Friday, February 23, 2024

'Lady lawyer turned NPA fighter' among killed in Bohol clash -- Army

From the Manila Bulletin (Feb 24, 2024): 'Lady lawyer turned NPA fighter' among killed in Bohol clash -- Army (By MARTIN SADONGDONG)

A lawyer who allegedly got recruited by the New People's Army (NPA) was among those killed in an armed encounter between the state forces and the communist group in Bilar, Bohol last Friday, February 23, the Philippine Army said.

Col. Louie Dema-ala, Philippine Army spokesperson, said
Hannah Jay Cesista alias "Maya / Lean" was a member of the NPA's Bohol Party Committee-Defunct, Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor (BPC [D] KR-NCBS).

"Yes, she was a lawyer who passed the Bar," Dema-ala confirmed on Saturday, February 24.

Data from the Supreme Court showed that Cesista was among the 3,992 successful passers of the Bar Examinations in 2022.

Hannah Jay Cesista was among the passers of the 2022 Bar Examinations. (Courtesy of Supreme Court)

Dema-ala said Cesista was supposedly the "party wife" of Parlito Segovia alias "Aldrin", the assistant squad leader and political guide of the BPC (D) KR-NCBS.

"She [was] a member of the BPC and the party wife of Parlito Segovia alias Aldrin [who was] also killed during the encounter," the army spokesman stated.

"Sometime in 2020, she entered the NPA," he added.

According to the military, Cesista hailed from Catubig, Northern Samar. She studied her preparatory course for law at the University of the Philippines - Cebu and completed her law degree at the University of Cebu - Banilad Campus before she passed the bar exams.

Dema-ala said it was "tragic" that Cesista and her comrades were deceived by the communist group "to partake in a false revolution which led to their senseless demise."

It can be recalled that elements of the 47th Infantry Battalion (47IB) and 21st Special Forces Company (21SFC) with the Philippine National Police (PNP) encountered the remnants of the BPC (D) KR-NCBS during the service of a warrant of arrest against their pinpointed squad leader, Domingo Compoc alias "Silong / Cobra / Eloy / Jing".

Five alleged members of the BPC died in the clash which started at 6:50 a.m. and ended at 9:35 a.m.

They were identified as Compoc, Cesista, Segovia, and squad members Marlon Omosura alias "Darwin" and alias "Juaning".

Meanwhile, a member of the Bohol Provincial Police Office also died in the clash, Police Corporal Gilbert Amper, while Patrolman Gerard Rollon was injured and now recuperating at a hospital.

According to the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), Compoc was a former commanding officer of the Sandatahang Yunit Pangpropaganda (SYP) Platoon of the BPC, and had a P2.6 million bounty on his head. He was allegedly wanted for a string of criminal charges including rebellion, homicide, attempted homicide, theft, multiple murder, frustrated murder, and robbery.

The 3ID added that Compoc was also the father of a certain Jingler alias "Keth", who was killed in an encounter with government forces in Bilar in September 2023.

"The encounter in Bilar delivered a significant blow to the ranks of the CTG's recovery group in Bohol. Since the successful neutralization of the CTG's recovery team by government forces during the September 2023 encounter in Bohol, our relentless pursuit continues against their top leader, Domingo Compoc, and other remnants of the BPC," Major Gen. Marion Sison, commander of 3ID, said.

"This commitment is driven by our goals to serve justice to the victims of crimes committed by Compoc's group and to ensure that any attempts by the CTG to regain influence in Bohol will not prosper, guaranteeing the safety of the province and its people," he added.

Sison and Dema-ala extended the military's sympathies to the bereaved families of the slain PNP personnel as well as the five rebels even as they called on other remnants of the BPC to "surrender peacefully."

"The Philippine Army will not hesitate and is always ready to use its force against peace spoilers who will continue to espouse terrorism," Dema-ala said.

"Stop attempting to regain your influence in Bohol to avoid misfortune. You will never succeed, as all sectors stand united in protecting the province. Come forward and return to your government and family, who genuinely care for your well-being," Sison furthered.

Read related story: NPA clash with Army, PNP claims 6 lives in Bohol

Communist rebel killed in Cagayan clash

From the Manila Bulletin (Feb 2. 2024): Communist rebel killed in Cagayan clash (By LIEZLE BASA IÑIGO)

A New People’s Army rebel was killed in an encounter with the military in Sitio Laoc, Barangay Pateng, Gonzaga, Cagayan on Friday, February 23.

THE military engaged New People's Army rebels in Sallapadan, Abra and Gonzaga, Cagayan.

The 502nd Infantry Brigade encountered remaining members of the Cagayan Valley Regional Committee led by Edgar Arbitrario, an NPA leader from Mindanao. The gun battle lasted for 10 minutes before the communist rebels withdrew.

A soldier was wounded in the gunbattle and is now in stable condition.

Recovered from the encounter site were an M14 rifle with a magazine, subversive documents, and personal belongings.

Meanwhile, the 50th Infantry Battalion of the 503rd Infantry Brigade clashed with the North Abra Guerrilla Committee of the Ilocos Cordillera Regional Committee (ICRC) in Barangay Naguilian, Sallapadan, Abra.

No injuries or fatalities from the military were recorded in the 10-minute gunfight.

The military has urged remaining members of the communist movement in Northern Luzon to return to the fold of the law.

Lawyer among rebels slain in Bohol clash

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Feb 24, 2024): Lawyer among rebels slain in Bohol clash (By: Leo Udtohan)

CORDONED OFF Investigators seal off an area near a rice field in the village of Campagao in Bilar, Bohol, where a New People’s Army rebel died in a shootout with pursuing policemen and soldiers on Friday. —LEO UDTOHAN

BILAR, BOHOL—Five suspected communist rebels, among them a lawyer, and a policeman, were killed in an encounter in the village of Campagao here on Friday morning, police and military reports said.

Among those killed was
Domingo Compoc, known as “Kumander Cobra” and “Silong,” and said to be the secretary of the New People’s Army (NPA) unit operating in Bohol.

Compoc, who had a bounty of P2.6 million, was included in the government’s wanted list for a string of charges including rebellion, homicide, attempted homicide, theft, multiple murder, frustrated murder and robbery.

Also slain were Compoc’s four companions, identified as Hannah Jay Cesista, whom police said was a lawyer from Cebu and was also known by the alias “Maya” and “Lean;” Parlito Segovia, alias “Aldrin,” the assistant squad leader and political guide of the NPA unit; Marlon Omosura, alias “Darwin,” a squad member; and another rebel identified only as Juaning.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines chapter in Cebu had yet to confirm Cesista’s affiliation but a check with the Supreme Court website showed that she passed the bar examinations in 2022.

A police officer was also killed while another policeman was wounded in the firefight although their names had yet to be released by authorities as of Friday afternoon.

Reports said a team from the Bohol provincial police office, accompanied by soldiers, went to a house in Barangay Campagao, about 5 kilometers from the Bilar town center, past 6 a.m. to serve a warrant to Compoc.

But the government team was met with gunfire as they were approaching the house, resulting in a firefight at 6:52 a.m. A suspected rebel tried to escape but was gunned down in a ricefield, about a kilometer away from the house.

Government troops recovered six firearms—an M653 assault rifle, an R4 assault rifle, an M16 rifle and three .45 caliber pistols—after the clash, said Lt. Col. Israel Galorio, chief of the public information office of the military’s Visayas Command.

Compoc had several standing arrest warrants for his alleged involvement in a series of killings, including of rebel returnees, in the province.

His son, Jingler, was also killed in an encounter in Bilar on Sept. 7 last year. Jingler, also known as “Keth,” was identified as the vice squad leader of the remnants of the dismantled Bohol Front Committee.

Friday’s firefight prompted at least 250 families (774 people) to evacuate to the Campagao covered court, at least a kilometer away from the clash site.

Candelaria Dapar, 63, said she was having breakfast when she heard gunshots. She, her children and grandchildren, immediately ran out of the house out of fear of being caught in the crossfire.

“We were so scared because our house was near the site of the encounter,” said Dapar when interviewed at the evacuation center.
Military ops in Negros

The series of encounters between NPA rebels and soldiers also triggered an evacuation of close to 1,000 residents of Escalante City and Toboso town in northern Negros Occidental.

Two military helicopters conducted air strikes at Sitio Mansulao in Barangay Pinapugasan on Thursday night, lasting for about 45 minutes, said Lt. Col. J-Jay Javines, spokesperson for the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.

“The fleeing rebels from earlier encounters were located at a vantage point so it was risky for government soldiers to attack them by land, so air assets were called in to hasten the accomplishment of their mission,” Javines said.

The first encounter happened on Wednesday at Sitio Mansulao in Barangay Pinapugasan, where three rebels while three soldiers and a militiaman were wounded. Seven more clashes followed until Thursday when air strikes were conducted. —WITH REPORTS FROM CARLA P. GOMEZ AND NESTOR CORRALES

Military launches airstrike after fierce clashes in Negros Occidental

From Rappler (Feb 23, 2024): Military launches airstrike after fierce clashes in Negros Occidental (By REYMUND TITONG)

Escalante City Mayor Beboy Yap declares a suspension of classes in eight villages in the northern city of Negros Occidental

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – The military launched an airstrike on Thursday, February 22, in Sitio Mansulao, Barangay Pinapugusan, Escalante City, following sporadic armed clashes between state forces and a suspected band of New People’s Army (NPA) members.

At least 300 people were evacuated to safer grounds before the airstrike, and they were given appropriate assistance by the City Social Development Office (CSWDO), the military said on Friday, February 23.

Escalante City Mayor Beboy Yap declared a suspension of classes on Friday in eight villages in the northern city of Negros Occidental, including schools in Libertad, Pinapugasan, Binaguiohan, Paitan, Dian-ay, Magsaysay, Malasibog, and Tamlang.

Meanwhile, the group Human Rights Advocates Negros (HRAN) condemned the military airstrike, resulting in evacuations and class cancellations, citing Geneva Convention protocols.

“Under Protocol 2 of the Geneva Convention, indiscriminate attacks are prohibited for failing to distinguish combatants and civilians alike,” a portion of the group’s statement read.

Lieutenant Colonel J-Jay Javines, 3rd Infantry Division public information office chief, told Rappler that the airstrike was launched by the military at around 7 pm on Thursday, to finish off members of the NPA’s Northern Negros Front (NNF), allegedly harassing and demanding food from villagers in the area.

A series of encounters started around 11 am on Wednesday, February 21, in the same village, resulting in the deaths of three suspected rebels and the wounding of three operating troops of the 79th Infantry Battalion and one Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) member.

The military only identified the three rebel fatalities – two males and a female – as
Michael, Jose, and Jandy, said to be aliases.

Javines said they were alarmed when villagers informed them of the presence of at least eight NPA rebels demanding food in the area, prompting them to conduct security patrols.

The military found high-powered firearms, one handgun, anti-personnel mines, mobile phones, personal belongings, and NPA documents from the first encounter site.

Javines said the band of rebels in the area was likely protecting a high-ranking guerilla who allegedly came into the area to strengthen the NNF, one of the guerrilla fronts in Negros that state forces had declared to have dismantled in 2021.

Javines said the military did not violate any law, and they conducted risk assessments before the airstrike, including mapping out farms and evacuating community members.

“Even without the airstrike, people will tend to vacate their abode because if their residences are just adjacent to the encounter site, it’s better to ensure their safety,” Javines said.
Denial and claims

NPA’s Apolinario Gatmaitan Command-Negros Island spokesperson Ka Maoche Legislador denied the military’s claim that there were eight armed encounters before the airstrike.

Legislador said that among all the encounters, only Wednesday’s armed engagement was legitimate along the border of communities of Barangay San Isidro in Toboso town and Barangay Mansulao of Escalante City.

“As clarified by the RJPC-NPA (Roselyn Jean Pelle Command), there was no firefight in the area yesterday morning. Instead, over 10 bombs were dropped on Sitio Mansulao, part of Escalante City, between 6 to 9 in the morning, damaging livelihoods and the environment,” he said.

NPA killed in Agusan del Norte clash

From the Manila Bulletin (Feb 23, 2024): NPA killed in Agusan del Norte clash (By MIKE CRISMUNDO)

BUTUAN CITY – A New People’s Army rebel was killed and an undetermined number of comrades were wounded in a gun battle with the military in Barangay Concepcion, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte on Friday, February 23.

COMMUNIST war materials seized in a gun battle in Barangay Concepcion, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte province on Friday, Feb. 23. (29th IB-CMO)

Capt. Jade Bryce Bune, civil-military operations (CMO) officer of the 29th Infantry Battalion, said operating troops from the 29th and 30th IBs recovered a high-powered firearm, ammunition, medicines and equipment, subversive documents, kitchen utensils, and personal belongings.

The 29th IB CMO officer said they received reports from concerned civilians that communist rebels were conducting extortion activities in Barangay Concepcion and neighboring areas.

Troops conducted combat operations after validating the report, leading to an encounter against a band of NPA fighters from the Sub-Regional Sentro de Grabidad, Northland of the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee under Kumander Rem.

Bune identified the fatality as Ka Yolly or Yang.

“Our troops facilitated the extrication of the cadaver in collaboration with the SOCO and Cabadbaran PNP, and the Cabadbaran city government also facilitated the proper burial arrangements of the killed CTG. We already reached out to the family of alias Yolly and the disposition of his remains,” said 29th IB commanding officer Lt. Col. Cresencio C. Gargar.

Gargar called on remaining members of the NPA in the Caraga region to surrender and assured that the military is committed to a fair and just process for those who choose the path of peace.

Soldiers are pursuing the fleeing rebels. No casualty was reported on the government side.

Police officer, 8 communist rebels killed in separate central Philippine gunfights

From BenarNews (Feb 23, 2024): Police officer, 8 communist rebels killed in separate central Philippine gunfights (By BenarNews staff)

New People’s Army guerillas stand in formation on the island of Mindanao, in the southern Philippines, April 19, 2017.   Manman Dejeto/AFP

Eight suspected communist rebels and a police officer were killed in separate shootouts in the central Philippines this week, the military said Friday, despite efforts to jumpstart peace talks.

The latest incident flared up shortly before 7 a.m. Friday in Campagao, a village in Bilar town on Bohol island, where troops from the 47th Infantry Battalion and police engaged with New People’s Army guerrillas. The NPA is the military wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been fighting a rebellion against Manila for the past 55 years.

A joint army-police team was sent to the area to arrest
Domingo Jaspe Compoc (also known as Silong), a leader of the local NPA branch who was the subject of a 2.6 million peso (U.S. $46,500) reward for his capture. The police officer, Compoc and four other rebels died in Friday’s fighting, the military said.

“This latest debacle of the CPP-NPA is a clear manifestation of our steadfast commitment on ending the local communist-armed conflict in the Visayas region,” said Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, regional military chief.

On Wednesday, three NPA guerillas were killed during a clash in the hinterlands of Escalante City in Negros Occidental province, according to Lt. Col. Arnel Calaoagan, a regional commanding officer. The clash dragged on until the next day when four rebels were injured during a law enforcement operation.

This week’s violence came as the government and the CPP were trying to resume peace negotiations.

Representatives from both sides have begun exploratory meetings, although Vice President Sara Duterte, a staunch anti-communist official, described a potential peace deal as “an agreement with the devil.”

Her father, former President Rodrigo Duterte who served from 2016 to 2022, canceled negotiations with the communists a year after taking office, accusing the group of continuing deadly attacks in the southern Mindanao region. His administration formally branded the NPA as a terrorist entity.

The CCP has been waging Asia’s longest-running rebellion since 1969. But from a peak of about 20,000 fighters in the 1980s, its forces have significantly dwindled over the years.

The National Security Council early this month said there were only 11 “weakened guerrilla fronts” nationwide with about 1,500 regular fighters seeking to overthrow the government.

Jeoffrey Maitem in Davao, Philippines, contributed to this report.

Brief: Maritime Threat Posed by Abu Sayyaf Curtailed by Philippine Counter-Piracy Efforts

Posted to the Jamestown Foundation Terrorism Monitor (Feb 21, 2924): Brief: Maritime Threat Posed by Abu Sayyaf Curtailed by Philippine Counter-Piracy Efforts


The Philippine Coast Guard during a mock exercise. (Source: VnExpress)

Executive Summary
  • In the last decade, Philippine naval forces have successfully neutralized Abu Sayyaf’s once significant piracy operations in the maritime area between Mindanao, Philippines and Sabah, Malaysia.
  • This is due in no small part to regional cooperation and joint anti-piracy efforts by the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, possibly offering a model for other piracy-prone areas around the world.
Since the 1990s, Abu Sayyaf created a persistent threat of piracy in the maritime area between Mindanao, Philippines and Sabah, Malaysia. In the last decade, however, Abu Sayyaf has not consistently conducted piracy to the extent it had previously.

One of the more recent major incidents of Abu Sayyaf-related piracy occurred in 2016, when a German couple yachting in the waters between Mindanao and Sabah were attacked by Abu Sayyaf. A 70-year old man was abducted and his partner was shot and killed in an attempt to resist the kidnapping (The Maritime Executive, November 9, 2016). The yachter had previously been abducted by Somali pirates in 2008, paying a ransom to escape. Despite this track record, Abu Sayyaf beheaded the German after he failed to pay his ransom after only a few months (Al Jazeera, February 27, 2017). In numerous other cases, however, Abu Sayyaf received large ransoms. The group reportedly received several millions of dollars each year in ransom money from its piracy operations, which funded the group’s terrorist attacks elsewhere in the Philippines (The Maritime Executive, October 28, 2016).

In 2020, Philippine naval forces conducted an “all-out” campaign against Abu Sayyaf and killed seven of its members at sea (Al Jazeera, November 16, 2020). This caused a decline in Abu Sayyaf’s piracy operations, but it was believed at the time that this degrading of the group’s capabilities was only temporary (Benar News, July 29, 2020). Nonetheless, three years later, the Singapore-based anti-piracy monitoring group known as the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery (ReCAAP) recommended that the threat of kidnapping in the Sulu Sea be downgraded from “moderate” to “moderate low.” ReCAAP credited this to Philippine and Malaysian efforts to combat Abu Sayyaf in the area (The Philippine Star, January 11). More recently, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia celebrated the successful elimination of high-seas kidnapping since 2021, a trend that continues to this day (South China Morning Post, March 29, 2022).

Regional cooperation between the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia demonstrates how piracy can be curtailed, if not necessarily eradicated. In contrast, the escalating Houthi and Somali hijackings and the former’s missile attacks on ships in the Red Sea shows how a lack of international coordination and regional instability can cause rapid increases in piracy. For example, Somali pirates successfully seized two ships in December 2023 (, January 10). While the United States and its allies are patrolling the Red Sea and striking Houthi bases in Yemen, tensions remain at a record high in the waterway (FreightWaves, December 22, 2023; US Department of Defense, December 18, 2023). The Southeast Asian states’ counter-piracy cooperation with the Philippines can, therefore, serve as a template for similar operations elsewhere in the world, notwithstanding the different geopolitical contexts.

US-PH open bio-chem threat response center

From Palawan News (Feb 24, 2024): US-PH open bio-chem threat response center (By Celeste Anna Formoso)

DTRA Cooperative Threat Reduction Deputy Director Patrick Becker (fourth from right) joins DILG Undersecretary Serafin Barretto Jr. (fourth from left), NICA Director General Ricardo De Leon (third from left), and PPSC President Ferdinando Sevilla (second from left) at the ribbon-cutting of the new National Virtual Training Center in Silang, Cavite on February 21.

The United States and the Philippines inaugurated a training center for response to biological and chemical threats, an initiative seen as a step in public health and security and further strengthening the bond between the two nations in their commitment to safety.

The National Virtual Training Center (NVTC) was inaugurated on February 21 in Silang, Cavite, and is expected to enhance the training of public health personnel, veterinary health workers, and first responders in addressing biological and chemical threats.

“This facility will house a lecture hall for classroom-setting trainings, a practical biological diagnostics laboratory classroom for hands-on biosafety and biosecurity trainings, and a virtual reality room equipped with headsets to provide an opportunity to train virtually on a chemical security curriculum,” U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Program Manager Corey Erff said.

Funded by the DTRA Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) and Chemical Security Elimination (CSE) Program, the center is an advanced multi-million dollar facility featuring state-of-the-art training and laboratory spaces.

The National Virtual Training Center in Silang, Cavite opens its doors to Philippine government agencies, academia, and industry partners for advanced training in detecting and responding to biological and chemical security threats.

It aims to improve both the scope and caliber of training programs across various fields of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear security.

“The construction of the NVTC, and any future collaboration, is carried out by the United States government in close collaboration with the Philippine government, ensuring strict adherence to Philippine laws. By working together, these projects will continue to ensure the safety and well-being of Filipino citizens,” Erff added.

The NVTC will enable the Philippines to boost its ability to train both existing and upcoming laboratory specialists and first responders. This training will focus on detecting and preventing threats from weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

The inauguration of the NVTC was attended by Philippines Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Serafin Barretto Jr., National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Director General Ricardo De Leon, Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) President Ferdinando Sevilla, and representatives from the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Office of the President, and the University of the Philippines.

“The NVTC will be a tool for the country to address emerging threats and provide continuing education to public safety practitioners following international standards,” NICA Director General De Leon said.

“The NVTC will help to achieve the goal of having a peaceful and safe nation, resilient against Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) threats and free from WMDs,” he added.

The DILG and PPSC will oversee the operations of the NVTC, which will be open for use by all government departments and academic and industry partners.

DTRA’s BTRP and CSE programs are working with Philippine government agencies to develop an operational framework to ensure the facility promotes long-term, sustainable threat reduction efforts.

Rebel surrenders to police

From Panay News (Feb 24, 2024): Rebel surrenders to police (By Ruby P. Silubrico)

ILOILO City – A member of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the police and local government in Pandan, Antique, on Thursday after spending several years in the mountains. The 60-year-old, known as “Maylene”, was a vendor and former member of Squad Madyaas, Northern Front Guerrilla Unit (FGU), Panay Regional Party Committee.

She turned herself in at around 11 a.m. in Barangay Centro Sur, Pandan, Antique.

Maylene also handed over a .38 caliber revolver to the police.

She decided to surrender to the authorities due to the prolonged hunger experienced in the mountains.

On another note, Brigadier General Jack Wanky, director of the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6), praised his team for their outstanding performance.

“I urge them to continue persuading individuals who have joined rebel groups to return to the government’s fold. I appreciate rebels who have chosen peace. Their courage acts are beacons of hope and reconciliation,” said Wanky.

3 rebels killed in northern Negros gun battle

From Panay News (Feb 24, 2024): 3 rebels killed in northern Negros gun battle (By JEN BAYLON and DOMINIQUE GABRIEL G. BAÑAGA)

BACOLOD City – A series of encounters in the northern part of Negros Island resulted in the deaths of three New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

A total of three encounters took place between Wednesday, Feb. 21, and Thursday morning, Feb. 22, according to Lieutenant Colonel Arnel Calaogan, commander of the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB).

He also clarified that the encounters took place in Sitio Mansulao, Barangay Pinapugasan of Escalante City, although the village already borders the town of Toboso.

They have yet to identify the three fatalities as of this writing. Locals who checked the bodies in an attempt to identify them stated that the individuals were not from the area.

According to Calaogan, the initial gun battle took place around 11:10 a.m. on Wednesday. The troops responded to a tip-off from a concerned citizen claiming that a group of armed individuals was extorting residents in the area.

A second encounter then took place around 2:17 p.m. which lasted for around five minutes before the rebels scattered in different directions, and followed by a third on Thursday morning.

The rebels are believed to be remnants of the
dismantled NPA’s Northern Negros Front, Calaogan added.

It is also strongly believed by the government troops that among the rebels they engaged in the gun battle was NPA leader Arnel Tapang, a wanted fugitive with a P1 million bounty on his head.

Three soldiers and one personnel from the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit were wounded in the gun battles, although Calaogan confirmed they were in stable condition.

The 79IB seized an AK-47 assault rifle, an M653 assault rifle, a .45 caliber pistol, rifle grenades, and anti-personnel mines.

Also recovered are mobile phones, commercial radios, bandoliers, and backpacks containing the rebels’ personal belongings and subversive documents.

Evacuation Up in Toboso, Escalante City Villages

Meanwhile, residents from several villages in Toboso and Escalante City were evacuated after the 79IB called in gunships from the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to pummel remnants of the dismantled Northern Negros Front in Sitio Mansulao on Thursday night.

Lieutenant Colonel J-jay Javines, spokesperson for the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), said two PAF AgustaWestland AW109 helicopters performed combat air support missions against suspected rebel positions around 7:35 p.m.

Videos posted on social media showed PAF choppers striking rebel positions with machine guns and rocket fire.

The 79IB also pounded the area using their forward guns.

Javines clarified that a risk assessment was made prior to the strikes so as to prevent any possibility of civilian casualties.

He added a total of eight clashes have already been recorded in the area since Wednesday, after the 79IB received information that the NPA rebels were spotted extorting food and supplies from the local residents.

Due to the escalating anti-insurgency operations, Toboso’s Mayor Maddonah Jaojoco declared a suspension of classes in all levels in the town until further notice late Thursday night.

Escalante City’s Mayor Melecio Yap Jr. followed suit, ordering the suspension of classes in elementary and junior and senior high schools in barangays Libertad, Pinapugasan, Binaguiohan, Paitan, Dian-ay, Magsaysay, Malasibog, and Tamlang.

The Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) and the Escalante Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office delivered food, medical supplies, mosquito nets, and blankets to the residents who took shelter at the local evacuation center.

Barangay Pinapugasan captain Edgar Rapana said the displaced residents were barred from returning to their homes unless the 79IB deems the area safe.

Earlier on Thursday, Yap appealed to the rebels to surrender, adding they would be treated well and would receive assistance as long as they returned to the fold of the law.

In Toboso, more than 400 residents of sitios Mainit and Mansulao in Barangay San Isidro were evacuated.

The local government provided the displaced residents with hot food as well as rice, canned goods and noodles.

Attacks on farming communities worry rights groups

From the Visayan Daily Star (Feb 24, 2024): Attacks on farming communities worry rights groups

Human Rights Advocates Negros (HRAN) raised grave concern over the use of T129 night attack helicopters indiscriminately firing on farming and farmworkers communities in an air strike operations after an alleged running gunbattle between AFP and NPA since February 21, in Sitio Mansulao, Barangay Pinapugasan, Escalante City, a press from HRAN said.

A report dispatched by local human rights defenders from Escalante City said the indiscriminate attacks using helicopters and artillery cannons have resulted in mass evacuations of more than 300 families and declaration of no classes in nine barangays of Escalante City and Toboso.

A video circulating online also shows the newly purchased T129 attack helicopters being used and is confirmed by army officials.

Indiscriminate attacks are strictly prohibited under international law on war, specifically Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions, where attacks of these types do not distinguish between combatants and civilians, and if civilians are injured or killed, they are regarded as “collateral damage.”

HRAN will also further investigate the identities of those alleged NPA killed in firefight and other circumstances, saying the AFP is notorious for presenting murdered farmers as NPA.

The government purchased P2.9 billion worth of the night attack help only to be used to murder its people and destroy lives. A waste of money in the midst of drought brought by El Niño phenomenon and lingering crisis in the sugar industry, they added.

It seems that the 3rd Division Philippine Army declaration of stable peace and order is hollow as continuing armed skirmishes in the countryside still occur and the army continue to deploy two brigades against so called “remnants of NPA” in Negros.

HRAN called on human rights advocates to courageously document and monitor cases of human rights violations as Philippine Army intensifies its militarization of Negros Island.*

[Note: Human Rights Advocates Negros (HRAN) is a Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) human rights front group and a member of the main CPP-linked umbrella human rights front organization KARAPATAN. CPP human rights front groups are tasked with undermining the credibility and grass roots support for the Armed Forces of the Philippines]

AFP chief hopeful of ‘total victory’ vs NPA in Visayas by year end

From the Visayan Daily Star (Feb 24, 2024): AFP chief hopeful of ‘total victory’ vs NPA in Visayas by year end (By GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

AFP chief of staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. being welcomed by Negrense Brig. Gen. Michael Samson (right) and 301st Infantry Brigade officers at Camp Hernandez, in Dingle, Iloilo.* PA photo

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. expressed his optimism of achieving a “total victory” against remnants of the New People’s Army in Visayas, by year end.

In his twin visits to the Visayas Command in Cebu, and 301st Infantry Brigade headquarters in Iloilo on Thursday, Brawner ordered both commanders to continue their operations to eliminate the threat of communist insurgency.

“And we are very hopeful and optimistic that by the end of the year 2024, ay talagang ma-achieve natin ang (we can really achieve) total victory and we can defeat the communists here in VISCOM,” he said.

Brawner said he is happy with the progress of the campaign in the Visayas area, which became a “priority command” for the AFP, and “was allocated significant resources to dismantle remaining guerilla fronts, neutralize high-value individuals, and build people’s organizations.

The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division has already recommended declaring Negros Island in a state of Stable Internal Peace and Security, following the dismantling of all five NPA guerilla fronts. However, the focused operations against rebel remnants are conducted without let up, according to the 3ID.

Brawner also lauded Viscom’s and 301st Infantry Brigade officers and enlisted personnel for their accomplishments.

These accomplishments, he said, are aligned with the AFP’s overall campaign strategy, which is focused on defeating the NPA remnants.

VISCOM is led by Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, while Negrense Brig. Gen. Michael Samson commands the 301st Infantry Brigade in Panay.

During his talk to 301st Infantry Brigade troops, Brawners said “There is no right time to do the wrong thing, and there is no wrong time to do the right thing. The moment you are doing the wrong thing, then everything will be astray. Everything will not be in the right direction. Always do good every time because it is the basic foundation of our career.”

He also encouraged the troops to perform their duties and responsibilities with discipline and pride as part of the AFP.*

Armed encounters displaces civilians in northern Negros

From the Visayan Daily Star (Feb 24, 2024): Armed encounters displaces civilians in northern Negros (By GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

About 1,000 individuals were temporarily displaced by a series of encounters between New People’s Army rebels and Army soldiers on Wednesday and Thursday in Brgy. Pinapugasan, Escalante City, Negros Occidental.

Of the displaced individuals, more or less 500 were reported by the Philippine Army to be in the hinterland sitios of Brgy. Pinapugasan, Escalante City, while Councilor Richard Jaojoco reported that 101 families, composed of 491 individuals, also fled from their homes in the sitios of Mainit, Mansulao, Mag-aso, Danao, and Balod, all in Brgy. San Isidro, Toboso.

Army soldiers and fleeing remnants of the dismantled Northern Negros Front have engaged in armed skirmishes eight times already starting from Wednesday, up to Thursday night.

An airstrike was launched Thursday night by the Philippine Air Force against a suspected rebel stronghold in Brgy. Pinapugasan, Escalante City, using its newly acquired Agusta attack helicopters, which lasted 45 minutes, according to Lt. Col. J Jay Javines, 3rd Infantry Division spokesman.

Before the airstrike, Javines said a risk assessment was conducted to ensure that no residents or their livestock may be caught in the crossfire.

Jaojoco said he expects an increase in the number of evacuees, as he got reports of more affected residents now temporarily staying at a daycare center in the hinterland barangay of Magticol, also in Toboso.

Classes have been suspended since Thursday in all nine barangays, of which six are hinterland villages of Toboso, as ordered by Mayor Madonna Jaojoco.

The series of armed encounters claimed the lives of three suspected NPA rebels, and caused injuries to three Army soldiers and a government militiaman.

Recovered from the first encounter site, aside from the cadavers of the three suspected NPA rebels, were an AK 47 assault rifle, an M653 automatic rifle, a .45 caliber pistol, three rifle grenades, an anti-personnel mine, assorted cellular phones and commercial radios, combat backpacks, bandoleers, and subversive documents.

Councilor Jaojoco said there is no clearance yet from the Philippine Army for affected residents to return to their respective homes, as clearing operations are still ongoing.*

100 soldiers from 10th ID to join nationwide Army exercise in March

From the Mindanao Times (Feb 23, 2024): 100 soldiers from 10th ID to join nationwide Army exercise in March (By RHODA GRACE SARON)

THE 10TH Infantry Division will send more than 100 soldiers from the Reconnaissance Company to participate in the upcoming Combined Arms Training Exercise (Catex) “Katihan” from Mindanao to Luzon as part of the 127th founding anniversary of the Philippine Army on March 22.

Speaking on Wednesday’s AFP-PNP press briefing held at The Royal Mandaya Hotel, Major Mark Anthony Tito, the 10th ID Public Affairs Office chief, said the soldiers are presently preparing at their headquarters.

“Most of their troops are highly trained and have specialization courses,” Tito said. “They will be participating in the Katihan, it will simulate how they are going to move from Mindanao to Luzon.”

“Dito pa lang mag start na yung scenario hanggang sa Luzon, diyan natin makita how are we going to mobilize our forces, it’s not ordinary forces but many troops are involve,” he further said.

The army officer said the focus of the training is to showcase the combined arms capabilities of various major units.

In a separate interview on Friday, Army spokesperson Col. Louie Dema-ala, said the purpose of Catex is to integrate all capabilities of the Army to determine gaps and how to quickly respond to any scenario.

“It could be HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster response), territorial defense, or any other scenarios,” Dema-ala said.

“Titingnan din natin dun kung capable ba tayo i-move ang large formations at any one time (forces from mindanao,visayas and Luzon). Another is kaya ba ng Army i-sustain ang large forces numbering to more than 4,000 personnel (in terms of meals, etc),” he further said.

Around 4,000 to 5,000 nationwide will take part in Catex, which will be held in Camp O’Donnell in Capas, Tarlac, with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in attendance.

DND chief: PH needs to reaffirm alliances to uphold UNCLOS

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 23, 2024): DND chief: PH needs to reaffirm alliances to uphold UNCLOS (By Priam Nepomuceno)

STRENGTHENING ALLIANCES. Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. (right) meets with the delegation from the United States National Defense University Capstone 24-2 Fellows at the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Thursday (Feb. 22, 2024). During the meeting, Teodoro highlighted the country's ongoing efforts to create a credible defense posture and strengthen international partnerships with allied countries. (Photo courtesy of the DND)

MANILA – Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. stressed the need for the Philippines to reaffirm its alliances with like-minded nations if it wants to uphold the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) amid security challenges in the region.

Teodoro made this remark during the visit of a delegation from the United States National Defense University Capstone 24-2 Fellows on Thursday, the Department of National Defense (DND) said in a statement Friday.

These countries are the United States and Australia, with which the Philippines has an existing Visiting Forces Agreement.

The delegation was led by Senior Fellow and retired US Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly. Capstone, which is part of a five-week course for newly selected generals and flag officers that will equip them with a comprehensive understanding of joint doctrine and the principles of the “Joint Operational Art.”

Teodoro also highlighted the country's ongoing efforts to create a credible defense posture and strengthen international partnerships with allied countries.

The DND chief also shared the importance of educating Filipinos on the political and economic implications of the West Philippine Sea issue.

Teodoro said the DND is working toward the capability upgrade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to protect the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

"Highlighting that one of the purposes of the agreed locations under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement is to enhance the two countries' humanitarian assistance and disaster response capability, he also underscored the pivotal role of the Philippines-US defense cooperation in maintaining regional peace and prosperity," the DND added.

Bohol town encounter kills 5 NPA rebels

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 23, 2024): Bohol town encounter kills 5 NPA rebels (By John Rey Saavedra)

BOHOL ENCOUNTER. The five remnants of the Bohol Party Committee of the CPP-NPA killed in an armed encounter with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in Barangay Campagao, Bilar town in Bohol province on Friday morning (Feb. 23, 2024). One member of the PNP died and another was wounded while the affected residents were evacuated and secured by the authorities. (Contributed photo)

CEBU CITY – Five remnants of the Bohol Party Committee (BPC) were killed Friday morning in an armed encounter with government troopers in Bilar town, province of Bohol, the Visayas Command reported.

Government soldiers and policemen were about to serve a warrant of arrest against a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) when they chanced upon a group of rebels
led by Domingo Jaspe Compoc alias Silong at Sitio Matin-ao, Barangay Campagao, at 6:50 a.m.

Compoc, with a bounty on his head amounting to PHP2.6 million, was a squad leader of the party committee and former commanding officer of
Sandatahang Yunit Pangpropaganda (SYP) Platoon of BPC. He was among those killed during the encounter.

He was wanted for several cases including rebellion, homicide, attempted homicide, multiple murder, frustrated murder and robbery.

Also killed in the gunbattle that lasted for more than two hours and 45 minutes were
Parlito Segovia alias Aldrin, the assistant squad leader and political guide; Marlon Omosura alias Darwin, squad member; Hannah Joy Cesista alias Maya or Lean; and a certain Juaning, a squad member.

Meanwhile, a policeman identified as Corporal Gilbert Amper also died in the encounter while another, Corporal Gerard Rollon, was also wounded and now being treated at the Congressman Simeon Toribio Memorial Hospital.

They are both assigned at the Bohol provincial police intelligence unit.

Government operatives recovered M16 Baby Armalite, an R4 M16, an M16, and three caliber .45 pistols after the firefight.

Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, Viscom commander, attributed the latest accomplishment to the active support of the people and the strong bond of partnership with the different government agencies.

"This recent success in our campaign was made possible by the active support of our people, who have been providing us with credible information leading to the demise of the CPP-NPA. Likewise, our ironclad partnership with the different government agencies, especially the PNP (Philippine National Police) who have been our strong partner in ensuring the safety and security of our people in the entire Visayas region,” he said in a separate statement.

In the clearing operations, government troopers, through their Explosives and Ordnance Device K9 unit, scoured the area to ensure that no remaining explosives were planted in the area.

Members of the Scene of the Crime Operations of the PNP’s Forensic Science Unit in Bohol were deployed to conduct scene investigation.

“The affected civilians were evacuated to a safe location and secured by PNP personnel,” the Viscom statement said, adding that the PNP is also conducting checkpoints in all strategic locations to arrest remaining remnants who fled at the encounter site.

Navy making necessary adjustments for 'external defense' posture

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 23, 2024): Navy making necessary adjustments for 'external defense' posture (By Izza Reynoso)

EXTERNAL DEFENSE. Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, Philippine Navy spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, says Naval commands tasked with WPS security are making the necessary adjustments following the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ shift in focus to “external defense,” during a media briefing in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on Friday (Feb. 23, 2024). The strategic shift towards external defense is aimed at broadening the country's military reach to safeguard areas of national interest. (PNA photo by Izza Reynoso)

PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan – Naval commands tasked with West Philippine Sea (WPS) security are making the “necessary adjustments” following the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) shift in focus to “external defense,” a Philippine Navy official said Friday.

In a media briefing, Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, the Navy's spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea (WPS), said the strategic shift towards external defense had placed the Philippine Navy at the forefront of this transition.

In particular, he said the Western Command (Wescom) in Puerto Princesa City and the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) in Tarlac have become central in leading the “external defense” transition.

Wescom oversees the WPS, while Nolcom manages Bajo de Masinloc, the northern islands of Batanes province, and Benham Rise.

Trinidad noted that continuous efforts are being made to improve maritime patrol operations in the WPS, with the goal of bolstering the nation's sovereignty and territorial entitlements.

"Here in Palawan, Wescom and, of course, the Naval Forces West (Navforwest), are focused on our nine island detachments. Because we have troops here, we need to regularly support them, resupply them, rotate them. We have a mandate to ensure that our sovereignty and our sovereign rights are not violated," he said.

Besides ongoing efforts to upgrade the Navy’s capabilities, he said infrastructure improvements, particularly on Pag-asa Island in Palawan, are in progress to boost their usefulness to the military and ensure the safety of fisherfolk.

Furthermore, he said that under the new operational strategy, the Navy can assume control over the ocean assets of the Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, as well as boats and aircraft belonging to local government units, “if and when the situation calls for it.”

"The Philippine Navy is committed to demonstrating a strong stance on protecting our sovereignty in the WPS," Trinidad said.

The strategic shift towards external defense is aimed at broadening the country's military reach to safeguard areas of national interest, in line with constitutional mandates.

CPP/Ang Bayan: Military arrests, surveillance and harassment in Negros, Bicol and Southern Tagalog

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Feb 21, 2024): Military arrests, surveillance and harassment in Negros, Bicol and Southern Tagalog

This article is available in PilipinoBisaya

February 21, 2024

Cases of arrests, surveillance and harassment by military elements against progressives and activists in the Negros, Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions were recorded in recent weeks.

In Negros Occidental, police arrested Pertinisa Jereula Charita, 55, while visiting her husband at the San Carlos City jail on February 13. According to Human Rights Advocates Negros (HRAN), police falsely claim confiscating a caliber .22 pistol from Charita when frisked.

Charita, a member of Kapatid-Negros and the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), is the wife of Leon Charita arrested in September 2019 on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. Pertinisa was with her children and grandchildren when she visited Leon to celebrate his birthday in prison.

In Albay, soldiers of the 9th ID surveilled and harassed relatives of Maggie Seva and Fidel Mirando, administrative officer and staff, respectively, of the Farmer’s Assistance for Resource Management, Education and Rehabilitation Incorporated (FARMER Inc) during the first half of February. The relatives of the two were subjected to illegal interrogation.

In Rizal, a 2nd ID element went house-to-house in Barangay San Isidro, Antipolo City, Rizal in the second week of February and inquired about mass leaders of the progressive movement in Rizal. The soldier was in plainclothes and pretended to be an employee of Antipolo City Hall to carry out the surveillance. Neighbors say the soldiers took the mass leaders’ personal information and cellphone numbers.

In Oriental Mindoro, military and police personnel disrupted and threatened fishermen and humanitarian groups conducting a Boat Construction Project in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro on February 7. The project aims to distribute boats and fishing equipment to victims of last year’s oil spill. After disrupting the program, the military shamelessly claimed that the program was part of the National Task Force-Elcac campaign.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: Groups celebrate Ka Joma’s 85th birthday

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Feb 21, 2024): Groups celebrate Ka Joma’s 85th birthday

This article is available in PilipinoBisaya

February 21, 2024

The revolutionary movement, its allies, and local and international friends celebrated the 85th birthday of Comrade Jose Maria Sison on February 8. They launched various activities to exalt Ka Joma’s significant contributions to the Philippine revolution.

In Rizal, Kabataang Makabayan (KM)-Rizal put up wheat paste art and painted slogans in several key areas in Rizal on February 11. Ka Joma’s portrait was featured in the wheat paste art by the youths plastered in populated areas in Barangay San Juan, Taytay. They also painted slogans on walls calling on young people to join the New People’s Army and participate in the people’s war.

In Utrecht, the Netherlands, allied organizations of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) held a cultural program.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: NPA-Central Negros launches political-military training

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Feb 21, 2024): NPA-Central Negros launches political-military training

This article is available in PilipinoBisaya

February 21, 2024    

Amid intensified military operations in the guerrilla front, Red commanders and fighters resolutely launched a Political-Military Basic Course on January 20-27. The activity aims to arm the fighters with basic political-military principles to bravely resist the Marcos regime’s counter-revolutionary campaign of repression.

The training also forms part of the guerrilla front’s effort to overcome ideological, political and organizational weaknesses that hinder the comprehensive advancement of the people’s war in their area of responsibility, especially in the field of armed struggle, according to the New People’s Army (NPA)-Central Negros.

“The exercise was carried out successfully because of the revolutionary cooperation of the fighters and commanders, and the unwavering support of the masses for the unit’s economic, financial and security needs,” the unit said. The one-week training boosted the courage and determination of participating fighters.

According to Ka Monique, a Red fighter, “it’s really better when you train because you won’t fear facing the enemy, especially considering that this is part of our central duty as an army.” Political-military trainings like this helps “avoid a purely military mindset or being militaristic…because to be good militarily, is to be good at politics,” said Ka Turko, platoon leader and main instructor in the training.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: Editorial--Hold responsible Marcos, foreign capitalist plunderers and cohorts

Propaganda editorial from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Feb 21, 2024): Hold responsible Marcos, foreign capitalist plunderers and cohorts

This article is available in PilipinoBisaya

February 21, 2024

Relatives of more than 100 people who died in the February 6 landslides in Masara, Maco, Davao de Oro demand justice. They know that the deaths of their loved ones was not caused by a simple accident or tragedy of nature, but by conditions created by profit-hungry plunderers, and complicit bureaucrat-capitalists and the state’s armed forces.

Even before all the bodies could be recovered from the landslide, the Marcos government was quick to exonerate the Apex Mining Corporation, the largest mining company in the area. Apex is owned by Enrique Razon, one of the country’s biggest bourgeois comprador and staunch Marcos supporter who secures major government contracts. Despite Marcos defense, Razon cannot escape responsibility for the deaths of 100 in Maco, mostly workers or people working for his company.

The Maco tragedy is a reminder of the numerous disasters in Mindanao, Cordillera, Marinduque, and other areas resulting from environmentally-destructive mining, plantations, energy projects, ecotourism and reckless construction of infrastructure. Due to widespread destruction of forests and mountains, millions of Filipinos suffer from landslides and widespread floods in cities and rural areas which cause large numbers of deaths, destruction of livelihood and worse poverty.

Mining in the Philippines has long been controlled by foreign multinational corporations. They swept into the country during the US-Marcos dictatorship, which pocketed kickback from its operations. With the neoliberal push of liberalization and deregulation, and behind the false veil of “mining for development,” the Mining Act was enacted in 1995, giving foreign companies the right to fully own and run large-scale mines in the Philippines, especially in gold, copper, nickel, chromite, zinc and other minerals, which further intensified the widespread environmental destruction.

Historically, American companies are primarily behind the largest mining operations in the country. Currently, these are owned or capitalized by American, Canadian, Chinese and Australian companies and banks. Mining in the Philippines does not serve the local economy. Extracted minerals are exported by the country, mainly to steel industries in China and Japan.

Worldwide, mining operations have intensified in the pursuit of imperialist countries for the cheapest source of raw materials. In the past two decades, global demand for nickel has doubled, mainly due to the size of China’s imports (which consumes 60% of the total nickel supply) for its steel industry, which forms a major part of its effort to dump surplus capital through infrastructure projects in its so-called Belt and Road Initiative.

The Apex Mining tragedy will certainly be not the last in the face of the Marcos regime’s effort to swing the country’s door open to foreign investments, which will continue to pave the way for devastating and plunderous operations of profit-hungry capitalists. Multinational companies in mining, agriculture, energy, tourism, and infrastructure are now swamping different provinces nationwide. They will flood in further if Marcos succeeds in amending the constitution to open the door to foreign plunderers.

For decades, the Lumad people in Mindanao, other indigenous people and peasants in various parts of the country, have been subjected to violence, oppressed, driven away and robbed of their ancestral land. This is done for the sake of foreign companies and large capitalists and bureaucrats. Marcos continues to aggravate brutal state suppression and terrorism against people opposing foreign mining and environmentally destruction.

Despite having declared Davao de Oro and southern Mindanao provinces as “insurgency-free,” combat troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) continue to build camps in communities to intimidate people and repress their resistance. Wherever there are mining operations, the AFP is there to sow fascism. Many of these units are in the payroll of mining companies and serve as private armies to provide security.

The Maco tragedy underscores the need for the Filipino people to intensify their struggle against foreign mining and plunder of the country’s environment and wealth, from the mountains to ocean. We must unite the Filipino masses and raise their awareness and determination to fight large companies that are destroying the environment, as well as the AFP’s aerial bombings of forests.

The masses should be mobilized in their numbers against the further destruction of the environment to prevent new tragedies, rehabilitate the mountains, and defend the country’s patrimony for the benefit of the people and their future democratic government. The mass movement of the indigenous peoples and settlers plays an undeniable crucial role as they are the direct victims of the destruction of the environment. Thus, they are also the first to be attacked by the fascist AFP to pave the way for the operations of foreign companies. They are partners with the peasant movement, and various democratic forces in the cities to strengthen the mass movement in defense of the country’s wealth and environment.

The revolutionary armed struggle is the most effective way of defending the environment. The New People’s Army has repeatedly proved its determination and strength to sanction or eventually drive away foreign environmental plunderers and in shooting the fatal spear against the pro-imperialist reactionary state. In the face of the Marcos regime’s efforts to fully open the country to foreign mining companies, it is imperative for the NPA to strengthen to defend the masses and the environment.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/NPA-Rizal: Isiwalat ang katotohanan ng terorismo ng 80th IBPA sa Rizal!

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Feb 15, 2024): Isiwalat ang katotohanan ng terorismo ng 80th IBPA sa Rizal! (Reveal the truth of the terrorism of the 80th IBPA in Rizal!)

Macario 'Ka Karyo' Liwanag
Spokesperson | NPA-Rizal (Narciso Antazo Aramil Command)
Southern Tagalog Regional Operational Command (Melito Glor Command)
New People's Army

February 15, 2024

Mariing kinukundena ng NAAC-NPA-Rizal ang mga kasinungalingan ng 80th IBPA. Pilit pa rin nitong pinagtatakpan ang katotohanan sa naganap na labanan sa Sityo Balagbag, Barangay San Isidro, Rodriguez noong Enero 31, 2024, pati ang mga krimen nila sa mamamayang Rizaleño.

Sa pinakahuling pahayag ng pasistang tropang pinamumunuan ni Lt. Col. Mark Anthony U. Ruby, pilit na itinanggi at tinawag pang kathang-isip ang pagkakasawi ng kanilang kasundaluhan sa naganap na labanan. Nakita mismo ng mga Pulang Mandirigma ang tinamaan at hindi na bumangong katawan ng kanilang kasama at mismong mga sibilyan ang nakakita na may mga inilabas na bangkay ng mga sundalo matapos ang labanan.

Walang ni katiting na respeto man lamang ang pamunuan ng 80th IBPA sa kanyang kasundaluhan at sa mga pamilya ng mga ito para ilitaw ang mga pangalan ng mga nasawi sa kanilang hanay. Mas pipiliin nito na pangalagaan at linisin ang nabubulok nitong reputasyon kaysa ipauna ang kapakanan ng kanyang mga sundalo.

Pambabaluktot din sa katotohanan ang binubuladas ng 80th IBPA hinggil sa pagsasara ng ilang mga resort matapos ang labanan dahil diumano sa takot at pangamaba sa mga NPA. Subalit sa katunayan ay sila mismo ang nagpasara ng ilang mga resort. Dagdag pa may rekord na ang mga berdugo noong nakaraang taon na pagbawalan ang lahat ng mga turista na umahon sa Balagbag at ipasara ang mga resort.

Makapal ang mukha ng 80th IBPA na itanggi ang mga karumal-dumal at walang-tigil nilang krimen sa mamamayang Rizaleño. Sa unang hati pa lamang ng 2023 ay sunod-sunod na tahasang karahasan at akto ng terorismo ang ginawa nito sa Rizal.

Matapos ang labanan noong Abril 1, 2023 sa Sityo Kislatan, Barangay Mascap, Rodriguez, Rizal, kumalat ang balitang nagbanta ng pambobomba ang nasabing yunit sa ilang mga barangay ng Rizal. Ang totoo’y hindi ito nanatiling banta, sadyang pinasabugan nito ng mortar ang bahagi ng Payaran habang pinagbabaril naman ang isang lalaking residente ng sityo na nagsusuga lamang ng kaniyang kalabaw.

Dahil din sa pagmomortar na ito, inatake sa puso hanggang mamatay ang isang edad 70 na babae dahil sa takot nang sumabog ang mortar ng 80th IBPA. May matinding trauma ito mula sa martial law na nanumbalik sa kanyang alaala dahil sa nasaksihan niyang pambobomba. Ang ilan naman ay inaabot na ang mapraning sa lahat ng pagpapasabog na kanilang naririnig dahil sa presensya ng militar.

Pinagbantaan din ang isang kapamilya ng diumanong NPA na kapag hindi sinabi kung nasaan ang mga NPA ay dadalhan sila ng warrant of arrest. Marami sa Sityo Malasya at Uyungan ng Barangay Puray, Rodriguez ay hindi na umuuwi sa kanilang mga tahanan dahil sa takot sa mga militar at hindi sila tinatantanan sa pagtatanong at panghaharas. Iilan na lamang ang mga tao roon at napilitan silang lumipat sa Sityo Amusin na malapit sa kampo para hindi na sila puntahan lagi ng mga militar kahit pa nasa Malasya ang kanilang mga taniman.

Matapos ang pambobomba, dumagsa ang militar sa mga barangay ng Mascap, Puray at San Rafael at pwersahang pinalikas ang 250 pamilya. Mahigpit ding kinontrol ang paggalaw ng mga residente, kung kaya’t naobliga silang patagong pumunta sa kanilang bukid para mag-ani ng kanilang tanim. Mistula silang magnanakaw sa sarili nilang taniman dahil sa paghihigpit ng militar.

Bukod pa rito, ginawa ng garison ng 80th IBPA ang paparaming mga sityo sa Rizal tulad ng Sityo San Josef, San Ysiro at Sityo Kaysacat sa Barangay San Jose sa Antipolo City; Sityo Kabuhuan at Sityo Ilas ng Barangay Puray; Sityo Dambana ng Barangay Mascap at Sityo Balagbag ng Barangay San Isidro sa Rodriguez. Halos 2 taong nanatili ang kaaangat lang na tropa sa bahayan sa Sityo San Josef. Habang halos 1 taon na ang nasa Sityo San Ysiro at Sityo Ilas.

Nakakabulahaw din sa mga residente ang ingay na dulot ng awayan ng mga sundalong nagiinuman sa gabi sa Barangay Mascap at Barangay Puray.

Ito ang malaon nang nagdudulot ng pangamba at takot sa hanay ng mamamayan, na maganap muli ang pagbabarilan ng mga ito tulad ng nangyari noong 2012 dahil sa pagkalango ng mga ito sa alak. Kung tutuusin ay labag sa Geneva Conventions at Protocol II ang kanilang pagkakampo malapit sa sibilyang populasyon.

Malinaw kung sino ang tunay na naghahasik ng terorismo sa Rizal. Naghuhugas-kamay lang ang 80th IBPA dahil desperado itong pagtakpan ang mga kasalanan nito sa mamamayan. Sa katunayan, hindi rin naman malalaman ng NPA ang mga kasong ito kung hindi galing sa pagdudulog ng masa ng kaapihang nararanasan nila sa kamay ng 80th IBPA. Anupaman ang sabihin ng pasistang tropang ito ay alam ng mamamayan ang totoong mga kaganapan sa kanilang mga baryo.

Dapat tuloy-tuloy na ilantad ang paghuhugas-kamay ng 80th IBPA. Dapat silang panagutin sa mahabang listahan ng mga krimen nila sa mga Rizaleño. Nag-uumapaw ang dahilan para palayasin ng mamamayan ang pasistang 80th IBPA mula sa kanilang mga baryo.

CPP/NPA-Negros Island (ROC): Philippine Army in Negros Island to safeguard ruling class, imperialist interests

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Feb 16, 2024): Philippine Army in Negros Island to safeguard ruling class, imperialist interests

Maoche Legislador
Negros Island Regional Operational Command (Apolinario Gatmaitan Command)
New People's Army

February 16, 2024

It is no surprise that reactionary state troops will not be pulled-out from Negros Island after the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division pretentiously claimed guerrilla fronts on Negros were already dismantled. It is also natural for Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Lacson to parrot such talk as he represents the exploiters and oppressors of Negros Island whom the mercenary 3rd ID serves.

The Apolinario Gatmaitan Command-New People’s Army Negros Island Regional Operations Command (AGC-NPA) strongly belies the 3rd ID’s claim that it has “dismantled” even one guerrilla front on the island. Up to now, all five guerrilla fronts under the AGC-NPA continue to perform as the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) primary weapon in waging protracted people’s war through extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on the basis of an ever widening and deepening mass base in their respective areas of responsibility.

The sustained presence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on the island bares its hogwash ‘dismantled’ declaration out in the open and exposes the anti-insurgency campaign as a fascist means to a neoliberal end. To present a facade of a dismantled front, the AFP, Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Task Force (NTF)-Elcac carry out a series of onslaught through military offensives and psywar and intelligence operations on peasant communities, conceal countless human rights violations through declaring fake encounters and fake surrenders, and promote corruption-ridden and band-aid government programs like the Barangay Development Program.

Relentless focused military operations in Negros continue to result in numerous human rights violations, most recently the ransack of a peasant home by the 15th IB and 47th IB in Cauayan, Negros Occidental. There are about 600 incidents of human rights violations perpetrated by reactionary state forces on Negros Island under the US-Marcos II regime as monitored by the National Democratic Front (NDF)-Negros, involving over 39,000 victims.

After ‘dismantled’ declarations and the recommendation of placing Negros Island under a state of Stable Internal Peace and Security (SIPS), reactionary propaganda machineries bombard the media with promises of ‘development’ and ‘progress.’ The scheme is obvious—suppress dissent in resource-rich communities to pave the way for the interests of multinational corporations and big comprador-landlords. The AFP/PNP/NTF-Elcac are mere tools and attack dogs of the ruling class and their imperialist master to railroad neoliberal projects such as destructive mining and quarrying from northern to southern Negros, a commercial plantation in Candoni town, expansive land reclamation projects to transform Bacolod City and Dumaguete City into “super” and “smart” cities, environmentally unfriendly bulk water projects or mega dams in north and south central Negros, and other forms of economic attacks against the people.

In truth, reactionary state forces will remain on the island to safeguard the interests of big compradors and landlords and bureaucrat capitalists like Gov. Lacson in connivance with imperialists. The reactionary state requires its armed machinery to paint the picture of security for the ruling class, so it can continue to exploit and oppress the Negrosanon masses.

While fascism and neoliberalism persist, Negrosanons find justness in armed resistance. In this semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, the oppressed and exploited have reasons everyday to support and join the revolutionary movement. So long as the rule of the few lingers, the NPA and the people’s democratic revolution cannot be dismantled.###

CPP/NDF-CNL: Statement of the Christians for National Liberation (CNL) on its 52nd Anniversary“Rectify errors, consolidate and expand our ranks! Defeat the US-Marcos II regime! Onward with the people’s war!”

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Feb 17, 2024): Statement of the Christians for National Liberation (CNL) on its 52nd Anniversary“Rectify errors, consolidate and expand our ranks! Defeat the US-Marcos II regime! Onward with the people’s war!”

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

February 17, 2024

“Is this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to lose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (Isaiah 58: 6-7)

The protracted stagnation and crises of the moribund global capitalist system have resulted in the escalation of US-led inter-imperialist proxy wars especially in Ukraine and Palestine. The crisis of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal system of the Philippines continues to worsen. The Filipino suffer from greater poverty and destitution due to bureaucratic corruption and social injustice under the US-Marcos II regime. But the people continue to resist, organize themselves, and wage revolution.

Against this backdrop, we celebrate today, February 17, 2024, the 52nd founding anniversary of the Christians for National Liberation (CNL) with the theme: “Rectify errors, consolidate and expand our ranks! Defeat the US-Marcos II regime! Onward with the people’s war!”

We salute and give the highest tribute to our CNL revolutionary martyrs and heroes who selflessly offered their lives in the struggle and the revolution. Their blood poured and offered to nourish and blossom the CNL and the national democratic revolution with a socialist perspective.

On this date, we also remember in our history 152 years ago the martyrdom of the three Filipino Priests—Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, known as GOMBURZA, that sparked the 1896 Philippine Revolution which crushed over three centuries of dominance of Spanish colonialism in our country.

Like gold tested in fire, CNL has stood firmly on its Christian revolutionary standpoint and praxis, for more than five decades of full and vigorous participation in the struggle of the Filipino people for national liberation and democracy with socialist perspective.

Since its founding in 1972, CNL has successfully held nine National Congresses and set-out calls and plans strengthening its organization to help advance the revolution. CNL’s principles, praxis, organization and strategic program had been asserted, affirmed, and practiced throughout the years. It has persevered in establishing and activating itself nationwide as a revolutionary underground political organization of Christians and church people as part of the overall revolutionary mass movement.

Hundreds of CNL members serve as revolutionary catalysts in the Christian churches and communities in the different regions and areas of the country. They contribute in building and advancing the revolutionary armed struggle in the countryside. Many CNL members had since volunteered to directly help in the preparation and sustaining of guerilla zones, base building and advancing the agrarian revolution.

As one of the founding and pioneer members of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on April 24, 1973, CNL contributes in forming, strengthening and expanding the revolutionary united front by direct organizing of underground mass organizations. The building and advancement of the united front is founded on the strength of the basic alliance of workers and peasants, augmented by the broad formations of sectors from the middle class and the national bourgeoisie.

CNL has actively taken part in the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal, anti-fascist, mass movement to combat the ultra-reactionary schemes of the succeeding US-backed regimes of Marcos Sr., Cory Aquino, Ramos, Estrada, Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino, Duterte and Marcos Jr. It has also contributed in waging the struggle against the colonial, feudal, and fascist culture and promote a national and scientific culture.

CNL members, while always mindful of the limits of reactionary institutions they operate, strive to lead the struggle for democratic reforms within the churches in all levels, thwarting the reactionary trends and promoting the progressive trends and bringing the power and resources of the churches on the side of the national democratic revolution. This includes international work especially with the presence of CNL formations in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.

In all of the this, CNL recognizes shortcomings and challenges that it needs to rectify and overcome in order to advance the revolution. This includes rectification of subjectivism in the form of empiricism pushed by bourgeois and petty-bourgeois mindset and actions.

We thus persevere in sustaining membership consolidation and expansion nationwide for a widespread, dynamic and vibrant participation and support principally for the armed struggle. This is augmented and complemented by anti-imperialist, anti-fascist, anti-feudal mass movements, parliamentary struggle and peace negotiations.

We dare to struggle, dare to win.

Long live the Christians for National Liberation!
Long live the National Democratic Front of the Philippines!
Long live the New People’s Army!
Long live the Communist Party of the Philippines!
Long live the Filipino People!

CPP/NPA-Central Negros: Militarisasyon sa Central Negros Labi nga Nagasingki sa likod sang Rekomendasyon sang 3rd ID sa pagpaidalom sa isla sa SIPS

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Feb 19, 2024): Militarisasyon sa Central Negros Labi nga Nagasingki sa likod sang Rekomendasyon sang 3rd ID sa pagpaidalom sa isla sa SIPS (Militarization in Central Negros is very much behind the recommendation of the 3rd ID to submerge the island in SIPS)

Human Rights
Negros Island

February 19, 2024

Halin Pebrero 8 tubtob subong nga adlaw Pebrero 19, naglab-ot na sa 250 ka tropa sang berdugong 62nd IB ang nagalambiyong sa binukid sang Central Negros. Ginapangsaka-saka sa nasambit nga militar ang mga kabalayan, nagatiner sa mga buluthuan kag ginapahug ang mga mangunguma nga kasohan kon indi manugid sa presenya sang NPA sa lugar.

Halos 12 na ka adlaw nga nagatiner ang pasistang 62nd IB sa mga sityo sang Batakon, Labinsawan kag Bais, sakop sang Barangay Yubo, La Carlota City, Negros Occidental. Halos lima ka adlaw na nga nagatiner sa Sityo Batakon Elementary School ang berdugong tropa nga nagtuga sang kahadlok sa mga bumulutho nga mga kabataan.

Kadungan man sini, may 90 ka tropa sang 62nd IB nga makit-an sa mga sityo sang Crossing Maya, Purok Kabukakan, Purok Tumpok kag sityo sang Labi-labi tanan sang Brgy Araal, La Carlota City. Pilit nga ginatineran ang puluy-an sang mga mangunguma. Pilit man nga gina-imbestigar ang mga residente paagi sa kuno pagpangsensus. Subong Pebrero 19, nagapabilin ang pasistang tropa sa lugar.

Samtang may halos 100 ka tropa sang berdugong 62nd IB ang makit-an sa Barangay Sag-ang proper kag Sityo Mercedes sa amo gihapon nga baryo sang La Castellana, Negros Occidental. Tubtob subong nga adlaw (Pebrero 19), nagapabilin gihapon ang militar sa lugar kag pilit nga gina-imbestigar ang mga pumuluyo.

Makit-an man sa barangay proper sang Barangay Kamandag, La Castellana ang 37 ka tropa sang berdugong 62nd IB halin pa sadtong Pebrero 8 tubtob subong nga adlaw.

Pebrero 18 sang gab-i tubtob subong nga adlaw Pebrero 19, may nag-abot nga dugang nga tropa sang nasambit nga militar sa Sityo Cabadiangan, Barangay Kamandag, La Castellana. Nagapangsaka-saka sila sa mga kabalayan kag nagapangsensus man.

Subong nga adlaw Pebrero 19 may bag-o naman nga nag-abot nga tropa sang 62nd IB sa mga sityo sang Paluhan kag Kapudlusan tanan sang Barangay Sandayao, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.