Thursday, July 21, 2022

NPA rebels sending surrender feelers, says Northern Mindanao top cop

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 21, 2022): NPA rebels sending surrender feelers, says Northern Mindanao top cop (By: Jigger Jerusalem)

NPA rebels. File Photo

More New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Northern Mindanao were expected to yield as more than a dozen persons affiliated with the armed revolutionary group have surrendered recently to the police.

After the surrender on Friday of 14 members of the NPA’s Militia ng Bayan, the Police Regional Office-10 (PRO-10) said they expected other insurgents to yield.

“There are feelers. We want to pursue these feelers as we see these as an opportunity. So, if there is a chance to accommodate them, we can realign our effort, instead of fighting, we can exert our effort on peace, livelihood, and development,” said Brigadier General Benjamin Acorda Jr., PRO-10 director.

Those who surrendered last week were identified by their aliases: Marvin, Jessie, Reborn, Solong, Alysa, Dina, Gabriel, Chris, Nonon, Nanay, Dona, Dayang, Kulot, and Aysa.

Acorda said the surrenderers belonged to the NPA’s North-Central Mindanao Regional Committee operating in eastern and western Bukidnon, particularly Malaybalay City, Maramag, Quezon, and Valencia City.

“They are non-combatants and, accordingly, most of them were recruited at a young age,” he said.

Acorda said PRO-10 would intensify its campaign to end the local insurgency.

Manuel Ordoña, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency regional director, said: “This accomplishment was a result of collaborative efforts of all members of the clusters of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or RTF-ELCAC.”

Charmaine Tadlas of the Department of Social Welfare and Development-10 said they would assist the surrenderers to enrol in the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program, where their children could benefit from health and educational grants, as well as financial, educational, and medical assistance, and livelihood.

Alleged rebel nabbed, 13 others surrendered in Bicol

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 21, 2022): Alleged rebel nabbed, 13 others surrendered in Bicol (By: Ma. April Mier-Manjares)

Bicol region map

An alleged member of the New People’s Army (NPA) was arrested while 13 others surrendered to the government on Wednesday (July 20) and Thursday (July 21) in the Bicol region, police said.

Police Major Maria Luisa Calubaquib, Bicol police spokersperson, said in a report that authorities
served an arrest warrant against a farmer identified as Benny Turing, aka Geny Toring, 52, in Barangay (village) Villahermosa in Cawayan town in Masbate on Thursday at around 11:10 a.m.

Calubaquib said Turing was a member of the Larangan 2 of Komiteng Probinsya 4 under the command of Ruel Ybanez, operating in the third district of the province.

The police did not give details on the robbery with homicide case of the suspect.

Meanwhile, 13 unnamed members of NPA surrendered to the police at Camp Captain Salvador Jaucian Del Rosario, Sr. in Barangay Sta. Cruz in Ligao City in Albay on Wednesday at around 9 a.m.

In a belated report, Calubaquib said they were members of Larangan 1, Komiteng Probinsya 5 of the Bicol Regional Party Committee.

The former rebels also turned over a M16 rifle, a caliber .45 with a magazine loaded with four bullets, a caliber 30 M1 Garand rifle and a caliber .38 revolver.

Calubaquib said they would be provided with financial assistance under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

No let-up operation led 8 communist terrorists to surrender

 From the Journal Online (Jul 21, 2022): No let-up operation led 8 communist terrorists to surrender

CAMP SIONGCO, Awang, DOS, Maguindanao – Eight (8) members of the communist terrorist group (CTG) yielded to government troops including their weapons which consisted of an automatic rifle, high explosives, and shotgun during a presentation held at the 7th Infantry (TAPAT) Battalion in Barangay Masiag, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat morning of July 20, 2022.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Chicote, Battalion Commander of 7IB, the said personalities were remnants of South Regional Command, Daguma, Far South Mindanao Region (FSMR) who have now had a major setback in their ranks due to the surrender of their members. “They withdraw their allegiance to the CPP-NPA terrorist group”, said Lt. Col. Chicote.

“The former communist combatants also want to clear their names to live normal lives in their community”, Lt. Col. Chicote added.

They turned over their firearms consisting of two rifles 5.56mm M16, one rifle Cal. 30 M1 carbine, two KG9 & one Ingram, and one (1) M79 with three (3) 40mm high explosives, one High Explosive, command-detonated explosives (CDX) and one 12-Gauge Shotgun with several magazines and ammunition.

Colonel Michael Santos, 603rd Infantry Brigade Commander said that based on the revelation of surrendered persons, they decided to surrender and return to the folds of the law because of the no let-up focused military operations in the area.

“The relentless operation of the troops resulted in their significant loss not only in terms of manpower but also on their mass base which made them on the run and experienced hunger, tired and discomfort”, Col. Santos added.

One of the surrenderers said he was happy that they were given the chance to change their lives and correct the mistake they have committed due to the deception of the CPP-NPA.

“Biktima rin kami ng mga kasinungalingan at panlilinlang ng CPP-NPA. Gusto namin ng kapayapaan. Ang CPP-NPA ay naghahasik ng takot at lagim sa komunidad at ito ang isa sa aming mga dahilan para sumuko sa mga awtoridad,” he said.

Major General Roberto Capulong, Acting Commander of 6ID and JTF Central lauded the efforts of troops from the brigade down to the battalion level in winning the hearts and minds of the former combatants that led in waving the white flag. “The CNTs have already broken too many families where they have brought the father, the mother, or the child to their death in the mountains”, Maj. Gen. Capulong said.

“The Former Rebel is now ‘Family Reunited’ and we hope to save many families and help them live a peaceful and happy life away from the armed struggle”, the Division Commander added.

8 ranking NPA rebels surrender in Sultan Kudarat

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Jul 21, 2022): 8 ranking NPA rebels surrender in Sultan Kudarat

ZAMBOANGA. Eight ranking New People’s Army (NPA) rebels surrendered Wednesday, July 20, to the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion in Masiag village, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat. A photo handout shows the NPA surrenderers, who have received initial financial and rice aids posed for posterity picture with military and police officials. (SunStar Zamboanga)

EIGHT ranking New People’s Army (NPA) rebels have surrendered to government authorities in the province of Sultan Kudarat, a top military government official said Thursday, July 21.

Lieutenant General Alfredo Rosario, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said that the eight NPA rebels surrender Wednesday, July 20, to the 7th Infantry Battalion in Masiag village, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat.

Rosario said that
the NPA surrenderers included two squad leaders of the East Daguma Front (EDF), Sub-Regional Command (SRC) Daguma, of the NPA’s Far South Mindanao Region (FSMR).

The other NPA surrenderers include team leaders of the West Daguma Front and platoon medics of the EDF of the FSMR.

Rosario said that they decided to surrender because of the no-let-up Community Support Programs (CSPs) and focused military operations in the area which resulted in their significant losses not only in terms of manpower but also in their mass base which further led to starvation, frustration, and discomfort.

The NPA surrenders turned over eight assorted high-powered firearms and three 40-millimeter high explosives and assorted magazines and ammunition.

They were presented to Colonel Michael Santos, commander of the 603rd Infantry Brigade, and were placed under the custody of 7IB for custodial debriefing and proper disposition.

“I would like to congratulate the 7th Infantry Battalion for convincing this group to surrender peacefully,” Rosario said.

“As soldiers, it is also our fervent desire to have peaceful communities in the entire country; hence, we will continue to welcome those who wish to embrace peace,” he added.

5 BIFF members surrender in North Cotabato

 From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Jul 21, 2022): 5 BIFF members surrender in North Cotabato

ZAMBOANGA. Five members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) surrender to the government Wednesday, July 20, in North Cotabato. A photo handout shows the five BIFF surrenderers (2nd from left to 3rd from right) and the firearms they yielded in a souvenir photo together with military officials. (SunStar Zamboanga)

FIVE members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have surrendered to the government in the province of North Cotabato, the military reported Thursday, July 21, 2022.

The five BIFF members, who surrendered to the troops of the 90th Infantry Battalion (IB) Wednesday, July 20, handed over two Garand rifles, one M-14 rifle, one M-14 Sniper rifle, and one 60-millimeter Mortar.

They were subsequently presented to Colonel Jovencio Gonzales, 602nd Infantry Brigade commander, at Camp Lucero in Poblacion village, Carmen, North Cotabato. Their identities were withheld for security reasons.

During the debriefing, Gonzales said they revealed that they felt it is time for them to abandon their armed struggle because they saw the sincerity of the government in assisting the returnees in their reintegration into mainstream society.

Major General Roberto Capulong, Joint Task Force (JTF)-Central acting commander, said that the voluntary surrender of the five members of the BIFF-Karialan faction was a result of the joint efforts of the 90IB and the intelligence units deployed in the province of North Cotabato.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Alfredo Rosarion, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command, commended the troops for the accomplishment.

“The efforts and sacrifices of our soldiers are being rewarded with the significant breakthroughs in the campaign against terrorism and insurgency in our area of operation,” Rosario added.

Another rebel killed in gun battle

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jul 21, 2022): Another rebel killed in gun battle (By GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

Another member of the New People’s Army died yesterday in renewed armed clashes with Army soldiers in Sitio Taluktok, Brgy. Sandayao, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, disclosed that soldiers of the 62nd Infantry Battalion responded to reports of civilians on the presence of armed rebels in their community, resulting in a five-minute gunbattle.

Pasaporte said the fleeing rebels left behind at the encounter site their slain comrade, whose identity is yet to be established.

Aside from the slain rebel, Army soldiers also recovered a KG-9 sub machine gun with a magazine containing ammunition, a caliber .357 Magnum revolver with ammunition, a fragmentation grenade, subversive documents and assorted personal belongings.

No one was hurt among 62IB soldiers who are still pursuing the fleeing rebels, reported as members of the Central Negros 1, under the supervision of Komiteng Rehiyonal – Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor.

A week ago, four suspected NPA rebels also died an encounter with 94IB soldiers in Brgy. Santol, Binalbagan, Negros Occidental. It was followed by another encounter in Brgy. Inayawan, Cauayan, where Army soldiers recovered war materials left behind by the fleeing rebels.

Malaysia defiant, to fight Sulu sultanate heirs’ claims

From the Mindanao Examiner (Jul 21, 2022): Malaysia defiant, to fight Sulu sultanate heirs’ claims

MALAYSIA WILL protect the country’s assets over claims by the Sulu sultanate heirs, said Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

“Since they brought the case to court, we will also protect our assets through legal channels. I give the assurance that we will not compromise or even budge an inch in defending the country’s rights and sovereignty,” he told reporters after opening the 2022 National Security Conference here.

Ismail was responding to the legal action by the Sulu sultanate’s heirs who were reported to have threatened Malaysia’s interests and assets overseas, especially assets belonging to government-linked companies.

Sultan Jamalul Kiram III reads the Mindanao Examiner regional newspaper in this file photo by Mark Navales, the paper's bureau chief in southern Philippines.

On July 12, the assets of Petronas’ two subsidiaries in Azerbaijan were reported to have been seized by court bailiffs acting on behalf of the sultan’s heirs who are claiming US$14.92 billion (RM62.59 billion) from Malaysia.

The move was said to be part of legal efforts launched in 2017 by the heirs to receive compensation over land in Sabah which they claimed their ancestors had leased to a British trading company in 1878.

Ismail said he was made to understand that Petronas and law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar would give an explanation to Parliament soon on the seizure of the Petronas assets in Azerbaijan.

He said the Cabinet had, on July 14, agreed to set up a special task force to study, monitor and formulate an appropriate action plan based on the provisions of the law to address the issue.

When asked about the need to mobilise security forces to defend the country’s assets overseas, he said: “It’s not easy to bring security forces to other countries, unless under the United Nations flag.”

The Paris Court of Appeal allowed the Malaysian government’s application to stay the enforcement of the final award issued by the arbitration court on the grounds that it would affect the immunity of Malaysia’s sovereignty.

Wan Junaidi said that as a result of the suspension order given by the Paris Court of Appeal, the final award cannot be enforced in any country until a decision is made by the Paris court regarding the Malaysian government’s application for cancellation of the final award.


The dispute arises after “heirs” and “successors-in-interest” to Sultan Jamalul Kiram II initiated a claim against the government of Malaysia through an international arbitration proceeding in Madrid, Spain, Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) had said in a joint statement in March.

The ministry and AGC said the claim is based on an agreement Sultan Mohamet Jamal Al Alam, the Sultan of Sulu at the time, and Baron de Overbeck and Alfred Dent entered into in 1878 under which the Sultan of Sulu granted and ceded in perpetuity the sovereign rights over certain territories located in North Borneo, now forming part of Sabah, Malaysia.

“As a token, RM5,300 per annum was to be paid to the then Sultan of Sulu, his heirs or successors. Following the Lahad Datu armed invasion, payment was ceased in 2013,” the statement read.

The statement was issued after the French arbitration ruling, a ruling which Malaysia pointed out it had not participated in.

“The government of Malaysia does not recognise the claim and did not participate in the purported arbitration proceedings because Malaysia has always upheld and has never waived its sovereign immunity as a sovereign state,” Putrajaya said in its March statement.

“In addition, the subject matter of the claim is not commercial in nature and thus cannot be subject to arbitration and the 1878 Agreement contains no arbitration agreement. We further stress that the claimants’ identities are doubtful and have yet to be verified,” it added.

The Financial Times also reported that if Malaysia continues to ignore the ruling, the money owed to the “heirs” is set to increase, and the claimants’ lawyers indicated that they would pursue more state assets if a resolution was not reached.

The arbitrator in France previously highlighted that for every year the Sulu heirs are getting unpaid, Malaysia’s outstanding liability to the heirs will rise by 10%, the report noted.

Bernama in May, citing Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah, reported that Malaysia will be sending diplomatic notes to 168 countries that signed the New York Convention as an early notification on possible unilateral legal claims by descendants of the Sulu Sultan.

The proactive move was taken so that 168 countries were aware of the unilateral claim, apart from hoping that the countries involved would inform Malaysia if there were such applications filed in their countries, Saifuddin reportedly said.

Unpaid cession money

In March, descendants of the Sultan of Sulu have filed a case against Malaysia in a French court to claim over $32 billion in unpaid cession money as well as how much they believe they are owed for the oil and gas found in Sabah.

The Sultanate of Sulu, founded in 1457, continues to lay claim to Sabah which it obtained from Brunei as a gift for helping put down a rebellion on Borneo Island. The British leased Sabah and transferred control over the territory to Malaysia after the end of World War II.

The Sulu Sultanate said it had merely leased North Borneo in 1878 to the British North Borneo Company for an annual payment of 5,000 Malayan dollars then, which was increased to 5,300 Malayan dollars in 1903. The Sultanate of Sulu is believed to exist as a sovereign nation for at least 442 years. It stretches from a part of the island of Mindanao in the east, to Sabah, in the west and south, and to Palawan, in the north. But North Borneo was annexed by Malaysia in 1963 following a referendum organised by the Cobbold Commission in 1962, the people of Sabah voted overwhelmingly to join Malaysia.

According to the Malaysian newspaper The Star, a French arbitration court has “instructed” the Malaysian government to pay $14.92bil (RM62.6bil) to the descendants of the last Sulu sultan. It reported that Arbitrator Gonzalo Stampa, who is from Spain, issued the award in a Paris court. The decision was based on the alleged violation of payments of RM5,300 cession money under the 1878 agreement signed by Sultan Jamal Al Alam, Baron de Overbeck and the British North Borneo Company’s Alfred Dent.

Malaysia stopped paying the Sultan Sulu’s heirs their annual RM5,300 cession money after over 200 armed followers of the Sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram III led by his younger brother Agbimuddin Kiram landed in Lahad Datu town in Sabah in 2013 to press the ancestral claim on the oil-rich territory. Malaysia responded by sending troops and launching airstrikes before the stand-off ended. The conflict, which lasted more than a month, resulted in the deaths of 68 men from the Sulu sultanate, nine Malaysian armed services personnel and six civilians.

The Star also quoted a report by the Spanish news website La Información which said that Stampa had issued the award, ruling that the 1878 treaty was a commercial “international private lease agreement.” By not paying the cession money since 2013, Stampa said Malaysia had breached the agreement and would have three months to pay up failing which interest would be charged if the decision was not accepted.

On March 17, 2020, Kota Kinabalu High Court judge Datuk Martin Indang ruled that Malaysia was the proper venue to resolve disputes arising from the 1878 Deed of Cession and not the Spanish courts, which do not have authority nor jurisdiction over Malaysia. Justice Idang said this when deciding in favour of the Malaysian government in its suit against eight of the supposed descendants of the sultan of Sulu at the Kota Kinabalu High Court on March 17.

He said there was no binding agreement between the Government and the sultan’s heirs that compelled either party to also submit to arbitration in the event of a dispute.

The heirs’ claims were originally heard in Madrid until the Madrid High Court annulled Stampa’s appointment on grounds that Malaysia was not properly informed about the case and was thus “defenceless”. The case was later moved to the French capital.

Sultan Esmail Kiram III died in 2015 from renal failure at a hospital in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines. His body was brought to his hometown in Sulu’s Maimbung town and buried beside the tomb of his elder brother, Jamalul, whom he succeeded in 2013. The 75-year old sultan was one of the most influential members of the Royal Sultanate. And Agbimuddin also died early of cardiac arrest the same year in Tawi-Tawi province after escaping from Lahad Datu at the height of the Malaysian assault on his group.

Datu Phugdal Kiram, another brother, has reportedly assumed the throne, but the sultanate does not hold any power anymore in the modern-day Philippines, and is more of a title although Malaysia previously paid an annual rental for the island to whoever sits as the head of the Royal Sultanate. But there are dozens of sultans claiming to be the legitimate heir to the throne.

North Borneo Bureau

Two years ago, the Philippines said it would revive the “North Borneo Bureau” to exert its claim to the mineral-rich Sabah even if Malaysia insisted it was theirs. Then Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. told lawmakers that he has decided to revive the North Borneo Bureau to uphold the country's claim to Sabah.

Sulu Governor Sakur Tan previously said the cession money that Malaysia paid annually to the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu was insulting. “The amount is insulting anyway, you can never change history,” he told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

A report by ABS-CBN also quoted Locsin as telling members of the House Appropriations Committee that: “While we fiercely guard our waters, we are not forgetting our terrestrial domain. In pursuit of securing what is ours, I have decided to reactivate the North Borneo Bureau.”

“After realizing that the rest of us have almost forgotten our Sabah claim, casually designating it as another country’s territory, well we have not forgotten. This is one of several international disagreements we can afford to conduct in our best interest without any risk of loss of any kind for our country,” he said, adding, “Our honor is involved here.”

Even Nur Misuari, chieftain of the Moro National Liberation Front, said that what Malaysia pays to the Sultanate of Sulu (and North Borneo), was but a pittance.

Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte’s Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the government has not abandoned its claim on Sabah. “The position of the President, meron tayong claims. Eh totoo namang may claim tayo di ba? That has been a bone of contention ever since,” he said.


Sultan Ibrahim Bahjin-Shakirullah II said North Borneo is an inextricable part and parcel of the Sultanate of Sulu.

He said the Sultanate of Sulu asserts its position on the following: 1.) The Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo was never lawfully ceded to the Republic of the Philippines, and therefore remains a sovereign and independent state; 2.) The stipulation in the Deed of 1878 that the lessees of North Borneo shall administer the territory for “as long as they choose or desire to use them” places it in the category of a “perpetual lease”, effective for 100 years under international law. The contract of lease has therefore expired and possession over North Borneo should now be exercised by the Sultanate of Sulu, its rightful owner. And 3.) The heirs of Jamalul Kiram III do not have private ownership of Sabah. The territory continues to be owned by the Sultanate of Sulu, and not any private person.

In view of the history of the Sultanate and the circumstances surrounding the lease of Sabah, he said: “We desire the recognition of the independent statehood and sovereignty of the Islamic Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo.”

But Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram, who claims to be the 35th Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo, said his grandfather, Sultan Mohammad Esmail Enang Kiram, who was recognized by the Philippine government in 1957, “transferred the rights of North Borneo under the government of President Diosdado Macapagal in 1962.”

Kiram said his father, Sultan Mohammad Mahakuttah Abdulla Kiram, and he, being the Crown Prince of Sulu, confirmed the transfer of the rights of North Borneo to the Philippine government and this was made official through Memorandum Order No. 427 issued by President Ferdinand Marcos in 1974. “We aspire for an amicable solution to the predicament that affects us all in this region,” Kiram said, adding, “The Royal House of Sulu firmly believes that diplomacy will allow us to move forward as governments and other parties involved play a crucial role from alleviating our people from poverty.”

The two are only among the 5 recognized sultans in Sulu. The others are Sultans Mohammad Venizar Julkarnain Jainal Abirin, Muizuddin Jainal Abirin Bahjin and Phugdalun Kiram II. (Free Malaysia Today, The Edge Markets and Mindanao Examiner)

PH, Brazil eye stronger defense ties

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21, 2022): PH, Brazil eye stronger defense ties (By Priam Nepomuceno)

DND officer-in-charge, Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. (center); Brazil's Special Envoy to Asean Piragibe Tarragò (left) and Brazilian Ambassador to Manila Antonio J. M. de Souza e Silva (right) (Photo courtesy of DND)

The Philippines and Brazil look forward to having stronger defense ties following the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on defense cooperation between the two countries.

Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge, Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr., met with representatives from the Brazilian government headed by Special Envoy to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Piragibe Tarragò and Ambassador to Manila Antonio J. M. de Souza e Silva at DND main office on Wednesday.

"With the recent signing of MOU on Defense Cooperation between the Philippines and Brazil, Senior Undersecretary Faustino solicited Brazil's support for the ASEAN Outlook in the Indo-Pacific and welcomed the further development of bilateral cooperation between the two defense establishments,"
said DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong in a statement.

Signed on June 29, the MOU is the first bilateral agreement by the Philippines with a Latin American country.

Tarragô, during the meeting, said defense is one of the significant areas of cooperation between the Philippines and Brazil.

"He added that a high-level delegation from Brazil is slated to visit the Philippines within the year in line with the growing relations between the two nations. An invitation was also extended for the OIC, DND to visit Brazil," Andolong said.

Meanwhile, Faustino recalled the successful acquisition and delivery of six units of A-29B "Super Tucano" close-air support aircraft from Brazilian company Embraer, as part of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.

"Both sides expressed their intent to further develop the bilateral defense cooperation through the conduct of pilot training, the establishment of a bilateral defense dialogue mechanism, and the conclusion of a framework to facilitate logistics and defense industry cooperation," Andolong added.

He also said both countries have agreed on the importance of discussions to identify the mutual defense concerns and highlighted that defense cooperation should be a two-way street.

PAF's remaining S-211 jets used for training, support missions

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21, 2022): PAF's remaining S-211 jets used for training, support missions (By Priam Nepomuceno)

File photo

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) bared Thursday its remaining sub-sonic SIAI Marchetti S-211 jet trainers are now being utilized for training and other support missions.

This came after the delivery of the 12 units of the Mach 1.5 capable South Korean-made FA-50PH light jet fighters has been completed.

"(The S-211s are now being utilized for) fighter pilot training, close-air support, and maritime patrol over the KIG (Kalayaan Island Ground),"
said PAF spokesperson, Col. Maynard Mariano, in a message to the Philippine News Agency.

When asked if there are plans for the PAF to augment or acquire new aircraft to backstop its S-211 aircraft, Mariano said research is now ongoing for its replacement.

"We are planning for a replacement, research is ongoing, and there will be a presentation (of the possible aircraft models) to the senior leadership soon," he added.

The PAF acquired around 25 S-211 units in the 1990s but attrition and lack of spare parts have reduced the number of aircraft in service to about three to five units.

These jets served as the Air Force's sole fighter aircraft following the retirement of the PAF's last seven F-5 aircraft, out of a total of 35, in 2005 due to airframe cracks, high fuel costs, and difficulty in finding spare parts.

The S-211 can carry a crew of two, has a cruise speed of around 667 km/h (414 mph, 360 knots), and can carry guns, rockets, and unguided bombs for close-air support missions.

Cyber security school launched in PH

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21, 2022): Cyber security school launched in PH (By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora)

CybersCool Defcon Chairman of the Board Reynato Puno (PNA photo by Jess Escaros)

The first globally-accredited cyber school was launched in Manila Wednesday, bringing in Israeli cyber security education to the Philippines.

The CybersCool Defcon will offer programs based on modules developed by Tel Aviv-based ThriveDX Saas, a company founded by Roy Zur, who previously spearheaded the design and training of elite Israeli Cyber and Intelligence Units.

"This is the first globally-accredited cyber school in the Philippines and the idea is really to bring the skill of the people. And this is not only about security, but it's also related to anything today because everything at the end of the day is related to cybersecurity," CybersCool Defcon founder Tatoo Amsili told reporters during the launch.

Amsili said they are also in talks with different agencies to discuss possible training programs for government personnel. This as he noted that government agencies must not solely rely on a third-party service provider.

"Any department actually goes online today and (they) really need to have their own people they cannot be depending on third party in the software hardware. It's not enough we need later on people to take over and to manage it," he said.

CybersCool Defcon has six training programs, including the "Zero to Hero" Cybersecurity Bootcamp, which will open in August 2022.

Brig. Gen. Rami Efrati, founding member and former head of the Israel National Cyber Bureau-Civilian Sector, said its establishment alone conveys a message that "Israel is ready to share its knowledge in cybersecurity".

"Cyber is not only cyber attacks, I am speaking also about cyber terrorism. Because if somebody's trying to affect the population and the government by doing illegal things, we have to stop it immediately," he said in an interview.

"So the Israelis, as much as I know as my experience are ready to share this information together with you. This school is one way only," he added.

Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss, meanwhile, sees the school's launch as a "strong foundation" for further cybersecurity collaboration between the two nations.

"This sector is very vibrant in Israel and very proactive so it's really bringing the sector to the Philippines and trying to localize it. And that's exactly the vision of the embassy and I see this as a model," he said.

CybersCool Defcon was founded by Edison Abella and Amsili, with retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno as its chairman of the board.

DND working with NTF-WPS to address incursions in PH waters

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21, 2022): DND working with NTF-WPS to address incursions in PH waters (By Priam Nepomuceno)

DND officer-in-charge, Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. (PNA photo by Joey Razon)

The Department of National Defense (DND) on Thursday said it will coordinate with the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) to address incursions in the country's territorial waters.

"Right now, we have sightings of some particularly Chinese militia vessels and some of the Chinese Coast Guard in the contested areas and through the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea, which is chaired by the National Security Adviser, we coordinate with the NTF-WPS on how to address these incursions,"
said DND officer-in-charge, Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. in a press briefing.

He maintained that the DND is committed to protecting the country's territorial integrity.

"Our sovereignty is inviolable and we have to protect our territorial integrity so that's it, from those lines, the President, we will toe the line kung ano yung kanyang mga statement (as to the statements that he made) regarding the West Philippine Sea,"
he added.

Faustino said it is likely that they will follow the policy set up by the past administration on the matter.

"Sa maritime security, right now, nung panahon ni President (Rodrigo) Duterte, nakita nyo yung collaboration, paano tayo nakipag-collaborate sa China (In terms of maritime security, right now, during the time of President Rodrigo Duterte, you saw how we collaborated with China) in opening up other avenues ng cooperation dito sa (here in the) West Philippine Sea and I think it's the same because of the policy of the President (Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.), our foreign policy, an independent foreign policy, is basically the same," he added

He also stressed that the department is for the peaceful resolution of the conflict in the WPS.

"What we want is a rules-based International order in these areas and we support that," he added.

In June, Manila filed another diplomatic protest over Beijing's activities in the Ayungin Shoal, including the installation of buoys blocking its entrance.

In a report dated June 10, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Chinese Coast Guard vessels have shadowed Philippine boats on a rotation and reprovision mission.

Last July 12, Manila marked the sixth anniversary of the landmark 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration which ruled in its favor and rejected Beijing's claim of historic rights to resources within the nine-dash line in the WPS.

Further, it upheld the Philippines' sovereign rights and jurisdiction in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

11 disgruntled BIFF extremists yield in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21, 2022): 11 disgruntled BIFF extremists yield in Maguindanao (By Edwin Fernandez)

DISGRUNTLED EXTREMISTS. One of the 11 Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) hands over his rifle to military authorities following their surrender Wednesday (July 20, 2022) in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. The BIFF men said they felt disgruntled in fighting a lost cause. (Photo courtesy of Radio DXMS - Cotabato)

COTABATO CITY – Saying they get nothing but hardship fighting a lost cause, 11 members of extremist Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have surrendered to authorities in Maguindanao, the military here said Thursday.

In a statement, Maj. Gen. Roberto Capulong, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, said the radicals, who belonged to the BIFF-Bungos faction, also turned in assault rifles and homemade .50-caliber Barret sniper rifles following their surrender on Wednesday afternoon.

“They made the best decision and I also want them to convince their former comrades to avail of the peace offer of the government,” Capulong, also head of Joint Task Force Central (JTFC), said.

One of the surrenderers who introduced himself as “Samil” aired through a phone patch Thursday a message to his colleagues.

“Come out and follow our decision, hopefully, you will surrender too, we get nothing there, we are not paid, only hardships in fighting a lost cause,” Samil said in the vernacular.

“Here, we can live with our families peacefully, the future of our children is assured,” he added.

Samil’s group surrendered to the Army’s First Combat Battalion in Barangay Pigcalagan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao before their presentation to Capulong.

The village of Pigcalagan borders the town of Pigcawayan in North Cotabato province, prompting municipal Mayor Juanito Agustin to extend aid to some of the BIFF surrenderers who hail from his area.

Ex-rebels reject communist ideology, renew Christian faith

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21, 2022): Ex-rebels reject communist ideology, renew Christian faith (By Che Palicte)

BAPTISM. Ten former members of the communist New People's Army (NPA) in Davao Oriental decide to restore their Christian faith through baptism on July 18, 2022. On the same day, they also graduated from the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program. (Photo courtesy of Davao Oriental PIO)

Ten former communist New People's Army (NPA) rebels decided to restore their Christian faith through baptism and vowed to abandon the communist ideology.

In an interview Thursday, Davao Oriental information officer Karen Lou Deloso said the rebels were baptized by a team of volunteers from the Lighthouse Church on July 18, the same day they graduated on July 18 from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

A surrenderer only known as "Red", 29, said he was thankful for being allowed to change as he vowed not to waste such a “rare opportunity” for them.

“We are grateful for being taught about goodness and transformation. The hatred and grudges in our hearts are now gone, and I am truly thankful I have changed,” he said.

"Dodong", another surrenderer who used to work in the “white areas“ of the communist movement, urged his former comrades to “genuinely transform and embrace the life of peace.”

Deloso said the former rebels are also thankful for the Happy Home, the provincial government-run halfway house and processing center for former rebels, which was conceptualized and initiated by Governor Corazon Malanyaon in 2013.

“They said that if it weren’t for the Happy Home, they would not have gone through spiritual processing because it’s different from the ideology they were taught in the communist movement,” she said.

Since then, services and facilities have evolved and become the E-CLIP implementation model in the country.

Currently, Deloso said hundreds of former rebels are "living their best lives" after receiving scores of benefits from Happy Home, including financial assistance, educational services, livelihood assistance, skills training, housing, spiritual services, and moral recovery activities.

Ex-NPA supporters in Zambo Norte get livelihood training

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21, 2022): Ex-NPA supporters in Zambo Norte get livelihood training (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

Fourteen former communist New People's Army (NPA) supporters, dubbed as “Alsa Masa” in Zamboanga del Norte, will participate in a 23-day livelihood skills training, officials said Thursday.

Capt. Mary Jephte Mañebog, 1st Infantry Division information officer, said Thursday the recipients will undergo Masonry National Certificate 1 (NC1) training starting August 1 to be conducted by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Sindangan town.

The beneficiaries are from the far-flung sitios (sub-village) of Matagnay and Makinaryas, in Barangay Bunawan, Godod town.

Barangay Bunawan is a New People’s Army (NPA)- cleared village in Godod and a beneficiary of the Barangay Development Program (BDP) for Calendar Year 2022.

“The Alsa Masa were former supporters of the NPA. After we co-opted them to our side, they became Alsa Masa against the NPA,” said Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, in a text message Thursday.

Each of the recipients will receive PHP160 support fund daily for the duration of their training. Everyone will also receive PHP500 new normal allowance and PHP500 t-shirt allowance.

Hermil Contavida, TESDA Provincial Training Center (PTC) administrator of Sindangan, said the trainees masonry project will be a health center for Sitio Makinaryas that will aid in the health concerns of the local populace.

The TESDA-PTC will provide the materials with counterpart from Barangay Bunawan for the construction of the health center in Sitio Makinaryas.

Lt. Col. Filven Noche, 44th Infantry Battalion commander, vowed to sustain their support to the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster to uplift the living condition and quality of life of recipients.

Gov’t gives aid to slain NPA rebel’s kin in NegOr

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21, 2022): Gov’t gives aid to slain NPA rebel’s kin in NegOr (By Mary Judaline Partlow)

SLAIN REBEL. The family of a New People's Army member who was killed in an encounter with government troops claims his body on Thursday (July 21, 2022). The Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Guihulngan City, the Army, local police, and the local government gave assistance to the rebel’s family. (Photo courtesy of 62IB, Philippine Army)

The local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC) in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental has given assistance to the family of a Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebel who died in an encounter with soldiers on Wednesday.

Juvita and Roel Landesa, the wife and son, respectively, of the slain NPA rebel, Pompeo D. Landesa, claimed his body at a funeral home in Guihulngan City on Thursday, a report from the 62nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army said.

Landesa, 56, of Sitio Dako in Barangay Sandayao, was tagged as a member of the NPA’s Central Negros 1 (CN1) of the Komiteng Rehiyon Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor.

He was killed during a five-minute firefight between his group of about five insurgents and 62IB troops in Sitio Taluktok in Barangay Sandayao.

Following the encounter in the remote, mountain barangay, authorities brought the body to Guihulngan City for post-mortem examination.

The TF-ELCAC provided the coffin for the slain rebel who was brought to a funeral home in Guihulngan City.

His family also received relief goods from the City Social Welfare and Development Office and livelihood products from the City Agriculturist Office.

Landesa joined the NPA in 2005, the military said.

After learning of the government’s programs for former rebels, such as the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), the family has since been asking Landesa to surrender.

“Sa mga kauban ni papa, mag surrender na mo, para dili mahitabo ninyo ang nahitabo ni papa (to the comrades of my father, I encourage you to surrender so that you will not suffer the same fate),” Roel was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. William Pesase, 62IB commanding officer, told the Philippine News Agency that the encounter on July 20 is an indication of recovery efforts by the NPA’s CN1.

“For about two or three years, that area (Sandayao) had seen fewer clashes between the Army and the NPA, with the mass base already dwindling,” Pesase said in mixed English and Filipino.

Pesase reiterated the government’s call for the remaining NPA members to surrender and avail of the E-CLIP while countering claims by the insurgency movement that they will be killed when they turn themselves in, saying “that is a lie, a deception”.

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.

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

Authorities arrest ASG bandit in Zambo island-village

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21, 2022): Authorities arrest ASG bandit in Zambo island-village (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

ASG BANDIT. Police and military troops arrest an alleged Abu Sayyaf Group bandit in a raid Thursday (July 21, 2022) of his hideout in Barangay Landang Laum, Sacol Island, Zamboanga City. The suspect has a standing warrant of arrest for murder. (Photo courtesy of the Zamboanga City Police Office)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Police and military troops arrested in a raid an alleged Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandit Thursday in an island barangay east of the city.

Col. Alexander Lorenzo, Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) director, said Janib Ilun, 42, was arrested around 9:59 a.m. in Barangay Landang Laum, Sacol Island.

Armed with an arrest warrant, Lorenzo said authorities launched the raid following a confirmed report that Ilun was in his hideout in the village.

Ilun has standing warrant of arrest for the murder with no recommended bail issued June 29, 2016 by a regional court here.

Ilun was temporarily detained at the ZCPO headquarters.

110 ex-rebels in Davao Oro get livelihood aid

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21, 2022): 110 ex-rebels in Davao Oro get livelihood aid (By Che Palicte)

LIVELIHOOD ASSISTANCE. Lawyer Vanessa Goc-ong, Department of Social Welfare and Development in Davao Region (DSWD-11) director (center), leads the distribution of the PHP2.2 million worth of livelihood settlement grant to 110 identified former rebels from Davao de Oro on Thursday (July 21, 2022). Among possible livelihoods to be funded by the grant include sundry stores, vegetable gardening, vulcanizing and hog raising. (Photo courtesy of DSWD-11)

At least 110 identified former rebels from Davao de Oro are recipients of a PHP2.2 million worth of livelihood settlement grant Thursday, the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Davao Region (DSWD-11) said.

In a statement, DSWD-11 Director Vanessa Goc-ong said the beneficiaries received PHP20,000 each during a ceremony held at the provincial capitol in Nabunturan town.

“The grants will be used as capital on their [FR] proposed livelihood project to uplift their socio-economic well-being as they start anew,” she said.

Goc-ong assured that their agency will continue to assist former rebels who wanted to change their lives as they reintegrate into their communities.

Livelihoods such as neighborhood sundry stores, vegetable gardening, vulcanizing, and hog raising were identified by the recipients, according to her.

The fund was released through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of DSWD-11, which aims to improve the economic well-being of disadvantaged individuals and families in communities by mobilizing the support of the local government units and other government agencies.

Meanwhile, 2nd District Board Member Ruwina Gonzaga, who represented Governor Dorothy Gonzaga at the activity, also expressed her gratitude to the various government agencies for providing sustainable livelihood assistance to the NPA surrenderers and their families.

Gonzaga said the provincial government will also continue supporting programs and initiatives of the state forces in maintaining peace in Davao de Oro.

Naga City police conducts counter-terrorism simulation exercise

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21, 2022): Naga City police conducts counter-terrorism simulation exercise (By Connie Calipay and Jason Neola)

ELITE FORCE. Undated photo shows operatives of the Naga City Police Office’s Mobile Force Company during the conduct of one of its counter-terrorism simulation activities at the Metro Naga Sports Complex. The conduct of exercises was part of the evaluation and validation as a finalist in the search for the Best City Mobile Force Companies in the country. (Photo courtesy of Rey Baylon)

NAGA CITY – To boost its performance in operational readiness and capability, the Naga City Police Office (NCPO) has conducted a simulation exercise on counter-terrorism and other criminal activities.

Staged at the expansive Metro Naga Sports Complex in Barangay Pacol on Monday, the operatives of the local police’s mobile force company conducted simulation exercises on different drills and workouts aimed at enhancing the conduct of their operations against assaults and aggressions by lawless elements.

In an interview on Thursday, Maj. Malu Calubaquib, Police Regional Office-Bicol (PRO-5) spokesperson, said the conduct of exercises by the mobile force company was part of the evaluation and validation as a finalist in the search for the Best City Mobile Force Companies (CMFC) in the country.

"Teams of field evaluation and validation visited the Bicol region to conduct inspections, evaluation, and validation as part of the Final Phase for selecting the "Best of the Best" as part of the celebration of the upcoming 121st Police Service Anniversary on August 8, this year," Calubaquib said.

Aside from the Naga City Mobile Force Company, she said other police units in Bicol are also finalists in the search.

These are the Police Regional Office 5 for best PRO; Camarines Norte Provincial Police Office for best PPO; Naga City Police Office for best city police office; Bulan Municipal Police Station for best MPS; Regional Mobile Force Battalion 5 for best RMFB; and 1st Masbate Provincial Mobile Force Company for best PMFC.

Aside from counter-terrorism strategies, Calubaquib said the evaluators also looked at the city mobile force company’s performance in manning a high-risk checkpoint, conducting police counter-insurgency operations, managing the peace and order situations during rallies and protests, and arresting an armed suspect or criminal.

Masbate's 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company (M1st PMFC) was included in the Top 3 candidates out of more than 160 PMFCs nationwide during the initial selection process, based on significant accomplishments, competency, and best practices.

8 NPA rebels yield in Sultan Kudarat

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21, 2022): 8 NPA rebels yield in Sultan Kudarat (By Edwin Fernandez)

ABANDONED REBELS. One of the eight New People’s Army rebels hands over his firearm to authorities following their surrender in Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat, Thursday (July 21, 2022). The surrenderers said they were abandoned by their leaders. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

Eight members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) operating in the mountains of Sultan Kudarat surrendered to government forces Thursday, claiming their leaders had abandoned them.

The group turned in weapons to Lt. Col. Frederick Chicote, 7th Infantry Battalion commander. The military unit is based in Barangay Masiag, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat.

The firearms consisted of two M16 rifles, an M1 Carbine rifle, two KG9 pistols, an Ingram machine pistol, an M79 grenade launcher, a 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, and several explosives.

Chicote said the surrenderers were remnants of NPA South Regional Command, Daguma, Far South Mindanao Region, which has experienced a major setback in its ranks following the series of surrenders.

“They have withdrawn their allegiance to the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA group,” Chicote said.

He said the surrenderers also want to clear their names and live normal lives as their leaders have abandoned them after failing to deliver their promises of a good and secure life.

Ruben, one of the surrenderers, said he was happy they were given the chance to change their lives and correct the mistake they have committed "due to the deception of the CPP-NPA."

“We were victims of lies, lip service, and clearly we were duped,” he said in the vernacular.

Maj. Gen. Roberto Capulong, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, said the Army hopes to "save many families and help them live a peaceful and happy life away from the armed struggle."

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 Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.

‘More than enough’ forces in central Negros vs. NPA: Army

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21, 2022): ‘More than enough’ forces in central Negros vs. NPA: Army (By Nanette Guadalquiver)

The Philippine Army’s 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) is optimistic about defeating the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in central Negros with sufficient manpower and support from the communities.

As of Thursday, Himamaylan City and Binalbagan town in Negros Occidental and the municipalities of Tayasan and Manjuyod in Negros Oriental are considered strategic areas in the 94IB’s operations.

“We have more than enough forces. We consider the NPA in central Negros as just roving bandits,”
Lt. Col. Van Donald Almonte, commander of 94IB, said over the Provincial Capitol’s Radyo Negrense.

The 94IB, with headquarters in Ayungon, Negros Oriental, also covers seven villages in Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental, as well as the municipalities of Jimalalud, Tayasan, and Bindoy on the Oriental side.

Almonte said in his past four months as the battalion’s commanding officer, his troops have engaged communist rebels in clashes that mostly took place in Himamaylan City, and also neighboring Binalbagan.

On July 6, joint forces of the 94IB, 33rd Division Reconnaissance Company, and Negros Occidental Police Mobile Force Company neutralized four fighters of the NPA’s Central Negros Front 2 - Komiteng Rehiyon Negros during an encounter in Sitio Amilis, Barangay Santol in Binalbagan town.

Almonte said the CPP-NPA continues to recruit young people to fight against the government and replace the aging cadres and combatants.

He emphasized that parents should be aware of the company their children keep and should also be alarmed once they start joining protest rallies because it is where the recruitment starts.

“They should fear those who pretend to be good with intention as they plan to take their children away,” he said, adding that the CPP-NPA also targets out-of-school youth in remote areas.

Almonte said aside from implementing the government’s holistic approach to fighting insurgency under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, they also work with other sectors in the communities.

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

CPP/NPA-Negros Island ROC: Pasaporte’s admission by denial

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 21, 2022): Pasaporte’s admission by denial

Juanito Magbanua
Negros Island Regional Operational Command (Apolinario Gatmaitan Command)
New People's Army

July 21, 2022

While ostensibly denying that the 79th Infantry Battalion is planning to bomb Northern Negros Natural Park covering swathe of mountain ranges and forest lands in Murcia and other towns, 303rd Brigade Commander Inocencio Pasaporte could not helped himself but show off the AFP’s aerial assets.

He bragged about smart or precision bombs that can be delivered by the ageing OV-10 Broncho and newly acquired A-29 Super Tucano bombers to hit specific targets and strike “decisive” blows against the NPA.

The Rose Jean Pelle Command of the NPA’s North Negros Front earlier reported about this malevolent plan citing verified information from various reliable sources, including one from the AFP itself.

Pasaporte’s logic, if you can call it that, is contradictory at its very core and ambivalent at the very least. He denies planning to bomb said areas, but at the same time prates about precise decisive aerial strikes. Indeed, by denying he is actually admitting.

Precision bombs or not, these bombs can inflict irreparable damage and destruction to the people residing and farming in these areas, as well as, to the environment that are supposedly “protected areas.”

Besides, the record of AFP’s aerial bombings can hardly be called precise. The AFP has dropped at least 591 bombs against the NPA since 2017. But only 109 actually hit an NPA camp, with an accuracy rate of only 18.44%.

As Negrosanons confront the adverse effects of Tiempo Muerto (dead season) often marked by pervasive poverty, hunger and lack of work, it is the height of callousness to squander millions of tax payers’ money for useless bombing operations. These funds are better spent on much needed social services and subsidies to poor families.

Pasaporte is obviously showing off to please his new commander-in-chief and gain favor, especially with Marcos Jr’s upcoming SONA spectacle. ##

CPP/CIO: Condemn AFP plan to bomb Negros natural reservation

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 21, 2022): Condemn AFP plan to bomb Negros natural reservation

Marco Valbuena
Chief Information Officer
Communist Party of the Philippines

July 21, 2022

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns the plans of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), particularly the 303rd Infantry Brigade, to carry out a massive aerial bombardment over the hinterland communities of Barangay Minapasuk, Calatrava, Negros Occidental.

According to reports, the 79th IB, a unit under the 303rd IBde, has been securing “permits” to mount a 3-day bomb testing in Minapasuk’s Mandalagan Mountain Range, a part of the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP). The NNNP is considered a key biodiversity area and the largest protected area in Northern Negros, and is recognized by international conservation organizations.

Reports from local residents say people of several sitios are being forced to evacuate their homes. The military wants the area to be cleared and declared a “no man’s land”.

In a media interview, 303rd IBde’s Brigadier General Innocencio Pasaporte confirmed the plan to mount aerial strikes in the said area. He said with complete disregard to its possible effects to civilians and the environment, that “a military commander will use whatever resources are available to accomplish the mission.”

In conjunction with its planned aerial strikes, the AFP has subjected at least 21 sitios of two barangays in Calatrava town to relentless harrassment, threats and intimidation. Last July 6, forces of the 79th IB fired indiscriminately in the vicinity of communities in Barangay Marcelo which caused severe injuries to a child and several other people.

Gen. Pasaporte is making himself look stupid when he declares that the planned aerial strikes aim to target NPA units. If it were true that there are NPA units in the area, they would have already maneuvered to secure their safety, with public pronouncements of the planned aerial bombing.

In fact, the real aim of the AFP in conducting these aerial strikes is to terrorize the people of Calatrava to force them to “surrender” their defense of their land, destroy their farmlands and forest resources. The bombing will surely wreak havoc on the wildlife and resources of the Mandalagan Mountain Range.

We call on the Filipino people, the people of Negros, peasant advocate groups, defenders of human rights and environmentalists, to stand together and collectively fight and frustrate the AFP’s plans to drop bombs against the protected range and once and for all demand an end to the AFP’s brutal campaign of aerial bombardment.

CPP/NPA-Central Negros: Laganap na miltarisasyon at paglabag sa karapatang-pantao ng mga sibilyan sa Central Negros, kinokondena ng LPC-NPA!

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 20, 2022): Laganap na miltarisasyon at paglabag sa karapatang-pantao ng mga sibilyan sa Central Negros, kinokondena ng LPC-NPA! (Widespread militarization and violation of human rights of civilians in Central Negros, condemned by LPC-NPA)

JB Regalado
NPA-Central Negros (Leonardo Panaligan Command)
Negros Island Regional Operational Command (Apolinario Gatmaitan Command)
New People's Army

July 20, 2022

Mariing kinokondena ng Leonardo Panaligan Command-New People’s Army (LPC-NPA) ang walang patumanggang pinagbabaril ng matataas na kalibre ng armas ng mga kasundaluhan sa ilalim ng 62nd Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA) kung saan namamahinga sa isang kubo ang limang sibilyan sa So. Catuptop, Bray. Trinidad, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental kaninang alas 8:00 ng umaga, ika-20 ng Hulyo 2022.

Sa inisyal na imbestigasyon ng LPC-NPA sa pangyayari, ayon sa ulat nasawi sa nasabing pangyayari si Pompeo Landisa, magsasaka at residente ng nasabing lugar habang nakaligtas at nakatakbo ang iba pang kasamahan nito. Itinanim lamang ang nakuhang baril sa pangyayari at walang naganap na engkwentro sa pagitan ng mga berdugong tropa ng 62nd IBPA at yunit ng LPC-NPA.

Sa kabilang banda, kinokondena rin ang pag-aresto kay Ramonito Mahinay na resisdente ng So. Kamanggahan, Brgy. Tabon, Valle Hermoso sa isinampang gawa-gawang kaso na illegal possession of firearms kung saan itinanim lamang sa kanya ang nakuhang baril noong Hulyo 9 taong kasalukuyan.

Kung matatandaan, inaresto rin si Nelfa De lima sa gawa-gawang kaso at tinaniman ng baril at eksplosibo gayundin ang pagpangharass at pamamaril ng mga AFP at PNP sa mga magsasaka na pinararatangang myembro ng New People’s Army.

Talamak ang nasabing kalakaran ng mga pasista at berdugong Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at Philippine National Police (PNP) sa pag-atake sa demokratikong karapatan ng mga mamamayan at sibilyan laluna sa kanayunang saklaw ng Central Negros.

Nagbunga ito ng takot, pagkasira ng pamumuhay, dislokasyon at pangangamba sa seguridad na mabuhay ng malawak na mamamayan na naninirahan sa kanayunan.

Malaking hamon sa mga mamamayan na maninidigan at igit ang karapatan. Makibaka at huwag matakot!

CPP/NDF-Negros Island: Revolutionary forces of Negros firmly reject and oppose “localized peace talks”

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 20, 2022): Revolutionary forces of Negros firmly reject and oppose “localized peace talks”

Bayani Obrero
NDF-Negros Island
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

July 20, 2022

Lately, the illegitimate US-Marcos II regime resurrected the long dead balderdash of conducting “localized peace talks” in place of the national peace negotiations between the NDFP and GRP.

It is a vain and desperate ploy to divide the revolutionary movement and mislead the people on the question of peace negotiations and the struggle for just and lasting peace.

Marcos Jr.’s henchmen at the NTF-Elcac brandished “localized peace talks” as if it is a novel innovation in their arsenal of psychological warfare and chicanery. And it is being rebranded as “local peace engagement” that would allegedly address the so-called specific “dynamic of conflict”.

“Local peace talks” has nothing to do with genuine peace, that is peace based on social justice. It serves only to deodorize the continuing brutal counterrevolutionary war and its attendant murderous campaigns that for years wrecked lives and trampled on people’s fundamental rights. It seeks to destroy the revolution by instigating capitulation as an appendage to armed counterrevolution. Hence, “localized peace talks” is packaged with a duplicitous amnesty program.

Paid hacks in the NTF-Elcac babbled nonsensically about “peace” while people’s socio-economic and political woes at the core remain unattended. As if real peace can be achieved by mere spectacle of showcase projects and palliatives or periodic dole-outs.

It deliberately projected armed struggle as the problem while obscuring the social conditions and crises in the country driving the people to rise up in greater numbers and take up arms. Armed struggle is the answer to these problems and not the other way around.

The civil war between the people’s democratic government and the reactionary state is rooted in the basic problems of the country that is imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism. These have, for more than 70 years, impoverished the Filipino people from all parts of the country and relegated its economy to a backward, agrarian and pre-industrial state.

These fundamental problems could have been addressed in a peaceable manner at the negotiating table between the two belligerent parties while the civil war is ongoing. Limited ceasefire is also possible to give favorable ambiance to the talks. But truce or cessation of hostilities is only attainable only after the comprehensive agreements on the remaining substantive agenda in the peace talks, especially that of socio-economic reforms which is the meat of the negotiations, is forged, approved and subsequently implemented.

In this spirit, the NDFP as the duly representative of all revolutionary forces and organs of political power in the country engaged in a peace negotiation with the GRP since November 1986. Despite so many stumbling blocks and difficulties, it was able to forge numerous agreements beneficial to the people. Foremost among these are the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the final draft of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-economic Reform (CASER).

To claim that peace is attainable in one part of the country without resolving the over-all social problems besetting the Filipino people is pure and simple twaddle.

NTF-ELCAC is pushing for “localized peace talks” to suppress the people’s resistance against the onslaught of “development” aggression of imperialist mega projects. For instance, the mineral-rich lands of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental inhabited by Magahat-Bukidnon tribes have been target by transnational mining companies for massive extractive activities. These areas are currently under AFP control and heavily militarized.

The revolutionary forces of Negros—from CPP’s regional committee to the branches, NPA’s regional operational command to front operational commands, and NDF’s allied organizations at all levels, firmly reject and oppose “localized peace talks” and will not engage, participate or even recognize such bogus peace undertaking.

If ever such talks is ever held in Negros, NTF-ELCAC will be talking with themselves or maybe with some former revolutionaries-turned traitors and other elements with dubious character misrepresenting the revolutionary movement.###

CPP/CIO: Condemn US intervention over reinclusion of CPP and NPA in US-FTO

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 20, 2022): Condemn US intervention over reinclusion of CPP and NPA in US-FTO

Marco Valbuena
Chief Information Officer
Communist Party of the Philippines

July 20, 2022

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns the US government for political and military intervention in the country’s national affairs over the recent re-inclusion of the CPP and the New People’s Army (NPA) in the list of so-called “foreign terrorist organizations” maintained by the US State Department.

The re-inclusion of the CPP and NPA, as well as other Moro and domestic Islamic groups, was made in a July 6 resolution signed by US state secretary Anthony Blinken and published yesterday in the US federal register1.

We denounce the US for the “terrorist-labelling” of the CPP and NPA. This is baseless and merely serves its war-craving. Far from being “terrorists,” the CPP and NPA are revolutionary organizations that advance the cause of democracy and national freedom, and work to lead the Filipino people in the struggle for liberation from the clutches of US imperialism.

The US government has included the CPP and NPA in its so-called FTO list to pressure the Philippine government against conducting peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). In October 2017, then US president Trump personally delivered the message to former president Duterte, who weeks later issued a proclamation terminating the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations and declaring the CPP and NPA as terrorists. On the advise of the US, officials of the newly-installed Marcos regime have already declared it will not resume the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations.

The US opposes the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations because it wants the armed suppression of the patriotic and democratic forces that oppose US intervention and domination. The US government is also pushing for the so-called “localized peace talks” to carry out a widespread war of pacification to allow the unimpeded entry of American multinational corporations which are aiming to control around 300,000 hectares of plantation land and mining areas in Mindanao.

The US imperialists also want a perpetual war in the Philippines to ensure a steady market for US bombs, jet fighters, artillery, rifles and bullets. To unload itself of surplus military supplies, the US has been pushing the Philippine military and government to carry out a costly and brutal aerial bombardment campaign in counterguerrilla operations.

The US’ inclusion of the CPP and NPA in its FTO list is being used to justify the deployment of US military forces in the Philippines.

Since 2017, an undetermined number of American soldiers are operating in the Philippines under the Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines (OPEP). Many of these are based in US facilities inside Camp Navarro in Zamboanga, as well as other military camps across the country. They are protected and given extra-territorial rights under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and other unequal military agreements.

US military forces advise, train and join the AFP in conducting counterguerrilla operations, including the operation of surveillance drones in the country. The US is known for conducting its own aerial surveillance within the country’s sovereign airspace.

The US “FTO” list is being used to justify the extension of military aid to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The US feeds the corrupt generals of the AFP and security establishment with millions of pesos of kickbacks from the so-called “modernization” program.

Experts have denounced the US “foreign terrorist organizations” list as arbitrary and without legal basis under international law. While the US labels revolutionary organizations such as the CPP/NPA as “terrorists”, it does not apply the same label to fascist groups such as the notorious Azov Battalion in Ukraine, which the US, in fact, helps arm and train.

The CPP demands the US government to stop its political and military intervention in the country. The Party denounces the Philippine government for allowing the US to trample on the country’s sovereignty and for bowing to US dictates.

We urge the American people to demand the US government to stop interfering in the internal affairs of the Philippines and to stop supplying bombs, jet fighters, and other weapons being used by the Philippine military and police against the Filipino people under the Marcos regime. Human rights abuses perpetrated by the AFP and PNP in the course of US-supported counterguerrilla operations run rampant.

The American people can demand the revocation of the so-called FTO list which is being used as an instrument of intervention in the Philippines and across the world.

CPP//////NPA-Southeast Negros: PNP’s recent arrest in Sta. Catalina: proof of regime’s corrupt counterrevolutionary drive

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 19, 2022): PNP’s recent arrest in Sta. Catalina: proof of regime’s corrupt counterrevolutionary drive

Estrella Banagbanag
NPA-Southeast Negros (Rachelle Mae Palang Command)
Negros Island Regional Operational Command (Apolinario Gatmaitan Command)
New People's Army

July 19, 2022

The RMPC-NPA expresses condemnation and outright disgust on the recent claim of the PNP in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental involving the arrest of Charlie Saliganan, who they suspect as an active member of the revolutionary movement. Lt. Gen. Danao’s commendation of the arrest is akin to his commander-in-chief Marcos’ talent for fabrications. This act is nothing but hogwash to bolster their misplaced egos and insatiable greed, as Saliganan is not a member of the revolutionary movement.

The reactionary troops have piled lie after lie to cover up their failure of meeting several extended self-imposed deadlines of quelling the armed revolution. Danao is obviously sucking up to the illegitimate US-Marcos regime with his bloody record as Marcos’ first SONA nears. He aims to reap both monetary rewards and promotions for himself.

And like Danao, the 302nd Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Leonardo Peña’s repeated claim of a ‘dismantled’ Southeast Front now only operated by ‘remnants’ is a myth consistently disproved by recent encounters and their focused military operations in the area. The sycophant Peña is sitting on this fiction to hide his brigade’s embarrassment as the NPA continues to flourish and is fully supported by the revolutionary masses in Negros Oriental.

It has become a pattern of the AFP and PNP to arrest civilians, red-tag them as members of the CPP-NPA coupled with exaggerated yet inexistent positions, plant firearms and ammunition that do not match with each other during illegal arrests, and fabricate trumped-up charges. All of these senseless follies have become the milking cow of fascist troops to extort bail money or leech off of intended funds for ‘rebel returnees’. Unwittingly, these dirty tricks push the people to side with their NPA.

The top officials of the mercenary troops have revealed themselves to be bootlickers serving the Marcos-Arroyo-Duterte (MAD) alliance to advance the interests of the few, deliberately bulldozing the rights and welfare of the majority of the Negrosanons. The state’s desperation ridden with corruption, disinformation and atrocities will continuously debunk their recycled scripts of a weakening revolution and swell the numbers of the NPA even more.

What the likes of Danao and Peña need to understand is that the armed struggle cannot be obstructed by their ridiculous mix of ‘benevolent’ persuasion and brutal methods if the former does not work. The revolution cannot be dismantled by state violence as that will only reinforce and urge the Negrosanons and the entire Filipino people to wage a just war against all forms of injustice and oppression. ###