Sunday, August 1, 2021

MILF: 6 MILF camps receive medical supplies from MOH

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Aug 1, 2021): 6 MILF camps receive medical supplies from MOH (By Bangsamoro Information Office)

MOH Minister Dr. Bashary Latiph led the turnover of medical supplies and devices to camps in Maguindanao this week.

MAGUINDANAO—Health facilities inside the six recognized camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) received medical supplies from the Bangsamoro Government through the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a series of turnover ceremonies this week.

MOH Minister Dr. Bashary Latiph led the turnover of medical supplies and devices
to camps in Maguindanao that include Camp Rajamuda in General Salipada K. Pendatun and Camp Abubakar in Barira on Thursday, July 29, and in Camp Badr in Guindulungan and Camp Omar in Datu Hoffer on Wednesday, July 28.

The supplies and devices include Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPEs), face masks and face shields, alcohol, vitamins, oresol powder, ointment, weighing scale, thermometer, and hygiene kits, among others.

Minister Latiph stressed that the medical supplies will give a big leap in delivering healthcare services to the constituents, especially to the people living inside the camps.

“Ipinaabot natin ang mga medical supplies at devices na ito para matugunan ang pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan dito sa mga kampong ito,” Minister Latiph said.

These government recognized MILF camps are going to receive numerous development projects aiming to reshape these areas into peaceful and productive communities. These projects are under the Camps Transformation component of the normalization process under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

Similar supplies were earlier turned over to Camp Bushra Somiorang in Lumbayanague, Lanao del Sur, and Camp Bilal in Munai, Lanao del Norte in the last week of June.

The health facilities constructed inside these camps were under the Mindanao Trust Fund-Reconstruction and Development Project (MTF-RDP) that were implemented by the Community and Family Services International (CFSI) and Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA).

These facilities were officially turned over to provincial health offices of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur in order for it to be fully operationalized and offer services to the constituents.

“Ang tinatawag na camp transformation ay hindi lang camp transformation to a peaceful society, but also a camp transformation to a better health,” Minister Latiph added.

The MOH and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) are also set to build rural health units (RHUs) inside the camps that will provide wider scope of healthcare services available to the public.

CPP/News: 76th IB uses ATL to arrest 4 farmers in Occidental Mindoro

Propaganda news story posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 24, 2021): 76th IB uses ATL to arrest 4 farmers in Occidental Mindoro

JULY 24, 2021

Elements of the 76th Infantry Battalion arrested four farmers in Sitio Buscad, Barangay Tuban, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro on July 18. They were identified as Miguel Domingo Manguerra, Fe Serna Mariñas, Sherlito Casidsid and Allen Dela Fuente.

The victims were slapped with charges under the controversial Anti-terrorism Law (ATL) for allegedly “protecting” New People’s Army combatants. Their families belied and condemned these allegations.

Human rights group Karapatan reported that they were all charged for allegedly providing material support to “terrorists” and for being an accessory to “terrorism.”

Additionally, Manguerra and Mariñas were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives after troops planted an improvised shotgun and anti-personnel mine at the fence of their house. Casidsid and Dela Fuente were also charged with obstruction of justice. The arrest warrants were issued by the San Jose Regional Trial Court.

The arrest came just few days after a local court in Olongapo junked a similar case against Aetas who were charged with violating the ATL. They were the third group of individuals to have been slapped with the same charge.

CPP/News: Central Luzon revolutionary forces salute Nephtali Santos (Ka Atong) and Ronnel Madrigal (Ka Sandee)

Propaganda news story posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 29, 2021): Central Luzon revolutionary forces salute Nephtali Santos (Ka Atong) and Ronnel Madrigal (Ka Sandee)

JULY 29, 2021

Revolutionary forces of Central Luzon gave their highest salute to Nephtali Santos (Ka Atong) and Ronnel Rhay Phoben D. Madrigal (Ka Sandee), who were martyred last July 16 in Barangay San Juan De Mata, Tarlac City. West Central Luzon’s revolutionary publication, Bigwas, released a tribute for the two comrades to honor their sacrifices and contributions to the revolution.

The two were killed in an armed raid by combined forces of the 3rd Mechanized Battalion and Philippine National Police (PNP)-Tarlac City.

Santos and Madrigal were in the area to investigate the agrarian grievances of the peasant masses. They were tasked by the New People’s Army (NPA) unit to reorganize peasant organizations to collectively face the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis.

Santos has served the masses of Central Luzon for three decades since being a Red fighter in 1991. At the time of his death, he was a Red commander and political instructor of the NPA unit. He was also part of Central Luzon’s Regional Party Committee.

Santos, a poet and artist, was also known by comrades by the name Macario Salakay. His poems were loved by the masses which brings them smiles on their faces, wrote Bigwas. Among his poems were ‘Ang mga Tula sa Kanayunan’, ‘Ako ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan’ and ‘Hayaan mo akong maging isang punong mangga.’

His companion, Madrigal, was 29 years old. Madrigal joined the NPA in January 2019 and was first deployed in the unit covering the Zambales mountain range. Bigwas noted his talent in singing, creative dancing, recording and video-editing. According to Bigwas, he will be remembered by comrades as a genuine cultural revolutionary.

CPP/News: NPA-Albay vows justice for slain activists in Guinobatan town

Propaganda news story posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 30, 2021): NPA-Albay vows justice for slain activists in Guinobatan town

JULY 30, 2021

The New People’s Army-Albay (Santos Binamera Command) vows to attain justice for the two activists shot to death by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Guinobatan town the night before Rodrigo Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Police officers chased four activist-farmers who were painting calls on July 25 in barangays of Guinobatan town in lieu of Duterte’s last SONA. Two of the four were arrested by the police and were later murdered in cold-blood on the pretext of “shooting back” at them.

The two were identified as Jemar Palero, 22-year old resident of Barangay Catomag and Marlon Naperi, 38, resident of Barangay Bololo, both of Guinobatan town. Palero orphaned his only son while Naperi left his five children.

Ka Florante Orobia, spokesperson of the NPA-Albay, expressed his deepest condolences to the bereaved family and said that the crime will not go unpunished.

On top of the brutal crime, 32 barangays in five towns of Albay have been subjected by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under its Retooled Community Support Program. Seven of these villages are in Guinobatan town alone.

These operations have been marked by the murder of Barangay Captain Luzviminda Dayandante and treasured Albert Orlina of Batbat, Guinobatan, illegal arrest and detention and other rights abuses.

CPP/CIO: On Gen. Esperon’s wild imagination that “NPAs are tired of fighting”

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 30, 2021): On Gen. Esperon’s wild imagination that “NPAs are tired of fighting”


JULY 30, 2021

I wonder why Gen. Esperon continues to serve in key positions of the defense establishment, when for around two decades now (except during the Benigno Aquino period), he has proved himself utterly incompetent having fared poorly at the helm of the government’s militarist counterinsurgency drive. He has been a continuing failure since the Arroyo regime with his annual unfulfilled predictions of “crushing the NPA.”

Earlier this week, Gen. Esperon again demonstrated his lack of merit as a military leader when he gave his assessment of the Duterte regime’s counterinsurgency drive which he leads as a key officer of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

On the basis of his wild imagination that the NPA is “tired of fighting”, Gen. Esperon claimed, for the nth time, that the NPA will be finished, this time, by July 2022 or before the end of Duterte’s term. If the NPA were tired of fighting, why do NPA units continue to mount tactical offensives across the country? Why does the NPA continue to punish the fascists behind the massacres and extrajudicial killings? Why does the NPA continue to deal deadly blows against the armed agents of the Duterte tyrannical regime? In fact, since the start of 2021, the NPA has succeeded in extirpating almost two companies (148) of Duterte’s men in at least 160 armed encounters.

It seems Gen. Esperon and the AFP suffer from acute dyscalculia as manifested by his rapidly changing claims of supposed numbers of NPA fighters. Last June, he claimed that NPA fighters rose to 4,000, several hundred more than the estimate of 3,700 last December 2020. A few days ago, he makes a new claim that there are now only 3,500 NPA fighters.

Based on Gen. Esperon’s advise, Duterte falsely declared in his state of the nation address that 17,000 members of the NPA have surrendered since 2016. Five days later, Gen. Esperon further magnified the lie by claiming that 18,344 have surrendered.

How is it possible that the number of NPA “surrenderees” is five to six times more than the claimed number of NPA fighters? The answer is simple: it is not possible. Of course, in the course of war, there are some who surrender or take leave. But their numbers comprise only a minuscule percentage of the military’s claimed number of “surrenderees”

In reality, majority of those Gen. Esperon claims as NPA “surrenderees” are unarmed people who were either coerced or duped by the AFP to “cooperate.” Most of them are organized peasants and minority people whose villages and communities were subjected to non-stop harassment by military units in the guise of “peace and development.” Most of the time, these people have been active in their resistance against land grabbing and entry of mining operations.

Gen. Esperon’s claim that counterinsurgency under the NTF-ELCAC is no longer “military-centric” is immediately belied by the faces of military generals who dominate the NTF-ELCAC. These generals order around the various agencies of government and local government units to take part in counterinsurgency in the name of its “whole-of-government approach,” under pain of themselves being accused of “supporting terrorism.”

Gen. Esperon boasts of the NTF-ELCAC’s ₱16.4 billion Barangay Development Program (BDP), claiming that the construction of 1-kilometer roads and other infrastructure projects will “deradicalize” the communities. Why roads and not land? Even as president, Duterte himself repeatedly said that to draw away the peasant masses’ support for the NPA, you must distribute land. The simple fact is, road projects are the most prevalent of corruption-ridden projects across the Philippines, where politicians and local contractors pocket millions of pesos from roads constructed with substandard materials, below specification and which often end up incomplete.

The peasant masses demand land, not roads. Roads will not change their lives fundamentally. What if there are roads if landlords will just continue to exploit and oppress them by taking away their harvest as payment of rent? What if there are roads if capitalist merchants or middle-men will just continue to pull down farm gate prices and take away their income? What if there are roads if the peasant masses will remain dependent on loan sharks who oppress them with high interest rates.

The NTF-ELCAC’s BDP is military pork barrel. The billions of pesos are being used to exert undue influence on local politicians to get them to bow to the dictates of military officers and align with the agenda of the AFP. Having the biggest pork barrel, the NTF-ELCAC/AFP will surely play a major role in the 2022 elections.

As long as the demand of the peasant masses for genuine land reform remains unfulfilled, as long as the right to self-determination of minority masses are trampled upon by mining companies and land grabbers, as long as the people’s aspirations for national freedom and social justice remain unfulfilled, the Red fighters of the NPA will never tire of waging people’s war to defend the oppressed and exploited masses and fight for national and social liberation.

First PCG 94-meter multi-role response vessel launches in Japan

From the Palawan News (Jul 27, 2021): First PCG 94-meter multi-role response vessel launches in Japan (By Bryan Medina)

One of the two 94-meter multi-role response vessels (MMRVs) of the PCG. | Photo by PCG

The first of two 94-meter multi-role response vessels (MMRVs) purchased by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) under the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project Phase II (MSCIP Phase 2) was Monday at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.’s Shimonoseki Shipyard in Japan.

Once delivered, the two MRRVs will be the largest vessels in the PCG fleet. These MRRVs, which are patterned on the Kunigami-class boats of the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), are intended to boost the PCG’s maritime security and safety capabilities.

Each of the new MRRVs measures about 94 meters, has a maximum speed of not less than 24 knots, and a range of not less than 4,000 nautical miles, according to the PCG in a post on July 26.

The ships may conduct long-term marine patrols throughout the country’s maritime domains, including the West Philippine Sea and the Philippine Rise, according to the statement.

In addition, the two vessels will significantly boost the capabilities of the PCG in conducting maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

Through the accelerated construction of the Japanese shipbuilder, the first 94-meter MRRV is expected to arrive in Manila by March 2022, while the second vessel will arrive two months later or by May 2022.

The addition of the two new MRRVs to the PCG’s fleet is welcomed by DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade who stressed that the acquisition of new vessels is a breakthrough towards the government’s thrust of modernizing and upgrading the country’s maritime safety and border protection.

“The modernization of Philippine Coast Guard has been going fast and quick and very meaningful. In fact, in this effort to make it quick, fast, and very meaningful, the government of Japan has contributed very much. And to which I express my appreciation for your continued support,” Tugade said.

The new vessels, according to the DOTr Secretary, will be of great help in responding to maritime incidents in the country’s waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ), such as in the conduct of search and rescue operations and maritime security patrols, as well as in the enforcement of marine environmental laws, among others.

For his part, PCG Commandant, Admiral George V Ursabia Jr noted that the addition of the two MRRVs – the biggest in the fleet – is a big stride in strengthening the country’s maritime security and maritime safety capabilities.

“We are making a milestone, not just for the Department of Transportation and Philippine Coast Guard, but also for the Philippines – acquiring the first-ever biggest ship for the Coast Guard. It is a 94-meter multi-role response vessel. It is a big stride in the development of our country in the context of maritime security and maritime safety,” Admiral Ursabia expressed.

The MSCIP Phase 2 is a Japanese-assisted project funded by an Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) amounting to approximately JPY 16,455,000,000 (JPY 16.5 billion).

The contract between the DOTr and Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. for the design, construction, and delivery of the two 94-meter MRRVs amounting to JPY 14,550,000,000 (JPY 14.6 billion) was signed on 27 December 2019 and became effective on May 8, 2020.

Sobejana bows out of military service; Faustino assumes post

Posted to UNTV News & Rescue (Aug 1, 2021): Sobejana bows out of military service; Faustino assumes post (By Maris Federez)

Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Cirilito Sobejana relinquished his post in a Retirement and Change of Command Ceremony on Saturday (July 31).

An AFP statement released Saturday said Sobejana bowed out of service as he reached the mandatory retirement age of 56, after spending over 38 years in the military.

Sobejana who is a Medal for Valor recipient, has been replaced by LtGen. Jose Faustino, the current commander of the Joint Task Force Mindanao, the statement said.

“My tenure as the 55th Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has truly been full of challenges and trials; but together with more than the 200,000-strong men and women of the AFP whose tenacity, strength, and heart have made us overcome all odds,” Sobejana said in his farewell speech.

He also expressed his respect and gratitude to all the personnel in the military forces for their invaluable service.

“I have only the highest respect and admiration for our soldiers who have, and continuously, dedicated the best years of their lives in the name of public service. Sa lahat ng sundalo ng ating Sandatahang Lakas, taas-noo at buong puso ang aking pasasalamat sa inyong walang katapat na serbisyo,” he added.

Sobejana spent most of his military career in Mindanao where he commanded different AFP units as he rose the ranks since graduating from the Philippine Military Academy in 1987.

Prior to his stint as the AFP Chief of Staff, Sobejana assumed the post of Army Commanding General and the Commander of the Western Mindanao Command.

In May 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte bestowed him the Award of Philippine Legion of Honor (Degree of Officer), for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service rendered to the Philippine government, particularly to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

He received another Philippine Legion of Honor (Degree of Chief Commander) for “laudable and meritorious conduct in the performance of his duties as the 55th Chief of Staff,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, incoming AFP Chief of Staff LtGen. Faustino called on the men and women in the military to stay united and committed to providing service to the country.

“It is my belief that the true measure of a Filipino soldier is not in the badge or rank we wear, not about the position we attain or appointed to. It is the loyalty and integrity of every man and woman serving the AFP that will keep us going in the right direction,” Faustino said.

“As I embark on this new journey with each and every one of you belonging to Team AFP, allow me to say to every soldier, airman, sailor, and marine– let us stay positive on the course ahead, bind together as one family, commit with open minds, participate actively, work towards the attainment of our shared goals, develop good ideas and innovate to suit our domain,” he added.

Prior to his designation as AFP chief, Faustino was appointed as the Commander of JTF Mindanao in June, following a successful stint as the Acting Commanding General of the Philippine Army.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy “Maringal” Class of 1988, he likewise had been Battalion and Brigade Commander in Western Mindanao particularly in Basilan and Sulu, the statement said.

‘Evidence strong vs ex-PNP execs in rifle scam’

From the Philippine Star (Aug 2, 2021): ‘Evidence strong vs ex-PNP execs in rifle scam’ (By Elizabeth Marcelo)

The Sandiganbayan also denied the respective motions of the other fomer police officials: Civil Security Group director Gil Meneses, FEO head Napoleon Estilles, FEO inspection and enforcement section chief Nelson Bautista, I&E assistant chief Ricardo Zapata Jr., PNP Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies chief Tomas Rentoy III, Eduardo Acierto, Regino Catiis, Allan Parreño, Ricky Sumalde, Eric Tan and Randy de Sesto as well as non-uniformed personnel Nora Pirote and Sol Bargan.
STAR/ File

The Sandiganbayan has found strong evidence against former Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) chief Brig. Gen. Raul Petrasanta and 13 other PNP officials who are facing graft charges in connection with the AK-47 rifle scam in 2013.

“After a careful study of the documentary and testimonial evidence presented by the prosecution, the anti-graft court finds that, if unrebutted, the same is prima facie sufficient to support a verdict of guilt against the defendants for violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” the Sixth Division said in a 21-page resolution promulgated on July 28.

The court dismissed Petrasanta’s motion to file a demurrer to evidence, which would have allowed him to seek the dismissal of the charges filed against him without presenting his defense.

The Sandiganbayan also denied the respective motions of the other fomer police officials: Civil Security Group director Gil Meneses, FEO head Napoleon Estilles, FEO inspection and enforcement section chief Nelson Bautista, I&E assistant chief Ricardo Zapata Jr., PNP Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies chief Tomas Rentoy III, Eduardo Acierto, Regino Catiis, Allan Parreño, Ricky Sumalde, Eric Tan and Randy de Sesto as well as non-uniformed personnel Nora Pirote and Sol Bargan.

The court also junked the petition of private respondent Isidro Lozada of the Caraga Security Agency.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2015, the cases stemmed from the FEO’s allegedly anomalous issuance of licenses from August 2011 to April 2013 for more than 100 AK-47 rifles in favor of four private companies despite incomplete or falsified documents.

Most of the firearms were recovered from members of the New People’s Army during an encounter with government troops in Mindanao in 2014.

The ombudsman had dismissed all the police officials implicated in the case.

Petrasanta, who was once a candidate for PNP chief, is facing a separate complaint for graft before the Sixth Division in connection with the allegedly anomalous courier service deal for gun licenses in 2011.

Arrested ASG logistics liaison officer is a non-uniformed PNP employee – Eleazar

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 1, 2021): Arrested ASG logistics liaison officer is a non-uniformed PNP employee – Eleazar (By: John Eric Mendoza)

Masckur Adoh Patarasa, a brother-in-law of the late Isnilong Hapilon, is said to be a logistics officer of the Abu Sayyaf Group. (Photo from the PNP)

A logistics liaison officer of the Abu Sayyaf Group who was arrested on Friday turned out to be a non-uniformed employee of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the PNP chief, said in a press conference in Zamboanga City on Sunday.

identified the suspect as Masckur Adoh Patarasa, a brother-in-law of the late ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon. He was arrested in an intelligence-driven police operation in Barangay Asturias in Jolo, Sulu.

“Investigation revealed that Patarasa is an active non-uniformed personnel of the Philippine National Police presently assigned at Banguingui Municipal Police Station, Sulu PPO [Police Provincial Office] but was also found out to be finance and logistics liaison officer of Dauwla Islamiya under the ASG and was included in the Martial Law Arrest Order No. 1 during the Marawi Siege in 2017,” Eleazar said.

Patarasa joined the Jihadist organization in 2001 under ASG leader Khadaffy Janjalani in Basilan but later shifted to ASG Senior Leader Radullan Sahiron in Sulu, according to Eleazar.

He was also known to have direct contact with Jemaah Islamiyah operative Amin Baco, a.k.a. Guro Jihad, and other ASG members.

Further investigation revealed that Patarasa received funds from Almaida Salvin, a designated terrorist included in the U.S. Treasury’s sanctions list who was arrested sometime in April 2019 for illegal possession of explosives through Merhama Sawari, who was killed in Parañaque shootout together with three suspected terrorists on June 20, 2020.

Eleazar lauded the units involved in Patarasa’s arrest, saying: “Your action is a reflection of our campaign to keep the organization free from persons with ill motives.”

“Let us join hands in keeping the Philippine National Police a respectable organization, true to its mandate to serve and protect the people,” he added.

Miyembro ng PNP, kasapi umano ng Abu Sayyaf

From ABS-CBN (Aug 1, 2021): Miyembro ng PNP, kasapi umano ng Abu Sayyaf

Iprinesenta sa media nitong Agosto 1, 2021 si Masckur Adoh Patarasa, isang pulis na miyembro pala ng Abu Sayyaf Group.

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Isang miyembro ng Philippine National Police (PNP) ang natuklasang miyembro umano ng Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Iprinesenta ngayong Linggo ni PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar si Masckur Adoh Patarasa na naaresto noong Biyernes sa isang joint police operation.

May kinahaharap na kasong kidnapping with serious illegal detention si Patarasa, na kilala rin bilang si alyas "Makong" o "Omair Sali Taib," sa isang korte sa Isabela City, Basilan, ayon kay Eleazar.

Si Patarasa ay isa rin umanong finance at logistics liaison officer ng Dawla Islamiya at ASG, at kasali sa Martial Law Arrest Order No. 1 noong Marawi siege noong 2017.

Lumabas sa imbestigasyon na binalak ni Patarasa na magpadala ng pondo sa mga ASG member na lumalaban sa Marawi.

Sinasabing bayaw rin ni Patarasa si Isnilon Hapilon, isa sa mga nanguna sa panig ng mga terorista sa Marawi siege.

Taong 2015 nang sumali sa PNP si Patarasa, na aktibong non-uniformed personnel sa Banguingui Municipal Police Station sa Sulu.

Ayon kay Eleazar, hihigpitan ang pag-screen sa mga aplikanteng papasok sa PNP.

"Kaya ayaw natin na makapasok sila sa palakasan or padrino system," ani Eleazar.

Ipinaliwanag ni Eleazar na nagsasagawa pa rin ang PNP ng background investigation sa mga tauhan nito kahit ilang taon nang nakapasok ang mga ito sa serbisyo.

Ayon kay Eleazar, sisibakin sa serbisyo si Patarasa, na haharapin ang 7 kasong nakasampa laban sa kaniya.

Inaalam din umano kung may iba pang mga kasabwat sa loob ng PNP si Patarasa.

English Translation:

Masckur Adoh Patarasa, a policeman who is a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group, was presented to the media on August 1, 2021.

ZAMBOANGA CITY - A member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) was allegedly found to be a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Presented this Sunday by PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar Masckur Adoh Patarasa was arrested on Friday in a joint police operation.

Patarasa, also known as alias "Makong" or "Omair Sali Taib," is facing a kidnapping case with serious illegal detention in a court in Isabela City, Basilan, according to Eleazar.

Patarasa is also said to be a finance and logistics liaison officer of Dawla Islamiya and ASG, and a participant in Martial Law Arrest Order No. 1 during the Marawi siege in 2017.

The investigation revealed that Patarasa planned to send funds to ASG members who were fighting in Marawi.

Patarasa is also said to be the brother -in -law of Isnilon Hapilon, one of the leaders of the terrorists in the Marawi siege.

In 2015, Patarasa, an active non-uniformed personnel at the Banguingui Municipal Police Station in Sulu, joined the PNP.

According to Eleazar, the screening of applicants entering the PNP will be tightened.

"So we don't want them to get into the sports or sponsor system," Eleazar said.

Eleazar explained that the PNP is still conducting a background investigation on its personnel even though they have been in the service for several years.

According to Eleazar, Patarasa will be suspended from service, facing 7 cases filed against him.

It is also being investigated whether Patarasa has other accomplices within the PNP.

PNP Maritime Group to get more personnel, boats

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 31, 2021): PNP Maritime Group to get more personnel, boats (By Liwayway Yparraguirre)

BOOSTING CAPABILITY. Police Col. Policarpio Cayabyab Jr. (middle, right), Regional Maritime Unit 1 director, leads the arrival honors for PNP Maritime Group director Brig. John Mitchell Jamili (middle, left) on Saturday (July 31, 2021). Jamili started his two-day visit with the RMU1 Command Visit at its headquarters in Dagupan City. (Photo by Liwayway Yparraguirre)

The Philippine National Police Maritime Group (PNP-MG) is strengthening its assets and human resources by setting a quota of 1,000 recruits this year and acquiring new boats.

MG director, Brig. Gen. John Mitchell Jamili, in an interview on Saturday, said some 377 new recruits have taken their oath for the first cycle of recruitment and the quota for the second cycle is 500, with the unfilled number of recruits in the first cycle to be added to the second cycle of their quota.

Jamili said as envisioned by PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the MG will get more patrol boats under the Capability Enhancement Program.

“We have also on our wish list to acquire bigger boats, also to patrol our Maritime Jurisdiction which could reach up to the exclusive economic zone. But since we are limited in number in the coastal areas because our water assets are not high-speed watercraft, we are also conducting regular maritime law enforcement within our limit of jurisdiction,”
he said.

Jamili said the MG is one of the national operational support groups of the PNP which is tasked to perform all police functions over the territorial waters of the Philippines, including the protection of marine life.

“We are anchored to it, what we are doing is to preserve and protect our marine and aquatic resources. The Maritime Group is conducting a coastal seaborne patrol on a weekly basis,” he said.

He added the higher headquarters has directed the regional chiefs to coordinate with the different local government units for the acquisition and possession of lots purposely for the construction of Regional Maritime Units (RMU) and maritime police stations.

He reiterated to the RMU Ilocos Region personnel the key thrusts of the PNP chief's intensified cleanliness policy -- cleanliness of the offices, cleanliness of ranks, and cleanliness of the community.

PH, US ink aeronautical, maritime search and rescue deal

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 1, 2021): PH, US ink aeronautical, maritime search and rescue deal

SEARCH & RESCUE DEAL. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. and US Embassy Chargé d’affaires John C. Law signed the Philippine-United States Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue agreement on July 30, 2021. The deal provides delimitations on the search and rescue regions of the Philippines and the US. (DFA photo by Philip Fernandez)

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. and US Embassy Chargé d’affaires John C. Law signed the Philippine-United States Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (AMSAR) Agreement on July 30.

The AMSAR Agreement provides delimitations on the search and rescue regions of the Philippines and the United States.

It fosters stronger bilateral cooperation in the field of maritime and aeronautical search and rescue and enhances both countries’ effectiveness in assisting persons, vessels, aircraft or other craft in distress.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Foreign Affairs, with support from the Philippine Coast Guard, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, the National Coast Watch Center, and the Department of National Defense, negotiated the AMSAR agreement from 25 to 26 September 2018.

The signing of the agreement stands as proof of the Philippines’ commitment to upholding its obligations under international conventions and treaties.

At the same time, it will help boost the Philippines’ capability to conduct search and rescue operations and save lives.

The signing was witnessed by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, who was in Manila for a visit, and Vice Admiral Eduardo D. Fabricante of the Philippine Coast Guard. It is another milestone in PH-US bilateral relations which is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year.

‘Whole-of-nation' programs change ex-Reds' lives for better: OPAV

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28, 2021): ‘Whole-of-nation' programs change ex-Reds' lives for better: OPAV (By John Rey Saavedra)

LIFE AFTER ARMED STRUGGLE. Photo shows Maria, a former rebel, tending to her 'sari-sari' store financed through the Livelihood Settlement Grant of the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and rolled out through the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, on Wednesday (July 28, 2021) said he hopes NTF-ELCAC projects will continue even beyond the Duterte administration, considering the actual benefit it gives to the former rebels. (Photo courtesy of DSWD-7)

The successful whole-of-nation programs of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) have changed the lives of former Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels who are now productive members of society after receiving various government assistance, an official said on Wednesday.

Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, head of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), cited the “Dagyawan sa Barangay” and “Serbisyo Caravan” as two of such programs, which are engagement platforms down to the grassroots level.

The Basic Services Cluster of the Regional Task Force End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC-7), he noted, is very successful in engaging the communities in a series of dialogues with the government with the aim of addressing the root cause of the insurgency.

“Government officials pledged to support and collaborate with the local communities in the provinces to promote transparency and strengthen grassroots participation in identifying issues from and potential programs for their respective communities,” Dino told the Philippine News Agency.

He said President Rodrigo Duterte’s whole-of-nation approach as embodied in the Executive Order 70 signed in 2018 has “proven very effective particularly in Central Visayas because it enables a collaborative multi-sectoral approach" that has unearthed a wide array of concerns and issues from the folks who reeled from the hampered development in their area due to insurgency.

He said the whole-of-nation approach has squarely engaged the folks “down to the barangay level, in our pursuit for a sustainable peace and tangible development”.

“We are very appreciative of the active support from our Central Visayas local government units (LGU) in the NTF-ELCAC programs. Their willingness to participate, even making initiatives in this undertaking only shows that they too, would like to finally get rid and move on from this long-standing problem on armed insurgency especially in the conflict-affected and vulnerable areas,” Dino said.

In August 2019, the NTF-ELCAC through the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) launched Dagyawan sa Barangay, a localized version of “Dagyaw 2019: Open Government and Participatory Governance Regional Townhall Meeting”, which involves a series of government dialogues with the stakeholders at the grassroots level.

Since the inception of OPAV in November 2016, Dino, through the help of then Special Assistant to the President, now Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, started to roll out Serbisyo Caravan down to the barangays in the Visayas.

Consistent with its mission, “Bringing the voice of the Visayans to Malacañang, Bringing Malacañang right at the doorstep of the Visayans,” the office implemented numerous Serbisyo Caravan events in different provinces, with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, government and private doctors, different government agencies and LGUs bringing services to the barrio folks.

Life after armed struggle

Among the former rebels who received aid through the NTF-ELCAC initiatives is Maria (not her real name), a 27-year-old former NPA rebel who totally abandoned their lost cause in exchange for embracing a life of peace as a useful citizen of the country.

Maria is just one of the 128 former NPA rebels who received the Livelihood Settlement Grant through the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the NTF-ELCAC implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Mary Gloryn Mangarao, project development officer of the DSWD-Central Visayas Sustainable Livelihood Programs, said in a statement that Maria is now a small business owner tending to her “sari-sari” store out of the grant facilitated by the RTF-ELCAC-7.

Mangarao, who monitors the progress of Maria’s livelihood project, said the family of the former rebel has earned a net income of PHP22,890 from the undertaking, deposited in a bank in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.

She said Maria’s family also acquired a motorcycle, bought fertilizers for their crops, and gained more customers in their community because they offer reasonable prices.

All these happened within six months after the grant’s release, Mangarao said.

OPAV reported that as of this month, over PHP6 million worth of assistance has been given to a total of 128 former rebels through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

"Gusto nako nga magmalampuson ug mahimong professionals akong mga anak puhon (I want my children to be successful professionals, one day)," Maria was quoted as saying.

At the age of 16, Maria dreamed of a better future. But when a relative persuaded and promised her that the CPP-NPA would give her a better life, she joined and became a rebel despite her widowed mother’s warning.

“Nagtuo ko nga nindot akong kaugmaon kung moapil ko sa rebeldeng grupo (I thought I would have a better future if I join the group),” said Maria, the fourth of five siblings whose father died in the early 2000s.

However, she soon realized that the promise of a better life was void, and later on, she decided to surrender and cooperate with the government.

In November 2020, Maria’s family received PHP20,000 cash from the SLP’s livelihood settlement grant (LSG) under Executive Order 70.

Continuity of NTF-ELCAC gains

With the gains of the programs designed by NTF-ELCAC, tapping government agencies in addressing insurgency-related issues down to the barangay level, Dino said he hopes for its continuity even beyond the Duterte administration.

“Definitely. We have made great strides in our pursuit for peace with the ELCAC programs," he said, adding that the projects have enticed those who are still actively fighting in the mountains to lay down their arms and surrender in exchange for livelihood and other assistance for their transformed life in the future.

As the whole-of-nation approach ushered peace in Central Visayas, social and infrastructure development became imminent, he said.

Dino, citing the success stories of former rebels who received financial and other forms of assistance from the government, sees the need for the NTF-ELCAC to be continued in order to sustain the momentum in crashing the 50-year Maoist rebellion.

“Not only are we able to address armed conflict with these programs, but we are also able to promote development in the countryside by creating resilient communities and providing livelihood to the Filipino people, with the goal of giving them happy and comfortable lives,” Dino said.

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

Why August a significant month in PH history?

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 1, 2021): Why August a significant month in PH history? (By Severino Samonte)

Among the 12 months of the year from the last decade of the past century to the present, August can be considered as one of the most significant months in Philippine history.

Here's why, based on a partial compilation by former Philippine News Agency's writers of selected historical events that took place in the country during the month of August from the 1890s up to at least the first decade of the current century.

It was in August 1896 when a group of brave but poorly armed Filipino patriots and nationalists led by Andres Bonifacio formally launched the campaign for Philippine independence from Spain.

They organized earlier the "KKK or Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan" (Highest and Most Respectable Society of the Sons of the People) in a secret meeting in Tondo, Manila on July 7, 1892. Its ultimate objective was to free the Filipinos from over 300 years of Spanish occupation.

The discovery of the secret society by Spanish authorities on Aug. 19, 1896 forced the "Katipuneros" led by Bonifacio to bring the fight to the field.

The revolutionaries gathered in the fourth week of August 1896 in a place near what was then popularly known as Balintawak and raised the so-called first "Cry" for freedom, characterized with the tearing of their "cedula" or residence certificate.

The specific place where that very important event occurred was unclear as old history books contained a number of different place names, including Balintawak itself, Balara, Bahay Toro, Pugad Lawin, Kangkong, Pasong Tamo, Banlat, Caloocan, Novaliches, and Sampalukan.

The exact date also has remained debatable up to these days, with some saying it occurred on August 23 or 24, and some insisting on August 25 or 26.

The annual observance of the first "Cry of Balintawak" was held nationwide every August 26, centered in Balintawak, Quezon City, until the date was moved to August 23 and the name of the celebration changed to "Cry of Pugad Lawin" during the Macapagal administration in 1963.

The conflicting dates and places of the so-called first "Cry" of the 1896 Revolution prompted noted historian, author and professor Dr. Soledad Borromeo-Buehler to write a book titled "The Cry of Balintawak: A Contrived Controversy" which was published in 1998 by the Ateneo De Manila University Press.

Another major reason that made August a significant month was its being the birth month of two former Philippine presidents: Manuel L. Quezon on Aug. 19, 1878 in Baler, Tayabas (now Quezon); and Ramon F. Magsaysay on Aug. 31, 1907 in Iba, Zambales.

It was also in August that two Filipino presidents died. The first was Quezon, first president of the Philippine Commonwealth, and the second was Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino, the country's first woman president. Incidentally, both of them died on the same date, although 65 years apart: Quezon on Aug. 1, 1944, and Mrs. Aquino on Aug. 1, 2009.

On Aug. 2, 1968, an intensity 7 earthquake jolted Manila, causing the collapse of the Ruby Tower in Sta. Cruz, Manila and killing hundreds of people. The tremor's epicenter was traced at Casiguran, Quezon. It was considered as the most destructive one in the Philippines prior to the July 16, 1990 Luzon killer earthquake.

It was on Aug. 4, 1964 when then President Diosdado P. Macapagal signed Republic Act 4166 designating June 12 of every year as the Independence Day of the Philippines. Previous to this, the Filipino people used to celebrate their freedom day on July 4, the day the United States finally recognized Philippine Independence on July 4, 1946.

The June 12 celebration was in recognition of Gen. Emilio F. Aguinaldo's declaration of Philippine Independence from Spain on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite.

It was on Aug. 19, 1916 when the US Congress enacted the Jones Law or the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916. It contained the first formal declaration of the US government to grant independence to the Philippines.

The Philippines joined four other Asian countries on Aug. 8, 1967 in the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Bangkok, Thailand. Aside from the Philippines, the other original members of Asean were Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Brunei Darussalam joined on Jan. 8, 1984; Vietnam on July 28, 1995; Laos and Myanmar on July 23, 1997; and Cambodia on April 30, 1999, making what is now known as the 10-member Asean.

Also on Aug. 8, 1901, the former Philippine Constabulary was organized by authority of Act No. 175 of the Philippine Commission to assist the American military in combating lawlessness in the country. The PC was replaced in 1999 by the present Philippine National Police or PNP.

On Aug. 21, 1983, former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. was assassinated at the then Manila International Airport upon returning from a three-year self-exile in the United States.

The murder, blamed on the Marcos administration, triggered a series of demonstrations and protests from an enraged nation which culminated in the Feb. 22-25, 1986 EDSA People Power Revolt that forced President Ferdinand Marcos and his family to flee to Hawaii.

This resulted in the installation of Aquino's widow, Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino, as the country's 11th and first woman president, following a snap election earlier that pitted her against Marcos on Feb. 7, 1986.