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AFP on Duterte’s move to scrap talks with Reds: ‘It’s the right thing’

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2019

File photo: Members of the New People’s Army

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Friday (March 22) that cancelling the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was the right move.

“Dapat lang. 31 years of deceptive ploys using peace talks, across five administrations, only resulted to more terrorist NPAs being released, an opportunity for the CTG (communist terrorist groups) to recruit and recover lost areas of influence, publicity for Joma [Sison] in the international arena as a ‘dove,’” AFP deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr. said in a message sent to media on Friday.

Parlade added that the decades-long peace process “wasted government funds spent for negotiations and junkets, opportunity losses for investments and development because of prolonged and intermittent fighting.”

“They had their best chance when peace was offered again to them by PRRD [President Rodrigo R. Duterte], offering Cabinet posts in good faith for them to help in good governance but they blew it by attacking projects, killing society forces, and even innocent civilians,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday permanently ended the peace negotiations and told the communist rebels to just talk to the next administration.

Malacañang followed this up with an announcement that a new panel will be created to pursue localized peace talks with communist members on the ground in line with the government’s new whole-of-nation approach to end the 50-year armed struggle.

READ: Gov’t to create new panel for localized peace talks

But for CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, there is nothing new in Duterte’s latest move to scrap the peace talks with the Reds, likening him to “an old broken record.”

“As far as the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) is concerned, Duterte formally killed the peace negotiations on Nov. 23, 2017 with his Proclamation 360 terminating them,” Sison said in a statement released Thursday evening (March 21).

The communist leader added that Duterte was just “merely driving more nails into the coffin of the peace negotiations under his regime.”

He also claimed that the President only wants to implement fake localized peace process controlled by the military, instead of negotiating with the CPP national leaders.

“Instead of peace negotiations at the national level by the duly-authorized panels of the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and the NDFP, what Duterte wants is fake localized peace negotiations staged and controlled by the military and military-occupied Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Negotiations,” he said.

But according to AFP, Sison was just trying to muddle the issue to conceal his panic over Duterte’s decision.

AFP Spokesperson Marine BGen Edgard Arevalo said in a statement that Sison is well aware that local peace engagement has been immensely successful.

“Mr. Sison has the temerity to call President Duterte ‘stupid’ for thinking that government will be successful in attaining peace by engaging NPA (New People’s Army) Commanders and fighters on the ground instead of the CPP-NPA’s national leadership,” Arevalo said.

“Mr. Sison consistently calls localized peace talks as a “waste of people’s money”, “cheap trick”, “absurd and stupid”, and by other deriding terms. He moves heaven and earth to prevent it because it will further relegate him to history’s dustbin,” he added.

The AFP official said that since January 2018, more than 11,000 NPA fighters and sympathizers have returned to the government’s fold after realizing that they have been deceived.

“But enough is enough. 50 years of duplicity, deceit, and murder of thousands of his comrades on mere suspicion of being military informants or have expressed desire to go back to mainstream society must stop,” Arevalo said.

He also called on anew to communist rebels to come out of hiding and take advantage of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs being offered by the current government.

“They should follow the lead of their comrades who stopped being menace to society and are now experiencing a life free from hunger, fear, and uncalled for perils fighting government. They should take advantage of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs,” Arevalo said. –— Robie de Guzman

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3 NPA terrorists killed in Mindoro encounter

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019

Courtesy: (2DPAO, 2ID, PA)

RIZAL, Philippines — Three members of the New People’s Army (NPA) terrorist group were killed in an encounter with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the town of Mansalay in Oriental Mindoro province.

The encounter took place on Thursday afternoon (June 13) and lasted for almost two hours.

According to BGen. Marceliano Teofilo, the commander of the 203rd Infantry Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over Mindoro Province, they received information from concerned citizen that the NPA terrorists in the area will conduct training to their newly recruited members of which some were believed to be minors.

“This prompted us to conduct Focused Military Operation (FMO) and our troops were able to locate their whereabouts, and fire fight broke,” Teofilo said.

The military also recovered three M16 rifles; one AK-47; one cal.45 with 2 magazines; one grenade launcher tube; two improvised explosive devices (IED) and switch; three blasting caps; two cellphones; and assorted kinds of ammunitions at the encounter site.

According to the report, one soldier from the Army’s 4IB was slightly wounded in the left ear but is now in safe condition.

Lt.Col. Alexander Arbolado, Battalion Commander of the 4IB said they already dispatched additional troops and K9 units to track the whereabouts of the retreating rebels.

“We will not let them go until they are totally destroyed,” he said.

BGen. Teofilo calls on the NPA rebels to surrender or else “suffer the fate of their comrades” as the military will not stop in pursuing them.

Meanwhile, Army’s 2nd Infantry Division spokesperson Capt. Patrick Jay Retumban said “the intel community is now validating the reports that an NPA Commander was slain during the encounter”.

If it’s true, BGen. Teofilo said it would be a major blow to the NPA rebel unit in Mindoro.

“Their days are numbered and in just a matter of time the NPA here will be on the verge of collapse due to their numerous setbacks in armed encounters and snowballing of surrenderees,” he noted.

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DILG to Reds: Spare the youth from lies, deception

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday called on communist rebel groups to stop recruiting students and out-of-school youth into their movement.

“Spare our young people from your lies and deception.Huwag ninyong sirain ang kinabukasan nila. Huwag ninyo silang linlangin at idamay sa mga pakana ninyo para mag-aklas laban sa gobyerno,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.

Año, a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the youth are easy to manipulate and brainwash making them priority target recruits of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDF).

“The youth should be in school and not in the mountains,” he said. 

“The youth are a brave, curious and adventurous bunch. So, the communists take advantage of these qualities along with their vulnerabilities to deceive, manipulate, and threaten them into becoming one of their own,” he added.

Año made the remark following the death of several teenaged NPA combatants in previous encounters with government forces.

The DILG chief also called on the youth not to fall for the communists’ deception and smooth talk.

“I tell you, it is a trap. They will sow hatred and lies into your heads so that you will become their vessel to unknowingly work to push their twisted ideology,” he said.

Año further stated that communist terrorist groups capitalize on issues like cost of education, neglect of the youth sector, poor internet connection, lack of career opportunities, among other socioeconomic issues to agitate the young people and indoctrinate them on the communist ideology.

“The communist terrorists poison the minds of our children by teaching them to hate the government and arming them with guns. This form of child trafficking must stop,” he said.

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NUPL takes ‘Oust Duterte’ matrix to SC

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) has taken the issue of the alleged “oust-Duterte” matrix to the Supreme Court to justify its plea for protection from alleged harassment by government forces.

In a manifestation filed by mail late Wednesday, the group cited its inclusion in the Association between Bikoy and Ellen Tordesillas which shows the names of organizations, journalists and lawyers said to be involved in the black propaganda against President Rodrigo Duterte by publishing and distributing online videos which contain the alleged involvement of the Duterte family in the narcotics trade.

The petition was filed following the release of the matrix last Monday tagging the group in the alleged destabilization plot against the Duterte government.

The group told the Supreme Court in its pleading that the “baseless and reckless” claim against their group and others named in the matrix is proof of intimidation and harassment.

“These malicious statements and dangerous claims, as well as the contrived matrix above, baseless and reckless as they are, compel the petitioners to again seek this time for the Honorable Court’s protection and reiterate their prayer for a temporary protection order,” the group said.

“Petitioners simply chose to practice the ideals of the legal profession by rendering services to the underprivileged as mandated by our oath and by legal, constitutional and international principles,” it added.

The matrix shows the supposed links between NUPL, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), Vera Files, Rappler and other media groups and personalities. The groups were also accused of distributing the “Totoong Narco list” videos.

The lawyers’ group earlier sought protection from the High Tribunal through the issuance of a writ of amparo and writ of habeas data.

The group claims that the military harassed their members after they were accused of being part of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (NPA).

In its SC manifestation, the NUPL named as respondents Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade, President Rodrigo Duterte, National Security Adviser and National Security Council Director Hermogenes Esperon, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, deputy commander for intelligence Brig. Gen. Fernando Trinidad, Intelligence service chief Maj. Gen. Erwin Bernard Neri and Philippine Army commanding General Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Mai Bermudez)

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