Body of high-ranking NPA rebel found in Agusan del Sur – AFP

Marje Pelayo   •   May 18, 2018   •   5271

The body of “Ka Marjun,” vice commanding officer of a rebel platoon based in North Central Mindanao

 

AGUSAN DEL SUR, Philippines – The Philippine Army (PA) has identified the body recovered by members of the 402nd Infantry Brigade following an encounter in Sinacungan, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur on Monday, May 14.

402nd IB Spokesperson Captain Al Anthony Pueblas announced Friday, May 18, that a rebel returnee assisted authorities to identify the body of “Ka Marjun,” the vice commanding officer of Platoon 2, RSDQ Compaq based in North Central Mindanao. He was a resident of Barangay Balit, San Luis, Agusan Del Sur.

The Philippine Army believes the killing of “Ka Marjun” is a positive indication that the leadership of the NPA rebels is now dwindling in Caraga Region. The military expressed gratitude for the active support from communities in the region for such accomplishment.

“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa sting mga mahal na kababayan sa tulong at suporta na ipinakita nila sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng mga reports hinggil sa presensya nitong mga teroristang NPA,” Pueblas said.

(We thank members of the community for the help and support they have shown by reporting the presence of NPA terrorists.) – Raymond Octobre / Marje Pelayo

Duterte’s P2-M bounty vs. NPA commanders ‘will result in the murder of many innocent people’ — Sison

Marje Pelayo   •   May 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison warned on Tuesday (May 12) that President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer of P2 million bounty for the capture of New People’s Army (NPA) commanders will only lead to further loss of ‘innocent civilians.’

“With this kind of offer, we can expect his armed minions to manufacture more NPA commanders so that they will receive the cash reward as they have from previous fake surrenders and fake encounters,” Sison said in a post on Facebook.

“We can expect more murders being committed by military and police officers against innocent civilians who are misrepresented as NPA commanders,” he added.

President Duterte in a briefing announced his offer to anyone who would be lead the authorities to the capture of an NPA leader or commander following another series of attacks against government troops in humanitarian missions.

“Like his previous order to shoot dead any violator of the lockdown, his order to kill NPA commanders will result in the murder of many innocent people,” Sison later added.

The communist leader also noted that the President allegedly “does not care that he will go down in history as a butcher of the Filipino people.”

Sison reiterated that President Duterte is just using the NPA to cover up his administration’s ‘gross incompetence and failure’ in the fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) citing the lack of mass testing and contact-tracing and the increasing number of health workers dying of the virus due to lack of personal protective gear.

READ: Duterte offers P2-M bounty for the capture of NPA commanders

“Duterte has made a rambling and inane multi-media broadcast every week during the lockdown but he has not given any rational plan for the use of 275 billion pesos. And there has been no accounting of the disbursement of these funds,” he said.

Duterte’s new martial law threat, a cover-up for failed COVID-19 response — CPP

Marje Pelayo   •   April 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – In response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s outburst over continued attacks against government forces, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Friday (April 24) accused the Chief Executive of just using the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to carry out his agenda of imposing martial law.

On its website, the communist group stressed that the President is again blaming its armed wing – the New People’s Army (NPA) – ‘to cover up’ his administration’s failure in responding to the current health crisis particularly the conduct of COVID-19 mass testing.

“This is a classic deflection tactic to draw away the people’s attention from the government’s inept, incompassionate and irresponsible actions in the face of the pandemic,” the group said.

The CPP said imposing martial law will not end the pandemic but only cause ‘greater hardship’ to the Filipino people.

The group alleged that the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that has been expanded to cover Visayas and Mindanao is martial law.

“There is now creeping nationwide martial law and the entire country is now effectively under the highhanded and control of the military and police,” the CPP noted.

READ: Duterte threatens to declare martial law if NPA attacks continue

The leftist group defended the NPA over the recent encounters with government troops saying the group was only responding to the attacks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) since it has further stepped up its counterinsurgency operations.

“The armed clashes between the NPA and the AFP in the past days are a result of the attacks of the AFP and active defense of the NPA,” the group said.

“In fact, the AFP never went on ceasefire, even when Duterte ordered a suspension of offensive operations last March 19 to April 15, deploying troops to more than 350 barangays and 120 towns to conduct counterinsurgency, mounting at least 24 offensives and six aerial bombardments,” it added.

The CPP accused that such intensified counterinsurgency efforts by the AFP are aimed at preventing the NPA from conducting its own public health campaign in response to the COVID-19 crisis in areas where the Duterte government ‘does not exist’ and their efforts are warmly received.

Nevertheless, the party said it stands by the ceasefire order of its Central Committee that has been extended to April 30 to prioritize its own public health campaign in their villages.

While so doing: “All units of the NPA must, however, remain vigilant and on high alert against attacks of the AFP and ready to engage in battle,” the group concluded.

PH Army orders probe on death of ex-soldier shot by cop in QC

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Army on Thursday said it has ordered an investigation into the death of a retired soldier after he was shot by a police officer during an altercation at a checkpoint in Quezon City.

In a statement, the Philippine Army said the probe into the killing of former soldier, Private First Class Winston Ragos, would be conducted by the Army Judge Advocate in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The Army said that Ragos retired from the military service in 2017 after he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“In January 2017, Ragos was given a complete disability discharge from his military service, separation package and other assistance, after being diagnosed with a mental disorder (PTSD),” Army Commanding General Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay said.

“To a soldier, the wounds of war are not just physical but also mental and their scars are not always visible,” he added.

Army Spokesperson Colonel Ramon Zagala, however, clarified that Ragos was not deployed in Marawi, contrary to earlier reports.

“He was not in Marawi. Although he served in combat in Camarines Norte in 2010,” he said in a message to reporters.

Ragos was killed after he was shot by a police officer identified as Police Master Sergeant Daniel Florendo during a confrontation in a quarantine control point in Quezon City on Wednesday.

Report from the Quezon City Police District said that Florendo and four other police trainees were manning the checkpoint along Maligaya Drive in Barangay Pasong Putik when they were confronted by Ragos.

A closed circuit television (CCTV) footage showed Ragos arguing with the police while Florendo pointed a gun at him.

A video of the incident that went viral on social media showed Ragos being persuaded by other police officers to surrender to authorities with Florendo standing a few feet away.

Ragos, however, did not heed their call, and instead faced the police officer and acted as if he was pulling something from his sling bag.

The QCPD said Ragos’ action have prompted Florendo to shoot him twice.

The man swayed for a moment until he dropped to the ground. He was then rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead.

The PNP earlier said it has ordered an independent probe on the incident. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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