Sunday, March 3, 2024

Southeast Asia’s preferred military exercise partner

From the Lowy Institute-The Interpreter (Feb 29, 2024): Southeast Asia’s preferred military exercise partner (By RAHMAN YAACOB, JACK SATO)

The US is at the top of the list for both the quantity and quality of its military exercises. Here’s why.

A US Marine familiarises Filipino Air Force officers with the Super Cobra helicopter during Exercise Balikatan, 2014. (Flickr/US INDOPACOM)

[A special Interpreter series ahead of the 2024 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Melbourne, 4-6 March. Read more articles in this thread.]

The US remains the partner of choice for Southeast Asia when it comes to staging joint military exercises. The next two spots are filled by India and China, respectively.

Data from 2021 to 2023 compiled by Lowy Institute reveals that the US participated in around 33% of the 525 recorded joint military exercises undertaken by Southeast Asian states, either at bilateral or multilateral level. If we include Australia and Japan, Washington and its allies have participated in more than 60% of exercises involving Southeast Asian states.

While the US still dwarfs China, the situation is inconsistent across the region. Further analysis reveals a divide between mainland and maritime Southeast Asia. For mainland states (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam), China is a more significant military exercise partner. The exception is Thailand, probably because Bangkok has been a US treaty ally since 1952 and a major non-NATO ally since 2003.

Maritime Southeast Asian states (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Timor-Leste) have more joint exercises with the US. Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines all have maritime disputes with China regarding overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea. While Indonesia is not a party to these disputes, it has overlapping claims with China around the Natuna Sea. Singapore has had closer defence relations with the US since the end of the Cold War.

While the numbers underscore Washington’s prominence as a security partner for Southeast Asia, a qualitative analysis examining the nature of these exercises reveals why Southeast Asian states generally place a greater premium on joint exercises with the US and its allies than with China. To comprehend this phenomenon, we need to understand why states participate in joint military exercises.

One reason is to enhance interoperability against a common security concern, primarily if the participating countries are tied by a security treaty that obliges them to assist one another in a military conflict. The US-Philippines Balikatan series of exercises is one example, with Manila and Washington bound by a Mutual Defence Treaty requiring both states to support each other if another party attacks them.

At the other end of the spectrum, joint military exercises can also be used to build trust between states, especially if they are rivals. The Aman Youyi exercises between China and ASEAN members is an example. China is locked in a maritime dispute with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea. Military exercises between China and ASEAN members aim mainly to facilitate interactions between their military personnel.

These exercises, especially the maritime ones, are generally unsophisticated. Interoperability is not the main objective. Several Southeast Asian naval officials explained that exercises with China are held due to political pressures from Beijing. As a result, they involve mainly simple activities such as passing and signalling. One official expressed the view that some activities were so basic they could be conducted with non-military vessels. Another added that Chinese naval personnel were secretive during exercises with Southeast Asian states and “fearful of sharing their capabilities”. Instead of developing trust, joint exercises with China could seed further distrust between Southeast Asian states and Beijing.

On the other hand, Southeast Asian states generally value exercises with the US and its allies, Australia and Japan, because they enhance military capabilities through the transfer of skills, tactics and operational concepts. The exercises tend to be more advanced, involving joint planning and operations. An Indonesian naval officer explained that exercises with the US Navy improve their interoperability. For the Malaysians, exercises held under the Five Power Defence Arrangements involving Australia, Britain, and New Zealand enabled them to learn how to operate in real crisis scenarios.

Washington and its allies in the Indo-Pacific should continue to engage Southeast Asia through joint exercises, which are highly valued by Southeast Asian states. For many, such exercises demonstrate Western interest in Southeast Asia’s stability. They also provide meaningful contributions to Southeast Asian defence capabilities, therefore acting as a deterrent to potentially hostile external powers.

Philippines Starts Latest Naval Modernization Attempt Amid South China Sea Tensions

Posted to US Naval Institute (USNI) News (Feb 28): Philippines Starts Latest Naval Modernization Attempt Amid South China Sea Tensions (By AARON-MATTHEW LARIOSA)

Republic of the Philippines Navy ship BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) conducts flight operations during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020. AFP Photo

Amid increasing tensions in the South China Sea with China and fears of how a conflict over Taiwan could jeopardize the country’s territories in the Luzon Strait, the Philippines is looking to prioritize its naval forces in a revised military modernization plan.

Despite Manila’s encounters with China in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, including the construction of several military bases on artificial islands, and run-ins with Chinese vessels over the last decade, the Armed Forces of the Philippines remains underequipped, experts agree.

“The Philippine Navy has lagged behind many of its Southeast Asian peers for decades as a consequence of relative neglect as the country focused then heavily on internal security. This also resulted, most crucially, a neglect of the country’s maritime domain. Philippine maritime interests, especially in the West Philippine Sea, have been compromised,” Collin Koh, a research fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies under the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, told USNI News.

Following the 2012 Scarborough Shoal Incident, which resulted in the effective Chinese occupation of the feature within the Philippine EEZ, Manila restarted a 1990s-era modernization act previously set aside due to financial constraints. The Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act called for the procurement of equipment, particularly naval vessels and aircraft, to raise the AFP’s capabilities and deter further encroachment in the South China Sea.

The Philippine Navy was set to spend over $40 billion on procurements in two four-year and one five-year-long phases, known as “horizons,” between 2013 and 2028. Today, only a fraction of the spending originally planned has been executed. The armed forces failed to complete the first two horizon phases due to a lack of funds from the Philippine government and the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Republic of the Philippines Navy ship BRP Humabon (PF 11) steams in formation for a photography exercise as a part of exercise Balikatan 2010 (BK 10). US Navy Photo

The funding shortfall upended the Philippine Navy’s Strategic Sail Plan 2020. The 2012 modernization plan called for the service to procure six anti-air warfare frigates, 12 anti-submarine corvettes, 18 offshore patrol vessels, 42 missile boats and three attack submarines, as well as various amphibious and auxiliary vessels. Since then, the service has procured two frigates, three corvettes, six offshore patrol vessels and nine missile boats.

As tensions with China have risen over the last year, Manila has started to revise its plan. Following incidents at Scarborough Shoal, Second Thomas Shoal and elsewhere in the South China Sea in 2022 and 2023, the Philippines has bolstered its naval deployments to the region. Philippine lawmakers also pledged increased funding for the navy and coast guard.

“Vivid images that show Chinese ships colliding with and water-cannoning smaller Filipino boats contribute to gaining that buy-in from the voting public,” Ray Powell, director of the SeaLight project at Stanford University’s Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation, told USNI News.

“Manila’s assertive transparency campaign of 2023 pushed military modernization from one of many budget line items to a national imperative. This is a crucial, tangible way in which transparency contributed to Philippine national resilience against [People’s Republic of China] coercion,” he added.

In January, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. approved a $35 billion acquisition list put forward by the Armed Forces of the Philippines for a revised version of Horizon 3 – almost equivalent to the total cost projected forby the original program. In contrast, the previous administration only approved $5.6 billion for Horizon 2.

Dubbed Re-Horizon 3, this revised phase seeks to not only obtain new equipment but also remove inefficiencies, streamlining the procurement process and developing a better defense strategy.

Secretary of National Defense Gilbert Teodoro told reporters that the Philippines has to “marshal the resources of making the best of what we have, making sure that acquisitions made are supportable [and] sustainable, and redundancy is built-in.”

“We have said that the [AFP and Department of National Defense] will not be a vendor’s paradise. We will not consider ourselves a ‘vendee’ but a client. We will demand performance from all our proponents,” Teodoro said in a Philippine Daily Inquirer article.

Teodoro blasted inefficiencies in the modernization and procurement laws, calling them “cursed.”

BRP Antonio Luna (FF 151) conducts a patrol off Mavulis Island in the Luzon Strait between the Philippines and Taiwan. Philippine Navy photo

Alongside Re-Horizon 3, the new Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept put forward by Philippine defense officials brings an increased emphasis on naval and air forces for the defense of the country. In this strategy, the traditionally internally focused AFP is envisioned operating offshore in the EEZ and beyond.

The Philippine Navy’s missions include patrols from the EEZ to the internal waterways of the 7,641-island country. Moreover, with an external threat from China, the force is looking to acquire high-end anti-air and submarine warfare capabilities.

Manila-based Geopolitical Analyst Don McLain Gill emphasized the need for upcoming procurements.

“The next step will be to ensure how such acquisitions can be effectively and practically integrated into the Philippines’ overarching desire to enhance its ability to secure both its internal waters and surrounding seas,” said Gill.

Koh highlighted that the country’s other maritime security organizations could “to some extent” reduce the funds the Philippine Navy needs for inland duties.

“The Philippine Coast Guard – and to a lesser extent Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – modernization and recapitalization program can help free up the Philippine Navy to focus more on conventional warfighting and other military missions than just patrolling and enforcing the country’s EEZ,” said Koh.

Equipped with Japanese and French patrol vessels, the Philippine Coast Guard has been frequently deployed to the South China Sea to protect Philippine fishermen, ward off foreign vessels and escort Philippine Navy resupply missions to Second Thomas Shoal. The Philippine Coast Guard is set to procure a large number of ocean-going patrol ships in an upcoming modernization act.

Japan pledged to fund seven patrol ships, on top of the existing 12 previously handed over, following a diplomatic visit to Manila in November. Philippine senators have also eyed Austal’s shipyard in Cebu to build three offshore patrol vessels.

While the list of assets is not yet public, Manila has been eyeing the procurement of two to three attack submarines from either France or South Korea and more BrahMos supersonic anti-ship missiles from India for its army.

Rendering of HHI’s corvette design for the Philippine Navy. While classified as a corvette, the incoming warships will displace more and have more weaponry than the Jose Rizal-class frigates already in service. HHI Graphic

South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries also expects further warships orders from the Philippine Navy. Since 2012, Manila has ordered two frigates, two corvettes and six offshore patrol vessels from the Korean shipbuilder.

Other major procurements include four landing platform docks from PT PAL Indonesia, which are the largest ships in the Philippine Navy at 7,200 tons.

Donations from the U.S. include three Hamilton-class cutters and three Cyclone patrol ships. These patrol vessels frequently patrol the South China Sea and waters around Mindanao. An additional four patrol vessels, two Protector and two Island-class patrol boats, were eyed for transfer to the Philippines pending congressional notification requirements, according to a White House press release last year.

Joshua Bernard Espeña, vice president at the Manila-based think tank International Development and Security Cooperation, told USNI News that he expected the Philippine Navy to procure more of the same offshore patrol vessels, corvettes and frigates previously procured by Manila to bolster its presence in the South China Sea.

“These relatively small but multi-role surface platforms are just what the AFP needs to put a presence in much shallow[er] EEZ waters. Especially on a tight budget, the PN needs flexible navigation for tactical and operational gains,” said Espeña.

On the other hand, Espeña views the procurement of submarines as a “symbolic acquisition” due to the conditions of the South China Sea. The attack boats would be better suited to operating in the Luzon Strait between the Philippines and Taiwan, he acknowledged.

The Philippine Navy retired its last World War II-era surface combatant in 2021 without a replacement, which reduced the overall ship count of the service. Koh emphasized that the service must view modernization through a “qualitative and quantitative lens.”

Espeña advocates for a “good enough” defense plan for Philippine forces and assigns the high-end fighting to the U.S. under the 1951 U.S.-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty.

“Here, we leave the U.S. 7th Fleet to do the rest of a Mahanian style of warfare on the high seas. It sounds downgraded when we look at the tip of the iceberg; my hunch is that the DND seeks to optimize AFP’s Joint Operational Concept by bringing in more air defense, shore-based missile cruise missile systems, and fixed and rotary multirole wing systems, among others,” said Espeña.

AMLC expects more investigations into terrorism financing

From Business World (Mar 4, 2024): AMLC expects more investigations into terrorism financing

Philippine peso bills are pictured being received at a money remittance center in Makati City, Sept. 19, 2018. — REUTERS

THE ANTI-MONEY Laundering Council (AMLC) is optimistic that government agencies will be able to increase the number of investigations and prosecutions of cases related to dirty money, which could help the country exit the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) “gray list.”

In an e-mail interview with BusinessWorld, AMLC Executive Director Matthew M. David said the Philippines is continuously improving its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CFT) regime through the efforts of government agencies and the private sector.

“We are optimistic that there will be a continuous increase in ML/TF investigations and prosecutions this 2024,” he said. “There is good momentum, and all relevant government agencies have signified their strong commitment to continue implementing and improving the country’s AML/CFT framework.”

Based on the FATF’s February update, the Philippines failed anew to exit the gray list or list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring. The country has been on the gray list since June 2021.

The FATF last month urged the Philippines to implement its action plan to address strategic deficiencies as soon as possible, as all deadlines expired in January 2023.

Even though the Philippines remained on the gray list, Mr. David said the FATF recognized its high-level commitment and the steps it has taken to improve its AML/CFT framework.

“Through collective action of relevant government agencies, such as the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, the Philippines has shown significant increase of terrorism financing identification and investigation in line with the country’s risk profile,” he said.


Mr. David said the PNP, the NBI, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Customs, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Department of Justice, all helped increase investigations on money laundering.

“Through their efforts more ML investigations were conducted which led to an increase in ML prosecutions,” he said.

For its part, the SEC said it continues to support efforts for the Philippines to exit the gray list by purging delinquent corporations.

“Our assignment is immediate outcome number five pertaining to beneficial ownership. The tall order for us is to hit 65% compliance. Presently, we are 50.7% compliant,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino told reporters on the sidelines of a signing event last week.

On Feb. 16, the SEC issued an order that suspended the corporate registration of 117,885 corporations for failing to submit their annual reports for over five years.

“At least 117,000 companies from circa 1975 to 2008, they have been there in our database, but they have not been complying with the submissions of their annual financial statements (AFS) and general information sheets (GIS) where they are supposed to lodge their beneficial ownership. They are deemed delinquent,” he added.

Mr. Aquino said the suspended corporations have 30 days from the order’s issuance to dispute or settle the matter.

“They are suspended. Not revoked yet. They have a window of opportunity for them to still go back,” he said.

About 30% of the suspended companies are nonprofit corporations while the remaining 70% are stock corporations, according to Mr. Aquino.

Aside from exiting the gray list, he said the purging of corporations is also mandated under Republic Act No. 11232 or the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines.

On Friday, the SEC signed data-sharing agreements with nine law enforcement agencies to address money laundering and terrorism financing. The data-sharing agreements allow the law enforcement agencies to have access to beneficial ownership information of corporations registered with the SEC.

These agencies include the NBI, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Insurance Commission, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, Department of Justice, Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, Department of Agriculture, ISAFP, and Philippine Economic Zone Authority.

At the same time, AMLC’s Mr. David said the Philippines is actively pursuing ML investigations relating to crimes with foreign and transnational elements as it continues to strengthen coordination with foreign counterparts,” he said.

In its 2022 Terrorism and Terrorism Financing Risk Assessment report published last year, the AMLC said a total of 133 terrorism financing cases have been investigated by the AMLC and law enforcement agencies from 2021 to August 2022.

The FATF did not provide specific numerical targets of investigations related to dirty money to exit the gray list, but the Philippines is continuously implementing measures to address all remaining deficiencies as soon as possible, Mr. David said.

Under Executive Order No. 33 and through the National AML/CTF Counter-Proliferation Financing Coordinating Committee (NACC), law enforcement agencies and prosecutors should have adopted policies to ensure the effectiveness of the country’s measures against dirty money.

“We wish to stress that country is doing what it can to exit the gray list, at the soonest possible time. Having said this, the date as to when the country would be considered to have accomplished all action plans and trigger exit from the list rests on the determination of the FATF,” Mr. David said.

Based on the FATF’s recent update, the country still needs to address strategic deficiencies by showing effective supervision of nonfinancial businesses and professions as well as casino junkets.

The country should also enhance and streamline the access of law enforcement agencies to beneficial ownership information.

Aside from more investigation and prosecutions, the country should also improve its implementation of cross-border declaration measures on all main international seaports and airports.

Mr. David said addressing all the remaining deficiencies requires a whole-of-nation approach. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave with KBT

AFP: Palafox takes helm at Southern Luzon Command (Bio data)

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 3, 2024): AFP: Palafox takes helm at Southern Luzon Command (By MARTIN SADONGDONG)

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief, General Romeo Brawner Jr. (right) turns over the command symbol to Maj. Gen. Facundo Palafox IV as the new commander of the Southern Luzon Command (SolCom), replacing Lt. Gen. Efren Baluyot, during the change of command ceremony at Camp Guillermo Nakar in Lucena, Quezon on March 2, 2024.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has appointed an experienced infantry officer who also specializes in civil-military operations (CMO) as the new commander of the military units covering Calabarzon (Region 4A), Mimaropa (Region 4B), and Bicol Region (Region 5) with hopes of ending the insurgency problem in those areas.

Major General Facundo Palafox IV was formally installed as the commander of the Southern Luzon Command (SolCom) during a change of command ceremony presided over by General Romeo Brawner Jr., AFP Chief of Staff, at Camp Guillermo Nakar in Lucena, Quezon on Saturday, March 2.

Palafox replaced Lt. Gen. Efren Baluyot, who retired from the service after over 39 years.

In his speech, Brawner challenged all SolCom personnel to continue their support to their new commander and strengthen their resolve as part of a united AFP.

"We only have one armed forces. We should remain solid and professional under one banner. If we have a strong AFP, we will have a strong nation that is capable of resisting those that threaten our territory and sovereignty," he said.

The AFP chief also congratulated Baluyot and thanked him for his nearly four decades of dedicated service to the country.

Before moving to SolCom, Palafox was the commander of the Philippine Army's Armor Division, a combined arms organization composed of tank, cavalry and mechanized infantry units, since January 2023.

His brilliance enabled him to climb the leadership ladder as he went on to serve as the commander of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry (Magbalantay) Brigade in 2019; commander of the Army's Civil-Military Operations Regiment in 2018; and Philippine Army's Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations in 2017.

Palafox spent his formative years as an infantry officer with the 22nd Infantry (Valor) Battalion under the 2nd Infantry Division in the Bicol Region as a platoon leader, company commander, and battalion staff officer.

He was born in Dagupan City on May 2, 1968, and grew up in Baguio City where he studied elementary and high school. He later took up BS Math-Physics at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Baguio. He entered the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in 1986 and graduated as a member of PMA "Bigkis-Lahi" Class of 1990.

He is also a graduate of local basic and advance armor courses; and specialized in Civil-Military Operations. He finished the Joint Tactical Civil-Military Cooperation Course (CIMIC) in Brisbane, Australia and graduated Top 2 at the Class-56 of the Command and General Staff Course (CGSC). He also has a Master’s Degree in Public Management Major in Development and Security with the Graduate School for Public Management of the Development Academy of the Philippines.

Palafox received various military awards for his contributions to the service including three Distinguished Service Stars, two Distinguished Service Medals, a Meritorious Achievement Medal, two Silver Cross Medals, Gawad sa Kaunlaran, Gawad sa Kapayapaan Medal and Ribbon, Chief of Staff AFP Commendation Medal and Ribbon, 29 Military Meritorious Medals and numerous Military Commendation Medals. Moreover, he is also a distinguished recipient of the coveted University of the Philippines' Centennial Award for Public Safety and Administration in 2008.

He is married to Anna Lissa Velarde Adriano, and they have three children - Angela Grace, Louis Andre, and Anna Frances.

CPP/NPA-Masbate/Bicol ROC: Gubernador Antonio T. Kho at Ferdinand Marcos Jr: utak ng kampanyang pagpatay sa magsasaka sa Masbate

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Mar 2, 2024): Gubernador Antonio T. Kho at Ferdinand Marcos Jr: utak ng kampanyang pagpatay sa magsasaka sa Masbate (Governor Antonio T. Kho and Ferdinand Marcos Jr: mastermind of the campaign to kill farmers in Masbate)

Luz del Mar
NPA-Masbate (Jose Rapsing Command)
Bicol Regional Operational Command (Romulo Jallores Command)
New People's Army

March 03, 2024

Malinaw na isa sa mga nakikitang motibo sa pagpatay sa matandang mag-asawang sina Pedro at Florencia sa Barangay Tuburan, bayan ng Cawayan ay ang plano ni Gov. Antonio T. Kho na palayasin ang mga magsasaka sa lupaing Triple A. Ang Triple A ay lupaing bahagi ng mga nakaw na yaman ng pamilyang Marcos na sinekwester ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno.

Isinangkalan ang pagpatay sa mag-asawa para ilagay sa kontrol militar ang Barangay Tuboran sa publiko. Ayon sa mga ulat na nakalap ng JRC-BHB Masbate mula mismo sa malapit kay Gov. Kho, hanggang sa kasalukuya’y pinagbabawalan ng militar ang mga tao na pumasok sa naturang baryo dahil umano ay may “engkwentro”. Matapos rin ang nangyaring pamamaslang, pwersahang pinasurender lahat ng residente sa naturang baryo.

Desperado si Gov. Kho na mapasakamay ang malalawak na pastuhan laluna sa bayan ng Cawayan, tulad ng Pecson, 7R at Triple A para sa kanyang rantserong interes. Matapos agawin ang Pecson at ipakontrol sa armado niyang mga ahente ang lupaing 7R, lalo siyang uhaw na makuha ang Triple A, na dati niya nang planong pagpatayuan ng pakanang agribisnes na Masbate Agro-Industrial Growth Corridor o MAGIC. Sa katunayan, dahan-dahan nang tinutuhog ng mga proyektong kalsada ang Barangay Tuburan patungong Barangay Cabungahan sa kaparehong bayan, gayundin mula Barangay Del Carmen dadaan sa Barangay Campana, Uson tungong Barangay San Jose, Cawayan.

Para mapadali ang pang-aagaw, ipinagpapatuloy ni Gov. Antonio T. Kho ang kampanya ng brutal na gera kontra-magsasaka sa pamamagitan ng AFP-PNP-CAFGU. Pinatitindi ni Gov. Kho ang ilang dekadang kultura ng karahasang rantsero laban sa mga magsasaka sa walang awat na militarisasyon at kampanya ng pagpatay sa mga pobreng komunidad ng magbubungkal.

Sa ilalim ni Gov. Kho, maituturing ang prubinsya bilang Masbate killing fields. Karamihan sa higit 100 pinatay ng militar mula nang muling maging gubernador si Gov. Kho ay mga magsasaka.

Sa rantsong Pecson, pinatay ng militar ang mga magsasakang sina Manuel Cos, Renard Remulta at Pancho Versaga upang tuluyang palayasin ang mga magsasaka sa naturang pastuhan. Sa bayan ng Cataingan, pinatay ng kanyang mga armadong tauhan ang mag-amang sina Sabino at Jason Lopez noong 2019 matapos tumanggi na ibenta ang kanilang lupa sa gubernador. May basbas rin niya ang pagpatay sa mga lider-masang sina Ruben Corot at Judy Cabintoy na tumututol sa P190 bilyong dayuhang pakana na Masbate International Tourism Enterprise and Special Economic Zone ng kumpanyang Empark.

Ang mag-asawang Regala ay mga magsasaka sa Triple A. Sa reputasyon ni Gov. Kho bilang warlord, balewala sa kanya kahit nakapailalim ang Triple A maging sa huwad na reporma sa lupa ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno (Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling).

Nagkakamali si Gov. Kho sa pagmamaliit sa kilusang magsasaka at kanilang rebolusyonaryong paglaban. Nananatiling matabang lupa ang Masbate sa rebolusyon dahil diniligan ito ng dugo ng masang magsasakang nagpapatuloy na nakikibaka para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa.

CPP/CIO: Amid drought, AFP’s aerial bombing and artillery shelling in Panay and Negros outrages the peasant masses

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Mar 2, 2024): Amid drought, AFP’s aerial bombing and artillery shelling in Panay and Negros outrages the peasant masses

Marco Valbuena
Chief Information Officer
Communist Party of the Philippines

March 02, 2024

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns in the strongest terms the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), particularly its 3rd Infantry Division, for carrying out a campaign of aerial bombing and artillery shelling in Panay and Negros Islands. This nationwide campaign of state terror is becoming even more brutal under the US-Marcos regime in its desperation to suppress the growing restiveness of the peasant masses amid worsening socioeconomic crisis, and crush their armed resistance to oppression and exploitation.

In the early morning hours of February 28, the AFP carried out an aerial bombing drive along barangays Torocadan, Dongoc and Langca in San Joaquin town, Iloilo, in the southern portion of Panay island. The bombing started at around two in the morning, and was augmented with strafing and rocket-firing from helicopters, and artillery shelling using truck-mounted howitzers, lasting several hours.

Residents of upland communities were roused from their sleep by the noise of drones and the roar of war planes which flew above, and by the explosion of 500-lb aerial bombs which shook the ground. The aerial bombing and artillery shelling caused deep fright and trauma among the children, women and elderly people. There are reports that people in the communities are being rounded up and prevented from working in their fields.

The bombing and shelling in San Joaquin was an overkill, resulting in the reported loss of three Red fighters. Claims by the AFP that the aerial bombing was carried out to support their disadvantaged ground troops are false. According to reports of the NPA in the area, no armed encounter preceded the bombing and shelling, and AFP troops were not in the vicinity until the bombing ceased.

The week earlier, on February 21-22, the AFP carried out a similar aerial bombing, helicopter strafing and artillery shelling drive in and around communities in the barangays along the border of Escalante and Toboso towns, in the northern part of Negros Occidental. No less than five rockets from attack helicopters were fired a day after an encounter with an NPA unit. The bombing drive was carried out despite the fact that the NPA unit had already withdrawn and shifted to another area. More than a thousand residents from Barangay Pinapugasan, Escalante and from several communities in San Isidro, Toboso were forced to flee their communities out of fear of the AFP’s bombing and shelling operations. The areas were placed under military control and people were prevented from working and going about their daily lives.

By dropping powerful bombs in the proximity of civilian communities, the AFP endangered the lives of nearby residents, in gross violation of the international humanitarian law. The aerial bombing are also in direct contravention of the principles of proportionality under international rules of war. Goaded by its US imperialist master, the AFP is displaying complete contempt of human rights and IHL, in a starkly similar fashion to how the US-puppet Israeli Zionists are carrying out its genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

Over the past few months, units of the New People’s Army have been dispatched to assist the peasant masses cope with their problems brought about by worsening drought conditions amid the El Niño climate phenomenon. The conditions of the peasant masses in the Panay and Negros, and across the country, are rapidly deteriorating as crops are failing amid the lack of rain nor irrigation, and worse, the lack of attention and support of the reactionary Marcos government. Millions of peasants are deep in debt and growing hungry following failed crops.

As the people’s army, the NPA is currently concentrating its efforts to organize the masses to collectively respond to the calamity, to search for possible sources of water and means of bringing these to their crops, to protect the mountains and watershed areas against encroachment of mining and other big capitalist operations, and demand crop insurance and emergency subsidies amid the calamity.

The AFP is mistaken that they will make the people and their people’s army bow before them by dropping their 500-lb bombs, parading their truck-mounted howitzers in the rural villages, and showing off their superior firepower. On the contrary, by squandering hundreds of millions of pesos for jet fuel and bombs, the AFP is only deepening the people’s resentment.

The Filipino people are deeply outraged that while Marcos allotted ₱250 billion to buy bullets and bombs, and spending hundreds of billions more to line up the pockets of generals, and pay for their salaries and pensions, he allotted a mere ₱30 billion to respond to the threats of drought which will affect millions of peasants across the country.

By displaying their military power and showing their gross disregard of the people’s plight, especially the peasant masses in the rural plains and mountains, the AFP is succeeding only in putting a spotlight on the anti-people priorities of the Marcos regime, and the anti-people character of the war of terror it is waging.

CPP/NPA--Central Panay: Pasabton ang 3rd Infantry Division sa ila terorismo sa pumuluyo kag paggamit sang wala nagakaangay kag indi kinahanglanon nga kusog batok sa mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Mar 1, 2024): Pasabton ang 3rd Infantry Division sa ila terorismo sa pumuluyo kag paggamit sang wala nagakaangay kag indi kinahanglanon nga kusog batok sa mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa (Blame the 3rd Infantry Division for their terrorism against the people and the use of unnecessary and unnecessary force against the revolutionary forces)

Sierra Roja
Media Liaison Officer
NPA-Central Panay (Jose Percival Estocada Jr. Command)

March 02, 2024

Mabaskog nga ginabatikos kag ginakondenar sang Jose Percival Estocada Jr. Command NPA-Central Panay ang krimen sa inaway nga ginhimo sang 61st Infantry Battalion kag 301st Infantry Brigade sang 3rd Infantry Division sa sur nga bahin sang Panay.

Wala sang engkwentro nga natabo sadtong kaagahon sang Pebrero 28, 2024. Ang matuod, naghulog sang bomba ang mga air assets sang militar sa temporaryo nga ginapahamtangan sang mga pulang hangaway. Matapos ang aerial bombing, ginsundan pa gid ini sang asud-asud nga pagpanganyon.

Ang paghulog sang mga ginatos kilo nga bomba halin sa air assets kag kanyon nakadisenyo lamang agud waskon ang mga portipikado nga istruktura gani indi nagakaangay nga gamiton batok sa mga hangaway kag pumuluyo nga indi portipikado kag nagagamit lamang sang mga simple kag mamag-an nga armas pang-gyera. Lapas ini sa Rules on Proportionality and Necessity nga ginatala sa kondukta sang inaway sa bilog nga kalibutan. Ini ang pinakadagway sang matuod nga terorismo.

Nagaunong kami sa mga pumuluyo sang San Joaquin nga nakasaksi sa terorismo sang 3ID. Dapat nga hatagan proteksyon ang mga tigulang, kabataan kag pumuluyo sa panahon sang inaway. Nagakadapat nga hatagan ayuda ang mga pumuluyo nga ginapunggan sang militar nga magkadto sa ila ulumhan, mangayam ukon mangita sang ila pagkaon.

Sa panahon nga nagaantos ang mga pumuluyo sa grabe nga epekto sang kalamidad nga El Niño, imbes nga magwaldas sang binilyon nga pondo sang banwa sa isa ka indi matarung kag kontra pumuluyo nga gyera, dapat gin-gamit ini bilang ayuda sa tanan nga pumuluyo nga apektado.

Ginahatag namon ang mataas nga pagsaludar bilang pagpasidungog sa mga biktima sang brutal kag terorista nga buhat sang kriminal kag berdugong 3ID. Kaangot sini, ginadayaw kag ginapabugal namon ang mga kaupod sa ila maukod kag waay pagpang-alang-alang nga paghimakas tubtob sa paghalad sang kabuhi para sa pag-alagad sa pumuluyo ilabi na sa masang mangunguma. Hugot kami nga nagapakig-unong sa tanan nga himata sang mga biktima.

Ginapamatud-an lamang sang mahigko kag mapiguson nga kontra-pumuluyo nga gyera sang estado poder nga ginadireher sang iya amo nga imperyalistang US ang pagkamatarung kag waay na sang liwan nga banas nga paga-usuyon ang pumuluyo bilang kalubaran sa ila nga pag-antus kundi ang pag-armas kag pagpakigbahin sa inaway banwa paagi sa armadong paghimakas.

Nagapanawagan kami sa mga pumuluyo nga mangisog nga sukton ang AFP sa ila brutal nga krimen kag kahalitan. Nagapanawagan man kami sa tanan nga nagapalangga sa tawhanon nga kinamatarung kag hustisya partikular sa mga LGU, tawong simbahan, Red Cross, human rights organizations, NGOs, kag mga indibidwal nga imbestigaran kag pasabton ang militar sa natabo nga pagpamomba. Dapat magdemanda ang pumuluyo nga kilalahon kag ipatuman ang Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) kag iban pa nga layi sa gyera agud mahatagan sila sang proteksyon sa panahon sang inaway.

Pumuluyo, padayon nga sakdagon ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan!
Pamatan-on, makigbahin sa armadong paghimakas!