Friday, August 27, 2021

6 Abu Sayyaf bandits surrender in Sulu

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Aug 27, 2021): 6 Abu Sayyaf bandits surrender in Sulu

SURRENDER. Six Abu Sayyaf bandits surrendered Tuesday, August 24, to military authorities at the headquarters of the 1102nd Infantry Brigade in Tagbak village, Indanan, Sulu. A photo handout shows the six surrenderers (in white shirts) and the firearms they yielded to the government. (SunStar Zamboanga)

SIX Abu Sayyaf bandits have surrendered to military authorities in the province of Sulu to reunite and live peaceful lives with their respective families.

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37 ex-rebels in Lanao receive support sustenance

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Aug 27, 2021): 37 ex-rebels in Lanao receive support sustenance

SUSTENANCE. The Army's 51st Infantry Battalion (IB), in collaboration with the Municipal Government of Piagapo, Lanao del Sur and Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, distributes support sustenance to 37 formers rebels in Gacap village, Piagapo. A photo handout shows Major John Mark Onipig, 51IB executive officer (5th from right) and Piagapo Vice Mayor Ali Sumadar (4th from right) lead the distribution of the support sustenance to the recipients. (SunStar Zamboanga)

THE Army's 51st Infantry Battalion (IB), in collaboration with partner agencies, has distributed support sustenance to 37 former rebels in the province of Lanao del Sur, the military reported Friday, August 27.

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'Tokhang' campaign vs activists seen to wreak more havoc on human rights

From the Philippine Star (Aug 28, 2021): 'Tokhang' campaign vs activists seen to wreak more havoc on human rights (By Gaea Katreena Cabico)

Undated photo shows Filipinos protesting the then anti-terrorism bill.
AFP / Aileen Dimatatac

Implementing “drug war” methods in the government’s counter-insurgency campaign is a “recipe for more human rights disaster,” the Human Rights Watch said on Saturday.

In this campaign, police and local officials visit
the homes or offices of personalities the government accuses of working with or “fronting” for communist rebels. They “plead” with the activists to stop the communist cause.


CHR-Cordillera official withdraws from resolution for 'tokhang' vs leftists

Council revives proposal for 'tokhang' campaign vs Cordillera leftists

But being a leftist is not a crime.

“Tokhang”—or “knock and plead”—operations were launched in 2016 when the government began its “war on drugs.” As originally planned, cops would do house-to-house campaign to convince suspected drug pushers and users to surrender.

But the strategy is being blamed for the deaths of “drug personalities” either in law enforcement operations or at the hands of unknown killers.

“What’s to stop the authorities from claiming—falsely—that an activist they visited fought back, that’s why he or she was shot? This campaign is fraught with the same problems and issues we’ve seen in the “drug war”—extrajudicial killings, planting of evidence, among others,” said Carlos Conde, HRW senior researcher.

Cancel implementation of ‘tokhang’ campaign

Cordillera region officials recently passed a resolution adopting the “Dumanun Makitungtong” (Seek and Talk) strategy against “known members of left-leaning organization.”

The government equates being left-leaning as support for and membership in the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army. It is an inaccurate assertion that has been used to justify what activists call a crackdown on legitimate and legal organizations.

Conde said the campaign “sows fear and restricts the already constrained democratic space in the Philippines.”

“This also exposes the Duterte government’s double talk and lack of sincerity in its promise to improve the human rights situation in the Philippines – a promise that underpins the human rights program it entered into with the UN Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,” he said.

HRW called on local government units that already issued to operationalize the campaign to rescind those issuances.

Tight watch in the South

 Posted to the Business Mirror (Aug 28, 2021): Tight watch in the South (By RENE ACOSTA)

A new chapter in the military’s counterterrorism drive may yet begin to unfold with the Taliban’s ascent to power in Afghanistan

THE military is stepping up both its intelligence and combat operations against local and foreign-aligned terrorist groups in Mindanao in the aftermath of the Taliban’s assumption to power in Afghanistan following two decades of conflict with its Western-backed government.

The Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), which has operational jurisdiction over areas where Moro militants, terrorists and fundamentalists operate, is not ruling out the possibility that the Taliban’s success may encourage local outlawed groups to aspire for power and unleash their own forms of “adventurism.”

Kabul—where the government crumbled and its army melted in the onslaught of Taliban fighters who immediately declared Afghanistan as an Islamic emirate—is almost 6,000 miles away from the Philippines, but the military certainly knows that beliefs and ideologies transcend boundaries.

“We are intensifying our intelligence operations to monitor the movements of armed groups here in Mindanao to preempt any terror ploy in our area of operation,” Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of WestMinCom, told the BusinessMirror.

“Our gallant soldiers are always on full alert for any security challenge. The military is always on guard against emerging threats in the area,” added the military commander, who had been credited with stopping the rampage of terrorists in Mindanao.

Ties that bind

WITH the current state and strength of the terrorist groups operating in Mindanao, described as much weakened and badly bruised due to the deaths of their key leaders and members, Vinluan believes that the terrorists can no longer carry out another strategic operation.

“Our deliberate offensives debilitated the terror groups, hence we don’t think that the remaining members of the said groups have the capacity to replicate what was done by the Taliban in Afghanistan,” the military commander said.

Nonetheless, he and the rest of WestMinCom are not taking any chances.

The Taliban, a terrorist group, had harbored and accorded security and protection to the late al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and other key leaders of the international terrorist group in Afghanistan until bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces during the term of former President Barack Obama.

During its heyday as the world’s number-one terrorist group, the popularity of the al-Qaeda was embraced by Moro militants in Mindanao by taking up its cause and even welcoming its members into their midst while providing them security, sanctuary and protection.

Presence in Mindanao

AFGHANISTAN was where known Moro militants have fought and were fully immersed into the cause of jihad before they returned to the country and became the original founders and leaders of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), which began in Basilan.

The presence of al-Qaeda in Mindanao was repeated in the case of the Islamic State (IS), whose members were welcomed by local terrorist groups who were later led into joining the siege of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur in 2017.

The IS did not only manage to recruit members among the local groups, but its leader in Southeast Asia even came from the ASG in the person of the late Isnilon Hapilon, the former ASG commander in Basilan.

The IS, while training local terrorists in bomb making and terror activities, and even indoctrinating some of them to become suicide bombers, had struck alliances with local terrorist groups like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Maute Group and Daulah Islamiyah, aside from the ASG.

Even the regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah had set foot in Mindanao.

The WestMinCom holds operational jurisdictions over where all these international terrorist groups have operated or have been present and where local terrorist groups operate in dwindling numbers—like the provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan, the Lanao provinces, Zamboanga Peninsula and in Central Mindanao.

Security gains

GIVEN the history of Western Mindanao in hosting international terrorist groups where their local counterparts have been partly lured by their funding, the last thing that the country wants to happen is to see local terrorists being goaded by the Taliban’s success, if not seek funding from the group. The Taliban is already in full control of Afghanistan’s national coffers, but reports said it may find it hard to govern in the next few days as the West has frozen much of its assets.

Vinluan said that beyond developments in Afghanistan, they continue to bolster their offensive and “employ peaceful mechanisms to sustain the growing peace and possibly neutralize the remaining members of the different threat groups” in Mindanao.

“Through our nonlethal operations, we are able to win not only the trust of the people but the enemies’ as well. Such is evident in the mounting number of rebels that surrendered to the government forces, the terror ploys that we thwarted, and the enemy strongholds that we overran,” he explained.

“So to a greater extent, the security situation in the region has momentously improved; thus we are confident that we will be able to sustain the momentum,” Vinluan said.

In pursuit of peace and development, Vinluan said, WestMinCom’s intelligence operations as well as its combat and noncombat efforts have been intensified, even before the chaos in Afghanistan took its present course, and the tempo will be maintained in order to prevent local terrorists from creating havoc in peaceful communities.

For one, the WestMinCom commander said that both the right hand and left hand approaches that they made in dealing with the ASG and other IS-linked groups have led to the “debilitation” of these groups.

“Kidnappings, ambuscades, bombings and other atrocities were reduced and, to a greater extent, eradicated through the security operations we continuously conduct,” he said.

“The current strength of the IS-linked groups has constantly dwindled with the all-out campaigns that we launched. There is also a surge in the number of capitulations of militants in the operational area,” Vinluan added.

The bloody rampage of the IS and its allies in Marawi City has degraded the terrorists’ manpower and capability to carry out hostile plans, while leaving them “worn out,” weakened by the neutralization of their leaders and fighters, Vinluan said.

The sustained security operations also prevented their re-emergence and constricted their strongholds.

“But we cannot deny the fact that the threat will continue to exist even with the neutralization of hard-core leaders. As long as there are hard-core rebels willing to risk their lives and limbs to sow terror and perpetrate violence against the innocent, the line of succession will always be followed to carry out the operations of the armed groups,” Vinluan admitted.

“There will be armed groups that will attempt to raise arms and repeat the rampage in Marawi, but if we relentlessly pursue terrorists through deliberate operations and convergence, then we can contain these groups. So, the key is really to sustain our gains to defeat terrorist groups,” he said.

In Vinluan’s view, to end Mindanao’s security threats, the military must intensify its operations and “engage in peaceful mechanisms through the intercession of the people and the convergence of the different sectors,” which he said is the “holistic approach” and the effective way to defeat terrorism in Mindanao.

“With the significant breakthroughs that we have attained in the campaign against terrorism and violent extremism in the previous years, we have learned the best approaches that we should apply towards the attainment of lasting peace and development. We continuously implement peaceful mechanisms to address the grievances of the vulnerable groups of the society and prevent them from being indoctrinated with false ideologies of the radical groups. Together with our partners and stakeholders, we continue to engage in the communities to prevent them from embracing radicalization,” he said.

[Rene P. Acosta covers defense, law enforcement and national security for the paper. He had written for a number of publications, including abroad before he joined BusinessMirror. His works had appeared in the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Asia Pacific Defense Forum, both in the US. He took up regional security with the International Visitor Leadership Program, US. He is currently the chairman of the board of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines which he had headed in 2009.]

CPP/NDF-Southern Tagalog: Itinataguyod at isinusulong ng NDFP ang pandaigdigang makataong batas

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Aug 26, 2021): Itinataguyod at isinusulong ng NDFP ang pandaigdigang makataong batas


AUGUST 26, 2021

Kaisa ng mamamayang Pilipino ang NDFP-ST sa paggunita sa buwan ng International Humanitarian Law (IHL) ngayong Agosto. Simula’t sapul, katuwang ng sambayanan ang NDFP sa pagtataguyod, paggigiit at pagtatanggol ng karapatang tao sa gitna ng pasismo ng mga nagdaan at kasalukuyang papet na rehimen. Ang lahat ng mga kaalyadong organisasyon ng NDFP ay mahigpit na tumatalima sa IHL laluna ang NPA na pangunahing armadong pwersa ng mamamayan.

Batid ng taumbayan na ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan ang tunay na nagtataguyod ng karapatang tao at rumerespeto sa pandaigdigang makataong batas. Isang testamento sa pakikibaka ng mamamayang Pilipino at rebolusyonaryong kilusan ang napagtagumpayang Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) sa usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng NDFP at GRP noong taong 1998. Binalangkas ito ng NDFP sa tulong ng malawak na sambayanan upang ipagtanggol ang karapatan ng mamamayang Pilipino na paulit-ulit na nilalabag ng reaksyunaryong estado.

Kabilang sa nilalaman ng kasunduan ang pagrespeto sa karapatan ng mga hindi tuwirang kalahok sa digma at ng mga mandirigmang wala nang kakayahang lumaban. Palaging isinasaalang-alang ng NPA ang buhay at kaligtasan ng mamamayan bago magsagawa ng mga aksyong militar. Sa bawat inilulunsad na taktikal na opensiba laban sa pasistang AFP, tinitiyak ng NPA na walang madadamay na mga sibilyan. Sa mga hindi inaasahang pagkakataon at pagkakamali, mapagkumbabang nagpupuna ang kinauukulang komand ng NPA at gumagawa ng masusing imbestigasyon at bayad-pinsala. Batay sa resulta ng mga imbestigasyon, gumagawa ang CPP ng mga hakbang sa pagtutuwid para di na maulit ang mga pagkakamali. Sa mga mabibigat na pagkakamali, nilalapatan ng karampatang aksyong pandisiplina at kaparusahan ang mga sangkot alinsunod sa tuntunin sa disiplina ng BHB at sariling sistema ng hustisya at prosesong hudisyal ng Demokratikong Gubyernong Bayan.

Dahil matuwid at makatao ang rebolusyonaryonaryong kilusan, iginagalang nito kahit ang karapatan ng mga mersenaryong tropa na wala nang kapasidad na lumaban. Nilalapatan ng lunas ng NPA ang mga nasugatang AFP-PNP sa mga taktikal na opensiba. Iginagalang at tinitiyak ng Partido at NPA ang karapatan ng mga bihag ng digma alinsunod sa patakaran nito ng maluwag na pagtrato sa mga bihag at sumuko sa labanan.

Sa Timog Katagalugan, maraming pagkakataon nang ipinakita ng NPA ang makataong pagtrato sa mga bihag ng digma tulad sa pagpapalaya sa mga bihag batay sa makataong dahilan. Tampok sa mga ito ang pagpapalaya sa mga sumusunod:

a. Lt. Gan at Sgt. Causapin sa South Quezon noong 1986
b. Cpl. Aliwalas at C1C Bulusan sa Bulalacao, Mindoro Oriental noong 1986
c. Captain Enrico Salapong ng 15th PC/INP Company at apat niya pang kasamahan noong 1989 sa Bongabong, Mindoro Oriental
d. Sgt. Sacbibit, PA at C2C Batocabe, PC-INP sa South Quezon noong 1990
e. Capt Reyes at Moredo sa mainland TK noong 1991
f. SPO3 Martillano Magtagad noong 1997 sa Roxas, Mindoro Oriental
g. PCI Rene Francisco, hepe ng pulisya sa Rodriguez, Rizal at Sgt. Joaquin Melad noong 1997
h. Sgt Wevino Demol, isang operatiba ng 16th ISU noong 1999 sa Tanay, Rizal
i. Major Noel Buan, SOLCOM Deputy Intelligence Chief noong 1999 sa Mansalay, Mindoro Oriental
j. Air Force Chaplain Capt. Melchor Fernando noong 2000 sa Paluan, Mindoro Occidental
k. Police Inspector Rex Cuntapay, PO1 Alberto Umali at PO1 Marvin Agasen noong 2009 sa Rodriguez, Rizal; at
l. Reymando R. Malupa, aktibong CAFGU ng 203rd Brigade sa Bansud, Oriental Mindoro noong 2019.

Taliwas dito ang kondukta ng halimaw na AFP-PNP sa kanilang mga operasyong militar at pulis. Wala itong isinasaalang-alang na kapakanan ng mga inosenteng mamamayan na tatamaan ng kanilang malupit na mga operasyong militar. Ni hindi nito isinasaalang-alang maging ang kaligtasan ng sarili nilang kasamahan. Patunay dito ang pagkamatay ni PCI Abelardo Martin—hepe ng pulis ng Dolores, Quezon—sa kamay ng mga tropa ng 2nd Scout Ranger Company na pataksil na naglunsad ng rescue operation sa gitna ng negosasyon para sa pagpapalaya kay Martin noong 1999.

Sa Timog Katagalugan, may binalangkas at sinusunod na mga tuntunin sa pagdakip, pangangalaga, at pagpapalaya sa mga prisoners of war (POW) bahagi ng pagsisinop sa usapin ng pangangalaga ng mga bihag ng digma alinsunod sa mga internasyunal na panuntunang nakasaad sa Geneva Conventions of 1949 at Protocol II of 1977. Patunay itong ang rebolusyonaryong gubyerno ay isang estadong nakikidigma at naigagawad sa mga POW ang makataong pagtrato alinsunod sa Protocol I at Protocol II ng Geneva Conventions.

Dineposito ng NDFP sa Swiss Federal Council ang kanyang Declaration of Understanding to Apply the Geneva Conventions and Protocol I & II. Noong Agosto 2, 1996 tinanggap at kinilala ng Swiss Federal Council ang naturang depository declaration ng NDFP.

Mariing pinasusubalian ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan ang paninira ng teroristang rehimeng Duterte na “lumalabag ang CPP-NPA-NDFP sa pandaigdigang makataong batas.” Isang kabalintunaan ang walang batayang pagkundena ng reaksyunaryong estado sa paggamit ng NPA ng mga command detonated explosives na diumano ay labag sa Ottawa Treaty na nagbabawal sa paggamit ng anti-personnel landmine gayong walang habas ang panganganyon at pambobomba ng AFP-PNP sa mga kabundukan nang walang malinaw na target. Higit itong nakapipinsala sa mamamayan, kanilang mga bukirin at iba pang ari-arian. Desperasyon ito ng estado dahil nais nitong pagtakpan ang terorismong inihahasik nito sa bayan.

Pawang mga gawa-gawang paninira at kasinungalingan lamang ang ibinabato ng rehimen na diumano’y nagrerekluta ng mga child warrior ang NPA. Malinaw na nakasaad sa Saligang Alituntunin ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan ang rekisitong edad na 18 pataas para sumapi sa NPA. Kinikilala at pinangangalagaan ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan ang karapatan ng mga bata habang isinusulong ang digmang bayan samantalang walang pakundangan ang AFP-PNP sa mga atrosidad nito laban sa mga bata. Pamalagiang nadadamay ang mga bata sa karahasang inihahasik nila sa komunidad. Katunayan, nitong Mayo 12, dinukot ng mga elemento ng 203rd Brigade ang batang si MJ, anak ng isang detenidong pulitikal at pinagbibintangang NPA.

Ang tunay na terorista at pangunahing tagalabag ng karapatang tao ay ang AFP-PNP at ang pasistang rehimeng Duterte. Upang balutan ng ligalidad, ginamit nito ang Anti-Terror Law para maghasik ng terorismo sa bayan at supilin ang anumang makatarungang pag-aalsa ng mamamayan. Ginawang sandata ang naturang batas upang patahimikin ang mga aktibista, progresibo, kritiko at oposisyon. Nagpatupad ang reaksyunaryo at pasistang AFP/PNP ng mga Synchronized Enhanced Management and Police Operations (SEMPO) kung saan nilayon nitong patahimikin at pilayin ang kilusang masa sa mga kalunsuran at kanayunan. Noong Marso 7, 2021, sabayang inatake ang mga opisina at bahay ng mga lider masa sa Cavite, Rizal, Laguna at Batangas at walang awang pinagpapaslang nang walang kalaban-laban ang siyam na mga aktibista at lider-masa. Tinagurian itong Bloody Sunday.

Sa gitna ng pandemya at lumalalang krisis sa bansa, nagpatupad ang rehimen ng marahas na kalakaran sa ilalim ng militaristang lockdown. Sa kanayunan, walang puknat ang mga FMO at RCSPO ng AFP-PNP na nagdudulot ng samu’t saring mga kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang tao gaya ng iligal na pag-aresto’t imbestigasyon, tortyur, panggagahasa at pangmomolestiya sa kababaihan, pagpatay at pagmasaker, sapilitang pagpapalikas, pagkontrol sa galaw ng populasyon, paggamit sa mga pampulikong gusali bilang pasilidad militar, food and other economic blockade at pagpigil sa tulong at relip sa panahon ng kalamidad (denial of humanitarian access).

Lalong hindi kinikilala ng mga berdugong AFP-PNP ang karapatan ng mga mandirigma ng NPA. Makailang ulit na nilang nilalabag ang karapatan ng mga hors de combat o mandirigmang wala nang kapasidad na lumaban. Sinalbeyds si Mario “Ka Jethro” Caraig ng mga elemento ng 1st IB-PA at RMFB-4A noong Agosto 8 sa kabila ng kawalan niya ng kapasidad na lumaban dahil sa sugat na natamo. Nilapastangan din ang labi ng mga yumaong kasama at ipinagkait ito sa mga kaanak. Sa Timog Katagalugan, tampok ang kaso ni Noel “Ka Bai” Levanta na namartir noong Marso 2020 ngunit ibinigay sa mga kaanak ang labi ng Mayo 2020; at ang Kalayaan 3 na namatay sa labanan sa Laguna noong Agosto 2020 pero natagpuan na lamang ng mga kaanak ang mga bangkay sa mga sementeryo sa Batangas at Rizal. Marapat na panagutan ng AFP-PNP, lalo ng mga opisyal na sangkot sa kasong ito, ang pagyurak sa karapatan ng mga nakikidigmang pwersa.

Makatao at makatarungan ang digmang isinusulong ng CPP-NPA-NDFP dahil layon nitong makamit ang hustisyang panlipunan para sa lahat ng inaapi’t pinagsasamantalahan ng naghaharing sistema. Makatwiran ang rebolusyong isinusulong ng mamamayan dahil hangad nitong itatag ang demokrasyang bayan at tamasahin ng mamamayan ang kasaganaan at kaunlaran. Sa gitna ng digma, makakaasa ang sambayanang Pilipino sa CPP-NPA-NDFP na patuloy nitong igagalang at itataguyod ang karapatang tao habang isinusulong ang pambansa-demokratikong rebolusyon.

Sa pagtatagumpay ng demokratikong rebolusyong bayan, makakamit ng mamamayan ang ganap na pagkilala at pagkakaloob ng kanilang mga batayang karapatan. Kasabay nito ang pagtatayo ng lipunang masagana, maunlad at mapayapa.###

CPP/NDF-RCTU: Isulong ang Demokratikong Rebolusyong Bayan! Pagbuklurin ang Sambayanan Upang Wakasan ang Rehimeng US-Duterte!

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Aug 26, 2021): Isulong ang Demokratikong Rebolusyong Bayan! Pagbuklurin ang Sambayanan Upang Wakasan ang Rehimeng US-Duterte!


AUGUST 26, 2021

Kasalukuyang nalulugmok ang bayan sa walang-kaparis na krisis at napipinto pa itong lumala sa mga susunod na buwan. Higit 1.87 milyong Pilipino na ang nagkakasakit. Higit 127,000 ang aktibong kaso at hindi bababa sa 32,000 na ang namamatay dahil sa pandemyang COVID-19. Sa kabila ng ipinataw nitong militaristang lockdown ay naitala ang pagpalo ng mga bagong kaso ng COVID-19 na umaabot na sa 18,000 kada araw.

Sa gitna ng pinakamalalang krisis sa kalusugan ay patuloy rin ang pagdausdos ng ekonomya. Paparami nang paparami ang nawawalan ng trabaho at nagugutom habang tumitindi naman ang pasistang paniniil sa karapatan ng mamamayan. Walang ibang dapat sisihin ang mamamayan kundi si Duterte mismo.

Mahigit isang taon na ang lumilipas ay wala pa ring nagbabago sa pagtugon ng rehimeng US-Duterte sa pandemyang COVID-19. Malinaw na wala pa ring komprehensibo at siyentipikong tugon ang rehimen sa krisis. Nanatiling batbat ng kapalpakan, korapsyon at pagpapakatuta sa mga among imperyalista ang tugon sa pandemya.

Habang tumitindi ang krisis ay nagiging mas malinaw sa manggagawang Pilipino na kailangang pagpapatalsik sa papet, pahirap, korap, at pasistang rehimen. Kailangang magpunyagi at ilusad ang papalawak at papalalim na pakikibaka ng masang anakpawis para sa kanilang karapatan at kagalingan. Ilantad at biguin ang papatinding pasistang atake at patuloy na pagpapakatuta ng rehimen sa imperyalismo. Ang natatanging solusyon sa papatinding krisis ay ang pagtahak sa landas ng Demokratikong Rebolusyong Bayan upang ibagsak ang bulok na malakolonyal at malapyudal na lipunan.

Patuloy na Pagkabulok ng Sistemang Pangkalusugan dahil sa Papet na Rehimen

Sa halip na komprehensibong palakasin ang sistemang pangkalusugan ay pinili ng rehimen na sumunod sa dikta ng mga imperyalistang amo nito. Sa simula’t sapul ay wala ibang ginawa ang papet na rehimeng Duterte kundi umasa na lamang sa mga bakuna mula sa ibang bansa. Dahil dito ay sumambulat at lalong sumahol ang mga matatagal nang problema ng sistemang pangkalusugan.

Matatandaang itinago ang tunay na presyo ng mga bakuna gamit ang mga non-disclosure agreements sa pagitan ng rehimen at mga kumpanyang pharmaceutical. Kaya naman hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin alam ng mamamayan kung magkano ba talaga ang tunay na presyo ng mga ito. Higit P82.5 Bilyon mula sa pambansang badyet pambili ng mga bakuna at hindi naman bababa sa P58.5 Bilyon ang inutang para dito. Tiyak na ginagamit rin ni Duterte at kanyang mga kasapakat ang pondong pambili ng bakuna upang mandambong at magkamal ng yaman.

Sa kabila ng pagpapakatuta ni Duterte ay nanatiling lubhang kulang ang suplay at mabagal ang pagbabakuna sa mamamayan. Nitong Agosto 16 ay nasa 13 milyong Pilipino pa lang ang nababakunahan. Kung mananatiling ganito kabagal ang pagbabakuna ay aabutin pa ng 2023 bago maabot ang sinasabing herd immunity sa Pilipinas.

Ang kriminal na kapabayaan at pagabandona ng estado sa sistemang pangkalusugan ang mga pangunahaing salik kung bakit bigo ang paghahanda sa posibilidad ng panibagong surge sa bansa. Bigo itong palakasin ang kapasidad na masagawa ng genome sequencing upang mabilis na matukoy ang banta ng mabilis na pagkalat ng Delta Variant.

Sa kabila ng walang-humpay na panawagan ng mamamayan at napakataas na positivity rate na 26.1% ay wala pa ring inunlad ang mga contact tracing at mass testing. Nitong Agosto 23 ay nasa 42,596 lamang ang bilang ng mga indibidwal na natest – lubhang malayo sa target ng DOH na 90,000 na testing capacity. Ayon mismo sa datos ng DOH, nasa 17 milyon pa lang ang indibidwal na natest mula sa higit 100 milyong Pilipino. Malinaw na pabalat-bunga lamang ang tugon ng rehimen dito.

Sa kabila ng pandemya at malaking pangangailangan na palakasin ang sistemang pangkalusugan ay nanatili itong mahina, naghihingalo, at lubhang kulang sa pondo. Liban pa sa sobrang-pagsandig sa mga bakuna, matatandaan na malaking parte ng pondo ng estado ay inilaan sa pambayad ng lumulobong utang panlabas, Build-Build-Build, at pasismo. Ang inilaang P19 bilyon para sa NTF-ELCAC at ang P48.5 milyon na pinambili ng bagong armas mula sa Estados Unidos ay nagsisilbing panandang-bato sa prayoridad ng rehimeng US-Duterte sa gitna ng pandemya.

Pandarambong, Kahirapan, at Kagutuman sa Gitna ng Pasistang Lockdown

Walang ibang idinulot ang militaristang lockdown kundi ang mas papatinding kahirapan at kagutuman sa hanay ng mamamayan. Matatandaan na umabot sa 4.14 na milyong Pilipino ang nawalan ng trabaho nitong Abril 2021 nang huling ipasailalim sa militaristikong lockdown ang NCR. Walang duda na ganito rin ang mangyayari ngayon.

Sa kabila nito ay nanatiling bingi ang rehimen sa panawagan ng mamamayan sa ayudang sapat. Patuloy nitong binabarat ang mamamayan. Malinaw na hindi sapat ang P1000-4000 na ayudang ipinangangalandakan ng rehimen. Lubhang maliit din ang bilang ng mga benepisyaryo nito. Ginagamit pa nito ang mga mapanlinlang na ‘quarantine classifications’ upang hindi na makaiwas sa responsibilidad nito sa mamamayan.

Walang ring ginawa ang rehimen upang tiyakin ang kaligtasan ng mga manggagawa sa buong panahon ng pandemya. Nasangkalan ang kanilang seguridad sa trabaho at lubhang sumahol at naging mas mapanganib ang kalagayan ng paggawa sa mga pabrika dahil sa banta ng sakit. Basta na lamang silang isinalang sa panganib at kawalang-siguraduhan.

Parami nang paramin ang mga manggagawang nagkakasakit at nalalagay sa bingit dahil sa kriminal na kapabayaan ni Duterte. Itinulak sila ng rehimen na bumalik sa trabaho maski walang kahit ano mang pananggagalang sa banta ng COVID-19. Para sa rehimen: ang mahalaga ay bumalik sa trabaho ang mga manggagawa kundi ay babagsak ang ekonomya – bahala na kung magkasakit at mamamatay man ang libo-libong manggagawa.

Malinaw na walang malasakit ang rehimen sa ordinaryong manggagawa. Kaya naman wala rin itong naging papel sa paggarantiya ng kanilang kaligtasan. Ang mga benepisyong natatamasa ng manggagawa na nagpapagaan sa kanilang kalagayan ngayon ay produkto ng kanilang pakikibaka para sa karapatan.

Habang walang kaparis ang paghihirap ng sambayanan ay nagpapakabundat naman si Duterte at kanyang mga alipores. Pinuna ng Commision on Audit (COA) ang kalakhan ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno ukol sa mga kahinahinala nitong mga transakyon at hindi paggastos ng pondo para sa mamamayan.

Hindi bababa sa P101.33 Bilyong pondo ng DOH ang dinambong ng rehimen. Kasama rito ang P67.3 bilyon na dapat sanang ginamit para sa pagtugon sa pandemya pati na rin ang 11.9 Bilyong nakalaan para sa hazard pay ng mga health workers na hindi nito binigay. Dagdag rin dito ang P95 milyong halaga ng gamot na nasira at hindi na napakinabangan ng mamamayan dahil sa kapabayaan ng rehimen. Kasama rin ang DOLE sa mga ahensyang pinuna ng COA. Higit P22 Milyong ayuda ang hindi nito pinamigay sa mga manggagawa at OFWs na nawalan ng trabaho ngayong pandemya. Dagdag pa riyan ang hindi maipaliwanag na P50 Milyon. Sa gitna ng mga panawaganang panagutin ang mga korap na opisyal ay nagawa pang ipagtanggol ni Duterte ang kanyang mga kasapakat.

Lubhang nakakagalit na sa gitna ng kagutuman at kahirapang kinakaharap ng mamamayang Pilipino ay walang habas ang pandarambong sa kaban ng bayan. Imbes na ilaan ang lahat ng rekurso ng estado upang tugunan ang pangangailangan ng sambayanan sa panahon ng pandemya, kagutuman, at disempleyo ay mas pinili pa nitong unahin ang korapsyon, pamumulitika, at kontra-mamamayan nitong giyera.

Tumitinding Neoliberalismo sa Panahon ng Pandemya

Nanatili ang pagpapakatuta ng rehimen. Ibinebenta nito ang soberanya at patrimonya ng bayan kapalit ng pabor at tubo mula sa mga amo nitong imperyalista. Higit pa, sinasamantala nito ang krisis upang ilusot ang mga batas na nagpapatindi sa neoliberal na atake sa mamamayan at tintiyak ang papalaking tubo ng mga komprador at multinasyunal na korporasyon.

Ang pagkakapasa ng Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (Create) Bill ay isa lamang halimbawa nito. Pinapatindi nito ang paghuthot ng yaman sa bansa habang pinapabayaan ang maliliit na negosyante. Layon ng Create na papababain ang buwis ng malalaking korporasyon sa 25% mula sa dating 30%. Pinapayagan rin nito ang National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) na magpataw ng tax exemptions sa malalaking kumpanya. Maaring umabot ng 17 taon na walang buwis ang mga empresang pangexport ng malalaking kumprador sa ilalim ng nasabing batas. Lubhang dadali para sa mga mga multinasyunal na korporasyon at mga malalaking burgesya kumprador na magkamal ng bilyon-bilyong kita.

Kaakibat ng pagkamal ng kita ng malalaking korporasyon ang muling pagpasa ng hirap sa ordinaryong mamamayan. Tandaan na 75% ng kita ng estado ay mula sa buwis na sinisingil sa mga malalaking korporasyon. Dahil sa mga tax exemption na binibigay ng Create ay tiyak na magkukumahog ang rehimen ng pagkukunan ng nawala nitong kita. Ireresolba nya ito sa pamamagitan ng ng mas mataas na mga buwis sa mga konsyumer – isa na namang pasakit sa gitna ng pandemya.

Walang niloloko ang rehimen sa mga hungkag nitong pangako na babangon na ang ekonomya. Nanatiling walang sariling industriya ang bayan at wala rin namang ginagawang pamumuhunan para pasikarin ang produksyon at pagkonsumo. Dahil hindi nagbago ang palpak, papet, at pasistang tugon sa pandemya ay hindi malayong mauulit lang ang karanasan ng 2020 at tiyak na sasambulat ang isang mas malala pang krisis.

Panandalian at mapanlinlang ang sinasabing 11.8% na pagtaas ng GDP ng bansa nitong pangalawang kwarto ng taon. Walang halaga ang sukatang ito sa ordinaryong Pilipino dahil hindi naman nila ito nararamdaman sa kanilang araw-araw na buhay – wala pa ring ayuda, mahal pa rin ang presyo ng mga bilihin, lubhang mababa ang sahod, malaganap ang kawalan ng trabaho.

Sa loob ng mga susunod na buwan ay mas lalo pang titindi ang krisis. Paglaon ay darami ang bilang ng walang hanapbuhay, malulugi at magsasara ang maliliit na negosyo, at titindi ang pagsasamantala sa mga manggagawa.

Matinding Pasismo at Atake sa Kilusang Paggawa

Walang humpay ang pakikibaka ng masang manggagawa sa gitna ng pandemya, tumitinding krisis pang-ekonomya, at mga atakeng neoliberal. Habang patuloy na ginigiit ang pagsasabatas ng pambansang minimum na sahod at tinututulan ang iba’t ibang porma ng kontraktwalisasyon ay ipinaglaban din ng kilusang paggawa ang ayuda para sa mga manggagawa at ang pagtititiyak ng ligtas na kalagayan sa paggawaan.

Imbes na tugunan ang wastong panawagan ng manggagawang Pilipino ay papatinding pasismo ang sinagot ng rehimen sa pangunguna ng NTF-ELCAC at mga berdugo nito. Walang humpay ang isinagawa nitong red-tagging at psyops sa mga unyon, pederasyon, at lider manggagawa.

Ang pinakahuling insidente nito ay ang ginawang panggigipit sa mga manggagawa ng Nexperia sa pangunguna ng NTF-ELCAC. Simula Marso ay walang humpay ang kampanya ng intimidasyon sa mga manggagawa. Makailang-ulit pinupuntahan ang mga lider-unyon sa kanilang mga bahay at pilit na pinapasama sa barangay upang magbuo ng ‘kasunduan’ sa pagitan ng AFP at NTF-ELCAC.

Hindi pa ito ang sukdulan ng pasistang atake sa mga manggagawa. Kahit may pandemya ay walang tigil ang pinaghuhuli at pagsampa ng mga gawa-gawang kaso sa mga lider manggagawa. Ganito ang nangyari sa tinaguriang HR Day 7 noong Disyembre ng nakaraang taon.

Ang pinakamasahol na atake ay ang traydor at walang-awang pamamaslang sa mga lider manggagawa. Matatandaan na noong Marso 28 ay pinaslang si Ka Dandy Miguel, isang mahusay na lider-unyon at tagapagtaguyod ng karapatan ng manggawa. Naganap ito wala pang isang buwan matapos ang madugong serye ng raid na isinagawa sa PNP sa Timog Katagalugan na tinaguriang Bloody Sunday kung saan hindi bababa sa 9 aktibista ang pinaslang kasama na si Ka Manny Asuncion ng Cavite.

Tigreng papel ang rehimeng US-Duterte. Ang tumitinding pasismo nito ay hindi signo ng lakas kundi senyales ng kahinaan at takot sa uring manggagawa. Desperado ang rehimen na manatili sa kapangyarihan. Alam nitong hindi nito kayang lokohin ang mga manggagawa gamit ang mga hungkag nitong pangako. Habang tumitindi ang pampulitikang krisis ay mas lalong tumitindi ang pagsandig nito sa karahasan at pasismo.

Buuin ang Pagkakaisa ng Mamamayan, Isulong ang Demokratikong Rebolusyong Bayan

Ang kasalukuyang krisis at ang nagbabadyang pagsahol nito ay bunga ng mala-kolonyal at mala-pyudal na sistema. Ito ang nagluwal ng malawakang pagdurusa, disempleyo, at kahirapan ng milyun-milyong Pilipino. Bilang pangunahing tagapagtaguyod ng bulok na sistema, bigo ang rehimeng US-Duterte na epektibong pamahalaanan ang krisis sa kalusugan at ekonomya.

Halos dalawang taon na ang lumilipas ay wala pa ring iniunlad ang ang kapasidad sa pagharap sa banta ng COVID-19 dulot ng palpak, papet at pasistang tugon nito sa pandemya. Nilulustay nito ang pera ng sambayanan sa gerang walang kapararakan, dinarambong ang kaban ng bayan, at nagpapasa ng mga neoliberal na patakarang lalong nagpapahirap sa mamamayan.

Hindi maaring manahimik ang mamamayan sa harap ng papatinding krisis. Kailangang kumilos at magkaisa ang sambayanang Pilipino upang ang wakasan ang rehimeng US-Duterte at papanagutin sa para sa papet, palpak, korap at pasistang tugon nito sa pandemya!

Isulong, suportahan, at pagbuklurin, ang lahat ng pangekonomikong pakikibaka ng mamamayang Pilipino. Dapat buuin at pagbigkisin ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan ng mga manggagawa ang pinakamalawak na pagkakaisa at isulong ang mga demokratikong interes ng mamamayan. Makiisa at gabayan ang inisyatiba ng masa sa pagharap sa kasalukuyang krisis – mula sa iba’t ibang porma ng damayan, pagtatayo ng mga samahang masa sa pinakamaraming lugar tungo sa pagpapanday ng kanilang kamulatan at militansya hanggang kanilang yakapin ang kawastuhan ng pambansa-demokratikong rebolusyon at kawastuhan ng Demokratikong Rebolusyong Bayan.

CPP/NDF-MAKIBAKA: Pagpupugay kay Ka Ella

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Aug 27, 2021): Pagpupugay kay Ka Ella


AUGUST 27, 2021

Taas-kamaong pinagpupugayan ng mga rebolusyonaryong kababaihan mula sa MAKIBAKA (Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan) si Kerima Lorena “Ka Ella” Tariman, bayani ng rebolusyong Pilipino at martir ng aping sambayanan at ang lahat ng mga rebolusyonaryong nag-alay ng kanilang buhay para sa pagtatagumpay ng matagalang digmang bayan.

Si Kerima, na kilala din bilang Ka Ella ay isang mahusay na kadre mula sa isla ng Negros. Noong Agosto 20, isa siya sa mga napaslang na Pulang Mandirigma sa isang engkwentro sa Hacienda Raymunda sa Negros. Ang kanyang kamatayan ay kasunod lamang ng ginawang mala-tokhang na pagpatay kay Ka Parts Bagani, kapwa Pulang Mandirigma at rebolusyonaryong manggagawa sa sining.

Singbigat ng kabundukan ng Sierra Madre ang aming pagdadalamhati at walang paglagyan ng nagpupuyos na galit lalo nang mapag-alaman ang walang kalaban-laban na pagtatapos ng buhay ni Ka Ella sa kamay ng mga berdugong sundalo mula sa 79th IB AFP. Malinaw ang naganap na ‘war crime’ at paglabag ng reaksyunaryong rehimeng Duterte at ng kanyang mga mersenaryo sa kasunduan hinggil sa karapatang-pantao sa panahon ng digmaan. Hindi lamang kawalan ng pagpapahalaga sa buhay kundi matingkad ang pagkaduwag ng rehimen sa lumalakas at umiigting na armadong paglaban sa kanayunan.

Sa kabuuan ng termino ni Duterte, mayor at tampok na nilalaman ng mga bastos niyang pahayag ang pangungutya at pagmamaliit sa kababaihan. Labis ang kanyang takot sa mga rebolusyonaryo lalo na sa mga kababaihan na handang magpatalsik sa kanya mula sa kapangyarihan.

Ang mga tulad nila Kerima, Jo, Kamil, at Rjei ay mga buhay na patunay ng mga kababaihang rebolusyonaryo na masikhay at aktibong nag-aambag para sa pagpapabagsak ng mapang-aping estado at pagpapanday tungo sa isang sosyalistang lipunan. Tiyak na ang pagkawala niya at ang marami pang rebolusyonaryo ay mag-aanak muli ng ilang libong Pulang Mandirigma na sisibol at magtutuloy ng kanyang tangan na armas hanggang sa tagumpay!

CPP/CIO: Rally around the oppressed healthcare workers

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Aug 27, 2021): Rally around the oppressed healthcare workers


AUGUST 27, 2021

Today marks the last day of the deadline given by healthcare workers to Rodrigo Duterte and Department of Health (DOH) Sec. Francisco Duque III, to heed their demands for their long-denied special risk allowance and other benefits. We join the Filipino people in applauding the health workers for their display of militance and determination to fight against their oppressive conditions and assert what is rightfully theirs, especially as they play an invaluable role during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Billions of unspent and misused funds by the DOH as reported by the Commission on Audit (COA) reflects the Duterte regime’s mistreatment and contempt of healthcare workers. They are forced to work in oppressive and detestable conditions, many compelled to work beyond normal working hours.

There are reports of nurses and other healthcare workers resigning in droves over sheer exhaustion and a desire to seek other opportunities to earn better compensation. Around 40 percent of private hospital nurses have quit their jobs. We can only blame the Duterte regime and the big capitalist hospital owners for the resignation of nurses and other health workers who have long been ill-treated and neglected. This utter neglect of health workers is forcing some organizations to stage a mass resignation in protest.

Because of the failure of the Duterte regime to allot sufficient funds to extend the public health system, hospitals and other medical facilities are now overstretched. The DOH failed to recruit more nurses and staff to beef up its hospital personnel. It has offered measly compensation for “volunteers” who give care to Covid-19 patients. Recently, the Philippine General Hospital, Philippines’ top hospital for Covid-19 patients, has begged off from receiving patients to its emergency ward since August 24.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the decades of neglect of the healthcare system. One regime after another allowed public hospitals to become dilapidated, health equipment and facilities outdated, and healthcare workers underpaid and oppressed.

Healthcare workers’ unions from various hospitals have started their week-long protests which is set to culminate on September 1. Democratic and progressive organizations must join them in pushing the government for support.

People’s organizations can show solidarity by waging protests from their communities, mount assemblies in universities and offices, ring bells and sign petitions in support of the struggle of health workers, as well as to manifest the demands of the people for free mass testing and expansion of pandemic health measures, as well as for higher wages, jobs and subsidies.

Kalinaw News: 23IB joins conduct of Abaca Management Training for farmers in Agusan Norte

Posted to Kalinaw News (Aug 27, 2021): 23IB joins conduct of Abaca Management Training for farmers in Agusan Norte

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – The 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion has worked with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Philippine Fiber Development Authority (PhilFIDA) for the conduct of a three-day Abaca Management Training to the Indigenous People Community in Sitio Mimbahandi, Barangay Camagong, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte on August 17-19, 2021.

The said training was composed of a series of lectures on the first day about abaca seed production by personnel from PhilFIDA and was followed by the actual planting and bagging of abaca seedlings on the second day and construction of abaca plants nursery on the third day.

Sitio Mimbahandi was also part pf the Conflict-Affected Areas (ConAAs) under the 23IB and considered before as guerilla base of the Communist-NPA-Terrorists (CNTs). For years, no government projects were introduced in the area as the CNTs hinder development initiatives and made the people suffer from the miseries of poverty.

Under the administration of Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and with the signing of Executive Order 70 or the Whole-of-Nation approach, Sitio Mimbahandi, and its nearby communities were able to receive training and support from DAR and PhilFIDA. The residents also received various planting materials seen to boost their sources of income.

The barangay officials of Camagong were thankful to the collaboration of the 23IB, DAR, and PhilFIDA for the support given to the residents of Sitio Mimbahandi. In a statement, the officials said: “Daku namong kalipay ug pasalamat nga nahatagan mi ug higayon ug unta dili malugda ang mga ahensya sa atong gobyerno kauban sa DAR, PhilFIDA, 23IB ug ang uban pa sa patabang kanamo.”

Alfritz Ceballos of PhilFIDA said that the Philippines is the major producer of abaca in the whole world approximately averaging 85 percent. He added that during their ocular inspection, Sitio Mimbahandi has potentials for abaca plantation.

“Good soil type and climatic condition, and training on the production of high-value crops will guarantee the IP community a lucrative abaca industry. Abaca will add variety to the livelihood of the IPs in Sitio Mimbahandi,” Ceballos said.

The 23IB was represented by 2Lt. Angel Grace Sebelina, the Civil-Military Officer (CMO) of the unit during the activity.

“The government is doing its part to help its people, this is now evident in the support which was given to the community. What the government is just taking from all of you is your time, efforts, and most importantly, your dedication to continuing this project,” Sebelina said.

She also assured the residents of Sitio Mimbahandi of the continuing support of the 23IB in all their undertakings to win peace and development.

“Rest assured that the Masigasig Troopers together with the local government unit and agencies will continue to work hand in hand to bring just the right services for everyone especially in the ConAAs areas such as Sitio Mimbahandi,” Sebelina said.

The training honed IP Community’s skills and knowledge on abaca production and management through hands-on lessons on conservation and agroforestry methods, with technical skills, and enterprise development. It also prepared them to become advocates against practices that would negatively impact the environment.

In his message, Lt. Col. Juilus Cesar C Paulo, the commander of 23IB expressed his gratitude to the partners of the unit during the conduct of the training.

“I am glad and grateful for the continued enthusiasm of our DAR and PhilFIDA partners who never get tired of extending help to the IP Community. Truly, this project wouldn’t be possible nor will it become successful if not for the converged efforts of various government agencies and of course, without the sincere appreciation and participation of the organizational members who have widely benefitted from the program.

Paulo pointed out that the 23IB will continue to work with its partner agencies to bring changes in communities, especially those that suffered for years at the hands of the CNTs.

“May we continue to work hand in hand to provide similar projects to all other community organizations, so that they may not only see the realization of the government’s promised help but also that they may feel that there is a government who truly cares for them,” Paulo said.

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

Kalinaw News: School buildings inaugurated in CTG cleared barangays in Cagayan

Posted to Kalinaw News (Aug 27, 2021): School buildings inaugurated in CTG cleared barangays in Cagayan

CAMP MELCHOR F DELA CRUZ, Upi, Gamu, Isabela- “We believe that education is the key to a brighter future.” said MGen Laurence E Mina PA, Commander of 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army during the inauguration and blessing of three units of two-classroom school buildings held in Sto Niño and Rizal, Cagayan on August 25-26, 2021 respectively.

Through the signing of Deeds of Donation between the Local Government Units, 5ID, and GMA Kapuso Foundation Incorporated- who sponsored the construction, the said buildings were turned over to the teachers and students of Calassitan and Abariongan Uneg Elementary Schools in Sto Niño and Bural Integrated School in Zinundungan Valley, Rizal all of Cagayan. 57 pupils from kindergarten to elementary in Sto. Niño while 177 elementary and secondary students in Rizal are set to benefit in the said school building project once face-to-face mode of teaching resumes.

Moreover, Lt Gen Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., Commander of Northern Luzon Command attended the said activity in Sto. Niño, Cagayan. In his message, he encouraged the teachers and residents to use the school buildings as the molding ground of the future leaders of the said Municipality.

In response, Dr. Lauro Daquioag, DEPED District Supervisor lauded the joint efforts of the AFP, LGUs, and GMAKFI. The Community Support Program of the 17th Infantry Battalion and the 513rd Engineering Construction Battalion helped in the implementation of the said projects.

On the other hand, Sto. Niño Mayor Vicente Pagurayan is delighted on the continuous flow of developmental projects in his municipality. “Ako ang pinakamasayang mayor sa buong mundo! Ako ay natutuwa higit lalo para sa aking mga kababayang makikinabang sa proyektong silid paaralang ito.” He then reminded the residents to give their full support to the government. “Narito ang inyong tunay na gobyerno. Tignan ninyo ang nangyayaring pagpapatupad ng mga proyekto sa ating mahal na bayan. Magtulungan tayo para tuluy-tuloy na makamit ang kapayapaan at kaunlaran sa ating lugar. Without peace we cannot attain development.”

Furthermore, Barangay Captain Evelyn Baloran of Bural said that their barangay was once a haven of the CTGs. She did not imagine that after years of CNT influence, developmental projects are now pouring in their place.

MGen Mina also added that education will raise the level of awareness of the students in the said barangays. “Sa edukasyon, tataas ang antas ng karunungan at kamalayan sa ating mga kabataan. Wala nang mabibiktima pa sa panlilinlang ng mga teroristang NPA.”

Meanwhile, the inauguration and blessing were also graced by BGen Steve Crespillo, Commander of 501st Infantry Brigade, LTC Angelo Saguiguit, Commanding Officer of 17IB, LTC Roger Alejandrino, Commanding Officer of 513 Engineering Construction Battalion, Mr. Reginald Andal, Executive Director of Manila Water Foundation, and members of Barangay Council of the three barangays.

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

Kalinaw News: 1 Million worth of Livelihood Project launched in Monkayo, Davao de Oro

Posted to Kalinaw News (Aug 27, 2021): 1 Million worth of Livelihood Project launched in Monkayo, Davao de Oro

Monkayo, Davao de Oro- 1 Million worth of livelihood project named “Table Egg Production Enterprise” was launched in Brgy. Mt. Diwata, Monkayo, Davao de Oro yesterday, August 27, 2021.

This livelihood project will be given to the members of the Mt. Diwata Women’s Association. This project is funded by the Local Government Support Fund- Support to the Barangay Development Program (LGSF-SBDP) by the National Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Present during the Groundbreaking Ceremony is the Provincial Vice-Governor Hon. Maricar Zamora representing the Provincial Governor of Davao de Oro, Hon. Jayvee Tyron Uy, 1st District Congressman Manuel Zamora, LTC ELSON G BALLENA INF (GSC) PA, Battalion Executive Officer, PCOL LEONARD LUNA, PPO DDO- Provincial Director, Hon. Pedro J. Samillano Jr., Barangay Captain, Provincial Veterinary Office and Provincial Social Welfare and Development Staff, and other officials.

“This livelihood project aims to lift up the lives of the community and there are more projects to be implemented here in your barangay to be funded by the NTF-ELCAC. This is part of sustaining and improving the development of formerly NPA infiltrated barangays and we are now one step away in attaining a peaceful and conflict resilient community with an inclusive and sustainable development.” COL ASNAWI P MUTI INF (GSC) PA, Battalion Commander said.

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

Who is Rex Fernandez, the slain Cebuano human rights lawyer

 Posted to Rappler (Aug 27, 2021): Who is Rex Fernandez, the slain Cebuano human rights lawyer (By ART LUBIANO)

Slain lawyer Rex Fernandez was an activist, proud 'bisdak', and a former Duterte supporter

For a few years since 2016, lawyer Rex “Etot” Jesus Mario Fernandez had become inactive in his engagements with progressive groups.

But in the last year, Fernandez turned his back from being one of the staunchest supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte when a family member was arrested by Cebu City police.

“The turning point for Etot was the UP8. He defended his nephew who was one of the detainees. Since then, he slowly became anti-Duterte because of human rights issues,” a Kilusang Pagbabago (KP) colleague, who asked not to be named, told Rappler.

Fernandez served as a legal counsel of the Cebu 8, eight individuals arrested for alleged violations of community quarantine rules amid the June 2020 Junk Anti-Terror Law protest at the University of the Philippines-Cebu.

In the month leading to Fernandez's killing, expressions of disillusionment with Duterte punctuated the stream of inspirational messages and jokes on his Facebook page.

He criticized Duterte’s double standard statements in condemning corruption in one of his Facebook posts.

“(Just because you are president, you immediately label people as corrupt. Listen like how you do it with DOH Secretary Francisco Duque. Your mask fell. What could have been a legacy is now reduced to pig’s feces.)”

NUPL President Edre Olalia said Fernandez sincerely hoped Duterte would bring the change he wanted. “He died disillusioned that it was not meant to be,” Olalia said.

Fernandez was the third Cebu lawyer killed in less than a year. A hooded gunman ambushed the lawyer's vehicle and shot him dead at a busy intersection just before dusk on Thursday, August 26.

Fernandez was with his driver, Darvie Pondar, when the attack happened along the corner of Duterte and Salvador streets in Sitio Banawa, Barangay Guadalupe. The latter got hit in his spine and is in critical condition in Chong Hua Hospital.

Local police said they still have yet to find clear links to the assailant. The local office of the Commission on Human Rights said Fernandez was the legal counsel in several controversial cases.

NUPL, IBP, groups mourn death of Cebuano human rights lawyer

Former Duterte ally

Fernandez, a flamboyant lawyer, campaigned for Duterte in the 2016 presidential polls.

“In 2016, he was among the former activists who threw their support for Duterte. He became a leader in the Duterte Campaign Team formed by the campaign manager (of) Jun Evasco,” his KP colleague said.

As counsel for the Duterte-Gwen Team in Cebu, he worked to reassign some local police officials he claimed were favoring the then ruling Liberal Party.

“Etot was assigned to handle the Capitol. It was said that the turning point of the campaign was Cebu, when the Garcias shifted from Binay to Duterte,” his KP colleague said.

As a believer in federalism, Fernandez was a convenor of KP, which he believed was an opportunity to empower people at the grassroots.

“After Mike Dino was named presidential assistant for the Visayas, Rex led a signature campaign of DCT organizers in protesting the move," the source from KP said. The DCT felt they did the hard work while Dino claimed the glory because of his frequent trips to Davao City, Duterte's home base.

Duterte offered the post to the Cebuano businessman on May 16, 2016., a few days after winning the elections. Dino was among the founders of the ‘Bisaya Na Pud’ group in Cebu, one of the first groups that began pressuring Duterte to run as early as 2014.

People's defender, activist

Fernandez was among the founding members of National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL). He spent most of his life advancing socio-political causes and serving as legal counsel in numerous human rights cases in Central Visayas.

Until his death, he represented Carbon-hanong Alyansa alang sa Reporma ug Bahandianong Ogma, an alliance of 13 Carbon vendors associations, in its protest against the planned modernization of the Cebu’s oldest and largest farmers’ market.

“Maisugon kang nibarog ug nidapig kanamo. Nitanyag sa imong libre nga serbisyo. Ikaw ang naghatag kanamo og paglaum. Kadasig ug dugang kaisog aron mopadayon,” Carbon-hanong Alyansa said in a Facebook post. (You fearlessly stood behind us and lent your services without asking for any payment. You gave us hope, life, and additional fearlessness to continue.)

The late lawyer was also the counsel for Jiecel Tiu, another lawyer who filed a frustrated murder complaint in 2015 against Pearl Ungab, wife of Ronda Vice Mayor John Ungab. The prosecutor's office downgraded the complaint to slight physical injuries.

NUPL Cebu said Fernandez was the lawyer of several political prisoners like Eduardo Sacamay and Jigger Geverola, both accused of muder, and Nito Banga, who was charged with illegal possession of firearms.

Fernandez also campaigned against the abolition of the pork barrel in 2014 and helped convene the People's Initiative Against Pork, which launched in Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, in August 2014.

Generous friend, proud bisdak

KATIPUNERO. Lawyer Rex Fernandez, wearing a Katipunero amulet, the vistidora, poses with a pinuti, a Visayan/Katipunero sword, at the Galeria Independencia of Palm Grass The Cebu Heritage Hotel. PALM GRASS THE CEBU HERITAGE HOTEL

Beyond the legal battles, Fernandez’s friends fondly recalled his generosity and joyful persona.

“I'm totally shocked by the killing of atty. Rex Fernandez. He used to take me to breakfast whenever I’m in Cebu,” NUPL chair Neri Colmenares said in a tweet.

Lawyer Ruth Cervantes said she wanted to remember Fernandez as a down-to-earth, gleeful companion who could talk up a storm of a broad array of topics.

“Pro-abono lawyer ang joke namin sa iyo kasi nagbibigay ka na ng free legal assistance, ipinagda-drive mo pa kami or mga Nanay ng Desap at Hustisya. Nililibre mo pa kami ng kape or dinner sa Max's. Masayang kasama at talagang down to earth,” Cervantes said. (We joked around and called you a lawyer who not just gave free legal assistance but also helped cover campaign expenses. You even drove for us and the mothers in Desap at Hustisya, and you paid for our coffee or dinner at Max’s. You are a joy to be with and down to earth.)

Cervantes recalled that Fernandez was with her in “countless fact-finding missions, quick reaction teams, media outings, court hearings, interview of witnesses, and prepared the pieces of evidence for the visit of UN Special Rapporteur Alston and the Summit about Extralegal Killings sponsored by the Supreme Court.”

“You are one of the reasons why I finally decided to become a lawyer,” Cervantes said.

Fernandez was a great grandson of Cebuano Katipunero Potenciano Aliño who translated Jose Rizal's penultimate poem entitled "Mi Ultimo Adios" into its Bisaya version entitled "Kataposan nga Panamilit", and also came up with a Cebuano version of the bible for the American Bible Society."

“Like Atty. Rex, Potenciano was also an advocate of the Visaya language. He (had) penned a poem also entitled "Dayaspora," Palm Grass The Cebu Heritage Hotel said in separate Facebook posts.

Hunger strike

The veteran lawyer came under media spotlight when he staged a hunger strike in August over a squabble with the management of his condominium unit in Mandaue City, Cebu.

Fernandez’s protest against the condo management stemmed from transparency issues over the homeowner's association fees.

“Ang nahitabo gyud ani nga injunction, gi-orderan ang Bamboo Bay Community sa usa ka korte nga ginganlan nato’g Human Settlements Adjudication Commission (HSAC). Gi-orderan sila nga ayaw pagputol sa kuryente ug tubig kay ni-file man ko’g kaso ug injunction,” Fernandez said in an interview with Brigada News FM. (Court named HSAC ordered Bamboo Bay Condominium Corp. to not disconnect the power and water supply because I filed an injunction.)

Despite the court-issued injunction, he said the condo management cut off his water when he stopped paying his fees.

Fernandez said he intentionally did not pay the condominium dues because the condo management came short in providing a rundown of computations since 2018.

The human rights lawyer earned his degree in sociology and anthropology at University of San Carlos, Cebu City, Cebu in 1976. –

[Art Lubiano is a Visayas-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.]

Journalists urged to foster peace in Mindanao

From MindaNews (Aug 27, 2021): Journalists urged to foster peace in Mindanao (By BONG S. SARMIENTO)

NPA guerillas. MindaNews file photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Media practitioners must play an active role in fostering peace in Mindanao, which, in the national consciousness, is considered the country’s war zone, a veteran Mindanawon journalist stressed Friday.

Carolyn Arguillas, MindaNews editor-in-chief, stressed the important role of journalists in peace building as she walked over a dozen Mindanawon media practitioners from the print and broadcast industries down the complex peace process in Mindanao under seven presidents —from Ferdinand Marcos (+) , Corazon Aquino (+) , Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Arroyo, Benigno Aquino III (+) and Rodrigo Duterte.

“All of us are stakeholders and are supposed to be part of the cast of characters in pushing for peace in Mindanao,”
Arguillas said during the “Training on Safety in Covering Peace and Conflict in Mindanao.”

“We should not just leave it to the peace panels or the sundalo (soldiers) or the rebelde (rebels) and the national and local governments. It really requires that all of us get involved in this and in particular, on how we cover these conflicts and peace processes as journalists,” she added.

Arguillas noted the need for journalists to have a firm grasp of the historical background or the signed peace agreements and related documents for better reportage or contextualization of the situation in Mindanao.

The decades-old armed rebellion in Mindanao waged by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) put the island in the headlines. Eventually, the Philippine government had separately forged peace deals with the two groups in 1996 and 2014, respectively.

Joint Task Force Central fires artillery rounds towards suspected positions of an Islamic State-inspired terror group in Maguindanao on 11 March 2020. MindaNews file photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

Mindanao is also home to the most number of guerilla fronts of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. The island also hosts the Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Maute Group, which led the devastating Marawi Siege in 2017, and some other groups allied with the Islamic State.

In covering conflict, Arguillas, recipient of the Canadian Embassy’s Marshall McLuhan Award in 2011 for her collective body of work in journalism, noted the importance of preparation and knowledge of the area for journalists to come out safely from danger zones.

“A major part of it is really knowing what you are going to cover — what’s the context, the background — before proceeding,” she said.

“A good coverage is really about knowing what is happening, for example in the peace negotiations, and at the same time going to the field to see the reaction of ordinary people or the civilians who often evacuate (in the course of) that peace negotiations,” she added.

MindaNews’ Froilan Gallardo, another veteran journalist in Mindanao, shared his thoughts in covering the communist insurgency.

“Be wary of mortar shelling,” he said, noting that reporters should also have an idea on the capability of certain types or artillery when in conflict zones.

Light mortar has an effective range of one kilometer while the heavy M114 155 mm howitzer can hit targets 15 kilometers away, according to him.

A 750-pound bomb from an FA-50 fighter jet can create a crater that can fit two Army trucks and four Army trucks for a 1000-pounder bomb, he added.

Army Scout rangers take cover behind a military truck after Maute gunmen fired shots at them in Marawi City on 27 May 2017. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Gallardo lamented the difficulty of having been red-tagged, or labeled a communist, apparently by elements from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“It’s terrible. Suddenly your photos appear in leaflets distributed in churches and other public places,” he said.

Ferdinandh Cabrera, a video stringer for GMA News, said that one of the root causes of the security problems in Maguindanao, a province under the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, is land conflict.

“Land conflict had triggered rido (bloody family feud). It is a major source of armed conflict (among families),” he said.

Cabrera said it is important to get the help of locals familiar with the terrain to avoid getting trapped while covering conflict situations. In January 2021, he and his team came out from a remote village in South Upi unhurt, after the town mayor and his convoy was ambushed by BIFF fighters. One person died while four others were injured from the mayor’s convoy.

Cabrera’s team did not join the convoy. They rented motorcycles driven by locals to go out of the danger zone unharmed.

The safety training in covering peace and conflict is the last of a four-series training in Mindanao on “Strengthening Safety of Journalists and Professional Journalistic Standards in the Philippines,” a project of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) -Jakarta supported by the Netherlands Funds-in-Trust, in partnership with MindaNews.

Already completed were the Safety Training in Covering the COVID-19 Pandemic, Safety Training in Covering Disasters and Digital Safety. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

Cavite solon conferred as newly commissioned AFP officer

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 27, 2021): Cavite solon conferred as newly commissioned AFP officer (By Ruel Francisco)

Sixth District Representative Luis ‘Jonjon’ A. Ferrer IV was appointed as Lieutenant Colonel of the Army Reserve Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 during the formal rites held at Ricarte Hall, Philippine Army Officers Club House, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

During the ceremony, Commanding General of the Philippine Army Major General Andres Centino donned and pinned the rank on Congressman Ferrer’s uniform.

“With the addition of another peace advocate and a dedicated public servant who serves with selfless intentions, the Philippine Army will surely be more confident together with the Army Reserve Component to continue thriving with the challenges towards accomplishing his mission and achieving his share aspirations to the nation mostly to the Province of Cavite,” said Major General Centino.

“It is an honor to serve the people with you. Long live the Philippine Army!” Ferrer said in appreciation for the privilege and trust accorded him.

Congressman Ferrer’s wife witnessed the formal rites along with the generals and officials of the Philippine Army, enlisted personnel, and civilian human resource.

In a related news, Congressman Ferrer as concurrent Chair of the Commission on Appointments, Committee of the National Defense led the committee hearing for the approval for the promotion of MGen. Andres C. Centino, Colonel Raul P. Villanueva and Captain Ruben B. Fajardo Jr. to the ranks of Lieutenant General, Brigadier General, and Commodore respectively. (Ruel Francisco/Senate of the Philippines/Dennis Abrina)

Former NPA couple who are Bayan Muna leaders surface in Leyte

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 27, 2021): Former NPA couple who are Bayan Muna leaders surface in Leyte (By 802Bde, 8ID, PA)

The link between the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and the Bayan Muna party-list is more real than apparent in the case of a couple who recently surfaced in the Municipality of Mahaplag, Leyte.

On August 17, the couple – alias Jerry and alias Dalia – walked into the headquarters of the 14th Infantry (Avenger) Battalion, 8th Infantry Division, PA in Barangay Uguis, Mahaplag, Leyte to formally turn themselves in both as former NPA terrorists and as lie-low leaders of the Bayan Muna party-list.

They claimed that in 2004, they voluntarily disappeared from Mahaplag, left their family behind and hid somewhere in Bohol to totally avoid both the CPP-NPA-NDF and the Bayan Muna. But the fear for their safety and the longing for their loved ones forced them to return to Mahaplag recently.

However, they came to realize that the CPP-NPA-NDF would continue to approach and recruit them again either into the armed group or the Bayan Muna, a situation they always wanted to avoid.

In reality, Jerry and Dalia have long wanted to abandon the violent life of communist terrorism. Having seen enough violence including the infamous Inopacan Massacre in their six-year active involvement with the CPP-NPA-NDF from 1986 to 1992, the couple joined sometime in 1993 with a group of some 200 members and supporters of the communist terrorist group (CTG) that yielded to the local officials of Mahaplag.

They were already living a normal life when one Jun Salazar from Inopacan, Leyte, Provincial Coordinator of Bayan Muna, recruited them into the CPP-established party-list in 2001. Salazar designated Jerry as Bayan Muna Municipal Coordinator and tasked the couple to organize the farmers and the workers in the area, and to lead them in strikes and anti-government rallies until they went on lie-low in 2004.

They recalled that Salazar and a certain Dario Tomada, a peasant leader-organizer from Ormoc City, told them to instruct the organized masses to vote for Bayan Muna during the May 2001 party-list election.

The couple could be referring to a certain Felomino Salazar Jr., a resident of Inopacan, who was recently arrested in connection with the criminal charges filed against him in relation to the gruesome CPP-NPA-NDF purging in Mt. Sapangdaku, Barangay Kaulisihan, Inopacan in late ‘80s.

During interview, Jerry admitted he served as a medical officer of Squad 1, 5th District Guerrilla Unit, Front Guerrilla Unit in south Leyte from 1986 to 1992 and later as Bayan Muna - Mahaplag Municipal chairman from 2001 to 2004.

Dalia bared she was the Finance Officer of same Front Guerrilla Unit from 1986 to 1992 and a Bayan Muna organizer in Mahaplag from 2001 to 2004.

Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto R. Dela Rosa Jr., 14IB commander, pointed out that the CPP-NPA-NDF is destroying the family as the basic unit of our society.

“We should not allow the communist terrorist NPA to continue destroying our families and the very culture and tradition of our society. Our government is always open and ready to help anyone who wanted to abandon the violent ways of the CTG and to start a new peaceful life. We are encouraging the few remaining members of the CTG in our area of operation and elsewhere to emulate the example set by the couple Jerry and Dalia of giving prime attention to the welfare and betterment of their family so they and their children can live peacefully and abundantly forever,” he quipped.

For his part, Brigadier General Zosimo A. Oliveros, commander of the 802nd Infantry (Peerless) Brigade, said, “It is part of the CTG doctrine to recruit back former members and those on lie-low status. Hence, their formal surrender is very much welcome as it would afford us the golden opportunity to help them. In the advent of Executive Order No. 70, there is now a mechanism that will ensure their effective reintegration into the mainstream of our society.”

“I welcomed the formal return to the folds of the law of the couple Jerry and Dalia as it would seal their departure from the CTG and prevent their recruitment again either in the armed underground movement or the open revolutionary mass movement. Moreover, the revelations of the couple gave credence to allegations on the link between the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF and the Bayan Muna,” Oliveros said. (802Bde, 8ID, PA)

BTA rejoices as Senate moves closer to resetting BARMM polls

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 27, 2021): BTA rejoices as Senate moves closer to resetting BARMM polls (By Edwin Fernandez)

BTA-BARMM Member Raissa Jajurie (Photo courtesy of BIO-BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – Members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BTA-BARMM) here rejoiced as the Senate moved closer to approving the bill seeking the postponement of the regional polls to 2025.

BTA Member of Parliament Raissa Jajurie, in a statement on Friday, said she co-authored a resolution that hailed the Senate for passing on second reading Senate Bill (SB) 2214 that aimed to reset the BARMM elections from 2022 to 2025, extending the region’s transition period for another three years.

Jajurie said the intention of BTA’s passing the resolution was to highlight the process of the bill presented properly to the Senate members as it reaches the second reading towards its enactment.

She said the Senate on August 25 approved SB 2214 on second reading, bringing it “one step closer to final approval.”

“We want to thank every senator, even those who voted ‘No’, for participating in the discussion and raising issues that may be important for us,” she said.

Jajurie said the Senate’s move made the regional officials even more optimistic that the bill would hurdle the process at the legislative branch ahead of the filing of certificates of candidacy for next year’s polls.

The BTA resolution cited the collective contribution for the “fruitful deliberation” of SB 2214 of Senator Francis Tolentino, who authored the bill, Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon, under the stewardship of Senate President Vicente Sotto.

“While we commend the whole of the Senate as an institution for approving it (SB 2214) on second reading, we’re also commending the officials and mechanisms that brought the bill to that point,” said Jajurie, also BARMM’s social services and development minister.

If enacted, the legislation would allow the BARMM interim government to fully accomplish its mandated duties, as cited in the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which was hampered by the pandemic.

IP residents in Sarangani to get skills training

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 27, 2021): IP residents in Sarangani to get skills training (By Richelyn Gubalani) 

OUTREACH. Indigenous people or tribal residents of Sitio Sulop, Barangay San Juan in Malungon town, Sarangani province line up for various assistance in an outreach/community pantry activity on August 19, spearheaded by the Army’s 1002nd Brigade. Some 59 Blaan households benefited from the program, receiving food packs, PHP3,000 cash assistance each, five solar panels, 200 pairs of slippers, basketballs, assorted candies, chocolates, and biscuits. (Photo courtesy of the 1002nd Brigade)

More indigenous people (IP) or tribal residents in Sarangani province are set to receive skills training and other related interventions through the national government’s convergence programs.

Rafael Abrogar II, director of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Region 12, said on Friday they are currently working with various stakeholders to expand the rollout of their training programs in poor IP communities in the area.

Among the target recipients are residents of Sitio Sulop, Barangay San Juan in Malungon town, which is considered as among the poorest IP communities in the province.

The village was visited by various government and private agencies last week for an outreach and community pantry activity.

Some 59 Blaan households benefited from the program, receiving food packs, PHP3,000 cash assistance each, five solar panels, 200 pairs of slippers, basketballs, assorted candies, chocolates, and biscuits.

During the activity, personnel from TESDA-12 assessed the situation and the needs of the residents.

“We, in TESDA, are always willing to extend our help (by) providing skills and agricultural training,” Abrogar said in a statement.

He said these interventions are intended to make IP residents of the village become more productive.

The outreach/community pantry activity was joined by troops from the Army’s 1002nd Infantry (Bagwis) Brigade, the 73rd Infantry (Neutralizer) Battalion, municipal government of Malungon, office of Sarangani Rep. Rogelio Pacquiao, Department of Social Welfare and Development-12, TESDA-12, Marchael Sea Ventures Corporation, Junior Chambers International Philippines, DOLE Philippines, and Plus Construction Industries Corporation.

It was launched in line with the 15th anniversary celebration on Aug. 19 of the 1002nd Brigade, which covers parts of Regions 11 (Davao) and 12 (Soccsksargen).

Terso Moda, San Juan barangay chairman, expressed gratefulness to the Army Brigade for choosing their village as a beneficiary of the initiative.

“We did not expect that this kind of opportunity will come into our barangay. It's the very first time that these blessings came to us. We truly felt the support of the government,” he said.

Malungon Mayor Maria Theresa Constantino said they are looking forward to more collaborations with the 1002nd Brigade as well as other entities.

She vowed to bring more services and projects to the community, which is one of the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in Malungon.

A number of IP barangays in Sarangani already received various assistance in the past several years from TESDA-12 and other government agencies.

These were in line with the government’s “whole-of-nation” approach in addressing local communist armed conflict pursuant to Executive Order No. 70 signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in 2018.

They include communities previously influenced by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in the municipalities of Malungon, Alabel, Malapatan, and Maasim.

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.

NPA rebel yields in Sarangani

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 27, 2021): NPA rebel yields in Sarangani (By Richelyn Gubalani)

Google map of the tri-boundaries of Sarangani, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces

Another “disgruntled” member of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to police personnel in Sarangani province following a series of negotiations.

Capt. Robert Fores, spokesperson of the Sarangani Police Provincial Office, said on Friday the rebel voluntarily yielded along with his firearm in Kiamba town through interventions from concerned officials and stakeholders.

He identified the surrenderer as Junso Mantang, 28, also known as aliases “Kobot” and “Junso,” of Barangay Tambilil, Kiamba.

The police official said Mantang initially decided to surrender last Tuesday and was immediately processed by their personnel.

Mantang gave up a caliber .30 M2 Carbine rifle with two magazines and 26 live ammunition.

“He is formerly under the Guerilla Front Musa 73 of the NPA-Far South Mindanao Region,” Fores told reporters.

The NPA front, which had been tagged as behind a string of extortion activities and attacks in the area, mainly operates in the tri-boundaries of Sarangani, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

Fores said the returnee mainly decided to yield due to their difficult situation in the mountains, which was worsened by the continuing intensified police and military operations.

Mantang was also convinced with the government’s sincerity to deliver the needed services to conflict-affected communities through the convergence efforts of the local task forces to end local communist armed conflict.

“He said he has gone tired of hiding and being always on the run,” Fores said.

He said they will endorse the surrenderer to concerned government agencies to facilitate his inclusion into the flagship Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Hundreds of former rebels in Sarangani have received financial, livelihood and other assistance from the local and national governments since 2016 through the E-CLIP.

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

Surrender of ex-rebels in Leyte seals NPA-Bayan Muna ties

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 27, 2021): Surrender of ex-rebels in Leyte seals NPA-Bayan Muna ties (By Sarwell Meniano)

RETURN TO THE FOLD OF THE LAW. Former rebel couple Jerry and Dalia when they formally yielded to the military on Aug. 17, 2021. Their surrender demonstrated the existing ties between the Bayan Muna party-list and the New People’s Army, the Philippine Army said on Thursday (Aug. 26, 2021). (Photo courtesy of 802nd Infantry (Peerless) Brigade, 8ID, Philippine Army)

The formal surrender of a couple formerly engaged in activism and insurgency in Leyte has further established the ties between the Bayan Muna party-list and the New People’s Army (NPA).

The Philippine Army (PA) on Thursday reported that "Jerry" and "Dalia" (not their real names) walked into the headquarters of the 14th Infantry (Avenger) Battalion, 8th Infantry Division, PA in Barangay Uguis, Mahaplag on August 17 introducing themselves as "former NPA terrorists and as lie-low leaders of the Bayan Muna".

It was not the first time the two reached out to government authorities to leave the communist terrorist group.

"In reality, Jerry and Dalia have long wanted to abandon the violent life of communist terrorism. Having seen enough violence including the infamous Inopacan Massacre in their six-year active involvement with the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front ) from 1986 to 1992,"
the military said in a statement.

In 1993, the couple with a group of some 200 members and supporters of the NPA yielded to the local officials of Mahaplag, the military statement added.

The two recalled that in 2001, "they were already living a normal life when one Jun Salazar from Inopacan, Leyte, Provincial Coordinator of Bayan Muna, recruited them into the CPP-established party-list."

"Salazar designated Jerry as Bayan Muna municipal coordinator and tasked the couple to organize the farmers and the workers in the area, and to lead them in strikes and anti-government rallies until they went on lie-low in 2004," the military statement said.

Salazar and a certain Dario Tomada, a peasant leader-organizer from Ormoc City, told them to instruct the organized masses to vote for Bayan Muna during the May 2001 election.

The military said the couple could be referring to Felomino Salazar, Jr., a resident of Inopacan, who was earlier arrested in connection with the criminal charges filed against him concerning the gruesome NPA purging in Mt. Sapangdaku, Caulisihan village in Inopacan town in the late 1980s.

Jerry admitted in an interview that he served as a medical officer of Squad 1, 5th District Guerrilla Unit, Front Guerrilla Unit in south Leyte from 1986 to 1992 and later as Bayan Muna-Mahaplag Municipal Chairman from 2001 to 2004.

Dalia bared she was the finance officer of the same front guerrilla unit from 1986 to 1992 and a Bayan Muna organizer in Mahaplag from 2001 to 2004.

The two claimed that in 2004 they voluntarily disappeared from Mahaplag, left their family behind, and hid somewhere in Bohol to totally avoid both the CPP-NPA-NDF and Bayan Muna.

However, both Jerry and Dalia realized that they would not be able to be free from the rebels' control as they would continue to approach and recruit them again either into the armed group or the Bayan Muna party-list group.

"It is part of the NPA doctrine to recruit back former members and those on lie-low status," said Brig. Gen. Zosimo Oliveros, commander of the Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade.

"Hence, their formal surrender is very much welcome as it would afford us the golden opportunity to help them. In the advent of Executive Order No. 70, there is now a mechanism that will ensure their effective reintegration into the mainstream of our society," Oliveros added.

EO 70, signed by President R. Duterte in December 2018, institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in obtaining exclusive and sustainable peace-giving the country an effective solution against communist-terrorists.

“I welcomed the formal return to the fold of the law of the couple Jerry and Dalia as it would seal their departure from the communist terrorist group and prevent their recruitment again either in the armed underground movement or the open revolutionary mass movement. Moreover, the revelations of the couple gave credence to allegations on the link between the terrorist CPP-NPA and the Bayan Muna,” the military official said.

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

The NDF has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973.