Monday, June 24, 2024

CPP/NDF-Special Office for the Protection of Children: AFP kills another minor on the heels of Int’l Day for the Protection of Children

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Jun 23, 2024): AFP kills another minor on the heels of Int’l Day for the Protection of Children
 


Coni Ledesma
Head
Special Office for the Protection of Children
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

June 23, 2024

Just a few days after the International Day for the Protection of Children on June 1, the Marcos Jr. regime and the fascist Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have once again laid bare their war against Filipino children and youth with the brutal killing of a 16-year-old Grade 9 student Kuni Cuba in Sultan Kudarat, southwestern Mindanao last June 9.

Kuni was on his way back home together with a sibling and two friends when soldiers from the 7th Infantry Battalion of the AFP ordered the shot. To cover up their war crime, the AFP planted a M1 Garand semi-automatic rifle beside Kuni’s corpse to portray him as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Kuni’s family belied the AFP’s claim and asserted Kuni was just an ordinary student whose dream to finish his studies was extinguished by the fascist military.

The AFP not only violated all known customary international laws by killing a 16-year-old and falsely claiming him as a so-called ‘child soldier,’ but also violated the Geneva Convention for desecrating Kuni’s corpse.

The AFP’s excuse that the boy was a member of the NPA is nothing more than a cynical and reprehensible attempt to justify their barbarity. This is not the first time the AFP has resorted to such tired, hollow rhetoric to mask their human rights abuses, and it is clear that under the Marcos Jr. regime, children’s rights violations and the disregard of international humanitarian law are systematically perpetuated.

This tragic incident is a stark reminder of the systemic violence and impunity that is the hallmark of the Marcos Jr. administration. While the rest of the world celebrates the protection and upliftment of children this June, the Philippine puppet state under Marcos Jr. has chosen to continue its campaign of terror against its own people, targeting even the most vulnerable and defenseless.

We call upon the international community to condemn this atrocious act and demand justice for Kuni and his family. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his AFP troops must be held accountable for their continuing war crimes. The blood of the innocent stains their hands, and no amount of propaganda can cover up their mounting atrocities.

https://philippinerevolution.nu/statements/afp-kills-another-minor-on-the-heels-of-intl-day-for-the-protection-of-children/

CPP/CIO: Expose and denounce the American war-monger Col. Raymond Powell

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Jun 24, 2024): Expose and denounce the American war-monger Col. Raymond Powell
 


Marco Valbuena
Chief Information Officer
Communist Party of the Philippines

June 24, 2024

Former US air force colonel, Raymond M. Powell, is an active psywar operative, interventionist, war-monger and American agent-provocateur. From an obscure career in the US military, he has been receiving much air time from big Philippine media organizations since last year, touted as a “security analyst” and “expert on maritime issues.”

Colonel Powell has been actively supporting Philippine security forces in carrying out provocative operations in the West Philippine Sea in the guise of “supply missions” to bring “construction materials” to the BRP Sierra Madre. He has recently stepped up his provocation, pushing the Philippines to consult with the US on options under the Mutual Defense Treaty. He insists China will not be open to deescalating conflicts, insinuating that there is no more room for diplomacy and dialogue.

Funded and endorsed by the US military, Colonel Powell has been playing an active role in the US “Indo-Pacific strategy,” that aims to contain China’s growth as an economic and military power. He presently heads the Myoushu and Sealight projects at Stanford University, which has been actively providing “information operations” support to the so-called “supply missions” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine Coast Guard. These naval and maritime operations challenge China’s “gray-zone tactics” and push it to its limits. This is part of the overall US military scheme to make China “own the starting pistol.”

By way of background, Colonel Powell took part in the US wars of invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), both of which were waged by the US on false pretexts. As an expert in information wars, he is now actively seeking ways to ignite a military conflict between the Philippines and China, and thus set the pretext for a large-scale US war of intervention.

Colonel Powell is part of US drumbeating operations to generate a clamor for war and for US military intervention. He is working alongside other US-funded, supported or endorsed “think tanks” such as the “International Development and Security Cooperation” which has been hyping up the scenario of a “Chinese invasion” and consistently calling on the US to step in. The fanning of Sinophobia is also part of this information war.

Colonel Powell and the slew of “security analysts” must be exposed and denounced as war-mongers, who have no qualms of sparking a war in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea, which will surely trample further on Philippine sovereignty and bring a great disaster to the Filipino people.

https://philippinerevolution.nu/statements/expose-and-denounce-the-american-war-monger-col-raymond-powell/

Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s party gears up for 2025 polls with grand assembly in Sinsuat territory

 From Rappler (Jun 24, 2024): Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s party gears up for 2025 polls with grand assembly in Sinsuat territory (By FERDINANDH CABRERA)



The Bangsamoro region has a history of violent elections, and many fear next year's polls will be more contentious due to a looming clash between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's party and an alliance of established political dynasties

MAGUINDANAO DEL NORTE, Philippines – Thousands gathered in Datu Odin Sinsuat town as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’spolitical party, United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), staged a grand general assembly as it gears up for the Bangsamoro region’s first parliamentary elections in 2025.

The assembly, which carried the slogan Matu tano (We will fight), was held at the Mindanao State University (MSU) compound in Datu Odin Sinsuat town, the political bailiwick of the family of Vice Governor Ainee Sinsuat, on Saturday, June 22. The vice governor’s husband, Lester, is the mayor of Datu Odin Sinsuat town.

Sinsuat had assumed the post as acting governor of Maguindanao del Norte but reluctantly stepped aside after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. appointed Abdulraof Macacua, an Moro Islamic Liberation Front leader and former Bangsamoro senior minister, as officer in charge of the new province in 2023.


SUPPORT. Supporters gathered to show their backing for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s party, UBJP, which is set to compete in the first parliamentary elections in May 2025. New members took their oaths during a general assembly at MSU, Dalican, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao Del Norte. Ferdinandh Cabrera/Rappler

Sinsuat is closely associated with Maguindanao del Sur Governor Mariam Mangudadatu, one of the provincial governors in the Muslim-majority region who formed a political alliance working against the UBJP’s bid to win seats in next year’s elections.

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim, who is also UBJP’s chairman, presided over the acceptance of new members from different provinces of the region.

Ebrahim called for clear and honest elections. “This assembly is a testament and declaration that Moro Islamic Liberation Front, through UBJP, is serious about officially participating in the first parliamentary elections. We are united in calling for clean and fair elections in 2025,” he said.

The MSU gymnasium in Maguindanao del Norte was packed, and many more listened to speakers or watched on large screens outdoors.

Abdullah Adam, an UBJP leader in Maguindanao del Norte, said the stakes were high in the upcoming elections. “Our homeland and Islam are at stake in 2025. It is the interest of the Bangsamoro people, and we are the forces of change,” he said.


The predominantly Muslim region has a history of violent elections, and many fear that next year’s polls would become more contentious since the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s party is headed towards a political clash with the BARMM Grand Coalition (BGC), an alliance composed of well-established political dynasties from different provinces in the region.

The BGC includes the Al-Ittihad-UKB Party of Mangudadatu and her husband Suharto, former governor of Sultan Kudarat; the SIAP Party of Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr.; the Bangsamoro People’s Party (BPP) of Basilan Representative Mujiv Hataman; and the Salam Party of Sulu Governor Sakur Tan.

Other political parties in the region, including those associated with the MNLF and indigenous or settler groups, have yet to formally declare their alliances for 2025.


During the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism’s (PCIJ) Investigative Journalism Conference in Quezon City, in May, Elections Chairman George Erwin Garcia cited security concerns in the BARMM, saying they have started preparations to tighten election security in the region as part of “drastic” measures.

In Davao City last March, several BARMM political parties called for the immediate dismantling of private armed groups and the full implementation of the decommissioning process for former Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels to ensure peaceful elections next year, during a gathering organized through Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) and the United Kingdom government.

Dr. Francisco Lara Jr. of the Council for Climate and Conflict Action Asia (CCAA) noted that many clans still possess weapons and have not been affected by normalization campaigns.

“They still hold weapons. And you still have the clans that private armies have not yet been affected by any normalization campaign in the Bangsamoro. So in that particular field, everyone is vulnerable,” Lara told an interview with ABS-CBN.


Dr. Julio Tehankee of Participate Governance and Ateneo School of Government said BARMM’s political clans and former armed social movements, should channel their energies into the electoral arena by strengthening their political parties, stressing that political competition need not result in violence. – Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/philippines/mindanao/moroislamicliberationfront-party-grand-assembly-sinsuat-territory-maguindanao-del-norte/

‘Not a misunderstanding’: PH changes tune on China’s Ayungin harassment

 From Rappler (Jun 24, 2024): ‘Not a misunderstanding’: PH changes tune on China’s Ayungin harassment (By BEA CUPIN)



(1st UPDATE) A visit to Palawan by President Marcos results into two developments: the calling of China’s actions during the resupply mission as ‘deliberate’, and the scrapping of a proposal to announce to the public schedules of these missions

MANILA, Philippines – Days after the newly-established National Maritime Council (NCM) called the Chinese harassment of a June 17 resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal a “misunderstanding” and recommended to “announce” future resupply missions, the Philippines has changed its tune, now describing Chinese actions in the West Philippine Sea as “deliberate.”
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“After our visit to our troops in Palawan yesterday, where the President personally talked to the troops involved in the RORE, we have now come to the conclusion that it was not a misunderstanding or an accident. We are not downplaying the incident. It was an aggressive and illegal use of force,” said Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro on Monday, June 24, during a press conference in Malacañang.

“It is a deliberate act of the Chinese officialdom to prevent us from completing our mission,” he added.

On June 17, China Coast Guard (CCG) personnel harassed Philippine soldiers on a rotation and resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre, a rusting warship that serves as a military outpost in Ayungin Shoal. The CCG towed one of the Philippine ships, destroyed equipment on board, and seized disassembled arms. One Filipino soldier lost his right thumb as China kept ramming the Philippines’ rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs).

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(1st UPDATE) The bloc calls for 'restraint and full respect of the relevant international rules' following the tensest incident between the Philippines and China yet in the West Philippine Sea

After ‘brutal attack’ in Ayungin, PH maritime council wants resupply mission announced
Despite the China Coast Guard’s ‘brutal attack’ on soldiers moored beside the BRP Sierra Madre, the Mutual Defense Treaty ‘has not been considered’ in discussions of the National Maritime Council


After days of uncertainty over the events of that altercation, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on June 19 released videos showing how CCG members brandished bladed weapons, used tear gas, and blared sirens in harassing Filipino soldiers who were moored beside the BRP Sierra Madre. The AFP called the incident a brutal attack, while the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela said the CCG actions were “barbaric” and “inhumane.”

It was Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, chairperson of the NMC, who told a press conference on Friday, June 21, that the incident was “probably a misunderstanding, or an accident.” During the same press conference, Bersamin and Presidential Adviser for Maritime Affairs Andres Centino announced a proposal to make public the schedule of the regular resupply missions to the shoal.

This proposal has also apparently been axed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Asked in a chance interview what changed between the Friday announcement and the Monday press conference, Teodoro told reporters that Bersamin’s assertion was based on the “preliminary assessment at that time.” “But after the trip of the President to Palawan, nag firm up yung conclusion that it was deliberate,” he said.

Military-led resupply missions to Ayungin Shoal are typically tight-kept secrets, and the details of each operation are restricted or on a need-to-know basis.

Marcos visited soldiers stationed at the Western Command, the military unified command that has jurisdiction over most of the West Philippine Sea. During his Puerto Princesa visit, the President spoke to soldiers who had been stationed to the BRP Sierra Madre. He also awarded the soldier who lost his thumb during the melee at Ayungin Shoal.

The Philippines has, at least, been consistent on one thing: that the incident, despite the “brutal” and “barbaric” actions of the CCG, is not an armed attack and not a reason to invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States.

Marcos himself emphasized the importance of diplomacy.

“We are not in the business to instigate wars—our great ambition is to provide a peaceful and prosperous life for every Filipino. This is the drum beat, this is the principle that we live by and that we march by. We refuse to play by the rules that force us to choose sides in a great power competition. No government that truly exists in the service of the people will invite danger or harm to lives and livelihood. And that is why, in defending the nation, we stay true to our Filipino nature that we would like to settle all these issues peacefully,” he said during a speech in Palawan.

Meanwhile, in a Reuters report, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Monday that the Philippines “should stop its infringement and provocation” and “work with China to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea”.

It also urged Manila to stop “violations” and “misleading the international community.”

Tension between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea, a part of the South China Sea that includes the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), have risen considerably over the past year. China claims almost all of the South China Sea as its own, including parts that are well within the Philippines’ EEZ, including Ayungin Shoal.

Marcos has promised not to yield, even as Beijing has warned against the “consequences” of Manila’s actions in the West Philippine Sea.

Beijing refuses to recognize a 2016 Arbitral Ruling, which deemed its claim illegal and affirmed Manila’s EEZ.

The two countries are overdue for another meeting through the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism to tackle South China Sea matters, with the last one taking place in Shanghai back in January 2024. – with reports from Reuters/Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/philippines/not-misunderstanding-changes-tune-china-harassment-ayungin-shoal-june-2024/

Moro Islamic Liberation Front calls for fair, clean Bangsamoro Parliament election during Maguindanao Norte assembly

From MindaNews (Jun 24, 2024): Moro Islamic Liberation Front calls for fair, clean Bangsamoro Parliament election during Maguindanao Norte assembly (By FERDINANDH B. CABRERA)


UBJP members and supporters gather at the MSU-Maguindanao campus in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte on Saturday, 22 June 2024. MIndaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

DATU ODIN SINSUAT, Maguindanao del Norte (MindaNews / 24 June) — Thousands of members and supporters of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), the political party of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, attended their provincial general assembly here on Saturday, June 22, dubbed “Matu Tano,” which means “we will fight” in the Maguindanaoan and Maranao languages.

Traffic snarled the stretch of the national highway in the vicinity of the Mindanao State University – Maguindanao campus as hundreds of vehicles ferried UBJP supporters and members to the party’s “grand general assembly” at the university compound.

The event was highlighted by the provincial chapter’s report and the oath of loyalty to the party by the new UBJP members.

Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim, UBJP chairperson and the interim Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), appealed for a clean and fair elections during the occasion.

“This assembly is a testament and declaration that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, through the UBJP, is serious about its official participation to the first parliamentary election (in the Bangsamoro region). We are one in calling for clean and fair elections in 2025,” Ebrahim said.

The first Bangsamoro Parliament election will be simultaneously held with the midterm national and local elections in May 2025.


The MSU-Maguindanao gymnasium could not accommodate the thousands who attended, but organizers addressed this by mounting wide screen video and loudspeakers so they can see and hear the speakers.

Many attendees were seen gathered in the tents that were installed in the open ground, at the grandstand or under the shades of trees.

“Our homeland and Islam are what is at stake in the 2025 (parliamentary election). It is the interest of the Bangsamoro people and we are the forces of change,” Professor Abdullah Adam, one of the key UBJP leaders in Maguindanao del Norte,” said.

The UBJP is expected to square it off with the BARMM Grand Coalition (BGC), which is composed of the region’s well-entrenched political dynasties.

The BGC includes the Al-Ittihad-UKB Party of Sultan Kudarat former governor and now TESDA chief Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu and his wife Governor Bai Mariam Mangudadatu of Maguindanao del Sur, the SIAP Party of Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. of Lanao del Sur, the Bangsamoro People’s Party of former ARMM Governor and now Basilan Representative Mujiv Hataman, and Salam Party of Sulu Governor Sakur Tan.

The other organized political parties in the region associated with the Moro National Liberation Front and the indigenous peoples or settler groups have not yet declared if they are coalescing either with the UBJP or BGC.

Security concern

Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairperson George Erwin Garcia admitted that security threats pose a major challenge in the holding of the regional elections in the BARMM.

Last May during the third Investigative Journalism Conference organized by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism in Quezon City, Garcia said the Comelec has started the security preparations for the Bangsamoro Parliament election in cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

During the round table discussion (RTD) involving the eight BARMM political parties, security concern also emerged as a major issue for the first Bangsamoro regional election.

The political parties agreed that “it is time to end the era of warlordism, the dismantling of private armed groups and the full implementation of the decommissioning process of former MILF rebels.”

“To say that we are ready in the upcoming election, we must disarm private armed groups, they are the source of dishonesty and coercions,” said lawyer Omar Sema, secretary general and spokesperson of Bangsamoro Party. Sema is also a member of the interim Bangsamoro Parliament.

“This is a golden opportunity for all the major players – the political clans or the former (Moro) armed movements – to really channel their energies into the electoral arena by strengthening their political parties,” said Dr. Julio Tehankee, of Participate Governance and the Ateneo School of Government. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)

https://mindanews.com/top-stories/2024/06/moroislamicliberationfront-calls-for-fair-clean-bangsamoro-parliament-election-during-maguindanao-norte-assembly/#gsc.tab=0

PH, Aussie soldiers conclude joint military exercise in Isabela

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 24, 2024): PH, Aussie soldiers conclude joint military exercise in Isabela (By Merlito G. Edale, Jr.)


CITY OF ILAGAN, Isabela (PIA) – Filipino and Australian soldiers have just concluded a joint military exercise at Camp Melchor Dela Cruz Division Training School in Gamu, Isabela.

The joint military exercises, which commenced on May 13, 2024, comprised 50 soldiers from the 86th Infantry Battalion and 100 from the Australian Army troops.

5th Infantry Division Commander Major General Audrey Pasia said the military exercise dubbed as ‘Kasanga 01-2024’ aimed to strengthen military capabilities and foster a solid alliance between the Philippines and Australia.

He also said both army troops have shared their respective techniques, tactics, and procedures in military operations. It also fostered a deeper understanding and appreciation of the cultures and traditions of both camps.


“This has been instrumental in offering combined training opportunities, enabling the two nations to exchange valuable techniques, tactics, and procedures to improve their operational effectiveness,” Pasia said.

The training included jungle and urban operations, breaching operations, tactical casualty care, jungle survival, mortar and drone operations, logistics, signal operations, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations.

Pasia also said the military exercises involve the sharing of operational experiences in countering and conquering terrorist groups and external security threats which emphasized effective communication as a fundamental role in military operations, especially in challenging and fast-paced situations where precise communication is vital for the warriors’ safety, success, and welfare.

The training, he added, also equipped the soldiers with the necessary knowledge and skills in contemporary life-saving techniques and pain relief methods, combat shooting, and basic fire mission training.

“By sharing our operational experiences and working together to counter terrorism, we have significantly improved our interoperability ready to face future challenges. Your work has not gone unnoticed, and I am confident that the knowledge and skills acquired during Kasangga 01-2024 will lead us to even greater success in the future.” Pasia said.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Lopsik, assistant defense attaché of Australia to the Philippines, expressed his gratitude to the army division officials for the invaluable support extended to their troops and the skills they gained during the training.

“We are deeply grateful for the insights and tactical knowledge the 5ID shared. This collaboration has been instrumental in advancing our joint operational effectiveness,” Lopsik said. (OTB/MGE/PIA Isabela)

https://www.pia.gov.ph/ph-aussie-soldiers-conclude-joint-military-exercise-in-isabela/

Former rebel shares glimpse of peaceful, hopeful life

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 24, 2024): Former rebel shares glimpse of peaceful, hopeful life (By Joyah Mae C. Quimoyog)



Two years ago, Victor (not his real name), a former member of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG), decided to turn his life around and seek haven from the government.

With their support, he has been able to start a small fruit-selling business, which has been helping him and his family make ends meet.

He said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) permitted them to sell fruits near government offices using a cart to help them transition to a better, more normal life.

Victor initially received P25,000 in livelihood assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in 2022 and received an additional P65,000 from the DILG on May 21 through its Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

The E-CLIP program is a government initiative designed to offer financial aid to former rebels, facilitating their smooth transition into mainstream society.

The program, spearheaded by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict through the DILG, provides beneficiaries with the resources needed to establish small businesses and address their daily necessities.

Reflecting on his past, he mentioned spending his childhood and most of his adulthood in the mountains.

As his family grew, he realized the difficulty of their situation and saw no future for himself and his family if he remained there.

“Awan ti pagturungan ti pamiliak [didiay bantay] ken saan ko makadua dagitoy annakko iso a dagitoy ti pinanunot ko, saan ko matulungan isuda [no agyannak didiay bantay],” Victor said.

(If I stayed in the mountains longer without being able to be with family often, I’m certain our family would never live a normal life.)

Contemplating his circumstances, Victor recognized that remaining in the mountains would hinder his ability to provide a secure and thriving life for his family and that his absence would obstruct his ability to support them in times of need.

He also regretted not being able to attend school, recognizing that he should have provided his children with a better life due to his wrong decisions.

He said, “Talaga nga adayo [no ikomparam] ti biag iti bantay ken ditoy patag. Awan ti panpanunutem a mangbirbirok kaniam wenno kalabanmo a panpanunutem. Nawaya tattan saan a kasla idi.”

(Our life here now is completely different from life in the mountains. We live here freely and peacefully because nobody is searching for us or trying to harm us.)

Victor is now more hopeful and thankful, as some of his children will graduate from college.

He also expressed his appreciation for the unwavering support of the Philippine Army, specifically recognizing the key roles played by the 69th Infantry Battalion and the 50th Infantry Battalion for their consistent efforts in ensuring the safety and well-being of his family.

“Pagyamanak unay dagitoy tulongyo kaniak. Salamat unay ti Dios ken kanyayo amin, sapayla koma ta agtultuloy dagitoy nasayaat nga ubrayo [kadakami],” he ended.

(I am beyond grateful for all the government’s assistance. I thank the Lord for all of your continuous support for us.)

According to the DILG, more than P9 million worth of E-CLIP assistance was provided to former rebels who surrendered in the province of Ilocos Sur from 2020 until 2024.

This included immediate assistance, livelihood assistance, reintegration, and financial assistance. (AMB/JMCQ, PIA Ilocos Sur)

https://www.pia.gov.ph/former-rebel-shares-glimpse-of-peaceful-hopeful-life/

AFP troops morale higher after Ayungin incident – Defense chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 24, 2024): AFP troops morale higher after Ayungin incident – Defense chief (By Darryl John Esguerra)



HIGH MORALE. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. visits Camp General Artemio Ricarte - Western Command Headquarters in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on June 23, 2024. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. said Monday (June 24, 2024) that the President's visit further cemented the soldiers' resolve to continue fulfilling their duty to the country. (Photo from Bongbong Marcos Facebook)

MANILA – The morale of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) troops is even higher after the China Coast Guard’s (CCG) recent aggression on Philippine boats on Ayungin Shoal, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. said Monday.

In a Palace press briefing, Teodoro said Filipino soldiers were inspired even more due to the incident.

“I can unequivocally state that, na mataas ang morale ng ating mga sundalo (that the morale of our troops is high),” he said.

“Sa harap nitong mga hamon na ito, lalo silang na-inspire at paiigtingin nila ang pagpapatupad ng kanilang mga duties (In the face of this challenges, they are inspired even more to fulfill their duties),” Teodoro said.


On June 17, CCG boats rammed a Philippine government supply ship, brandished bladed weapons, and seized disassembled rifles during the country’s rotation and resupply (RORE) mission in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

During the confrontation, one Navy personnel had his thumb cut off after it got caught between Philippine and Chinese boats.

Teodoro said President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s visit to the troops involved in the incident at the Western Command (Wescom) headquarters in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on Sunday further strengthened the troops’ resolve.

“At ang bisita ng Pangulo kahapon ay nagsemento ng kanilang morale. Nalaman ni Presidente ang totoong nangyari, na-interview niya isa-isa, nalaman din niya ang kundisyon nila ngayon. Some have injuries, na kahalubilo niya, hindi lamang ‘yung na-injure kundi kanilang mga pamilya (The President’s visit yesterday cemented their morale. The President learned what really happened, he interviewed them one by one, and learned of their condition. He interacted with some of the injured, including their families),” Teodoro, who was with Marcos during the visit, said.

In his message to the troops, Marcos said he could not be prouder of each and every Filipino soldier for showing restraint, devotion to duty, and compassion in the face of Chinese aggression.

Outpouring of support

Teodoro thanked the public, as well as the different sectors of society, for expressing support to the AFP following the incident.

“I would like to take a special mention to acknowledge the various business groups like Finex, Management Association of the Philippines, and the like, that issued statements of support, unequivocal support,” Teodoro said.

“And today, I would like to thank the Association of Generals and Flag Officers for issuing a statement fully supporting the thrusts of this administration, and praising the professionalism and restraint in the face of grave adversity by our troops,” he added.

PH won’t allow BRP Sierra Madre’s capture

A ranking security official on Monday said Manila would not allow the BRP Sierra Madre (LS-57), which is standing guard over Ayungin Shoal in the WPS, to be boarded and captured by a foreign power.

In a Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon briefing, National Security Council (NSC) Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said such a move would result in repercussions, adding that the outpost is “a red line that cannot be crossed”.

"Ang mga tropa natin sa BRP Sierra Madre (our troops aboard the BRP Sierra Madre), hindi sila, I'm sure (di) papayag na lusubin sila doon at sampahan ng agents of foreign power (I'm sure they will not allow themselves to be attacked and boarded by agents of a foreign power)," Malaya said.

He said the hostile act of boarding the BRP Sierra, a commissioned warship of the Philippine Navy, is an entirely different matter.

"We are committed to that installation, BRP Sierra Madre is our advance post, it is a military detachment in Ayungin Shoal. And the presence of BRP Sierra Madre confirms our occupation of Ayungin Shoal. So, may (we have) nine features, hindi tayo papayag as (we will not allow as) mention(ed) by the President very clearly, hindi mababawasan iyan (to have our territory reduced), we will not lose any square inch, any square inch of our territory," he added. (with Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)
https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1227536

DSWD, OPAPRU assess ex-Moro Islamic Liberation Front combatants eligible for gov’t housing aid

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 24, 2024): DSWD, OPAPRU assess ex-Moro Islamic Liberation Front combatants eligible for gov’t housing aid



HOUSING AID. Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office-12 and Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity teams conduct validation of Moro Islamic Liberation Front decommissioned combatants in Maguindanao and Lanao del Norte qualified for government housing assistance. The profiling activity started June 9 and will end June 25. (Photo courtesy of DSWD)

MANILA – In line with the continuing effort to support the peace and development agenda of the Marcos administration, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 12 (DSWD-Soccsksargen) is conducting validation and profiling of qualified former Moro Islamic Liberation Front combatants for the National Housing Authority (NHA) shelter assistance program.

Undersecretary for Inclusive-Sustainable Peace and Special Concerns Alan Tanjusay, who also handles the DSWD’s peace and development efforts, said validation and profiling will involve at least 350 from Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.

“The shelter assistance program is in line with the socio-economic development component of the normalization process for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front decommissioned combatants and their communities,” Tanjusay said in a statement on Monday.


The normalization process is part of the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front  which aims for conflict-affected communities to “return to conditions where they can achieve their desired quality of life, that includes the pursuit of sustainable livelihoods and political participation within a peaceful deliberative society.”

As part of the Task Force for Decommissioned Combatants and their Communities, the DSWD augmented 30 staff from the Field Office 12’s Normalization Program Team, joined by NHA and Joint Task Force for Camps Transformation staff.

The groundbreaking and initial housing settlements will be constructed this year in Camp Abubakar in Barira, Maguindanao, and Camp Bilal in Munai, Lanao del Sur.

Similar housing projects will be built in other Moro Islamic Liberation Front  camps.

The validation and profiling activity from June 9 to 25 is in coordination with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1227555

Año: China violated several int’l laws in Ayungin incident

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 24, 2024): Año: China violated several int’l laws in Ayungin incident (By Darryl John Esguerra)



MORALE BOOSTER. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (2nd from right) visits the Western Command headquarters at Camp General Artemio Ricarte in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on Sunday (June 23, 2024). He met with soldiers in charge of resupply missions and awarded them the Order of Lapu-Lapu (in recognition of invaluable or extraordinary service in relation to a campaign or advocacy of the President) following yet another confrontation with the China Coast Guard in the West Philippine Sea on June 17. (PNA photo by Darryl John Esguerra)

MANILA – China violated international and domestic laws when its coast guard intentionally rammed Philippine vessels and harassed troops onboard during a resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea a week ago.

National Security Adviser (NSA) Secretary Eduardo Año said among those laws are the Convention on Collision at Sea, International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

“Dapat dun lahat ng (All) member states should exercise self-restraint and always opt [for] the use of peaceful means to settle disputes,” Año said in a Palace briefing on Monday.


Año also referred to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 which set out, among other things, the rules of the road or navigation rules to be followed by ships and other vessels to prevent collisions.

On the other hand, the SOLAS Convention is regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships. It includes provisions on safety of navigation, carriage of cargoes, and management of safety operations of ships, among others.

Meanwhile, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, signed by China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2002, reaffirmed freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful settlement of disputes, and self-restraint in the conduct of activities.

On June 17, China Coast Guard (CCG) boats rammed a Philippine government supply ship, brandished bladed weapons, and seized disassembled rifles during the country’s rotation and resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre.

During the confrontation, one Navy personnel had his thumb cut off after it got caught between Philippine and Chinese boats.

Año, however, said the CCG’s actions cannot be categorized as an armed attack based on international definition.

“We cannot classify it as armed attack because by international definition of an armed attack, it is the use of military force, an excessive use of force that could trigger collective self defense," he said.

Despite China’s continued aggression, the Philippines will resort to peaceful resolutions.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ma. Theresa Lazaro said the bilateral consultative mechanism on the South China Sea dispute between the two countries are set to meet “sometime in the near future” in the Philippines.

It will be the second meeting between the two parties since January, Lazaro noted.

“There were discussions and some confidence-building measures that have been formulated,” Lazaro told Palace reporters in a separate interview, referring to the Jan. 17 meeting in Shanghai.

“And now we are… it's just that there are certain possibilities of us meeting again sometime in the near future. But this is to complement what has been… it is a very important aspect, is really the diplomatic front,” she added.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1227553

3 rebels slain in Batangas clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 24, 2024): 3 rebels slain in Batangas clash (By Zen Trinidad)



(Aerial image courtesy of 59th Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army)

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna – An armed clash between the Philippine Army’s 59th Infantry Battalion (59IB) and members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Tuy town in Batangas on Sunday resulted to the deaths of three rebels and the recovery of firearms and explosives.

Brig. Gen. Cerilo Balaoro Jr., 202nd Infantry Brigade commander, said Monday members of the 59IB were sent to look into a tip from concerned citizens about the extortion activities of rebels in Acle village when the firefight broke out.

The soldiers traded shots with at least nine NPA rebels, he said.

Two rebels were killed during the first volley of gunfire, causing their comrades to try to flee, Balaoro said.

He said a third rebel was slain in the subsequent pursuit operation.


“The successful operation was a result of effective cooperation and coordination among agencies under Task Force ELCAC (End Local Communist Armed Conflict), from provincial to barangay levels. This collaboration empowered the community to decisively confront terrorist groups in their area,” he said.

Government troops recovered an M-16 assault rifle, an M4-type assault rifle, an Uzi sub-machine gun and explosives from the slain NPA rebels.

Reports said the slain NPA rebels are believed to be affiliated with the Sangay sa Partido Platun KAWING of Sub Regional Military Area 4C, Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee, reportedly involved in foraging and extorting supplies from the community.

Balaoro said it is highly probable that some of the slain rebels' comrades were also hurt in the firefight.

“To the wounded NPA fighters, if any, we offer medical assistance and assurances for their safety,” he added.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1227530

NPA rebel killed, firearms seized in Northern Samar clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 24, 2024): NPA rebel killed, firearms seized in Northern Samar clash (By Sarwell Meniano)



The map shows the location of Catubig, Northern Samar, the site of the latest clash between rebels and soldiers. (Google image)

TACLOBAN CITY – A member of the New People's Army (NPA) was killed in a clash with government forces on the outskirts of Hitapi-an village in Catubig, Northern Samar, late Sunday.

The slain rebel, one of the five rebels engaged in a 15-minute firefight, was left by his comrades while fleeing from soldiers, the Philippine Army said in its report sent to the media on Monday.

The rebels belonged to the
NPA's sub-regional guerilla unit of the front committee-15 operating in the province.

The unit is known for its involvement in intimidating, making grave threats, and extorting from the local populace and small businesses in Northern Samar communities.


This group was also responsible for the June 1, 2024 incident in Manering village, also in Catubig, where they tried to harass the Army's mobile community support and sustainment team, said Lt. Col. Richard Villaflor, Philippine Army's 20th Infantry Battalion commander.

He said soldiers seized two M16 rifles and an R4 rifle after the clash.

The clash occurred just days after the military deployed a team in the area, responding to reports from villagers regarding extortion of essential supplies from residents and farmers.

The military has coordinated with the barangay task force to end the local communist armed conflict and the municipality of Catubig to identify the dead rebels and facilitate a decent burial.

"In light of yet another unfortunate incident where another NPA member has lost his life, we extend a heartfelt plea to all remaining members of the communist terrorist group to surrender peacefully and return to your families. The government awaits you with open arms, ready to support your fresh start through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program," Villaflor said in a statement.

He thanked the citizens and village officials of Hitapi-an for information on the locations and planned activities of the armed rebels.

Catubig, a 3rd class town in Northern Samar, is about 73 kilometers from Catarman, the provincial capital.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1227542

PH, Japan, Indonesia vessels arrive in Bacolod for MARPOLEX 2024

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 24, 2024): PH, Japan, Indonesia vessels arrive in Bacolod for MARPOLEX 2024 (By Nanette Guadalquiver)



PARTNERSHIP. The commanding officers of the participating Coast Guard vessels from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan during the arrival ceremony of the Regional Marine Pollution Exercise (MARPOLEX) 2024 at Bredco port in Bacolod City on Monday (June 24, 2024). They are Capt. Lawrence Roque of BRP Gabriela Silang (from left), Capt. Satria Aji Yudha of KN Trisula P.111, and Capt. Mori Naoki of PLH 02 Tsugaru. (PNA photo by Nanette L. Guadalquiver)

BACOLOD CITY – Coast Guard representatives from the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia converged here Monday for the four-day Regional Marine Pollution Exercise (MARPOLEX) 2024 to showcase their efforts in maritime safety and environmental protection.

During the arrival ceremony, Japan Coast Guard's PLH 02 Tsugaru and Indonesia Directorate General for Sea Transportation's KN Trisula P.111 docked at the Bredco port, joining the BRP Gabriela Silang of the Philippine Coast Guard.

In his welcome remarks, Capt. Weniel Azcuna, commander of Coast Guard District Western Visayas, said through the MARPOLEX 2024, the three countries “come together as a united front to advance collaborative efforts in marine pollution response and maritime safety.”


“To our colleagues from the Japan Coast Guard and the Indonesian Coast Guard, your active participation exemplifies our strong and enduring partnership. Your expertise, experience, and dedication are invaluable assets that will significantly contribute to the success of this exercise,” he added.

The commanding officers of the participating vessels are Capt. Lawrence Roque of BRP Gabriela Silang, Capt. Mori Naoki of PLH 02 Tsugaru, and Capt. Satria Aji Yudha of KN Trisula P.111.

“Let us seize this opportunity to exchange knowledge, foster collaboration, and inspire innovative solutions that will further strengthen efforts in safeguarding our precious marine resources,” Roque said.

Yudha said he is looking forward to a successful MARPOLEX 2024 as Indonesia’s Coast Guard shares their experience with the other participants, while Naoki said the Japan Coast Guard is honored to participate in the regional marine pollution exercise.

Representatives from each country will participate in exercises on search and rescue, firefighting, oil spill recovery, equipment recovery, and damage assessment.

After the declaration of the start of the exercise on Tuesday, the exercise proper will be held on Wednesday while the closing ceremony will take place on Thursday night.

Observers from the Republic of Korea, the United States, and Vietnam are also part of this year's marine pollution exercise.

The MARPOLEX 2024 is in line with the provisions of the Sulawesi Oil Spill Response Network Plan 1981 and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Oil Spill Contingency 2018.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1227547

Sunday, June 23, 2024

11 Daulah Islamiyah members surender

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Jun 23, 2024): 11 Daulah Islamiyah members surender



ZAMBOANGA. Eleven members of the Daulah Islamiyah (DI) terrorist group surrender to government authorities in Datu Piang, Maguindanao del Sur, on Friday, June 21. A photo handout shows some of the firearms handed over to the military by the DI members where they surrendered. (SunStar Zamboanga)

ELEVEN members of the Daulah Islamiyah (DI) terrorist group have surrendered to government authorities in the province of Maguindanao del Sur, the military said Sunday, June 23.

The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said the Army’s 6th Infantry Battalion (IB) facilitated the surrender of the 11 DI members on Friday, June 21, in Buayan village, Datu Piang, Maguindanao del Sur, in a continuous pursuit to end terrorism.

The Westmincom said the 11 DI surrenderers belong to the
DI-Turaife group (DI-TG). They handed over seven high-powered firearms and four low-powered firearms.

The surrendered firearms include one Bushmaster rifle, three 40-millimeter (mm) M-79 Grenade Launchers, one caliber .30 Sniper rifle, one 60-mm Mortar, one 7.62-mm Sniper rifle, Two 9-mm Uzi, one caliber .45 pistol, and one caliber .38 revolver.


The surrendered weapons were deposited at the headquarters of 6IB for safekeeping and proper disposition.

Lieutenant General William Gonzales, commander of Westmincom, lauded the 6IB for its continuous effort to destabilize the remaining rebel groups in Maguindanao del Sur.

Gonzales also encouraged the remaining militants to return to the folds of the law and commit to a harmonious life.

“The surrender of the 11 DI-TG members is a testament to the relentless effort of the military to end terrorism in the areas inflicted by these rebel groups. We will ensure that this development will go on until terrorism is fully eradicated,” Gonzales said.

He said the 11 DI surrenderers will be enrolled in Agila-Haven Program of the provincial government of Maguindanao del Sur, a platform that gives the former rebels the opportunity to start anew and receive livelihood opportunities and other assistance after successful surrender.

He added they will also be included in the Tulong ng Gobyernong Nagmamalasakit (Tugon) program of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (SunStar Zamboanga)

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/zamboanga/11-daulah-islamiyah-members-surender

Marcos awards Navy troops hurt in Rore mission

From the Sun Star-Manila (Jun 23, 2024): Marcos awards Navy troops hurt in Rore mission (By Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo)



PALAWAN. President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. awarded on Sunday, June 23, 2024, the Philippine Navy personnel who took part in the routine rotation and resupply (Rore) mission to Ayungin Shoal on June 17.Photo from Bongbong Marcos FB page

PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. awarded on Sunday, June 23, 2024, the Philippine Navy personnel who took part in the routine rotation and resupply (Rore) mission to Ayungin Shoal on June 17.

Marcos bestowed the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kampilan to Seaman First Class Underwater Operator Jeffrey Facundo, who lost a thumb due to China Coast Guard’s “intentional high-speed ramming” of a Philippine vessel.

The others who were part of the mission received the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kamagi.

In his speech, the chief executive commended the troops for exercising “greatest restraints amidst intense provocation.”

“You demonstrated to the world that the Filipino spirit is one that is brave, determined, and yet is compassionate,” said Marcos.

Marcos urged the troops to continue fulfilling their duties of defending the nation with integrity and respect, reiterating that the Philippines does not instigate war, as its goal is to provide a peaceful and prosperous life for every Filipino.

“We refuse to play by the rules that force us to choose sides in a great power competition. No government that truly exists in the service of the people will invite danger or harm to lives and livelihood. And that is why, in defending the nation, we stay true to our Filipino nature that we would like to settle all these issues peacefully,” he said.

“And in the performance of our duties, we will not resort to the use of force or intimidation, or deliberately inflict injury or harm to anyone. But at the same time, we stand firm. Our calm and peaceful disposition should not be mistaken for acquiescence. History itself can tell that we have never, never in the history of the Philippines, yielded to any foreign power,” he added.

The President reassured the troops that the nation will continue to rally behind them and that the National Government will continue to provide all their needs and look after their welfare as well as their families.

Harassment

On June 17, CCG personnel harassed navy personnel who were conducting a Rore mission to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal. They used tear gas, pointed troops bladed weapons, punctured the Philippine Navy’s rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) and destroyed the communication system of the boat as well as the cellphones of the Filipino personnel.
It took around 12 hours to rescue the wounded personnel due to the continued harassment of China.

The CCG earlier said their personnel boarded a Philippine ship to conduct an “inspection” after it “illegally” intruded their territorial waters off Ren'ai Reef, locally known as Ayungin Shoal in the South China Sea.

It said it is in accordance with their regulation that “trespassers” in the South China Sea should be arrested.

The CCG maintained that their actions were "reasonable, lawful, professional and standardized" as it warned the Philippines against any form of infringement or provocation as “futile.”

China refused to recognize the arbitral ruling invalidating their claim of almost the entire WPS. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/marcos-awards-navy-troops-hurt-in-rore-mission

CPP/Ang Bayan Daily News & Analysis: Maysakit na bilanggong pulitikal, giit na palayain sa makataong batayan

Ang Bayan Daily News & Analysis (in Tagalog) propaganda article posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) PRWC Website (Jun 23, 2024): Maysakit na bilanggong pulitikal, giit na palayain sa makataong batayan (Sick political prisoner, insisting on release on humanitarian grounds)
 





June 23, 2024

Muling nanawagan ang mga grupo sa karapatang-tao na Karapatan-Central Visayas at Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) na palayain ang lubhang maysakit na bilanggong pulitikal na si Ernesto Jude Rimando Jr. Inaresto si Rimando noong Enero 6, 2021 at ikinulong sa Metro Manila District Jail-Annex 2 sa Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.

Dumaranas ng napakaraming sakit si Rimando kabilang ang Stage 4 liver cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at pulmonary tuberculosis. Noong Mayo 18, dinala siya sa Philippine General Hospital (PGH) para sa pagsusuri at napag-alamang naging Stage 4 liver cancer ang kanyang sakit na liver cirrhosis at mayroon na lamang tatlong buwan para mabuhay kung hindi magagamot. Bago nito, limang beses na siyang naglabas-pasok sa ospital.

Noong Hunyo 19, naghain ng petisyon si Atty. Kristian Lora ng Visayas Community Law Center, abugado ni Rimando, sa isang korte sa Bohol para palayain siya batay sa “recognizance” sa makataong mga batayan. Ang ganitong tipo ng pansamantalang kalayaan ay ipinagkakaloob sa mga maituturing na “low-risk” at mababa ang posibilidad na tumakas.

Inihain ni Attorney Lora ang petisyon para mapagbigyan si Rimando na makasama ang kanyang pamilya sa nalalabi niyang mga araw. Sumang-ayon na rin sina Atty. Federico Quevedo at dating Quezon City Rep. Atty. Christopher Belmonte na magsilbi bilang mga “legal custodian” ni Rimando at magtitiyak na haharap sa korte ang bilanggo kapag ipinatawag.

Nilalaman ng petisyon na kung mapahihintulutan ito ng korte, mananatili si Rimando sa PGH para sa paggagamot sa kanya para man lamang mabigyan siya ng “ginhawa, alwan, suporta at para matugunan ang mga sintomas ng kanyang seryosong kundisyong medikal para mapaunlad ang kalidad ng kanyang buhay.”

Si Rimado, sa mahabang panahon, ay nagsilbing tagapagsaliksik ng Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo. Nagpunta siya sa Metro Manila noong 2020 para magpagamot sa kanyang sakit na liver cirrhosis at sepsis. Bago pa siya makapagpagamot, inaresto siya sa Quezon City.

Mas malupit, siya ay piniringan, tinortyur at agad na ipinailalim sa interogasyon. Pinalabas ng mga umaresto sa kanya na nakakumpiska ng mga baril at granada sa kanyang tinutuluyang apartment. Gumawa ng warrant of arrest ang mga pwersa ng estado sa pangalang “Allan Morales” at ipinagpipilitang iyon si Rimando. Ibinasura ng korte ang mga kasong ito noong Abril 2023 pero nananatili siyang nakakulong dahil sa iba pang mga kaso sa pangalang “Allan Morales” sa Visayas.

“Kumbaga, may taning na nga ang buhay nya, pahihirapan pa sa pagkakakulong niya. Hindi ito makatarungan. Dapat kagyat na siyang palayain at mabigyan ng karampatan at tuluy-tuloy na pagkakataon na makapagpagamot. Hindi makatao ang panatilihin siyang detenido,” pahayag ni Danah Marie Marcellana, tagapagsalita ng SELDA.

https://philippinerevolution.nu/angbayan/maysakit-na-bilanggong-pulitikal-giit-na-palayain-sa-makataong-batayan/

CPP/Ang Bayan Daily News & Analysis: Bahay ng tagasuporta ng ginigipit na organisasyong pangkaunlaran sa Negros, nireyd ng 15th IB

Ang Bayan Daily News & Analysis (in Tagalog) propaganda article posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) PRWC Website (Jun 23, 2024): Bahay ng tagasuporta ng ginigipit na organisasyong pangkaunlaran sa Negros, nireyd ng 15th IB (House of a supporter of a beleaguered development organization in Negros, raided by the 15th IB0
 





June 23, 2024

Pinalibutan at sapilitang pinasok ng mga sundalo ng 15th IB ang bahay ng mangingisdang si Joselito Macapobre sa Guiljungan, Cauayan, Negros Occidental noong Hunyo 11. Si Macapobre ay tagasuporta ng organisasyong pangkaunlaran na Paghida-et sa Kauswagan Development Group Incorporated (PDG Inc) na pinararatangan ng rehimeng Marcos na sangkot sa “terrorism financing.”

Dalawang araw bago ang insidente, ipinatawag si Macapobre ng mga sundalo para ipaatras ang kanyang salaysay na sumusuporta sa kontra-salaysay ng mga istap ng PDG Inc na isinumite laban sa mga nagsampa ng kasong “terrorism financing” sa kanila. Dagdag dito, nakapansin din si Macapobre ng dalawang tao na sakay ng motorsiklo na nagmamanman sa kanya.

Kinundena ng Human Rights Advocates Negros (HRAN) ang 15th IB sa tinawag nilang pagbabanta sa buhay ni Macapobre. Nauna nang binatikos ng HRAN ang panggigipit ng estado sa PDG Inc sa pagsasampa ng tinawag nitong gawa-gawang mga kaso laban sa limang istap at katuwang ng grupo.

Ang kasong “terrorism financing” ay isinampa ang PMSG Francisco John Dumdumaya, deputized Anti-money Laundering Council Financial Investigator at kasapi ng Regional Intelligence Division ng PNP Regional Police Office 6. Ibinatay ito sa sinumpaang mga salaysay ng nagpapakilalang “finance and logistics officer at kumander ng “Tahod Ilahas Command ng CPP-NPA” na nag-ooperasyon diumano sa Negros na si Jonel Roy Moreno at nina Danilo at Jeonna Dela Cruz na nagpapakilalang mga kasapi ng lokal na samahan ng mga mangingisda sa Cauayan, Negros Occidental.

Ang PDG Inc ay isang organisasyon sa sentral at timog na bahagi ng Negros Island at nagsusulong ng karapatan ng mga magsasaka at mga mangingisda para sa sustenableng agrikultura at repormang panlipunan. Itinatag ang organisasyon noong dekada 1980.

https://philippinerevolution.nu/angbayan/bahay-ng-tagasuporta-ng-ginigipit-na-organisasyong-pangkaunlaran-sa-negros-nireyd-ng-15th-ib/

CPP/NPA-Kalinga/Ilocos-Cordillera ROC: Papanagutin ang rehimeng US-Marcos Jr at AFP sa labis-labis na karahasan kontra sa mamamayan!

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Jun 23, 2024): Papanagutin ang rehimeng US-Marcos Jr at AFP sa labis-labis na karahasan kontra sa mamamayan! (The US-Marcos Jr regime and AFP will be held accountable for excessive violence against the people!)
 


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

June 23, 2024

Noong Mayo 31 at June 7, 2024 ay nangyari ang serye ng mga labanan sa pagitan ng LCC-NPA Kalinga at tatlong batalyong nakapaloob sa 503rd Infantry Brigade ng Philippine Army (PA) sa munisipyo ng Balbalan. Sa nasabing mga labanan, matagumpay na nakuha ng mga kasamang Pulang mandirigma ang inisyatiba, hinarap at binira ang operasyong combat ng kaaway kahit pa gumamit ang mga ito ng labis-labis na pwersa at bomba. Sa datos mismo ng AFP ay mayroon silang apat na nasugatan at dalawang nasawi, habang sa panig ng NPA ay sugatan at nahuli ng kaaway si Gap-iden “Ka Simple” Bawit. Ginamot siya ng mga medic ng NPA at naipasa sa masa upang maipagamot. Dapat respetuhin ang kanyang karapatan bilang hors de combat.

Samantala bilang paglilinaw, ang sinasabing isa pang labanan sa Barangay Maling, Balbalan noong umaga ng Mayo 31 ay isang pekeng labanan at gawa-gawa lamang ng AFP. Sa katotohanan, dinakip nila ang isang masa. Pinaputukan at pinaratangan siyang NPA gayong maliwanag sa mga nakasaksi at nakarinig ng balita na sibilyan ang naturang indibidwal.

Mariing kinukundena ng LCC NPA-Kalinga ang paghulog ng kaaway ng di bababa sa 12 bomba at paggamit ng drone at helicopter para sa walang-habas na pamamaril mula sa ere (strafing) na nagdulot ng matinding takot sa sibilyang populasyon. Ang lugar na kanilang binomba ay production area na malapit sa kabahayan ng Barangay Maling at pinanggagalingan ng irigasyon ng palayan ng komunidad. Naitaon ang pambobomba sa panahon ng anihan. May gana pang itanggi ng Army, PNP at ng mismong Mayor ng Balbalan ang nangyaring pambobomba gayong dinig na dinig at kitang-kita kahit sa mga kanugnog na barangay ang mga drone at helicopter na naghulog ng mga bomba. Kahit ang mga estudyanteng nasa paaralan sa mga oras na iyon ay nakadama ng matinding takot dahil sa yanig at lakas ng pagsabog. Responsable at dapat managot ang 503rd Infantry Brigade sa pinsalang dinulot nito sa kabuhayan at mental na kalagayan ng mga masa sa nasabing lugar.

Nananawagan ang LCC NPA-Kalinga sa mga mamamayan ng Kalinga at maging sa simpatisador at nagsusulong ng karapatang-tao na ihabla ang kaso laban sa paglapastangan ng rehimeng US-Marcos Jr at AFP sa International Humanitarian Law (IHL) o pandaigdigang batas ng digma. Papanagutin sila sa pinsalang dinulot nila sa mga komunidad na ginagambala ng kanilang mga operasyong militar at walang-habas na terorismo sa himpapawid gamit ang mga drone at helicopter.

Ang serye ng mga labanang ito ay nagpapasinungaling sa deklarasyon ng kaaway na wala o humina na ang NPA sa Kalinga. Binabanggit ng AFP na 10 na lamang ang natitirang NPA sa Kalinga, ngunit gumagamit sila ng malalaking bilang ng pwersa, mga drone at helicopter. Nagaaksaya sila ng pondo ng bayan para sa walang saysay na programa kontra-insurhensiya imbes na gamitin para sa ayuda sa panahon ng El Nino at krisis sa kabuhayan ng masa.

Sa harap ng tumitinding krisis pang-ekonomya, pananakot at pandarahas ang sagot ng rehimeng US-Marcos Jr. imbes na makabuluhang ayuda para sa mamamayan. Lalo pa nitong pinapatindi ang kahirapan ng mamamayan sa pagsagka nito sa kanilang paghahanap-buhay. Sa katotohanan, hangga’t nananatili ang kalunos-lunos at aping kundisyon ng masa sa probinsya ay hindi mauubos ang sumasampa at sumusuporta sa tunay na Hukbo ng masa, ang NPA. Sa harap ng nagpapatuloy na pandarambong sa rekurso at lupaing-ninuno ng mga mamamayan ng Kalinga, tumitindig ang masa at kanilang Hukbo upang lumaban at ipagtanggol ang kanilang karapatan. Ang NPA ay binubuo, pangunahin, ng mga masang magsasaka na naghahangad ng tunay na reporma sa lupa at tunay na panlipunang pagbabago. Mahaba na ang karanasan ng tulungan at suportahan ng masang iKalinga at NPA kontra sa pandarambong ng mga dayuhang imperyalista, tuta nitong reaksyunaryong rehimen at kasapakat nitong mga naghaharing-uri at mersenaryong AFP-PNP, at hindi ito basta-basta mabubura at madudurog bagkus ibayo pang tatatag.

Imbes na matakot, inaasahang lalong titindig ang masa upang ipaglaban at igiit ang kanilang mga demokratikong karapatan. Sa sama-samang pagkilos, maipagtatanggol ang lupaing-ninuno, kabuhayan at buhay laban sa paglapastangan ng imperyalista at kasapakat nilang mga lokal na naghaharing-uri. Sa kasalukuyan mayroong 20 negosyong hydropower, isang geothermal, isang windpower, isang malaking minahan at maraming mining application sa buong probinsya.

Kasama ang kanilang Hukbo, ang NPA, matibay na haharapin ng masa ang mga hamon at pakana ng reaksyunaryong gobyernong US-Marcos Jr. na agawin, tayuan ng dam at iba pang proyekto, ang lupaing-ninuno ng mga iKalinga.

Papanagutin ang rehimeng US-Marcos Jr at 5th ID sa krimen nito kontra mamamayan at paglabag sa karapatang-tao at batas ng digma!

Ipagtanggol ang lupaing-ninuno laban sa pandarambong ng mga lokal na naghaharing-uri at kanilang imperyalistang amo!

Sumampa sa NPA at ipaglaban ang demokratikong interes ng mamamayang api’t pinagsasamantalahan!

https://philippinerevolution.nu/statements/papanagutin-ang-rehimeng-us-marcos-jr-at-afp-sa-labis-labis-na-karahasan-kontra-sa-mamamayan/

CPP/NPA-Central Luzon ROC: Kaugnay sa pambobomba ng 84th IB at 703rd Agila Brigade sa Sityo Marikit noong Hunyo 20 ng hatinggabi: Tigreng Papel ang AFP

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Jun 23, 2024): Kaugnay sa pambobomba ng 84th IB at 703rd Agila Brigade sa Sityo Marikit noong Hunyo 20 ng hatinggabi: Tigreng Papel ang AFP (In relation to the bombing of the 84th IB and 703rd Agila Brigade in Sitio Marikit on June 20 at midnight: The AFP is a Paper Tiger)
 


Central Luzon Regional Operational Command (Josepino Corpuz Command)
New People's Army

June 23, 2024

Walang labanan na naganap sa pagitan ng NPA at AFP ng Hunyo 20 ng hatinggabi hanggang madaling araw. Walang trenseradong kampo ng NPA sa lugar na kinakailangang bombahin, gamitan ng fighter plane, attack helicopters at drones.

Umaatungal na tigre ang AFP nang makakuha ng impormasyon na may NPA sa sityo Marikit, Barangay Abuyo, Alfonso Castañeda. Walang abog-abog na nilusob ng 84th IB at 703rd Brigade ng AFP ang lugar. Mula alas dose y medya ng hatingggabi (12:30am) hanggang ala una kwarentay singko ng madaling araw (1:45am) ay 8 beses na nagbagsak ng bomba, nagpakawala ng 2 rocket at nagpaulan ng bala mula sa himpapawid. Paghupa ng apoy mula sa kalangitan, saka sumugod ang mga kasundaluhan na walang patumanggang nagpaputok nang nagpaputok. Mga eksena itong sa pelikula lang mapapanood pero ginawang makatotohanan ng AFP sa paglustay ng pondo ng bayan sa isang gawa-gawang enkawnter.

Wala talagang balak ang AFP na ilikas ang mga sibiliyan bago simulan ang palabas. Halos kasabay lamang ng pagsabog ng bomba ang pagdating ng anim na trak ng AFP at 2 trak ng SAF. Dahil sa kaibuturan, ang mamamayan ang talagang target ng teroristang aktibidad na ito.

Saklaw ng 500 metrong paikot sa ginawang war zone ng AFP ay mga bukirin, taniman ng sili at mga gulay, sugahan ng mga hayop at bahayan ng mga residente ng Marikit. Kusang nagsibakwit ang masa nang bumagsak ang bomba.

Matapos ang palabas na engkwentro ay inokupahan ng AFP ang mga baryo ng Marikit, Abuyo, Balintugon, Galintuja sa Alfonso Castañeda; at Decoliat, Galintuja, at Delacay sa Maria Aurora. Ang teroristang aktibidad na ito ng AFP ay nagpapakita ng matinding pagkatakot ng AFP at ng naghaharing estado sa malawak at malalim na suporta ng masa sa NPA at sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan. Ito ay PAGBABANTA NG AFP sa MAMAMAYAN na bobombahin nila ang mga komunidad na kumakanlong sa NPA. PAGBABANTA ito ng AFP, maging sa lokal na opisyales ng barangay na tatargetin sila ng galit ng estado pag kumiling sila sa pulang kapangyarihan ng mamamayan kaysa makadayuhan at kontra-masa na militaristang paghahari ng rehimeng US-Marcos Jr. Layunin ng AFP na apulain ang nag-aalab na diwa ng sambayanang Pilipino para sa tunay na kalayaan at demokrasya.

Subalit ang mamamayan ng Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Viscaya at saanman sa buong bansa ay hindi mapapatahimik ng pandarahas at panlilinlang ng estado. Nakamulagat ang katotohanan na ibinebenta ng naghaharing estado ang soberanya ng bansa sa imperyalistang US. Tuloy-tuloy ang ekspansyon ng Delta East Alignment Road Project (DEARP) hanggang dulong Norte ng Luzon na sumasagasa sa libu-libong lupaing ninuno ng mga pambansang minorya sa Luzon at mga produktibong lupain ng masang magsasaka. Dagdag kalsada para sa mabilis na pagdambong sa likas na yaman ng bansa hanggang sa kasulok-sulokan. Dagdag airport, dagdag daungan para sa operasyon ng militar at dayuhang tropa ng imperyalistang US sa Silangan Gitnang Luzon. Ikukumbert ang APECO bilang military industrial zone para maging defense hub sa Silangang baybayin ng bansa. Gagamitin diumano ang APECO para sa Self-Reliant Defense Posture Program alinsunod sa Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept (CADC) ng AFP na nakabalangkas sa pangkalahatang estratehiya ng US sa Asya Pasipiko.

Nagagawa ng AFP na sindakin, gulatin at takutin ang masa sa mga teroristang aktibidad nito gaya ng paggamit ng pambobomba at pagpapaputok mula sa himpapawid sa serye ng isinasagawa nitong focused military operations. Gayunman, ang pagkasindak, gulat at takot ay dagli at may hangganan. Lalo lamang nitong pinag-aalab ang makauring poot ng mamamayan sa malupit, korap, at makadayuhang paghahari ng rehimeng US-Marcos Jr.

Tigre mang umaatungal ang AFP, kumakawag naman sa takot ang buntot nito sa harap ng nakikibakang mamamayan.

Nananawagan ang CPP-NPA Gitnang Luzon sa lahat ng mamamayang nagmamahal sa tunay na kapayapaan at demokrasya na buklurin ang mahigpit na pagkakaisa para labanan ang teroristang lagim na hinahasik ng AFP sa mando ng rehimeng US-Marcos Jr. Imbestigahan ang overkill na pekeng engkwentro sa Marikit! Panagutin ang mga opisyal ng AFP at ang yunit nito na nagsagawa ng mapamuksang pambobomba sa komunidad ng populasyong sibilyan. Labanan at ibagsak ang rehimeng US-Marcos Jr!

https://philippinerevolution.nu/statements/kaugnay-sa-pambobomba-ng-84th-ib-at-703rd-agila-brigade-sa-sityo-marikit-noong-hunyo-20-ng-hatinggabi-tigreng-papel-ang-afp/

CPP/NPA West Central Luzon/Central Luzon ROC: Pinekeng labanan, overkill! Teroristang aksyon ng AFP Sa Gitnang luzon, panunumbalik ng Batas Militar!

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Jun 23, 2024): Pinekeng labanan, overkill! Teroristang aksyon ng AFP Sa Gitnang luzon, panunumbalik ng Batas Militar! (Fake battle, overkill! AFP terrorist action In Central Luzon, restoration of Martial Law!)
 


NPA-West Central Luzon
Central Luzon Regional Operational Command (Josepino Corpuz Command)
New People's Army

June 23, 2024

Mariing kinokondena ng NPA-Kanlurang Gitnang Luzon, ang walang habas na pambobomba, pagpapakawala ng raket at istraping sa kabukiran, burol at gilid ng bahayan sa Sityo Marikit, Barangay Abuyo, Alfonso Castañeda, madaling araw ng June 20, bandang alas 12: 30 hanggang 1:45 ng umaga. Umabot nang mahigit isang oras na nagpaikot-ikot ang 2 attack helicopter sa Sityo Marikit at karatig baryo nito, kasabay ng walang pakundangang paglalaglag ng bomba at pag iistraping. Malalakas na pagsabog ng bomba at machine gun mula sa attack helicopter ang gumulantang at gumising sa mamamayan ng Alfonso Castañeda. Di bababa sa 8 bomba ang pinakawalan, at di mabilang na walang pakundangang pagpapaputok ng machine gun mula sa attack helicopter ang iniulat ng mga masa.

Nagmistulang firing range ang Sityo Marikit sa dami ng pinakawalang bomba at putok ng machine gun. Nagmistulang firing range na katulad ng sa Fort Magsaysay at Sta. Juliana sa Tarlac, sa dami ng ihinulog na bomba at walang patid na pagpapaputok ng machine gun. Tila intensity 7 na lindol ang yumanig sa lakas ng mga pagsabog ang naramdaman ng mamamayan ng Alfonso Castañeda lalo na sa Sityo Marikit at karatig na mga barangay nito. Mainam pa ang firing range, may malinaw na inaasintang target, di gaya ng ginawa sa Sityo Marikit. Walang kalaban, walang naganap na labanan, sa halip naglubid ng istorya na diumano ay may labanan at trenserado ang kalaban kaya naubligang mambomba. Ito ay sa kabila ng nakabalatay ang bahayan at komunidad ng masa kung saan nagpaulan ng bala ng bomba at machine gun. Hindi ito katanggap-tanggap at hindi makatwiran. Walang pagsasa-alang-alang sa buhay at kabuhayan ng mamamayan ang ginawa ng AFP. Peke na ngang labanan, over kill pa.

Sa ulat ng mga kasama sa Silangang Gitnang Luzon, walang naganap na laban sa pagitan ng NPA at AFP noong madaling araw ng June 20. Mariing pinasusubalian ng NPA ang pahayag ng 84th IB na may naganap na labanan, ito ay pawang kasinungalingan. Ang ganitong aksyon ay isang malinaw na teroristang aksyon at asal ng AFP. Sa katunayan, ayon sa mamamayan ng Alfonso Castañeda, tanging ang mga pagsabog at putok ng machine gun na nagmula sa mga attack helicopter ang narinig at nakita nila. Ayon pa sa kanilang pahayag; nagmistulang “Marawi ” ang Sityo Marikit. Akala nila sila ay mapupulbos kagaya ng Marawi sa dami ng bomba at lakas ng mga pagsabog. Nanggagalaiti sa galit ang mamamayan sa AFP sa ganitong aksyon lalo pa’t wala namang naganap na labanan. Target ng ganitong aksyon at asal ng AFP na sindakin, takutin at patahimikin ang masa. Walang pagsasa-alang-alang sa kapakanan ng mamamayan, lalo na sa mga bata, matatanda at maysakit. Maliban sa mga pinsala na dulot ng bomba at bala, mas matimbang at mas mabigat ang pinsala na dulot ng trauma sa isip ng mamamayan.

Mariing pinasusubalian ng NPA-Kanluran GL ang pahayag ng 84th IB sa gawa-gawang labanan, na ang nakalaban nila diumano ay ang yunit ng NPA Tarlac-Zambales. Ang NPA-Kanluran Gitnang luzon ay masayang kapiling ng masa habang kalahok sa pagpapaunlad ng produksyon at kabuhayan ng masa, naglulunsad ng serbisyong medikal, literasiya at numerasiya at katuwang sa pagpapanatili ng kaayusan at kapayapaan sa Zambales Mountain Range. Ang ganitong kasinungalingan ng AFP, ay reaksyon at tugon nito sa pagpupursige at pagpupunyagi ng NPA-Kanluran GL na iabante ang kanyang mga tungkulin sa mamamayan. Sa katunayan, nasaklaw at naabot ng NPA-Kanluran GL ang kalaparan at kakapalan ng masa sa probinsya ng Tarlac, Zambales at Western Pangasinan, taliwas sa pahayag ng AFP na wala ng suporta ang masa sa NPA. Sa nakalipas na ilang taon, binigo at pinawalang bisa ng NPA-Kanluran GL at ng mamamayan ng Zambales Mountain Range ang tuloy tuloy na malalaki at mga naka-focus na operasyong militar. Bigo ang mga ito at patuloy na bibiguin ng NPA, dahil malalim na nakaugat ito sa masa, minamahal at kinakalinga. Sa katunayan, nakakadaup ng NPA ang mga masa sa baryo na may mga kampo ng kaaway sa Kanluran Gitnang Luzon. Ang pambobomba at pag iistraping ng AFP, ay mga gawi at asal ng terorista, katulad ng ginawang pekeng labanan sa Mangatarem noong 2020, kung saan binomba ang mga kaingin ng masa, pambobomba sa San Marcelino noong 2019 malapit sa komunidad ng Ayta sa Sityo Lumibao, pambobomba sa Bazal sa Maria Aurora at istraping sa Salay, Dipaculao noong Mayo 2024.

Nananawagan ang NPA-Kanluran Gitnang Luzon sa lahat ng mamamayan, sa mga nakikiisa para sa pagkakaroon ng kapayaan, na maglunsad ng masusing imbestigasyon sa naganap na teroristang aksyon ng AFP sa walang habas at walang pakundangang pambobomba at istraping sa Sityo Marikit, Barangay Abuyo, Afonso Castañeda. Sama samang kumilos para sa paglulunsad ng masusing imbestigasyon at papanagutin ang AFP sa pangunguna ng 7th ID, 703rd Brigade at ng 84th IB. Ang ganitong aksyon ay naglalagay sa panganib sa buhay at kabuhayan ng mamamayan. Kondenahin ang ganitong terororistang aksyon.

Malinaw na malinaw kung sino ang tunay na terorista.

Sama-samang kumilos at manawagan na itigil ang ganitong aksyon at itigil ang de facto martial law sa buong Gitnang Luzon. Kondenahin ang ganitong asal at gawi ng kasundaluhan ng 7th ID. Huwag gawing firing range at target range ng pambobomba at istraping ang mga pamayanan! Itigil ang mga gawa-gawang labanan at paghahasik ng takot sa mamamayan!

Muli, mariing kinokondena ng NPA-Kanluran GL ang walang habas na pambobomba at istraping sa Alfonso Castañeda noong June 20 ng ala una ng madaling araw. Kasinungalingan ng AFP ang gawa gawang labanan.

Mamamayan, kumilos at magka-isa, papanagutin ang AFP. Suportahan ang NPA. Sumapi sa tunay na lingkod ng masa, sumapi sa NPA.

https://philippinerevolution.nu/statements/pinekeng-labanan-overkill-teroristang-aksyon-ng-afp-sa-gitnang-luzon-panunumbalik-ng-batas-militar/

Editorial: A call from Palawan for a robust foreign policy on the West Philippines Sea dispute

From Palawan News (Jun 23, 2024): Editorial: A call from Palawan for a robust foreign policy on the West Philippines Sea dispute (By Palawan News)

(

PN file photo)

China’s increasingly aggressive behavior in the West Philippine Sea has brought the country’s foreign policy to an important, albeit critical, juncture. This maritime region, which hosts vital shipping lanes and untapped energy and fisheries resources, has become a flashpoint for geopolitical tensions, with the Philippines finding itself unwittingly at the center of a veritable storm.
 
China has escalated its actions towards the Philippines to dangerous levels. Its bold move to cut off supplies to the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal has set a dangerous precedent and, if unchecked, will undermine peaceful dispute resolution.

The recent Ayungin Shoal incident has also engendered fears both locally and globally that the tension could degenerate into a situation that the Philippines may not be able to handle by itself. A scenario that forces the country to invoke its mutual defense treaty with the United States as its only response to China’s belligerence promises devastating consequences. No one, hopefully not even China, wants war.

China’s actions have challenged the sovereignty not only of the Philippines but also of its neighboring countries and have threatened the stability in the region and beyond. The entire South China Sea is contested by many other countries, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan. Despite the arbitral award handed to the Philippines by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016, China has dismissed the ruling and continued its activities unabated.

Peace and development over war and destruction is a no-brainer. The former is beneficial to all; the latter benefits only a few arms manufacturers. As such, all efforts must be brought into play to maintain and promote peace and development. Diplomacy and the assertion of a revitalized foreign policy stance to protect our exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea is a logical recourse.

There are lessons to be learned from Manila’s own experiences dealing with Beijing, prompting a need to take a long, hard look at its current foreign policy and craft a direction that is more sensitive to present challenges and realities. Vietnam, for instance, has formed a robust foreign policy stance anchored on an independent foreign policy. It seems to be based on a core principle of non-alignment, meaning friend to all and enemy to none, economic engagement with China and Russia, and close ties with the United States and other Western nations all at the same time. It has managed well thus far and could claim to be the gold standard on international relations in this part of the world.

Manila is not without choices if it wants to avert a debilitating crisis with Beijing. But it needs a sensible and resolute policy track that aims to preserve peace while at the same time not surrendering its sovereignty. It needs to go back to the drawing board to map out this new policy direction, one that is more responsive to present challenges, culling not only the lessons offered by Vietnam but also trusting its inherent democratic principle of public transparency to achieve this goal.

We Palaweños appeal to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to consider this policy direction. We hope that Manila can listen and firm up a policy centered on the development of the Philippines and Filipinos. After all, Palawan is a heavily invested stakeholder in this matter. Mr. President, let us pursue conversations, not confrontations.

The international community also cannot afford to remain passive. Freedom of navigation operations by different countries are crucial, yet they are not enough. A united, multilateral approach is essential to deter further actions that may result in the breakdown of peace. ASEAN countries, along with major powers like the United States, Japan, and Australia, must coordinate their diplomatic efforts to ensure the region remains open and accessible to all.

https://palawan-news.com/editorial-a-call-from-palawan-for-a-robust-foreign-policy-on-the-west-philippines-sea-dispute/

NTF WPS says PH not seeking aggression in Monday’s Ayungin Shoal incident

From Palawan News (Jun 22, 2024): NTF WPS says PH not seeking aggression in Monday’s Ayungin Shoal incident (By Gerald Ticke)



The sole purpose of the resupply mission on June 17 was to deliver essential goods to troops aboard the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal and to rotate personnel, not to seek armed aggression, National Task Force on West Philippine Sea (NTF WPS) spokesperson Commo. Jay Tarriela said.

The China Coast Guard (CCG) and maritime militia, on the other hand, wanted to stop the resupply mission, he said.

“Walang intensiyon ang kahit na sino mang bansa na magkaroon ng malawakang armed aggression sa insidente na ‘to,” Tarriela said in a news forum in Quezon City on Saturday, referring to Monday’s incident where CCG personnel blocked and hounded Philippine Navy troops conducting the mission while wielding bolos and axes, resulting in damages to the navy’s rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIB) and injuring troops.

Tarriela said the explanation was not in his capacity as Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson, but he was tasked by the chairman of the National Task Force WPS to give clarification on the last briefing conducted by the National Maritime Council on Friday.

During the briefing, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, who chairs the NMC, said the latest incident cannot be classified as an armed attack but “probably [just] a misunderstanding or an accident.”

Bersamin likewise said the council agreed upon policy recommendations, which were submitted to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for his consideration, that the next rotation and reprovision (RoRe) missions be publicized and conducted on a regular schedule.

Tarriela explained that RoRe missions to the BRP Sierra Madre will continue regularly, asserting that these operations are legitimate actions of the Philippine government within its exclusive economic zone.

He likewise labeled the June 17 incident as the “most condemning” action yet of CCG.

https://palawan-news.com/ntf-wps-says-ph-not-seeking-aggression-in-mondays-ayungin-shoal-incident/

Marcos to troops: Stay firm in defending the country

From Palawan News (Jun 23, 2024): Marcos to troops: Stay firm in defending the country (By Gerald Ticke)

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. stands with SN1 Jeffrey Facundo, dressed in a blue hospital gown, a Naval Special Operations Group member who was seriously injured during the June 17 resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal. He is joined by the 79 other soldiers who also participated in the mission. Marcos is joined in his visit to the Western Command by Defense Sec. Gibo Teodoro Jr., AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., Wescom Commander Rear Adm. Alfonso Torres Jr., Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr. (Malacañang photo)

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. visited military troops at the Western Command on Sunday, June 23, where he told them to stand firm in performing their mission and duty of defending the nation, particularly the western frontier amidst adversity, with integrity and respect.

Marcos also lauded the soldiers, especially the personnel who have been conducting rotation and reprovision (RoRe) to troops aboard the Philippine Navy vessel BRP Sierra Madre, which was grounded at the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, as they continuously face challenges, harassment, and intimidation from the China Coast Guard and maritime militia.

“But despite these challenges, you have stood up and upheld the fundamental principles that bind all of us Filipinos. A mutual respect for life, for dignity, and for community,” Marcos said in his speech.

He said despite the dangerous maneuvers of the CCG against resupply missions in Ayungin Shoal, Filipino soldiers have remained calm and composed, reacting to the challenges professionally.

“We are not in the business to instigate wars—our great ambition is to provide a peaceful and prosperous life for every Filipino. This is the drum beat – this is the principle that we live by, that we march by,” he stated.

“We refuse to play by the rules that force us to choose sides in a great power competition. No government that truly exists in the service of the people would invite danger or harm to lives and livelihood,” he added, noting that the nature of the Filipino people is to defend the nation and settle issues peacefully.

As such, soldiers are bound to act according to their mandate and perform their duties without resorting to the use of force, intimidation, or deliberately inflicting injury or harm on anyone, he said.

The president likewise said that while the country remains committed to resolving issues in the WPS through peaceful means, the government is firm and “should not be mistaken for acquiescence.”

He also stated that, as history has shown, the Philippines has never yielded to any foreign power, which “we owe to our forefathers the duty to keep the freedoms that they fought, bled, and died for; and that we presently enjoy.”

“Kailanman ay hindi tayo magpapa-supil at magpapa-api kahit na kanino man,” he stressed.

“The Philippines is a responsible state. We will continue to exercise our freedoms and rights in support of our national interest, in accordance with international law,” he added.

Furthermore, he lauded the troops who “sailed the waters and exercised the greatest restraint amidst intense provocation.”

“You demonstrated to the world that the Filipino spirit is one that is brave, determined, and yet is compassionate,” he noted.

He also assured them of the entire nation’s support and gratitude for their dedication to service.

Making special mention of SN1 Jeffrey Facundo, he said the government will continue to provide them with all necessary support, including that of their families.

After his speech, he conferred awards of the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the rank of Kamagi to the 80 soldiers who participated in the RoRe missions, while Facundo, whose right thumb was severed in the June 17 incident, was awarded the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the rank of Kampilan.

https://palawan-news.com/marcos-to-troops-stay-firm-in-defending-the-country/