Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Why Marcos Jr is poking and not appeasing China

 Posted to the Asia Times (Jun 6, 2023): Why Marcos Jr is poking and not appeasing China (By JENNY BALBOA And SHINJI TAKENAKA)

Philippine leader had little choice but to ditch his predecessor’s failed engagement policy and reach back to treaty ally US

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has pushed back against China in the South China Sea. Image: Twitter

Despite careful words from Philippine officials, the latest US-Philippines Balikatan military exercise was a response to China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea.

China’s provocations had become indiscriminate — targeting both uniformed Filipino personnel and small-scale fisherfolk in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. China’s aggressive actions had become bolder, making it more difficult to turn a blind eye to the situation.

The 38th Balikatan exercise in April 2023 was the biggest in the three-decade history of their joint combat drills. The exercise did not sit well with Beijing, which immediately released a warning that such activities can aggravate tension in the area.

The Chinese ambassador to the Philippines issued an upfront reproach to the Philippine government about China’s displeasure of such “provocative” activities.

The United States and the Philippines promptly conducted the third 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue on April 11, 2023, in Washington. Top US-Philippines foreign affairs and defense officials issued clear-cut statements about the South China Sea conflict.

The joint statement condemned China’s illegal activities and called for compliance with the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration decision, which rejected Beijing’s claims on territory and maritime rights based on its “nine-dash line.” The statement also reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the Philippines seems to have turned its back on the China appeasement strategy that characterized the foreign policy of his predecessor.

Former president Rodrigo Duterte moved the Philippines closer to China by downplaying the Arbitral Tribunal award favoring the Philippines. In retrospect, Duterte provided China with ample space to construct a closer and mutually beneficial relationship with the Philippines.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Then-Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte. Photo: AFP / Mark Cristino

Yet Beijing continued to conduct aggressive actions in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone targeting the Philippine military and fisherfolk who are more disadvantaged. There was a clear mismatch between Beijing’s words and actions.

It did not help that China reneged on many of its economic commitments to Manila. Beijing failed to fulfill its pledged investment in several big-ticket infrastructure projects.

As a dominant state that wields considerable influence in the economy and security of many countries, China seems to have assumed that vulnerable states, such as the Philippines, would tolerate its belligerent actions.

China had lost sight that the Philippines – like many ASEAN countries – is a post-colonial state, sensitive to the raw ambition of superpowers to dominate and bend them against their will. Beijing overlooked the determination of many domestic actors in these countries to defend their national interest.

The country’s territorial integrity is now under threat from a hegemonic China. Given the Philippine military’s inability to defend the country against a preponderant China, the Philippines moved closer to the United States, which provides the training and capacity to protect its territory.

The Philippines is also vital to US interests because it is a treaty ally that occupies a critical position in the US defense perimeter in Asia — the US alliance architecture which runs from East Asia to the South China Sea and the Western Pacific.

During their meeting on May 1, US President Joe Biden assured Marcos Jr that: “The United States remains ironclad in [its] commitment to the defense of the Philippines, including the South China Sea.”

A stronger Philippines–US alliance has complicated the cost for China to challenge the Philippines over territorial issues. Given the US military’s sophisticated weapons, equipment, and combat training, it is fully capable of deterring China’s advance in the South China Sea.

The enlarged presence of the US military in the northern Philippines can also reinforce more dynamic and collaborative operations in case China attempts to forcefully unify Taiwan with the mainland.

The way China treated the Philippines in the 2010s showed Beijing’s overconfidence as a new global power. During the term of former president Benigno Aquino Jr — when the Philippines filed a case against China in 2013 at the Hague — China refused to participate in the three-year trial.

Instead, Beijing continued to flex through military drills and issuing trade sanctions to the Philippines. Beijing lost a critical opportunity to prove that it respects the rule of law. During Duterte’s presidential term, Beijing wasted the chance to establish that it is a credible and benign great power to its neighbors.

Philippine and US Marines during a surface-to-air missile simulation as part of exercise Kamandag joint exercises on October 10, 2019. Photo: Lance Cpl. Brienna Tuck / US Marine Corps

Beijing left Manila with little choice but to take the next best approach, which was to strengthen its alliance with the United States to balance the China threat. This is not to say that the China-Philippines relationship is hopeless.

China can take the time to review its foreign policy and learn from the unexpected consequences of its actions. The strong-arm policy that Beijing used on Manila only aggravates tensions and has proven to be unsustainable in the context of great power competition for influence in Asia.

But Manila can take advantage of warmer US-Philippines ties to address critical issues beyond the security realm. The Philippines can join like-minded countries to address its vulnerabilities – including Chinese trade dependence and other economic security and resilience issues.

[Jenny Balboa is a Lecturer at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and at the Department of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies, Hosei University. Shinji Takenaka is a Senior Economist at the Japan Center for Economic Research.]

[This article was originally published by East Asia Forum and is republished under a Creative Commons license.]


US, Japanese, Philippine Coast Guard Ships Stage Law Enforcement Drills Near South China Sea

From The Diplomat (Jun 6, 2023): US, Japanese, Philippine Coast Guard Ships Stage Law Enforcement Drills Near South China Sea (By Aaron Favila and Joeal Calupitan)

Philippine officials say such joint exercises with U.S. forces do not target any country. But Beijing says increased U.S. security deployments in Asia target China and undermine regional stability.

A Philippine Coast Guard rigid hull inflatable boat passes by the Japanese Coast Guard Akitsushima (PLH-32) during a trilateral Coast Guard drill off the waters in Bataan province, Philippines, Tuesday, June 6, 2023.Credit: AP Photo/Aaron Favila

U.S., Japanese, and Philippine coast guard ships staged law enforcement drills in waters near the disputed South China Sea on Tuesday as Washington presses efforts to reinforce alliances in Asia amid an increasingly tense rivalry with China.

Witnessed by journalists onboard a Philippine coast guard patrol boat, the BRP Cabra, the drills focused on a scenario involving the interdiction and boarding of a vessel suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction off the Bataan Peninsula, Philippine coast guard spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo said.

Shots rang out as heavily armed coast guard personnel rapidly boarded the vessel from a speedboat and herded the crew members toward the stern. A helicopter hovered as U.S. and Japanese coast guard ships helped rescue crew members who jumped off the target vessel during the mock assault.

“We are not just all display,” Philippine coast guard deputy spokesperson John Ybanez said. “All these exercises that we do will help us help each other in possible scenarios in the future.”

The U.S. Coast Guard deployed one of its most advanced cutters, the 418-foot (127-meter) Stratton, in the June 1-7 exercises hosted by the Philippines, Washington’s oldest treaty ally in Asia. The Stratton has been conducting exercises in the region to share expertise in search and rescue and law enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

“This first trilateral engagement between the coast guards of these nations will provide invaluable opportunities to strengthen global maritime governance though professional exchanges and combined operations,” the Stratton’s commanding officer, Captain Brian Krautler, said at the start of the exercises. “Together we’ll demonstrate professional, rules-based standards of maritime operations with our steadfast partners to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Japan deployed a large coast guard ship, the Akitsushima, while four Philippine coast guard vessels joined the exercises.

The Biden administration has been strengthening an arc of military alliances in the Indo-Pacific to better counter China, including in the South China Sea and in any future confrontation over Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing regards as a Chinese province.

Washington lays no claims to the strategic South China Sea, where China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysian, Taiwan, and Brunei have been locked in tense territorial stand-offs for decades. But the United States says freedom of navigation and overflight and the peaceful resolution of disputes in the busy waterway are in its national interest.

Philippine officials say such joint exercises with U.S. forces do not target any country. But China has warned that increased U.S. security deployments in Asia target Beijing’s interests and undermine regional stability.

The U.S. Pacific Command said over the weekend that a U.S. guided-missile destroyer and a Canadian frigate were intercepted by a Chinese warship in the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese vessel overtook the American ship and veered across its bow at a distance of 150 yards (about 140 meters) in an “unsafe manner,” it said.

Last month, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said a Chinese J-16 fighter aircraft flew directly in front of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 plane in an “an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” while the American reconnaissance plane “was conducting safe and routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace, in accordance with international law.”

In April, Japan adopted a new five-year ocean policy that calls for stronger maritime security, including bolstering its coast guard’s capability and cooperation with the military. It cited a list of threats, including repeated intrusions by Chinese coast guard ships into Japanese territorial waters.

The Philippine coast guard, meanwhile, has intensified patrols in the South China Sea and taken extra efforts to document and publicize assertive Chinese behavior in the waterway following a February 6 incident in which a Chinese coast guard ship aimed a military-grade laser that briefly blinded some crew members on a Philippine patrol boat off a disputed reef.


Philippine army rescues teen son of Indonesian suicide bombers

From BenarNews (Jun 6, 2023): Philippine army rescues teen son of Indonesian suicide bombers (By Roel Pareño)

Philippine soldiers survey the damage at a Catholic cathedral in Jolo town, Sulu province, on January 28, 2019, a day after a suicide bombing killed 21 people.  AFP

The Philippine military said Tuesday it had rescued the teenaged son of an Indonesian couple who blew themselves up in a 2019 suicide bombing that killed 21 people at a Catholic cathedral in the south.

Ahmad Ibrahim Rullie, 15, was rescued nearly two years after his younger sister was recovered from Abu Sayyaf militants during a military operation on the same southern island of Jolo.

The military’s Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) said it found the boy on Saturday in the town of Sumisipa after launching an operation to arrest two leaders of an Islamic State-linked faction of Abu Sayyaf.

Maj. Andrew Linao, a spokesman for Wesmincom, said the militants, Mudzrimar Sawadjaan and Pasil Bayali, escaped during the mission but left the boy behind.

The teenager was taken to a local hospital for a medical check up and would remain with the military for a “custodial debriefing,” Linao said.

The military said he was the son of Indonesian couple Rullie Rian Zeke and Ulfa Handayani Saleh, who were identified as the bombers of the Jolo cathedral. The Indonesian couple killed 21 people and themselves in the twin suicide bombing in January 2019.

Authorities believe they were indoctrinated by Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, the former Philippine commander of the Islamic State, who masterminded the attack.

The military has said that Sawadjaan might have been killed in a July 2020 clash in Jolo, but his body has not been recovered.

After his demise, he was succeeded by his nephew Mundi Sawadjaan, who went on to carry out a series of bombings.

In June 2021, the Philippine military rescued the boy’s 13-year-old sister Sitti Aisyah Rullie after a firefight with Abu Sayyaf members in the town of Patikul on Jolo.

Another sister, Rezky Fantasya Rullie, allegedly had planned a suicide attack but was arrested during an October 2020 raid, the military said.

Asked if Ahmad Ibrahim Rullie was being indoctrinated to be a suicide bomber, Linao said it was possible given his parents' history.

“We are going to determine that in the custodial debriefing,” he said.

Westmincom commander Lt. Gen. Roy Galido praised soldiers from the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion, under the 1103rd Brigade, for rescuing the boy.

“He is still young, and we are hopeful that with proper guidance and counseling, he will be able to walk back on the right path and build a better future,” said Galido.


Troops seize ASG encampment, rescue Indonesian teen

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 6, 2023): Troops seize ASG encampment, rescue Indonesian teen (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

Google map of Sitio Lobloban, Barangay Guiong, Sumisip, Basilan province.

LAMITAN CITY, Basilan – Troops have rescued an Indonesian teenager as they seized an encampment of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) following a firefight in this province, military officials said Tuesday.

Col. Frederick Sales, Joint Task Force (JTF)-Basilan acting commander, said the 15-year-old male teen was rescued when they clashed and overran an ASG encampment in Sitio Lobloban, Barangay Guiong, Sumisip town on Saturday.

The clash occurred while the troops were pursuing ASG bomber and Sulu-based sub-leader Mudzrimar Sawadjaan, and Basilan-based sub-leader Pasil Bayali in the village.

Sales said Sawadjaan brought the boy with him when he recently fled from Sulu province to evade relentless combat operations launched by the Army’s 1103rd Infantry Brigade.

“Operating troops immediately brought the rescued Indonesian national to the hospital for medical check-up,” he added.

The teenager is allegedly the son of a suicide bomber couple – the late Rullie Rian Zeke alias Abbang Rullie, 35, and his wife, Ulfah Handayani Saleh, 32 – who were tagged as the perpetrators of the January 2019 bombing of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu province.

At least 23 people were killed and more than a hundred others were wounded during the cathedral bombing incident.

Lt. Gen. Roy Galido, Western Mindanao Command chief, has commended the JTF-Basilan troops for successfully rescuing the Indonesian teenager.

“He is still young, and we are hopeful that with proper guidance and counseling, he will be able to walk back on the right path and build a better future,” he said.


Sayyaf’s Indonesian trainee rescued in Basilan

From the Philippine Star (Jun 7, 2023): Sayyaf’s Indonesian trainee rescued in Basilan (By Roel Pareño)

LAMITAN CITY, Philippines — An Indonesian trained by the Abu Sayyaf bandit group to carry out bomb attacks has been rescued by military troopers in Sumisip, Basilan.

The foreigner, whose name was withheld because he is a minor, was found in Barangay Guiong on Saturday, according to Lt. Gen. Roy Galido, head of the Western Mindanao Command.

Troopers from the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion were tracking down Abu Sayyaf subleaders Mudzrimar Sawadjaan, alias Mundi, and Pasil Bayali, alias Kera, when they stumbled upon the terrorists’ hideout in Sitio Lobloban.

Mundi, who was linked to international terrorist organization Islamic State, has been tagged as the mastermind of several bomb attacks in Mindanao.

The minor is reportedly a son of the late Jolo Cathedral suicide bomber Rullie Rian Zeke, alias Abbang Rullie.

Twenty-three people were killed and more than a hundred were wounded in the Jolo bomb attack that occurred in January 2019.

The military said Mundi took the minor with him when he fled Sulu.

Col. Frederick Sales, acting commander of the Army’s 101st Brigade and Joint Task Force Basilan, said Mundi abandoned the minor during a military operation in Sulu.

“Troopers brought the Indonesian to a hospital for medical check-up,” Sales said.

The minor’s two sisters were rescued in separate police and military operations in Sulu three years ago.

Galido said the rescue of the siblings stopped Sawadjaan from staging bombing attacks.

“He is still young, and we are hopeful that with proper guidance and counseling, he will be able to walk back on the right path and build a better future,” Galido said, referring to the Indonesian.


PH military holds the son of Indonesian suicide bombers

From the Manila Times (Jun 7, 2023): PH military holds the son of Indonesian suicide bombers (By Al Jacinto)

ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Philippines is holding the 15-year-old son of Indonesian suicide bombers following an operation by security forces against pro-ISIS groups Dawlah Islamiya and Abu Sayyaf in the southern Muslim province of Basilan.

The Western Mindanao Command confirmed the report on Tuesday, saying members of the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion recovered Ahmad Ibrahim Rullie, whose parents Rullie Rian Zeke and Ulfah Handayani Saleh were tagged in the January 2019 bombings of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel in downtown Jolo in Sulu province.

"While conducting a focused military operation targeting Sulu-based Dawlah Islamiyah-Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leader Mudzrimar Sawadjaan and Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Pasil Bayali, troops of the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion were able to seize the harboring position of the target at Sitio Lobloban in the village of Guiong in Sumisip town and rescued an Indonesian national," the military said.

The teenager was raised by Sawadjaan following the death of the Indonesian couple and eventually escaped a massive military operation in Sulu and fled to Basilan. Sawadjaan and Bayali and their followers managed to escape the operation launched on Monday, June 5.

Lt. Gen. Roy Galido, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, also issued a brief statement and said: "He (Ahmad) is still young and we are hopeful that with proper guidance and counseling, he will be able to walk back on the right path and build a better future."

No other details were made available by the military.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS claimed responsibility for the deadly twin blasts carried out by the pair in Jolo. ISIS, in a statement released by its Amaq News Agency, said the first bomber detonated an explosive belt, while the second attacker blew himself up outside the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral and killed and wounded dozens of people, including soldiers deployed in the area.

The Long War Journal also reported that ISIS described its target in Jolo as a "Christian temple," saying that it was bombed during a "gathering of the Crusaders to perform their polytheist rituals." Authorities said a total of 20 people were killed and over 70 others wounded in the blasts.


4.8-km road opened, Tup-on, Medina, made more accessible

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 6, 2023): 4.8-km road opened, Tup-on, Medina, made more accessible (By Vincent Philip Bautista)

MEDINA, Misamis Oriental (PIA)--The Local Government of Medina, alongside the 58th Infantry "Dimalulupig" Battalion (58IB) and the 52nd Engineer Support Company (52E), formally opened a new 4.8-kilometer road in Sitio Maanyag, Barangay Tup-on, Medina, June 3.

As part of the Marcos administration’s thrust to bolster the country’s infrastructure and accessibility, the new road seeks to connect the communities in Sitio Maanyag to bolster economic activity and government services.

As one of the collaborating parties in the implementation of the project, the 58IB, represented by its Battalion Executive Officer, Major Keenan Arguelles, spearheaded the Inter-Local Agency Partnership (ILAP) signing, symbolizing a unified declaration of Persona Non-Grata against the atrocities and unlawful acts of the Communist Terrorist Group-New People's Army (CTG-NPA).

Marian Chan, the municipal tourism director for Medina, and Rodrigo Abi, the principal of Tup-on Elementary School, were also present to welcome Sitio Tup-on's new interconnected era toward better educational opportunities and a potential tourism industry. (VPSB/PIA-10/Misamis Oriental)

A new 4.8-kilometer road opens in Sitio Maanyag, Barangay Tup-on. (58IB Photo)


21 NPA rebels yield in Cagayan

 From the Manila Bulletin (Jun 5, 2023): 21 NPA rebels yield in Cagayan (By FREDDIE LAZARO)

CAMP MELCHOR F. DELA CRUZ, Isabela – Twenty-one members of the New People’s Army (NPA), including three students from Metro Manila, surrendered to the military in Cagayan on Friday, June 2.

TWENTY-one New People's Army rebels surrendered in Cagayan on Friday, June 2. They yielded a total of 23 high-powered firearms. (Army FB)

The surrenderers from the Komiteng Rehiyon Cagayan Valley were presented by the Army 5th Infantry Division to the Provincial Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict led by Gov. Manuel N. Mamba at the sub-capitol in Lal-lo, Cagayan.

Major Gen. Audrey L. Pasia, Army 5th Infantry Division chief, said
they recovered a total of 30 high-powered firearms from the NPA.

Twenty-three of these were from the 21 surrenderers while five were recovered in Sitio Warawad, Barangay Cumao, Gattaran, Cagayan through information provided by three surrenderers.

The two other guns were surrendered by the Milisyang Bayan (MB) members from Barangay Villa Cielo, Buguey, Cagayan.

Pasia said they expect more NPA to return to the fold of the law in the coming days.

“We are expecting more surrenderers and recovery of more high-powered firearms in the future after this mass abandonment of CPP-NPA members under Komiteng Rehiyon Cagayan Valley,” Pasia said.

Of the 21 surrenderers, eight were members of the East Front Committee, Komiteng Probinsya Cagayan; seven from the North Front Committee, Komiteng Probinsya Cagayan, and six were members of the Komiteng Probinsya Isabela.

Among the notable surrenderers were former Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Manila student Michael Cedric Casano, alias “Henry,” secretary of the East Front Committee, former University of the Philippines-Diliman student Patricia Nicole Cuerva, alias “Maya,” Casano’s wife and a political guide of the committee, and former Dela Salle student Orion Mervin Mallari Yoshida, alias “Brown,” leader of the Komiteng Probinsya Isabela.

Pasia thanked Mamba for accepting and providing the temporary halfway house for surrenderers.

Mamba vowed to provide them with livelihood training and employment and said that the Army and the Department of the Interior and Local Government are processing their benefits from the Enhanced Comprehensive Livelihood Integration Program for rebel returnees.

Pasia said that this mass abandonment and the recovery of various firearms are the results of the collaborative efforts of various government agencies.

He reiterated his call to remnants of NPA groups in Cagayan Valley region to surrender and enjoy a peaceful life.


AFP: PRESS RELEASE | PH-AUS ‘KASANGGA’ closes phase 1, phase 2 starts

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Facebook Page (Jun 5, 2023): PRESS RELEASE | PH-AUS ‘KASANGGA’ closes phase 1, phase 2 starts

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City--The Philippine Army and the Australian Army concluded the first phase and likewise opened the second phase of the Philippine-Australia Army-to-Army Exercise “Kasangga” 23-2 at the Headquarters of 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal on June 5.
The exercise marks the AFP’s more robust international defense and security engagements with foreign military partners. Following the recent pronouncements of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the AFP ramped up its education and training engagements with other foreign militaries to foster trust and cooperation.

The PAAAE 23-2 is a bilateral training exercise conducted in two phases that aims to enhance the capabilities and skills of Philippine and Australian army units in urban operations; urban breaching; combat tracking; jungle warfare and survival training; long-range marksmanship; tactical combat casualty care; sensitive site exploitation; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations; and small unit leaders’ training through the exchange of tactics, techniques, and procedures.

The 21st Division Reconnaissance Company (DRC), 2ID trained with a platoon from the Australian Army during Kasangga’s Phase 1 from May 15, 2023 to June 5, 2023. Meanwhile, personnel from the 22nd DRC, 2ID are now training side-by-side with another platoon from the Australian Army during Kasangga’s Phase 2 from June 5, 2023 to June 23, 2023.
The AFP continues to look forward to more defense engagements and training activities with the Australian counterpart and other allied countries to develop its capabilities further as it shifts its focus towards territorial defense operations./// (Story and Photos by OACPA)



EXPLAINER: Why dangerous encounters by US and Chinese militaries look set to continue

 From Rappler (Jun 6, 2023): EXPLAINER: Why dangerous encounters by US and Chinese militaries look set to continue

Here are reasons why recent close encounters between the US and Chinese militaries may continue

When a Chinese warship came within 150 yards of a US destroyer in the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, June 3, and forced it to slow down, it was the second time in a matter of days in which Chinese and US military personnel came close to a major incident.

Late last month a Chinese fighter jet flew in front of a US warplane over the South China Sea, drawing a rebuke from the United States.

After the warship encounter on Saturday, the White House accused China of “growing aggressiveness”. China has said that such US military activity in international waters is “deliberately provoking risk.”

Here is why these recent close encounters between the US and Chinese militaries may continue:

China pushing back

Under President Xi Jinping, China has embarked on what US officials say is one of the largest peacetime military buildups in history.

Beijing is using its growing military capability and economic clout to push back on decades-old US military dominance in Asia. China regards the United States as an outsider interfering in a region in which it sees itself as a force for peace and stability.

US Navy releases video of Chinese warship’s ‘unsafe interaction’ near Taiwan

A particular source of tension are the “freedom of navigation” patrols in which the United States and its allies sail naval vessels through the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.

The United States says such patrols defend the right of all countries to sail in international waters.

China has complained about US vessels and aircraft in the Taiwan Strait and in the South China Sea close to islands it controls, claims, or constructed and turned into military installations. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) typically trails the US. vessels.

Some analysts say Chinese military commanders have been encouraged to act more assertively against foreign military ships and planes.

“I think what we are seeing is likely a general encouragement, maybe even incentive scheme for (PLA) unit commanders to be aggressive when the opportunity presents, which is at the unit level encouraging more reckless behavior,” said Jennifer Parker, a defense expert at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Other recent incidents in the South China Sea have seen a Chinese coast guard ship direct a “military-grade laser” at a Philippines vessel in February, and Vietnam last month demand Beijing remove survey vessels from its waters.

China said both incidents were lawful and normal.

Its defense ministry did not immediately have comment on the assertion it was encouraging more aggressive behavior.

This approach from the PLA increases the chances of a collision, which could spiral into armed conflict, says Derek Grossman, senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation, a US think tank.

“In my view, this is the No. 1 scenario that leads the US and China to war, and less so Beijing seizing a feature in the disputed South China Sea or attacking Taiwan,” he said.

Chinese jet carried out ‘aggressive’ maneuver near US military plane, Pentagon says

On a collision course?

Making the situation more dangerous are the starkly different views of the US and China about the source of the problem. The United States sees China as disrupting the status quo with its threats against Taiwan, the self-governed island that China claims as its own, and its territorial claims to the resource-rich South China Sea.

The answer from the US perspective is to continue asserting its right to sail and fly near China.

China’s ruling Communist Party sees those US actions as provocative and believes US pursuit of military dominance is the real cause of the dangers in the region, said Tong Zhao, a visiting scholar at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.

“Chinese officials generally don’t see China’s own behaviors contributing to risks,” he said.

“And therefore their logic is China can only reduce the risk by stepping up its military measures to confront the US’s aggressive behaviors, and to make the United States really feel concerned about incidents. And that’s when the United States would eventually take the necessary measures to reduce the risk.”

No communication

Add to this one other problem: the lack of reliable communication channels between the two militaries.

The US military has long pushed China for open lines of communication with the PLA – both at senior and lower levels – to mitigate the risk that accidents become military flare-ups.

China’s leaders, by contrast, have been slow to establish military contacts and quick to shut them down during periods of diplomatic tension, US officials say.

China suspended several high-level military dialogues with the Pentagon after former US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last summer and declined a US request for a phone call between the two countries’ defense chiefs after the downing of Chinese spy balloon in US airspace this year.

A senior US defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters that since 2021 China had declined or not responded to more than a dozen requests to talk with the Pentagon and nearly ten working-level engagement requests.

China’s defense ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Analysts say that China is wary of military talks that could give the United States greater insight into PLA operations. Chinese leaders would also prefer to keep US-China discussions focused on trade and economic issues.

The dangers are not hypothetical, however.

In 2001 a US spy plane made an emergency landing on Hainan island after a collision with a Chinese fighter jet.

One Chinese pilot died and Beijing detained the 24-member US crew for 11 days, releasing them only after Washington sent a letter saying it was “very sorry.”

https://www.rappler.com/world/asia-pacific/explainer-why-dangerous-encounters-united-states-chinese-militaries-continue/ cx_testId=2&cx_testVariant=cx_1&cx_artPos=0&cx_experienceId=EX4CPN0G1RJL#cxrecs_s

FACT CHECK: US military won’t revive Subic naval base under EDCA

From Rappler (Jun 6, 2023): FACT CHECK: US military won’t revive Subic naval base under EDCA

A fact sheet about EDCA released by the US embassy does not show Subic in a list of EDCA sites

Claim: The United States military is going to revive its former naval base in Subic under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The title of the video itself makes the false claim. It also says the action was intended by the US to defend the Philippines from Chinese invasion. As of writing, the YouTube video has over 21,668 views and 490 likes.

Not an EDCA site: A press release from the United States Department of Defense and a fact sheet about EDCA released by the US embassy in the Philippines show that Subic was not chosen as an EDCA site.

According to both the US defense department and US embassy, as of April 3, 2023, the following are the locations of approved EDCA sites:
  • Naval Base Camilo Osias in Santa Ana, Cagayan
  • Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela
  • Balabac Island in Palawan
  • Lal-lo Airport in Cagayan
  • Cesar Basa Air Base in Pampanga
  • Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in Nueva Ecija
  • Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro
  • Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan
  • Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu
Almost chosen: Department of National Defense officer-in-charge Carlito Galvez Jr. said they had proposed Subic Bay as a fifth EDCA site but this was not approved by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., news articles from Philstar and Manila Bulletin said.

Philippines owns EDCA sites: The revival of former US bases like the former Subic Naval Base are also not possible under EDCA. Article V of the agreement states that the Philippines will “retain ownership and title” to locations that will be used as EDCA sites. The sites will be returned to the Philippines once they are “no longer required” by the US for activities under EDCA.

Not for offensive action: Marcos also said that the agreement to grant US military access to more military bases in the country was not intended for “offensive action” against any country.

He also added that Washington had never brought up the possibility that bases under EDCA would be used as “staging areas” for offensive action against any country.


Who is Gibo Teodoro, Marcos’ first secretary of defense?

From Rappler (Jun 6, 2023): Who is Gibo Teodoro, Marcos’ first secretary of defense? (By BEA CUPIN)

AFP modernization and reform, as well as human rights were his priorities as defense chief under former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

MANILA, Philippines – After a break from government that lasted more than a decade, Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro is back in public service as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s first permanent defense chief.

Teodoro, whose appointment was announced nearly a month after the ban for defeated 2022 candidates lapsed, is the third person under the Marcos administration to lead the defense department.

He is, however, the first one to do so with the rank of secretary. His predecessors – former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chiefs Jose Faustino Jr. and Carlito Galvez Jr. – were only officers-in-charge and only held the rank of undersecretary.

Even though he’s been out of commission for more than a decade, Teodoro is more than familiar with the spaces he’ll soon occupy.

Pedigree, political past

Gibo Teodoro is back as defense chief
(1ST UPDATE) The defeated Uniteam senatorial bet is Marcos’ first full-time defense chief

Teodoro belongs to the enduring Cojuangco clan – an influential force in both politics and business. His mother, Mercedes Cojuangco, was a member of the Philippine legislature Batasang Pambansa during the Marcos dictatorship, while his uncle, the late Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr., was chairman and CEO of the Philippines’ largest diversified conglomerate, San Miguel Corporation.

Danding, who was once governor of Tarlac province, was a crony of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, the father of the current president.

Teodoro would go on to represent the 1st District of Tarlac for three consecutive terms in Congress. He served in the executive branch from 2007 to 2009 as secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND) under former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. At 43, he was the youngest person ever to hold the post.

Teodoro’s ties to his uncle, who considered him a “political son,” turned complicated during the Arroyo administration and in the run-up to the 2010 elections. He bolted Cojuangco’s Nationalist People’s Coalition to join Arroyo’s then-ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

He went on to be Lakas’ standard-bearer in the 2010 presidential elections – a bane because Arroyo had become very unpopular towards the end of her term. He lost badly, placing a distant fourth in an election won convincingly by another Cojuangco – his cousin, the late Benigno Simeon Aquino III, son of democracy icon and former president Cory Aquino.

Teodoro stayed mostly out of the political spotlight following his 2010 loss. He’s held posts, mostly as a member of the board, in various private companies since then.

Teodoro graduated from De La Salle University Manila in 1984 and finished law at the University of the Philippines in 1989. He went on to study at Harvard for his Master of Laws and passed the State Bar of New York in 1997. He entered politics for the first time in the 1998 elections.

Duterte ties

His name made news headlines again in 2016 at the beginning of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, when the former Davao City mayor was said to have offered him the defense post twice. He was reported to have declined both times.

Five years later, in June 2021, Teodoro flew to Davao City to offer himself as Sara Duterte’s running mate should she run for president in 2022. Sara, the eldest daughter of Rodrigo Duterte, was then leading early preference polls ahead of the presidential elections.

On October 7, 2021, Teodoro filed via proxy his candidacy for senator. For the 2022 polls, he was a senatorial bet of the People’s Reform Party (PRP).

He was later announced as a member of the Uniteam – a coalition of various personalities and their parties that backed Marcos as presidential candidate and Sara Duterte as vice-presidential candidate.

Teodoro would finish 15th in a 12-seat race, garnering over 12.78 million votes.

He has long been rumored to be a shoo-in for the defense post, partly explaining why Marcos only filled the posts with two officers-in-charge who happened to be both former AFP chiefs.

Since he lost in the 2022 polls, Teodoro became eligible to hold a Cabinet post only on May 10, 2023.
GMA’s defense chief

Front and center during his term as defense secretary under Arroyo – at least according to his old campaign website – was his “human rights advocacy.” “Under his term as SND, the DND intensified its campaign to ensure that AFP and DND personnel are continually updated and oriented on human rights matters,” reads his profile.

Modernization and reform were also his priorities as DND chief, on top of disaster risk management.

He will be reentering the defense sector with an AFP that has more military hardware now even as it continues to be plagued by decades-old issues. It also now faces more serious threats externally.

As DND chief, Teodoro will have to navigate China’s growing aggression in the West Philippine Sea, as well as the country’s place in the world order as Beijing’s competition with the US, the Philippines’ long-time ally, intensifies.

Climate change is another enemy the new defense chief, as concurrent chairperson of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, will have to face. Teodoro was at the helm in 2009 when Tropical Storm Ondoy caused widespread flooding and damage to Metro Manila and other nearby provinces.


Mass supporters withdraw support to communist rebels

From the Mindanao Times (Jun 6, 2023): Mass supporters withdraw support to communist rebels

THIRTY-FIVE mass supporters of a New People’s Army (NPA) group withdrew their support during a Peace Rally at Purok 7, Barangay Mabuhay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur on June 2.

Major Francisco Garello Jr., the spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division, said the 35 are composed of Milisyang Bayan, Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL), contacts, and couriers of SRSDG Southland under the Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).

Garello said the former supporters conducted the rally to express their sentiments and condemnation against the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) after their eyes were opened and awakened to their deceit, lies, and manipulation.

The 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion led by Lt. Colonel Paulo F. Baylon, the Commanding Officer of 3SFBn, of the 401st Infantry “Unite N’ Fight” Brigade, under the 4th Infantry Division, together with the Local Government Unit of Prosperidad under the leadership of Mayor Frederick Mark P. Mellana facilitated the Government On Wheels and Peace Process.

The activity was attended by Provincial Department of the Interior and Local Government (PDILG), Revitalized-Police Sa Barangays (RPSB), and the Local Police of Prosperidad representatives.

Colonel Francisco F Lorenzo Jr, Commander of 401Bde, said the massive withdrawal of support was a result of the sustained Intensified Military Operations (IMO) and the successful implementation of Executive Order 70, also known as the “Whole of Nation” approach under the auspices of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Lorenzo said that the activity showcased the tangible success and underscored the effectiveness of the NTF-ELCAC in creating an environment conducive to lasting peace, empowering individuals to leave behind the futile cause and form trust among former rebels and government that served as the bedrock of sustainable peace and promotes unity across communities.

Meanwhile, 4ID commander Major General Jose Maria R. Cuerpo II lauded the 3SFBn and 401Bde for the incessant peace-building efforts with the populace and the former CTG supporters for recognizing the futility and consequences of their former allegiance.

He noted that this was a significant blow against the CTG, which desperately attempted to recover massive loss of mass support after a series of surrender of CTG key leaders and members in Agusan del Sur.

Further, Cuerpo said that the overwhelming surrender of supporters highlights the growing confidence in the government and its commitment to attaining an inclusive and long-lasting peace for the people not only in Agusan Sur and the Caraga region but also towards a progressive nation.


Special Announcements No. 800--The Coming Storm: Terrorists Using Cryptocurrency

Posted to The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) Website (Jun 5, 2023) Special Announcements No. 800--The Coming Storm: Terrorists Using Cryptocurrency

The following are the preface and introduction of a new report released by the MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). Currently it is only available to JTTM subscribers; however, credentialed members of media and government agencies may request a full copy at MEDIA@MEMRI.org.

Preface By Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Vincent R. Stewart, Former Deputy Commander Of The United States Cyber Command And Special Advisor And Chairman Of The MEMRI Board Of Advisors*

This study is the first significant research of its kind to show the scope of cryptocurrency use by terrorist organizations and their supporters, for fundraising and for financing attacks, purchasing equipment, supporting fighters and their families, and more. MEMRI research shows that over the past five years, this has developed from encouragement on jihadi blogs to donate "millions of dollars" in bitcoin to ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and many others to terrorist groups and their supporters soliciting donations in various cryptocurrencies on social media.

The report documents cryptocurrency use by a wide range of terror entities on many different online platforms. MEMRI research has found that the main platform for terrorist fundraising today is the encrypted messaging app Telegram – terrorists' "app of choice." Terrorist groups regularly publish their bitcoin addresses when they solicit donations on online platforms –Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, and others – and also share detailed instructions via these platforms, in video, PDF, and other forms, to show potential donors how to donate in cryptocurrencies. This report reviews these, and also reviews the cryptocurrencies used by terrorists, which include, in addition to bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, Monero, Verge, Zcash, and others.

MEMRI continues to be on the cutting edge of research on terrorist use of social media – notably on Telegram itself, and now with the looming threat of its imminent release of its TON blockchain and Gram cryptocurrency.

This landmark study shows undeniably that the future of terrorist funding and fundraising is happening now. The threat is too important to overlook; it must be researched and solutions must be arrived at, and this study is an important step in this direction. It will help educate those involved in the daily work of counterterrorism, and is a must-read for all those in government, the military, and academia who are concerned about this dangerous development.

* Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Vincent R. Stewart, former Deputy Commander of the United States Cyber Command, is Special Advisor and Chairman of the MEMRI Board of Advisors.


As ISIS's Caliphate has crumbled, and as it and other jihadi and terrorist organizations increasingly depend on the Internet, the most significant and dangerous recent development in global terrorism is their embrace of cryptocurrencies to fund their activities. This has quietly become part of their cyber arsenal, and to date there has been a lack of understanding of how to stop it.

The blockchain and cryptocurrency industry continues to gain momentum, and more and more companies allow the use of cryptocurrencies and even launch their own, it is understood, and expected, that criminal elements, including terrorist groups, will move even more quickly than they are today to use them. In the early days of social media, companies, particularly Twitter, YouTube, and Google, waited too long to address terrorist usage of their services, and authorities were two steps behind as well. This should not happen again, but in order to prevent it, it is vital that these companies put in place – now – clear policies banning criminal cryptocurrency activity on their platforms, with repercussions and penalties for companies that do not do so.

Such companies include, for example, Facebook, which on June 18, 2019 unveiled its Libra cryptocurrency, set for launch next year, which is backed by Visa, Mastercard, PayPal Holdings, and Uber Technologies; Samsung, whose new Galaxy phone includes a cryptocurrency wallet; Apple, which recently revealed its new software release with a "cryptographic" tool; Amazon, where purchases with cryptocurrency will soon be possible; and Airbnb, where rentals with cryptocurrency already are.

Facebook's announcement of its cryptocurrency was greeted with near hysteria. U.S. media have labeled it a "terrible idea" "untethered in ambition," and "a bold, bad move" and House Financial Services Committee chairwoman Maxine Waters said Facebook was "continuing its unchecked expansion and extending its reach into the lives of its users" – and her call for hearings on Libra was backed by the senior-most Republican on the committee, Rep. Patrick McHenry. Internationally, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Libra must be "subject to the highest standards of regulation"; French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire encouraged finance leaders from G7 countries to prepare a report on it for next month; and German European Parliament member Markus Ferber said that Facebook could become a "shadow bank" and that regulators should be on high alert.

While concern about the threat of cryptocurrency use by bad actors, especially terrorist groups, is absolutely warranted, the focus should be not on Facebook but on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, known for some time to be a favorite of terrorists and jihadis, including ISIS, and already being used for fundraising by terrorist groups. This threat is now growing exponentially, as the platform is about to launch its own blockchain, TON, and cryptocurrency, Gram, reportedly by October 2019. Counterterrorism officials need to be prepared for the coming explosion of terrorist use of Telegram's cryptocurrency.

Although cryptocurrency fundraising by these terrorist and jihadi groups and their supporters continues to increase, many who are attempting to do something about it, including in government circles and academia, have not yet developed the tools to tackle it. Furthermore, recent research that has been widely cited by media has concluded that there is little indication that terrorist organizations are even using cryptocurrency extensively or systematically, and have downplayed any threat.

However, this report, "The Coming Storm: Terrorists Using Cryptocurrency," which focuses on jihadis' growing use of cryptocurrencies and the threat that this poses, documents how these groups and individuals are already extensively fundraising in cryptocurrencies – including for attacks and for weapons and equipment purchases, for food and necessities for fighters' families, and more, as well as promoting their use and discussing how to use them on various online platforms. It shows MEMRI's monitoring of their growing sophistication over the years in using them, and their promotion of them as being easy, safe, and secure to use.

The report presents op-eds on these groups' use of cryptocurrency that were published in The Washington Post and The Hill by MEMRI Executive Director Steven Stalinsky, on the threat posed by Telegram.

As the research for this report was being carried out, MEMRI staff have been briefing U.S. and Western government agencies, media, academia, and legislatures about the ongoing findings. These efforts have also led to Congressional letters written with MEMRI's assistance, to Telegram CEO Pavel Durov insisting that he take immediate action against the well-known, well-documented widespread terrorist use of his platform by terrorists. The letters demanded, inter alia, that Durov "respond... with immediate urgency specifying a plan of action to combat extremist content on Telegram and create safeguards to prevent terrorist groups from using the platform as a secure fundraising tool."

This 250-plus page report comprises extensive and exclusive research, both published and not previously released, from the MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) Project over the past two years. This research includes chatter by Western jihadis about using cryptocurrency, examines the use of cryptocurrency in fundraising campaigns and platforms, and also looks at how it is being promoted by jihadi and jihadi-linked organizations, tech groups, and individuals, from Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) to terrorist groups in the U.S. and the rest of the West as well as in the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere.

Among the jihadi and terrorist groups examined in this report are pro-ISIS groups and the Al-Qaeda affiliate Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS); the SadaqaCoins crowdfunding platform that links groups with donors using cryptocurrencies; the Al-Sadaqa organization which solicits donations in cryptocurrencies, and others. Hamas's military wing, the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, which is a U.S.-designated Foreign Terror Organization, is one of the terrorist groups most heavily promoting and using cryptocurrency, especially bitcoin, for fundraising, on platforms including Telegram, Twitter, and Instagram.

The report also includes discussions on online platforms and dissemination of tutorials on how and why to use cryptocurrency, as well as the sharing of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency addresses, including QR codes, for donating.

Many of these groups create dedicated social media accounts, on Telegram, Instagram, and other platforms, and hashtags for their campaigns, to disseminate attractive posters and graphics encouraging readers to donate, and listing prices of the equipment – ranging from uniforms to handguns to pickup trucks and RPGs – that their donations can buy. This report also details how prominent jihadi sheikhs, in the Middle East and the West, are promoting cryptocurrencies and depicting them as shari'a-compliant.

During the course of the research for this report, it was found that some groups, after receiving attention from media and authorities, apparently disappeared, along with their cryptocurrency wallets and addresses. This could have been because they were shut down by authorities, because they switched platforms and changed their social media accounts, or because they moved deeper into the Dark Web.

Accompanying this report is a short video compilation showing research from the report on jihadi groups and individuals actively involved in fundraising in cryptocurrency. To view the video, click here or below:

[* Steven Stalinsky is Executive Director at MEMRI. Coauthored by: R. Sosnow, Lead Editor at MEMRI; M. Khayat, M. Al-Hadj, N. Mozes, A. Smith, R. Green, S. Benjamin, C. Caruso, E. Barret, and J. Goldberg, Research Fellows at MEMRI.]

[This report is available to JTTM subscribers; it will be published on MEMRI.org in the coming days. Members of media and government agencies may now request a full copy at MEDIA@MEMRI.org; you will be asked to provide your credentials.]


Jihadi groups continue to fundraise in cryptocurrency

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (Jun 5, 2023): Jihadi groups continue to fundraise in cryptocurrency

SINCE THE Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) published its seminal report The Coming Storm – Terrorists Using Cryptocurrency on August 21, 2019, the JTTM research team has continued to monitor jihadi use of cryptocurrency along with MEMRI's Cyber & Jihad Lab (CJL), which focuses on jihadi use of emerging technologies such as encryption, artificial intelligence, drones, bots, and cryptocurrency.

Since its inception 15 years ago, it has worked with legislatures and tech companies to develop strategies to counter terrorists' use of such technologies.

These groups have most recently been using cryptocurrencies in a range of ways: Pro-Islamic State (ISIS) websites are raising funds using cryptocurrency and have published English-Arabic dictionaries of cryptocurrency terms; Pro-Al-Qaeda groups in Syria and jihadi groups in Gaza have raised cryptocurrency to fund military action; Russian-speaking pro-jihadi groups have called for donations using cryptocurrencies; Iran-backed militias in Iraq have promoted a website that purports to sell U.S. and NATO weapons using cryptocurrency.

The following report will review recent arrests and notable examples of jihadi groups' use of cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin, Monero, Ethereum, Zcash, Toncoin, and others – covering activity since MEMRI's previous report on this topic was released.

Such fundraising efforts have often been taken up by jihadi supporters in the West, and in recent months there have been a number of notable high-profile arrests, including examples of usages found in MEMRI's previous report on terrorist use of cryptocurrencies.

In early May 2023, authorities arrested 33-year-old Mohammed Azharuddin Chhipa at his Virginia apartment on charges of having sent $61,000 in virtual currency to ISIS-controlled accounts.

Chhipa reportedly has a “husband-wife relationship” with Kansas native Allison Fluke-Ekren, likely meaning that the two are religiously but not legally married. In Syria, Fluke-Ekren led an all-female ISIS batallion of 100 woman and girls, some as young as 10 years old, who were taught to use automatic weapons and grenades and to detonate suicide belts. Fluke-Ekren is now serving a 20-year prison sentence.

On December 14, 2022, the New York Attorney General's Office announced that four men had been arrested in Virginia, New York, and New Jersey, and charged with conspiring to provide material support to the ISIS, having used "cryptocurrency, Bitcoin wallets, GoFundMe, and PayPal" to raise over $35,000 in funds.

On January 31, 2023, the Manhattan District Attorney's office announced the indictment of 43-year-old Victoria Jacobs, aka Bakhrom Talipov, for using cryptocurrency to provide financial support to violent terrorist groups operating in Syria.

She is alleged to have sent over $5,000 to Malhama Tactical, a terrorist group that fought with and trained Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS). She also allegedly laundered $10,661 on behalf of Malhama Tactical by receiving cryptocurrency along with Western Union and MoneyGram wires from supporters around the globe and sending the funds to Bitcoin wallets controlled by Malhama Tactical.

In addition to those arrests, this past year there have been developments with U.S. government agencies and activity on capitol hill to address jihadi use of cryptocurrencies. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), an independent U.S. government agency, sued Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange on March 28 this year for allegedly allowing Americans to trade in crypto derivatives.

A CFTC court filing asserts that Binance was aware that Hamas terrorists were using its platform for illegal activity. It reads: “Internally, Binance officers, employees, and agents have acknowledged that the Binance platform has facilitated potentially illegal activities.”

For example, in February 2019, after receiving information regarding HAMAS transactions on Binance, Lim explained to a colleague that terrorists usually send small sums as large sums constitute money laundering. Lim’s colleague replied: “Can barely buy an AK47 with 600 bucks.”

“The National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) reported that two Binance accounts had been seized in January 2023 to thwart the activity of ISIS and impair its ability to further its goals.

Reflecting authorities’ increasing ability to track cryptocurrencies, on April 26, 2023 the ‘Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, announced on its official website that it is no longer accepting donations in Bitcoin. The group explained that its decision was “out of concern for the safety of donors and to not expose them to any harm, particularly in light of the intensification of harassment and the redoubling of hostile efforts against anyone who tries to support the resistance using this currency.”

It was reported, on May 4, 2023, that in the past two years Israel has seized nearly 200 cryptocurrency accounts at the Binance cryptocurrency exchange, including two it said were linked to ISIS and dozens of others it said were owned by Palestinian firms connected to Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist organization by dozens of countries, including by the U.S. since 1997. Israel Defense Ministry documents dated January 12, 2023 gave details of the seizure of the two accounts it said were linked to ISIS.

In addition to U.S. government activities to address terrorist usage of cryptocurrencies, countries around the world have become aware of this problem and as a result there have been arrests and other activities. For example, in France, two men who had sent $280,000 worth of cryptocurrency to jihadis in Syria were sentenced to prison, on September 19, 2022.

Two years previously, in September 2020, French authorities had arrested 29 people in connection with a complex scheme to finance Islamist extremists in Syria using cryptocurrencies. A 31-year-old Uzbek man and a 29-year-old Kazakh man living in South Korea were arrested in February 2023 for sending about $8,500 in cryptocurrency to Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad, an anti-Syrian-government terrorist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on April 27, 2023 – the Financial Technology Protection Act – calls on the federal government to study how cryptocurrencies are used for illegal activity and to recommend ways to mitigate these uses.

The act would establish a working group to study how terrorists or other criminals might use cryptocurrencies and other new financial technologies, and to propose means of countering these uses to Congress and regulatory agencies.

Jim Himes (D-CT), who is the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee and one of the bill's co-sponsors, said: "The rapid evolution of our financial systems demands increased attention to reduce risk and combat abuse by terrorist organizations."

If formed, this working group would comprise representatives from the U.S. Treasury Department, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Office of Foreign Asset Control, the Departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the CIA, FBI, and IRS, as well as representatives from the industry and from analytics firms, financial institutions, and research organizations.

Last March 22, a user of the ISIS-operated Rocket.Chat server posted a message from a popular pro-ISIS website along with a link to it. The message opened with congratulations for the advent of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The site is protected by the U.S.-based reverse proxy service Cloudflare and is hosted on the French Association for Cooperative Internet Naming server in the French South Pacific Wallis and Futuna Islands. The website’s message stated: “We congratulate Muslims on the advent of the blessed month of Ramadan, asking Allah Almighty to make it a month of conquests and empowerment for Muslims and of misfortune for the unbelievers.”

The website solicits donations but provides no information as to how the funds would be used. The website includes an embedded QR code for donations in Monero and the wallet address. (By Steven Stalinsky, R. Sosnow, A. Smith, S. Ali, K. Choukry, Matt Schierer, N. Mozes, Y. Kerman, G. Pacchiani, and Y. Kulka / MEMRI)


CPP/Ang Bayan Daily News & Analysis: Pagtalaga ni Marcos kina Teodoro at Herbosa bilang kalihim sa depensa at pangkalusugan, inulan ng batikos

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 (Jun 5, 2023): Pagtalaga ni Marcos kina Teodoro at Herbosa bilang kalihim sa depensa at pangkalusugan, inulan ng batikos (Marcos' appointment of Teodoro and Herbosa as defense and health secretaries, rained criticism)

June 06, 2023

Mariing pagkundena ang sumalubong sa pagtalaga ni Ferdinand Marco Jr kay Gilbert Teodoro bilang kalihim ng Department of Defense at Teodoro Herbosa sa pinakamataas na pwesto sa Department of Health. Kapwa masama ang rekord ng dalawa, laluna sa paggalang ng mga karapatang-tao.

Si Teodoro ay una nang nagsilbing kalihim ng DND mula 2007 hanggang 2009 sa ilalim ng rehimen ni Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Pinamunuan niya ang pagpapatupad sa Oplan Bantay Laya 2, isa sa pinakabrutal at madugong kampanyang mapanupil.

Sa isang tweet, sinariwa ni Tinay Palabay, kalihim ng grupong Karapatan, ang mga krimen ni Teodoro. Ilan lamang dito ang pagpaslang ng mga armadong pwersa ng estado kina Fr. Cecilio Lucero, Rebelyn Pitao, Dr. Rogelio Penera, Dr. Bartolome Resuello, mga magsasakang sina Manuel at Jocelyn Suarez at kanilang apat na anak, Edelina Jerus, Wilma Ambil, Charito Caspillo, at ang 11-taong gulang na si Halima Bansil.

Sangkot din si Teodoro sa pagdukot kay James Balao na hanggang ngayon ay nawawala, at ang pagdukot at tortyur kina Melissa Roxas at Pastor Rodel Canja na inilitaw dulot ng malawakang panawagan para rito. Sa panahon din niya inaresto, kinasuhan at ikinulong sa gawang-gawang kaso sina Elizabeth Principe, Atty. Remigio Saladero at Randall Echanis.

Labas sa kanyang madugong rekord sa gubyerno, malaki rin ang naging interes ni Teodoro sa pagmimina. Dati siyang pinuno ng Saggitarius Mining Incorporated, ang kumpanya sa pagmiminang nagpupumilit minahin ang ginto at ibang mineral sa Tampakan, South Cotabato, gayundin ng Indophil Resources Corporation, dating pagmamay-ari ng Glencore International.

Ilang beses siyang nagtangkang umupo sa pambansang pamumuan, kabilang ang pagtakbo bilang presidente at senador na kapwa hindi na naipanalo. Noong 2022, nagprisinta siyang makapareha ni Sara Duterte sakaling tumakbo ito pagkapresidente. Kilala siyang malapit kay Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Bago siya napadpad sa pambansang pulitika, nagsilbi siyang upisyal panlalawigan ng Tarlac sa ilalim ng diktadurang Marcos. Pinsan siya ni Benigno Aquino Jr, at pamangkin ni Eduardo Cojuangco Jr, ang pinakamalaking kroni ng diktador na Marcos Sr, ama ng kasalukuyang presidente.

Si Herbosa, sa kabilang banda, ay kilala sa pagiging Red-tagger ng mga aktibista, kabilang ng mga manggagawang pangkalusugan na naggigiit ng karampatang kumpensasyon noong panahon ng pandemya. Isa sa pinakabantog niyang upinyon ay ang pagkutya niya sa pagdadalamhati ng detenidong si Reina Mae Nasino at kanyang mga tagasuporta nang mamatay ang anak nitong si Baby River. Umani siya ng kaliwa’t kanang batikos noong panahon ng pandemya dahil sa pagpapalaganap niya ng mga maling pananaw at datos.

Napilitan siyang magbitiw sa pwesto bilang executive vice-president ng University of the Philippines-Los Banos dahil sa pagkutya niya sa community pantry matapos mamamatay ang isang matanda habang naghihintay sa pila. Kilala din siyang misogynist (galit at walang respeto sa kababaihan) at kakoro ng NTF-Elcac sa pagrered-tag sa mga manggagawang pangkalusugan. Dati siyang espesyal na tagapayo ng National Task Force Against COVID-19 na nagpatupad ng militaristang lockdown at iba pang mapaniil na hakbang sa panahon ng pandemya.

Isa sa nagpahayag ng pagkadismaya sa pagkakatalaga kay Herbosa sa DoH ay ang Alliance of Health Workers (AHW).

“Nae-experience natin nung 2010-2015…siya ang pasimuno na isapribado ang mga pampublikong ospital at pagbebenta sa iba pang pampublikong ospital para isapribado,” ayon kay Robert Mendoza, presidente ng AHW. “Nag-aalala kami dahil alam natin na siya ang utak ng privatization.”


CPP/Ang Bayan Daily News & Analysis: Mapangwasak na proyektong reklamasyon, tinutulan

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 (Jun 5, 2023): Mapangwasak na proyektong reklamasyon, tinutulan (Destructive reclamation project, opposed)

June 05, 2023

Inilunsad sa pangunguna ng People’s Network for the Integrity of Coastal Habitats and Ecosystems (People’s NICHE) ang 3rd National People’s Summit Against Reclamation noong Hunyo 3-4 sa Maynila. Kabilang sa mga lumahok sa pagtitipon ang iba pang grupong maka-kalikasan, kasama ang higit 100 mangingisda mula sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa.

Tumampok sa kanilang talakayan ang naiulat na 53 proyektong reklamasyon sa buong bansa na kalakhan ay nakabase sa Manila Bay at sasaklaw sa mahigit 27,000 ektarya ng pangisdaan. Tinatayang umaabot sa 1.5 milyong tao ang direktang apektado nito.

Naging masigla ang naging palitan ng karanasan at kinakaharap na problema ang inilatag ng mga kinatawan ng iba’t ibang sektor na magiging epekto sa kanila ng nakaaalarmang pagdami ng proyektong reklamasyon.

Panawagan nilang ikansela ng estado ang lahat ng proyektong reklamasyon, dredging, at seabed quarrying (paghuhukay ng buhangin sa ilalim ng dagat) sa buong bansa at imbestigahan at panagutin ang mga korporasyon at ahensya ng gubyernong nasa likod nito.

Kasama ang San Miguel Corporation, SM Prime Holdings, Waterfront, at mga dayuhang korporasyon tulad ng China Harbor Engineering Company at Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. sa mga korporasyon na may nakatakda o kasalukuyang gumugulong na proyekto.

Naglunsad rin kahapon ang mga grupo ng sunset protest (protesta sa dapithapon) sa Rajah Sulayman Park sa Maynila bilang pagsasara sa naturang summit at bilang tanda ng sama-samang pagtutol sa mapangwasak na mga proyektong ito. Inihayag rin nila ang determinasyon manguna sa pangangalaga sa integridad ng coastal habitats and ecosystems (kalusugan ng mga baybayin) na mahalaga para sa mga komunidad at pangkabuuang kapaligiran.

Pahayag ni Fernando Hicap, Pambansang Tagapangulo ng PAMALAKAYA: “Bilang kasalukuyang kalihim ng Department of Agriculture, dapat panagutan ni Pangulong Marcos Jr ang naging epekto ng mga reklamasyong ito sa milyun-milyong mangingisda. Ang kanyang patuloy na pananahimik sa mga usapin ay dagdag na pagpapabaya sa naghihingalo nang sektor ng mga mangingisda.”

“Mga malaking korporasyon lamang ang makikinabang dito at lalong mapapabayaan ang sosyo-ekonomikong karapatan ng mga mangingisda, marine biodiversity, at ang lokal na seguridad sa pagkain,” dagdag niya.

Samantala, nahimok nilang makipagkonsulatahan ang Ambassador ng The Netherlands sa Pilipinas na si Marielle Garadaets sa mga mangingisda sa Cavite na apektado ng dredging sa Manila Bay ng kumpanyang Boskalis, isang Dutch maritime construction firm (mga konstruksyon sa dagat).

Tumungo rin sila sa Mendiola para patampukin ang kanilang panawagan sa pagsalubong ng World Environment Day ngayong araw.


CPP/NPA-Kalinga: Pinakamataas na pagpupugay kay Kasamang Baliwag “Ka Bombo” Buccol: Huwaran ng katatagan at rebolusyonaryong diwang palaban!

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Jun 6, 2023): Pinakamataas na pagpupugay kay Kasamang Baliwag “Ka Bombo” Buccol: Huwaran ng katatagan at rebolusyonaryong diwang palaban! (Highest tribute to Comrade Baliwag “Ka Bombo” Buccol: Model of stability and revolutionary fighting spirit!)

Tipon Gil-Ayab
Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Operational Command (Chadli Molintas Command)
New People's Army

June 06, 2023

Mayo 30, 2023 | Pinakamataas na pagpupugay ang iginagawad ng buong rebolusyonaryong kilusan para kay Kasamang Baliwag “Ka Bombo” Buccol, martir at bayani ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan. Nagbuwis ng buhay si Ka Bombo sa isang labanan sa pagitan ng yunit ng BHB na kanyang kinapapalooban at pasistang tropang 50IB noong alas-kwatro ng hapon ng Mayo 03, 2023 sa Sityo Angod, Barangay Poswoy, Balbalan, Kalinga. Dalawa naman ang kumpirmadong nasawi sa hanay ng pasistang kaaway.

Makulay ang naging buhay rebolusyonaryo ni Ka Bombo. Nagmula sa tribong Guilayon, pinanganak siya sa Barangay Nambucayan, Tabuk City, Kalinga. Nagmula sa uring mahirap na magsasaka, hindi kailan man nakatapak si Ka Bombo sa burges na paaralan. Maaga siyang nasabak sa trabaho bilang mag-uuling noong sibilyan pa lamang siya. Dahil sa kalupitan ng kaaway kaya natulak si Ka Bombo na sumampa sa BHB. Pinaratangan siyang taga-suporta ng BHB at dumanas siya ng pandarahas at tortyur mula sa kaaway. Sa takot at galit na rin, na baka maulit uli ang nangyari si Ka Bombo mismo ang umugnay sa mga kasama na noon ay ilang baryo pa ang layo ng kinaroroonan mula sa lugar nila. Nagpursige siya hanggang makaugnay sa pangteritoryong yunit ng BHB, noong una ay bilang taguyod lamang hanggang sa napagdesisyunan niyang magpultaym taong 1992.

Sa loob ng 31 taong pagsisilbi sa sambayan, pinakamatingkad na katangian ni Ka Bombo ang katatagan sa hirap at rebolusyonaryong diwang palaban. Inabutan ni Ka Bombo ang yugto na nagwawasto ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa gabay ng Ikalawang Dakilang Kilusang Pagwawasto (IDKP) kung saan napakatindi ng demoralisasyon sa hanay ng Hukbo dulot ng mga kamalian ng dis-oryentasyon. Bultuhan ang naging pagbaba ng mga kasama, may panahong magigising na lang sila Ka Bombo na wala na ilang mga kasama sa kampo dahil nagsitakas na ang mga ito. Matindi rin ang naging reserbasyon at paniningil ng masa sa mga naiwang membro ng BHB dahil sa mga naging kalabisan noong dis-oryenyasyo pero lahat ng ito ay pursigidong hinarap nila Ka Bombo at mga kasamang nanindigan sa kawastuhan ng rebolusyon. Sila ang naging binhi ng muling pagbabagong-sigla ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa Kalinga.

Mula ng sumampa si Ka Bombo ay ni minsan di man lamang siya naghapag ng dalaw sa pamilya. Para sa kanya ay sapat ng malaman niyang nasa maayos silang kalagayan. May pangamba siyang kung malalaman ng kaaway na inuugnayan niya ang kanyang mga kapamilya ay baka sila naman ang pag-initan ng mga pasista. Hindi nagkamali si Ka Bombo dahil marami ng pangyayaring pamilya ng mga Pulang Mandirigma ang ginigipit, dinarahas at nilalapastangan ng pasistang kaaway para mapilitang mapasuko ang mga ito.

Sa tagal na ni Ka Bombo bilang Hukbo maraming masa ang nakakakilala sa kanya sa alyas na Liswag/Media/Supyat. Minsan nga ay napadpad ang yunit nila sa isang recovery area na halos dekada ng di nababalikan, may pagdududa ang masa sa mga kasama dahil nga mga bagong mukha pero ng makita nila si Ka Bombo ay nawala ang pangamba nila dahil naaalala pa nila ito mula noong huling nagpunta sa baryo nila. Hindi malilimutan ng masa ang taglay na kasipagan at husay sa handicrafts at pagkanta ng mga rev songs ni Ka Bombo. Dahil nga sa di siya nakapag-aral ay naging mahiyain at di gaanong masalita si Ka Bombo. Pero ang limitasyong ito ay di hadlang sa kanya para mahusay na makaprop sa masa, di man sa salita ay sa gawa. Tuwing nasa gawaing masa ang yunit, isa si Ka Bombo sa parating nagboboluntaryong pumunta sa masa para tumulong sa kanilang gawain sa produksyon. Magaling siyang maghabi ng bayong at gumawa ng mga kubyertos at iba pang handicrafts mula sa kahoy na madalas niyang ibinibigay sa mga masang nakakasalamuha. Kapag panahon ng mga pangkulturang aktibidad, hindi papahuli si Ka Bombo sa pagkanta ng paborito niyang “Armado a Pannakilaban” at iba pang kanta na naaral niya bilang bahagi ng literasi program ng yunit ng BHB.

Hindi magkakailang malaking puwang ang iniwan ni Ka Bombo sa kanyang pagkawala. Ang tatlong dekadang iginugol niya sa walang pag-iimbot at buong pusong pagsisilbi sa masa ay di matatawaran. Ngunit, iniwan naman niya sa atin ang inspirasyon at hamon na magpatuloy sa pagsusulong ng armadong pakikibaka. Hindi madali ang magrebolusyon pero patunay ang buhay ng mga kagaya ni Ka Bombo na sa pagkapit sa prinsipyo at masa at sa patuloy na pakikipaglaban ay tumatatag tayo at napapanday ang ating rebolusyonaryong diwang palaban. Nawa’y kapulutan natin ito ng aral at patuloy na ihanda ang sarili na tumangan ng mas mabibigat na responsibilidad at sakripisyo sa ngalan ng pagkamit sa isang lipunan may tunay na demokrasya at kalayaan.

Pagpupugay kay Kasamang Baliwag Buccol!
Pambansang minorya, itaguyod ang rebolusyon, sumapi sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan!


CPP/NDF-CNL: Genuine freedom and democracy lie in people’s seizure of power through a national democratic revolution with a socialist perspective

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Jun 5, 2023): CNL: Genuine freedom and democracy lie in people’s seizure of power through a national democratic revolution with a socialist perspective

Christians for National Liberation (CNL)
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

June 05, 2023

“Ours is an unfinished revolution. Today we continue to be engaged in the task of completing the struggle for national liberation and genuine democracy.”–National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)

As the reactionary Philippine government marks the country’s sham 125th Independence Day on June 12, the Christians for National Liberation (CNL)–the underground political organization of revolutionary Christians–stresses that genuine freedom and democracy can only be achieved upon the completion of the national democratic revolution (NDR) with a socialist perspective through people’s war.

A country is genuinely free and democratic when its people, led by workers and in alliance with the peasant class, own and control the means of production in economy. Through US colonialism and neocolonialism (and earlier centuries of Spanish colonialism), the country’s economy has been tied to the former through a colonial pattern of production and trade. The country has served as a source of cheap raw materials and an importer of finished products. This has been most beneficial to big compradors and landlords but has stunted domestic industrialization and perpetuated a very backward agricultural economy.

In the geo-political sphere, the continued presence of US bases and facilities, with even new ones created through the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), demonstrates the country’s absence of any independent foreign policy as the reactionary Marcos II regime willingly plays pawn in the heightening US-China inter-imperialist rivalry in the Asia and IndoPacific regions. Marcos Jr is servile to both.

CNL thus reiterates the importance of building the broadest united front in defeating US imperialism and all reaction, including their running dogs represented by the ruling elite in the country. The general challenge for church people is to take the path of militant mass struggles and armed revolution, as against preserving the status quo by keeping the Christian faith within the confines of reforms alone–or reformism. It is not keeping content with palliative measures such as bourgeois elections or sham land reform programs that do not change the State’s systematic oppression and terrorism on the people.

The specific challenges for revolutionary church people remain those set out in CNL’s four-year plan after its successful 9th Congress last year: consolidate and expand our ranks; participate and support the armed struggle; participate in the anti-fascist, anti-imperialist and anti-feudal open mass movement and parliamentary struggle; push the peace negotiations between the GRP and NDFP; win over the leadership of the institutional church to support the NDR and deprive its support to the reactionaries; and mobilize the international network to support the NDR; participate in the global anti-imperialist struggle against fascism and war.

We have a rich history of resistance. The Katipunan launched a national and democratic revolution (old type) in 1896–the first victorious anti-colonial struggle in Asia. Even then the US intervened in 1899 and launched a war aggression to deprive us of national freedom. By the time of the grant of bogus national independence in 1946, the US has ensured that the country’s economy, politics and culture are under its control and influence. The US shift to neocolonial rule was a result of the “relentless clamor of the people for national independence and the upsurge of national liberation movements throughout the world. State power was entrusted to a succession of puppets to cover up continuing US imperialist domination and control.” (NDFP)

Today’s national democratic revolution is of a new type since it is waged under the leadership of the proletarian party, the Communist Party of the Philippines which has absolute leadership over its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), and has a socialist perspective. Central to the NDR is genuine agrarian revolution, with the country being largely agricultural and majority of the people are peasants. The NDFP pursues the revolutionary class line in the united front. It promotes the unity, cooperation and coordination of all patriotic and progressive classes, sectors and forces in order to fight for national liberation and democracy and overthrow the oppressive and exploitative ruling system, now chiefly represented by the US-Marcos II regime. It conducts proletarian internationalism and reciprocal solidarity with other oppressed peoples of the world fighting US imperialism.

In the words of the great revolutionary Prof. Jose Maria Sison (Struggle for National Democracy, 1967): “Let us above all strive for national democracy in this country. xxx That national unity can only be created if we are bound with the masses in a common struggle against U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.”

Win the National Democratic Revolution with a Socialist Perspective!
Attain Greater Victories in the People’s War!
Long live the Communist Party of the Philippines!
Join the New People’s Army!
Long live the National Democratic Front of the Philippines!
Long live the Filipino People!


CPP/NPA-Central Negros: Padayon nga Militarisasyon sa Binukid sang Guihulngan kag Moises Padilla Nagkugmat sa Pumuluyo

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Jun 5, 2023): Padayon nga Militarisasyon sa Binukid sang Guihulngan kag Moises Padilla Nagkugmat sa Pumuluyo (Continued Militarization in the Village of Guihulngan and Moises Padilla Enraged the Residents)

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

June 05, 2023

Kapin sa 200 ka tropa sang 62nd IB nakapakat gikan pa sadtong Hunyo 3 tubtob subong Hunyo 5, 2023 sa mga binukid nga bahin sang Moises Padilla kag Guihulngan. Halos 8 ka kolum ang makita nga nagapangsaka-saka sa mga kabalayan, nagatiner sa mga eskwelahan kag pilit nga ginatapatawag ang mga residente kag ginapa-ako nga mga supporter sang NPA. Nagtuga ini sang kakugmat sa pumuluyo kag nagperwisyo sa ila pagpanguma kag pagpangabuhi sa lugar.

Halin pa petsa 3 sang Hunyo asta subong Hunyo 5, makita ang 3 ka kolum sang pasistang militar sa sityo Cuyawyaw. May 2 man ka kolum sang berdugong 62nd IB sa sityo Binataan, 1 ka kolum sa sityo Tibubong nga nagatiner sa eskwelahan. Ginahimo nga kampo militar ang Tibubong Elem. School, tanan sang Barangay Quinten Remo, Moises Padilla. May 2 man ka kolum sang nasambit nga tropa sa sityo Agogolo kag padayon nga nagatiner man sa sityo Agogolo Elem. School tanan sakop sang Barangay Macagahay sang amo gihapon nga banwa.

Samtang may isa man ka kolum nga makita sa sityo Anahaw, Barangay Sandayao, Guihulngan kag mentinado ang pagtiner sang militar sa sityo Punong Elem. School, Barangay Trinidad, Guihulngan. Ang Punong Elem. School ang ginhimo nga advance command post sang nasambit nga berdugong tropa.


CPP/NDF-Negros Island: Uphold International Humanitarian Law, Free Ana Aures Now!

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Jun 5, 2023): Uphold International Humanitarian Law, Free Ana Aures Now!

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

June 05, 2023

Last week, the National Task Force (NTF)-Elcac and Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) through notorious red-tagger and reactionary mouthpiece Lorraine Badoy released a video overflowing with fabricated statements of the reactionary government’s supposed “rescue” of Ana Aures. It is being used to spread lies and red-tag legal democratic mass organizations and legal institutions in Cebu.

Badoy’s and the NTF-Elcac’s distorted storytelling is but a far cry from reality. In truth, Ana Aures, while with her family, was illegally arrested by elements of the 3rd Infantry Division (3rd ID) of the Philippine Army last November 15, 2022 in Zaycoland Resort and Hotel at Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental. Her captors deprived her of her rights based on international humanitarian laws and the Comprehensive Agreement for Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). She is under enforced disappearance until now.

Ana Aures’ predicament is another addition to the heap of human rights violations of the AFP who has subjected her to unimaginable horrors while being detained by proven monsters of the 3rd ID.

From information we received, she was earlier detained in Iloilo City and was later transferred to 3rd ID Headquarters in Jamindan, Capiz. She was frequently subjected to mental torture and interrogation. The Philippine Army went as far as staging videos and pictures of her freely roaming around the camp she was imprisoned in and even took her to malls in Iloilo City and the Dinagyang Festival last January to take pictures of her as if enjoying her time with her fascist captors.

According to accounts from her friends whom she discreetly communicated with, Naya’s mental health has deteriorated immensely, even involving suicidal thoughts because of her detention, interrogation, and the mental torture she endures each day she is held by fascist soldiers. The NTF-Elcac’s claim of “redeeming” Ana Aures is simply condemnable. The longer she is held by the 3rd ID, the longer she suffers the cruelty of the state as she is being presented as a ‘trophy’ like Chad Booc and Nikka Dela Cruz who were murdered in cold-blood by the AFP.

Ana Aures, Ka Naya to her comrades and the masses she served, is a revolutionary working with farmers, farm workers and indigenous peoples in the hinterlands of Himamaylan City and Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental. The state’s tautologous rhetoric of branding activism as “brainwashing” undermines the fact that Ka Naya took the decisive step of joining the armed revolution after witnessing social realities of exploitation and oppression under the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system.

She was particularly drawn to Negros Island where the monocrop sugar economy has chained the overwhelming majority to landlessness and slave-like conditions. She found purpose in dedicating her life to serving the people wholeheartedly, a notion that can never be understood by the NTF-Elcac and the AFP, or even Badoy, who have practically terrorized the defenseless to protect the interests of the elite few.

With this, the National Democratic Front-Negros demands the AFP and NTF-Elcac accord Ana Aures her civil and political rights in accordance to international humanitarian law and the CARHRIHL. We challenge 3rd ID Commander MGen. Marion Sison and VISCOM chief Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo to give her the right to defend herself and to just representation in proper venues instead of forcibly utilizing her as a tool to threaten the youth and malign legal institutions and organizations.

NDF-Negros also strongly encourages human rights groups, church people, lawyers, and other concerned individuals here and abroad to campaign Ana Aures’ expedited release and assist in her recovery from the adverse effects of her on-going detention under the 3rd ID. An independent investigation regarding her capture and current condition must also be launched. It is high time that the AFP, emboldened by their illegitimate, brutal and lapdog commander-in-chief Marcos, be made to answer for their long list of crimes.

As the current Marcos regime continues its puppetry to US imperialism and its brazen kleptocracy while suppressing the people through intensified illegal arrests, red-tagging, extrajudicial killings, massive enforced surrenders and many other forms of grave human rights violations, the path to revolutionary armed struggle remains the most viable solution to attain just and lasting peace. The laws of history are clear: more revolutionaries can only sprout and persevere while injustice remains; as the people’s war is for people’s peace.###