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'BE READY TO FIGHT': DUTERTE ENDS CEASEFIRE WITH CPP-NPA
[RELATED: AFP
to launch rescue operation for NPA captives]
[RELATED(2): Duterte tags CPP-NPA-NDF as terrorists;]


FEBRUARY 3 -President Rodrigo Duterte President Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP)
President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday ordered the lifting the government’s unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA). Duterte said he ordered Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Eduardo Año on Thursday night to terminate the ceasefire effective Friday night, February 3. “Kaya kagabi I decided, I called General Año and said, ni-lift ko ‘yung ceasefire tonight. Wala ng ceasefire. (Last night, I decided (and) called General Año to lift the ceasefire tonight. There is no more ceasefire),” he said in a speech in North Cotabato. READ MORE...RELATED,
AFP to launch rescue operation for NPA captives... RELATED(2)  Duterte tags CPP-NPA-NDF as terrorists...

ALSO: Rody scuttles peace talks w/ NPA; orders govt peace panel “fold up the tents and come home.”[RELATED: Palace - Peace talks halt ‘deeply disappointing’ On video- President tells released NDF leaders: You are now fugitives]


FEBRUARY 5 -Norman and Nelia Alejo grieve at the wake of their son 2nd Lt. Miguel Victor Alejo, who was killed in an encounter with communist rebels in Davao Oriental on Feb.1. President Duterte visited the wake at the St. Peter’s Chapel in Panacan, Davao City the other night.
A day after lifting the unilateral ceasefire, President Duterte announced last night that he was terminating formal peace negotiations with communist rebels. In an interview, Duterte said he was ordering the government peace panel to “fold up the tents and come home.” He issued the statement hours after his spokesman expressed hope for substantial progress in the peace talks despite the lifting of the unilateral ceasefire. “Peace talks will remain canceled unless there is a compelling reason that will benefit the interest of the nation,” Duterte told journalists during his visit to his parents’ tombs in Davao City. He had lifted the ceasefire effective yesterday after the New People’s Army killed three soldiers and kidnapped three more in separate incidents in recent days while the NPA’s own truce was supposed to be in place. Duterte noted that the government had been trying to discuss peace with the rebels since the administration of Fidel Ramos. READ MORE...RELATED, Palace - Peace talks halt ‘deeply disappointing’ On video- President tells released NDF leaders: You are now fugitives...

ALSO: NPA's 'lawless' activities caused lifting of ceasefire - DND Chief
[RELATED: Talk while fighting? Reds still hopeful]


FEBRUARY 4 -Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana condemned communist rebels for their "lawless" activities. AP/File
The Department of National Defense on Friday blamed communist rebels for a hitch in peace talks, which were resumed last year after breaking down during the Aquino administration. In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana criticized the New People's Army for extortion, abduction and attacks on government forces that he said caused the deaths of civilians and soldiers. Lorenzana blamed the violence instigated by the rebels as the reason the "promising start to achieving peace has ended." The secretary of defense also said that he had already instructed the military to be on high alert and to continue protecting the communities under their respective jurisdictions. "I have instructed the chief of staff to place our troops on high alert and to continue their protection of the communities under their care, wherever they are," Lorenzana said. READ MORE...RELATED, Talk while fighting? Reds still hopeful...

ALSO: NDF insists - Free jailed comrades
[RELATED: Wave of NPA attacks continues Military troops in Mindanao placed on high alert]


FEBRUARY 5 -Killed in service. President Rodrigo Duterte condoles with the family of Lt. Miguel Victor Alejo who was killed in one of the New People’s Army's 15 surprise operations as they canceled the five-month-old ceasefire with the government. Malacañang Photo
COMMUNIST leaders continued to demand the release of captured communist rebels even after staging surprise attacks on government forces and calling off a five-month-old ceasefire that was announced August last year. Hours after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered government troops to prepare to resume counter-insurgency operations, chief National Democratic Front negotiator Fidel Agcaoili demanded that the government release about 400 captured communist rebels for peace talks to continue. “On the release and amnesty of political prisoners, the NDF maintains that this is a matter of justice and obligation under the [Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law signed in 1998 or CASER],” Agcaoili said. “Some of these political prisoners have languished in jail for more than 10 years without conviction, in violation of the right to speedy trial as provided for in the [Philippine] constitution,” he said. READ MORE...RELATED, Wave of NPA attacks continues Military troops in Mindanao placed on high alert...

ALSO: EX-DFA CHIEF SAYS ‘Non-appointment of PHL envoy to US sends disturbing message’
[RELATED: Duterte not yet keen on sending PH envoy to US]


FRBRUARY 3 -DEL ROSARIO: President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan not to appoint an ambassador to the United States is likely to send a “very disturbing message” on the status of relations with its long-time ally, former Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert del Rosario said Friday.
“This, I believe, is a matter which should be urgently revisited,” Del Rosario said in a statement. “Our Department of Foreign Affairs may wish to respectfully advise our President that such a declared preference not to send an ambassador may be viewed as a very disturbing message in relations between states,” Del Rosario added. Manila has been without an ambassador to Washington for seven months and the embassy is being headed by charge d’affaires Patrick Chuasoto, a career diplomat. Last August, Duterte named his chief protocol officer Marciano Paynor to replace businessman Jose Cuisia as Manila’s top envoy to the US. Cuisia, a political appointee, served as ambassador to Washington during the term of President Benigno Aquino III. READ MORE...RELATED,
Duterte not yet keen on sending PH envoy to US...

ALSO: The Philippines Just Shut Down Half Of Its Mining Industry
[RELATED: Duterte backs DENR’s move to close down mining firms]


FEBRUARY 3 -LOPEZ
One of the most-watched happenings in the global mining sector came to a head yesterday. As the government of major mining center the Philippines unveiled results of a nation-wide environmental audit. And as anticipated, the fallout is significant.Philippines mining minister Regina Lopez said at a press conference she is ordering the complete closure of 21 mines — representing more than half of the 41 operations scrutinized under the audit. The majority of operations to be closed are nickel mines. With Minister Lopez saying that about 50% of the Philippines’ overall nickel output will be halted by the closures. Data released this week from the U.S. Geological Survey peg overall Philippines nickel production for 2016 at 530,000 tonnes — or 21% of total global output. Meaning that the upcoming mine closures could choke off over 10% of worldwide nickel supply. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte backs DENR’s move to close down mining firms...


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‘Be ready to fight’: Duterte ends ceasefire with CPP-NPA


President Rodrigo Duterte President Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP)

MANILA, FEBRUARY 6, 2017 (INQUIRER) By: Nestor Corrales - Reporter / @NCorralesINQINQUIRER.net / February 03, 2017  (2nd update, 6:39 p.m.) President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday ordered the lifting the government’s unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Duterte said he ordered Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Eduardo Año on Thursday night to terminate the ceasefire effective Friday night, February 3.

“Kaya kagabi I decided, I called General Año and said, ni-lift ko ‘yung ceasefire tonight. Wala ng ceasefire. (Last night, I decided (and) called General Año to lift the ceasefire tonight. There is no more ceasefire),” he said in a speech in North Cotabato.

READ MORE...

BACKSTORY: DND: Gov’t to continue ceasefire with NPA

The President said he went out his way to extend peace to the communist rebels but lamented that many of the government’s soldiers have died.

“So I really would like to express my sadness. We cannot have a peaceful generation. There will be always be a fight. I’m here for six years. Siguro kung malasin (If I am unlucky), less than. But to me, mahirapan na tayo (we have a problem),” he said.

“But let it not be said that I did not try. So I guess that peace with the communists cannot be realized during our generation. Maybe years from now,” he added.

He said government troops were ready to fight with the NPA anytime amid the killings of soldiers by alleged communist rebels.

“So ayaw ko magpatayan. Pero kung ganon lang naman na ang mga sundalo ko pinagpapatay, pati sa uban lugar, resume tayo, anytime,” he said.

Be ready to fight

Duterte ordered the AFP to “take your position and be alert.”

“Go back to your camps, clean your rifles and be ready to fight,” he said.

The chief executive said he decided to terminate the government’s ceasefire ahead of the CPP-NPA, which has announced it would terminate its part of the truce on February 10, because many soldiers have already died.

READ: After attacks, NPA ending ceasefire — rebel official

“Because I lost so many soldiers in just 48 hours, I think to continue with the ceasefire does not or will not produce anything,” he said.

On Thursday, Duterte said he will not give in to the demands of the NPA to immediately release more political prisoners despite the communists’ withdrawal from its unilateral ceasefire agreement with the government. IDL/rga

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

AFP to launch rescue operation for NPA captives By Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 5, 2017 - 12:00am 1 1 googleplus0 0


President Duterte hands over an incentive to PO1 Angelito Edep, who was wounded in an operation in North Cotabato on Feb 1. Duterte visited Edep at Kidapawan Medical Specialists Inc. in Kidapawan City last friday.

MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is gearing up for renewed fighting with the New People’s Army (NPA) following President Duterte’s decision to scuttle the government’s truce declaration with the communist rebels.

AFP Public Affairs Office (PAO) chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said the troops are under orders to start the offensive against the rebels by rescuing the soldiers seized by the NPA in northern Mindanao.

Among those to be rescued is Private First Class Erwin Salan of the Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion who was kidnapped in Surigao del Norte last weekend.

Days later, two more soldiers from the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion were also forcibly taken in Barangay Telafas, Columbio, Sultan Kudarat.

“We refuse to call them prisoners of war because the NPA is not a belligerent force. The soldiers were simply victims of kidnapping,” Arevalo said.

“That is the subject of our combat rescue operations. We are going to rescue them,” he added.

Arevalo said full-scale rescue operations could not be made possible while the unilateral ceasefire was still in effect.

“We can now do that now, unlike before when there was the unilateral ceasefire declaration of the government and the suspension of military operations of the AFP. We can now conduct combat operations against them,” Arevalo said.

“And the first combat operation that we can do against them is to launch a rescue operation for the kidnapped soldiers,” he said.

On Friday, President Duterte announced the government was lifting its unilateral ceasefire and directed the military to prepare to fight.

In response, AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año said the troops are ready to abide by the orders of the Commander-in-Chief and will hit the NPA hard.

PEACE TALKS ENDED

Duterte ended the government’s six-month ceasefire with communist rebels, who had just lifted their own truce and killed troops in fresh attacks.

Duterte said he was forced to break off the ceasefire after receiving reports of “systematic attacks” by the NPA against government forces even before their declaration to scuttle their own ceasefire next Friday.

Suspected NPA rebels snatched two soldiers in a remote village in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat last Feb. 2.

Last week, two off-duty soldiers in civilian clothes and riding a motorcycle were taken by NPA rebels in Makilala, North Cotabato.

Separately, three soldiers were taken by NPA rebels in Malaybalay City in Bukidnon. The three soldiers were also unarmed and in their civilian attire when they were snatched.

Their lifeless bodies were later found along the road in a remote village in the city.

The regional police said the bodies of the three soldiers were riddled by gunfire of different calibers with a minimum of 24 gunshot wounds on each of them.

Colonel Eric Vinoya, commander of the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade, described the killing as inhuman and overkill.

“We condemn the recent act of violence perpetrated by alleged NPA members against three personnel of the 8th Infantry Battalion who were conducting community support program in Barangay Manalog, Malaybalay City. They left the barangay because they needed to secure some documentary requirements for a livelihood project that they were facilitating in the community and to get their subsistence allowances. Unfortunately, they were flagged down and murdered by armed men as they were about to go back to the community. They were in civilian attire and unarmed when they were slain,” Vinoya said.

“This act perpetrated by the NPA only shows that they are not fighting for an ideology anymore. They have resorted to criminal acts and banditry the moment that they murdered our troops and took their money and personal belongings,” he added.

The military leadership in the region vowed justice for the three slain soldiers.

“To the perpetrators, the full force of the law will be implemented until justice is served to our soldiers,” said Major Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division covering the Caraga and Northern Mindanao areas. – With Ben Serrano

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RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte tags CPP-NPA-NDF as terrorists By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated February 5, 2017 - 6:53pm 51 292 googleplus0 0


This photo shows members of the New People’s Army in the hinterlands of Davao during the anniversary celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines. AP/File

MANILA, Philippines — A day after terminating the peace talks, President Rodrigo Duterte labeled communist rebels as terrorists and ordered the arrest of jailed leftist leaders who were allowed to join the negotiations.

Duterte said the rebels committed atrocities despite the goodwill gestures displayed by the government.

“Nagmamagandang loob ka na nga, ipapahiya pa ako sa mga sagot ng p***** in*** akala mo kung sino (You showed goodwill and yet those sons of b****** who were acting as if they were somebody embarrass me with their answers),” Duterte said during his visit to the wake of three soldiers Sunday in Cagayan de Oro.

“You give them all the leeway and everything and you (respond to me with stupidity)…From now on I will consider the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines–New People’s Army–National Democratic Front) a terrorist group,” he added.

The NDF represents the CPP and its armed wing the NPA in the peace talks.

“Their leaders from Oslo, I am asking the military and the immigration to be on the lookout. Arrest them again,” he added.

Duterte, who considers himself a leftist, said the NPA members are just bandits and that the Geneva Convention does not apply to them.

He said that the communists have been waging an armed struggle for 50 years and that achieving peace with them does not seem to be possible within his generation

On Saturday, Duterte announced that he is terminating the peace talks with communist rebels and instructed government negotiators to “fold up the tents and come home.”

He made the statement after the government and the communists lifted their respective unilateral ceasefires following a disagreement over the NDF’s demand to free hundreds of people whom it claims to be political prisoners.

NDF DEMANDS RELEASE OF 400 PRISONERS

The NDF is demanding the release of about 400 prisoners, saying it is in line with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law signed in 1998.

Duterte has refused to yield to the demand, which he described as tantamount to granting amnesty. The government has so far freed 23 rebel leaders and has allowed some ranking NPA members to join the peace talks.

“We started with 18 and we came up with 23 leaders and now it’s 400. If that's the case, we might as well surrender,” the president said.

Duterte said the peace talks would remain canceled “unless there is a compelling reason that will benefit the interest of the nation.”

The president lifted the ceasefire after NPA rebels killed three troopers in Bukidnon and kidnapped two others last week.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the termination of the peace talks was disappointing.

“President Rodrigo Duterte has declared the suspension of Peace Talks between (government) and CPP-NDF-NPA. He will likewise direct the Philippine delegation to return home,” Abella said.

“This is deeply disappointing as final and lasting peace has been one of his deepest aspirations for the nation,” he added.

PALACE OPEN TO LEFTIST OFFICIALS JOIN CABINET MEETINGS

Hours before Duterte called the rebels terrorists, Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Ana Maria Banaag said the government remains open to talking peace with the rebels.

“The members of the peace panel would still talk about, you know, permanent peace and how to go about the parameters of going through a permanent ceasefire,” Banaag told state-run radio station dzRB.

“It’s really hard for them also to control their people on the ground. However, we will endeavor — the peace panel will endeavor still to talk and negotiate for peace,” she added.

Banaag said the president would not bar leftist officials from joining Cabinet meetings.

“Malacañang is open to all negotiations and as to members of the Cabinet who may be inclined — communist inclined or leftist inclined, they are open — they are still part of the Cabinet and they have the confidence of the President,” she said.

Banaag said the military would continue to join the fight against drugs despite the lifting of the ceasefire with the rebels.


PHILSTAR

Rody scuttles peace talks By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 5, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Norman and Nelia Alejo grieve at the wake of their son 2nd Lt. Miguel Victor Alejo, who was killed in an encounter with communist rebels in Davao Oriental on Feb.1. President Duterte visited the wake at the St. Peter’s Chapel in Panacan, Davao City the other night.

MANILA, Philippines - A day after lifting the unilateral ceasefire, President Duterte announced last night that he was terminating formal peace negotiations with communist rebels.

In an interview, Duterte said he was ordering the government peace panel to “fold up the tents and come home.”

He issued the statement hours after his spokesman expressed hope for substantial progress in the peace talks despite the lifting of the unilateral ceasefire.

“Peace talks will remain canceled unless there is a compelling reason that will benefit the interest of the nation,” Duterte told journalists during his visit to his parents’ tombs in Davao City.

He had lifted the ceasefire effective yesterday after the New People’s Army killed three soldiers and kidnapped three more in separate incidents in recent days while the NPA’s own truce was supposed to be in place.

Duterte noted that the government had been trying to discuss peace with the rebels since the administration of Fidel Ramos.

READ MORE...

“This time is should end here,” he said, reiterating he would not give in to the rebels’ demand for the release of 400 political prisoners.

He denied promising to release the 400, saying doing so would be tantamount to surrender: “We started with 18 and we came up with 23 leaders and now it’s 400. Eh kung ganun mag-surrender na lang kami.”

“I am not interested in arguing with them,” he said, referring to the rebels.

Earlier yesterday, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said, “Despite the untenable circumstances on the ground, the peace talks have not yet been scuttled. The road to peace is not an easy journey.”

Duterte had ordered soldiers the other day to “go back to your camp, clean your rifles and be ready to fight.”

He said he had done his best and “walked the extra mile” for peace, but the rebels had acted in bad faith and imposed unreasonable demands.

Abella, however, cited “some progress” during the peace talks between the government and the communist leadership in Rome last week.

He stressed the need to address some concerns, particularly the kidnapping and killing of soldiers in Mindanao.

“Some progress had already been made during the third round of peace talks in Rome, but apparently there is some disconnect between dissident leaders negotiating at the table and their forces on the ground. It would be deeply regrettable that the otherwise positive developments now might have to be set aside,” he said.

On Wednesday, the NPA’s parent organization, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) announced it was ending a five-month-old unilateral ceasefire and accused Duterte of treachery and human rights abuses.

The CPP-NPA also criticized Duterte’s failure to grant amnesty and freedom to nearly 400 so-called political prisoners, after the President released 18 jailed rebel leaders at the start of the talks last year.

The rebels also accused the government of violating the interim ceasefire by allowing the military and paramilitary forces to encroach into their rural strongholds.

Two days later, Duterte announced he would scuttle the government’s unilateral ceasefire with the rebels and ordered the military to resume fighting.

Implications Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said Duterte made the judgment call in lifting the interim ceasefire with the rebels.


DUREZA

Dureza also said it would be prudent not to jump to conclusions regarding Duterte’s decision.

“The President has spoken. He cancelled the government unilateral ceasefire. He gave his reasons. He makes the judgment call,” Dureza said.

“It’s too early yet to speculate its implications on the peace process. Let’s watch how it rolls out,” he added.

An adviser to the government peace panel however said the withdrawal of the unilateral ceasefire would create uncertainty and fear in areas affected by the decades-long conflict.

Commission on Higher Education commissioner Prospero de Vera, who is among the government advisers in the negotiations with the National Democratic Front (NDF), said the latest development would also make it difficult to convince the public that the peace negotiation is the way forward.

The NDF is the umbrella organization representing the CPP-NPA in the peace talks with the government.

“It is unfortunate that the NPA and the Philippine government have decided to withdraw their unilateral declaration of ceasefire right after the conclusion of the third round of talks in Rome, Italy,” De Vera said.

“This latest development will create uncertainty and fear in many conflict affected communities and make it difficult to convince the public that peace negotiations are the way to go,” he added.

De Vera, who provides the government panel with technical inputs on the forging of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Rights, said they would wait for the instructions of President Duterte on how to move forward with the negotiations.

“The lifting of the ceasefire, however, should not detract us from recognizing the gains achieved in the peace negotiations,” De Vera said.

“The cessation of hostilities for close to six months saved hundreds of lives that would have been lost in skirmishes between the government and rebel groups. It also helped generate trust and confidence in the negotiations and helped displaced people in conflict-affected areas to return to their homes and livelihood,” he added.

The government, through the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s Pamana has implemented a program to reconstruct and develop conflict-affected areas, particularly known NPA-infested areas.

De Vera said the three rounds of negotiations also generated a framework and process to fast-track consensus on social, economic and political reforms, and the need to monitor compliance with international agreements.

Government chief peace negotiator Silvestre Bello III earlier said they are expected to sign a bilateral ceasefire agreement and come up with the final peace agreement before yearend.

He said both panels are expected to come back to the negotiating table in Oslo on April 2. –Janvic Mateo, Jose Rodel Clapano, Cet Dematera

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Palace: Peace talks halt ‘deeply disappointing’ On video- President tells released NDF leaders: You are now fugitives By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales - Reporter / @YGonzalesINQINQUIRER.net / 05:44 PM February 05, 2017



Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella. KING RODRIGUEZ/ Presidential Photo

Malacañang on Sunday expressed dismay at the termination of the government’s peace negotiations with communist rebels, after a declaration from President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

“Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has declared the suspension of Peace Talks between GRP and CPP-NDF-NPA. He will likewise direct the Philippine delegation to return home,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

“This is deeply disappointing as final and lasting peace has been one of his deepest aspirations for the nation,”‘Abella added.

A day after he lifted the ceasefire with New People’s Army, Duterte on Saturday said the peace talks with communists would not continue unless there was a compelling reason to do so. He also called on government negotiators in Rome to come back to the country.

“If I feel that there is a joke somewhere. I will not waste my time,” the President said. “I am not ready to resume peace talks. As I have said, I would like to tell the Filipino people: Peace with the communists might not come in this generation.” JE/rga

RELATED STORIES

Duterte: No more peace talks with Reds without ‘compelling reason’

Duterte ends truce with Reds, tells soldiers to prepare to fight

 
https://youtu.be/yj7DybSw8k0?t=60
Duterte tells released NDF leaders: You are now fugitives INQUIRER.net INQUIRER.net Subscribe70,194 Add to Share More 97 views 1 0 Published on Feb 5, 2017 President Rodrigo Duterte warns released NDF leaders that they are now fugitives and their passports are now cancelled. Category News & Politics License Standard YouTube License


PHILSTAR

DND: NPA's 'lawless' activities caused lifting of ceasefire By Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) | Updated February 4, 2017 - 7:59pm 0 4 googleplus0 0


Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana condemned communist rebels for their "lawless" activities. AP/File

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of National Defense on Friday blamed communist rebels for a hitch in peace talks, which were resumed last year after breaking down during the Aquino administration.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana criticized the New People's Army for extortion, abduction and attacks on government forces that he said caused the deaths of civilians and soldiers. Lorenzana blamed the violence instigated by the rebels as the reason the "promising start to achieving peace has ended."

The secretary of defense also said that he had already instructed the military to be on high alert and to continue protecting the communities under their respective jurisdictions.

"I have instructed the chief of staff to place our troops on high alert and to continue their protection of the communities under their care, wherever they are," Lorenzana said.

READ MORE...

President Rodrigo Duterte announced earlier Friday that the government was lifting its unilateral ceasefire with the NPA. He said that rebels were asking for too much by demanding the release of some 400 political prisoners even before parties sign a more permanent bilateral ceasefire agreement.

The president ordered government troops on Friday afternoon: "Go back to your camps, clean your rifles, and be ready to fight"

The NPA, which is on the US State Department's list of terrorist organizations, recently declared that it was ending its unilateral ceasefire effective Feb 11. The group blamed the failure of the government to release political prisoners and the intrusion of security forces into areas "within the authority of the revolutionary government."

The government and communist rebels are currently engaged in peace talks in Europe in a bid to end the 48-year insurgency, the longest in Asia.

Rounds of negotiations failed in the past due to unmet rebel demands and to distrust on both sides.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Talk while fighting? Reds still hopeful By Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 5, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


NDFP spokesperson Fidel Agcaoili and consultant Randall Echanis at a press conference in Davao City. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando

MANILA, Philippines - The National Democratic Front (NDF) remains hopeful that peace negotiations will continue despite President Duterte’s decision to scuttle the government’s unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels.

NDF chief peace negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said they are also looking forward to the approval of the “comprehensive agreements on socio-economic, political and constitutional reforms” by both peace panels before the end of the year.

Agcaoili stressed the two parties could “talk while fighting,” citing their experience during the time of former president Fidel Ramos.

He said the government has the prerogative to lift its unilaterally issued ceasefire.

Agcaoili added they are also hoping that the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) will jointly create a federal system of government to achieve a just and lasting peace.

The NDF is the umbrella organization representing the CPP-NPA in the peace talks with the government.

The CPP-NPA-NDF and the government had separately declared a ceasefire as they resumed peace talks.

Duterte earlier terminated the government’s unilateral ceasefire in response to the NPA’s lifting of its own ceasefire it declared in August last year.

Agcaoili maintained the NPA’s scuttling of its interim ceasefire had basis.

Even while the police and military operations against the rebels were suspended, the government still allowed security forces to encroach on areas occupied by the NPA.

“The extrajudicial killings of leaders and members of peasant groups and indigenous peoples have also gone on unabated with four being killed in January alone and another one just today,” Agcaoili said in a statement to GMA-7 News.

Agcaoili said the NPA has strictly maintained its own unilateral ceasefire and took extraordinary measures to avoid encounters with the military while remaining on active defense mode.

Agcaoili also pointed out the government has the obligation under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law to release all political prisoners.

It was one of the main reasons the CPP-NPA-NDF dropped its unilateral ceasefire, citing the government’s failure to abide by the agreement, he said.

“Some of these political prisoners have languished in jail for more than 10 years without conviction, in violation of the right to speedy trial as provided for in the Constitution,” Agcaoili said.

He said 14 of the political prisoners have died in prison, 13 of them during the Aquino administration and another under Duterte.

Agcaoili claimed some “well-meaning military and police officers” have admitted knowing that many political prisoners are innocent civilians who happened to be in the vicinity of armed encounters, or ordinary activists used as scapegoats to compensate for failed military and police missions.

“The NDFP has already proposed as early as October 2016 that the release and amnesty of all political prisoners can come after the signing of the CASER (Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-economic Reforms) without prejudice to the early release of those who are sick, elderly, long-term detainees, women and innocent civilians on humanitarian grounds,” Agcaoili said.

“It behooves the GRP to require its prosecutors not to allow the (military) and (police) to dictate the charges to be filed with their planted evidence and false witnesses against alleged or suspected political offenders,” Agcaoili added.

A militant group said Duterte’s lifting of the ceasefire made no difference since the military had always been operating in the countryside.

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) also accused Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Eduardo Año and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana of sabotaging the peace talks with the communist rebels.

The militant group accused Año and Lorenzana of allowing the military to continue its operations in rural areas during the government’s ceasefire.

Pamalakaya said the troops in the field ignored Duterte and took orders only from Año and Lorenzana in their continuing operations affecting farmers and fisherfolk in rural areas.

“We are always in support of the peace negotiations, not only to end the decades-old civil war, but also to attain a genuine development for the benefit of the Filipino people,” Pamalakaya chairman Fernando Hicap said. – Ding Cervantes, Ghio Ong


MANILA STANDARD

NDF insists: Free jailed comrades posted February 05, 2017 at 12:01 am by Manila Standard


Killed in service. President Rodrigo Duterte condoles with the family of Lt. Miguel Victor Alejo who was killed in one of the New People’s Army's 15 surprise operations as they canceled the five-month-old ceasefire with the government. Malacañang Photo

COMMUNIST leaders continued to demand the release of captured communist rebels even after staging surprise attacks on government forces and calling off a five-month-old ceasefire that was announced August last year.

Hours after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered government troops to prepare to resume counter-insurgency operations, chief National Democratic Front negotiator Fidel Agcaoili demanded that the government release about 400 captured communist rebels for peace talks to continue.

“On the release and amnesty of political prisoners, the NDF maintains that this is a matter of justice and obligation under the [Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law signed in 1998 or CASER],” Agcaoili said.

“Some of these political prisoners have languished in jail for more than 10 years without conviction, in violation of the right to speedy trial as provided for in the [Philippine] constitution,” he said.

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Agcaoili noted that 14 of them have died in prison, 13 under the time of Benigno Aquino III and one under Duterte.

“The NDFP has already proposed as early as October 2016 that the release and amnesty of all political prisoners can come after the signing of the CASER without prejudice to the early release of those who are sick, elderly, long-term detainees, women and innocent civilians on humanitarian grounds.” he said.

Agcaoili blamed the breakdown of the ceasefire on the military which, he claimed, conducted operations during the truce.

“On the other hand, the [New People’s Army] has maintained strictly its own unilateral ceasefire, taking extraordinary measures to avoid encounters with AFP troops while remaining on active defense,” he said.

But chief government negotiator, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the NDF should take “command responsibility” for the actions of the NPA.

“There is a need for them to assume command responsibility [within their ranks],” Bello told state radio dzRB on Saturday.

Bello stressed that the NDF should agree to a joint bilateral ceasefire following their own allegations that the military violated its own unilateral ceasefire, when they return to the negotiating table this Feb. 22 to 25.

“In a unilateral ceasefire, you don’t know the violations. And should there be any violations, who will act as referee,” he said.

Among the contentious issues that they need to settle in crafting the guidelines for a joint bilateral ceasefire were the NPA’s collection of revolutionary taxes and their ransacking of schools, Bello said.

“There is a need for a bilateral ceasefire agreement, so we know the parameters, and the definition of terms—things you can call out as violations to ceasefire,” he added.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said it was the NPA who broke the peace.

“The NPA had broken peace, ambushing soldiers at ease some of whom had just received wages when rebels shot and killed them viciously,” he said.

“Some progress had already been made during the third round of peace talks in Rome, but apparently there is some disconnect between dissident leaders negotiating at the table and their forces on the ground,” Abella said.

“It would be deeply regrettable that the otherwise positive developments now might have to be set aside,” he added.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Wave of NPA attacks continues Military troops in Mindanao placed on high alert 59 SHARES Share it! Published February 3, 2017, 12:10 AM by Francis T. Wakefield, Camcer Ordoñez, and Yas D. Ocampo


FEBRUARY 4 -Duterte Lifted The Ceasfire With CCP-NPA, Order Troops To Go On 'High Alert'

The New People’s Army (NPA) offensive has escalated since they announced the termination of the unilateral ceasefire they had earlier declared in support of the ongoing peace talks with the government.

Yesterday at around 7:30 a.m., two soldiers from the 39th Infantry Battalion were abducted by 10 suspected NPA rebels at Purok 7, Barangay Telafas, Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, drawing the ire of the Philippine Army’s (PA) 10th Infantry Division (10ID).

“The 10th Infantry Division condemns the NPA for kidnapping two enlisted men of 39th Infantry Battalion early morning of Thursday,” the 10th ID said.

“The NPAs are showing complete disregard of their own earlier pronouncement that their unilateral ceasefire is in effect until February 10 by continuously committing atrocities against soldiers and civilians,” it added.

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“This action of the NPA further confirms that it is never a people’s army but a nuisance propaganda army of the local communists,” the 10th ID added as it demanded the immediate release of the soldiers.

The 10th ID also urged the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to order the NPA to immediately stop committing criminal acts that put the ongoing peace negotiations in peril.

The two soldiers were onboard a motorcycle on their way to their battalion headquarters when they were accosted by the 10 armed men.

“We are now on heightened alert and have instructed our line units to be vigilant and maintain proactive measures avoiding the said incident from happening again,” it added.

The local crisis management council chaired by Columbio Mayor Amirh Musali is set to convene and discuss the incident. Likewise, security forces from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Army will attend the meeting to provide updates on the incident.

Last Wednesday, a junior military officer and three other soldiers were killed in separate NPA attacks.

Army Captain Rhyan B. Batchar, the spokesman and chief of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division-Public Affairs Office in Compostela Valley, said 2nd Lt. Miguel Victor Alejo, a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Sinag-lahi” Class of 2015, was killed in an NPA attack at Sitio Paliwason, Barangay Lambog, Manay, Davao Oriental, at about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Batchar said soldiers and policemen, including Alejo, were on their way to Barangay Lambog in response to reports from officials of Barangays Rizal and Lambog that an armed group were threatening and intimidating residents when they were attacked.

In Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, three soldiers were killed by suspected NPA guerrillas hours after the termination of the local communist group terminated its unilateral ceasefire.

The three soldiers were earlier reported missing after their deployment to Barangay Manalog, Malaybalay City. They failed to return to their station and could not be contacted after securing their subsistence allowance in the city proper.

The three soldiers’ mutilated bodies were found last Wednesday at Sitio Kaleb, Barangay Kibalabag, Malaybalay City.

Allan Juanito, NPA spokesman for the North Central Mindanao Region, said three soldiers from the 8th Infantry Battalion’s Community Organizing for Peace and Development were on board two motorcycles when they were flagged down by the Maoist rebels in Sitio Kalib, Barangay Kibalabag in Malaybalay, at around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The troopers tried to fight back pulling out their firearms, but the rebels managed to shoot them first.

“The NPA fighters were forced to fire first to defend themselves resulting in their (soldiers) death. Taken from them were three .45 caliber pistols,” the NPA said.

Taken from one of the slain soldiers was an identification card identifying him as a certain Pat Olango from Barangay Cugman, Cagayn de Oro City.

Major General Benjamin Madrigal, the commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, expressed sadness over the incident despite the existence of a unilateral ceasefire.

“Despite the incident, we continue to uphold the supremacy of the peace process,” Madrigal said.

“But at the moment we already directed our troops to maintain a proactive defense of our camps. We also continue to perform our mandate to conduct law enforcement operations if needed,” he added.

Aside from the killing of the three soldiers in Bukidnon, the NPAs also harassed troops conducting community outreach activities in Barangay Concepcion, Valencia City, last Monday.

Suspected NPA rebels reportedly lobbed two grenades to troops undertaking relief operations at an evacuation center. No one was injured as the grenades, which landed just a few meters from the evacuation center, did not explode, the military said.

In Batangas, suspected NPA rebels harassed a military detachment based at Sitio Buntog, Barangay Bulihan, Nasugbu town, Wednesday night.

Major Francisco Mangubat, Group Commander of 730th Combat Group of Philippine Air Force (PAF), said their detachment was shot several times by armed men at around 8:15 p.m.

No casualty was reported.

Sunday night, suspected rebels also attacked and disarmed the security officers of an exclusive residential resort in Nasugbu, confiscating several weapons and security gadgets.

HIGH ALERT IN MINDANAO

With the wave of NPA atrocities in Mindanao, all field units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Northeastern and Northern Mindanao regions are placed on “high alert” and preemptive defensive mode.

Combat maneuvering units of the AFPs 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division, which cover the Northeastern Mindanao (Caraga Region 13) and Northern Mindanao (Region 10), were instructed to be on a “high alert” and on defensive stance while securing the military’s defense perimeter and communities.

Field military units, however, would not launch any military action against the NPA, but would coordinate with the local law enforcers whenever necessary in running after criminals and fugitives.

‘PROTECT PEACE TALKS’

Meanwhile, the Special Envoy for the Philippine Peace Process of the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG), which has been acting as official third party facilitator in the negotiations between the Philippine government (GRP) and the local communist insurgents, has called on all parties to “protect the peace talks, as it is the only way to move forward toward a just and lasting peace.”

In a statement sent to The Manila Bulletin yesterday, Ambassador Elisabeth Slattum maintained that, despite a declaration made by the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) that they are terminating a six-month-old unilateral ceasefire, the GRP and the leftist group “remain committed to the peace process.”

“Every peace process has its ups and downs,” she said in an e-mail message from Norway.

The rich Scandinavian country has been supervising much of the peace talks between the GRP and the leftist group, bankrolling and organizing the conduct of the negotiations, as it has in other parts of the world. It was, most recently, involved in the forging of a final peace agreement between the Colombian government and FARC rebels.

Slattum underscored that “what defines the success of a peace process is the ability and commitment of the parties to stay at the negotiation table and not give up, despite setbacks.”

“What is important now is to protect the peace talks, as it is the only way to move forward towards a just and lasting peace, for the benefit of all Filipino people,” Slattum said.

Meanwhile, GRP peace panel chairman Silvestre Bello III expressed regrets that the NPA has decided to withdraw its ceasefire declaration effective February 10, but nevertheless recommended to President Duterte that the government stand by its own unilateral ceasefire in effect.

“The ceasefire provided our people the opportunity to participate in the bigger peace table, enabling them to voice out their positions on the ongoing negotiations,” he said in a statement issued late Wednesday.

The GRP panel also said it was not relinquishing hopes that the two parties could still strike a deal on a more binding, bilateral ceasefire agreement – the details of which will be taken up in a special meeting on February 22 in Utrecht, The Netherlands. (With reports from Rocky G. Nazareno, Ben Rosario, Mike U. Crismundo, Lyka Manalo, and Danny J. Estacio)


GMA NEWS NETWORK

EX-DFA CHIEF SAYS ‘Non-appointment of PHL envoy to US sends disturbing message’ Published February 3, 2017 5:29pm By MICHAELA DEL CALLAR


DEL ROSARIO: President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan not to appoint an ambassador to the United States is likely to send a “very disturbing message” on the status of relations with its long-time ally, former Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert del Rosario said Friday.

“This, I believe, is a matter which should be urgently revisited,” Del Rosario said in a statement.

“Our Department of Foreign Affairs may wish to respectfully advise our President that such a declared preference not to send an ambassador may be viewed as a very disturbing message in relations between states,” Del Rosario added.

Manila has been without an ambassador to Washington for seven months and the embassy is being headed by charge d’affaires Patrick Chuasoto, a career diplomat.

Last August, Duterte named his chief protocol officer Marciano Paynor to replace businessman Jose Cuisia as Manila’s top envoy to the US. Cuisia, a political appointee, served as ambassador to Washington during the term of President Benigno Aquino III.

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Since then, Paynor has not been formally nominated by Duterte to the Commission on Appoinments, leading to speculations that the President had changed his mind and wanted another person to assume the post.

Later on, Duterte offered the post to newspaper columnist Jose Manuel Romualdez, who reportedly declined the offer citing health reasons.

The name of businessman and partner of US President Donald Trump, Jose Antonio, also surfaced, with DFA sources saying the real estate mogul was “very much interested” in the post.

Duterte has been hostile to the US as Washington, under former President Barack Obama, criticized his violent war on drugs where thousands of suspects were killed without legal process.

In place of the US, Duterte said he wanted to establish an alliance with America’s strategic rivals, China and Russia.

Former Philippine deputy Foreign Secretary Lauro Baja said it is crucial to have an envoy to the US to ensure smooth relations between Manila and Washington.

“It is very important,” he said. “A charge d’affaires will open doors only up to the second tier at most in the State Department, also to other sectors of government and private institutions.” — MDM, GMA News

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RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

Duterte not yet keen on sending PH envoy to US Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News Posted at Feb 02 2017 05:43 PM | Updated as of Feb 02 2017 08:38 PM


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and US President Donald Trump. Composite

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday he is not yet keen on sending a new ambassador to the United States.

“Iyung USA, wala tayong ambassador. Walang ambassador na papunta doon. Hanggang wala tayong ambassador sa States, I don’t feel like sending one,” Duterte said in a speech in Davao City.

Duterte's statement comes after new US President Donald Trump issued a travel ban on 7 countries. The president earlier said this week that he respects Trump's decision and "would not lift a finger" if illegal Filipino immigrants in the US would get caught.

Duterte earlier tapped Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez as the next Philippine ambassador to the US, replacing Jose Cuisia Jr.

Romualdez, however, had to decline his appointment due to health reasons, according to his column published Thursday in the Philippine Star.

Since Cuisia’s departure as Philippine envoy to the US, it has been 7 months since the Philippines had an ambassador in Washington.

Duterte previously castigated the US administration, then under President Barack Obama, for calling him out over his bloody war on drugs.

However, analysts say Philippines-US relations might improve under Trump.

Both leaders are off to a good start in building personal relations as Trump changes tack and refuses to criticize Duterte's drug war. Duterte has reciprocated by not criticizing Trump's new policies.


YAHOO

The Philippines Just Shut Down Half Of Its Mining Industry Dave Forest Oilprice.comFebruary 3, 2017


LOPEZ

One of the most-watched happenings in the global mining sector came to a head yesterday. As the government of major mining center the Philippines unveiled results of a nation-wide environmental audit.

And as anticipated, the fallout is significant.
Philippines mining minister Regina Lopez said at a press conference she is ordering the complete closure of 21 mines — representing more than half of the 41 operations scrutinized under the audit.

The majority of operations to be closed are nickel mines. With Minister Lopez saying that about 50% of the Philippines’ overall nickel output will be halted by the closures.

Data released this week from the U.S. Geological Survey peg overall Philippines nickel production for 2016 at 530,000 tonnes — or 21% of total global output. Meaning that the upcoming mine closures could choke off over 10% of worldwide nickel supply.

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The effects on the nickel market will be somewhat muted by the recent re-start of nickel concentrate exports from leading producer Indonesia. But the loss of such a big chunk of supply should lend support to prices — with nickel gaining nearly 3% in trading immediately following the announcement of the mine closures.

But it’s not just nickel that’s being affected by the audit. With Minister Lopez also announcing a suspension of the Philippines’ largest gold mine, the Dipidio operation run by international producer OceanaGold.

Related: Is Deepwater Drilling About To Make A Comeback?

The audit cited Dipidio for reducing agricultural production in the area surrounding the mine. But left the door open for a restart of operations here if that issue can be remedied.

For its part, OceanaGold told the press it has not received formal notice of the suspension. With management saying they would likely challenge any such orders in court.

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines also said it will take legal action against the closures and suspensions.

Watch to see if mines are allowed to stay operating as these court cases proceed, and for effects on nickel supply and prices if the shutdowns are implemented immediately.

Here’s to the shoe dropping.
By Dave Forest 

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Duterte backs DENR’s move to close down mining firms Written by Ted Tuvera Friday, 03 February 2017 00:00



President Duterte yesterday expressed his support to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez’s crackdown of a handful of mining firms in the country.

In a speech in his Davao City hometown, Duterte said that he approves of his environmentalist alter ego’s strict implementation of mining laws, describing such measures as “pro-people.”

“I’ve read in the newspapers that Secretary Gina Lopez canceled about seven of the big mining firms in the country. You know, I support her. And was never a time that I called her to slowdown a little bit because on one hand is the strict implementation of the mining laws,” the Chief Executive said.

“Just be fair and make it legal. That’s about the only standard that you follow, what is legal and what is fair,” he addressed businessmen engaged in mining operations.
Lopez yesterday also ordered the closure of 21 mining firms after an industry-wide environmental audit.

The 21 mining companies include Benguet Corp. Nickel Mines Inc., Eramen Minerals Inc., Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc., Mt. Sinai Mining Exploration and Development Corp., Emir Minerals Corp., Techiron Minerals Resources Inc., AAMPHIL Natural Resources Exploration, Kromico Inc., SinoSteel Philippines H.Y. Mining Corp., Oriental Synergy Mining Corp., Welled Mining Corp., Libjo Mining Corp., Oriental Vision Mining Philippines Corp., ADNAMA Mining Resources Corp., Claver Mineral Development Corp., Platinum Development Corp., CTP Construction and Mining Corp., Carrascal Nickel Corp., Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. and Hinatuan Mining Corp.

Lopez said that such firms are likely to pollute water supplies for consumption.

“I ordered them closed because I am making a statement that you cannot have mining operations in a functional watershed,” she said.

“We will not allow water to be at risk for business interest,” the DENR chief added.

Meanwhile, Duterte said that he wants to establish a centralized government body mandated to focus on the people’s concern on water supply woes.

“We will establish a central water agency and all water-related functions will be addressed,” the President said.

“Kailangan natin ng tubig (We need water). Do not make it hard for the people,” he added.


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