers and peasants. This government forced us to leave in millions — and we shall soon return to join the New People’s Army. We, the youth in Europe knows that peace will only be achieved through a just war led by the Communist Party of the Philippines.

We salute our revolutionary martyrs who selflessly gave their lives for the revolutionary cost! We salute the New People’s Army! We salute the youth who will continue and advance the People’s War!




CPP/CIO: Duterte’s lockdown brings more hardships and abuse against the people

Posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Apr 1, 2021): Duterte’s lockdown brings more hardships and abuse against the people


APRIL 01, 2021

Without health and economic measures, the resort to another anti-poor and draconian lockdown in the National Capital Region and adjacent provinces since four days ago to stop the rapid increase in the number of Covid-19 cases will only lead to another grand failure.

The Duterte government remains deaf to the demands made a year ago for it to carry out free mass testing and rapid and systematic contact-tracing as key measures to detect and contain the spread of the virus. It has also ignored free Covid-19 treatment and economic aid for the poverty-stricken masses. It has bungled the procurement of vaccines and continue to insist on pursuing its anomalous deals with China.

The rapid spread of the virus was not inevitable. The mutation of the virus and emergence of new variants have been anticipated. Duterte’s officials should have prepared for it by increasing the capacity of the public health system which Duterte failed to do. It has allowed increased social interaction and enterprise activity but did not pour funds to strengthen the machinery and system for mass testing and contact-tracing to contain inevitable outbreaks. The public health infrastructure has, in fact, deteriorated over the past few months, as admitted by some government officials themselves.

The NCR is now being overwhelmed by the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases. Hospitals in the metro are now running beyond capacity forcing them to move Covid-19 patients to facilities elsewhere. Without health containment measures led by the national government, the spread of the virus will ultimately hit the provinces.

The inept military and police-led response to the pandemic is once again in full play. Duterte has deployed around 9,000 police forces to implement the lockdown, but mobilized zero additional health workers to provide relief to the increasingly agonized nurses and doctors in overcrowded hospitals. Health workers are justly protesting low wages, non-payment of hazard pay, lack of transportation and overall neglect of their welfare.

Gross abuses of power are everyday being committed by police officers in their overzealous and high-handed imposition of ill-conceived and ill-planned curfews and checkpoints. Every second, people’s rights are being trampled upon. The poor are under constant threat of being accosted, arrested or fined.

While work in factories and establishments were not suspended, requiring workers to continue reporting to work everyday, the government implemented restrictions on transportation resulting in thousands of stranded people. It has taken advantage of the crisis to railroad its antipeople plan to phaseout jeepneys amid the severe lack in transportation.

The locking down of people in their homes in the “NCR-plus” area is practically imprisoning them for the government’s crime of failing to address the pandemic. Yet, the state crime is continuing as Duterte and his minions continue to mismanage the crisis. Massive joblessness, loss of income and rising prices are resulting in gross hardships and poverty. The people are being insulted by the government’s paltry ₱1,000 aid. Everyday, millions of people are distressed by the threat of having nothing to eat or feed their children.

Duterte is a remorseless tyrant. He cries crocodile tears and feigns sympathies for the people. The pandemic has exposed him as an incompetent leader. He is more interested in pocketing billions of pesos to feed his minions and his fascist monsters in uniform. He has ignored appeals to raise the capacity of the health system to deal with the pandemic and is more busy silencing everyone as he prepares to scheme his way to power beyond 2022.

Another week of lockdown will only worsen the already intolerable conditions of the Filipino people, especially the workers and peasants. This will only throw fuel to the fire in the people’s bellies. They will not forever be suppressed nor remain silent. They are being roused to get organized and fight to end the incompetence, corruption, abuses and oppression under the US-Duterte regime.

Kalinaw News: Surigao del Sur’s Office of the Provincial Agriculturist Conducts Clustered Livelihood Consultation in Partnership with 48IB

Posted to Kalinaw News (Apr 2, 2021): Surigao del Sur’s Office of the Provincial Agriculturist Conducts Clustered Livelihood Consultation in Partnership with 48IB

Bislig City, Surigao del Sur – The 48th Infantry (Guardians) Battalion hosted the Clustered Livelihood Consultation for People’s Organization (PO’s) spearheaded by Surigao del Sur’s Office of the Provincial Agriculturist March 31, 2021 at 48IB Headquarters, Purok 1, Brgy Maharlika, Bislig City, Surigao del Sur.

25 different PO heads and representatives attended the consultation which aims to identify priority livelihood that would help the PO’s and to establish a more sustainable source of income. Needs assessment, focused group discussion , consultation and an open forum were also undertaken as part of the workshop.

Provincial Agriculturist Mr. Marcos M. Quico led the Livelihood Consulation together with 48IB Acting Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Enrique G. Rafael, Local Government Unit of Hinatuan and Bislig City Agriculture’s Office who subsequently delivered their inspirational messages.

230 packs of upland water spinach (kangkong) seedlings, 20 packs of string beans, 12 packs of tomatoes, 32 packs of ladies fingers (okra) and eight (8) packs of snow cabbage (pechay) were distributed to the attendees during the culmination of the activity. Likewise, 20 sacks of corn seeds/kernels were also given to the corn planters.

” Sa ngayon, kami po ay nagpapasalamat. Sa totoo lang po ngayon lang po kami naka attend ng ganitong forum na kami ay magsasaka with the collaboration of the Philippine Army. When it comes po sa agriculture isa po kami sa nag promote ng organic agriculture po dito” , said Mr Arsolino Cabilin, a PO member who attended the consultation.

Lieutenant Colonel Rafael added, “Masaya po kami na naging bahagi kami ng ganitong programa upang maging daan para sa ating mga magbubukid at magsasaka na mabigyan pansin at solusyon ang mga isyu na kanilang hinaharap. Asahan ninyo na marami pa tayong pagsasamahan upang lalo nating maihatid ang nararapat na programa para sa inyo alinsunod sa Executive Order No. 70 ng ating Pangulo para itatag at paigtingin and Whole of Nation Approach.”

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