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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

U.S. DESIGNATES CPP-NPA, ABU SAYYAF AS TERROR GROUPS ANEW


JUNE 3 -The US Department of State says the Abu Sayyaf poses a threat to US interests, citing an oath of allegiance made by its leader, FBI-wanted terrorist Isnilon Hapilon, to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. AP/File photo The Communist Party of the Philippines's armed wing, the New People's Army, as well as the Abu Sayyaf group return to the United States's list of foreign terrorist organizations, according to a report released Friday (Manila time). The US Department of State's Country Reports on Terrorism 2015, released usually every June, named 58 foreign militant organizations linked to terror activities the past year. These groups are also seen to be threats to the security of US nationals, defense, foreign relations and economy. Related Stories Thousands flee as gov't soldiers pursues Abu Sayyaf militants What you need to know about the Abu Sayyaf Communist rebels to discuss peace talks with new gov't First put on the list by the State department in 2002, the CPP-NPA was seen to be behind at least four incidents that led to the deaths of Philippine security personnel the past year. The group was also said to be behind an attack on a Dole plantation in Bukidnon in January last year, burning down the facility and chopped down more than 700 banana trees. Dole is a multinational food company that started in Hawaii. "Over the past few years, CPP-NPA has continued to carry out killings, raids, kidnappings, acts of extortion, and other forms of violence primarily directed against security forces," the report stated. READ MORE...

ALSO: In pushback to U.S., China says ‘has no fear of trouble’ in South China Sea


JUNE 5 -An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Philippine military plane shows the alleged on-going land reclamation by China on mischief reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan on May 11, 2015. REUTERS By Marius Zaharia and Lee Chyen Yee
SINGAPORE - China rebuffed U.S. pressure to curb its activity in the South China Sea on Sunday, restating its sovereignty over most of the disputed territory and saying it “has no fear of trouble”.
On the last day of Asia’s biggest security summit in Singapore, Admiral Sun Jianguo said China will not be bullied, including over a pending international court ruling over its claims in the vital trade route. “We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble,” Sun told the Shangri-La Dialogue, where more than 600 security, military and government delegates had gathered over three days. “China will not bear the consequences, nor will it allow any infringement on its sovereignty and security interest, or stay indifferent to some countries creating chaos in the South China Sea.” The waterway has become a flashpoint between the United States, which increased its focus on the Asia-Pacific under President Barack Obama’s “pivot”, and China, which is projecting ever greater economic, political and military power in the region. The two powers have traded accusations of militarizing the waterway as Beijing undertakes large-scale land reclamation and construction on disputed features while Washington has increased its patrols and exercises. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte says South China Sea policy to be independent of U.S., supports killing corrupt journalists...

AP Lanao del Sur villagers displaced by firefights between military, jihadists
[RELATED: 54 militants killed in Lanao del Sur]


MAY 31 -A Libyan man holds a flag that reads, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger, Ansar al-Shariah," in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 14, 2012.
MARAWI CITY, Philippines - Guns have been silent in the hinterlands of Butig, Lanao del Sur since noontime Monday, but the evacuation of villagers to neutral grounds continued for fear of a repeat of the deadly firefights between soldiers and fanatical Moro jihadists. There are now close to 2,000 evacuees in relief sites far from Butig’s adjoining Barangays Coloyan, Samer, Bayabao, Raya Timbab, Sandab and Ragayan, where Army combatants and religious extremists, led by Abdullah Maute, figured in a series of encounters in the past seven days. Maute and his followers have been boasting of their “allegiance” to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They displayed black ISIS flags as they moved from one barangay to another in Butig to mulct money from villagers and enforce a ruthless Taliban-style Sharia justice system. Col. Roseller Murillo, commanding officer of the Army’ 103rd Brigade here, on Tuesday said members of the group have abandoned their positions after a series of encounters with pursuing soldiers. “Our men are now positioned in the areas they abandoned,” Murillo said. He said clearing operations would continue to ensure that Maute and his men are driven away from the barangays they tried to control despite strong opposition from community officials and Maranaw elders. READ MORE...REALTRED,54 militants killed in Lanao del Sur...

ALSO: Displaced Maranaws in Lanao del Sur reluctant to return home


JUNE 1 -A school building in Butig, Lanao del Sur that Moro jihadists occupied as they fought soldiers advancing from different directions. John Unson
MARAWI CITY — After a seven-day air, artillery and ground offensives Army combatants have driven away the Moro jihadist group that established a shadow government in the affected barangays in Butig, Lanao del Sur. But dislocated civilians are reluctant to return to their villages, apprehensive of their safety. Health officials are scrambling to address the needs of thousands of Maranaws dislocated by the hostilities in Butig between government forces and Moro jihadists. Medics, led by physician Allen Minalang of the Lanao del Sur Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), on Tuesday toured the conflict-stricken Barangays Coloyan, Samer, Bayabao, Raya Timbab, Sandab, and Ragayan to assess the condition of the evacuees. Soldiers and Maranaw jihadists, not covered by the interim ceasefire pact between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, figured in a series of firefights last week in the six adjoining barangays located west of Butig, an impoverished town in the first district of Lanao del Sur. Minalang’s team initially treated sick evacuees on Tuesday and will embark on more extensive medical missions within the week. Minalang said he is thankful to the commander of the Army’s 103rd Brigade, Col. Roseller Murillo, for allowing them to inspect the conflict-stricken barangays. READ MORE...

ALSO: Militants optimistic on peace talks under Duterte
[RELATED: Planned Duterte-Misuari meeting worries Zamboanga City gov't]


MAY 30 -The Anakpawis party-list group said over the weekend that it sees an end to landlessness and foreign monopoly in local politics and economy under the administration of Rodrigo Duterte.
ANGELES CITY, Philippines – Militants have expressed optimism for the resumption of peace talks between the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) and the incoming Duterte government. The Anakpawis party-list group said over the weekend that it sees an end to landlessness and foreign monopoly in local politics and economy under the new administration. Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap cited Duterte’s offer to respect human rights of the warring forces as stipulated under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. “We have long been anticipating for the fundamental causes of social unrest such as landlessness and dominance of foreign monopoly to end,” Hicap said The lawmaker cited Duterte’s plan to free all political prisoners. The CPP-NDF said there are 543 political prisoners, 88 of whom are sick and elderly, 18 are peace consultants and three are facing life imprisonment. READ MORE...RELATED, Planned Duterte-Misuari meeting worries Zamboanga City gov't...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

US designates CPP-NPA, Abu Sayyaf as terror groups anew


The US Department of State says the Abu Sayyaf poses a threat to US interests, citing an oath of allegiance made by its leader, FBI-wanted terrorist Isnilon Hapilon, to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. AP/File photo

MANILA, JUNE 6, 2016 (PHILSTAR) Camille Diola - June 3, 2016 - The Communist Party of the Philippines's armed wing, the New People's Army, as well as the Abu Sayyaf group return to the United States's list of foreign terrorist organizations, according to a report released Friday (Manila time).

The US Department of State's Country Reports on Terrorism 2015, released usually every June, named 58 foreign militant organizations linked to terror activities the past year. These groups are also seen to be threats to the security of US nationals, defense, foreign relations and economy.

Related Stories Thousands flee as gov't soldiers pursues Abu Sayyaf militants What you need to know about the Abu Sayyaf Communist rebels to discuss peace talks with new gov't First put on the list by the State department in 2002, the CPP-NPA was seen to be behind at least four incidents that led to the deaths of Philippine security personnel the past year.

The group was also said to be behind an attack on a Dole plantation in Bukidnon in January last year, burning down the facility and chopped down more than 700 banana trees. Dole is a multinational food company that started in Hawaii.

"Over the past few years, CPP-NPA has continued to carry out killings, raids, kidnappings, acts of extortion, and other forms of violence primarily directed against security forces," the report stated.

READ MORE...

The Armed Forces of the Philippines also attributes to the communist guerillas the deaths of 383 people, including 158 civilians, in encounters with government forces, the report noted.

The US State department said the CPP-NPA has had a "long history of attacking US interests in the Philippines," citing four separate operations in Angeles City that killed three American soldiers.


Communist rebel negotiator Fidel Agcaoili gestures during a rare news conference Thursday, June 2, 2016 in Quezon City, Philippines. Agcaoili said communist guerrillas will demand an end to US military presence in the Philippines as the insurgents and the government of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte brace to resume long-stalled peace talks. AP/Bullit Marquez

Newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed interest in reviving long-stalled peace talks with the CPP, even offering them positions in his Cabinet. The left-leaning organization said Thursday, however, that it will demand an end to US military presence in the country if it were to forge a pact with the government.

The Philippines government estimates CPP-NPA membership to be about 4,000. The State department, meanwhile, also said that the CPP-NPA raises funds through extortion and theft.

'Most violent' in the Philippines

The State department's report, similarly tagging the Mindanao-based Abu Sayyaf as terrorists, dubbed it the "most violent terrorist group operating in the Philippines."

"[The Abu Sayyaf] claims to promote an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago," the report said.

Remaining active since it was first placed on the list in 1997, the Abu Sayyaf was found to be behind road ambush incidents, abduction of locals and foreigners, extortion, public beheadings and assassinations.

In September 2015, the Abu Sayyaf was blamed for the armed abduction of two Canadians, a Norwegian, and a Filipino woman from the Holiday Oceanview Samal Resort on Samal Island. Earlier this year, the group released a video showing its beheading of Canadian national John Ridsdel, earning the condemnation of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

It also beheaded a Malaysian hostage in November last year after demands for ransom were not met.

The report said the Abu Sayyaf poses a continuous threat to US interests, citing an oath of allegiance made by its leader, FBI-wanted terrorist Isnilon Hapilon, to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Besides the CPP-NPA and the Abu Sayyaf, another terror organization identified to be partly operating in the Philippines is the Jemaah Islamiyah, tagged in an attempt to carry out attacks during the visit of Pope Francis to Manila and Tacloban in January 2015. The group is also found to operate in Indonesia and Malaysia.


MANILA BULLETIN

In pushback to U.S., China says ‘has no fear of trouble’ in South China Sea by Reuters June 5, 2016 (updated) Share10 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share39


An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Philippine military plane shows the alleged on-going land reclamation by China on mischief reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan on May 11, 2015. REUTERS By Marius Zaharia and Lee Chyen Yee

SINGAPORE - China rebuffed U.S. pressure to curb its activity in the South China Sea on Sunday, restating its sovereignty over most of the disputed territory and saying it “has no fear of trouble”.

On the last day of Asia’s biggest security summit in Singapore, Admiral Sun Jianguo said China will not be bullied, including over a pending international court ruling over its claims in the vital trade route.

“We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble,” Sun told the Shangri-La Dialogue, where more than 600 security, military and government delegates had gathered over three days.

“China will not bear the consequences, nor will it allow any infringement on its sovereignty and security interest, or stay indifferent to some countries creating chaos in the South China Sea.”

The waterway has become a flashpoint between the United States, which increased its focus on the Asia-Pacific under President Barack Obama’s “pivot”, and China, which is projecting ever greater economic, political and military power in the region.

The two powers have traded accusations of militarizing the waterway as Beijing undertakes large-scale land reclamation and construction on disputed features while Washington has increased its patrols and exercises.

READ MORE...

On Saturday, top U.S. officials including Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned China of the risk of isolating itself internationally and pledged to remain the main guarantor of Asian security for decades.

During a visit to Mongolia on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Beijing not to establish an air defense identification zone over the South China Sea, as it did over the East China Sea in 2013.

Kerry, who will visit China next, said an ADIZ would be “a provocative and destabilizing act”, which would question Beijing’s commitment to diplomatically manage the dispute.

Despite repeated notes of concern from countries such as Japan, India, Vietnam and South Korea, Sun rejected the prospect of isolation, saying that many of the Asian countries present at the Shangri-La Dialogue were “warmer” and “friendlier” to China than a year ago. China had 17 bilateral meetings this year, compared with 13 in 2015.

“We were not isolated in the past, we are not isolated now and we will not be isolated in the future,” Sun said.

“Actually I am worried that some people and countries are still looking at China with the Cold War mentality and prejudice. They may build a wall in their minds and end up isolating themselves.”

COURT DECISION

On the upcoming decision by the international tribunal in The Hague in the case brought by the Philippines to contest China’s claims in the territory, Sun reiterated Beijing does not recognize the court’s authority.

Sun said China wanted to solve the dispute with the Philippines bilaterally and said the door was open for dialogue with incoming President Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte said on Thursday he would not surrender the country’s rights over the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, which China seized in 2012.

Japan’s Minister of Defense Gen Nakatani told reporters all claimants must abide by the ruling or else “Japan will have no choice but to strongly raise its voice from the standpoint of placing importance on the rule of law.”

China claims almost the entire sea. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

“China has the patience and wisdom to settle any disputes through dialogue. We also believe the related countries have the wisdom and patience to make peace,” Sun said. “I’ve always believed that shaking hands is better than clenching fists.”

Vietnam’s deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh warned the rising tensions could lead to an arms race with “disastrous and unpredictable consequences” if not addressed. The United States lifted Vietnam’s arms embargo last month.

Most countries at the summit stressed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight in the waters, through which trillions of dollars in trade is shipped every year.

Sun denied such concerns should be focused on China.

“If there is any restriction …it will definitely not be China’s fault. If you don’t believe it, just wait and see.”

----------------------------------

RELATED FROM JAPAN TIMES

Duterte says South China Sea policy to be independent of U.S., supports killing corrupt journalists ASIA PACIFIC / POLITICS REUTERS'APJUN 1, 2016 ARTICLE HISTORY PRINT SHARE


Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte speaks as Cabinet members look on during a press conference in Davao on Tuesday. Duterte's war on crime appears to have begun ahead of him taking office, rights activists said as they voiced concern over a spate of police and vigilante killings. | AFP-JIJI

MANILA/DAVAO PHILIPPINES AFP-JIJI, REUTERS – Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday his country would not rely on long-term security ally the United States, signaling greater independence from Washington in dealing with China and the disputed South China Sea.

The Philippines has traditionally been one of Washington’s staunchest supporters in its standoff with Beijing over the South China Sea, a vital trade route where China has built artificial islands, airstrips and other military facilities.

Duterte, the tough-talking mayor of Davao who swept to victory in a May 9 election, has backed multilateral talks to settle rows over the South China Sea that would include the United States, Japan and Australia as well as claimant nations.

Asked by reporters if he would push for bilateral talks with China, Duterte replied: “We have this pact with the West, but I want everybody to know that we will be charting a course of our own. “It will not be dependent on America. And it will be a line that is not intended to please anybody but the Filipino interest.”

Also Tuesday, Duterte said Tuesday that corrupt journalists are legitimate targets of assassination, prompting outrage from Philippine media groups.

Duterte told reporters that there is justification for killing journalists who take bribes or engage in other corrupt activities. “Just because you’re a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch,” Duterte said when asked how he would address the problem of media killings in the Philippines after a reporter was shot dead in Manila last week.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines described the comments as “appalling,” conceding that there are corruption problems in the media industry but saying that this does not justify murdering reporters.


PHILSTAR

AP Lanao del Sur villagers displaced by firefights between military, jihadists John Unson (philstar.com) - May 31, 2016 - 4:15pm


A Libyan man holds a flag that reads, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger, Ansar al-Shariah," in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 14, 2012.

MARAWI CITY, Philippines - Guns have been silent in the hinterlands of Butig, Lanao del Sur since noontime Monday, but the evacuation of villagers to neutral grounds continued for fear of a repeat of the deadly firefights between soldiers and fanatical Moro jihadists.

There are now close to 2,000 evacuees in relief sites far from Butig’s adjoining Barangays Coloyan, Samer, Bayabao, Raya Timbab, Sandab and Ragayan, where Army combatants and religious extremists, led by Abdullah Maute, figured in a series of encounters in the past seven days.

Maute and his followers have been boasting of their “allegiance” to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

They displayed black ISIS flags as they moved from one barangay to another in Butig to mulct money from villagers and enforce a ruthless Taliban-style Sharia justice system.

Col. Roseller Murillo, commanding officer of the Army’ 103rd Brigade here, on Tuesday said members of the group have abandoned their positions after a series of encounters with pursuing soldiers.

“Our men are now positioned in the areas they abandoned,” Murillo said.

He said clearing operations would continue to ensure that Maute and his men are driven away from the barangays they tried to control despite strong opposition from community officials and Maranaw elders.

READ MORE...

Two soldiers were killed while nine others were wounded in the week-long operation against the group.

“We have confirmation from sources on the ground, including barangay folks, that 37 terrorists were killed in the operation,” Murillo said.

Murillo said their operation against Maute and his followers was precipitated by their beheading of two Visayan captives they snatched near the town proper of Butig about two months ago and for destroying power relay pylons of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines using improvised bombs.

“Our efforts to neutralize this group were just overtaken by our election security duties. Now that the elections are over, we shall resume with our security mission to address these terrorists,” Murillo said.

--------------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

54 militants killed in Lanao del Sur Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - May 31, 2016 - 12:00am


JUNE 3 -Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman for the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the military launched the operation last Thursday against the terrorist group led by Abdullah Maute and his brother Omar. The bandits were allegedly inspired by Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a terrorist group based in Indonesia. File photo

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – At least 54 Islamic militants and two soldiers were killed while nine other troopers were wounded in military operations that started last week in Butig, Lanao del Sur, the Armed Forces reported yesterday.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman for the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said most of the slain bandits were killed by air strikes from Air Force planes and Army artillery fire.

He said 22 of the 54 bandits were killed last Saturday in Barangay Ragayan, Butig.

Tan said the military launched the operation last Thursday against the terrorist group led by Abdullah Maute and his brother Omar.

The bandits were allegedly inspired by Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a terrorist group based in Indonesia.

Tan said the group was involved in the recent kidnapping of sawmill operators and employees in Butig.

The military said the Maute group was also responsible for attacking military outposts and villages in the town.

He said the target of the military operations were the terrorists responsible for the beheading of two local farmers this month.

Tan identified the slain soldiers as Privates First Class Danilo Allaga and Mark Fernand Ortaliza.

“The troops continue to advance toward the enemy stronghold and defeat the local terrorist groups in the area,” said Tan yesterday.

Tan said the joint operations include policemen, the Air Force and the Philippine Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, the 5th Mechanized Battalion and 51st Infantry Battalion.

Government forces have been bombing the Maute group’s lair in Barangay Ragayan in Butig using OV-10 Bronco light attack aircraft and 81 mm mortars.

READ MORE...

Tan said the Westmincom deployed units backed by the Air Force. He claimed that latest reports from the field showed that 54 bandits have been killed and scores wounded in the enemy side while two soldiers were killed and nine other troopers were wounded.

“The operations continued to neutralize all local terrorist group members in the area,” Tan said. He said the military had secured nearby communities to prevent the militants from taking refuge in the villages and mixing with the residents.

More than a thousand Maranaw villagers were displaced by the ongoing military operation.

Reports from the office here of Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. said the affected residents from barangays Coloyan, Samer, Bayabao, Raya Timbab, Sandab and Ragayan have fled their homes and are now in evacuation centers in the adjoining barangays Crossing Samer, Sandig and Malungon.

Provincial social welfare employees will start distributing food rations to evacuees on Tuesday. With John Unson, Cecille Suerte Felipe


PHILSTAR

Displaced Maranaws in Lanao del Sur reluctant to return home 0 Share John Unson (philstar.com) - June 1, 2016 - 2:47pm


JUNE 1 -A school building in Butig, Lanao del Sur that Moro jihadists occupied as they fought soldiers advancing from different directions. John Unson

MARAWI CITY — After a seven-day air, artillery and ground offensives Army combatants have driven away the Moro jihadist group that established a shadow government in the affected barangays in Butig, Lanao del Sur. But dislocated civilians are reluctant to return to their villages, apprehensive of their safety.

Health officials are scrambling to address the needs of thousands of Maranaws dislocated by the hostilities in Butig between government forces and Moro jihadists.

Medics, led by physician Allen Minalang of the Lanao del Sur Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), on Tuesday toured the conflict-stricken Barangays Coloyan, Samer, Bayabao, Raya Timbab, Sandab, and Ragayan to assess the condition of the evacuees.

Soldiers and Maranaw jihadists, not covered by the interim ceasefire pact between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, figured in a series of firefights last week in the six adjoining barangays located west of Butig, an impoverished town in the first district of Lanao del Sur.

Minalang’s team initially treated sick evacuees on Tuesday and will embark on more extensive medical missions within the week.

Minalang said he is thankful to the commander of the Army’s 103rd Brigade, Col. Roseller Murillo, for allowing them to inspect the conflict-stricken barangays.

READ MORE...

Led by Abdullah Maute, the extremists, now on the run, had tried to establish a puritan Islamic community in the six barangays.

Minalang said around 9,000 villagers in six barangays in Butig were affected by the hostilities.

The Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team (HEART) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Tuesday dispatched a team to help the provincial government of Lanao del Sur extend relief and rehabilitation services to evacuees.

Maute and his followers have been boasting of their “allegiance” to the Independent State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The military had earlier forced them out of their first ever enclave in the border of Barangays Poctan and Ragayan.

The military launched its second tactical operation against them when they again displayed black ISIS flags and roamed in the hinterlands of Butig to mulct money from villagers and enforce a ruthless Taliban-style Sharia justice system.


PHILSTAR

Militants optimistic on peace talks under Duterte 0 Share By Ding Cervantes (The Philippine Star) - May 30, 2016 - 12:00am


The Anakpawis party-list group said over the weekend that it sees an end to landlessness and foreign monopoly in local politics and economy under the administration of Rodrigo Duterte.

 ANGELES CITY, Philippines – Militants have expressed optimism for the resumption of peace talks between the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) and the incoming Duterte government.

The Anakpawis party-list group said over the weekend that it sees an end to landlessness and foreign monopoly in local politics and economy under the new administration.

Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap cited Duterte’s offer to respect human rights of the warring forces as stipulated under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

“We have long been anticipating for the fundamental causes of social unrest such as landlessness and dominance of foreign monopoly to end,” Hicap said

The lawmaker cited Duterte’s plan to free all political prisoners.

The CPP-NDF said there are 543 political prisoners, 88 of whom are sick and elderly, 18 are peace consultants and three are facing life imprisonment.

READ MORE...

“We hope for a decline in human rights abuses, which often victimized the peasant sector due to military occupation in remote communities,” Hicap said.

As of September last year, 215 or 73 percent of the victims of extrajudicial killings were from the peasant sector, including indigenous people like the lumads of Mindanao.

In January, a lumad student in Davao del Norte, a peasant leader in Davao Oriental and a sugar worker in Negros Occidental were executed.

“We demand not just the freedom of the political prisoners, but also the dropping of charges against the NDF consultants,” Hicap said.

Anakpawis is urging various sectors to support the peace process and oppose any derailment efforts by the fascist sections of the military and the current government.

------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Planned Duterte-Misuari meeting worries Zamboanga City gov't Share Roel Pareño (philstar.com) - May 31, 2016 - 4:21pm


Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari File photo

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines -- The city government is in a quandary over its rebellion case against fugitive Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte scheduled to meet him in Sulu.

Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar called on the government to let the law prevail but said the city and its people will respect Duterte's decision.

“Whatever action the incoming president will do, it is really his prerogative as president of the Republic of the Philippines,” Salazar said.

The city and the national government filed rebellion charges and cases for violation of the International Law, genocide and other crimes against humanity against Misuari and close to 200 suspected MNLF members in connection with the September 2013 siege that left more than 200 people dead.

The 23-day siege also led to the dislocation more than 120,000 residents and the destruction of at least five barangays.

More have since died at relocation camps.

Hundreds of residents who remain at transitory sites have yet to return to permanent shelters. Reconstruction of the devastated sites has not been completed despite a promise by President Benigno Aquino III that the displaced will be able to go home.

The Aquino administration set aside P3.89 billion in 2013 for the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the affected villages.

Salazar said that the court handling the cases has issued a gag order on the city's legal office, leaving the local government in a quandary.

“What do we do and how should we act on this?” Salazar said.

The mayor also pointed the at the perceived inaction by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) on a request for guidance on issues on how to deal with Misuari, the MNLF and the separate Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“We still continue even the battle is done silently in court, we are still always what is in our minds are the victims that have suffered,” Salazar said.

“We will allow the law to prevail on that matter,” she added.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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