Friday, April 1, 2022

NOLCOM: Balikatan 2022 benefits schools in Cagayan and Isabela

Posted to the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) Facebook Page (Apr 1, 2022): Balikatan 2022 benefits schools in Cagayan and Isabela


Balikatan 2022 benefits schools in Cagayan and Isabela

CAMP AGUINALDO QUEZON CITY- Four learning facilities at different schools in Cagayan and Isabela are being built by combined troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States Indo-Pacific Command under the Engineering Civic Action Projects (ENCAP) of the Balikatan 37-2022.

The construction of the buildings kicked off with a simultaneous groundbreaking ceremony on March 7, 2022. Troops aim to finish building the facilities towards the end of the Balikatan Exercises.

As of this writing, the construction of a 7m x 18 classroom in Taggat Sur Elementary School in Claveria, Cagayan is at around 64% completion. This will replace a condemned building with a multi-purpose structure for a safer student environment.

An all-purpose building with two classrooms is being put up in Pinas Elementary School, Claveria, Cagayan to support other learning facilities in the school.

Troops are also working together to build a School House in Masi Elementary School, Rizal, Cagayan to address the need for more classrooms to accommodate the number of students.
Meanwhile, to increase the capacity of San Francisco Elementary School in Alicia Isabela, troops are building a 7m x 9m classroom which is already at 87% completion rate.

The United States government has donated a total of $100,000 to fund each building. Both military forces aim to foster confidence in mutual defense relationship while contributing to the welfare and social development of the local communities in the implementation of ENCAP.

Aside from the construction of said facilities, PH-US forces have also conducted various stakeholder engagement and community relations in the area.  (Photos by NOLCOM)

NOLCOM: More CNTs surrender to 53IB

Posted to the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) Facebook Page (Apr 1, 2022): More CNTs surrender to 53IB

Philippine Army


More CNTs surrender to 53IB

Five rebels of the Guerilla Front (GF) KARA under the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) surrendered to the 53rd Infantry "Matapat" Battalion (53IB) on March 28, 2022 at Camp Sabido, Poblacion, Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur.

Among the CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) were the Commander of the defunct GF KARA along with his four comrades. The rebels laid down nine high-powered firearms to the 1st Infantry Division (1ID) and 102nd Infantry Brigade (102Bde). According to the 102Bde, the surrender of CNTs will cripple the ability of other rebels to commit atrocities against innocent civilians especially in the hinterlands.

Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr. praised the efforts of the 53IB in transforming Zamboanga del Sur to an insurgency-free and development-ready province. Lt. Gen. Brawner highlighted on his command guidance, SERVE, the necessity of putting an end to the local communist armed conflict.

EASTMINCOM: LOOK | The 48th Infantry (Guardians) Battalion opens the 3-Day Capability Building of People’s Organization of Pantukan Davao de Oro

Posted to the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) Facebook Page (Apr 1, 2022): LOOK | The 48th Infantry (Guardians) Battalion opens the 3-Day Capability Building of People’s Organization of Pantukan Davao de Oro

48th Infantry Guardians Battalion

LOOK | The 48th Infantry (Guardians) Battalion opens the 3-Day Capability Building of People’s Organization of Pantukan Davao de Oro at Kingking Central Elementary School, Brgy Kingking, Pantukan Davao de Oro, today. The program was participated by BGEN OLIVER C MAQUILING as the guest of honor and speaker, LGU Pantukan and heads of local agencies.

The very objective of this activity is to create, enhance, strengthen and develop the selected 52 participants of all POs particularly president down to treasure in Pantukan to carry out their key functions, and responsibilities through integrating life skills training and contribute organizational development as they desire to establish stability of living through sustainable livelihood.

BGEN MAQUILING emphasizes the importance of having a general understanding, knowledge and skills financial management of an organization.

The lecture started with the 1st topic about Organizational Building.


EASTMINCOM: NPA's 3rd guerilla unit fully collapses as remnants yield to EastMinCom troops

Posted to the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) Facebook Page (Apr 1, 2022): NPA's 3rd guerilla unit fully collapses as remnants yield to EastMinCom troops

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City - Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) under the leadership of LtGen. Greg T. Almerol has announced the total collapse of another Guerilla Front (GF) of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) in his area of responsibility after its top-ranking leader and remaining members surrendered to the troops of 10th Infantry Division’s (10th ID) 1001st Infantry Brigade (Bde), 60th Infantry Battalion (IB), intel units, and local government officials in Asuncion, Davao del Norte on March 31.

The CTG leader identified as Maximo Catarata, the Secretary of Guerilla Front 3 (GF3) of Sub-Regional Committee 4 (SRC4), Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) operating in the tri-boundaries of Agusan del Sur, Davao de Oro, and Davao del Norte.

His surrender came after three of his members namely Emy Ansag Camilo, Nilo Oyda Moluhinday, and Reyan Bagubay Moluhinday also yielded to the troops of 60th IB two days prior.

It can be recalled that on February 26, 13 members of the same guerilla unit led by Renard Galos Catarata, Commanding Officer and son of Maximo Catarata, also laid down their arms to government forces due to hunger and physical exhaustion caused by the intensified military operations of EastMinCom.

LtGen. Almerol said that the total surrender and collapse of GF3 is significant to the current campaign of EastMinCom against the extortion and other illegal activities of the CTG during the election season.

“The GF3 is the second most important unit of the CTG that provides high revenue to their terrorist movement through extortion activities. Its total collapse assures us that there will be peaceful, secure, and fair elections in communities they have previously terrorized," he said.

On the other hand, a report from concerned citizens on the presence of armed individuals extorting food and money from farmers prompted the 36th IB under the 901st Brigade to launch a security operation in the hinterlands of Brgy. San Vicente, Carmen, Surigao del Sur on March 29.

The troops' response led to a 15-minute firefight against the CTG, which resulted in the seizure of an M16 rifle, a Carbine rifle, a Cal. 22 rifle, a Cal 45 pistol, four Anti-Personnel Mines (APM) with 6 detonating cords and 6 blasting caps, several ammunition, other war materiel, subversive documents, and some medical supplies.
The said encounter came after LtGen. Almerol directed his ground units to intensify their security operations and strictly monitor any terrorist groups that would conduct extortion activities.

“I have already directed all unit Commanders under the EastMinCom to be extra vigilant in their respective areas. We will be addressing security threats posed by the CTG and LTGs who may disrupt elections through intimidation, harassment, vote-buying, and through their permit-to-win, and permit-to-campaign schemes,” he previously said.

In a separate incident, troops of the 402nd Brigade's 23rd IB also recovered four AK47 rifles, an M1 Garand rifle, several magazines, and ammunitions after they unearthed an arms cache at Sitio Mahogany, Brgy. Ibuan, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte on March 28 through the help of a surrenderee who revealed its location.

The former rebel identified as Mary Joy Gabon surrendered earlier to the troops after she was wounded on her left calf during the series of encounters launched by the troops of 23IB in the area.

Meanwhile, LtGen. Almerol said that the series of encounters followed by the seizure of firearms and surrender reveals the degraded morale and condition of the CTG members at the hands of their current leaders who are incapable of leading them.

"The series of neutralization of the CTG's high-ranking leaders have left them with inexperienced ones. They are no longer experts in military tactics but are only bandits and extortionists," the EastMinCom Commander said.
He also called out the remaining members of the CTG to "rethink if their stay in the terrorist movement with their incompetent leaders is worth dying."

"Surrender now and avail the benefits of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) instead of sacrificing your lives while your families are suffering," he added.

Meanwhile, LtGen. Almerol assured that they will continue intensifying their security operations to secure the elections in May and end the local communist armed conflict in June.

"While we are finalizing our task to finish the remaining strongholds of the CTG in Eastern Mindanao, it is also our priority to ensure a secure, accurate, and free election this year to comply with the marching order of our Commander in Chief, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte," he said.

WESTMINCOM: 8 Abus yield to troops in Sulu

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Facebook Page (Apr 1, 2022): 8 Abus yield to troops in Sulu

Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City – March 31, 2022

Eight Abu Sayyaf Group members abandoned their armed struggle and submitted themselves to the military in Sulu on Thursday morning, March 31. They were subsequently presented to Maj. Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio, Commander of Joint Task Force Sulu at Talipao Municipal Hall, Barangay Bilaan, Talipao, Sulu.
Brig. Gen. Eugenio Boquio, Commander of 1101st Infantry Brigade said the former violent extremists handed over assorted firearms to Maj. Gen. Patrimonio and Talipao Mayor Nivocadnezar Tulawie. Turned-over firearms include six M1 Garand rifles and one M16 rifle.
Maj. Gen. Patrimonio revealed that of the eight surrendered personalities, five were followers of ASG sub-leader Idang Susukan while the others were former followers of Radullan Sahiron.
“We respect and greatly appreciate their decision to end their struggle peacefully. We are here to assist them in their reintegration and prepare them to become productive citizens of this province. We will recommend their inclusion in the Localized Social Integration Program facilitated by the Municipal Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (MTF-ELAC) Indanan,” Maj. Gen. Patrimonio stated.
This laudable accomplishment is attributable to the collaborative efforts of the intelligence units, 2nd Special Forces Battalion, 5th Scout Ranger Battalion, and the local government of Talipao.
Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Jr., Commander of Western Mindanao Command commended the troops of JTF Sulu for this significant gain. “We anticipate more capitulations as we continue to pin down and pressure the remaining members of the group to cross the line and stop their nefarious ploys. Rest assured that our all-out operations will never falter,” Lt. Gen. Rosario, Jr. stated.

WESTMINCOM: WestMinCom Chief ensures continued maritime operations in Tawi-Tawi

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Facebook Page (Apr 1, 2022): WestMinCom Chief ensures continued maritime operations in Tawi-Tawi

Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City – April 1, 2022

During his visit to Tawi-Tawi, Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) Chief Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Jr. assured the local government units and the citizens that the military will continue to bolster its maritime operations to ensure the security and protection of the natural resources and the people, particularly in the far-flung island communities in the province.

As the commander of WestMinCom, Lt. Gen. visited the province of Tawi-Tawi on March 30-31, 2022 to personally engage with the troops and boost further their morale, and assess the security situation in the area and the maritime borders. He also paid courtesy calls to the local chief executives of the municipalities of Mapun and Simunul.
In his talks to the troops of the 2nd Marine Brigade in Bongao, 312th Marine Company in Taganak, and Tactical Operations Group in Mapun, Lt. Gen. Rosario, Jr. commended the troops for maintaining the peace in the island province. “Under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Romeo Racadio, you all did a great job in ensuring the security and safety of the people and the protection of our natural resources. I am proud to say that Tawi-Tawi maintains a record of zero kidnapping incidents for years now,” Lt. Gen. Rosario, Jr. said.
The WestMinCom Commander stressed that the challenge now is how to sustain the peace and security in the province. He then encouraged the troops to maintain the same zeal towards the accomplishment of their unit mission and objectives.
Lt. Gen. Rosario, Jr., in his calls with the local chief executives, assured that the military with work doubly to ensure the peaceful and orderly conduct of the national and local elections this coming May 9. He also vowed to sustain the conduct of maritime patrols to ensure the safety of the voyagers traversing the borders and the residents of the island municipalities of Tawi-Tawi.

The commander also took the time to release hundreds of turtles on Baguan Island and visit the Sheik Karimol Makhdum Mosque in Simunul.
During his visit to Tawi-Tawi, Lt. Gen. Rosario, Jr. was accompanied by Brig. Gen. Antonio Nafarrete, Deputy Commander for Internal Defense Operations of WestMinCom; Col. Elmer Suderio, Chief of Unified Command Staff; the TRIAD officers of the command (Col. Jessie Montoya, Col. Yasser Bara, and Col. Wendell Basat); Col. Dennis Estrella, Wing Commander of the Tactical Operations Wing Western Mindanao (TOW WestMin); and other officers and personnel of WestMinCom.

WESTMINCOM: Downfall of ASG in Basilan is near at hand, WestMinCom Chief says

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Facebook Page (Apr 1, 2022): Downfall of ASG in Basilan is near at hand, WestMinCom Chief says

Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City – March 31, 2022

Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) Chief, Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Jr. said that with the recent setbacks, the fall of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan is near at hand.
“The serious efforts of our Joint Task Force Basilan (JTF Basilan) led to substantial accomplishments, notable of which were the massive capitulations of Abu Sayyaf members, deaths of their key leaders, and seizures of their firearms and explosive devices. These led to the continuous dwindling of the group’s manpower and capability. We are aiming to totally dismantle the group in the coming days and this can be achieved with the support of our fellow peace advocates in the province,” the three-star general said.

During the first quarter of 2022, scout rangers successfully neutralized Basilan-based ASG top leader Radzmil Jannatul, a.k.a. Khubayb, in a 15-minute firefight at Sitio Center, Barangay Baiwas, Sumisip on March 25. Troops also recovered several war materials including one bandoleer, 12 rounds of 40mm ammunition, six long magazines, 174 rounds of 5.56mm cartridges, one cellular phone, and propaganda materials.
The sustained and intensified conduct of combat, intelligence, and civil-military operations of JTF Basilan also resulted in the capitulation of an ASG sub-leader and 10 of his cohorts. Abdullah Indanan, a.k.a. Guro, a sub-leader, and his followers submitted themselves to Joint Task Force Basilan Commander Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway in Barangay Serongon, Hadji Mohammad Ajul at noon Tuesday, March 29. The surrendered personalities handed over 11 high-powered firearms including six M16 rifles, one M1 Carbine rifle, two M16A1 rifles, one M16 rifle with M203 attached, and one M4 rifle.
Indanan revealed that they decided to return to the fold of the law because they were having a hard time trying to evade the government forces and they lost support from their sympathizers due to the continued CSP-PCVE and SALW programs implemented by the military and local government units.
Brig. Gen. Gobway said all the military units under his leadership remain steadfast in accomplishing their mandate to ensure a safer and more peaceful Basilan in the coming years. “Basilan is a beautiful island province with so many sceneries that can be converted into tourist spots. The elimination of terrorism could pave the way for tourism in the province,” the JTF Commander said.
It can be recalled that the Abu Sayyaf Group was formally founded by Abdurajak Janjalani on April 4, 1992. At first, it did not have a formal name until an Afghan named "Abu Sayyaf" came up with the idea to name the group in honor of an Afghan hero Abu Abdurasul Sayyaf who died in the war in Afghanistan.

The emergence of the group created a profound impact because of its violent activities to achieve its goals. Its members sow evils with or without direct command. They expanded their ties with other Muslim extremist groups abroad who provided material needs and moral support to the group.

Janjalani justified that terrorism and other forms of violence are in line with their beliefs and this is stated in the “doctrines of Islam”. He and his followers allegedly had the right to kill and take the property of their enemies in obedience to the command of Allah and the Law of Islam.
Upon Janjalani’s death, he was replaced by his brother Khadaffy who exacerbated the situation. Since then, left and right violence has been recorded and the ASG has been accused of plotting such as the killing of Catholic priests, kidnapping of foreign tourists, bombings, and the like.
To curb the spread of violence caused by the Abu Sayyaf, the government, through the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has launched offensives/counter-actions. As the years passed, operations against the notorious group intensified until they gradually weakened.
“The armed forces never stop finding ways and means to end terrorism. Aside from our combat operations, the better solution is the implementation of the whole-of-nation approach which we continue to employ with the support of our partners and stakeholders,” Lt. Gen. Rosario, Jr. further stated.
From January 1 to date, a total of 48 ASG personalities were neutralized in the area of operation of WestMinCom of which two were killed, 40 surrendered, and six were apprehended.

SMNI interview with Palparan being probed by DOJ

Posted to Yahoo! News (Apr 1, 2022): SMNI interview with Palparan being probed by DOJ (By Mark Ernest Famatigan

FILE PHOTO: Retired Maj. Gen. Jovito answers questions from the media at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) after his arrest on August 12, 2014. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan is currently facing charges of kidnapping, serious illegal detention, extra-judicial killings, torture and disappearances. (Photo: Mark Fredesjed R. Cristino/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is now investigating an interview between Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) and human rights violator Jovito Palparan, who was responsible for the abduction University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.

DOJ Undersecretary Adrian Sugay said that the Bureau of Correction (BuCor) has already been told to “look into the matter.”

"The Secretary has directed the BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) through the undersecretary in charge of corrections, Usec. Deo Marco, to look into the matter and to see if in fact there were violations on the part of whoever initiated this interview of the guidelines of the BuCor with regard to interviewing inmates,” he said.

DOJ confirmed that “the court that convicted Gen. Palparan did not receive any request for permission to grant a media interview.”

SMNI interviewed Palparan in their segment “Laban Kasama ang Bayan”, where they talked about the armed revolution in the countryside, just one day after the 53rd anniversary of the New People’s Army (NPA).

The segment also included National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Lorraine Badoy, who was recently tagged by an international human rights coalition as a part of the “Dirty Dozen” for being part of the “public orchestration of alleged state repression.”

Desparecidos, a group of families and close friends of victims of forced disappearance, called the interview a “travesty of justice”, and a “cheap desperate attempt to vindicate criminals and rights violators.”

“It is nauseating, to say the least, to see Palparan and this Badoy trying so hard to salvage the face of the ‘berdugo’ (butcher) for two hours, when Palparan is now a convicted criminal,” Concepcion Empeño, the mother of Karen Empeño said. “The courts have convicted him, with overwhelming evidence and witness testimonies, for taking away our daughters. What a travesty of justice!”

Erlinda Cadapan, the mother of Sherlyn Cadapan added, “To this day, Palparan continues to vilify our daughters and justify their abduction and disappearance. We say again, with the strongest conviction, that never should any person be subject to enforced disappearance.”

“This act of Palparan, and Badoy, is a cheap, desperate work of thieves. They stole our daughters, and those who continue to employ abduction and enforced disappearances should be held accountable for the rest of their lives, like what they did to us, as we remain searching for our missing loved ones,” she said..

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

50 ex-rebels in Aurora condemn 'atrocities'

 From the Sun Star-Pampanga (Apr 1, 2022): 50 ex-rebels in Aurora condemn 'atrocities'

ABOUT 50 former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Aurora condemned the group’s atrocities through an activity at Barangay Ditumabo in San Luis town.

Army 7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Andrew Costelo emphasized the successful implementation of the national government’s Executive Order No. 70, noting that there is no reason for the NPA to celebrate its 53rd anniversary.

“For more than five decades the communist NPA did nothing good to the Filipino people but atrocities that resulted in the slow development in the countryside. With the EO 70, the NPA has suffered irreversible defeat and massive loss of manpower and resources, so why celebrate a dead ideology that is now abandoned by most of its members?” Costelo said.

Speaking on behalf of the former rebels, Ka Ariel stressed that the attendees are now civilian former rebels seeking for peace and development.

The group
condemned the acts of terrorism of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and NPA including of human rights violation, killing of their relatives, recruitment of minors, robbery, extortion, destruction of civilian-owned properties, and undermining of the government.

Also, Masaganang Perlas ng Silangan ng Aurora Province Inc member Juliet Capistrano warned the public of their deceptive strategy and revealed that CPP-NPA uses manipulation and exploitation.

“We have a problem on land and that issue was used by the CPP-NPA only to find out that there is a government who can give solutions to our problem,” Capistrano said.

Other groups who supported the activity were Solo Parents of Diteki and Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo.

12 pro-IS fighters surrender in South

From the Manila Times (Apr 1, 2022): 12 pro-IS fighters surrender in South (By Julmunir Jannaral)

COTABATO CITY: Twelve members, including a sub-leader and a deputy leader, of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) decided to abandon their armed struggle and return to the fold of the law in Maguindanao on Wednesday morning, March 30.

"Based on the report from the ground, Anwar Pegas, a sub-leader of the BIFF-Karialan Faction; Zukarno Sailila, his deputy; and 10 of their followers voluntarily surrendered to Lt. Col. Edwin Alburo, commanding officer of the 40th Infantry Battalion (40IB)," Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario Jr., commander of Western Mindanao Command, said.

The former violent extremists handed over their firearms to Alburo at the 40IB headquarters in Barangay Kabengi, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

The firearms included two 7.62mm M14 rifles, two 5.56mm M16A1, one carbine, two cal. 50 Barrett sniper rifles, two 9mm submachine guns, one 40mm rocket-propelled grenade launcher, two M79 grenade launchers and one 40mm high explosive RPG ammunition.

Col. Oriel Pangcog, commander of the 601st Infantry Brigade (601IB), said the surrender was a result of joint efforts of the 601IB, 40IB, Maguindanao Provincial Police Office, Ampatuan Municipal Police Station and the local government of Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

READ: 2 terrorists killed in Lanao Sur clash

During debriefing, the ex-BIFF members revealed that they were experiencing hardships and starvation while evading operations conducted by the Armed Forces.

They said they also realized that they were lured with false ideologies that affected themselves and their fellow Filipinos, hence their withdrawal of support to the group.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of Joint Task Force (JTF) Central, said the influx of surrenders manifests the continuous dwindling of terrorist groups in Central Mindanao.

"We are optimistic that these groups, including the BIFF-Karialan Faction, are nearing its end," the JTF commander said.

READ: BIFF member surrenders in Cotabato

For the first quarter of 2022, the JTF Central reported 97 BIFF surrenders in their area of operation.

This also resulted in the recovery of 90 high-powered and low-powered firearms.

"We continue to gain ground and this is attributable to concerted efforts of the military troops, our partners and stakeholders. I, personally, would like to urge those who are still hiding to cross the line. We are more than willing to welcome and assist you in your reintegration into mainstream society," Rosario said.

Meanwhile, peace advocates in Central Mindanao denounced the alleged violence perpetrated by communist rebels.

READ: 12 'starving' BIFF members yield in Maguindanao

This happened after peace movements were conducted in Sultan Kudarat to condemn alleged atrocities initiated by the rebels from the New People's Army (NPA) for more than five decades now.

Military troops from the 42nd Civil Relations Unit, 4th Civil Relations Group under the leadership of Maj. Andrew Linao and the 37IB led by Lt. Col. Allen Van Estrera, joined local officials and citizens in rallies in Barangay Sabanal and Barangay Hinalaan, both in Kalamansig, and the villages of Dumolol, Tibuhol, Batang Baglas and Midol, all in Palimbang.

Former rebels and indigenous groups also participated in the activities.

READ: More rebels surrender in Maguindanao

Uy commended the troops who ensured the successful conduct of the peace rallies.

"We are doing this to encourage more people to support us in our quest for indestructible peace in the province of Sultan Kudarat. We also would like to express our condemnation of the inhumane attacks of the communist group that has ruined the lives of the peace-loving people of Mindanao for 53 years," he said.

Highlights of the rallies were the burning of NPA flags and a peace march, where people conveyed their messages through the placards they brought along with them.

'We all aim for genuine peace in our respective communities. We will be able to achieve this if we will continue to unite and let our calls for peace be heard," Rosario said.

MILF: BARMM, UBJP has not endorsed any national candidate

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Apr1, 2022): BARMM, UBJP has not endorsed any national candidate (By Alexander Iskandar, Luwaran)

Mohagher Iqbal (Google photo)

Cotabato City (March 16, 2022)—The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and the United Bangsamoro Justice Party, have not yet endorsed any bet for a national position.
In two separate ambush interviews on Wednesday — after Vice President Leni Robredo visited the Bangsamoro Government Center (BGC) in the city — Bangsamoro Minister of Education Mohagher Iqbal and Minister of Interior Naguib Sinarimbo confirmed that they are still waiting to hear the platforms of other candidates for the 2022 presidential race, according to a post by Mindanews on March 16, 2022,

Iqbal, also Chief of the MILF Implementing Peace Panel went further to say that he does not think the Bangsamoro Government, which handles the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), will endorse anyone, the Mindanews report said.

There is no official pronouncement from the BARMM. In my perspective, I don’t see that the BARMM would come out with an official statement about the candidate they would support in the upcoming elections but all candidates are welcome and would be given a chance to make presentations, Iqbal said.

At the center of what we want to hear from them is their platform about BARMM, the Moro issue, and also how to preserve and promote the gains of the peace process, Iqbal told Mindanews during the interview.

For his part, Sinarimbo clarified that UBJP, like the Bangsamoro Government, has not yet picked a candidate to support in the 2022 polls.

And then the leadership would decide, just like the party of the MILF, the United Bangsamoro Justice Party and the Bangsamoro Government would decide who is the most deserving to be president of the country, he added.

But unlike Iqbal who thinks that BARMM as a whole would not make any endorsement, Sinarimbo revealed that there were internal talks as to when the endorsement would be made public.

We have had internal discussions on when the official endorsement would be out. But our timetable is dependent on the opportunity for other national candidates to present so that we can be fair and pick objectively, Mindanews quoting Sinarimbo saying.

Recently, presidential candidates Isko Moreno Domagoso and Leni Robredo visited Cotabato City.

[Luwaran is the official online publication of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Committee on Information, MILF Central Committee]

MILF: BARMM- BIO, BLIO and BDA working together to improve communication strategies in support to Bangsamoro Transition

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Mar 29, 2022): BARMM- BIO, BLIO and BDA working together to improve communication strategies in support to Bangsamoro Transition (By Muhammad Musa, Luwaran)

COTABATO CITY – “We do not know human rights; the vulnerable sectors do not know. We hope that the BARMM government will help us be educated about our rights; for every sector like women, youth, elderlies, PWDs, and all”, a local leader said that many of their people do not know human rights in a mountainous village in Buldon, Maguindanao here in the Bangsamoro Region.
Also, from a village in Island province of BARMM, people long for assistance and access to information on how to avail government services.

“What now is the news from BARMM”? Asked by the residents in camp communities.
These stories from the grassroots partly becomes one of the bases to get into a mission of “raising awareness about BARMM Projects and the people’s rights and obligations under the Bangsamoro Government, which is among the target outputs of the project SUBATRA-ECSO: Enhancing CSOs Capacities for Inclusive Development Interventions in BARMM in Support to Bangsamoro Transition.
Towards the said target, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) collaborated with the Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO) and the Bangsamoro League of Information Officers (BLIO) to take off for this mission on developing communication strategies through the Inception Meeting for SUBATRA-ECSO conducted on March 16, 2022 in Cotabato City.

The meeting was a venue for information officers of Bangsamoro to share experiences, best practices, needs and priorities relevant to communication roles during the current transition in Bangsamoro, and on public service delivery.
Participation of civil society organization through the League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO) was significant to educate the BARMM ministries, agencies and attached offices and the BDA as well, about their operation and communication practices in carrying out its mandate as one league.

BDA likewise shared communication plan for SUBATRA-ECSO highlighting the message of the peace process being the origin of all the present development in the Bangsamoro.

From the activity, BDA, BARMM BIO and BLIO and the LBO were able to initially identify possible areas of complementation and collaboration for future activities. A communication planning workshop will be among the major next steps for the body to further set the direction to achieve together the said specific target output of the project.

It was clear that this collaboration between the BARMM Government and the CSOs (BDA and LBO) carries the same message of peace through inclusive and moral governance.

This Inception Meeting with BARMM- BIO/ BLIO was in line with the implementation of the SUBATRA-ECSO. The project works for the Component 4 of the SUBATRA Programme that helps the BARMM lay the foundation for lasting peace and development in the region by strengthening the capacities of its institutions to establish an enabling democratic governance environment during the transition period.

SUBATRA-ECSO aims to contribute to a peaceful, cohesive, secure and inclusively developed Bangsamoro. It is funded by the European Union (#EU) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (#AECID).

[Luwaran is the official online publication of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Committee on Information, MILF Central Committee]

NDF: Review-“The struggle of the Filipino people led by the CPP is truly incredible”

Posted to the National Democratic Front Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Mar 29, 2022): “The struggle of the Filipino people led by the CPP is truly incredible” (By Fred Engst, Professor, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing)

Review: “Imperialism in Turmoil and Socialism in Prospect” by Jose Maria Sison; Julieta de Lima (editor), INPS, 2022

It is a great honor for me to present a review of professor Sison’s latest book: “Imperialism in Turmoil and Socialism in Prospect”.

This huge volume of writings in front of us was just one year’s work! It is impressive indeed. I wish I have 10% of professor Sison’s energy, and he is 83 years old.

Perhaps we should thank Covid, which made a lot of people stay at home, and some of them did a lot of writing and teaching online, instead of attending too many endless meetings! (Just kidding.)

Since the book is too thick for me to go through in a short time, I will focus mainly on parts that are related to China.

It is clear from his writings that as a young revolutionary in his 20’s, professor Sison was inspired greatly by the Chinese revolution and by the GPCR1.

He took home Mao’s teachings to heart and lead a revolutionary movement that is getting stronger every day.

The revolutionary struggle of the Filipino people in the last 50 plus years is conducted, frankly, in one of the most difficult periods in the world history, from a revolutionary perspective.

From Pairs commune to the October Revolution there was a nearly 50 years of lull in people’s struggle, and from the 1970’s to recently, there was also nearly a 50-year lull of worldwide revolutionary struggle, with the proclamation of the “end of history” at its peak.

So, the struggle of the Filipino people led by the CPP is truly incredible when looking from this perspective. It started just at the end of the last tidal wave of worldwide revolutionary struggle, and it persisted all the way to the next tidal wave of uprising of the worldwide revolutionary struggle that we can see clearly on the horizon.

Hardly any other people’s revolutionary struggle that combines underground and above ground lasted that long. It’s experience in armed struggle as well as in mass work in the labor movement, the peasants’ movement, the women’s movement, the students’ movement, the urban poor, etc. will make it well prepared to take the opportunity presented by the current worldwide crisis of capitalism.

In contrast, the history of the Chinese revolution was predominantly a history of armed struggle. Their experience in doing mass work in the urban setting was somewhat limited, for the communist working in the so call “white area” was more or less wipe out with an ultra-left line. Thus, after the revolution, the issue of how to conduct mass work under socialism suffered from the lack of that experience, and as a consequence, the emergence of elitism, sectarianism, commandism, if that is a word that I can use, proliferated. How to be sure that the vanguards stay as vanguards became acute. This was the main focus of the GPCR.

On the contrary, the Filipino revolution has been a long history of combining armed struggle with the mass work in the urban settings. With over 5 decades of experience doing work in both areas, the prospect of continuing the revolution under socialism will be much brighter, if the lessons of the GPCR is learned correctly.

That is where Sison’s new book comes into play.

We can see a tremendous wealth of experience in leading the Filipino struggle during the last 50 years expressed in this volume. It has strategies in conducting underground guerilla warfare, conducting above ground mass movements, works in the unite front, etc.

Beside his writings on the Filipino struggle, there is also a host of writing on the current international situation. In particular, the role of the newly rising imperialist power is also very much present in professor Sison’s current writings.

This part on page 201 is so true, that I want to read it out loud:

After congratulating itself for a long time for helping China restore capitalism and integrate itself in the world capitalist system and become its main partner in carrying out the neoliberal policy of imperialist globalization, the US is now resentful about China having maintained a two-tiered economy of state and private monopoly capitalism and is regretful about having outsourced manufacturing to China in a big way and allowed it to earn large export surpluses and about having given to China all the opportunities to acquire higher technology from the US through direct investments on US plants in China and through Chinese academics gaining access to US research laboratories and R & D facilities of US companies.

Condemning the Duterte regime for catering to the newly emerging imperialist power is a constant theme in this book, as it should be.

There are so many other high points in the book that I don’t have the time to read them thoroughly. I want to share just a few points that caught my eyes.

I agree with the points raised in his statement “On Semifeudalism”. To judge the nature of a society, the key is to analyze the nature of the ruling class. If the ruling class is mostly made up with industrial capitalist, then it is a capitalist society. Otherwise, if the “ruling classes are big comprador capitalists and landlords, not yet the industrial capitalists”, then it is not a capitalist society, which clearly is the case for the Philippines.

This line of reasoning is also the key in understanding the nature of the Soviet Union from 1950’s to 1991, and for China after 1976.

Capitalist societies don’t all ware the same clothes. Those that emerged from feudal societies looked more or less one way, and those that emerged from restoring capitalism from former socialist societies looked very much different. In particular, they might maintain planned economies for the interest of the respective ruling class, the ruling parties might still claim to be communist parties, and there might not be open labor markets, etc. But the relationship between the working class and the ruling class is the same as those that in an openly capitalist society. In particular, the working-class masses don’t have any say in running the society, have no right to organize, etc. The implosion of the Soviet Union made this point clear, for the ruling class didn’t change before or after the implosion, whereas the nature of the Chinese ruling class is a bit harder for outsider to see through.

In this light, I might not understand the reasonings behind all of professor Sison’s statements about some of the so-called socialist countries. Some places he gives in-depth analysis of his point of view, while other places he tends to make statement without explaining the reasoning behind it, at least I have not seen his reasonings. For example, the analysis of the nature of PDRK as a socialist country is puzzling. True, PDRK is a staunch fighter against imperialism. But to classify it as a socialist society is somewhat bewildering. The reference on controlling the spread of Covid where he attributed the success of countries like Cuba, DPRK, and Vietnam, etc. for having socialist characteristics makes one wonder what is the definition of socialism, and how China is not under such a definition.

Nevertheless, the spirit of a revolutionary that is determined to change this world that we suffer under is very clear and inspiring in this book.#

NDF: Review-“Without the people’s army the people have nothing”

Posted to the National Democratic Front Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Mar 29, 2022):  “Without the people’s army the people have nothing” (by Jacob Bodden, Revolutionaire Eenheid- Netherlands)

Review: “On People’s War” by Jose Maria Sison; Julieta de Lima (editor), INPS, 2022.

Hello comrades and friends, I wish you all a very good day. First of all, I want to say that I feel honoured to speak at the book launch and give a review. I feel humbled because I am not a veteran revolutionary, well read economist or party leader. I, and the people who I am proud to call my comrades, are simply anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist youth who want nothing more than to produce a meaningful movement of youth, students, oppressed people, that struggles against imperialism here in the belly of the beast. We are young, but we want this movement to be carried over to the next generation and not to die out like others before us. That’s why in that regard the Filipino struggle for socialism, freedom and genuine democracy is one of the best teachers we have, since it is the longest continuing struggle worldwide.

As the NPA nears its 53d anniversary On People’s War is launched right now. The book details the struggle of the masses under the banner of the Communist Party of the Philippines, from its inception in 1969 as a humble, lightly armed guerrilla force with home-made firearms and indigenous weapons, to being the strong army of the Filipino people that it is today, that crushes down on the reactionary enemy in the Filipino countryside. On People’s War deals with the topic of semi-feudalism and semi-colonialism, the oppression of the poor peasants and the urban poor, the ever-deepening crisis and fascism. It details the strategy of winning popular support, building a broad mass base to wage national democratic revolution and forming red zones in which guerilla activity can thrive and confront reactionary power.

In my opinion there are two topics that stood out to me. The first was the relationship between people’s war and the mass base. On People’s War shows that 1/3 of the red fighters are waging battle and seeking engagements with the enemy, only those they are certain of winning, while 2/3 are working with the masses permanently. The people’s war is in essence exactly what the word says that it is. There is no war without the support of the broad masses and there is no political power of the people without an army that fights for them. Like Mao said: Without the people’s army the people have nothing. Professor Sison’s book, for me, was very clear in forming an understanding that people’s war is not just guns blazing and fighting in the mountains, small islands and jungle. It is also teaching the masses how to read and write, providing health care wherever necessary, redistributing food or pushing land reform. The people’s war is not an NGO or an institution that gives free hand outs to the masses, it is an organizer that builds democracy together with the masses. I read this as a crucial difference, instead of just handing things out, the peoples war, the mass organizations and the party together build confidence in the masses that society can indeed be changed. No more false promises of puppets from Marcos to Arroyo to Duterte!

There are other lessons covered as well. On People’s War mentions how the mass base was almost entirely lost at one point due to a misguided line developing in the movement that claimed the time was ripe to go from the strategic defensive to the offensive. This led to an overstretching of forces and the deaths of many comrades. It required an entire rectification campaign to correct the error. To conclude my point, I just want to explain that this information contains valuable lessons. Experience of success are very useful of course, but experiences of mistakes ensure that other comrades will not make those same mistakes. Fall in a pit and gain your wit. The experience of mass base contains lessons for activists in the Netherlands as well. We also try to organize the people in a way that is different from the revisionist leftist parties, NGOs or government institutions. We take the lesson from the Philippines that we have to work together with the masses and build together.

About the second point in On People’s War, the question of people’s war in imperialist countries, many lessons can be learned here as well. This topic is discussed in the final part of the book. There are Maoists in the western hemisphere who hold the belief that protracted people’s war is a universal theory that can be applied anywhere in the world. This is a result of the Peruvian line which holds beliefs such as the militarization of the party. They hold that every party member has to be a guerrilla fighter as well. The Maoists of this type have also initiated a debate with our Filipino comrades about this question. This topic is covered very well in On People’s War through a number of articles and interviews, and the conclusion is, No: at this point people’s war is not a viable strategy in the imperialist core. It is in the imperialist core that the links of capitalism-imperialism are strongest. In the Filipino countryside those links are weak, and the contradictions between the outright poverty of the masses and the oppression of the comprador bourgeoisie and landlords are strongest. In the Netherlands, we as RE take the position that a large group of the population, the workers, have an economic interest in Imperialism. To illustrate this point, we can look at how pension funds operate. Workers in The Netherlands pays a monthly sum that is pooled together and forms a massive amount of finance capital. This is in turn used to invest in precisely the same imperialism that compels the Filipino masses to struggle for socialism. It is used to invest in arms trade, child labor, exploitation of natural resources and cheap labor. The benefits are returned in the form of pensions that sustain Dutch workers at old age. Not to mention the many jobs in the core that depend on imperialist exploitation of the global south. Jobs in the harbor and transport sectors that disseminate goods produced under imperialism, jobs that oversee the exploitation in the global south for example. The simple reality is that to ask the masses to dedicate their lives to the struggle is not nothing, let alone armed struggle. Those that have vested interest in imperialism will not risk everything they have and all the benefits this imperialist state provides for them.

That being said, revolutionaries in imperialist core countries should not be third-worldists that sit idle out of a misguided belief that struggle in the west is completely useless. First of all, there are other groups that don’t have an interest in imperialism, such as undocumented migrants. There are plenty of social issues such as racism, colonialism, patriarchy or the housing question that activists can organize around while using the mass line. These lessons are covered in Professor Sison’s work as well. Second of all, I think it is clear that on a geopolitical level the world is increasingly shifting from a unipolar world into a multipolar world. US imperialism is faltering and with it, its stranglehold on many nations in the global south. The opportunities for people’s war are there where it does not yet exist, or intensification of existing struggles are certain to increase. From the strategic defensive, to the equilibrium to the offensive. I think On People’s War makes it quite clear that the task of revolutionaries in the global north is to build a movement that can provide meaningful solidarity to the people’s war in the global south. Revolutionaries in core countries can play their part in the normalization of the simple idea that brutal oppression warrants armed resistance. And such a movement has to be ready and built up when the inevitable moment arrives that the contradictions of capitalism-imperialism are great enough that revolution can be waged in the western hemisphere as well. That is also one of the reasons why the people’s war in The Philippines is so inspirational to me and my comrades, and why it really was a pleasure to read this book. There is a struggle against brutal oppression, but no matter how many people are killed by the fascists, or people unjustly jailed, the fight continues and the masses do not give up. One day we will have to struggle as well, so we are grateful to take these lessons of those that are currently struggling on higher level. We take these lessons, and in return we try to give something back.

In conclusion, for everyone reading this who maybe doesn’t know much about people’s war, this book has answers to questions such as: Why do ordinary people take up arms and risk their lives in battle? Why do people dedicate their entire lives to the struggle for freedom and socialism? Why is people’s war supported by so many people that the mass organisations, party and guerrilla army manage to grow and even pass on to the next generation? These are questions I used to have as well, because there is no people’s war here in the strongest links of imperialism. In fact, it is precisely the same imperialism that compels the masses to take up arms in The Philippines, India, Tamil Eelam, Palestine, Colombia and other countries, that produces a standard of living high enough for the majority of the people here to get on with their lives, without the need to struggle fierce and hard for change.

Besides answering such questions to readers, On People’s War serves multiple purposes. It is a great source of information about strategies and tactics in winning popular support for the struggle. The book is a fantastic debunk to fraudulent academics as Alex de Jong and Joseph Scalice who seek to depict the CPP and NPA as oppressors, terrorists and warlords, not to mention the reactionary propaganda from the fascist Filipino government. And finally, in my opinion, there is no greater inspiration than the heroes from Palestine to the Philippines, the ordinary people, the masses, who show such courage and sacrifice when they pay the price of freedom with their own blood. They do so in service of the masses. On People’s War by Professor Sison contains the story of their collective struggle for freedom, national democratic revolution and socialism.

On a final note, I say on behalf of RE, justice for Ka Oris, for all the martyrs and all the victims of the fascist Duterte puppet regime and the victims of red tagging. Freedom for all political prisoners. #

CPP/Ang Bayan Daily News & Analysis: CPP urges people to demand prexy bets for 2022 Balikatan to be last

Ang Bayan Daily News & Analysis online propaganda posted to the PRWC Newsroom, the blog site of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Information Bureau (Apr 1, 2022): CPP urges people to demand prexy bets for 2022 Balikatan to be last

April 01, 2022

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today called on the Filipino people to push presidential bets to stand for Philippine sovereignty, oppose US military intervention, oppose the use of the country as base for US superpower conflict with China and ensure that the current 2022 Balikatan exercises will be the last.

CPP Chief Information Officer Marco L. Valbuena said “If the government continues to allow the US military to use the Philippines for its war games and saber-rattling, there will be rising danger of the country turning into a war zone for its inter-imperialist conflict with China similar to how Ukraine became a war zone for the US proxy war with Russia.”

Valbuena said Balikatan joint war exercises being held since Monday must be denounced as “outright violation of the country’s sovereignty.”

He said the Balikatan exercises which involve 5,100 American soldiers form part of the rising military activities in East Asia which are provocative against the rising military strength of China which makes unlawful claims over 90% of the South China Sea.

The exercises, according to reports, are participated by 5,100 American soldiers in the war games, while there are 3,800 AFP soldiers which started last Monday, March 28.

“By allowing the US to conduct the large-scale war exercises, the Duterte regime is displaying outright lack of independence in its foreign policy as it firmly binds the Philippines to the US policy of war and the US push to escalate military conflicts with China through the increased deployment of US warships in the Pacific Sea, the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait,” Valbuena said.

“These military operations increase risk of the country being pulled into a potential US and China military conflict,” he added, “which is why the people must act and demand those seeking their votes to do away with them.” (CPP Information Bureau)

CPP/Ang Bayan Daily News & Analysis: Pilipinas, pang-apat sa pinakatalamak ang kroniyismo sa mundo

Ang Bayan Daily News & Analysis online propaganda posted to the PRWC Newsroom, the blog site of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Information Bureau (Mar 31, 2022): Pilipinas, pang-apat sa pinakatalamak ang kroniyismo sa mundo (Philippines, the fourth worst cronyism in the world)

March 31, 2022

Pang-apat ang Pilipinas sa 22 bansang talamak ang kroniyismo, ayon sa The Economist, isang organisasyong midya na nakabase sa United Kingdom.

Ang kroniyismo, sa simpleng salita, ay isang kaayusan sa ekonomya kung saan lihim na nakikipagkasundo ang mga negosyante sa mga upisyal ng estado para makakuha ng mga pakinabang tulad ng mga espesyal na permit, insentiba tulad ng di pagbabayad ng buwis at mga pagbabago sa patakaran kapalit ng suhol at mga pabor. Sa ilalim ng kaayusang ito, iginagawad din ng mga upisyal na gubyerno ang mga pampublikong kontrata — madalas sa maanomalyang paraan — kung saan naghahati ang dalawang panig sa pakinabang.

Sa panig ng The Economist, sinusukat nito ang tindi ng kroniyismo sa pamamagitan ng pagsuri sa yaman ng mga bilyunaryo at kaugnayan nito sa mga “sektor ng kroniyismo” o mga “industriyang bulnerable sa rent-seeking” o manipulasyon ng pampublikong patakaran para sa pribadong kita dahil “malapit” ang mga ito sa estado (sa anyo ng regulasyon, insentiba, pampubikong kontrata at iba pa). Kabilang dito ang pagpapatakbo ng mga kasino, pagmimina ng karbon, komersyal na mga plantasyon, depensa, pagbabangko, imprastruktura, pagmimina ng langis, daungan at paliparan, real estate at konstruksyon, at yutilidad at telekomunikasyon.

Sa pagsusuri ng The Economist, 4/5 o 80% ng yaman ng mga Pilipinong bilyunaryo ay mula sa mga “sektor ng kroniyismo.” Gayundin, ang yaman ng mga bilyunaryong ito ang bumubuo sa 10% ng gross domestic product ng bansa — patunay ng laki ng pakinabang nila sa sistema ng kroniyismo.

Mula nang unang maglabas ang The Economist ng sarbey ng kroniyismo noong 2014, palagiang nasa unang limang pinakatalamak ang Pilipinas. Noong 2016 at muli noong 2021, pangatlo ito sa listahan, kasunod ng Russia at Malaysia. Ibig sabihin, tuluy-tuloy na kumakamal ng yaman ang iilang pinaboran ni Rodrigo Duterte na mga burgesya-kumprador. Ilang sa kilalang kroni ni Duterte sina Dennis Uy at Enrique Razon na nasa negosyo ng kasino at mga daungan, ang pamilyang Villar na nasa real estate, at si Ramon Ang na nasa pagmimina ng karbon at imprastruktura.

Nitong taon, kasunod ang Pilipinas sa Russia (#1), Malaysia (#2) at Singapore (#3). Ang iba pang nasa Top 10 ang Ukraine, Mexico, India, Thailand at China.

CPP/Ang Bayan Daily News & Analysis: Araw ng mga Walang Lupa, ginunita sa Bicol

Ang Bayan Daily News & Analysis online propaganda posted to the PRWC Newsroom, the blog site of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Information Bureau (Mar 31, 2022): Araw ng mga Walang Lupa, ginunita sa Bicol (Day of the Landless, commemorated in Bicol)

March 31, 2022

Mahigit 30 sasakyan at daan-daang magsasaka at kanilang mga tagasuporta ang naglunsad ng Caravan of the Landless for Land, Food and Justice noong Marso 25-30 sa Bicol. Pinangunahan ito ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bicol (KMB) at nilahukan ng mga partylist na Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Gabriela, ACT Teachers at Kabataan.

Nilibot ng karaban ang 41 bayan at limang syudad sa rehiyon at nagkaroon ng mga programa sa bawat tinitigilang syudad. Bitbit nila ang mga panawagan para sa libreng pamamahagi ng lupa; pagkain, kabuhayan at karapatan para sa lahat; ayudang sapat, pagbasura sa NTF-Elcac, at iba pa.

Lumundo ang karaban sa paggunita sa Global Day of the Landless (Pandaigdigang Araw ng mga Walang Lupa) noong Marso 29. Ayon kay Bert Autor ng KMB, pangunahing hinaing ng mga magsasaka sa rehiyon ang kawalan ng lupa, gayundin ang kawalan ng subsidyo sa produksyon. Dagdag niya, sa datos ng Department of Agriculture na 13.5 milyong magsasaka, 12.5% lamang ng bilang na ito ang nakatanggap ng ayuda.

Inilunsad rin noong araw na iyon ang iba’t ibang anyo ng protesta ng mga progresibong organisasyong magsasaka sa Lupang Ramos sa Cavite, sa Albay, Pangasinan at sa pambansang upisina ng Department of Agrarian Reform sa Quezon City.

Sinimulang gunitain ang Global Day of the Landless noong 1995 sa pangunguna ng Asian Peasant Coalition upang pagkaisahin ang iba’t ibang kilusan ng mga mamamayan ng kanayunan na walang lupa. Kaisa rin nila ang mga tagapagtaguyod ng karapatan sa lupa upang itambol ang pakikibaka para sa lupa sa mahihirap na bansa.

Ngayong taon, nakiisa sa Global Day of the Landless ang 110 alyansa, institusyon at organisasyong pang-magsasaka mula sa iba’t ibang kontinente, karamiha’y sa Asia at Africa.

Ayon sa Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Asia Pacific, ang nagdaang dekada ay kinakitaan ng tuluy-tuloy na pagtindi ng malawakang pangangamkam ng lupa sa pangunguna ng pinakamalalaking korporasyon at mga kapitalistang gubyerno.

Sa ng Pilipinas, makikita ito sa walang tigil na ekspansyon ng mga kapitalistang plantasyon ng saging, pinya, mais at oil palm. Kabilang rin sa mga nangunguna sa pag-agaw ng lupa ay ang dambuhalang mga kumpanya sa mina. Dahil sa mga ito, buu-buong komunidad ng mga magsasaka at katutubo ang pinalalayas sa kanilang mga sakahan at lupaing ninuno.

Sa ulat ng International Land Coalition at Oxfam noong 2020, inihayag na aabot sa 70% ng mga sakahan sa mundo ay pinatatakbo lamang ng 1% ng mga nagmamay-ari ng lupa. Pinatitingkad nito ang lumalaking bilang ng mga magsasakang walang lupa na matatagpuan sa mahihirap na bansa.

Dagdag pa ng PAN Asia Pacific, mayroong bagong bugso ng pangangamkam ng lupa dulot ng pamumuhunan sa ngalan ng pagsawata sa climate change. Kabilang sa mga ito ang pamumuhunan sa mga “sakahan” at “likas na kapital” (tulad ng kagubatan, dagat, mineral, lupa, biodiversity), pagkahumaling sa biofuel at pangangalaga sa kalikasan bilang pagbalanse umano sa carbon dioxide. Ang ganitong mga pakana ay may basbas ng United Nations Food Systems Summit at nagresulta sa kawalang pananagutan, patuloy na pandarambong ng mga mapanakop, at lumalaking ganansya.

Kalinaw News: Philippine Army, U.S. Army Pacific conclude Balikatan live fire drill

Posted to Kalinaw News (Apr 1, 2022): Philippine Army, U.S. Army Pacific conclude Balikatan live fire drill

FORT BONIFACIO, Metro Manila – The Philippine Army troops trained side-by-side with their U.S. counterparts in a shoulder-to-shoulder “Balikatan” live fire drill that concluded on March 31, 2022, at the Crow Valley Gunnery Range in Barangay Santa Juliana, Capas, Tarlac.

The live fire drill—spearheaded by the Philippine Army and U.S. Army Pacific (jointly called the Combined Army Forces or CARFOR)—saw the action of around 500 Filipino and American soldiers. The exercise is geared at enhancing the Philippine Army’s land maneuver capabilities and strengthening interoperability of both armies.

The Armor Division and the Artillery Regiment deployed armored personnel carriers equipped with remote control weapon systems and 105mm howitzers for the exercise. For its part, the U.S. military deployed infantry brigade combat teams, a field artillery battalion equipped with howitzers and mortars, an engineering battalion, and a high-mobility artillery rocket system.

Dubbed as the largest-ever iteration of Balikatan, around 8,900 Filipino and American servicemen are taking part in the 12-day training exercises geared at strengthening interoperability and improving both militaries’ readiness to respond to various security threats and crises.

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