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PH GOVT DECLARES ALL-OUT WAR VS REDS - DEFENSE CHIEF
[RELATED: AFP drops leaflets over Davao Oriental urging rebels to surrender]


FEBRUARY 8 -AFP to wage ‘all-out war’ vs NPA—Defense chief Delfin Lorenzana
The government on Tuesday stepped up its offensive against communist guerrillas after it terminated the peace talks, announcing an “all-out war” against the New People’s Army (NPA) and canceling safe-conduct passes to all rebels involved in the negotiations. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters in Malacañang that the military operations against the guerrillas would be conducted through “surgical operations” to avoid casualties among noncombatants. “It is an all-out war because they are considered by the President already as terrorists. We also consider them terrorists,” Lorenzana said. READ MORE...REATED,
AFP drops leaflets over Davao Oriental urging rebels to surrender...

ALSO: Palace to ‘Reds’ - Duterte a listening President
[RELATED: Rody changes tone on feud with Reds]


FEBRUARY 12 -PRESIDENT Rodrigo may consider reviving peace talks with communist rebels, Malacañang said on Saturday, describing the Chief Executive as a “listening president.” In a radio interview, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte was paying attention to the plea of the communist rebels to continue the peace negotiations. “I’m sure the President is a listening President and he will continue to consider the advice of his [Cabinet] secretaries, advisers and peace advisers,” Abella told government-run dzRB radio station. “Let’s see in the coming days what would be the developments,” he added. Abella issued the statement after Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison urged Duterte to address the discord between the communist rebels and the government and eventually resume peace talks. READ MORE...RELATED, Rody changes tone on feud with Reds...

ALSO:
Joma wants peace talks to proceed
[RELATED: Reds heed AFP call for truce in Surigao following 6.1 magnitude earthquake]


FEBRUARY 11 -COMPOSITE PHOTOS DUTERTE AND JOMA SISON: The peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) must continue to fulfill the people’s demand for a just and lasting peace, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison said yesterday. Sison said that despite the resumption of hostilities between the government and the communist rebels, “peace negotiations can and must continue, precisely to continue” the forging of several agreements. He mentioned the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), the Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms (CAPCR) and the bilateral ceasefire agreement effecting the amnesty and release of all political prisoners within the year. Sison said the recent third round of formal talks achieved significant gains towards just and lasting peace. READ MORE...RELATED, Reds heed AFP call for truce in Surigao---

ALSO:
7 of the 15 NDF peace negotiators are back from Rome
[RELATED: Leftist Cabinet members push for resumption of talks]


FEBRUARY 8 -WRITING ON THE WALL – Posters denouncing the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) are plastered on posts and walls in Davao City, as encounters between government forces and rebels escalated in Mindanao. (Keith Bacongco | Manila Bulletin)
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) yesterday confirmed that seven of the 15 peace negotiators of the National Democratic Front (NDF) have returned to the country after attending the third round of the GRP-NDF peace negotiations in Rome last month. Immigration record shows that communist leader couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, Adelberto Silva, Alfredo Mapano, Tirso Alcantara, Pedro Codaste and Porferio Tuna who left the country between January 14 and 18 returned simultaneously on January 31. Immigration officials who declined to be named said the BI has no record of the eight NDF consultants who might have left the country for Rome using other names. They were identified as Concha Araneta Bocala, Ernesto Lorenza, Eduardo Genelsa, Ariel Arbitrario, Runel Saluta, Jaime Solidad, Keneddy Bangibang, and Alan Jazmines. Arbitrario was arrested along with two others in a joint police-military checkpoint in Barangay Sarawan, Toril, Davao City Monday. READ MORE... RELATED, Leftist Cabinet members push for resumption of talks...

ALSO: Duterte argues death penalty as a heinous crimes deterrent
[RELATED COMMENTARY -State and Church]


FEBRUARY 11 -President Duterte made another pitch for the revival of the death penalty in the country to effectively deter heinous crimes in the country. The President presented alarming government figures about the 3,280-percent increase of persons convicted or heinous crimes following the abolition of death penalty in 2006. Duerte said there were 189 inmates convicted of heinous crimes before the capital punishment was abolished. The number increased to 6,204 inmates following the abolition of death penalty. “There was an increase of 3,000 percent and then some will say it was not a deterrent?” Duterte said in Filipino during a business forum held in Davao City. READ MORE...RELATED COMMENTARY: State and Church...

ALSO: Church won’t be silenced in opposing death penalty—bishop


FEBRUARY 13 -Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz . INQUIRER FILE PHOTO The Catholic Church will not stop airing its opposition to the death penalty bill despite being criticized by politicians for supposedly meddling in state affairs, a former head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said on Sunday. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, a vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, said the Church would continue to proclaim its teachings on the sanctity of life even if priests were being subjected to attacks by proponents of the death penalty bill.
READ: Former CBCP head tells Alvarez: Don’t play God He was responding to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who once called bishops a “bunch of shameless hypocrites” for issuing a united stand against the spate of drug-related killings under the Duterte administration’s war on drugs. READ MORE...


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Gov’t declares all-out war on Reds


AFP to wage ‘all-out war’ vs NPA—Defense chief Lorenzana

MANILA, FEBRUARY 13, 2017 (INQUIRER) By: Leila B. Salaverria - Reporter / @LeilasINQ February 08, 2017 - The government on Tuesday stepped up its offensive against communist guerrillas after it terminated the peace talks, announcing an “all-out war” against the New People’s Army (NPA) and canceling safe-conduct passes to all rebels involved in the negotiations.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters in Malacañang that the military operations against the guerrillas would be conducted through “surgical operations” to avoid casualties among noncombatants.

“It is an all-out war because they are considered by the President already as terrorists. We also consider them terrorists,” Lorenzana said.

READ MORE...

Release of political prisoners

President Duterte on Saturday canceled the talks a day after he terminated the government’s unilateral ceasefire in response to the rebels’ earlier announcement that they would end their own truce this Friday.

The rebels said the government had reneged on a promise to release hundreds of political prisoners and violated its own truce.

Mr. Duterte said the rebels made “impossible” demands and attacked and killed several soldiers during the truce.

Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on the peace process, said he had informed Fidel Agacaoili, chief negotiator of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and Jose Maria Sison, NDFP chief political consultant and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder, that the government had also terminated the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig).

“Following the President’s announcement of the cancellation of the peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF and per his instructions, the government is hereby serving this notice of the termination of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig),” Dureza said in his e-mail to the NDFP on Tuesday.

The Jasig provides safe conduct to all rebel negotiators and their staff, allowing them to freely move around the country or to travel abroad. Junking it will clear the way for their arrest

Court warrants

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, quoting the Office of the Executive Secretary, clarified that the rearrest of the consultants, who had posted bail to be released from detention to participate in the talks, would have to be based on arrest warrants from the courts that had granted them temporary liberty.

“So basically, this is under the jurisdiction of the courts,” Abella said.

The Department of Justice would have to ask the courts to cancel their bail, he added.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the only reason communist leaders like Benito and Wilma Tiamzon were freed was because the government did not oppose their bail.

Immigration lookout

Aguirre also said he was planning to place all NDFP consultants on an immigration lookout bulletin order.

One NDFP consultant, Ariel Arbitrario, was arrested on Monday in Davao City, before the Jasig was terminated, because he was traveling with a person who was wanted for murder, Lorenzana said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana INQUIRER PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana INQUIRER PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

The defense secretary said the NPA was no different from Abu Sayyaf bandits, who had kidnapped and beheaded hostages.

“The Abu Sayyaf kidnap people and then they get money. The NPA will threaten those businessmen and also get money. There’s no difference at all. They are there to terrorize people, to giving them money. That’s extortion,” Lorenzana said.

“So we will hunt them down and maybe stop them from doing what they are doing,” he added.

Clashes

The casualties on both sides had steadily risen since an NPA fighter died in a clash with Army soldiers in North Cotabato two weeks ago.

At least six soldiers were killed last week in separate guerrilla attacks in Mindanao and Luzon, including three whose bodies were found riddled with bullets after they were abducted by the rebels.

On Monday, an alleged NPA regional supply officer, Glenn Ramos, was killed in Davao City when he reportedly fought soldiers and policemen out to arrest him on attempted homicide charges.

On Tuesday, just hours before the government announced its “all-out war,” a soldier was killed in a clash with suspected rebels in Capiz province.

Lorenzana said the military would focus on the “armed component” of the rebel movement, not the “peace-loving” supporters such as farmers. —WITH REPORTS FROM JHESSET O. ENANO, CYNTHIA D. BALANA, GIL C. CABACUNGAN, NESTOR P. BURGOS JR., NICO ALCONABA, JIGGER JERUSALEM, ALLAN NAWAL AND THE WIRES

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

AFP drops leaflets over Davao Oriental urging rebels to surrender By: Frances Mangosing - Reporter / @FMangosingINQINQUIRER.net / 06:26 PM February 10, 2017


Huey chopper dropping leaflets over Davao Oriental - Feb 2017

An Air Force UH-1 chopper drops leaflets encouraging NPA rebels to surrender. (Photo from the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) dropped a total of 12,500 leaflets on Wednesday and Thursday over

Davao Oriental asking members of the New People’s Army to surrender as it renewed hostilities against the communist rebels.

The leaflets were dropped by an Air Force UH-1, or Huey, helicopter, Capt. Rhyan Batchar, spokesman of the 10th Infantry Division, told Inquirer in a telephone interview.

He said Davao Oriental was chosen because of recent encounters in the area and because most of latest NPA surrenderees came from the province.

Ground troops also distributed some leaflets to residents in several areas.

Since Feb. 1, Batchar added, 10 communist rebels have turned themselves to the government.

Sample of AFP leaflet asking NPA rebels to surrender
A sample of the leaflet dropped by the AFP over Davao Oriental. (Photo from the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army)

“To those who want to return to the government fold, contact the nearest soldier or village official in your area because they are ready to help you to go back to your normal lives and have a bright future with your families,” the leaflet read in Cebuano.

After a validation process from the government, communist rebels who surrender will receive cash assistance, an additional cash for the surrendered firearms, and livelihood assistance.

A list of the cash equivalents of surrendered firearms is also included in the leaflets.

The assistance is part of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP), a national reintegration program for the communist rebels.

President Rodrigo Duterte terminated the peace talks last week after the communist rebels lifted its unilateral ceasefire and killed six soldiers.

Meanwhile, Jose Maria Sison, founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), has urged the government to continue the peace negotiations. /atm


MANILA TIMES

Palace to ‘Reds’: Duterte a listening President By CATHERINE S. VALENTE, TMT on February 12, 2017

PRESIDENT Rodrigo may consider reviving peace talks with communist rebels, Malacañang said on Saturday, describing the Chief Executive as a “listening president.”

In a radio interview, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte was paying attention to the plea of the communist rebels to continue the peace negotiations.

“I’m sure the President is a listening President and he will continue to consider the advice of his [Cabinet] secretaries, advisers and peace advisers,” Abella told government-run dzRB radio station.

“Let’s see in the coming days what would be the developments,” he added.

Abella issued the statement after Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison urged Duterte to address the discord between the communist rebels and the government and eventually resume peace talks.

READ MORE...

Communist rebels last week ended a unilateral ceasefire it declared in August, saying the government failed to release hundreds of detained rebels and violated its own ceasefire declaration.

This prompted Duterte to cancel peace talks with the communists and ordered the arrest of its consultants released on bail to join the negotiations that began in August 2016 in Oslo, Norway.

The President also ordered the revocation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees between the government and the communists, in a bid to formally end the peace talks and be able to arrest freed rebel leaders.

The military has declared an all-out war on the CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army.

Sison, however, remained hopeful that the talks will resume even if the lifting of ceasefire have been observed by both parties.

“I propose [that Duterte]consult thoroughly with his negotiating panel and the peace advocates in his own Cabinet and others outside of his government, and encourage and allow back-channeling efforts to clarify misunderstandings and solve immediately the current problems,” Sison said.

“[The CPP wishes] to pursue with the government the bright prospects that started with the first round of formal talks in August 2016 and overcome the peace spoilers that run counter to the progress that has been achieved in the third round of formal talks,” he added.

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

RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Rody changes tone on feud with Reds Written by Ted Tuvera Monday, 13 February 2017 00:00



A week after engaging communist rebels in a war of nerves with both the government and the Maoist group aborting their unilateral ceasefires, President Duterte yesterday expressed an intent to reach out anew to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to save the peace agree-ment.

In a speech during his visit to earthquake-hit Surigao, Duterte expressed hopes to fix the government’s squabble with the CPP soon.

Mr. Duterte said that when it comes to helping the disaster-hit public, politics and ideology should not be a barrier.

“There is no problem about being a communist or a capitalist if the interest of Filipinos is given priority,” the President said.

“Our conflict (with the communists) could be resolved soon,” he said.

Mr. Duterte’s change of heart regarding the rebels came days after the military indicated that it had launched an all-out war against the CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), which made a series of offensives against state forces.

The government earlier announced the termination of its six-month-old peace negotiation with the CPP’spolitical arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF).

READ MORE...

Meanwhile, the NPA Guerrilla Front 16 operating in Surigao announced a temporary ceasefire in the whole province of Surigao del Norte and the towns of Kitcharao, Jabonga and Tubay in the province of Agusan del Norte.

Effective since Saturday evening, NPA local spokesman alias Ka Oto said that the suspension of guerrilla operations in the area will remain “until the province will recover from the disaster.”

“Rest assured we will not do any harm to the military as long as they will not come to our areas,” the rebel spokesman said, adding that they will also help and cooperate in disaster relief efforts.

“We are still mobilizing resources so we can help the quake victims here,” he added.

But the Philippine Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion (30IB) is apparently not taking the NPA guerrilla’s localized ceasefire declaration, saying that they might sabotage Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) Operations in Surigao.

“As we conduct our Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response Operation in the area, we remain vigilant on the terrorist NPAs that are still causing havoc in the entire region,” Ltc Rico Amaro, 30IB Commanding Officer, said in a statement.

Erap supports Rody


Erap backs Palace’s all-out war vs NPA: Matakot sila kay Duterte!  -Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada is supporting President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of war against the New People’s Army (NPA), but at the same time still hopes peace negotiations will resume. Estrada said the communist “terrorists” have all the reasons to fear Duterte’s wrath because the President never backs down from a fight. POLITICS.COM

Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada said he is backing Mr. Duterte’s declaration of war on the NPA but still hopes peace negotiations will resume.

Estrada said the communist rebels have all the reasons to fear Duterte’s wrath because the President never backs down from a fight.

“They should fear President Duterte, they might get what they are asking for,” Estrada said when asked about the NPA going head to head against Duterte. “Let us see if the President will give them another chance but if they do not honor the agreement they entered into, it should be their lookout,” Estrada said.

Estrada made the comment amid the statement issued by the CPP last February 9 that Duterte’s “all-out war” against the insurgency will fail.

“Defeating the NPA is a Duterte pipedream. Other regimes before him have tried and failed,” the CPP said, even comparing the offensive military operation against them to the government’s war on drugs that they claimed only resulted in massive human rights violations.

The NPA is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department and as a terrorist group by the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy. Its estimated strength has since dwindled to less than 3,000.

Estrada pointed out that Duterte was right when he suspended the unilateral ceasefire in reaction to the atrocities and ceasefire violations committed by the NPA bandits in the past weeks.

Still, Estrada is hoping both parties will go back to negotiating table.

Recalling his days as President when he wiped out MILF camps and territories during his war against the Islamist terrorists, Estrada said he gave the MILF sufficient opportunities to talk peace with the government back then.

“I talked to them for about three months then in the fourth month, they burned down Kauswagan (Lanao Del Norte), many innocent civilians, mostly children were killed, and they even beheaded six soldiers,” Estrada recounted.

The MILF raid in Kauswagan, he said, was the last straw. On March 21, 2000, he declared war on MILF.

Peace then Federalism

A Muslim organization strongly urged Mr. Duterte to pursue peace initiatives along with the plan to change the form of government of the country.

In an interview, Andy Andogan, president of National Filipino-Muslim Democratic Alliance (NFMDA), said bloodshed will continue if the government will stop it’s peace initiatives due to the advice of some who doesn’t want to attain lasting peace and development in the country.

Only recently, Mr. Duterte suspended the peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF after the latter lifted the ceasefire due to the alleged failure of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to release 400 political prisoners.

Duterte in suspending the peace talks with the communists also urged its leaders involved in the peace talks to come back home and surrender themselves.

The President also said he will request the GRP peace panel to fold their tents ad come home as he is not ready to resume peace talks.

He said that he tried everything, walked the extra mile, released prisoners, released their leaders in order for them to go to Oslo, Norway to talk but they still want other prisoners who fought the government released.

However, Andogan said the peace process should continue as there is no other way but to continue seeking a lasting solution in order for the country to move and be prosperous.

While there is a move to pursue other angles to attain peace with all the groups that rebels with the government the NFMDA disclosed that they are fully supportive to the plan of the government to federate the country.

“We are fully supportive of the Federalism movement as it would be the answer to the long quest of the country towards peace and development,” Andogan said.

Under the Federal form of government sectors who were not given the proper attention would receive their just share for its development unlike in the current set-up that a territory will have to wait for the national government to deliver the needed basic services.

If the country would be turned into a Federal form a municipality or a province will have its bigger share of the income and it will only give a certain percentage to the national government for its operations.

In this set-up the locality that has been federated will have a strong financial condition as it can immediately utilize the resources instead of awaiting approval of budget from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

The delay in the release of the funds is being blamed as one source of graft and corruption thus the call for Federalism is getting stronger.

Andogan explained that if there would be no concrete focus in the peace initiatives and Federalism fightings would continue and Filipino blood will be spilled. “Our support to Federalism is all out and also with the peace initiatives since it is time to have peace and development in Mindanao and the whole country. Alvin Murcia


PHILSTAR

Joma wants peace talks to proceed By Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 11, 2017 - 12:00am 1 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) must continue to fulfill the people’s demand for a just and lasting peace, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison said yesterday.

Sison said that despite the resumption of hostilities between the government and the communist rebels, “peace negotiations can and must continue, precisely to continue” the forging of several agreements.

He mentioned the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), the Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms (CAPCR) and the bilateral ceasefire agreement effecting the amnesty and release of all political prisoners within the year.

Sison said the recent third round of formal talks achieved significant gains towards just and lasting peace.

READ MORE...

“There was a fair exchange of views and agreements on efforts to comply with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) concerning the release of all political prisoners, justice for and indemnification of victims of human right, violations under the Marcos regime, allegations of human rights violations under Oplans Bayanihan, Tokhang and Kapayapaan, and approval of the supplementary guidelines of the Joint Monitoring Committee,” he said.

“There was also an initial discussion of the bilateral ceasefire agreement to replace the unilateral ceasefire declarations,” Sison said.


Peace advocates and activists from various groups call for the resumption of peace talks between the government and communist rebels during a rally along Taft Avenue in Manila yesterday. EDD GUMBAN

He said the biggest achievements in moving forward the peace process are the exchange of full drafts of the CASER by the reciprocal working committees of both panels, and the complete drafts of the CAPCR by the reciprocal working groups.

“I estimate that it is possible to unify these drafts within 2017. The NDF has formally offered to (the government) to co-found the Federal Republic of the Philippines on the basis of the CAPCR,” Sison said.

Sison said in his view, it is possible to implement the CASER and CAPCR through the government’s executive actions, legislation and constitutional amendments before the signing of the agreement to end hostilities and disposition of forces in 2020.

“Before then, a bilateral ceasefire agreement is possible, especially after the signing of the CASER and the CAPCR by the negotiating panels in 2017,” he said.

Sison lamented the significant success of the third round of the formal talks in Rome has been overshadowed by the reaction of President Duterte to the announcement of the New People’s Army (NPA) to terminate its unilateral ceasefire.

“I can understand the role of President Duterte in reacting as president and commander-in-chief. It is his duty to speak and act in the interest of the government and express concern for his troops. But there should have been a measure of restraint in his reaction in order to preserve the peace process,” he said.

Sison said Duterte’s announcements to consider the CPP-NPA and NDF as terrorist organizations and to terminate the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) had the effect of terminating the entire peace negotiations.

“I believe that President Duterte’s reaction should not have gone this far,” Sison said.

“I propose to him to consult thoroughly with his negotiating panel and the peace advocates in his own Cabinet and others outside of his government, and encourage and allow back-channeling efforts to clarify misunderstandings and solve immediately the current problems.”

Sison said the third party facilitator on the peace talks should be briefed by each negotiating party to allow inputs or suggestions on how to continue the peace process.

Sison stressed the peace talks could proceed even as fighting continues.

He said more than 10 major agreements were made during the tenure of former president Fidel Ramos even while fighting was ongoing.

He said the CPP-NPA-NDF remains committed to the peace process in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration and further agreements.

“They wish to pursue with the government the bright prospects that started with the first round of formal talks in August 2016 and overcome the peace spoilers that run counter to the progress that has been achieved in the third round of formal talks.

“We must respond to and strive to fulfill the Filipino people’s demand for a just and lasting peace,” Sison said.

Founded in 1968, the rural-based CPP-NPA has unsuccessfully tried to negotiate an end to their rebellion and their inclusion in government with six presidents, including Duterte.

Several sectors also pressed for the continuance of the peace talks.

Lawmakers led by Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil said there is still hope in reviving the peace talks.

Bataoil, who was part of the government’s peace negotiating team that went to Rome, said, “Both sides should hope and work for that compelling reason to realize our achievements for long and lasting peace.”

“One of our demands is the declaration of bilateral ceasefire, it cannot be unilateral because if there is violation, it cannot be investigated carefully by a joint team,” he said. – With Gilbert Bayoran, Eva Visperas

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

RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Reds heed AFP call for truce in Surigao posted February 13, 2017 at 12:01 am by John Paolo Bencito


New People’s Army

THE communist New People’s Army operating in Surigao and portions of Agusan del Norte has declared a unilateral interim ceasefire with government troops effective Feb. 11 following a magnitude 6.7 earthquake that struck the region, leaving six people dead and several structures damaged.

In a report in Mindanews, Ka Oto, the NPA’s spokesman in the region, said the communists had ceased tactical offensives against government forces effective 6 p.m. on Saturday “until the province will recover from the disaster.”

He said the rebels will focus on humanitarian efforts to help the quake victims.

“Rest assured we will not do any harm to the military as long as they will not come to our areas,” Oto said.

The military had earlier urged the communist rebels not to attack its soldiers conducting rescue and rehabilitation operations in the areas affected by the earthquake.

“Allow the soldiers every opportunity to help the victims of the earthquake,” Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo, head of the military’s Public Affairs Office, said Saturday.

“We urge you not to attack our soldiers or in any other ways [that will] disrupt the AFP’s rescue and rehabilitation activities for our people,” he said.

The military’s appeal came as the NPA announced a “heightened armed resistance” against the government’s all-out war declaration on Saturday.

On Friday, Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison urged his former student, President Rodrigo Duterte, to continue with the peace negotiations with the communists to clarify “misunderstandings” that he said were instigated by the peace “spoilers.”

But Malacañang told the communist rebels to show their sincerity before any peace talks could continue


MANILA BULLETIN

7 of the 15 NDF peace negotiators are back from Rome 1 SHARES Share it! Published February 8, 2017, 12:10 AM by Jun Ramirez, Jeffrey G. Damicog, and Yas D. Ocampo


WRITING ON THE WALL – Posters denouncing the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) are plastered on posts and walls in Davao City, as encounters between government forces and rebels escalated in Mindanao. (Keith Bacongco | Manila Bulletin)

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) yesterday confirmed that seven of the 15 peace negotiators of the National Democratic Front (NDF) have returned to the country after attending the third round of the GRP-NDF peace negotiations in Rome last month.

Immigration record shows that communist leader couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, Adelberto Silva, Alfredo Mapano, Tirso Alcantara, Pedro Codaste and Porferio Tuna who left the country between January 14 and 18 returned simultaneously on January 31.

Immigration officials who declined to be named said the BI has no record of the eight NDF consultants who might have left the country for Rome using other names.

They were identified as Concha Araneta Bocala, Ernesto Lorenza, Eduardo Genelsa, Ariel Arbitrario, Runel Saluta, Jaime Solidad, Keneddy Bangibang, and Alan Jazmines.

Arbitrario was arrested along with two others in a joint police-military checkpoint in Barangay Sarawan, Toril, Davao City Monday.

READ MORE...

President Duterte ordered Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa to arrest the peace negotiators following the collapsed of the talks. Duterte terminated the peace talks to protest the slaying of three army soldiers by communist rebels in the midst of the negotiations and while their unilateral ceasefire was still holding.

Last February 1, the NPA announced the end of their unilateral ceasefire effective February 10.

Following the President’s directive, Dela Rosa ordered the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to coordinate with the BI on the whereabouts of the communist peace negotiators.

WATCH LIST

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, meanwhile has placed on the Immigration Lookout bulletin NDF consultants who were granted conditional bail to participate in the peace talks.

“What we did ngayon, iyung lahat ng mga members or consultants na nagkaroon ng bail because of the peace process maglalabas kami this afternoon ng LBO (What we did is to issue LBOs [Lookout Bulletin Order] to members who were granted bail because of the peace process),” Aguirre told reporters yesterday.

Apart from the LBO, Aguirre said he will also consider asking the courts which issued the conditional bails to order the arrests.

Once the peace consultants have been placed under the LBO, they will have to seek permission from the BI before leaving the country.

Aguirre earlier advised the NDF consultants on bail to voluntarily return to detention.

GOOD FAITH

“When they come back here, dapat siguro as a sign of good faith bumalik sila sa detention cell katulad ng good faith na ipinakita ng ating Pangulo sa kanila (Once they are back in the Philippines, they should return to detentions cells as a sign of good faith like what the President did when he ordered them released),” Aguirre said.

Aguirre explained the provisional liberty granted by the courts was only for a certain period, afterwhich, those on bail are required to report to the respective courts handling their cases.

“Ang magde-decide diyan will be the court. Isa lang. Ang court lang kung bibigyan sila ng extension or what (The courts are the only ones who can decide if their temporary liberty will be extended),” he noted.

In the meantime, Aguirre is also looking into whether the period the consultants were granted liberty has already lapsed and if there were any violations made on the conditions set by the courts.

“Iyon lang ang binigay sa kanila. Dapat mag-renew sila. Kung walang renewal parang wanted na sila kung di sila mag-renew (They are only given a specific period. Afterwhich, they have to renew. Otherwise, they become wanted persons if they do not renew),” he explained.

NO IMPROVEMENT

Weighing in on the peace talks, Vice Mayor Paolo Z. Duterte maintained that peace talks should be held in the country not overseas.

“Sa tinuod lang, wala na kasabot ang bag-ong henerasyon unsa pay tumong nila anang pakiggyera sa kapwa Pilipino (this generation no longer understands what they [the NPA] are fighting for),” the eldest son of the President said.

“If the CPP/NDF/NPA are really for the masses, they should find it in their heart that killing Filipino soldiers is basically against what they are fighting for.”

The Vice Mayor added that decades of fighting between government and rebel forces have not improved anybody’s life.

“They have been fighting the government for how many decades now and nothing has improved. Not in their lives nor on the lives of the Filipino masses they claim to be fighting for,” Vice Mayor Duterte said.

“And why of all places should we hold peace talks abroad? The problem is here in the Philippines and there in the mountains,” he added.

Peace negotiations, Vice Mayor Duterte said must be felt by the stakeholders and only by doing it here could we truly have a peace talks that is people-centered and not just for the benefit of a few individuals.

“I just hope that despite all these hullabaloo, both sides would give the welfare of the masses a priority over their big egos,” he said.


PHILSTAR

Leftist Cabinet members push resumption of talks By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 8, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0


President Duterte chats with leftist Cabinet members (from left) National Anti-Poverty Commission head Liza Maza, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo prior to the start of the 12th Cabinet meeting at Malacañang yesterday.

MANILA, Philippines – Left-leaning Cabinet members will keep their posts and are not barred from Malacañang despite the end of peace talks between the government and communist rebels.

Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and National Anti-Poverty Commission lead convenor Liza Maza attended yesterday’s Cabinet meeting at Malacañang where they urged President Duterte to resume the peace negotiations.

Duterte earlier terminated the peace talks with the communists after the rebels launched attacks against government forces in Mindanao.

“As heads of national government agencies tasked to address poverty and improve the quality of life of Filipinos, we believe that the government should move the peace negotiations with the NDF (National Democratic Front) forward,” the three officials said.

READ MORE...

“We are one with the peace advocates, legislators, and individuals who urge both parties to resume the talks. We will continue to engage within the Cabinet and the rest of the administration toward the resumption of the talks and to strengthen the civilian voice in the peace process,” they added.

The leftist officials said the peace negotiations have made historic strides on many fronts. They lamented that the talks “have now come to a standstill.”

“This time, by pursuing peace, and through the political will of President Duterte, the talks have been productive. The government and the NDF have never been closer in their articulation of a shared vision of a society that addresses the root causes of war, poverty and inequality,” they said.

“Let each side come to terms with the compelling reasons why we have come to the negotiating table in the first place. For it is the welfare of the millions of poor Filipinos that is at the core of the peace negotiations. Let us give peace a chance.”


MANILA BULLETIN

Duterte argues death penalty as a heinous crimes deterrent 2 SHARES Share it! Published February 11, 2017, 12:05 AM by Genalyn D. Kabiling

President Duterte made another pitch for the revival of the death penalty in the country to effectively deter heinous crimes in the country.

The President presented alarming government figures about the 3,280-percent increase of persons convicted or heinous crimes following the abolition of death penalty in 2006.

Duerte said there were 189 inmates convicted of heinous crimes before the capital punishment was abolished. The number increased to 6,204 inmates following the abolition of death penalty.

“There was an increase of 3,000 percent and then some will say it was not a deterrent?” Duterte said in Filipino during a business forum held in Davao City.

READ MORE...

He said the government record clearly showed the capital punishment was effective in curbing crimes in the past. Once death penalty is re-imposed, Duterte threatened to hang criminals and make them “curtains.”

Duterte likewise urged the public to learn to discern from opinion articles downplaying the efficiency of capital punishment. He said these articles were “garbage” and sometimes are paid. “Nothing could ever be right for them,” he added.

The return of the death penalty is one of the priority measures endorsed by the President to the two houses of Congress. The bill, however, was met with strong opposition from some lawmakers, Catholic Church leaders, and pro-life advocates.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD (COMMENTARY)

State and Church posted February 13, 2017 at 12:01 am by Lito Banayo


LITO BANAYO

Those who dislike Rodrigo Duterte and his brand of leadership, or who cannot accept the draconian methods he employs in his fight against drugs and crime, or are simply shocked by the language he mouths which do not pass the standards of urbanity they prefer of a president of the land, may think they have found a strong ally in the bishops of the Roman Catholic church.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, which twice became an instrument in toppling governments in this country, is no longer as powerful or influential as it used to be in a perverse sort of way, during the years when the unlamented Cardinal Sin was its unelected leader.

EDSA 1

Filipinos have realized that their lives did not get any better, and in fact became worse, after they listened to the interventionist voice of the man called Sin. In Edsa One, there may have been great moral outrage which synthesized with the moral posture of the Church in the Philippines.

There was largely a grave doubt in the public mind that their vote was robbed by the Comelec under strongman Marcos. This broke the camel’s back, which was under great strain since the assassination three years earlier of Ninoy Aquino. The conviction was strongest, and the opposition was most vociferous in Metro Manila, the seat of political and economic power.

EDSA 2

Edsa Two was otra cosa. It was a clear power grab with little genuine moral outrage propelling the conspiracy of the elite. But it was backed by ambitious military generals who wanted to bask in the power that a female vice president was all too willing to share with them. And when the interventionist Cardinal Sin convinced then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that she had a “moral” duty to assume power and grab the presidency from the man who two years and a half ago was elected by overwhelming numbers of the lumpen, once more the influence of the Roman Catholic leadership in the Philippines altered the course of history.

But after two Edsas, which we will again commemorate in less than two weeks hence, what “blessings from heaven” have our people received in return?

Nada.

Well, except if one considers this perverted democracy we “enjoy” more important than a better quality of life for some 90 percent of our population.

That is why the people of this benighted land saw a “savior” in Rodrigo Duterte, despite his cussing profanity, at one time directed towards Il Santo Papa, mismo!

Rodrigo’s victory in democratically held elections last year was a triumph of the ordinary man against a system where only the forms of democracy presided over an utter lack of democratic substance, which is equal opportunity. And so those who supported his political competitors found themselves engulfed by a maelstrom of protest they could not quite fathom until it hit them straight in the eye.

They have become yesterday’s men, consigned to bite the dust of a new wave of nationalism and a strong desire for meaningful change in the everyday life of the everyman.

Look at the recently released short jeremiad of the CBCP, which in rather cautiously-calibrated language denounced the so-called culture of death foisted by the secular leadership against drugs.

'HYPOCRITES'

Once again, the CBCP segued into their consistently-advocated fear of the death penalty now pending in Congress. Invoking their “bias” for the poor, the bishops virtually state that in the kind of society where we exist, poor boys fry while rich men fly if the death penalty is re-imposed. Which may be true, but that is precisely because they have conspired with the elite in foisting this kind of feudal order upon the benighted land.

But Rodrigo Duterte and his House Speaker will have none of the usual balderdash from the bishops. Calling them “hypocrites,” Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez minced no words in pushing his proposed legislation, and even went as far as threatening those who would not follow him and the President to resign from their positions of power and prominence.

Never have the bishops been confronted by this kind of tit for tat, by the in-your-face intransigence of political leadership.

But that is how it must be. We live in a secular state, where the Constitution, whether the present or the past basic laws, guarantee the separation of State and Church. (I purposely began with the word State before Church).

Let the Church confine itself to matters that belong to it, and let the State care about the daily affairs of keeping order in society and ensuring the material basics of the people it serves.

Was that not how Christ himself decreed the separation of State and Church, by stressing that people must “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s?”

So should it be. So it must be.

The real and undiluted separation of State and Church might well be the beginning of a better Philippines.


INQUIRER

Church won’t be silenced in opposing death penalty—bishop By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales - Reporter / @YGonzalesINQINQUIRER.net / 04:22 PM February 12, 2017


Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz . INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Catholic Church will not stop airing its opposition to the death penalty bill despite being criticized by politicians for supposedly meddling in state affairs, a former head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said on Sunday.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, a vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, said the Church would continue to proclaim its teachings on the sanctity of life even if priests were being subjected to attacks by proponents of the death penalty bill.

READ: Former CBCP head tells Alvarez: Don’t play God

He was responding to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who once called bishops a “bunch of shameless hypocrites” for issuing a united stand against the spate of drug-related killings under the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

READ MORE...

“I am not offended, I understand him (Alvarez). Kaya lamang napakahirap naman tumahimik ako bilang alagad ng Diyos pagkat pangalan ng Diyos ang sinusuway, wala akong kibo. Ano ako, manunuod?” Cruz said over Church-run Radyo Veritas. “Huwag naman ganun. Kung gusto niyang pag-aralan ‘yung sinabi ko, sige lang salamat. Kung ayaw niya, tapon niya sa basura salamat din no problem.”

READ: Alvarez: Bring it on

Cruz earlier advised Alvarez against “playing God” with the latter’s threat to strip members of the Duterte-controlled supermajority in Congress of deputy speakerships and committee chairmanships if they will oppose the death penalty bill.

Alvarez, author of the death penalty bill, said former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo would be among those who could be replaced if she opposed the measure. It was during Arroyo’s term as President that the death penalty was abolished.

READ: Palace defends Alvarez: He’s just standing his ground

“Hindi ko naman mauutos ‘yung huwag kang papatay, sa akin ba galing ‘yun? Galing sa Panginoon ‘yun, inuulit ko lang. Kung makinig siya (Alvarez), salamat. Kung hindi, siya ang bahala. Kung minsan, public officials, they should be public servants, hindi they became like ‘public lords and public Gods’ nakakahiya,” Cruz added.

The measure seeking to reinstate capital punishment for heinous crimes is being debated at the plenary of the House of Representatives./rga

LENI ROGREDO

 
https://youtu.be/h0yqpEvFD4Q?t=52
Robredo: Death penalty debates a 'defining moment' for solons INQUIRER.net INQUIRER.net Published on Feb 9, 2017 Robredo: Death penalty debates a 'defining moment' for solons. Video by Noy Morcoso Category News & Politics License Standard YouTube License


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