Sunday, August 20, 2017

Army tries to ‘zero in' on location of rebels

From the Visayan Daily Star (Aug 19): Army tries to ‘zero in' on location of rebels

The Philippine Army continues its combat operations and intelligence monitoring to pinpoint the exact location of New People's Army rebels, who had claimed responsibility for the ambush-slay of six policemen and a civilian in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, last month, Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, 3rd Infantry Division commander, said.

“We are now trying to zero in on their exact location, for us to get them,” he added.

The Leonardo Panaligan Command of the NPA, who claimed responsibility for the ambush of the Guihulngan policemen, also reported to have confiscated 17 firearms.

Senior Supt. Henry Biñas, provincial police director of Negros Oriental, said they have already established the identities of the rebel ambushers.

Aying admitted that some of the communist rebels, who had reinforced their comrades in central Negros in the staging of the ambush, splintered into small groups, and already returned to their areas.

But Aying still believes that the main bulk of rebel ambushers are still in central Negros.

The return of the 11 th Infantry Battalion in central Negros is now being requested by local officials in Negros Oriental.

http://www.visayandailystar.com/2017/August/19/negor1.htm


Delay hits gov't plan to fix runway in West Philippine Sea

From Rappler (Aug 20): Delay hits gov't plan to fix runway in West Philippine Sea

Construction has yet to start 4 months since Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced the need to immediately repair the Philippine airstrip on Pag-asa Island

PAG-ASA ISLAND. About a hundred Filipinos live in one of the biggest islands in the Spratlys.

PAG-ASA ISLAND. About a hundred Filipinos live in one of the biggest islands in the Spratlys.

Philippine security officials are blaming "weather conditions" for failing to start the long-awaited repair of its dilapidated runway in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) 4 months since the plans were announced. (READ: PH plans for Pag-asa to test Duterte's friendship with China)

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the runway in Pag-asa (Thitu) cannot be expected to be fixed within the year.

"Hindi natin magagawa ngayong taon na ito (We can't do it this year)," Lorenzana said during a budget hearing at the House of Representatives on Monday, August 14. (READ: PH allots P1.6B to fast-track construction on Pag-asa)

Lorenzana visited the island in April 2017 and committed to fast-track the repair of the runway on the second biggest naturally occuring island in the Spratlys, where about a hundred Filipinos are residing. (READ: The residents of Pag-asa: Life on a disputed island)

Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Mercado said the construction company will do its best to start the construction soon.

"Weather conditions gave some limitation on the tranpsort of construction equipment to Pag-asa. The sea condition is a bit rough right now. But they have intimated to us they will do their best to start the construction of the beaching ramp," Mercado told lawmakers asking updates on the projects.

China protested Lorenzana's visit in April, pushing its claim over practically the entire South China Sea.

President Rodrigo Duterte previously planned to visit the island and plant a Philippine flag there himself. He backed out after protests from China, but he maintained that it is his duty to repair the runway there.

Duterte warmed Philippine ties with China after tense relations with his predecessor President Aquino, who led and won an international arbitration case against China claims over the West Philippine Sea.

But China continues to develop reefs it reclaimed, raising alarm from observers despite continued assurances from the Philippine government that the situation is better. (READ: Photos show Cayetano, Wang wrong on China reclamation)

There are concerns, too, that China might be eyeing to occupy sandbars near Pag-asa island. Its ships are recently spotted too close to the Philippine-occupied island.
 

PH Navy gets radar system from U.S.

From Rappler (Aug 20): PH Navy gets radar system from U.S.

The Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) is a balloon-borne radar that will boost the country's capability to patrol its maritime territories
 Image result for tethered aerostat radar system, rappler

The United States donated a Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) to the Philippine Navy to boost its capability to monitor maritime and air traffic amid continuing concerns in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Philippine Navy spokesman Commander Lued Lincuna said a formal turnover ceremony is scheduled on Tuesday, August 22, a month after the radar system arrived in the Philippines, based on photos that circulated online in July.

Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Mercado and the US embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Klescheski are expected to attend the ceremony at the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) in San Antonio, Zambales.

TARS is a balloon-borne radar that uses Lighter-Than-Air (LTA) technology. It is widely used by the US to monitor its borders, mostly to prevent trafficking of drugs and people.

"It is expected to enhance the Philippine Navy's capability in maritime intelligence surveillance reconnaissance by effectively detecting maritime and air traffic within the country's coastal waters using sensors," said Lincuna.

The TARS also includes a weather station that transmits data on ambient temperature, pressure, wind speed, and other pertinent parameters in the operation of the system.

Lincuna said it can also be used in the conduct of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) operations.

The donation follows the arrival of two surveillance aircraft also from the US – the Cessna C-208B Grand Caravan.



http://www.rappler.com/nation/179332-philippine-navy-tars-radar-maritime-surveillance

Security forces capture 13 ‘lawless elements’ in Southern Philippines

From the Mindanao Examiner (Aug 20): Security forces capture 13 ‘lawless elements’ in Southern Philippines

Government troops and policemen captured 13 gunmen, including a notorious Abu Sayyaf member involved in ransom kidnappings in the southern Philippines, officials said Sunday.

Officials said 7 armed men were arrested on Friday in Lugus town in Sulu, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region; and the Abu Sayyaf member, Fahar Ishmael in the town of Indanan on Wednesday. Their capture was not immediately made public because of ongoing operations against the Abu Sayyaf and other lawless groups.

Ishmael is being implicated by the military in the kidnappings of Marso Salinas and Evelyn Chan, and is also facing a string of murder charges. “Ishmael is now under custodial investigation,” said Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command.

She said the other arrested “lawless elements” were also being interrogated separately after soldiers seized assorted rifles and ammunition from them. Petinglay did not say whether the 7 men were members of the Abu Sayyaf or private armed gang.

Petinglay said 5 other lawless elements were also arrested Thursday in the town of Kalamansig in Sultan Kudarat province, but their leader Tenti Mangain managed to escape in the raid on the village of Ito Andong. She said security forces seized 5 automatic rifles, a pistol and a grenade, including military uniform and ammunition.

“Military and police operations continue against lawless elements in southern Philippines as part of government efforts to curb criminality and terrorism and protect the public from harm,” she said.

http://mindanaoexaminer.com/security-forces-capture-13-lawless-elements-in-southern-philippines/

Retired military doc named new VMMC chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 20): Retired military doc named new VMMC chief

Retired Brig. Gen. Mariano A. Mejia, former head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Medical Center, was appointed as Chief of Medical Staff of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Department of National Defense said Mejia's oath-taking ceremony was presided by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana last August 15.

Prior to his appointment, Mejia also served as AFP Surgeon General, Army Chief Surgeon and commander of various military hospitals and facilities such as the Fort Bonifacio General Hospital, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo Hospital, among others.

His numerous accomplishments, awards and decorations in the AFP was capped with his hosting of the 6th ASEAN Chiefs of Military Medicine Conference at the EDSA Shangri-la Hotel, Mandaluyong City in July 2016.

With the theme “Global Climate Change: Challenges to the ASEAN military medicine,” the successful conference was attended by delegates from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1006879

PH, Thailand ink TOR for joint committee on military cooperation

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 20): PH, Thailand ink TOR for joint committee on military cooperation

The Philippines and Thailand has signed the terms of reference (TOR) for the Joint Committee on Military Cooperation (JCMC) last August 17.

The TOR was signed by Department of National Defense (DND) Undersecretary Cardozo M. Luna and Thai Permanent Secretary for Defense General Chaichan Changmongkol.

DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Thai Ambassador to the Philippines Thanatip Upatising Signing witnessed the signing.

The defense chief said the endeavor completes the series of arrangements that have been previously inked at the level of the two countries’ major services, with that of the Philippine Navy being signed in 2012, Philippine Army in 2015 and Philippine Air Force in 2016.

With the TOR signed, the JCMC convened for the first time. co-chaired by DND Assistant Secretary Raymund Quilop and Thai Deputy Permanent Secretary for Defense General Chatudom Titthasiri, the committee assessed the current state of Philippines-Thailand defense cooperation and identified ways forward for the partnership.

With both sides acknowledging the robustness of the two ministries’ defense engagements, there was a shared sense to explore cooperation in the areas of research and development as well as science and technology, in recognition of the increasing need to develop defense capabilities that are indigenous to the two neighbors.

The two delegations also exchanged views on current and emerging security issues such as violent extremism and terrorism, maritime security and humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR).

Both sides expressed mutual support for each other’s advocacies and initiatives within the ambit of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) and the ADMM-Plus.

With Thailand’s assurance of continued support to the Philippines’ chairmanship of the ADMM this year, the Philippine delegation thanked Thailand for its tangible contributions to the ASEAN defense sector, to include the establishment of an ASEAN Center for Military Medicine.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1006873

CA upholds Pemberton's conviction on killing of Jennifer Laude

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 20): CA upholds Pemberton's conviction on killing of Jennifer Laude

The Court of Appeals (CA) junked the motion for reconsideration filed by United States Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was tagged in the killing of transgender woman Jennifer Laude in Olongapo City in October 2014.
 
In a 12-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Marlenez Gonzales-Sison and concurred in by Associate Justices Ramon Cruz and Henri Jean Paul Inting, the CA’s 16th Division has affirmed its decision last April 3, 2017 which found Pemberton guilty beyond reasonable doubt of homicide.
 
The Court also denied the Office of the Solicitor General’s partial motion for reconsideration insisting that Pemberton is not entitled to be given full credit of the time he spent under preventive imprisonment as he did not voluntarily agree in writing to abide by the same rules imposed upon convicted prisoners.
 
In denying both pleas, the CA held that the arguments presented were mere “rehash of the issues” already discussed in its April 3, 2017 decision.
 
“With respect to Pemberton’s motion, we maintain our ruling that his invocation of self-defense is an admission of the killing and of its authorship,” the CA explained.
 
“Pemberton’s contention that he was only raising complete and incomplete self-defense in the physical injuries he inflicted upon Jerry Serdoncillo y Laude alias ‘Jennifer’ (Laude) is bereft of rhyme or reason as the former was not charged for any physical injuries but of homicide, “ the CA ruled.
 
The CA noted that in justifying circumstance of self-defense, Pemberton was just trying to exonerate himself or reduce his penalty from the charge of homicide.
 
“Consequently, we reiterate that self-defense when invoked as a justifying circumstance implied the admission by the accused that he committed the criminal act,” it added.
 
But, the CA maintained that Pemberton’s claim of self-defense cannot be given weight due to his failure to prove that he was attacked by Laude and that his life was in peril on the night of the incident.
 
“The allegation of Pemberton that he was slapped by Laude could not even be corroborated by any medical findings. Worthy to note that according to Pemberton, the slap he allegedly received made his ear ring which if true should have promoted Pemberton to immediately seek medical attention,” it explained.
 
Furthermore, the CA said if Pemberton was only trying to defend himself, he should have sought medical assistance for Laude as soon as the latter was subdued and allegedly rendered unconscious.
 
“Indeed, a pelae of self-defense cannot be justifiably appreciated where it is not only uncorroborated by independent and competent evidence, but also extremely doubtful by itself. Self-defense, like alibi, is a defense which can easily be concocted as it is in this case,” the CA held.
 
The CA added that Pemberton’s immediate escape from Celzone Lodge where Laude was found dead is an indication of guilt.
 
“The bits of evidence, pieced together, point to Pemberton as the killer of Laude, Ostensibly, our rules make no distinction between direct evidence of a fact and evidence of circumstances from which the existence of a fact may be inferred. Pemberton’s criminal liability for homicide stands,” the CA ruled.
 
The CA also upheld the award of loss of earning capacity to the heirs of Laude amounting to PHP4.32 million
 
In its April 3, 2017 decision, CA affirmed the ruling of Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 which found Pemberton guilty of homicide and sentenced him to a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment as ordering him to indemnify the heirs of his victim Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, a Filipino transgender, on October 11, 2014.
 
Pemberton has been meted a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment after he was convicted of homicide. He was also ordered to pay PHP4.3 million for loss of earning capacity, PHP30,000 for exemplary damages, PHP50,000 each for civil indemnity and moral damages.
 
The CA said for an unlawful aggression to exist, there has to be an actual physical assault or at least a threat to inflict real imminent injury.
 
On Pemberton's claim that Laude fought like a man, slapped him that made his ear ring, the CA noted that a general physical examination conducted on Pemberton showed no sign of injury on his head and face.
 
The CA said there was no physical evidence that would suggest that Pemberton was first slapped by Laude or that he was in grave danger that prompted him defend himself.
 
“Indeed, a plea of self-defense cannot be justifiably appreciated where it is not only uncorroborated by independent and competent evidence, but also extremely doubtful by itself. Self-defense, like alibi, is a defense which can easily be concocted as it is in this case,” the CA ruled.
 
Likewise, the Court did not give weight to Pemberton’s plea that his voluntary surrender should have been appreciated in his favor as mitigating circumstance considering that he was detained in Camp Aguinaldo as early as December 2014 or before his warrant of arrest was issued on December 16, 2014 and that there was no intention on his part to commit such a crime.
 
The appellate court noted that the case was filed against Pemberton on December 15, 2014 or four days before Pemberton presented himself to the trial court.
 
It added that physical evidence also contradicts Pemberton’s claim that he had no intention to commit so grave wrong.
 
“As proven by the prosecution, Pemberton did not leave Laude merely unconscious, but ensured his death by submerging his head inside the toilet bowl. Clearly, Pemberton intended the natural consequence of his wrongful act,” it pointed out.
 
The CA, meanwhile increased the PHP100,000 (PHP50,000 each ) civil indemnity and moral damages to PHP150,000 (PHP75,000 each) because recent jurisprudence showed that the amount imposed should be the latter.
 
On the other hand, the actual damages of PHP155,250.00 was affirmed after Laude's family was able to produce receipts of expenses incurred for the autopsy, wake and burial.
 
The CA further said that Pemberton shall pay 6 percent interest per annum on all civil liability from the finality of the decision until fully paid.
 
In his MR, Pemberton through his lawyer Rowena Garcia Flores asked the CA’s 16 Division to reverse its decision dated April 3, 2017 and also reverse the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 74 decision dated Dec. 1, 2015 and the RTC order dated  March 29  2016, and declare Pemberton not guilty of the crime of homicide.
 
He maintained that the wounds he inflicted on Laude were in self-defense while they were fighting after he discovered that the victim was a transgender.
 
Pemberton lamented that the CA “cherry-picked the evidence presented in court in order to sustain his conviction and completely ignored the defense evidence.
 
Pemberton is the second US soldier to be involved in a criminal act in the country since 2005, when Lance Corporal Daniel Smith was charged and later on convicted for the rape of a Filipino woman.
 
Last Dec. 4, 2006, Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 139 Judge Benjamin Pozon convicted Smith and sentenced him to 40 years in prison for sexually assaulting the complainant at the former US naval base in Subic Bay, Zambales last November 1, 2005.
 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

DWDD: SEASONED WARRIORS | MetroBank TOPS Awardees

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 18): SEASONED WARRIORS  |  MetroBank TOPS Awardees



CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) – Three seasoned warriors who fought local terrorists in Mindanao were presented as this year’s “The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers” (TOPS) in a ceremony held Monday, 14 August 2017 at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Headquarters Building.

Lieutenant Colonel Elmer Suderio, Lieutenant Colonel Ricky Bunayog, and Staff Sergeant Narding Pascual will be honored during Metrobank’s 55th Anniversary in September. They will each receive P1 Million cash incentive, a gold medallion, and a trophy from the Metrobank Foundation, Inc.

The three awardees were chosen for rendering service beyond the call of duty, and for inspiring and influencing their comrades and the people in their respective communities. All three members of the Philippine Army were selected from around 40 nominations from the Army, Air Force, and Navy. CRSAFP / MCAG

http://dwdd.com.ph/2017/08/18/seasoned-warriors-metrobank-tops-awardees/

DWDD: DWINDLING | NPAs in Palawan weakening

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 18): DWINDLING  |  NPAs in Palawan weakening



MANILA (DWDD) – The number of New People’s Army members in the Province of Palawan continue to dwindle, after a majority of them have opted for a more peaceful life and returned to the folds of the law.

The AFP Western Command (WesCom) has assigned mobile numbers that the remaining terrorist can call for their surrender.

They could also approach their baranggay or purok leaders and ask for their assistance.

Most of the surrenderees revealed that things have worsen for them and their families since they joined the NPAs. Most of the promises made by leaders of the rebel group have never materialized.

The former rebels are very grateful to all the help and financial assistance they have received from the government. AES / MCAG / 6CRG

AFP WESCOM – 0917-8960014

JTF Peacock – 0926-7156659

NavForWest – 0917-5311677

Provincial PNP – 0998-5338964

http://dwdd.com.ph/2017/08/18/dwindling-npas-in-palawan-weakening/

DWDD: Pinoy Artists Sing to Raise P4.5 Million for Marawi Heroes

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 17): Pinoy Artists Sing to Raise P4.5 Million for Marawi Heroes

 Pinoy Artists Sing to Raise P4.5 Million for Marawi Heroes

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – A total of P4.5-million were raised in a benefit concert for the heroes of the battle-stricken Marawi City, Sunday night, 13 August 2017 at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Theatre.

“The AFP expresses its deep gratitude to Mr. Joel Cruz and his team for their initiative in putting up ‘Awit Sa Marawi’, and for encouraging their partners to support the families of our troops who died, and those continuing the fight in order to finish the rebellion in Marawi City,” Colonel Edgard Arevalo, AFP Public Affairs Chief said.

Cruz, the President, and CEO of Aficionado spearheaded the activity that aimed to raise funds for the benefit of soldiers who were Wounded-In-Action (WIA), or Killed-In-Action (KIA) during the rebellion in Marawi. It will also benefit their families, and displaced residents of the city.

The concert featured performances from various OPM artists, including AFP’s Singing Soldiers. The songs include “Isang Lahi” performed by Heidi, “Piliin Mo Ang Pilipinas” by Baguio General Hospital Nurses, “Nais Ko” by Elcid, “Dingin Mo Bayan” by Mel Soriano, and “Sundalo” by the Special Forces Band.

The concert was attended by uniformed and non-uniformed members of the AFP as well as audiences from the public and private sectors.

The donations from sponsors reached P3.5-Million while Cruz personally donated P1-Million to the AFP.

In his speech, Cruz said he hopes the concert will give inspiration to the Filipinos, and other organizations to continue supporting the Armed Forces amid ongoing conflicts, particularly in Marawi City.

‘Awit Sa Marawi’ was organized by Aficionado in partnership with the Civil Relations Service AFP, and other sponsors.

“On behalf of the whole Armed Forces of the Philippines, I extend my deep gratitude to the donors and sponsors who helped raise funds for our troops and their families. Your generosity and manifestation of support continue to be a source of inspiration and strength for our soldiers to continue to fight towards just and lasting peace for our country,” General Eduardo Año, AFP Chief of Staff said.

http://dwdd.com.ph/2017/08/17/pinoy-artists-sing-to-raise-p4-5-million-for-marawi-heroes/

DWDD: “Food for Peace” reaches Pantar

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 17): “Food for Peace” reaches Pantar

 “Food for Peace” reaches Pantar   

PANTAR, Lanao del Norte – In its second serving, the City Mayor’s Mobile Kitchen jointly administered by the LGU-Marawi and the Joint Task Group Tabang rolled over Pantar evacuation center to serve a freshly cooked nutritious meal in the families there, Tuesday, August 8.

JTG Tabang cooked mixed vegetables and stripped chicken known as “chicken with creamy mushroom soup” that was enjoyed mostly by the children at the said center.

Around 500 individuals partook the food prepared, cooked, and served by the soldiers and some IDP volunteers.

The City Mayor’s Mobile Kitchen serving “food for peace” was launched on Sunday, August 6 and now serving to all evacuation centers in the provinces of Lanao.

Colonel Thomas Sedano, commander of the Joint Task Group Tabang in his message to the IDPs said that the activity would not be realized without the partnership fostered between the Joint Task Group Tabang and the LGU-Marawi.

He also said that through that simple gestures of serving “food for peace”, the government can deliver a message of peace across the province and across the country.

http://dwdd.com.ph/2017/08/17/food-for-peace-reaches-pantar/

DWDD: NEUTRALIZED | BIFF Bomb Maker and Trainer killed

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 16): NEUTRALIZED  | BIFF Bomb Maker and Trainer killed

 

DATU ODIN SINSUAT, Maguindanao (DWDD) – Authorities were able to neutralized an alleged bombmaker and trainer of the bandit group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters or BIFF.

According to P/Chief Insp Achmad Alibonga, Chief of Police of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao – PNP, the operation was jointly launched by the combined elements of the PNP-Criminal Invetigation and Detection Group of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Datu Odin Sinsuat – PNP and troops from the 603rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army against the suspect identified as Ebrahim Ali.

Ali was killed in the operation after he fought it off with the raiding team. Recovered from the suspect was one caliber 45 pistol, one magazine and bullets.

The suspect is in the No. 2 Arrest Order of the Department of National Defense. AES / MCAG

http://dwdd.com.ph/2017/08/16/neutralized-biff-bomb-maker-and-trainer-killed/

DWDD: ENCOUNTER | Army Troops battle NPA remnant’s in Burauen, Leyte

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 16): ENCOUNTER  |  Army Troops battle NPA remnant’s in Burauen, Leyte



BURAUEN, Leyte (DWDD) – A 20-minute firefight ensued between the 78th Infantry (Warrior) Battalion’s Scout Platoon and members of the communist terrorists New People’s Army at Barangay Roxas, Burauen, Leyte yesterday, August 15, 2017, at 10 ‘ o clock in the morning.

No casualty was reported on the government side, while the enemy suffered an undetermined number of casualties.

The troops seized an enemy encampment and recovered one (1) back pack, one (1) sack of rice and subversive documents in the area. The seizure of the enemy encampment is the result of the mutual cooperation between the military and the villagers in the said barangay.

Civilians reported the presence of the NPA rebels who continue to extort, recruit and harm them. 78IB / MCAG

http://dwdd.com.ph/2017/08/16/encounter-army-troops-battle-npa-remnants-in-burauen-leyte/

MILF: Bangsamoro delegates just concluded their study tour in Japan for local industries promotion

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 18): Bangsamoro delegates just concluded their study tour in Japan for local industries promotion



Seventeen Bangsamoro delegates have just concluded their Study Tour in  Hiroshima, Japan, for local industries promotion for the Bangsamoro.
The study tour started from August 1 and lasted on August 16, 2017. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) organized and sponsored the program.

Leading the delegates was Atty. Anwar Malang, the Regional Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DTI-ARMM). He was accompanied by other ARMM Officials, such as Dimnatang Radia, Regional Director of Cooperative Development Authority (CDA)-ARMM; Isah Batao Abduljalil, Planning Officer of Regional Planning and Development Office (RPDO)-ARMM; Fayruz Hyne Samanodi Akmad-Losanes, Investment Analyst of Regional Board of Investment (RBOI)-ARMM; and Jalika Mangacop, Program Officer, HVCD, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF)-ARMM.

Various clusters joined the program. They are: Domingo Narsico, Chairman of the Sta. Clara Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Integrated Cooperative (Rubber Cluster); Sadat Abubacar Marohom, Manager of SLS Enterprise, (Abaca Cluster); Jodl Isahac, Technical Research Officer of Sulu Lupah Sug Coffee Company, (Coffee Cluster); Jolly Ahaja, Member of Sitangkai Seaweed Export Company, (Seaweed Cluster); and Datuali Ayao, Member of Dulangan Multi-Purpose Cooperative, (Coconut Cluster).

Rima Hassan, President of ARMM Business Council; Mohamad Pasigan, President of Bangsamoro Business Council; and Nishreen Yu Hashim, CEO of The Moroprenuer, Inc. represented the business sector.

From academe are Professor Josephine Migalbin from University of Southern Mindanao and Professor Delfin Carrasco Papa from Mindanao State University, Maguindanao Campus.

Two from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were also invited. They are Marjanie S. Macasalong, Vice-Chairman on Human Resource and Economic Development and member of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel (PIP), and Jandatu Salik, Project Coordinator of the MILF Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA).

Early part of the program was the courtesy visit to the Governor of the Hiroshima Prefectural Government, Hidehiko Yuzaki, at his office in Hiroshima City.

One of the important points he shared was the idea of having good "feeling" in doing the work. He was referring to two things: loving the work; and having conducive place to work. These, according to him, contributed a lot to the fast recovery of Hiroshima after the atomic-bombing.

Part of the study tour is to have lectures on some significant concept of industrialization and field visitation.

For most of the lectures was the "Engagement in 6th Industrialization Support". This is to understand how the local industries in Japan are thriving through the collaborative efforts of the local residents, industries and the government. Indeed, subsidies and other forms of assistance from the government are manifested.

Other significant lectures were also conducted, including the following:

- Research Development and Support for Agricultural Techniques/Technology;

- Public Service and Civil Society;

- Marketing Support for Local Agro-Products;

- Promoting Fisheries in Hiroshima City;

- Three Party Collaboration to Promote Local Industries: SME, Academia and Local Government;

- A Case Study of 6th Industry: A Women's Group Running Food Processing and Selling Business.



Field visitation included the Visit to Farm-Fresh Market of Farm and Marine Products; Visit to the Direct Sales Market of Agricultural and Fishery Products (Morning Market at the heart of Hiroshima City); and Roadside Station.

Hands-on activity for fruit picking and making canned fruits were also part of the program.

Further, the study tour also provided an opportunity for the Bangsamoro delegates to present the current condition and challenges in Mindanao to the group of academe, including professors, researchers and students. Atty. Malang was the one who presented the topic.

In addition to the lectures and field visitation, the study tour became even more historical and significant when the Bangsamoro delegates, along with the world representatives, were invited to the 72nd Commemoration of the Hiroshima Atomic-Bombing on August 6.

http://www.luwaran.com/news/article/969/bangsamoro-delegates-just-concluded-their-study-tour-in-japan-for-local-industries-promotion

MILF: GPH-MILF Ceasefire Mechanisms confer for smooth and proper implementation of Protocol of Cooperation on Anti-Illegal Drugs Operation

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 18): GPH-MILF Ceasefire Mechanisms confer for smooth and proper implementation of Protocol of Cooperation on Anti-Illegal Drugs Operation



A comprehensive and fruitful discussion between the GPH-MILF Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) and Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) was conducted last 15 August 2017 at Park Inn of Radisson Hotel, Davao City.

The said meeting focused on the smooth and proper implementation of the Protocol of Cooperation on Anti-Illegal Drugs Operation and Other Related Activities in MILF Areas/Communities signed last 30 June 2017 by and between the two vital components of the GPH-MILF ceasefire mechanism.

Prominent personalities present were Atty. Abdul Dataya, MILF-AHJAG Chair with his counterpart PCSupt. Pierre Bucsit, GPH-AHJAG Chair; Butch Malang, MILF-CCCH Chair, also with his counterpart, Bgen. Earl Baliao AFP, GPH-CCCH Chair.

The said conference was also graced by Retired Col. Dickson Hermoso, OPAPP Assistant Secretary on Peace and Security Affairs and Nabil Tan, Undesecretary on Peace Accords and Acting Chair of GPH Peace Implementing Panel.

ASec. Hermoso delivered his welcome remarks where he commended the significant partnership between the GPH and MILF in terms of pursuing against spoilers of peace. Years have passed where the trust and confidence between GPH and MILF forces have been declining, but for now they are real partners in Peace.

Highlighted during the discussions were strategies on how to realize effectively the signed Protocol of Cooperation. These include conduct of workshops and seminars for GPH and MILF concerned units as well as massive advocacy campaign to the public using comprehensive information kits.

Other important concerns relative to the entire ceasefire mechanism were also discussed in the conference such as security concerns in provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Sur, and Island Provinces as well as other matters to strengthen the proper coordination between the Parties to the Peace Process.

At the end part of the conference, USec. Tan, acting chair of the GPH Peace Implementing Panel formally closed the program and committed himself to ensure that operations of the ceasefire committees will be properly assisted through immediate and sustained administrative support due to the critical and volatile nature of this committee.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the GPH and MILF expect stronger and more effective collaboration in mitigating illegal-drugs related activities in MILF communities and other factors that would endanger the on-going peace process.

http://www.luwaran.com/news/article/970/gph-milf-ceasefire-mechanisms-confer-for-smooth-and-proper-implementation-of-protocol-of-cooperation-on-anti-illegal-drugs-operation

MILF: BBL now in Congress

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 18): BBL now in Congress



The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has already been transmitted to the office of Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III last August 14 with a copy of it furnished to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

In a one-page letter bearing same date signed by Undersecretary Atty. Ryan Estevez of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO), it was stated that “we trust in the collective wisdom of both houses of Congress should they deem proper to refine the draft in the course of the regular legislative mill.”

The expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), the body mandated to draft the BBL, handed over the proposed law to President Duterte last July 17 in Malacañan during a ceremony that was attended also by MILF Chairman Alhaj Murad Ebrahim.

Last August 9, BTC Chairman Ghazali Jaafar and other commissioners were invited by the House Special Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity to give a briefing. The special committee is chaired by Tawi-Tawi Representative Ruby Sahali.

Also on same day, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez received in his office Chairman Jaafar and his delegation for a courtesy call.

It is not yet known what committee in the House and Senate would handle the draft BBL.

http://www.luwaran.com/news/article/968/bbl_now_in_congress

MILF: Islamic Scholar explains Extremism, Radicalism and Terrorism in the Concept of Islam

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 17): Islamic Scholar explains Extremism, Radicalism and Terrorism in the Concept of Islam



Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao Del Norte- Local stakeholders and Civil Society Organizations held an Orientation-Seminar at the Sports Stadium in this town on August 13, 2017 through the support of the local government unit.

The program was attended by about a hundred local leaders, members of the Bangsamoro Communication Network (BCN) of Kapatagan and Marogong of Lanao Del Sur, Prime Movers for Peace and Development (PRIMO), Bantay SND, Inc., CARES, ORACIS, Islamic Radio Club, Maradeka and Federation of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations (FBCSO).

The primary aim of the activity was to let people understand what Islam in its correct perspective.

Municipal Secretary Mando Mama also invited Lt. Col. Ericson Rosana, Battalion Commander, 15t IB, 3ID whose area of jurisdiction covers the 11 municipalities of Lanao Del Norte.

The Welcome Address was given by Municipal Councilor Andom Marohom on behalf of Mayor Uluwan Dimaporo and Vice Mayor Mutalib Dimaporo who were attending an official meeting.

Atty. Amir Bassir, PRIMO Regional Director, and President of Bantay SND, Inc. told the participants that they have organized and helping the LGU in the maintenance of peace and order in the communities.
 


For his part, Lt. Col. Rosana said he was truly elated by the awareness program by both the LGU’s and CSOs in their campaign against radical groups whose aim is the total destruction of communities and sow fear among residents.

“Problems on religious extremism, radicalism and terrorism cannot be solved by the military alone. Our government needs the support and cooperation of the people”, Lt. Col. Rosana pointed out.

“Islam is ahead by centuries before the Spaniards set foot on the shores of the Philippine Archipelago and introduced Christianity”, he added.

FBCSO member Amer Mutia presented a report on the actual situation in Marawi City since at the start of the siege on May 23.

Sheikh Abdulhadie Gumander, Islamic Scholar defined in a clear and simple the meaning of Islam as a Religion of Peace, because it is derived from the word Salaam, which connotes peace and nothing else.

“Extremism, radicalism and terrorism is new and foreign to Islam. It has nothing to do with it”, he said. He also narrated that all the prophets from Adam, to Prophet Jesus, and more so to the last Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) never commanded their followers to kill those who do not follow them.

“If we only study the life of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), then we can fully understand how he was treated harshly and his people, how they were persecuted that caused them to migrate. And there at Madina when they were attacked by their enemy that a revelation granting him to fight those who fight them. Take note, be not the aggressor, but be on defensive only”, Sheikh Gumander said.

He also cited a verse from the Noble Qur’an: “If you kill intentionally a person without a just cause, it is as if you kill the whole mankind. “See how Almighty Allah made life sacred”, Sheik Gumander added.

“Even the judges were commanded not to render justice in times of anger, because, all our acts are for Allah, that any action done outside the ambit of Islam, we are accountable for that in the day of judgement. And even during the time of war, Muslim kills for Allah alone and never for vengeance, retaliation just because the other side have different faith and religion”, he said further.

While the sheikh was making his presentation, the military officers present were listening attentively.

In his parting message, Sheikh Gumander mentioned the importance of ‘communication’. Through dialogue, we can solve all differences. Listen to the other side; do not impose your own views only. Respect the rights of other irrespective of faith or race for it is the key to peace and that is what Islam stands for. Islam is a religion of moderation and not extremism, not radicalism, not terrorism. Anyone who acts like this will only bring devastation and havoc as what we see in the middle-east.

http://www.luwaran.com/news/article/966/islamic_scholar_explains_extremism__radicalism_and_terrorism_in_the_concept_of_islam

NDF/NPA-Negros: Victories in armed struggle in Negros

NPA-Negros propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 18): Victories in armed struggle in Negros

PRESS RELEASE



The Negros NPA Regional Operational Command launched a total of 17 armed actions since late January this year which netted for the people’s army 10 high-powered rifles, 15 short arms and assorted ammunition and other military materiel. These were carried out through the five guerrilla fronts in the the island.

Ka Juanito Magbanua, spokesperson of the NPA Apolinario Gatmaitan Regional Operational Command said the most significant was the ambush last July 21 in barangay Magsaysay, Guihulngan City, which finally punished C/Supt. Arnel Arpon, five other policemen and a Cafgu militiaman.

“This tactical offensive was long overdue in the face of the revolutionary masses’ clamor to punish the fascist PNP unit in Guihulngan who, for years, have been committing extra-judicial killings against ordinary civilians, aside from protecting drug lords and criminal gangs while being guns-for-hire themselves,” he added.

During the last six months, the NPA also successfully implemented punitive measures against fourteen land-grabbers, criminal elements and intelligence assets of the 303rd Brigade responsible, just this year, for a host of human rights violations and anti-peasant activities, including the salvaging of four legal activist-leaders. Their punishment hit at the capability of the AFP/PNP to inflict further harm upon the people’s lives, rights and livelihood within and outside the guerrilla areas in the island.

The enemy also suffered further damage in the three defensive actions so far this year, with the 62nd IB losing two of its men in June 22 at barangay Cambayobo, Calatrava town, and the 79th IB four of its own in June 30 at barangay Binobohan, Guihulngan City.

In all these offensive and defensive actions, the people’s army had only one fighter slightly wounded.

Ka Juanito Magbanua said “these demonstrate the NPA’s increasing capability in launching armed struggle that is integrated with agrarian revolution and base building; nevertheless, we must constantly improve ourselves as the US-Duterte regime strips itself of all progressive trappings and intensifies its brutal reactionary war against the armed revolutionary movement.”

In this regard, the NPA Regional Operational Command also conducted two politico-military trainings during the last six months aimed at improving the fighting skill, political capability, combat discipline and revolutionary militance of NPA commanders and fighters. The first was the 40-day Basic Politico-Military Course-Instructors Training, which had 27 graduates. The second was the 50-day Basic Politico-Military Course, with 67 graduates. At least 80% of the trainees were aged 18-30, while around 15% were of petty-bourgeois class origin.

Ka Juanito Magbanua said these trainings provide added impetus for Red commanders and fighters to better implement the Party’s three-year program aimed at, among others, building more and bigger NPA formations at all levels, intensifying armed tactical offensives to seize arms and other military equipment mainly from the AFP/PNP, and waging an extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare based on an ever-widening and ever-deepening mass base.

The trainings were the first held since 2008, when Negros became one of the national priority targets for sustained counterrevolutionary campaigns under Oplans Bantay Laya 2 and Bayanihan. The people’s army in the island had to make do with politico-military crash courses in the face of sustained search-and-destroy operations of the enemy until 2013, while prioritizing rebuilding work of the revolutionary mass base thereafter.

As the fourth major island in the country and the second in the Visayas, it is necessary for the armed revolutionary movement in Negros to overcome its weaknesses and rectify its errors in order to help frustrate the US-Duterte regime’s Oplan Kapayapaan and contribute in the national development of the strategic defensive of the people’s war towards a new and higher stage, Ka Juanito Magbanua concluded.

Juanito Magbanua
Spokesperson, AGC-Apolinario Gatmaitan Command
NPA-Negros Island

https://www.ndfp.org/victories-armed-struggle-negros/

NDF/NPA-Sorsogon: Tropang 31st IB Phil. Army, Gumagamit Ng Iligal Na Droga Habang Nasa Operasyong Militar

NPA-Sorsogon propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 15): Tropang 31st IB Phil. Army, Gumagamit Ng Iligal Na Droga Habang Nasa Operasyong Militar

Pahayag sa Midya
Agosto 15, 2017

Mariing kinukundena ng Celso Minguez Command ang pagiging hipokrito ng rehimeng US-Duterte sa pagpapatupad ng kampanya nitong Oplan Tokhang upang sugpuin diumano ang mga adik at pusher sa ating bansa samantalang ang sarili nitong pwersa ay gumagamit ng droga habang nagsasagawa ng operasyong militar.

Sa matagumpay na ambush ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan laban sa mga elemento ng 31st IBPA, 22nd IBPA at 5th Police Public Safety Battalion (5PPSB) sa Brgy. Casili, Sorsogon noong Agosto 7, 2017, natagpuan nila ang tatlong (3) sachet ng shabu at mga drug paraphernalia sa nasamsam na military pack na pagmamay-ari ni 2Lt. Lee Tremedal. Nakasuksok ang mga ito sa nilukot na medyas ng napatay na commanding officer (CO) ng Alpha Coy, 31st IBPA, AFP.

Malinaw na pagpapakita ito ng pagiging hipokrito ng rehimeng US-Duterte sa pagpapatupad ng Oplan Tokhang sa ilalim ng Oplan Kapayapaan. Habang inuutusan niya ang mga sundalo at pulis na maghasik ng pasistang karahasang walang pananagutan sa mga maralita na adik at pusher, ang mismong mga opisyal ng Armed Forces of the Philippines ay gumagamit at promotor sa paggamit ng droga ng hanay ng kanilang pwersa. Kinumpirma ng pagkatagpo ng iligal na droga sa mga nasamsan na gamit ng tropang 31st IBPA ang matagal ng mga hinala ng masang mamamayan na biktima ng kanilang walang-pakundangan na karahasan.

Liban sa tropang AFP-PNP, di linggid sa mamamayan na embwelto din sa droga ang ilang matataas na opisyal sa reaksyunaryong pamahalaan. Matatandaan na nitong nakaraan ay nasangkot ang Department of Customs sa isang malaking transaksyon o ismagling ng shabu na pinalusot ng nasabing ahensya sa bansa. Bagama’t malaki ang pananagutan ni Customs Commissioner Faeldon sa nasabing transaksyon bilang hepe ng nasabing ahensya ay nagawa pa ni Duterte na ipagtanggol ito. Tila may “double standard” din ang pagpapatupad ng Oplan Tokhang. Mapahanggang ngayon ay puro maliliit na pusher at adik lang ang nahuhuli o pinapatay habang ang mga malalaki at maimpluwensyang druglord ay patuloy na namamayagpag sa kanilang narco-negosyo. Libre din sa Oplan Tokhang ang mga matataas na opisyal ng AFP-PNP na protektor ng droga sa bansa.

Kundenahin ang paggamit ng diumano’y gera kontra-droga upang patuloy na patayin, takot at abusuhin ng rehimeng US-Duterte ang mamamayan!

Ka Samuel Guerrero
Tagapagsalita
Celso Minguez Command
New People’s Army-Sorsogon

https://www.ndfp.org/tropang-31st-ib-phil-army-gumagamit-ng-iligal-na-droga-habang-nasa-operasyong-militar/

Military claims Negros Island citizens offering P100,000 for arrest of rebels, terrorists

From Rappler (Aug 18): Military claims Negros Island citizens offering P100,000 for arrest of rebels, terrorists

Major General Jon Aying explains the citizens funding this are capable of paying up to P20 million, or P100,000 for 200 rebels or terrorists



The military recently claimed that some concerned citizens in Negros Island are offering P100,000 in reward money for anyone that could provide information that would lead to the arrest of rebels and terrorists.

Major General Jon Aying, commander of the Third Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Jamindan, Capiz, said on Wednesday, August 16, the informant would get the money if the military becomes successful in neutralizing these lawless elements.

He was referring to members of the New People’s Army (NPA), who have strongholds in the Negros provinces; Mindanao-based extremists and terrorists, some of whom had managed to sneak into Bohol months ago; private armed groups; and other groups that owned high-powered firearms.

He said informants could get P100,000 for each suspect they are able to point the authorities to.

Aying did not disclose the identity of the citizens offering reward money, but said they are only concerned with the safety of Negros Island.

Currently, there are about 200 rebel forces in Negros Island.

Aying, however, stressed that all information will be validated. “We have to be very sure that those subjected to the information are all members of the NPA,” he said, adding that they should be bona fide “hardened” rebel forces.

“Rebels who are with the NPA for just one year can’t be considered as member yet. They’re like part-time,” Aying said.

He reiterated the call of the government to the rebel forces to join the mainstream society.

He said the government will provide resettlement sites and livelihood programs, and will also allow them to keep their firearms.

“I have a strong trust that the government is capable in doing social, economic, and constitutional reforms,” he added.

http://www.rappler.com/nation/179191-negros-island-citizens-offer-reward-terrorists

MILITARY: NPA reactivated liquidation squad

From the Mindanao Times (Aug 16): MILITARY: NPA reactivated liquidation squad

THE New People’s Army (NPA) has reactivated its Sparrow Unit, its dreaded armed group responsible for summary execution activities during the time of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, a top military official said.

“Eto naman ay modus ng NPA hindi sila lumalaban nang harapan. They are targeting those soldiers and policemen who are on administrative duties,” Maj. Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of (EastMinCom) told reporter’s yesterday during the AFP-PNP press conference held at Royal Mandaya hotel.
 
Balagtey said that the reactivation of the liquidation unit, whose members are considered the elite in the rebel ranks because of their shooting accuracy, is among their latest schemes as they intensify their atrocities.

He added that the military is “conducting measures to prevent the NPAs liquidation against our soldiers” by intensifying intelligence gathering against the rebels.
 
On Monday, alleged rebels shot dead two soldiers of the 71st Infantry Battalion as the latter were on their way to Purok 3, Poblacion Mawab, Compostela Valley.

Sr. Insp. Catherine Dela Rey, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office ( PRO) XI, identified the victims as Pfc. Jerome Bocquinlasan, 26, resident of Barangay Tuboran, Mawab; and PFC Acolito Aberin, 29, resident of Barangay Kamansa, Asuncion.

The report said the soldiers, who were on a motorcycle, were distracted when a rebel pretended to be insane to attrack their attention. As they were attending to the “insane person,” four other rebels shot them that resulted in their death.

Last week, two men on a motorcycle also shot dead Sgt. Sgt. Delfin H. Dangayo of the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion along the national highway in Purok 7, Barangay San Antonio, Mabini, Compostela Valley.
 

Soldiers recover guns, ammo

From the Mindanao Times (Aug 19): Soldiers recover guns, ammo

TROOPS of 16th Infantry Battalion recover war materiel belonging to the members of New People’s Army (NPA) while conducting clearing operation in Purok 8, Sitio Quibaton, Barangay Dominga, Calinan District on Wednesday afternoon.

Lt. Col. Darren Comia, the battalion commander of 16th IB, told TIMES yesterday that the soldiers received a tip from a concerned resident.

Upon conducting clearing operation they were able to recover an M1 Garand rifle with 32 rounds of ammunition; .357 caliber revolver with 25 rounds of ammunition; magazine of Super 38 revolver with 63 rounds of ammunition.

They were able also to recover 129 rounds of ammunition for Carbine rifle; 15 rounds of ammunition for Garand rifle; two steel ammunition box; four ICOM commercial radios; military uniforms; six pairs of combat boots, which were stashed near a banana plantation in the place.

“The tip of a concerned civilian resident is a clear indication that the communities on the ground are supporting the government forces in its fight against the NPAs that threatens the security and safety of the people,” he said.

The 16th Infantry battalion covers the areas of Paquibato district, parts of Calinan, Buhangin, and Marilog districts of Davao city. It also covers the areas of Sto. Tomas, Carmen, Braulio E. Dujali and Panabo City in Davao del Norte.
 
Col. Ernesto Torres, the commander of 1003rd Infantry Brigade based in Barangay New Visayas, Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte, lauded the efforts of 16th IB.

“We encourage everyone to support our government forces by providing relevant information on the location of the armed group, sympathizers and their arms cache,” Torres said. ”I also urge our troops to remain focus in defeating the NPAs that hinders peace, security and development in our area of operation.”

“With the support of the civilian stakeholders in our area and the commitment of other security forces, we can defeat and end the rebel group,” he further said.
 

PH Navy to get US-donated radar system on Aug. 22

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 19): PH Navy to get US-donated radar system on Aug. 22

The Philippine Navy (PN) will formally take possession of its first-ever tethered aerostat radar system (TARS) donated by the US government.

The turnover ceremony will be led by US Embassy in Manila’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Michael Klecheski, and PN flag-officer-in-command, Vice Adm. Ronald Joseph Mercado, at the Naval Education and Training Command in San Antonio, Zambales on Tuesday.

Navy spokesperson, Capt. Lued Lincuna, said the TARS, a self-sustained, unmanned lighter-than-air systems, would enhance the PN’s capability in maritime intelligence surveillance reconnaissance by effectively detecting maritime and air traffic within the country’s coastal waters using sensors.

It will also be used in the conduct of humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

The TARS includes a weather station that provides telemetry data to the ground station for the monitoring of ambient temperature, pressure, wind speed, and other pertinent parameters in the operation of the system.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1006809

Friday, August 18, 2017

Upcoming Tranche of Security Aid from China to the Philippines Revealed

From Max Defense (Aug 17): Upcoming Tranche of Security Aid from China to the Philippines Revealed

Last June we posted a blog entry discussing the initial delivery of Chinese security assistance grant provided to the Philippine government, which was agreed upon during one of the meetings between the Chinese and Philippine leaders.

Based on previous press releases by the Philippine government, the Chinese security grant is worth around US$14.4 million and is said to be composed of sniper rifles, fast boats and rocket propelled grenades, although there were also previous statements including drones, force protection equipment, and other items into the expected aid.



While we do not have any photo of the actual patrol craft model for delivery from China, MaxDefense expects it to be somehow similar in size to the one on top, which is a different high speed boat made in China for law enforcement agencies. This particular boat model was actually among those offered to the Bureau of Customs for their own patrol craft requirement.
Photo taken from Datang Holdings product brochure.

Recap - First Tranche Aid Delivery:

This has been discussed in our earlier MaxDefense blog, which can be accessed here:
"Armed Forces of the Philippines Receives First Shipment of Defense Aid from China" - dated June 30, 2017.

Based on official statements from the government, China delivered the first tranche of the security aid last June, composed of 3,000 Norinco CQ-A5 5.56 x 45mm semi-automatic carbines, and 90 sniper rifles shared between the Norinco Type 85 "Dragunov" 7.62 x 54R marksman rifles, and the Norinco CS/LR4A 7.62 x 51mm sniper rifles, plus assorted ammunition composed of 5,000,000 rounds of 5.56 x 45mm rifle rounds, 800,000 7.62mm sniper rifle rounds. These were brought in to Clark Air Base last June 28, 2017 through four Ilyushin Il-76 strategic airlift aircraft of the People's Liberation Army Air Force.

MaxDefense's own analysis put the sniper rifles at 60 Type 85s and 30 CS/LR4As, based on photos available on the turn-over ceremony. The CS/LR4A came in hard plastic containers and includes a sighting scope

According to sources, the total worth of this tranche is around US$7 million, which means the Philippines is expecting another US$7 million worth of deliveries. Most of the CQ-A5 carbines and Type 85 Dragunov marksman rifles were turned over by the DND to the Philippine National Police, while some will be used for testing and study, probably by the Government Arsenal. Only the CS/LR4A sniper rifles appear to remain with the AFP, with some photos already coming out of the rifle being used by the Philippine Army in Marawi City.

This is not the first time China provided aid to Philippine security forces, with China actually donating several construction equipment to the AFP during Pres. Arroyo's term, which were used mostly by the Philippine Army's Engineering Brigades.


Pres. Duterte himself was present during the formal hand-over of the 1st tranche of Chinese defense assistance to the Philippines last June 28, 2017 at Clark Air Base.
Credits to owner of photo.


Second Tranche - What's Expected:

New statements from the government mentioned that the second tranche of deliveries will be coming in soon, estimated to be sometime between August and November 2017. But it is unclear which items are included, or if there will be a third tranche of deliveries.

Based on AFP Modernization Program update documents that MaxDefense was able to obtain, the 3,000 Norinco CQ-A5 carbines are actually part of an Urgent Military Assistance Gratis, and the inclusion of the ammunition and sniper rifles were just made later on instead of delivering them separately.

Also, it confirmed MaxDefense's earlier analysis on the quantity of sniper rifles. The delivery was indeed for 60 Norinco Type 85 "Dragunov" marksman rifles and 30 CS/LR4A sniper rifles.

The distribution of ammunition was also confirmed. The AFP did receive 20,000 rounds of Type CS BFL3A 7.62 x 51 ammunition for the CS/LR4A sniper rifles, and 800,000 rounds of 7.62 x 54R munitions for the Dragunovs. Take note that these Dragunov marksman rifles uses a different ammunition round compared to what the AFP and PNP are using.

Also on the same document, the Philippines is also scheduled to receive the following items on the next tranche of deliveries:

* 4 units of Type 966Y Patrol Craft with 7.62mm Multi-purpose Machine Guns
* 200 units of Norinco Type 69 Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers
* 2,000 rounds of 40mm High Explosive Anti-Tank for the Type 69 RPGs
* 3,000 rounds of 40mm High Explosive Incendiary for the Type 69 RPGs
* 60 units of CS/ON6 Low-Light Sights for the Type 85 Dragunov marksman rifles
* 30 units of CS/ON8A Low-Light Sights for the CS/LR4A sniper rifles

Surprisingly, the CS/LR4A sniper rifles delivered last June 2017 included what appears to be a 4x sniper scope, while the Dragunovs appear to not have their scopes. So the deliver of additional sights for the CS/LR4A rifles is unusual, although the sights for the Dragunovs is highly expected.



Among the rifles delivered by China in its first tranche of security aid to the Philippines. Shown are the CS/LR4A sniper rifle, the CQ-A5 carbine, and two Type 85 marksman rifles. Credits to owner of photo.
Type 966Y Patrol Craft:

So far MaxDefense has been unsuccessful in getting information on this type of patrol boat, but it is expected that the would probably be an inshore patrol craft, probably less than 15 meters long, with high speed exceeding 40 knots, and is armed with a single 7.62mm machine gun. It is highly possible that the design of the boat is similar to those used by the China Coast Guard or the People's Armed Police units.

MaxDefense anticipates that the boat will be turned over to the Philippine Navy, but might be transferred later on either to the Philippine National Police - Special Boat Unit (Maritime Police), or to the Philippine Coast Guard, which are in need of additional assets.

It also remains to be seen what type of 7.62mm machine gun will be included in the delivery, considering that most Chinese machine guns of this caliber uses the same ammo as the Dragunovs, which is the 7.62 x 54R rimmed cartridge.

Based on our sourced documents, the patrol crafts are expected to be delivered by March 2018 although these Chinese could deliver them earlier if they deemed possible.

Type 69 RPG:

This is China's copy of the RPG-7 of the Soviet Union, and is also made by Norinco. It was first introduced in the 1970s, it is surprisingly still in production, probably for the export market, as China has moved on to newer models to replace the Type 69.

The Philippine Army won't have much problem in receiving these RPGs since it is close to the Bulgarian-made ATGLs that they are using, although it still remains to be seen if parts of the Type 69 and ATGLs are the same which will ease logistics and maintenance issues.

The ammunition for delivery are almost the same as to those already in use with the Philippine Army's ATGLs. MaxDefense sources confirmed that the Army has already expended thousands of RPG rounds in Marawi City alone, and the arrival of additional ammunition is a welcome addition as the emergency procurement of several thousands of RPG rounds remain hanging until now.

Based on our sourced documents, the Type 69 RPG as well as the ammunition are expected to be delivered on or before December 2017. Considering that there were already announcements of an impending delivery this August, it is expected that these will be among them, together with the low light sniper rifle sights which are intended for delivery by August 2017.


The Norinco Type 69 Rocket Propelled Grenade, which is a Chinese copy of the Soviet RPG-7.
Photo taken from SinoDefence.com


Where are the Others?
With the list above, some may ask, where are the force protection equipment, sniper rifles, and drones that were among those proposed earlier.

It appears that the focus was made on the delivery of 3,000 CQ-A5 carbines, which MaxDefense believes was not actually part of the original proposal. But this was inserted to fulfill requirements for the Philippine National Police, considering that none of the AFP's service branches requested for rifles, and it is not logical to have another rifle type considering the widespread use of the Remington R4A3.

Also, the 5,000,000 rounds of 5.56 x 45mm munitions for the CQ-A5 carbines were originally not part of the request either. MaxDefense believes that the ammunition alone may have used up to Php160 million of the fund, while the CQ-A5 carbines were reported to be worth Php210 million.

So MaxDefense believes that the funds intended for more sniper rifles, force protection equipment, and small drones may have been taken for the delivery of the carbines and its ammunition instead.
It remains to be seen if the Philippine government will further request assistance from China. Honestly speaking, MaxDefense believes it would be better if the Philippines will request aid int eh form of construction equipment from China for use by the military instead of weapons.

MaxDefense also believes that its best for the Philippines NOT to pursue the use of the US$500 million loan offer from China, considering that many in the AFP still prefer to source their weapons from other countries instead of China. Also, Chinese loans are very notorious for having very high interests as seen in the loans provided by China to several other countries.

MaxDefense will be monitoring the delivery of these Chinese aid, considering that the earliest arrival might be within this month.

http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2017/08/upcoming-tranche-of-security-aid-from.html

Duterte slams Joma anew: How can I not be socialist?

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 17): Duterte slams Joma anew: How can I not be socialist?



Jose Maria Sison (left), founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte. (File photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)
President Duterte on Thursday maintained that he is a socialist and a leftist leader, and said Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison doesn’t have a monopoly on the tag.

“How can I not be a socialist? I’m always left because we are only migrants in Mindanao. We went through hardships, we experienced the demolition of our house,” Mr. Duterte said in a speech before police personnel in Ozamiz City.

Mr. Duterte accused Sison of branding others as fake socialists because they would not take up arms against the government.

“For that fool, what he (Sison) wants is for you to be leftist or socialist, you have to join the New People’s Army, get into a fight,” the President said.

But Duterte said he is not for armed struggle.

If the socialists would join politics, he (Duterte) would jump to their party, he said. But it has to be a mainstream political party, because the President does not want to kill Filipinos just because they have a different belief.

Sison’s group acts as if they have “the monopoly of talent in the world,” said the President.

“It is as if you are the only ones who have principles in life,” Duterte added.

He then pointed to his signing of the free college tuition law, free irrigation, and his land reform program. He has also provided funds for medicines for the poor, he said.

The President and Sison had been waging a word war since peace talks between the government and communist insurgents broke down.

Mr. Duterte had been angry at the NPA for attacking government troops, including members of his security team.

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/923552/jose-maria-sison-president-duterte-new-peoples-army-socialist-socialism-ozamiz-city

Army man wounded as AFP overruns NPA camp in Burauen

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 17): Army man wounded as AFP overruns NPA camp in Burauen
A soldier from the Philippine Army was wounded on Wednesday afternoon when government troops overran another New People’s Army (NPA) camp in Burauen town, located about 80 kilometers away from here.

Army Staff Sgt. Eleazar Ilola was wounded in the left foot during the 45-minute shootout with communist rebels at the boundary of Barangays Candag-on and Roxas in Burauen, about 2:45 p.m.

Lt. Col. Danilo Dupiag, commander of the Army 78th Infantry Battalion, said the soldiers stumbled upon another NPA camp while pursuing the rebels who fled when government troops overran their camp in Barangay Candag-on on Tuesday.

But Dupiag said the soldiers were met by at least 50 rebels who put up a fierce gunfight that lasted for 45 minutes.

Ilola was hit in the left foot and was brought to a hospital in Tacloban City where he was given medical assistance.

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/923511/afp-troops-army-soldiers-new-peoples-army-ormoc-philippine-army-npa-camp-communist-rebels

Negrenses give bounty for rebels

From the Visayan Daily Star (Aug 18): Negrenses give bounty for rebels

Donors from Negros are the ones putting up a bounty for the neutralization of New People's Army rebels and ISIS-linked local terrorists or extremists, who may attempt to penetrate Negros island, and not the Armed Forces of the Philippines or local government units, Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, Army's 3 rd Infantry Division commander, clarified yesterday .

Aying said an informant who can give information on the location or disposition of NPA rebels, PAGs or other lawless armed groups to the military, that may result in successful operations, will receive rewards, with the amount depending on the number of personalities neutralized.

The bounty only applies to NPA members and other lawless groups existing in Negros, he emphasized.

The move of the Negrense donors, who expressed their concern over the security of Negros, to offer a bounty that will help in the “neutralization” of terror organizations, especially the NPA, among other armed groups, has been welcomed by the Philippine Army.

Military records show that more than 100 individuals, majority of them civilians, have been killed by the NPA in Negros, since 2010.

Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Carlos Zarate, in a statement, said the bounty offer is an “invitation for (an) AFP killing spree.”

“This is condemnable as it is gravely dangerous. It is tantamount to sanctioning murder for a fee and an open travesty of the rule of law,” Zarate said.

Aying said communist rebels, either in active or inactive status, may also avail of rewards if they facilitate the surrender of their comrades.

If they successfully manage to facilitate the surrender of three of their colleagues, they will get P300,000, he added.

The military estimates that there are about 200 NPA operating in Negros.

Aying said he was told by the concerned Negrense donors, whose identities being withheld for security reasons, that they can afford to pay, if those 200 rebels will surrender, and abandon the armed struggle. 

However, Aying said there will a thorough evaluation in giving the rewards.

“We have to be very sure that those subjected to this information are bonafide members of the CPP-NPA, especially the “hardened rebels '” Aying said.

To NPA rebels who may surrender, Aying said the provincial government of Negros Occidental is giving financial and livelihood assistance, and housing units, on top of the national government assistance, as stipulated in its Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

http://www.visayandailystar.com/2017/August/18/topstory6.htm

‘NIR abolition to affect Army coordination'

From the Visayan Daily Star (Aug 18): ‘NIR abolition to affect Army coordination'

The abolition of Negros Island Region will also have an effect on the Philippine Army in the aspect of “coordination” among local government officials in their campaign against communist rebels, according to a senior military official said.

With Negros as a region, you could always put together the two provinces of Negros Occidental and Oriental. But this time, we have to deal with two regions, Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, 3rd Infantry Division commander, said, apparently referring to Regions 6 and 7.

Negros Occidental is now again part of Region 6, while Negros Oriental returns to Region 7.

But what is good, Aying said, is that Negros Occidental and Oriental have already established their joint plans. What we will have to do, is bring Regions 6 and 7 together in putting these plans into action, as the coordinating point of two regions.

The 3ID area of operations includes Western and Central Visayas, as well as NIR.

Aying, who hosted Wednesday night a fellowship among journalist of NIR and Bohol in a hotel in Bacolod City said he will now coordinate with Regions 6 and 7 in all aspects, whether it is security, social or economic development, by bringing them to a planning table, and open up plans already crafted by NIR.

Asked if they are now back to square one in their security campaign plan, Aying said it has only been more than a week since the two Negros provinces separated from Regions 6 and 7.

“I believe that the people, and the coordination or familiarity between populace of Negros Occidental and Region, Negros Oriental and Region 7 are still there.

I don't think that will create much hassle. It's only a matter of adjustment with coordination, working together again and going back to the old structure, and they could adjust in a matter of months

LOCALIZED PEACE TALKS

Aying also welcomed moves from any sector to help facilitate the holding of localized peace talks.

“I highly encourage that,” Aying said, noting that the CPP-NPA national leadership no longer has control of their forces.

If one front or regional organization of the CPP-NPA will do what it wants, they will have their autonomy, he also said.

It is high time that these brothers of ours have to reconcile with the government, work with the mainstream and for both social, economic, political and even constitutional reforms together, Aying added.

“While it is sad that the peace process did not continue, I have strong trust in the government, which is capable of doing social,economic, political and constitutional reforms,” he said.

“All we have to say is for our brothers who have been fighting the government, is just to come . They may not come as a whole group, they may come as a sub-group, to reinforce or help the government find what the real economic, social and constitutional reforms we need, Aying added.

http://www.visayandailystar.com/2017/August/18/topstory2.htm

Photos show China ships fishing near Pag-asa Island

From Rappler (Aug 18): Photos show China ships fishing near Pag-asa Island

CSIS images also show more Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea, even as Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano justifies the presence of Chinese vessels there

'ACTIVELY FISHING.' This photo shows one of two Chinese ships that 'appear to be actively fishing, with their nets visibly in the water,' says the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Photo courtesy of CSIS/AMTI and DigitalGlobe

'ACTIVELY FISHING.' This photo shows one of two Chinese ships that 'appear to be actively fishing, with their nets visibly in the water,' says the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Photo courtesy of CSIS/AMTI and DigitalGlobe

"The presence of ships alone does not mean anything."

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano made this statement on Wednesday, August 16, as he downplayed reports that 5 Chinese ships were spotted near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Cayetano, however, spoke too soon.

Photos released by a Washington-based think tank on Thursday, August 17, showed at least two Chinese ships that "appear to be actively fishing" near Pag-asa Island.

The images came from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a 55-year-old independent think tank based in the US.

In its latest report, AMTI also said at least 9 Chinese fishing ships were seen near Pag-asa Island on August 13.

Earlier, Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano reported only 5 Chinese ships near the Philippine-owned island, also called Thitu.

In its latest report, the AMTI said that "there were 9 Chinese fishing ships and two naval/law enforcement vessels visible" near Pag-asa Island on August 13, "with others possibly under cloud cover."

"It is impossible to know if any of those ships might be affiliated with the maritime militia, but at least two appear to be actively fishing (locations 6 and 8), with their nets visibly in the water," the AMTI said.




NET VISIBLE. Here is another Chinese ship that appears to be fishing, with a net visibly in the water. Photo courtesy of CSIS/AMTI and DigitalGlobe

"There also appears to be a Philippine fishing boat docked at the nearest of the unoccupied sandbars (location 12), possibly sent out from Thitu to investigate the Chinese presence," the AMTI added.

'Highly provocative'

The think tank said the fishing vessels, in locations 3 to 11, "are all located between one and 5 nautical miles" from Pag-asa Island.

Meanwhile, the nearest military/law enforcement ship is located 3.6 nautical miles from the island.



Photo courtesy of CSIS/AMTI and DigitalGlobe

The AMTI pointed out that "ownership of the territorial waters in which these ships are operating is still legally disputed."

Still, the think tank said, "Setting aside whether Chinese ships legally can fish within one nautical mile of Thitu Island, there is no doubt that doing so is highly provocative and runs counter to the narrative of a stable mutually-beneficial new status quo that Beijing has sought to project."

"The fact that law enforcement and naval vessels accompanied the fishermen makes it clear that this was not done without Chinese authorities being aware. At best, they permitted their operation. At worst, they escorted and guarded them," the independent think tank said.

"The number and rapid coordination of naval and coast guard ships suggests that this was purposely organized in advance and was not just an ad hoc response by government vessels that happened to be in the area," it added.

Linked to runway repairs?

The AMTI said that "one possible explanation for the flotilla’s sudden and provocative appearance is that Beijing wanted to dissuade Manila from planned construction" on Pag-asa Island.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said the Philippines allocated at least P1.6 billion ($31.08 million) to repair the eroding runway and construct other facilities there.

"Those upgrades have been delayed, reportedly due to inclement weather, but Lorenzana has made clear that they remain in the pipeline. In light of this week’s events, Manila might feel that those upgrades are even more urgent," the AMTI said.

Cayetano, however, said he is not alarmed at the presence of Chinese ships near Pag-asa Island.

"There are reasons for the presence of certain vessels, but the situation in the area is very stable," Cayetano said on Wednesday.

Earlier, Cayetano also claimed that China was no longer conducting reclamation activities in the South China Sea. He was echoing Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi who said China stopped its island-building activities in 2015

Eventually, the AMTI released photos refuting claims by both Wang and Cayetano.