Archive for the ‘insurgency’ Category

Buhay si Randy (2)

May 20, 2008

Guilders,
Ngayong umaga, inilabas ng 5th INfrantry Division ng Philippine Army sa Camp Melchor de la Cruz sa Upi, Gamu, Isabela.  Inaresto raw nila si Randy at hindi dinukot kaugnay sa pagpatay kay martial law torturer at rapist Rodolfo Aguinaldo.
So mula Maynila ay dinala siya roon para i-interrogate.  Tapos na ang media presentation at dinadala ngayon si Randy sa Tuguegarao dahil nandun ang kaso.  Itutuloy daw siya muna sa Provincial Jail sa Tuguegarao.
Nakita ni Manang Perla, ate ni Randy, mula sa malayo.  Nasa maayos na kalagayan naman daw si Randy at walang obvious na bugbog sa katawan.
May mga kababayan kaming nakausap si Randy bago ang prescon.  Pinapaalam ni  Randy na sinabi niya raw sa mga dumukot sa kanya:  “Patayin niyo na lang ako, pero wala kayong maririnig na impormasyon galing sa akin!”
Mabuhay si Randy!  Mabuhay ang mga magigiting na Guilders!  Mabuhay ang nakikibakang sambayanang Pilipino!
Pero mga kasama, wala pang abogado si Randy.  Wala yung kamag-anak naming abogado.  Tulong!
Ngayon, may nagmungkahi nang mag-organisa ng madaliang bisita kay Randy sa provincial jail.
Kailangan ng suportang pinansiya at sasakyan!
Advertisements

Fresh wave of military ops render 32 Lumad families homeless

May 19, 2008

DAVAO CITY – Human rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao on Tuesday expressed its concern over the condition of the 32 families or about 149 Ata-Manobo and Matigsalog individuals who have been displaced because of the fresh wave of military operations in the hinterlands of Compostela town in Compostela Valley Province.

According to Karapatan-southern Mindanao secretary general Kelly Delgado the evacuees, who are now temporarily sheltered at the Compostela town gymnasium, came from Barangay Mangayon, Compostela. Delgado also reported that at least 83 of the displaced are children.

Delgado said that the residents left their village at around 9PM of Monday, May 12, after massive military operations were launched by the 1001st Brigade under Lt. Col. Alan Luga. According to the evacuees, military operations believed to be against the New People’s Army started at around 3PM of that same day. The residents fled for fear that they will be caught in the crossfire or be subjected again to military abuses, harassments and intimidations.

“Fear from the military drove the residents out of their village. And the people have the reason to fear the soldiers of the government because of their (military) bad record of violating basic rights of people. The military is ruthless and this ruthlessness is hounding the civilians who are often suspected as supporters of the NPA or worse, as members of the communist movement,” Delgado said.

Delgado said that the military has, in the past, frequently been reported to be behind “beating up and torturing civilians whenever they fail in their counter-insurgency activities.”

He cited the fate of five lumad residents of Mangayon at the hands of the military 28th Infantry Battalion under the command of Lt. Col. Bienvinido Datuin. These victims later filed complaints against the soldiers at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for physical assault, torture, harassment/threat/intimidation and violations of children rights .

“It is really alarming that the military operations against the NPA shatter the lives of the civilians, especially the lumad who have been consistently deprived of the appropriate attention that they need. The war of the military brings nothing but misery to lives of the civilians who are helpless and left with no other choice but to endure the ugly repercussions of war,” Delgado said.

Delgado called on the government, particularly the municipal and provincial leadership, to initiate urgent action to stop military operations in the area to prevent their constituents from suffering the effects of government-led atrocities.

“We demand the stop of the military operations as these lead to bloodshed and ruin the lives of the hapless civilians,” Delgado said.(DavaoToday)

Looking for Randy Malayao: Urgent Alert Action!

May 19, 2008

URGENT ACTION ALERT • URGENT ACTION ALERT • URGENT ACTION ALERT

INITIAL INFORMATION

UA Date: 19 May 2008

UA Title:  Peace consultant for NDFP in Cagayan reported missing in Pasig City, Philippines

UA Case: Enforced Disappearance


Victim/s: Randy Felix P. Malayao

  • 39 years old, male
  • Resident of Minanga Norte, San Pablo, Isabela
  • Peace consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Cagayan Valley, Northern Philippines
  • Former youth leader: Vice President for the Visayas of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (1992-1995) and Former Editor-in-Chief, Ang Mangingisda (The Fisherman), official student publication of University of the Philipppines in the Visayas, Miag-ao in Iloilo (1990) where he attained a BS Fisheries degree.

Place of Incident: In the vicinity of Pasig City

Date of Incident: 15 May 2008, around 9:00 P.M.

Alleged Perpetrators: Suspected MIG agents

Possible motive: He was listed in 2003 as co-accused in the killing of martial law henchman Cagayan Congressman Rodolfo Aguinaldo. The New People’s Army claimed to have meted death sentence to Aguinaldo in 2001.

Account of Incident:

On May 15, 2008 at around 8 o’clock in the morning, Randy Felix P. Malayao, 39 years old, was having dinner with his friends at a restaurant in Ortigas, when they noticed three men who were suspiciously looking at them (all three men were sporting crew cuts and wearing communication equipments). This made them feel uncomfortable since they heard one of the men, said ‘positive sir,’ while still looking at them.

They finished dinner and went their separate ways. At around 9 P.M., Randy boarded a taxi on his way to a relative’s house in Pasig. He sent a text message to his friends and relatives that he is on board a taxi and on his way to the relatives’ place.

When his relatives inquired about his location, Randy replied that he was somewhere in Rosario, Pasig and stuck in traffic. By 9:17 P.M. he sent a message that he was being followed.

It was the last message received from him and his relatives have not heard from him since. He did not make it to his relatives’ house.

They have again tried to call him several times on his mobile phone but it kept ringing. Sometimes it rings and turns busy and other times they hear music and different sounds as if the phone was being held close to a radio device and then disconnected after a few seconds. The phone could no longer be reached by noontime of May 16.

Malayao’s safety and his life could be in jeopardy. State security forces may have a motive and they certainly do have the capability and opportunity in view of 193 documented cases of enforced disappearances in the Philippines so far since 2001.

Malayao was listed in 2003 as a co-accused in the killing of martial law henchman Cagayan Congressman Rodolfo Aguinaldo. Malayao denied his involvement. The New People’s Army claimed to have, under their justice system, meted death sentence to Aguinaldo in 2001 for alleged “crimes against the people.”

Several weeks ago, officers of the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army bragged over local radio station Bombo Radyo in Cauayan City in Isabela that it was only a matter of time when Malayao would fall into their hands.

A quick reaction team (QRT) was dispatched by Karapatan and Desaparecidos since Sunday, March 17 after family and friends sought their help.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send letters, emails or fax messages expressing indignation and calling for:

1. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into the enforced disappearance of Randy Felix Malayao.

2. The arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the crime/s of Extra-judicial Killings.

3. The immediate and proper indemnification of the victims; and

4. The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions.

You may send your communications to:

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

President of the Republic

Malacanang Palace,

JP Laurel St., San Miguel

Manila Philippines

Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80

Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968

Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462

E-mail: corres@op.gov. ph / opnet@ops.gov. ph

Jesus D. Dureza
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
*Office of the Peace Process
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Mobile:
Fax:+63 (2) 635 9579

osec@opapp.gov. ph

Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr.

Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue
Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
Fax:+63(2) 911 6213
osnd@philonline. com

Hon. Raul M. Gonzalez
Secretary, Department of Justice

Padre Faura St., Manila

Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721
Trunkline  523-84-81 loc.214
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Email  sad@doj.gov. ph

Hon. Leila De Lima

Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex

Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City

Philippines
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: drpvq@chr.gov. ph

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the said government official to our address below.

URGENT ACTION Prepared by:

KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)-National Office
1 Maaralin cor Matatag, Brgy. Central, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES
Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146
Emails: <karapatan.pid@ gmail.com> / <karapatan.admin@ gmail.com>
Website: www.karapatan. org

Campus press joins calls to surface missing alumnus

May 19, 2008

May 19, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reference:
Vijae Alquizola, Deputy Secretary-General, 09162034402

Former CEGP vice-pres for Visayas possibly abducted on May 15

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), on behalf of its more than 700 member campus publications nationwide, strongly condemns the enforced disappearance of Randy Malayao, former CEGP Vice-President for Visayas in 1991-1994.

Malayao is believed to have been abducted by unidentified military elements last May 15.

On the night of May 15, Malayao rode a taxicab from SM Megamall to Rosario, Pasig to visit a relative. His sent a text message to the relative that he noticed some suspicious-looking men tailing him. That was his last text message. He has not been heard of, contacted or seen since.

“We have strong reason to believe that Malayao’s abduction is yet another handiwork of the military. Malayao has no enemies to speak of, but we would not be surprised if he is considered an ‘enemy of the state’ for his political convictions and continuous work for the oppressed. We demand the immediate surfacing of Malayao, a proud CEGP alumnus and one of the Guild’s most dynamic former student leaders,” said CEGP Deputy-Secretary General Vijae Alquizola.

Alquizola also said the pattern and manner of Malayao’s forced disappearance is similar to that of another CEGP alumnus’, Jonas Burgos. Burgos was also abducted by possible military elements at a bustling mall’s food court. He has been missing since.

The CEGP is presently holding its 68th National Student Press Convention and 34th Biennial Student Press Congress in Davao City. “We vow to raise the alarm among our member publications nationwide and join our concerned alumni, Malayao’s friends and relatives in elevating the clamor for his immediate surfacing,” Alquizola said.

The CEGP is set to hold an indignation rally to condemn Malayao’s enforced disappearance on May 28 in Davao City.

Malayao was the Editor-in-Chief for two consecutive years of Mangingisda, the official campus publication of UP Visayas in Miag-Ao. He is also a brother and alumnus of the Beta Sigma fraternity in the UP Visayas.

He was elected Vice-President for Visayas during Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino’s term as CEGP President in 1991-1994. ###

COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES
Rm 305, National Press Club Bldg., Intramuros,
Manila, Philippines
Tele Fax.: 524-3937
Email: cegpnational@ yahoo.com
“To Write is Already to Choose”

TF Usig delists 669 cases from its ‘extrajudicial slay’ list

May 18, 2008

TASK Force Usig, a PNP team investigating extrajudicial killings, has stricken off its list 669 alleged incidents involving the slaying of activists and journalists for three reasons: the alleged victims were found to be alive, the identified victims do not exist, or the victims were killed for non-political motives.

The 669 appears on the list of the militant group Karapatan.

Interior assistant secretary Danilo Valero said of Karapatan’s total of 836 slain activists and reporters as of May 2007, only 121 were included in the PNP list. Forty-six of these cases are still being verified.

Of the 669 cases excluded, TF Usig said 47 were false reports; 34 pertained to non-existent persons as certified by barangays and local civil registrars; six were alleged victims who turned out to be alive; 97 were cases of legitimate armed encounters; 23 were Abu Sayyaf terrorists killed in the foiled Bicutan jailbreak; 15 involved agrarian disputes; 20 involved personal motives; 4 were suicides; 9 involved labor disputes; and one was a victim of an insane relative.

Valero said the rest of the more than 400 other excluded cases involved 309 incidents where the victims had no known affiliations; 23 were civilians killed by the CPP-NPA; nine killed by the MILF Lost Command, two by vigilante groups, and others involved motives connected with illegal drugs, gambling, squatting, illegal logging, mistaken identity, robbery with homicide, rape with homicide, tribal war and business rivalry.

Director Jefferson Soriano, Task Force Usig commander and concurrent head of the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detection Management, said the cases excluded “were properly investigated by the local police and excluded from the Task Force Usig list as they did not fall within the context of ‘extrajudicial killing’ based on its special political context and definition.”

Soriano said the task force has so far verified 113 murders involving political activists and 28 journalists who were killed in relation to their work. He said 86 cases of these cases have been filed, 46 of which are now on trial and four have resulted in convictions; 63 involved slain political activists and 23 journalists.

The report blamed the deaths of 28 political activists on communists, 13 on military and paramilitary elements, and five on civilians with alleged links to the military.

Of the 23 cases of reporters killed, the report listed the various suspects as communists, two military men, three policemen and several civilians.

As of the third week of April, TF Usig said 29 investigated cases involved as suspects CPP-NPA cadres, 15 military and paramilitary men, and three policemen.

By end-April, arrest warrants have been issued against the alleged killers of Norberto Cabigayan of Western Samar who was identified as a CPP-NPA supporter and revolutionary tax collector. In the case of lawyer Norman Bocar, Bayan Muna regional coordinator for Eastern Samar, two suspects have already been charged with his murder at the Borongan regional trial court.(Malaya)

Remembering Rey

May 18, 2008

The military may have cut off his head and mangled his face and body.  But Rey Cayago’s face and name could never be forgotten by his colleagues, his family, and the migrants and their families whom he had helped.

BY EMILY VITAL
HUMAN RIGHTS
Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 15, May 18-24, 2008

There is a face to the growing number of those killed under the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. But more than the face is a name, as well as a story of struggle and commitment.

Rey Cayago’s face, name and story are worth remembering.

“We were threatened by soldiers that our community will be transformed into another Marag Valley and Tabbak. They (accused us of being) members of the New People’s Army (NPA). They showed us pictures of community destruction.  They even told us that they were going to bring in soldiers who were trained by (retired Gen. Jovito) Palparan,” said a resident of Pananuman in Tubtuba, Tubo, Abra.

A 29-member fact-finding team went to Pananuman, Tubtuba, Tubo, Abra, early this month to investigate and document cases of human rights violations. Members of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance and Indigenous People’s Rights Monitor said in a statement that what they saw reminded them of Marag Valley and Tabbak.

Marag valley in Cagayan was known to have been a “no man’s land” due to heavy military operations which included aerial bombings, shelling, food blockade and forced evacuations. Tabbak, on the other hand, is a community near Pananuman which was once called the “no-man’s land” of the Cordillera. For more than a month, the soldiers are doing the same to the residents of this community.

Desecration of the body

Since May 12, soldiers belonging to the 50th Infantry Battalion under the 503rd Infantry Brigade headed by Lt. Dalven Abdul Rashid Avila and Lt. June Pedregoza have conducted aerial bombings and mortar shelling in the community.

The residents said that on March 24, Avila was heard bragging about cutting a member of the NPA into pieces. He threatened community leaders that he will do the same to them if they do not stop supporting the NPA or refuse to give information about it.

Based on the statement released by members of the fact-finding team, the indigenous peoples who have a high regard and respect for the dead asked Avila to allow them to retrieve the body of the man said to be a member of the NPA to give him a decent burial or bring him to his family. Avila refused.

The residents were only able to locate the body of the alleged NPA member and give it proper burial last April 21, or three weeks after the incident.  The body was later identified as that of Rey Cayago.

The team accompanied Cayago’s family and exhumed the body on May 4.

In an interview, Yboy Macatiag, Migrante staff and member of the fact-finding team said,
“Ayon sa medical team, pinugutan ng ulo si Rey. Nakita ang kanyang ulo ilang metro ang layo sa kanyang katawan. Basag ang likod na bahagi ng kanyang bungo. Yupi at di na makilala ang kaliwang parte ng kanyang mukha. Nawawala rin ang kanyang kanang kamay at kanang paa.” (The medical team said that Rey’s head was cut off. His head was found a few meters away from his body. The back of his skull was severely crushed and fragmented. The left part of his face was beyond recognition. His right hand and right foot are missing.)

In a joint statement, the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance and the Indigenous People’s Rights Monitor denounced the desecration of Cayago’s body and the AFP’s refusal for the body to be retrieved and given a decent burial. “These are blatant violations of the Protocols of War embodied in various Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Laws as well as in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Connie Bragas-Regalado, Migrante International chairperson said, “What they did to Rey proves how vicious state terrorism is. No words can describe their atrocities.”

Regalado said, “Naging mas malinaw ang pasismo para sa mga migrante dahil sa ginawa nila kay Rey. Masigasig silang nagkampanya laban sa political killings. Iba pa rin ang dating kung galing sa sektor ang biktima.” (Because of what they did to Rey, migrants now see fascism more clearly. They have persistently campaigned against political killings but it is different if the victim comes from the sector.)

Advocate of migrant rights

Cayago worked as a full time staff of Migrante from 2005 until December last year.

Regalado said, “Lagi siyang nangunguna sa pag-mobilize sa community. Matiyaga siyang nagpapaliwanag ng mga isyu.” (He is always first in mobilizing community residents to join rallies. He patiently explains to them many important issues.)

Cayago was active in the campaign to save Marilou Ranario, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Kuwait who was sentenced to death.

In her speech during Cayago’s wake, Marilou’s sister Rowena said in tears, “Itinuring niya kaming kapamilya. Lagi siyang nandiyan para sa amin lalo na nang magkaproblema kami sa ate ko. Sinasamahan niya kami palagi. Hindi man lang ako nakapagpasalamat sa kanya. Pero hindi pa naman siguro huli ang lahat.” (He treated us as if we are part of one family. He was always there, especially when my older sister had a problem. He would always accompany us. I never had the opportunity to thank him. But I think it is not yet too late.) Looking at Rey’s picture, she said, “Rey, thank you sa lahat (for everything).”

Macatiag who worked closely with Cayago described the latter as a good organizer and advocate of people’s rights. He said that Cayago was instrumental in the campaign against the demolition in Bgy. Holy Spirit in Quezon City, the community assigned to them.

Regalado said, “Lagi siyang nakangiti. Wala kang masasabi sa kanyang aktitud sa gawain at pakikitungo sa mga kasama. Wala siyang reklamo.” (He was always smiling. There is nothing in his attitude toward work and in his relationship with colleagues that needs to be criticized. He never complained.)

Inspiration

Amy Cayago, eldest sister of Rey, described Rey as a good brother and thoughtful person. “Noong una, hindi ko siya maintindihan. Nagpapaliwanag siya palagi. Sa kanya ko natutuhan bakit tayo ganito, bakit kailangang lumaban.” (At first, I could not understand him. He would always discuss with me. From him I learned why we are like this, why we have to fight.)

She added, “Masakit para sa aming mawala siya. Pero alam ko, masaya siya sa desisyon niya. Pag naiisip ko siya, lumalakas uli ang loob ko. Sa kanya ako kumukuha ng lakas ng loob.” (Losing him is painful to us. But I know, he was happy with his decision. When I think of him, I stop feeling weak. I draw my strength from him.)

Santiago Cayago, Rey’s father, could only say to those extending condolences, “Tuloy lang. Tuloy lang ang laban.” (Just continue. Just continue the fight.) Bulatlat

Looking for Randy Malayao (3)

May 18, 2008

Guilders:
Press conference tomorrow for Randy Malayao, May 19, Bayan conference room, ten am.
To call for his safe return are his Manong Isidro Malayao, fellow Guilders Teddy Casino and Raymund Villanueva, and Desaperacidos spokesperson Aya Santos.  Prescon moderator is Guilder Ruth Cervantes.
Sa mga media practitioners na Guilders, tulong-tulong tayo dito.  Sana macover niyo.
We also need lawyers!
We also need financial contributions.  We also need cars in the next few days kasi malawak ang iikutin para tuntunin ang mga lugars na pinanggalingan niya at maaring pinagdukutan sa kanya.  Huli siyang nakita ng mga kaibigan sa Ortigas Center, papuntang Pasig, Cainta o Marikina.  Mag-iikot din sa mga kampo ng militar at pulis sa Kamaynilaan at Rizal.  Sino ang pwedeng magpahiram, kahit hanggang nitong Linggo lang?
Mag-isip na kung paano makakatulong!
Baka makatulong ito para magalvanize tayo:
http://bukaneg. blogs.friendster .com/my_blog/ 2005/11/youve_ got_to_do. html
Inline text below:
Of all CEGP officers in my time, Randy Felix P. Malayao was about the only officer who did not play coy when asked to sing.  One of the things I remember about him the most was his singing of this song.


I still meet with him a few times .  In the meeting when he informed me of an important event I asked him to write down the lyrics of this song.  He said he first heard it sung when he attended an Asian Students Association conference in Jakarta.  Most probably, he said, it is Indonesian in origin.
I do not know if the song is indeed Indonesian.  As far as I am concerned, it is Randy’s song.  It is my song, too.  It is the song of the many CEGP alumni and many others who are doing more than just thinking, symphatizing and understanding.

YOU’VE GOT TO DO MORE THAN THAT

I.

I think when I see all those pictures about
The children without any food
How hard it must be for their mothers at home
Who just do not know what to do
With children so thin and their ribs sticking out
A terrible plea in their eyes
I tremble to think what starvation is like
But I do try to symphatize.

Chorus:

You’ve got to do more than that
You’ve got to do more than that
For symphathizing is all very well
But you’ve got to do more than that

II.

The men with the truncheons and helmets are out
They’re trying to break up the mob
Of people whose skins are just colored a bit
And all they want is a job
It’s only for whites, that’s the sign they put up
And this is not even their land
I tremble to think what starvation is like
But I do try to understand

Chorus II:

You’ve got to do more than that
You’ve got to do more than that
For understanding is all very well
But you’ve got to do more than that

III.

How dreadful a sight Hiroshima became
With people all broken and maimed
And blinded and mad, so the broadcast announced
It will end all wars so they claimed
But why are they making some bigger bombs yet?
And what are they piling them for?
Should not someone know what the end of it all
But I try not to think of war

Chorus III.

You’ve got to do more than that
You’ve got to do more than that
Forgetting to think is all very well
But  you’ve got to do more than that

Editorial Cartoon: Peacemaker?

May 18, 2008

Peace man, peace!

Dureza is new press secretary; Esperon assumes Dureza’s post

May 18, 2008

MANILA — Malacañang announced Sunday the appointments of presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza and former Armed Forces chief of staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr. as press secretary and peace adviser, respectively.

Dureza and Esperon, who just retired on May 12, will assume their new posts on June 16.

Dureza will replace Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye who was appointed earlier to the Monetary Board while Esperon will assume the post Dureza is vacating.

Bunye will continue to act as presidential spokesman and concurrent political adviser until July 3. It is still uncertain if President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will name a separate spokesman and political adviser.

Bunye said Dureza, a lawyer and former congressman of Davao, would still wind down his current work before assuming his new post.(SunStar)

AFP taps help of private security agencies

May 18, 2008

THE military’s Task Force Zamboanga (TFZ) has tapped the assistance of the different security agencies to help them and the local police in the maintenance of peace and order in Zamboanga City.

TFZ chief Colonel Darwin Guerra said the assistance of the security agencies, whose guards are detailed in almost every business establishment downtown, is a big help to them in monitoring the presence of lawless elements.

Guerra said it would be easy for the security guards to detect the presence of lawless elements since most if not all of the business establishments downtown have private security personnel posted on the entrance and exit doors.

“All they have to do is to report to us, the military or police, for proper action and to avert any attempt of sabotage in our place,” Guerra said.

Guerra however did not disclose whether there is an eminent threat to the city. He simply explained that it is better to be prepared at all times.

Three foreign embassies have earlier issued travel advisory warnings for their citizens against traveling to Mindanao due to terror threats on foreign nationals.

Guerra also urged the village officials to conduct monitoring in their respective places to deny entry of any lawless groups in their villages.(SunStarZamboanga)

Looking for Randy Malayao (2)

May 18, 2008

Fellow Guilders:

Kaugnay ng apela ni Ruth Cervantes sa baba sa suporta sa paghahanap kay Randy Felix P. Malayao, CEGP vice president for Visayas, 1991-1994:

Binubuo natin ang Friends of Randy group.  Sabi ni Ruth ay ok na si Teddy.  I also asked other colleagues and friends tulad ni Jaz Lumang ng Ibon at Cherry Clemente ng Anakpawis.  I also asked the help of Panay’s Karen Faith Villaprudente para sa batchmates at brods sa Beta Sigma sa Miag-Ao.

Erel, Jon, Bos P, “Gang”, Panay and Visayan Guilders, atbp, please help.

May nakahandang bank account para tumanggap ng inyong suportang pinansyal sa paghahanap sa ating kapatid.  Maaring sumagot sa personal kong email addy para rito o para sa anupamang may kaugnayan sa paghahanap natin kay Randy.

Maraming salamat!
Bukaneg
VP for Luzon, 94-96

Kinakapatid ni Randy

KMU warns: Anti-militant ads will abet killings

May 18, 2008

MANILA, Philippines – A labor group on Friday criticized actor-satirist Manuel Urbano Jr. (a.k.a. Jun Urbano) for starring in a government bank infomercial depicting militant groups as troublemakers even as it said that the recent killing of a peasant leader was the ‘opening salvo’ of a new campaign against militants.

The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) warned Urbano he could be held responsible if the commercials of the Development Bank of the Philippines trigger another wave of extra-judicial killings.

“It has been observed that for the last few days a black propaganda against militant legal organizations, purportedly a patriotic commercial TV ad, have been shown in TV programs with Mr. Shooli (Jun Urbano) as lead actor,”the KMU said.

“With flags of KMU and League of Filipino Students providing ad backdrop, Jun Urbano warns off militant organizations and disparage concerted mass actions and people power-type mobilizations in affecting social changes,” the KMU added.

The statement was posted on Friday night in its website.

Urbano gained fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s with his portrayal of the “Mr. Shooli,” a Mongolian trying to learn the ways of the Philippines.

Mr. Shooli, who “starred” in the television and movie satire “Mongolian Barbecue,” poked fun at government officials during its run.

But now, KMU said the DBP commercial declares the illusory “pagbabago’y nasa sarili” or self-remolding as alternative solution to Philippine crisis.

“By allowing himself to be used in such devious commercial, and in the context of the menacing Oplan Bantay Laya, Jun Urbano contributes in putting in danger the safety of the progressive activists. And he could be held guilty and accountable in future extra-judicial killings by the military,” KMU said.

It added the ad was reminiscent of a similar move in 2007 where an anti-KMU black propaganda full-length VCD starring Bembol Roco was circulated in factories, communities and rally areas.

KMU said no solution to the extra-judicial killing of peasant leader Celso Pujas of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas can be expected from President Arroyo, whom it described as “the tyrant herself, the practitioner of state terrorism.”

“And no real and honest investigation can be expected from the PNP, the AFP and the department of justice because their preoccupation is to cover up and let the death squads continue their dirty and murderous acts and discredit the human rights organizations and fact-finding missions,” it said. – GMANews.TV

Wayward & Fanciful By Gail Ilagan

May 17, 2008

All about money
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews) — On a road trip some weeks back, we detoured for a brief stop at an Army camp in the Visayas. That was where I first heard about the program for cash incentives to combat units to clear their areas of responsibility of all enemy fronts and insurgent influence.
The troops I talked to didn’t think the plan was in any way surprising. In fact, maybe it was old hat for them. This was after all part of the Central Command where the present model being applied in expanded version to the whole of the Army organization was first applied and – quote, unquote – found to be effective.
Cash incentives for troops are not new. At a certain level, area commanders have operations fund that some have used for this purpose. I have always suspected, for example, that Oakwood couldn’t have happened had the unit commanders in the field been more transparent with the disbursement of cash incentives for successful operations. I just hope that PA chief LtGen. Victor S. Ibrado’s going public with the institutionalization of this anti-insurgency scheme means that guidelines are in place for transparency.
LtGen. Ibrado used to head the Cencom where he had authorized follow on support contingent on CMO approach for sustaining the gains. This required the troops to work closely with the LGUs to prevent cleared areas from being recovered by enemy fronts. I still have to see on paper the guidelines for the organization-wide follow on program, but I expect that the same formula had been worked in. A significant portion of the reward money is likely to go to community development to benefit rebel returnees and civilian volunteers, among others.
Admittedly, this would make necessary the extension of the soldiers’ service to tasks that are arguably beyond his mandate – setting up coops, training rebel returnees for livelihood, planting mangroves, building latrines. But, hey – don’t look now, but haven’t the soldiers been doing those and more for a long time now?
Would the carrot boost troop morale? I asked a fighter long rotting in the jungles and he said for the prize/price of coffee, he’ll run after “all those identified who have fought the troops or have been involved in terror attacks, ambush of troops, extortion and exacting revolutionary tax, bombings, burning of buses and/or equipment, murder, rebellion, in wanted list identified as member of the reds and other armed groups.” All those, huh?
Yes, he said, so okay — coffee not necessary. He was ready to go then. Money, no issue, he added. But, and he turned wistful, it would be nice to have a travel fund for his troops to be able to go home some time when work is done. Tarzan want home.
And people wonder why I like talking to Tarzan.
Kidding aside, with the Philippine Army finally institutionalizing a scheme that had been unevenly applied in the ranks for years, it raises concern for many sectors. While it does not come as a surprise to soldiers, it’s too much to take in for many soldier watchers. There are some of us who are horrified with this development as it is perceived to evolve our men into mercenaries fighting for bounty.
Examine that, and we’ll find a mindset where we expect our men to die for close to nothing. There are some who think that the cash incentives would reinvigorate militarized violence – yes, I admit to taking out the map to see which areas would need resources for evacuation of civilians and which areas would soon be hugging the headlines with the merry exchange of propaganda.
Until that coffee comment came in though, I missed doing the math. It’s P50,000 for clearing a barangay.      Take out half for CMO, about a quarter for unit enhancement, divide the rest and what have you got?
Sure, it goes up to P300,000, but same rule applies. And the incentive would require more men, too.
Ay, tinuod – mangape na lang ta, bay, ako bayad.
If anything, the program will get our men to be better at documenting their part in the war theater enough to pass the scrutiny of the evaluators. Researchers like seamless documentation. Historians of the future would, too.
Still, I’d like to see the program on paper. I’m operating here on the notion that LtGen. Ibrado’s plan is intended to professionalize the ranks, in which case, it’s more likely to be designed along those lines. My email’s open if there be takers.
(Wayward and Fanciful is Gail Ilagan’s column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Ilagan teaches Social Justice, Family Sociology, Theories of Socialization and Psychology at the Ateneo de Davao University where she is also the associate editor of Tambara. You may send comments to gail.ilagan@gmail.com. “Send at the risk of a reply,” she says.)

Fighting with MILF stops, but tensions remain high

May 17, 2008

With Malaysian peace monitors already pulled out from Mindanao, a fragile truce holds sway in the island

By Al Jacinto, Correspondent

ZAMBOANGA CITY: Fighting ceased Friday between Muslim rebels and government troops in the southern Philippine island-province of Basilan, but tension is still high as both sides accused each other of violating a fragile truce.

“There is still tension because of the skirmishes in Basilan. We are more vigilant now than ever after soldiers attacked our forces in the province,” said Mohagher Iqbal, chief peace negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). (ManilaTimes)

Manila is currently negotiating peace with the MILF. But the rebel group accused the Arroyo government of delaying the peace talks after negotiations were stalled last year over demands for ancestral domain.

The ancestral domain is the single most important issue in the peace negotiations before the MILF can reach a political settlement, and with the talks stalled, the hope of ending more than three decades of bloody hostilities remains dim.

Manila said the provisions of the peace agreement should be within the framework of the Constitution.

Exchanging accusations

The fighting in Basilan just off Zamboanga City was triggered by attacks on rebels working on a farm, Iqbal said. But the military accused the MILF of attacking a group of marines securing a road project in Tipo-Tipo town.

“The rebels [were the ones] who first attacked our security forces and the troops only retaliated. But the fighting is not as serious as what the MILF claimed. There are exchanges of sniper fires between our troops and the rebels and we have no reports of casualties,” said Marines Chief Gen. Mohammad Dolorfino.

The fighting erupted after Malaysia, which is brokering the peace negotiations, pulled out its truce observers last week from Mindanao because of the slow progress of the negotiations.

Iqbal said security forces also raided the house of Mike Dalem, an MILF political officer, in Buluan town in Maguindanao province in the main island of Mindanao.

“Dalem was on the mosque praying when soldiers swooped down on his house and confiscated munitions owned by the MILF,” he said.

It was not immediately known whether the raid was with a court order or not. Iqbal said the raid was illegal and violated the ceasefire agreement the government signed with the MILF.

The rebels have repeatedly warned that fighting could erupt if Malaysia pulls out its truce observers.

The Philippine military has been building up its forces in Mindanao the past weeks and the MILF fears that renewed hostilities may break out, because troops were reported massing near areas controlled by rebels in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur provinces.

More troops deployed to secure mining firm

May 16, 2008

KORONADAL CITY — A company of soldiers has been deployed to the mines development site of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. to contain lingering security threats from the New People’s Army, a village official confirmed Thursday.

Rodelo E. Sitcharon, village chieftain of Pula Bato in Tampakan, South Cotabato told a public forum for the passage of the South Cotabato environment code that soldiers are beefing up security measures in the mines development site.

Arroyo Watch: Sun.Star blog on President Arroyo

“We, the leaders of the three barangays, have requested for the deployment of AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] personnel within the mines development site due to insurgency threats,” he said, adding the soldiers started duty in the area only last month.

Sitcharon said they made the request following last New Year’s Day’s attack on the exploration base camp of Sagittarius in Barangay Tablu by the communist rebels.

Mining critics hit the militarization of the mining area, claiming this would give rise to human rights abuses.

In a separate interview with reporters, Sitcharon said the company-size deployment was on top of the detachment set-up near the firm’s base camp manned by militiamen under the supervision of the Army.

He added the company-sized deployment is not on a stationary mode but scours the mountains to ward off the communist rebels.

The New People’s Army earlier warned the company to brace for more attacks.

Roy D. Antonio, Sagittarius senior coordinator for corporate affairs, who graced the public forum, told reporters that the company has its own security force involving at least 100 private guards.

“We have nothing to do with the deployment of soldiers in the mines development site. That’s the initiative of the village leaders,” he said. (SunStarGenSan)

CPP: Military ‘bounty’ to lead to fake reports, atrocities

May 16, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — Communist rebels slammed the military practice of giving “follow-through” funds to units as an incentive in the counterinsurgency campaign, calling it a “bounty” to be used as a “pretext for more corruption and brutalities.”

Military officials have confirmed initiating the giving of the incentives as part of efforts to meet President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s 2010 deadline to crush the communist insurgency.

Under the “follow-through” funds scheme, a unit can receive as much as P300,000 for dismantling a New People’s Army (NPA) guerrilla front.

And, while saying the granting of the funds is not official policy, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said he would not discourage it either.

But Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) spokesman Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal claimed in a statement that the financial incentive only highlighted the military’s “failure to stem the rising tide of the revolutionary movement.”

“This scheme is only bound to produce more fake reports, false raids and more atrocities against innocent civilians,” Rosal said.

He said the incentive scheme is not new “except that it is now being publicized and openly admitted.”

“Ever since, AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] field commanders, in collusion with their high command and underlings, have regularly and blatantly been fabricating reports about operations supposedly conducted and victories allegedly gained against the…NPA just to collect their supposed expenses for operations that never took place,” the rebel spokesman said.

Rosal also claimed the military resorts to reporting the “elimination” or “neutralization” of rebels to mask human rights violations such as “massacres and illegal arrests of activists in the legal arena, suspected supporters of the revolutionary movement, and innocent civilians.”

He also accused the military of staging fake surrenders to pocket funds earmarked for surrendered rebels. (PDI)

NPA commander’s son killed by troops in ComVal firefight

May 15, 2008

NABUNTURAN, Compostela Valley Province — A ground commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported last Thursday that one of three rebels killed in a series of encounters in Mangayon, this province is a son of a dreaded New People’s Army (NPA) commandere.

In his report to Maj. Gen. Leo Joggy Fojas, area command chief of the AFP’s Southern Mindanao 10th Infantry (Agila) Division, Col. Allan Luga, commanding officer of the Army’s 1001st Infantry Brigade, stated the dead rebel was identified as certain “Pitoy Castillo,” of Pasian, Monkayo town, Compostela Valley.

Luga said Pitoy is a son of Rudy Castillo, alias “Commander Jason,” said to be commander of the “Pulang Bagani Command 5” of the CPP-NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Committee.

Luga said that Pitoy died in a gun battle with combat troops in Mangayon, Compostela town, this province. The encounter lasted for almost two days, he said.

He said two other fatalities are still unidentified. “Unaccounted number of seriously wounded rebels were carried away by the fleeing communist insurgents,” he said.

Col. Rolando Bautista, spokesman of the 10th Division, and Maj. Rodrigo O. Sosmena, chief information officer of the AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMincom), said battalions of the 1001st Brigade were still pursuing the rebels in the mountains of ComVal

They said the first encounter happened about 4:30 p.m. last May 12.

Bautista and Sosmena said the first encounter resulted in the death of one rebel and the seizure of an M-14 rifle.

At 6 p.m., some 20 rebels clashed with the pursuing soldiers, resulting in the death again of another NPA rebel and confiscation of an M-16 rifle.

Last Tuesday at about 7:30 a.m., another fierce gunbattle erupted in nearby municipality of Montevista.

Another rebel was also killed.

The spokesmen said no government soldier was killed or wounded in the three encounters.

As this developed, helicopter gunships and attack war planes were dispatched to extend air cover for the pursuing ground troops. (ManilaBulletin)

NPAs seize 10 firearms from banana plantation

May 15, 2008

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/14 May) – New People’s Army rebels confiscated Monday 10 firearms from the security group of a banana plantation owned by the Lorenzo family in Calinan District, Davao City, the group’s statement claimed.

The communist rebels under the 1st Pulang Bagani of the Merardo Arce Command carted away four M14, three Garand, one Baby Armalite and one M4 rifles and an M79 grenade launcher.

In a press statement, rebel spokesman Rigoberto Sanchez said the raid was timed simultaneous with the turnover of command for the new leadership of the Armed Forces, to show the AFP’s ineptness in the region.

The rebels also abducted former Army Sergeant Jose Manero, who heads as the plantation’s security force and provide close-in security for banana magnate Rafael Lorenzo, during the raid.

A week ago, the rebels ambushed a military truck in Barangay Ilustre, President Roxas in North Cotabato, killing three soldier of the 39th Infantry Battalion and wounding 21 others.

Sanchez claimed that they already have carted 36 firearms from at least 62 tactical offensives launched against the military since April in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao City and North Cotabato.

Gov. Zubiri backs creation of Bukidnon-NorthCot military task force

May 15, 2008

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/10 May) – Bukidnon Gov. Jose Zubiri is backing the resolution passed jointly by the provincial boards of his province and that of North Cotabato calling for the creation of a military task force to run after communist rebels operating in both provinces, which hopefully would do away with the bureaucracy in the military that would limit one unit from crossing another unit’s area of responsibility when pursuing highly mobile rebels.

The resolution was passed shortly after the ambush staged by the New People’s Army’s (NPA) in President Roxas town in North Cotabato that killed three soldiers and wounded 21 others.

The latest attack against the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion took place just a few kilometers from North Cotabato’s boundary with Bukidnon’s Damulog town.

The proposed joint task force would be spearheaded by the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), particularly the 1002nd Infantry Brigade base in Malungon town in Sarangani.

“We have to take bold steps because we can’t allow the NPAs to just crisscross both provinces and abused the inhabitants,” Zubiri said over radio.

The governor said that based on reports reaching him, 500 rebels are operating and crisscrossing the boundary of Bukidnon and Cotabato province.

He admitted, however, that the areas un the influence of the rebels have been neglected by government, the reason why residents are being exploited by the rebels.

With the task force, board member Rey Pagal (2nd District, Cotabato) said that the problem of “military bureaucracy” would be addressed. He noted that at present, soldiers belonging to separate commands could not just cross each other’s area of responsibility as freely as the rebels.

“If we put limitations, then the operations will not be a success. We must open our boundaries,” Zubiri stressed.

The NPA’s Front 53 based in the mountains of Arakan and Bukidnon admitted the ambush against the Army. A day after said incident, the NPAs also raided a paramilitary detachment and disarmed a barangay official whom they accused of supporting the military. (MindaNews)

Philippines ‘Confused’ in War Vs. Terror, Separatism

May 14, 2008

Counterinsurgency vs Counter-Terrorism in Mindanao


An MILF fighter in Sultan Kudarat. | Read the ICG’s report here.

Jakarta/Brussels, 14 May 2008: The U.S. and the Philippines need to refocus energies on peace processes in Mindanao or they risk new hostilities between government forces and insurgents.

The Philippines: Counterinsurgency vs. Counter Terrorism,* the latest report from the International Crisis Group, warns that U.S.-backed security operations in the southern Philippines are confusing counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism and risk pushing the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) – their target — into the arms of the broader insurgencies in Mindanao, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

“The ‘Mindanao model’ of combining military operations with civic action operations against the ASG has been widely heralded as a success, but the gains could be short-lived”, says Kit Collier, a consultant for Crisis Group. “The model involves using counterinsurgency techniques for counter-terrorism goals, but the only way the Philippines will effectively manage domestic terrorism is to secure the cooperation of the MILF and MNLF – and that requires concrete progress toward formal peace agreements.”

The urgency of finalizing agreements is even more acute since the Malaysian government announced last month that it was withdrawing from an international monitoring team that has kept the lid on conflict in Mindanao since 2004.

The report urges the Philippines government to revive the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG). Designed to facilitate information-sharing between the Philippines government and the MILF, AHJAG was critical to the prevention of conflict escalation in 2005-2007 as the search for terrorists intensified. After a six-month hiatus, its mandate was formally extended in November 2007 but is not yet fully restored. A similar arrangement should be developed with the MNLF. But the leadership of both insurgencies will only be willing to provide information on terrorists in their midst as part of a political endgame, and the Philippines government is stalling while the U.S. appears more focused on economic aid than political agreements.

“The number of terrorists in the Philippines is small relative to the mass-based insurgencies in which they take cover”, says John Virgoe, Crisis Group’s South East Asia Director. “But the ASG and its allies remain dangerous because of their potential to drag the latter back into war.” (PinoyPress)

Soldiers captured by NPA now worry over losing their job

May 14, 2008

After their release from NPA captivity where they were investigated for possible crime against the people, two AFP soldiers now face another investigation from their AFP superiors.


COMPOSTELA’S BIG GUN. Compostela Governor Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy poses to the media while holding a high-powered rifle owned by the New People’s Army during the release on May 6 of two soldiers held captive as “prisoners of war” by the guerrillas. The NPA released the soldiers to Uy in Compostela town. (davaotoday.com photo by Barry Ohaylan)

Compostela, Compostela Valley — Two army sergeants held prisoners of war (POWS) by the New People’s Army (NPA) for two weeks said they were uncertain of their future after their release.

Sgt. Huberto Corbita, 47, of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) K9 unit and Sgt. Napoleon Gerasmio, 41, of the Army Reserve Command, expressed doubt they’d be taken back to work by the AFP after two weeks of captivity by the NPA.

Lt. Col. Bienvenido Datuin, commanding officer of the 28th Infantry Battalion, said the two soldiers will have to undergo a thorough military investigation after two weeks in the rebels’ custody. “The decision to either let Gerasmio and Corbita resume work or not will be decided by the concerned headquarters,” he said.

He assured, though, that whatever happens, the AFP will take into consideration the service rendered by the soldiers in deciding whether or not to let them stay with the Armed Forces.

The two sergeants were separately arrested in a checkpoint mounted by the NPA at Sitio Mabatas, Upper Ulip in Monkayo town on April 24. They were released through the NPA’s custodial unit, the 5th Pulang Bagani Company (5th PBC), in barangay (village) Ngan of Compostela, Compostela Valley Province some four hours away from Davao City on Tuesday, May 6.


CHECK-UP. Dr. Daniel Lu, vice-mayor of Sto. Tomas, examines the prisoners of war Sgt. Napoleon Gerasmio and Sgt. Huberto Corbita during their release on Tuesday, May 6. Dr. Lu does not see any sign that the soldiers were maltreated. (davaotoday.com photos by Barry Ohaylan)

“I have been in service for 18 years. I wish to continue my work until I retire,” Corbita, said. Gerasmio who has been in the service for 21 years said he also wanted to stay with the AFP.

“If their decision will not favor me, I would look for another source of living,” Gerasmio said.

But Corbita and Gerasmio were grateful to their captors for finally freeing them. They said their release was inevitable because they knew they have not committed grave crimes against the people, which was also confirmed by the NPA after the rebel group’s investigation. The NPA also assured them that nothing bad will happen to them while under the NPA custody.

IN MOTION. Compostela Valley province Governor Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy watches as members of the New People’s Army’s 5th Pulang Bagani Company fall in and sing the Internationale after the soldiers’ release. (davaotoday.com photo by Barry Ohaylan)

“The NPA promised me that I will be freed,” Corbita said. “We were treated with the rights and privileges due us as prisoners of war,” Gerasmio said.

Gerasmio added that the NPA custodial unit always let them eat their meals first before everybody else during mealtime. “We were also provided clothes,” said Gerasmio, who only had a pair of shorts and a t-shirt when he was arrested.

Corbita said the NPA adhered to the international humanitarian law regarding the proper treatment of prisoners of war.

REUNION. Jocelyn Corbita embraces her husband, Sgt. Huberto Corbita, after he was released from 12 days of captivity by the New People’s Army. Jocelyn says she is relieved that her husband was not hurt. (davaotoday.com photo by Barry Ohaylan)

Dr. Daniel Lu, conducting the medical examination on Gerasmio and Corbita during their release, confirmed.

“I don’t see any sign of physical maltreatment against them,” Lu, the vice-mayor of Sto. Tomas town, said.

Lu said he has not seen any cuts or bruises on the soldiers, and that their body movements, including their blood pressure, were normal.

One of the members of the NPA platoon said that the NPA strictly adheres to the international protocols, especially the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, in treating prisoners of war.

Col. Bien Datuin, commander of the 28th Infantry Battalion-AFP, insists there is nothing to thank the NPA for. It was the result of the military’s mounting pressure and local government efforts. (davaotoday.com photo by Barry Ohaylan)

“We have been respecting these protocols despite the GRP’s (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) continuous violation,” said the member of the 5th PBC who called himself Tim.

The Merardo Arce Command of the NPA released a statement declaring that Gerasmio and Corbita were released on humanitarian grounds. So far, the two soldiers were the latest POW the NPA’s held captive and released in an area known for its history of bloody confrontation between government troops and the Communist rebels.

On May 8 last year, the NPA released Sgt. Albert Baludoya, the Aliwagwag Cateel detachment commander of the 72nd Infantry Cadre Battalion under the AFPs 10th Infantry Division. Baludoya was held as a POW for less than a month. The NPA released him on humanitarian grounds.

HAPPY MEAL. Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy treats the released prisoners of war to a lunch. From left are Dr. Daniel Lu, Gov. Uy, Sgts. Napoleon Gerasmio and Huberto Corbita. (davaotoday.com photo by Barry Ohaylan)

Compostela Valley province Governor Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy, who facilitated the release, said he’s happy that the soldiers are finally released by the NPA.

But Uy also condemned the NPA for abducting soldiers. “First, it’s very difficult for the families of the hostages. It’s a traumatic experience for them,” he said.

Although the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has tagged the Communist movement as terrorists, Uy still opted to take part in the safe release of the soldiers from their NPA captors.

“It’s a call of duty. I have to protect the lives of my constituents,” he said.

ON GUARD. Members of the New People’s Army’s 5th Pulang Bagani Company guard the area for the safe release of their captive. (davaotoday.com photo by Barry Ohaylan)

The governor also said he will do the same even for people who are not his constituents when a similar thing happens within his province.

Corbita’s wife Jocelyn thanked the NPA for freeing her husband. “I’m very happy that they did not hurt him,” she said.

LIGHT TALK. Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy (second from left) chats with a member of the New People’s Army who promptly left the area after the release. (davaotoday.com photo by Barry Ohaylan)

Army can’t locate Manero

May 14, 2008

ARMY soldiers are still scouring the mountains of Davao City and Bukidnon in a bid to rescue the retired military man abducted by the New People’s Army (NPA).

Master Sergeant Jose Manero, brother of controversial priest-killer Norberto Manero was abducted last Sunday in Calinan.

As of this writing Tuesday, the soldiers still have not found traces of retired Master Sergeant Jose Manero, brother of controversial priest-killer Norberto Manero.

Earlier reports claimed that rebels release Sergeant Manero but military authorities were saying this is untrue as they are still trying to locate him as of this writing.

Colonel Rolando Bautista, spokesman of the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division, confirmed they did receive information that Manero was released, but this claim was not verified, thus the military believe Manero is still a captive of the rebels.

Bautista said their rescue and hot pursuit operation against the group of Leoncio Pitao alias Kumander Parago is still ongoing.

When asked if the Manero brothers, Edel and Norberto, along with their armed supporters are also conducting their own rescue operation, Bautista refused to comment.

The Maneros were earlier quoted as saying that they will not stop running after the rebels until their brother is released safe and unharmed.

The Maneros are known anti-communist crusaders in North Cotabato back in the 80’s and 90’s.

Norberto was jailed for the death of Italian priest Tulio Favali in 1985 and was released in jail early this year.

His stay in the penitentiary was marked with controversies including instances when he was found to be out of detention and in the presence of high government officials.

The abduction of Norberto’s brother, Jose, was said to be related to reports that the Maneros are here in Davao in a bid to revive the anti-communist Alsa Masa of the 1980s. (SunStarDavao)

MILF Rejects Gov’t Proposal on Truce Overseeing Body

May 13, 2008

As Malaysia begins pullout from peace monitoring team

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has rejected a proposal by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to tap the services of the Bishop-Ulama Conference (BUC) in monitoring the implementation of the ceasefire between the government and the Moro revolutioinary group.

BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 14, May 11-17, 2008

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has rejected a proposal by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to tap the services of the Bishop-Ulama Conference (BUC) in monitoring the implementation of the ceasefire between the government and the Moro revolutionary group.

In a statement posted on the website www.luwaran.com, Khaled Musa, deputy chairman of the MILF Committee on Information, said the government’s proposal was “cheap” and “a let-down to men of faith like the bishops and the ­ulamas.”

“Making them sweat and sacrifice to maintain peace and order like policemen after the government intentionally (defiled) the peace process is absurd,” Musa also said.

Musa cited the experience of Fr. Eliseo Mercado Jr., who served as a truce observer from 1997 to 2000.

“(But) he ended up castigating the government for willfully making a mockery of the ceasefire and the peace process,” Musa said. “Now, the Malaysians are about to go.”

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza announced the government’s intention to tap the BUC as ceasefire monitor in the GRP-MILF peace negotiations as Malaysian delegates prepared to pull out, starting May 10, from the International Monitoring Team (IMT) which is tasked to observe and monitor the cessation of hostilities between the two parties to the negotiations as well as the implementation of socio-economic projects related to the talks.

The IMT – which is composed of delegates from Malaysia, Brunei and Libya – was deployed to several areas in Mindanao in 2004. Malaysia, which facilitates the GRP-MILF peace negotiations, had the biggest contingent in the 60-member IMT.

An initial group of 29 Malaysian delegates left Mindanao on May 10. The remaining 12 are set to follow by August.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, who is part of the government’s national security cluster, has admitted that the Malaysian team’s pullout is an “obstacle” that would have a “psychological impact” on the peace negotiations, even as he stressed that “all is not lost here.”

Malaysian facilitator Othman Abdul Razak was reported as saying on May 3 that the GRP-MILF peace negotiations “will not move forward” if the GRP kept insisting that the talks be conducted in accordance with “constitutional processes.”

Ancestral domain

Last December, the GRP-MILF peace negotiations reached a deadlock over the ancestral domain issue.

The ancestral domain issue, which was first discussed only in 2004 or some eight years after the talks started, has turned out to be the most contentious issue in the GRP-MILF peace negotiations.

The MILF last year was proposing a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) that would be based on an ancestral domain claim of the Bangsa Moro over Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan.

The GRP had insisted that areas to be covered by the BJE other than the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) should be subjected to a plebiscite. This repeatedly led to an impasse in the peace negotiations with the group.

The impasse was broken only in November last year, when the GRP and the MILF reached an agreement defining the land and maritime areas to be covered by the proposed BJE.

Things seemed to be looking up after that, causing lawyer Eid Kabalu, then MILF spokesperson, to make media statements to the effect that they expected a final agreement to be signed by mid-2008.

But all hopes for forging a peace pact between the GRP and the MILF were dashed last December, when the peace talks hit a snag following the government’s insistence that the ancestral domain issue be settled through “constitutional processes” – a phrase which according to MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, had been inserted into the agreement without their consent.

A history of oppression and struggle

Moro historian Salah Jubair traces the roots of the present conflict in southern Philippines to the U.S. annexation of Mindanao and Sulu into the Philippine territory in 1946. Jubair argues that the Bangsa Moro is a people with a socio-political, economic, and cultural system distinct from that of the Filipino people.

The inclusion of Mindanao and Sulu in the scope of the 1946 “independence” grant to the Philippines paved the way for large-scale non-Muslim migration to the two islands. This large-scale migration, which began in the 1950s, brought with it the problem of land grabbing.

At some point the government even instituted a Mindanao Homestead Program, which involved giving land parcels seized from Moro peoples to landless peasants from the Visayas islands and Luzon and also to former communist guerrillas who availed of amnesty.

This was intended to defuse the peasant unrest and the revolutionary war that was staged in the late 1940s and early 1950s by the communist-led Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (HMB or People’s Liberation Army), which was basically a peasant army.

The Jabidah Massacre triggered widespread outrage among the Moros and led to the formation of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) that same year. The MNLF, led by former University of the Philippines (UP) professor Nur Misuari, waged an armed revolutionary struggle against the GRP for an independent state in Mindanao.

The Marcos government, weighed down by the costs of the Mindanao war, negotiated for peace and signed an agreement with the MNLF in Tripoli, Libya in the mid-1970s. The pact involved the grant of autonomy to the Mindanao Muslims.

Conflicts on the issue of autonomy led to a breakdown of talks between the GRP and the MNLF in 1978, prompting a group led by Dr. Salamat Hashim to break away from the MNLF and form the MILF. Since then, the MILF has been fighting for Moro self-determination.

In 1996, the MNLF signed the Final Peace Agreement with the GRP, which created the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as a concession to the group. That same year, the MILF began peace negotiations with the GRP.

While the peace agreement with the MNLF supposedly holds, armed skirmishes between the AFP and MNLF did not stop. On Nov. 19, 2001, Misuari declared war on the Arroyo government for allegedly reneging on its commitments to the Final Peace Agreement. The MNLF then attacked an Army headquarters in Jolo. Misuari was subsequently arrested in Sabah, Malaysia for illegal entry and was turned over to the Philippine government by Malaysian authorities. He is currently under house arrest.

Meanwhile, the GRP-MILF peace talks have repeatedly bogged down on the issue of ancestral domain, mainly because the GRP has frequently insisted on resolving it within “constitutional processes.” This does not sit well with the MILF. Bulatlat

Editorial Cartoon: Huwarang Ina Awardee

May 11, 2008

Huwad Na Ina

NPA releases soldiers after days in captivity

May 8, 2008

AFTER DAYS in captivity, communist rebels finally released to authorities Tuesday morning the two soldiers they abducted last April 24 after the successful negotiations initiated by the provincial government of Compostela Valley.

Lt. Colonel Joselito Rolando Bautista, commanding officer of the public relations office of the 10th Infantry Division based in Panacan, said Governor Arthur Uy personally fetched Sgt. Napoleon P. Gerasmio of the Army Reserve Command and Sgt. Huberto C. Corbita of the Special Operations Command from the members of the New People’s Army Front Committee 20 in Sitio Salvacion, Barangay Ngan, Compostela, Compostela Valley, after 12 days in captivity.

He said the soldiers were subsequently turned over to Lt. Colonel Bienvenido Datuin, commanding officer of the 28th Infantry Battalion, at a local hotel in Compostela town 12:30 pm for debriefing.

“The army appreciates the effort of the local government executives who facilitated the release of the soldiers.  After the agonies that their families suffered, the soldiers can again join their families, happily,” Bautista said.

He said the army will not stop in its security operations against the rebels so that the people in the region can live in peace, harmony and prosperity.

The rebels, on the other hand, cited humanitarian grounds as the basis for the release of the soldiers.

“We have given due consideration to the appeals made by their respective families and those emanated from well-meaning friends in the various sectors including those from the GRP local government units,” a statement by Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the Merardo Arce Command-Southern Mindanao Region, posted at the rebel website said.

Earlier, the rebels  assured the families of the non-commissioned officers abducted on April 24 in Sitio Mabatas, Barangay Upper Ulip, Monkayo, Compostela Valley of humane treatment while under their custody.

Sanchez confirmed the soldiers were in their custody after they were taken by the members of the rebel front committee 20 under a certain Ka Lalay.

He said the two soldiers were being treated as prisoners of war and were subjected to interrogation to determine any culpability for serious violations of the human rights and international humanitarian law based on their participation in past military operations.

“They are being given humane and lenient treatment befitting their status as POWs.  Such is in accordance with the NPA’s implementation of Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions, the GRP- NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAR-HR-IHL) and the NPA’s Three Rules of Discipline and Eight Points of Attention,” Sanchez added.
(Mindanao Times)