Wednesday, July 19, 2023

PH, US militaries stage drills on special operations near WPS

From the Manila Bulletin (Jul 19, 2023): PH, US militaries stage drills on special operations near WPS (By MARTIN SADONGDONG)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United States Armed Forces (USAF) conducted two bilateral military trainings on special operations near the West Philippine Sea (WPS) recently, proving the strengthening partnership between the two allied countries.

Soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and United States Army train during the Maritime Special Operations Forces and Rangers Exercise Bronze (RAM) 01-2023 from June 26 to July 12, 2023 at Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan. (Photo: AFP Special Operations Command)

The Philippine Army’s (PA) 18th Special Forces Company and US Special Forces held the month-long Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC) PISTON from June 12 to July 14 in Rizal, Palawan – near the Kalayaan Island Group (Spratly Islands) in the West Philippine Sea.

The training focused on developing the troops’ abilities and interoperability in unconventional warfare, human rights/law of armed conflict, combat marksmanship, special reconnaissance/direct action, close-quarter battle, survival training, and mission planning, said Lt. Colonel Zandro C. Alvez, Chief of Staff of the Special Forces Regiment (SFR).

“This exercise demonstrated the strong partnership between the Philippines and the US, and enhanced their interoperability and operational effectiveness,” Alvez said on Wednesday, July 19.

Meanwhile, the AFP Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the PA’s First Scout Ranger Regiment trained with their counterparts from the US Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment during the Maritime Special Operations Forces and Rangers Exercise Bronze (RAM) 01-2023 from June 26 to July 12 at Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan.

“The exercise aims to enhance the interoperability of Special Operations Forces from the Philippines and the United States Armed Forces through field training exercises on jungle tracking, survival, patrolling, and air field seizure,” the AFP SOCOM said.

The participants reviewed techniques, tactics, and procedures (TTPs) from both armed forces and improved them to ensure these were integrated throughout the execution of Scout Ranger and maritime special operations.

The AFP and USAF have ramped up their military cooperation under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. – a 360-degree turn to the foreign policy of the previous Duterte administration which developed warmer ties with China.

This appears to be supported by majority of the Filipinos as a survey commissioned by an international think tank last week showed eight out of 10 respondents favored the strengthening military cooperation between the Philippines and US amid the security tension in the West Philippine Sea, according to a report from state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA).

The survey commissioned by Stratbase ADRI Institute and conducted by Pulse Asia from June 19 to 23 showed 80 percent among 1,200 respondents agreed that “alliances should be formed and relationships should be strengthened with other countries that have similar beliefs to the Philippines to defend the territorial and economic rights of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea and protect international order.”

Meanwhile, 17 percent of the respondents were undecided.

The results of the survey were released on the seventh year anniversary of the arbitral ruling on South China Sea last July 12.

Veteran activist Araullo files P2-million damage suit vs red-taggers

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 20, 2023): Veteran activist Araullo files P2-million damage suit vs red-taggers (By: Krixia Subingsubing)

PUSHBACK | Activist Carol Araullo (center) files a P2-million civil complaint at the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday, accompanied by (from left) journalist Vergel Santos, former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, her husband Mike, daughter Sandra, son Atom, and her lawyer Kristina Conti. (Photo by GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Activist and former martial law detainee Carol Pagaduan Araullo is seeking P2 million in damages as she sued former anti-insurgency task force spokesperson Lorraine Badoy and confessed communist rebel Jeffrey Celiz for “their incessant and wanton red-tagging” that targeted her and her organization on their TV program and on social media.

Araullo, the chair emeritus of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), filed a civil complaint on Wednesday at the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office, accusing Badoy and Celiz of abusing freedom of speech as hosts of the show “Laban Para sa Bayan” on Sonshine Media Network Inc., a company owned by controversial televangelist Apollo Quiboloy.

She cited at least six instances since July 2021 where Badoy allegedly tagged her without basis as a terrorist and a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) whose armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), had been waging a Maoist insurgency since the 1970s.

As to Celiz, he allegedly named Araullo as a leader of the CPP’s political arm, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and thus covered by the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, according to the complaint.

In several episodes of their show, the two Laban hosts described Araullo as “a top recruiter for the CPP-NPA while posing as a human rights defender,” it added.
Son not spared

They also referred to her son, broadcast journalist Atom Araullo, as the “son of a CPP central committee member” and challenged him to “talk about the crimes that your mother enabled to protect the CPP-NPA-NDF, where your mother is an urban operative.”

In her 21-page complaint, Araullo said the respondents “crossed the line by repeatedly committing abuses in the exercise of their right (to freedom of speech and expression).”

“What is clear is this: Defendants have no right to speak falsely or maliciously of other persons. The constitutional right of freedom of expression may not be availed of to broadcast lies or half-truths, insult others, destroy their name or reputation or bring them into disrepute,” she said.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Araullo said the persistent red-tagging had also taken a toll on her mental and physical health.

She spoke of having sleepless nights because of the social media comments generated by the accusations, maligning both her and Atom.

At one point, the chairperson of her barangay warned her that she was being kept under surveillance by security forces.

“So while I think myself to be a steadfast person — I endured martial law as a political prisoner — I cannot deny that these took a toll on me: I had to take security measures in my home and I have to warn my family members about the risks they face when they are with me.”

Need to ‘teach lesson’

She said she initially thought of just ignoring Badoy and Celiz but later realized “there is a need to exact accountability and to teach a lesson to these notorious red-taggers not just for me but for many others: trade unionists, community organizers, peasant organizers, lawyers, teachers, ordinary people whom they called enemies of the state.”

Araullo’s lawyer, Kristina Conti, explained that they chose not to file a libel complaint since they had been advocating the decriminalization of libel to prevent it from being used as a political weapon for silencing legitimate dissent and critical media reporting.

“However, there is a limit to one’s practice of free speech and it is not absolute…it cannot be used most especially for Red-tagging,” Conti said. “We want to show through this civil damages suit that Red-tagging is not protected speech, and is an abuse of this right.”

CPP/NDF-Southern Tagalog: Hustisya para kay Kyllene Casao, Maximino Digno at lahat ng biktima ng teroristang estado!

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Jul 19, 2023): Hustisya para kay Kyllene Casao, Maximino Digno at lahat ng biktima ng teroristang estado! (Justice for Kyllene Casao, Maximino Digno and all victims of the terrorist state!)

Patnubay de Guia
NDF-Southern Tagalog
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

July 19, 2023

Mariing nananawagan ang NDFP-ST ng hustisya sa unang taong paggunita sa pagpaslang ng 59th IB sa 9-taong gulang na si Kyllene Casao at magsasakang si Maximino Digno sa Batangas. Napakalaking sugat ang iniwan ng krimen na ito sa mamamayan ng Timog Katagalugan, lalo sa kanilang mga naulilang pamilya at komunidad. Hindi ito magsisimulang maghilom hangga’t malaya at hindi naparurusahan ang mga berdugong salarin dito.

Si Kyllene at Maximino ay mga inosenteng sibilyan na pinaslang ng pasistang 59th IB sa magkahiwalay na insidente. Namatay ang batang biktima sa walang patumanggang pamamaril ng mga elemento ng 59th IB sa Sitio Centro, Barangay Guinhawa, Taysan noong Hulyo 18. Binaril si Kyllene at kanyang ama na noo’y pauwi mula sa pag-uula ng kambing. Pinatunayan ng mga saksi na nagmakaawa ang ama ni Kyllene na sila’y mga sibilyan subalit hindi tumigil ang mga berdugo sa pamumutok sa kanilang direksyon.

Hulyo 26 naman nang patayin ng militar si Maximino, isang magsasakang may kapansanan sa pag-iisip, sa Barangay Cahil, Calaca. Natagpuan siyang walang buhay sa sariling lupain matapos iulat ng kaanak na halos buong araw na nawawala. Walang puso ang mga sundalo na pinakete ang biktima bilang isang NPA na namatay sa isang engkwentro. Agad itong pinasubalian ng kanyang pamilya, komunidad at ng inilunsad na imbestigasyon.

Nakagagalit na sa kabila ng independyenteng imbestigasyon at estabilisadong pananagutan ng 59th IB ay hindi pa rin pinarurusahan ang mga hayop na sundalo. Matapos ang mga krimen, kagyat na hiniling ng pamayanan at mamamayang nagmamahal sa kapayapaan tulad ng mga taong simbahan na paalisin ang 59th IB sa lugar subalit lalo pang naging mabagsik ang pasistang tropa sa pamumuno ni Commanding Officer Ernesto Teneza. Inatake ng AFP-PNP pati ang mga tagapagtanggol ng karapatang tao na nag-imbestiga sa dalawang kaso at siniraan ang iba pang mga grupong nais ilahad ang katotohanan sa pangyayari.

Malinaw ang pananagutan ng 59th IB sa sinapit nina Kyllene at Maximino. May pananagutan din ang Commission on Human Rights, Civil Service Commission, Department of Justice at iba pang sangay ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno sa kabiguan nitong gumawa ng kongkretong hakbang laban sa mga berdugo. Nananatiling nasa serbisyo ang mga sundalong sangkot sa pagpatay kina Kyllene at Maximino at hindi pinananagot sa kanilang krimen. Binabatikos namin ang 59th IB sa patuloy na pananakot sa pamilya ng mga biktima at pandarahas sa mga tagapagtanggol ng karapatang tao.

Ang kawalan ng hustisya ay tanda ng nagnanaknak na kultura ng impyunidad sa bansa. Sa unang taon pa nga lang ng ilehitimong rehimeng Marcos-Duterte, nasa 97 ang kaso ng ekstrahudisyal na pagpaslang. Hindi binibigyang katarungan ang mga biktima nito tulad ng pamilya Fausto na minasaker sa Negros noong Hunyo 14 dahil pinatay sila ng AFP-PNP, ang pinakapinapaboran at binubusog na mersenaryong hukbo ng gahamang naghaharing uri at imperyalismo. Nariyan ang reaksyunaryong gubyerno upang laging ipagtanggol ang mga sundalo’t pulis, sukdulang baluktutin ang sarili nilang reaksyunaryong batas. Ang mas masakit, ginagawaran pa ng promosyon at pabuya ang mga mamamatay-tao na bulag na sumusunod sa atas na supilin ang lahat ng mamamayang lumalaban

Itinutulak at binibigyang katwiran ng bulok na kaayusang ito ang paglaban hanggang paghawak ng sandata ng mga magsasaka, manggagawa, at iba pang aping uri’t sektor sa balangkas ng pambansa-demokratikong rebolusyon. Magpupunyagi ang rebolusyonaryong mamamayan sa digmang bayan para bigyang katarungan sina Kyllene, Maximino at lahat ng biktima ng teroristang estado.

CPP/NPA-Central Negros: Kawatan kag abusador sa Barangay Guba, Vallehermoso, ginsilotan

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Jul 19, 2023): Kawatan kag abusador sa Barangay Guba, Vallehermoso, ginsilotan (Thief and abuser in Barangay Guba, Vallehermoso, punished)

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

July 19, 2023

Ginsilotan kamatayon sang yunit sang NPA idalum sa Leonardo Panaligan Command-New People’s Army si Ricky Catubig, 40 anyos sang sityo Aluwihaw, Brgy Guba, Vallehermoso, Negros Oriental, Hulyo 19, 2023 alas 8:02 sini lang gid nga aga.

Tuig 2021 pa nagdesisyon ang korte sang pumuluyo matapos ang proseso sang pagbista kay Catubig sang silot nga kamatayon sa kaso sang mga masunod:

1. Tuig 2021 – pagtulis sa isa ka pobre nga mangunguma. Nakuha ang P5,000.00 sang biktima. Ini man nga tuig, ginlampusan ni Ricky sang maso ang ulo sang karabaw tubtob nga napatay sang isa pa ka mangunguma.

2. Pagpangawat kag pagpang-abuso-mangawat sang mga manok sang iya mga katupad kag ipakita pa ang pag-ihaw sa iya mga nabiktima.

3. Pagpangkastigo, ang pagkastigo ni Ricky sa iya kaugalingon nga ugangan nga lalaki. Ginlampusan ang ulo, nalitik ang ulo nga resulta sang pagkabu-ang sang biktima.

4. Taghupot sang ilegal nga armas kag may hugot nga angot sa militar ilabe na sa Barangay Guba Army detachment diin ginagamit sa pagpamahug sa pumuluyo sa lugar.

Ini nga tikang sang NPA ang pagsabat sa pila na katuig nga mga yamo sang mga residente sa lugar batok sa harap-harapan nga pagpang-abuso sang mga tinawo sang militar sa pumuluyo. Isa man ini ka tamparos sa militar bangud nasilotan si Ricky Catubig sa lugar halos 500 metros lang malapit sa army detachment.

Ginapanawagan sa tanan nga yunit sang NPA nga pabayaron sang dako ang berdugong 62nd IB. Ihatag ang nagakaigo nga hustisya sa mga pamilya sang ila nabiktima. Silotan ang pasistang militar kag iban pa nga traidor nga may utang nga dugo sa pumuluyo!

CPP/NPA-Batangas: Itakwil at palayasin ang berdugong 59th IB sa Batangas!

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Jul 18, 2023): Itakwil at palayasin ang berdugong 59th IB sa Batangas! (Reject and drive out the executioner 59th IB in Batangas!)

Gregorio Caraig
NPA-Batangas (Eduardo Dagli Command)
Southern Tagalog Regional Operational Command (Melito Glor Command)
New People's Army

July 18, 2023

Hustisya para kina Kylene Casao at Maximino Digno!
Hustisya para sa lahat ng biktima ng karahasan ng 59th IB PA, AFP-PNP at rehimeng US-Marcos II sa lalawigan ng Batangas!

Hustisya ang nagsusumigaw na panawagan ng mga kapamilya, kababaryo at buong mamamayan ng Batangas isang taon matapos ang walang habas na pagpaslang ng mga kasundaluhan ng 59th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army sa 9-anyos na batang babae na si Kyllene Casao at 52-anyos na magsasakang si Maximino Digno sa magkabukod na insidente na naganap noong Hulyo ng nakaraang taon.

Hulyo 18, 2022 walang habas na pinaputukan ng mga militar ang mag-aamang Casao habang pauwi galing sa pagsusuga ng kambing sa Sitio Centro, Brgy. Guinhawa, Taysan sa kabila ng pagmamakaawang sibilyan sila at hindi kalaban. Kaagad na tinamaan sa ulo ang batang si Kyllene at namatay bago pa man makarating sa ospital. Upang pagtakpan ang kanilang krimen, ginipit, tinakot at hinostage ang buong pamilyang Casao. Sapilitang ginamit ang mag-anak para kasuhan at palabasing NPA ang nakapatay kay Kyllene sa isang gawa-gawang labanan. Ipinipilit nilang nasawi ang bata dahil sa engkwentro sa pagitan ng mga pulang mandirigma ng yunit ng Eduardo Dagli Command laban at 59th IB PA sa SItio Centro. Ang totoo, walang ikalawang labanan dahil walang pakundangang nagpaputok ang mga sundalong nakabase sa Sitio Centro matapos marinig ang putukan sa Sitio Amatong, limang (5) kilometro ang layo sa Sitio Centro. Ang totoong labanan ay naganap sa Sitio Amatong at kung gayon ang mga punglo na tumama sa batang si Kyllene ay nagmula sa mga sundalo ng 59th IB PA na naghuramentado sa Sitio Centro.

Hulyo 26, 2022 walang awa ring pinagbabaril ng mga kasundaluhan ng 59th IB PA ang magsasakang si Maximino Digno sa Brgy. Cahil, Calaca, Batangas. Tulad ng scripted nang palabas, nagpakana rin ng pekeng engkuwentro ang 59th IB PA at pinalabas na diumano ay napaslang na NPA si Digno. Subalit hindi nagtagumpay na maitago ng kasundaluhan ang katotohanan sa brutal nilang pagpaslang kay Digno sapagkat nanindigan ang pamilya at buong baryo na sibilyan at ordinaryong magsasaka lamang si Digno, may sakit sa pag-iisip at hindi kasapi ng NPA taliwas sa gustong palabasin ng mga berdugong militar. Wala ring katotohanan ang palabas na may naganap na labanan sa naturang lugar noong araw na yon.

Gamit ang korte, ang mass media at lahat ng instrumento ng panunupil ng estado, garapalang binaluktot ng 59th IB PA sa pangunguna ng mamamatay tao at sinungaling na Commanding Officer nitong si Ernesto Teneza ang sistema ng hustisya at katotohanan sa pagkamatay nina Kyllene at Maximino. Para gipitin at sapilitang ipatanggap ang kanilang kasinungalingan, inihahambalos nila ang anti-mamamayang “Anti-Terror Law” sa mga inosenteng sibilyan kung saan tatlong magsasaka at ilang mga human rights defender na nag-imbestiga mismo sa pangyayari ang siya nilang kinasuhan at inakusahang sangkot sa pagpaslang kay Kylene.

Ngunit hindi malilinlang ng 59th IB PA ang mamamayan ng Batangas. Sabi nga mismo ng isang magsasaka sa Guinhawa, ‘kaya kami masyadong ginigipit, pinilit na papirmahin at pasukuin ay dahil alam ng buong taga-Guinhawa ang tunay na nangyari, na mga sundalo talaga ang pumatay sa bata…’ Tulad ng taga-Guinhawa, aktibong nanindigan at nagsalita ang mga kababayan ni Maximino Digno sa Calaca upang isalaysay kung paanong ang isang may diperensya sa pagiisip na magsasaka ay walang kaabog-abog na pinagbabaril ng nag-ooperasyong militar ng 59th IB PA.

Nagpapatuloy ang isinasagawang militarisasyon at panghaharas ng mga kasundaluhang nasa ilalim ng 59th IB sa mga magsasaka at iba pang mamamayan ng probinsya ng Batangas. Nagpakanang muli ng pekeng labanan sa Brgy. Jaybanga, Lobo ang 59th IB PA noong Enero 16, 2023 upang bigyang katwiran ang malalaking operasyong militar na isinagawa nila sa buong kabundukan ng Lobo mula Enero hanggang kasalukuyan bilang paghahanda sa nakaamba nang pagpasok muli ng MRL-Egerton gold mining project sa ilalim ngayon ng kumpanyang Bluebird Ventures Incorporated. Tulak ng malaking pagkamal ng salaping pakinabang, noong Setyembre 2022, muling inaprubahan ng rehimeng US-Marcos II ang dalawang taong ekstensyon o pagtutuloy ng eksplorasyon ng mapangwasak na dayuhang pagmimina sa bayan ng Lobo.

Tatamaan ng proyektong ito ang libu-libong ektaryang sakahan, panirahan at baybaying dagat mula sa mga barangay ng Biga, Balibago, Malabrigo, Soloc, Jaybanga, Apar, Nagtoctoc, Nagtaluntong at Sawang. Maging ang batayang pangangailangan ng mga taga-Lobo ay apektado dahil sa pinsalang maaaring idulot ng proyektong mina sa karagatan, sakahan at mga ilog na pinagmumulan ng suplay na tubig ng buong bayan ng Lobo. Direkta nitong wawasakin ang kabuhayan ng mga taga Lobo sa pamamagitan ng sapilitang pang-aagaw at pagpapalayas sa mga lupang sakahan, habang ang buong mamamayan ng Batangas ay maa-apektuhan dahil sa pagkasira ng kalikasan. Wawasakin din nito ang tinatawag Lobo white gold industry na pinagmumulan ng ipinagmamalaki ng Lobo na pinakamagandang klase ng asin.

Hindi lamang probinsya ng Batangas ang maaapektuhan ng mapaminsalang pagmimina. Pinakamalala dito, maapektuhan nito ang Verde Island Passage na tinaguriang lokasyon ng “the center of the center of the world biodiversity”. Kagaya ng naganap na sakuna sa probinsya ng Marinduque sa pagkasira ng mines tilling ng kumpanyang Marcopper, nasira at nawasak nito ang kanilang karagatan na ilang dekada nang nakaka-apekto sa kabuhayan at kalikasan ng kanilang lugar.

Sa basbas ng rehimeng US-Marcos II at administrasyong Mandanas, ipinagmamalaki ng Bluebird Ventures Inc. na diumano ay wala nang makakahadlang pa sa pagsasakatuparan ng kanilang mapangwasak na proyekto. Magkasapakat din sila katuwang ang mga malalaking negosyanteng lokal at dayuhan ng iba pang mga proyektong makakasira sa ating kalikasan.

Bukod sa nakaambang pagmimina sa bayan ng Lobo, nakaamba ring mawasak ng tuluyan ang kabundukan ng Banoy sa syudad ng Batangas oras na maisakatuparan naman ang planong humigit kumulang 300-ektaryang Batangas Forest City. Nananatili rin ang nakaambang gold mining project sa kabundukan ng Banoy na dati ring sinaklaw ng eksplorasyon ng mga dayuhang kumpanyang MRL, Egerton Gold at Bluebird.

Proyektong eko-turismo naman ng mga malalaking debeloper tulad ng Aboitiz at LANDCO ni Manny V. Pangilinan ang namamayagpag ngayon sa kabundukan at baybaying dagat ng San Juan na nakaambang magpalayas muli sa libu-libong magsasaka at mangingisda sa naturang bayan. Sa mga bayan ng Taysan at Rosario, nakaamba pa ang mas malawakang kumbersyon o pagpapalit-gamit sa mga lupang agrikultural para bigyang daan ang mga negosyo at agro-bisnes ng mga dayuhang negosyante at malalaking burgesya kumprador tulad ng San Miguel Corporation ng tambalang Danding Cojuangco-Ramon Ang.

Sa Kanlurang Batangas, patuloy pa rin ang pagnanais na maipatupad ang Taal Developement Project na magpapalayas sa ilang libong mamamayan sa paligid ng Taal Lake. Inihudyat naman sa biglaang pagsasara ng Central Azucarera de Don Pedro, Inc. (CADPI) sa Nasugbu ang todo-largang kumbersyon ng mga natitira pang lupang agrikultural tungong eko-turismo at industriyal na gamit upang bigyang puwang ang malalaking negosyo ng mga naghaharing burgesya kumprador tulad ng pamilya Sy, Lucio Tan, Daniel Consunji, Gokongwei, Roxas, Enrile, Ayala, Ramon Ang, Legarda at ilan pa. Higit na mas mababa na kaysa 30,000 ektarya ang buong lupang tubuhan sa lalawigan mula sa dating ikatlo ang Batangas sa pinakamalaking prodyuser ng tubo sa buong bansa. Matinding naapektuhan ng ganitong mga pakana ng sabwatang estado at naghaharing uri ang hindi bababa sa 12,000 magsasaka at manggagawang bukid sa tubuhan sa buong Batangas.

Habang naghihirap at nangangamba para sa kanilang kabuhayan, karapatan at kinabukasan ang mamamayan, tuloy-tuloy namang inilalako nina Mandanas at ng rehimeng US-Marcos ang Batangas sa mga dayuhang kapitalista at ibinubuyangyang ang likas-yaman nito para sa ibayong imperyalistang pandarambong sa pagde-deklara sa lalawigan bilang ‘next global economic hub.’ Kaakibat nito ang tuloy-tuloy ding pagtatayo ng mga negosyo at pabrika ng mga dayuhang kumpanya sa kahabaan ng Batangas Bay na sumasaklaw sa ilang barangay sa syudad ng Batangas at mga bayan ng Bauan, San Pascual at Mabini. Bilyon-bilyong tubo ang mahuhuthot ng mga negosyateng ito sa kanilang mapanira sa kalikasang mga proyekto.

Sa dami, lawak at laki ng pakinabang sa mga kalupaan at likas yaman na pinag-iinteresan ng mga negosyanteng dayuhan at lokal at naghaharing uri sa ating lalawigan kung kaya’t ganoon na lamang ang paghahangad ng rehimeng US-Marcos II sa pamamagitan ng AFP, gamit ang sunud-sunurang berdugong 59th IB PA na tuluyang madurog ang rebolusyonaryong paglaban ng mamamayan na pinangungunahan ng CPP-NPA-NDF sa lalawigan.

Mula Enero hanggang Hulyo, halos dire-diretso ang mga operasyong militar na inilulunsad ng 59th IB PA sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng lalawigan. Sa bawat bugso ng operasyon, samu’t saring mga paglabag sa karapatang pantao ang inihahasik ng 59th IB PA at mga kasanib puwersa nila na CAFGU at PNP-PSMC sa Batangas. Tuloy-tuloy ang pagbabanta at panggigipit sa buhay ng mga karaniwang magsasaka, pagbabanta hanggang aktwal na gawa-gawang pagkakaso sa mga sibilyan at mga lider masa gamit ang anti-mamamayang Anti-Terror Law, walang habas na paghalughog at pagransak sa mga bahayan, pagnanakaw ng mga gamit at pagpatay sa mga alagang hayop ng masa, paglapastangan sa karapatan ng kababaihan at bata, pagsira sa mga pananim at kabuhayan at marami pang iba.

Hindi lamang sa kanayunan nagaganap ang militarisayon, maging sa kalunsuran kung saan may isyu ng pakikibaka sa karapatan sa paninirahan at kabuhayan ang mga maralita. Nagkakaroon din ng malawakang harasment at panunupil ang 59th IB PA. Sapilitang kinukumbinsi ng mga kasundaluhan ang mga apektado ng demolisyon na mag self-demolish na lang at sapilitang tanggapin ang isang pabahay na walang kaseguraduhan. Ngunit sa kalaunan ay pwede na uli silang palayasin sa pansamantalang pabahay na ibinigay.

Kaya naman, sa sama-sama nating paggunita sa isang taon ng pagkapaslang sa ating mga kababayan na sina Kyllene Casao at Maximino Digno, nananawagan ang Eduardo Dagli Command – NPA Batangas sa buong mamamayan na Batangas na huwag magpagapi sa takot at teror na inihahasik ng berdugong 59th IB PA, manindigan para sa katotohanan at karapatan at ipagtanggol ang ating lupa, panirahan at kabuhayan sa gitna ng naglalakihang mapaminsalang proyekto ng naghaharing uri sa ating lalawigan.

Patuloy nilang gagamitin ang AFP at ang mamamatay taong 59th IB PA upang pigilan ang ating makatarungang paglaban at paninindigan para sa ating karapatan. Kung basta lamang tayong mananahimik, patuloy na maghahasik ng ligalig at kaperwisyuhan ang mga nagooperasyong kasundaluhan sa ating mga baryo. Walang ibang dapat gawin ngayon ang mamamayan ng Batangas kundi manindigan, magkaisa at kumilos upang igiit at kamtin ang hustisya, at ipagtanggol ang ating mga karapatan.

Habang sa isang banda, makakaasa ang rebolusyonaryong mamamayan ng Batangas na patuloy na magpupunyagi ang NPA sa lalawigan upang ipagtanggol ang mamamayan sa gitna ng mga banta ng pagyurak sa ating karapatan at igawad ang rebolusyonaryong hustisya laban sa pasistang estado at naghaharing uri, berdugong militar at mga ahente nito upang makamit ng mga biktima ang pinakaaasam na katarungan.

Sa gitna ng nagpapatuloy at maiigting na focus military operation (FMO) at at ng mapanlinlang na Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) na inihahalihaw ng mga berdugong tropa ng AFP-PNP sa Batangas, patuloy na nakakapagpalakas at nakakapagpalawak ang NPA at ang Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, higit na nagsisikhay sa gitna ng buhay at kamatayang pakikibaka. Malaking kahibangan ang ilusyon ng rehimeng US-Marcos, ng AFP at ng mga naghaharing uri sa lalawigan na nagtatagumpay silang madurog ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa lalawigan.

Patuloy na inaani ng NPA saan man ito makarating ang walang maliw na pagmamahal at pagtataguyod ng masang anakpawis at ang buong-buong pagtitiwala at pagtangkilik ng masa sa pambansa demokratikong adhikain ng rebolusyon. Kahit sa gitna ng matitinding lukob ng operasyong militar, buong kadakilaang itinataguyod ng masa ang NPA dahil sa kawastuhan ng isinusulong nitong digma at pakikibaka. Malaon nang nakaugat ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa lalawigan na dinilig at pinayabong ng mga tagumpay ng mga pakikibaka at rebolusyong agraryo na hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay tinatamasa at pinakikinabangan ng libu-libong mamamayan sa Batangas.

Isinusuka, isinasakdal at kinamumuhian ng masang Batangenyo ang mga krimen ng pasistang 59th IB PA, AFP at PNP, habang ang NPA at ang rebolusyonaryong mamamayan ng Batangas ay patuloy na minamahal at itinataguyod ng masang pinaglilingkuran, magkasama hanggang sa pagkamit ng ganap na katarungan at kapayapaan, hanggang sa tagumpay!

Nananawagan din tayo sa lahat ng mamamayang biktima ng panunupil at karahasan ng 59th IB PA, PNP at mga paramilitar ng AFP na magpakanlong kayo at sumapi sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan upang sabay-sabay nating kamtin ang hustisya sa pamamagitan ng masigasig at tuloy-tuloy na pagsusulong makatarungang digma. Agaran lamang na ipaalam sa mga lokal na Sangay ng Partido sa inyong mga lugar upang maiproseso ang inyong pagpasok sa mga yunit ng NPA sa ilalim ng Eduardo Dagli Command – NPA.###

CPP/NDF-Rizal: Landslide sa Antipolo, babala sa papalalang epekto ng mapanirang mga proyekto

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Jul 18, 2023): Landslide sa Antipolo, babala sa papalalang epekto ng mapanirang mga proyekto (Landslide in Antipolo, warning of the worsening effects of destructive projects)

Arman Guerrero
NDF-Southern Tagalog
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

July 18, 2023

Ang naganap na landslide kahapon, Hunyo 17, sa Barangay Sta Cruz, Antipolo City ay patunay ng lumalalang krisis sa klima bunsod ng mapangwasak na aktibidad ng mga korporasyon ng mga monopolyo kapitalistang dayuhan, malalaking burgesya-kumprador at uring panginoong maylupa.

Patanaw ang insidente sa maaaring kahinatnan ng mga barangay sa pagtatayo ng Wawa-Violago Dam.

Kinitil ng landslide ang buhay ng isang babaeng residente nang mabagsakan ng bato ang kanyang bahay, habang nasa 20 pamilya ang apektado ng insidente. Tiyak na mas malulubhang pinsala pa ang sasapitin hindi lang ng Barangay Sta Cruz at Antipolo, kundi ng iba’t ibang bayan sa Rizal sa oras na maitayo ang Wawa-Violago Dam. Mas malalaking baha ang nakaamba sa panahon ng tuloy-tuloy na bagyo.

Nakikiramay ang NDF-Rizal sa pamilya ng nasawi at mga naapektuhan ng landslide. Samantala, dapat na magsilbing babala ang naganap na landslide sa pagpapahintulot ng proyektong Wawa-Violago Dam. Dapat lalong palakasin ang tinig ng mamamayan laban sa naturang proyekto.

Nananawagan ang NDF-Rizal sa mga upisyal ng gubyernong tapat na naghahangad ng interes ng mamamayan na suportahan ang laban sa Wawa-Violago Dam. Nananawagan din kami sa mga progresibong grupo, mga tagapagtanggol ng kalikasan, at mga taong simbahan na aktibong lumahok sa pagtutol sa anti-mamamayang proyekto. Sa sama-samang paglaban, maipagtatanggol at mapangangalagaan ang buhay at kalikasan.

CPP/NPA-Central Negros: Mga mangunguma sa Canlaon City ginkastigo sang mga katapo sang 62nd IB

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Jul 16, 2023): Mga mangunguma sa Canlaon City ginkastigo sang mga katapo sang 62nd IB (Farmers in Canlaon City were punished by members of the 62nd IB)

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

July 16, 2023

Mabaskog nga ginakondenar sang Leonardo Panaligan Command-New People’s Army (LPC-NPA) ang pagpangkastigo sang mga katapo sang 62nd IB sa mga mangunguma sang Barangay Budlasan, Canlaon City, Negros Oriental sadtong Hulyo 6 sang nagpatigayon ang pasistang tropa sang combat operation sa lugar.

Hulyo 6, alas 5:00 sang kaagahon, wala sang search warrant nga ginpakita ang mga katapo sang 62nd IB sang ginransak ang balay ni Edward Sandot, 40 anyos, may asawa kag mga kabataan sa Sityo Uyangan, Brgy. Budlasan. Ginpang-ukay kag ginpangwas-ag ang mga kagamitan sang nasambit nga pamilya. Gin-imbestigar si Sandot kag ginpangitaan sang NPA nga pilason. Bangud wala siya ihibalo sang ginapangita sang tropa militar, wala kaluoy nga ginkastigo ang biktima sa presenya sang iya mga kabataan kag asawa. Napuno sang lagub ang kalawasan ni Sandot tuga sang pagkastigo. Nagtuga man ini sang kahadlok sa pamilya kag na-trauma ang mga kabataan.

Alas 8:00 sang aga sini man nga adlaw, ginkastigo sang lain pa nga tropa sang 62nd IB si Budok Sandot, 40 anyos, may asawa kag kabataan sa Sityo Hinumayan sang amo man nga baryo kag syudad. Halos indi na ini makabangon tuga sang wala kaluoy nga pagkastigo sang militar sa iya. Samtang si Christopher Sandot sang Sityo Uyangan nga nagkadto sa balay ni Budok agud magbayad sa iya utang sa karabaw sa ina man nga oras, wala kaluoy nga ginkastigo man sang militar.

Si Joselito Patulada sang Sityo Katuguisan, Brgy Budlasan, Canlaon ang ginkastigo man sang nasambit nga tropa militar. Kadungan sini nga ginkastigo sang berdugong 62nd IB si Roberto Francisco sang Sityo Uyangan, Brgy Budlasan.

Makahuluya kag butigon ang Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ilabi na si B/Gen. Orlando Edralin sang 303rd Bde nga masami nagasugid nga sila ang “protektor sang pumuluyo” kag nagasunod sang protocols of war. Ini ang lunsay pagpatalang, tinalawan kag desperado nga lihok sang AFP. Ang padayon nga pagbayolar sang militar sa tawhanon nga kinamatarung sang pumuluyo sa kaumahan sang Central Negros ang matuod nga nagamanipestar sang pasista, berdugo kag kriminal nga kinaiya sang AFP kag kabilugan nga mga pwersa sang estado.

Lubos man ginakondenar sang LPC-NPA ang pagpakuno-kuno sang pasistang 62nd IB nga mga katapo sang New People’s Army sila Reymart Dayanan, Gerome Geronimo, Yuling Landisa, Regine Landisa, Lanie Pasinabo kag iban pa nga nagserbe giya sa nasambit nga operasyon militar sang 62nd IB.

Samtang, padayon ang mga operasyon militar sang 62nd IB halin Hulyo 12 tubtob subong nga adlaw Hulyo 16. Kapin sa 200 ka tropa sang 62nd IB ang nakapakat sa Canlaon City kag Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental kag Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental. Naglab-ot sa walo ka kolum sang nasambit nga tropa militar ang makita nga nagalusob sa lugar.

May mga kolum sang 62nd IB nga makita sa Brgy. Macagahay proper, Moises Padilla. Gingamit nga kampo militar ang brgy hall sang nasambit nga baryo. Makita man ang iban pa nga kolum sini sa mga sityo sang Tubod sang Brgy. Macagahay. May ara man mahisayran sa mga sityo sang Kambairan kag Banderahan sang Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan City. May kolum man nga makita sa mga sityo sa Cabulay, Tabalogo kag Gusa sakop sang Brgy. Budlasan, Canlaon City. Ginhimo nga kampo militar ang Tabalogo Elementary School.

Nagapangsaka-saka ang nasambit nga militar sang mga kabalayan kag gina-imbestigar ang pumuluyo. Pilit nga ginapa-ako kag ginapasibangdan sila nga mga supporter sang NPA.

Mentras wala katumanan ang matuod nga reporma sa duta kag padayon ang pagpamigos kag panghimulos sa mga mangunguma sa kaumahan, padayon nga maga-usbong ang armadong paghimakas nga ginpartisipahan sang mga mangunguma bilang mayor nga pwersa nga naga-isa sa kusog sang sahing mamumugon. Padayon nga ginapamunuan sang Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) ang demokratikong rebolusyon sang banwa tubtob sa tunay nga kadalag-an.

Silotan ang pasista kag berdugong 62nd IB! Sukton ang mga traydor nga may utang nga dugo sa pumuluyo kag rebolusyon!

AFP: LOOK: SOCOM AFP Spearheads PH-US SOF Rangers Bilateral Exercise

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Facebook Page (Jul 18, 2023): LOOK: SOCOM AFP Spearheads PH-US SOF Rangers Bilateral Exercise

The Special Operations Command Armed Forces of the Philippines and the First Scout Ranger Regiment Philippine Army, together with their counterparts from the United States Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, jointly conducted the Maritime Special Operations Forces and Rangers Exercise Bronze RAM 01-2023 from June 26 – July 12, 2023 in Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan.

The exercise aims to enhance the interoperability of SOF Forces from the Philippines and the United States Armed Forces through field training exercises on jungle tracking, survival, patrolling, and air field seizure.

Relatedly, the exercise reviewed current techniques, tactics, and procedures and improved these TTPs ensuring these are integrated throughout the execution of Scout Ranger and maritime special operations.

Navy frigate holds medical mission to Pag-asa Islands

From the Palawan News (Jul 19, 2023): Navy frigate holds medical mission to Pag-asa Islands (By Celeste Anna Formoso)

Medical personnel from the Navy check the health of this child accompanied by her mother on Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan, West Philippine Sea. (Photo from the Western Command)

Philippine Navy frigate BRP Antonio Luna recently held a medical mission to Pag-Asa Island in the West Philippine Sea to provide support to residents and uniformed personnel stationed there.

The navy vessel sailed to Pag-asa and provided medical services to over 300 individuals on 9 July to address their healthcare needs, including free medical check-ups, prescriptions, and the distribution of essential medical supplies.

Additionally, the mission brought joy and excitement to the community by organizing parlor games and generously distributing goodies to children, said Western Command (WesCom) spokesperson Commander Ariel Joseph Coloma on Wednesday.

“Our team from the Philippine Marine troopers went the extra mile by offering free haircuts to adults and children, providing a refreshing experience for the island’s residents,” he said.

In order to ensure the success of the mission, health personnel and employees from the Kalayaan municipality provided their support and additional manpower.

Coloma said the collaborative effort demonstrated the commitment of both BRP Antonio Luna (FF151) and the local health center to address the healthcare needs of the island’s population effectively.

The medical mission to Pag-Asa Island not only underscored FF151’s proactive role in safeguarding the country’s farthest territories in the West Philippine Sea, Coloma said, but also highlighted the support provided by WESCOM.

He said that by extending its services beyond maritime patrols, FF151 exemplified the Philippines’ dedication to both territorial defense and the utmost care for its people living in even the most remote regions of the country.

Meanwhile, Capt. Maria Santos, commander of the navy vessel, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to serve the people of Pag-Asa Island.

“Our mission goes beyond securing our territorial waters. It is our duty to ensure the well-being of our fellow Filipinos, especially those living in the farthest reaches of our nation. We are proud to bring vital medical assistance and much-needed joy to the people of Pag-Asa Island,” she said.

Bangsamoro leaders ask Marcos to speed up amnesty grant, extend application period

Rappler (Jul 20, 2023): Bangsamoro leaders ask Marcos to speed up amnesty grant, extend application period (By FERDINANDH CABRERA, ROMMEL REBOLLIDO)

(1st UPDATE) BARMM Chief Minister Ahod 'Al Haj Murad' Ebrahim urges the President to tackle issues regarding the amnesty when he delivers his State of the Nation Address

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim and regional legislators appealed to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to expedite the granting of general amnesty to former Moro secessionist rebels with pending criminal cases and extend the application period.

The region’s officials have also urged Marcos Jr. to address issues concerning the amnesty when he delivers his July 24 State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Former president Rodrigo Duterte greenlit the granting of amnesty to former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) combatants through Proclamation Nos. 1090 and 1091, but the former rebels must apply for it. The Duterte proclamations cover only crimes committed concerning their political beliefs.

BARMM deputy speaker Lanang Ali Jr. said the amnesty application period for the MILF and MNLF members ended on January 24, before the National Amnesty Commission was constituted by Marcos Jr.

The commission is headed by lawyer Leah Tanodra-Armamento, with lawyers Nasser Marohomsalic and Jamar Kulayan as members.

Based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and its enabling law, the grant of amnesty must be completed within the transition period.

During a news conference in Cotabato City on Tuesday, July 18, BARMM parliament members, among them the sons of the founders of the MILF and MNLF, stressed the importance of taking the grant of amnesty to former rebels seriously as a confidence-building mechanism, describing it as a vital piece of the peace agreement between the government and the MILF.

More than 490 former combatants and field commanders from the MILF alone, who have submitted their application papers, have been waiting for the amnesty to be granted. An extension would allow more to apply for amnesty.

“We really hope these issues are among the things that the President will discuss in his report to the people,” Ebrahim said.

The group of BARMM legislators included Abdullah Hashim and Ustadz Abdulkarim Misuari, sons of the late MILF founder Hashim Salamat and MNLF founder Nur Misuari.

Hashim said the amnesty is an important part of the 2014 peace agreement that ended the decades-old secessionist rebellion in Mindanao, to prevent situations like the recent killings of MILF members in Datu Paglas town in Maguindanao del Sur.

BARMM parliament member Baileng Mantawil said the amnesty would transform lives, instill hope, and create an environment where peace can truly flourish.

“Without amnesty, our combatants remain vulnerable to the haunting specter of potential criminal charges. Fear and uncertainty loom large in their lives where they constantly live under the shadow of being apprehended at any moment,” Mantawil said.

The Muslim-majority region’s lawmakers cited a recent case in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao del Sur, where seven MILF members were killed in a supposed encounter with authorities. The police claimed those killed had warrants of arrest for frustrated murder.

BARMM officials also pointed out the serving of a warrant of arrest against an MNLF official in Sulu that left one policeman killed and four others wounded.

Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) member Mary Ann Arnado said they hoped the amnesty would be granted before the first BARMM regional elections in 2025 because a number of MILF members want to participate and run for elective positions.

Several former rebels with political ambitions also expressed concern that the absence of amnesty could be used against them during the 2025 regional elections.

“We are preparing for the democratic elections, so if MILF members and leaders who wish to join the election but have pending cases in furtherance of their legitimate struggle, then that is a problem… We need to address this issue of amnesty, but we are running against time,” Arnado said.

She said the grant of amnesty to former combatants is part of the government’s deliverables in the implementation of the CAB and Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

“By granting them blanket amnesty, you remove the sword hanging over their heads. They can be arrested at any time. Amnesty is about forgiveness,” Arnado said.

Arnado said the peace agreement cannot be fulfilled if some issues, like the grant of amnesty, remain incomplete during the transition period.

Another BARMM legislator, Akmad Abas, said he was worried that his failure to secure an amnesty may hinder his participation in the 2025 elections in the BARMM.

Abas, who has applied for amnesty, served as the leader of the MILF’s Eastern Mindanao Command during the MILF’s struggle for self-determination.

“We can only roam around and join the government in its peace-building activities and other functions with only our safe conduct passes at the moment,” he said.

Romeo Brawner is next AFP chief

 From Rappler (Jul 19, 2023): Romeo Brawner is next AFP chief (By BONZ MAGSAMBOL)

Romeo Brawner will replace Andres Centino, who will now serve as the presidential adviser on the West Philippine Sea

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. named Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner as the new chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Malacañang announced on Wednesday, July 19.

Brawner, a native of Baguio City, will replace General Andres Centino, who will now serve as the presidential adviser on the West Philippine Sea.

“He exemplified the highest levels of excellence in his military schoolings, topping his classes in the Special Forces Operations Course, Intelligence Officer Course, and the AFP Comptrollership Course,” Malacañang said in its release.

Brawner is currently serving as Commanding General of the Philippine Army. He assumed this position on December 10, 2021. Prior to this, he served as the military’s deputy chief of staff for financial management and as commandant of cadets of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). Brawner was also a Marawi siege veteran, serving as the spokesperson and deputy commander of the military task force Ranao in 2017.

He belongs to the PMA Makatao Class of 1989. The Philippine Army is the largest service under the AFP with over 100,000 personnel. The other services are the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Air Force.

Brawner is the third AFP chief under the Marcos administration.

New adviser on WPS

Prior to his new assignment, Centino was in and out of the AFP. In January, Marcos reappointed him as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – five months after he plucked him out of the same post and named him ambassador to India.

Centino replaced incumbent AFP chief Lieutenant General Bartolome Bacarro, who was Marcos’ pick to replace Centino, then military boss, in August 2022. The release said Centino “replaces previous appointee” Bacarro.

Centino’s new position is crucial in terms of national security as the Philippines guards its claims against China in the West Philippine Sea.

Bangsamoro MPs to Marcos Jr.: extend amnesty application for Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front members

 From MindaNews (Jul 18, 2023): Bangsamoro MPs to Marcos Jr.: extend amnesty application for Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front members (By BONG S. SARMIENTO)

Moro Islamic Liberation Front combatants in a military formation at Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat town, Maguindanao. MILF fighters will be decommissioned in line with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the final peace deal between the government and the MILF signed in 2014. MindaNews file photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 18 July) – Several members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday to declare during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24 the extension of the application period for the grant of amnesty to members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and grant a blanket amnesty to qualified applicants to give them a new lease on life.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Atty. Lanang Ali Jr. said the amnesty application period for the MILF and MNLF members and other revolutionary groups expired last January 24.

“We are asking the President to extend the application for amnesty for MILF and MNLF members. The granting of amnesty will help sustain the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process,” Ali said in a hybrid press conference livestreamed from Cotabato City.

On February 5, 2021, then President Rodrigo signed Proclamations 1090, 1091, 1092 and 1093, granting amnesty to members of the MILF (1090) and MNLF (1091), the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa – Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (1092) and the “communist terrorist group” (1093), “who have committed crimes in pursuit of their political beliefs, whether punishable under the Revised Penal Code or special penal laws” such as rebellion or insurrection, conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion or insurrection, among others.

Applications for the grant of amnesty in the four proclamations, however, are to be filed with the National Amnesty Commission (NAC) within one year from the effectivity of the Proclamation. The Proclamation took effect on January 24, 2022. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives concurred on Proclamations 1090, 1091 and 1092. Only the HoR concurred on Proclamation 1093.

The NAC, however, was constituted only last February 2023, when the year-long period for application had already lapsed. The NAC is chaired by Atty. Leah Tanodra-Armamento with Atty. Nasser Marohomsalic and Atty. Jamar Kulayan as commissioners.

Ali noted that it needs another presidential proclamation to extend the deadline for application beyond January 24, 2023.

Deputy Floor Leader Mary Ann Arnado appealed to Marcos to address the extension of application and implementation of the amnesty program for members of the two Moro fronts during his SONA on July 24.

“We appeal to President Marcos to extend and fully complete the amnesty program in the spirit of unity,” she said, recalling that Marcos ran under the slogan of unity.

Arnado pointed out that there remains only a small window until the filing of certificates of candidacy for the mid-term and the first Bangsamoro parliamentary elections in May 2025.

The mandate of the BTA, the interim body tasked to govern the Bangsamoro region, will end on June 30, 2025, when the first set of elected Parliament officials shall have taken their oath of office.

The filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 2025 polls is in October next year, or 15 months from now. The BTA ends its term 22 months from now, on June 30, 2025.

The amnesty for the former MILF rebels is one of the items needed to be completed within the transition period, Arnado said.

Arnado, a lawyer who spent at least two decades of peace work in the Bangsamoro, said the grant of amnesty to former MILF combatants is part of the normalization track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the peace agreement signed by the government and MILF in 2014 after 17 years of peace negotiations.

Mandated by the CAB and its enabling law, RA 11054 (Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), the grant of amnesty is to be completed within the transition period.

“By granting them blanket amnesty (for waging an armed revolution against the government), you remove the sword hanging over their heads that they can be arrested anytime. Amnesty is about forgiveness,” she said.

The normalization track also provides for the decommissioning of MILF forces and weapons, the transformation of six recognized MILF camps into peaceful and productive economic zones, disbandment of private armed groups, and the redeployment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines from or within the Bangsamoro region, among others.

Ali said that the 40,000-strong MILF had already decommissioned at least 24,000 fighters.

“Dapat suklian sa pamamagitan ng pag grant ng amnesty (It should be repaid by granting amnesty to those decommissioned combatants,” he said, noting that doing so constitutes part of the government’s continuing confidence-building measures.

Member of Parliament Baileng Mantawil said that by extending and granting amnesty to MILF and MNLF members, Marcos will have the opportunity “to leave a legacy of peace, reconciliation and unity that will resonate throughout generations to come.”

“Without amnesty, our combatants (will) remain vulnerable to the haunting specter of potential criminal charges. Fear and uncertainty (would) loom large over their lives, as they will constantly live under the shadow of being raided or apprehended at any moment,” she said.

“This is not the path to lasting peace but rather a continuation of the mistrust that has plagued our people for far too long,” she added.

Aside from Ali, Arnado and Mantawil, the other BTA members who expressed support for the extension of the amnesty application period are Atty. Randolph Parcasio, Dr. Susana Anayatin, Ustadz Abdulkarim Misuari and his sister Nurredha Misuari, Tawakal Midtimbang, Suharto Esmael, Akmad Abas, Abdullah Hashim and Marjanie Macasalong.

Once Marcos signs the proclamation extending the previous amnesty proclamations, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity said it expects at least 50,000 applications for amnesty coming from former MILF and MNLF combatants.

In a resolution adopted on November 21, 2022, the BTA noted that “at least 7,600 prospective applicants can avail of the amnesty,” citing a speech of former Senator Panfilo Lacson on January 24, 2022 in support of the granting of amnesty to MILF and MNLF members.

“Never in our history has our nation sought and demanded a ‘time of healing’ with much fervor and tenacity than we do today – healing from the health crisis which scarred our people, healing from the economic, social and political distress that, by and large, spoiled our nation,” it quoted Lacson as saying.

The resolution already noted the need then to extend the period for application for amnesty.

Last October, the Action for Advancement and Development Mindanao submitted to Mohagher Iqbal, the MILF Peace Implementing Panel chair, 523 application folders for amnesty from members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), the MILF’s armed wing, to be endorsed to the National Amnesty Commission. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

AFP, 2 groups ink prosthesis deal for military amputees

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 19, 2023): AFP, 2 groups ink prosthesis deal for military amputees (By Priam Nepomuceno)

PROSTHESIS DEAL. Civil Relations Service AFP commander, Brig. Gen. Arvin R. Lagamon (center), and representatives of the GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc. and LN4 Foundation Philippines sign a prosthesis partnership agreement at the CRSAFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Tuesday (July 18, 2023). The agreement seeks to provide free prosthetic hands and arms for troops whose limbs were lost in the line of duty. (Photo courtesy of CRSAFP)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has signed a prosthesis partnership agreement with two private organizations as part of its efforts to help personnel whose limbs were lost in the line of duty.

The AFP, the GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc., and LN4 Foundation Philippines signed the agreement at the Civil Relations Service AFP (CRSAFP) in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Tuesday.

In a statement Wednesday, CRSAFP commander, Brig. Gen. Arvin R. Lagamon, thanked donors on behalf of the beneficiaries.

He likewise called for a sustained and meaningful partnership between the military and non-government organizations.

"The donation will boost the morale of civilians and amputee soldiers who once risked life and limb on the front lines," Lagamon said.

This initiative will provide amputees with free prosthetic arms in commemoration of National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week, under Proclamation 1870 issued on June 22, 1979, declaring the third week of July as "National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week."

Former AFP chief Alexander Yano served as guest of honor and speaker at the event.

The LN4 Philippine Ambassadors, an international donor of prosthetic hands, also facilitated the prostheses fitting and maintenance.

Ranking NPA leader falls in Isabela

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 19, 2023): Ranking NPA leader falls in Isabela (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

(Photo courtesy of CIDG)

MANILA – Members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) have arrested a ranking leader of the New People's Army (NPA) in Isabela.

In a statement Wednesday, CIDG director Maj. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr. said the suspect Romeo Cudal, 66, alias “Ramon Daniel Luis /Ka Mon/Ka Paoy/Ka Nick/Ka Rito/Ka Noni”, was arrested in Barangay Andres Bonifacio, Diffun, Quirino province on July 16.

Cudal is wanted by the Ilagan City, Isabela Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 18 for kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges issued in March 2018.

The suspect has also a bounty of PHP750,000 under joint orders from the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of National Defense.

"The accused Cudal is included in the CIDG's priority target list as Top 4 wanted person who belongs to the NPA's Komiteng Probinsiya Isabela, Komiteng Rehiyon-Cagayan Valley and Top 10 sa KLG-QNV/RSDG, KR-CV. We also learned that he was designated as the finance/economic officer of the Central Front and Secretary of SPP-GANI, Southern Front ," Caramat said.

Pending the return of the warrant to the issuing court, the accused remains in the custody of the Diffun Municipal Police Station.

Marcos names Army commander Brawner as new AFP chief (Bio Data)

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 19, 2023): Marcos names Army commander Brawner as new AFP chief (By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos)

Incoming AFP chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has designated Philippine Army commander Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. as the next chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Malacañang announced Wednesday.

Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil confirmed the latest appointment of Brawner who will replace AFP chief of staff Gen. Andres Centino.

“Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner will be the next Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and will take the place of General Andres Centino who was re-appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to the said post earlier this year,” Garafil said.

Prior to his new appointment, Brawner was the commanding general of the Philippine Army since Dec. 10, 2021.

He graduated No. 2 in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) "Makatao” Class of 1989 and served in the military in various capacities for 34 years now.

He became the company commander of the 6th Special Forces Company; battalion commander of the 2nd Special Forces Battalion; operations officer of the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne); chief of staff of the 6th Infantry “Kampilan” Division; chief of the Public Affairs of the Philippine Army; spokesperson of the AFP; commander of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment; and brigade Commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade during the aftermath of the Marawi Siege in 2017.

Brawner also served as the commandant of PMA, playing an important role in the total eradication of hazing and maltreatment in the Cadet Corps.

He later served as the first deputy chief of staff for Financial Management, J10 of the AFP.

He also worked as commander of the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division, supervising the unit’s combat operations that led to the decisive neutralization of Jorge Madlos or “Ka Oris,” the commander of the National Operations Command of the New People’s Army.

“He exemplified the highest levels of excellence in his military schoolings, topping his classes in the Special Forces Operations Course, Intelligence Officer Course and the AFP Comptrollership Course,” Garafil said.

Brawner has acquired three Master’s Degrees: Master’s in Information Management from the Ateneo de Manila University; Master’s in Business Administration from the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand and from the European School of Management, Oxford, United Kingdom; and Master’s in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College (USAWC).

He also received numerous awards and recognitions, including The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS) in 2013 by the Metrobank Foundation and Rotary Club of Makati, and the Lapu-Lapu Award by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for his valuable contributions in the neutralization of Abu Dar, the last of the original leaders of the Maute-ISIS faction.

In March this year, Brawner was inducted into the USAWC International Fellows Hall of Fame in recognition of his service at the highest command position in the Philippine Army.

Brawner was also conferred the Legion of Merit – Degree of Commander in recognition of his exceptionally meritorious service as the Commanding General, Philippine Army, particularly in ensuring that the Philippine Army remains trained, ready, and postured for all missions.

Presidential adviser

Meantime, Garafil said Centino has been appointed as Presidential Adviser on the West Philippine Sea.

Centino already reached the mandatory retirement on Feb. 4 this year but qualified for another three-year term following the signing of Republic Act 11709.

Under RA 11709, the AFP chief of staff, vice chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, heads of the major services (Army, Navy, and Air Force), unified command commanders, and inspector general will have a three-year term of office "unless sooner terminated by the President."

Centino served as Philippine Army chief from May 14, 2021 to Dec. 10, 2021.

His other assignments include commander of the 4th Infantry Division, AFP deputy-chief-of-staff for operations or J-3 in military parlance and head of the 401st Infantry Brigade.

Centino graduated cum laude from the PMA.

He also holds a Master’s in Business Management from the University of the Philippines, Master’s in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University in Washington D.C. and a certificate in the Strategic Business Economic Program of the University of Asia and the Pacific.

PCG to use Filipino-built hybrid drone in monitoring PH shores

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 19, 2023): PCG to use Filipino-built hybrid drone in monitoring PH shores (By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz)

PINOY DRONE. Officers of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) pose for a photo after the handover of the first Filipino-built hybrid vertical take-off and landing drone from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, at the PCG Headquarters in Port Area, Manila on Wednesday (July 19, 2023). The PCG said the drone would be used in conducting surveillance missions. (Photo courtesy of PCG)

MANILA – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Wednesday received a hybrid drone from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to be used in conducting surveillance missions.

In a statement, the PCG said the drone – prototyped by Dodeca’s research and development team – is the “first hybrid vertical take-off and landing drone built by Filipinos to be owned and operated by the Philippine government.”

The equipment will be used to enhance the country’s monitoring capabilities for its coasts and shorelines, the statement read.

PCG Commandant, Admiral Artemio Abu, thanked the UNODC for the donation during the handover ceremony.

“We look forward to continuing this partnership as we work together to navigate the future of maritime law enforcement,” Abu said.

Dodeca is a local company with remotely operated aircraft system operators certified by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) that offer drone services, solutions, and training.

Earlier, four Coast Guard Aviation Force (CGAF) finished the 15-day unmanned aerial system (UAS) training conducted by the Joint United States Military Assistance Group - Philippines.

They underwent a comprehensive theoretical phase and received actual flight experience through testing the capabilities, limitations, and operability of a UAS.

The CGAF also received five UAS through the US government’s grant assistance.

Arms cache unearthed in E. Samar town’s upland village

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 19, 2023): Arms cache unearthed in E. Samar town’s upland village (By Sarwell Meniano)

SEIZED. Some of the high-powered firearms and banned explosives were buried by the New People’s Army (NPA) in an upland village of Can-avid, Eastern Samar. The Philippine Army found the arms cache on Wednesday (July 19, 2023) through a tip from a former rebel. (Photo courtesy of the Philippine Army)

TACLOBAN CITY – Acting on a tip from a former rebel, troopers from the Philippine Army recovered an arms cache in an upland village of Can-avid, Eastern Samar on Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Rodito Gotladera, commander of the Philippine Army’s 42nd Infantry Battalion, said in a statement that
unearthed firearms in upland Buco village in Can-avid town included five M14 rifles, four M16 rifles, a shotgun, an M79 grenade launcher, a banned anti-personnel mines, and other war materiel.

Before this recovery, a former rebel recently disclosed to soldiers the exact location of the buried arms cache.

“We will be stepping up our military and non-military operations to track down the location of the remaining NPA members, and their loose firearms, and prevent their recovery efforts here in Eastern Samar. Today’s recovery significantly blows the capacity of communist rebels on their nefarious acts,” Gotladera said.

He reiterated the Army's commitment to intensify efforts to locate more firearms hidden by armed rebels and prevent them from “recovering their lost ground” in Eastern Samar.

Philippine Army 8th Infantry Division commander Major Gen. Camilo Ligayo commended the 42nd Infantry Battalion for their accomplishments that contributed to the mission of ending the decades-long insurgency problem.

“We will have intensified operations, especially in Northern Samar, and in no time we will be able to dismantle the one remaining guerilla front. During the visit of President Bongbong Marcos he said that he is confident that we can finish the fight against the insurgents by the end of the year in the region,” Ligayo added.

Some upland villages in Can-avid, a 4th class town in Eastern Samar, used to be the hiding places of the NPA.

In October 2020, government troops had a gun battle with 25 NPA combatants in Can-avid where three soldiers were wounded while an undetermined casualty was reported on the side of rebels.

Peace offices to expand gov’t services in insurgency-hit areas

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 18, 2023): Peace offices to expand gov’t services in insurgency-hit areas (By Priam Nepomuceno)

National Security Adviser Eduardo M. Año (File photo)

MANILA – The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) can now implement its projects nationwide, especially social services and other government programs for underprivileged communities battered by armed conflicts.

National Security Adviser (NSA) Eduardo Año on Tuesday said this is made possible after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. greenlighted the activation of Project Management Office (PMO), also called Peace and Development Office, in all government offices and instrumentalities.

“The activation of PMOs bolsters the determination of the task force to ensure that social services and other government programs and projects reach these communities and bring about positive development and provide solutions to the problems of Filipinos across the country,” Año, also NTF-ELCAC vice chair, said in a statement.

In support of the implementation of Executive Order (EO) No. 70 that created the NTF-ELCAC, the President’s approval of PMOs will bolster the whole-of-nation approach to peace and development to ensure that government projects are immediately implemented in barangays cleared of New People's Army (NPA) influence, he added.

Año has directed Undersecretary Ernesto Torres Jr., NTF ELCAC Executive Director, to coordinate with all line agencies for the implementation of the President’s directive.

The directive was dated June 19 and signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin.

Año explained that as part of National Government Agency interventions related to the implementation of EO 70, the PMOs will ensure that the government will bring development in geographically isolated and underdeveloped areas long exploited by communist terrorist groups.

The PMO shall be activated in all government offices, agencies, bureaus, and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations.

“This approval demonstrates confidence and trust by the President of the integrity, commitment, and dedication of the task force to good governance and public service,” the NSA said.

Since the EO was signed by former president Rodrigo Duterte in December 2018, some 75 percent of NPA guerrilla fronts have been dismantled.

The still existing groups have been weakened and are the focus of military operations and development efforts by NTF-ELCAC agencies.