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Interfaith prayer for peace, reconciliation sought after Mindanao attacks

FOLLOWING the recent attacks against symbols of religious belief, Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd on Thursday called for nationwide interfaith prayers for peace and reconciliation. Senate Resolution 1002 calls for…READ The post Interfaith prayer for peace, reconciliation sought after Mindanao attacks appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource: manilatimes manilatimesJan 31st, 2019

Sotto wants nationwide, interfaith prayer every 1st Thursday of February

  MANILA, Philippines --- Senate President Vicente Sotto III has filed a resolution urging the chamber to declare every first Thursday of February as the "Synchronized National Interfaith Prayers for Peace and Reconciliation." Senate Resolution No. 1002, filed by Sotto last Monday, is aimed at encouraging Filipinos to participate in reciting a universal prayer initiated by the "PasaLord Prayer Movement," the "Prayer for Peace in the Philippines." The said prayer has an English, Filipino, Cebuano and Hiligaynon versions. The PasaLord Prayer Movement is aninterfaith movement launched in 2017 which "seeks to unite Filipinos of various creeds and denominations to pray for peace...Keep on reading: Sotto wants nationwide, interfaith prayer every 1st Thursday of February.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 31st, 2019

Muslims in Cebu Assure Concord with Gov’t Amid Mindanao Attacks

The leader of ustadz (Muslim teachers) and imams (Muslim priests) in Cebu on Thursday assured that the Muslim community in the province remains cooperative with the government’s peace and order efforts amid the recent deadly attacks in separate places in Mindanao. “Here in Cebu, nagpasalamat ta tungod kay ang atong mga Muslim brothers mo-cooperate sa […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated NewsFeb 1st, 2019

INTERNATIONAL ALERT PHILIPPINES: Protect the gains of peace in hopeful yet fragile conditions

29 January 2019 International Alert Philippines grieves with the families of civilians and soldiers that perished during the twin attacks in Jolo, Sulu and with hundreds who were wounded. The cathedral bombing will not be the last tragic event in Muslim Mindanao as the entire region transitions from war to peace and from deprivation to […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanewsRelated NewsJan 29th, 2019

Martial law in Mindanao may be extended – Palace

The government might consider extending martial law in Mindanao again as it has helped security forces maintain peace and order as well as protect civilians from further terror attacks, Malacañang said yesterday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 19th, 2018

Martial Law in Mindanao may be extended – Palace

The government might consider extending martial law in Mindanao again as it has helped security forces maintain peace and order as well as protect civilians from further terror attacks, Malacañang said yesterday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 18th, 2018

6,000 teachers deployed to promote peace in Mindanao

Some 6,000 teachers deployed in five southern provinces in the past five years are now actively helping propagate interfaith solidarity among schoolchildren in support of the government's Mindanao peace efforts......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 13th, 2018

Bangsamoro at EDSA shrine

Members of Bangsamoro civil society from Mindanao and Manila and Manila-based peace advocacy groups gather at the EDSA Shrine in Quezon City for an interfaith rally on Wednesday, July 11 to urge the Bicameral Conference Committee meeting in nearby Crowne Plaza hotel to come up with a final version of the proposed Bangsamoro law that is […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanewsRelated NewsJul 11th, 2018

Palace: Phl not taking soft stance on China

The Palace denied it is going soft on China amid reports of a resumption of build-up over disputed portions of the South China Sea (SCS) that foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have criticized. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Philippines shares Asean leaders’ concern regarding China’s aggressive actions on what is said to be the world’s busiest waterways.The recently concluded Asean foreign and defense ministers in Singapore issued a statement that did not name China but said that “land reclamations and activities in the area . . . have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region.” The Asean ministers resolved to expedite the code of conduct (CoC) on how to negotiate with China regarding overlapping maritime claims.“Asean’s concern on the Chinese build-up is right because Asean, as a regional bloc, wants to adhere to discussions pertaining to the code of conduct,” Roque said.“We cannot be not joining the call because the Philippines is one of those concerned in this campaign,” he added.Roque also disputed views that Manila is not among those insistent in pressing Beijing to speed up the CoC drafting. “We are not being too soft (on China) but we have an established policy on that. Number one, of course, is we are one with Asean in recognizing that this is a concern for all Asean countries. Particularly that of the freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea,” Roque said.“Our common concern is peace security and stability in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes,” he added.During Manila’s hosting of the Asean last year, President Duterte did not cite the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling that nullified Beijing’s sweeping claim over nearly the entire South China Sea.It was the Philippine government that contested China’s nine-dash-line claim before the Hague court. China, however, refuses to recognize it.Apart from the Philippines, other Asean countries also have overlapping claims at the South China Sea including Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.Reclamation to continueChina in its known mouthpiece Global Times said Beijing is concentrating on civil and not military construction on islands in the South China Sea but insisted that the Chinese “will expand land reclamation.”“Most of the construction on islands in the South China Sea were completed in 2015 and the pace then slowed. Civilian facility construction is the major focus of the South China Sea islands building and the portion of defense deployment is relatively small,” Global Times quoted Chen Xiangmiao, a research fellow at the National Institute for the South China Sea.The size of some South China Sea islands will be further expanded in future through more dredging in the South China Sea region, Chen said.The relationship between China and other Southeast Asian countries, such as the Philippines, has becalmed in recent years, providing a golden opportunity for China to upgrade these areas, he said.China and the Philippines are enjoying good terms as President Rodrigo Duterte maintains a friendly policy toward China, Chen said. “But there is still some domestic pressure that urges Duterte to take a tough stance on China and the South China Sea issue,” Chen said.Foreign media like to hype China’s construction in the South China Sea as they try to make excuses to prevent China’s activities in this region, Zhuang Guotu, head of Xiamen University’s Southeast Asian Studies Center, told the Global Times.“China has the right to build whatever it needs within its territory,” Zhuang said.China’s military deployment in the South China Sea region was “not for military expansion,” but to defend its security and interests, he said.Zhuang and Chen warned the US is the biggest threat to stability in the South China Sea.“The US, Australia, Japan and other allies will constantly provoke China over this issue and that will incite other neighboring South China Sea countries to do the same,” Zhuang said.China’s construction projects in the region covered about 290,000 square meters in 2017, including new facilities for underground storage, administrative buildings and large radar, according to a report released in December on the nanhai.haiwainet.cn website run by the National Marine Data and Information Service and People’s Daily Overseas edition. No foreign vessels at BenhamThe Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has not monitored any foreign vessels at the Philippine Rise, formerly known as Benham Rise, during its latest patrol in the area. Lt. Col. Isagani Nato, AFP-Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) spokesman, said that based on the latest patrol conducted by Nolcom troops, there was no presence of foreign ships at Philippine Rise.“As of now, we don’t have a report that there is presence (of foreign vessels) in Benham Rise,” said Nato.Earlier, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol announced that President Duterte has banned foreign ships at the Philippine Rise and ordered the military to patrol the area.The announcement came following an uproar from government critics after the Duterte administration allowed the Chinese to conduct scientific research at the Philippine Rise.Nato, however, said that Nolcom is yet to receive official order regarding the matter.But Nato maintained that with or without the latest directive, Nolcom has regularly conducted air and maritime patrols along Philippine Rise.Apart from Nolcom, the Air Force and the Philippine Navy, Nato said that the Philippine Coast Guard, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-MG) also conduct their own patrol in the area.He said the Nolcom uses air and naval assets of the Navy and the Air Force units under its jurisdiction.“We conduct our patrols regularly. It is a mandate of Nolcom forces so that is continuous with or without the directive from higher ups,” said Nato.According to Nato, Nolcom conducts three to four maritime and air patrol at Philippine Rise per month as part of the government efforts to secure the country’s maritime domain.ML ruling lauded, hitThe Supreme Court’s (SC) decision to uphold Mr. Duterte’s year-long martial law extension in Mindanao also drew mixed reactions.The High Court on Tuesday voted 10-5 junking militant groups’ petition and finding “sufficient factual basis” to extend martial law and suspend the privilege of wirt of habeas corpus in Mindanao until December 31, 2018.Roque welcomed the ruling saying that it affirms the need to continue protecting citizens from the threat of terrorist groups, primarily Islamic State (IS)-inspired fanatics.But for Left-leaning groups who petitioned the SC to lift martial law, the court decision opens up more crackdowns and human rights violations.The Palace official has insisted that human rights will be respected amid security operations.“The SC ruling underscores the unity of the whole government in its bid to defeat terrorism and prevent the spread in other parts of the country of DIWW and other like-minded local and foreign terrorist groups,” Roque said.“The majority of votes is a manifestation of confidence on law enforcement agencies that they shall, like they had been doing before, continue to protect our people, secure Mindanao, and pursue the bigger task of rehabilitation while upholding the rule of law, Human Rights, and International Humanitarian Law,” he added.Human rights watchdog Karapatan sees the contrary in the government’s motives, saying that the year-long military rule will boost attacks on the people.The continuous implementation of martial law in Mindanao will allow the unhampered massive rehabilitation in war-torn Marawi City and boost the security forces campaign to finish off the rebellion, the Department of National Defense (DND) said. In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Supreme Court’s decision affirming the constitutionality of the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao will definitely boost government efforts to rebuild Marawi City and address continuing rebellion.The defense chief welcomed the SC decision as a vote of confidence to the government security forces.“The DND – AFP is grateful for the trust and confidence of our public institutions and the support of the Filipino people,” said Lorenzana. Mario J. Mallari.....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJun 7th, 2018

House panels okay BBL with opt-in provision

THE House panels on Muslim Affairs and Peace, Unity and Reconciliation have approved the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) providing for an opt-in provision, wherein all other contiguous areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) could be included in the new Bangsamoro Region. The affirmative vote on the proposed BBL or House Bill [...] The post House panels okay BBL with opt-in provision appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimesRelated NewsApr 17th, 2018

House sets BBL public hearings on Feb. 8 to March 9 in 11 Mindanao areas

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 01 February) — The House Committees on Local Government, Muslim Affairs and Peace, Reconciliation and Unity will be conducting public hearings on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in 11 Mindanao areas every week from February 8 to March 9. Committee members will be presenting to the public their proposed Bangsamoro […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanewsRelated NewsFeb 1st, 2018

Goodbye BBL, Hello Federalism

COTABATO CITY – For the third time around, majority Christian lawmakers in the House of Representatives are expected to reject the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL being pushed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which signed an interim peace deal with Manila in 2014. Instead of BBL, lawmakers are now pushing for a federal form of government and President Rodrigo Duterte is also strongly advocating the shift to federalism, an advocacy he made even before when he was the mayor of Davao City. Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque also said Duterte’s priority now is to change the form of current government and this can only be achieved through amendments in the Constitution which lawmakers are currently working on. There was also a proposal to hold a plebiscite next year in time for the mid-term elections for Filipinos to decide whether to accept or reject federalism. But there are also many lawmakers who wanted to cling to power and extend their term of office until 2022 when voters would have to choose their leaders in national elections. BBL Duterte has previously backed the BBL and expressed optimism that the draft law will pass the scrutiny of Congress that previously opposed it – during Arroyo and Aquino’s presidency. But Duterte himself has been campaigning for BBL and federalism even before he won the presidency in 2016. And his political allies in Congress are supporting the proposed shift from the current presidential system to federalism, and not the BBL. The MILF, whose ageing leaders, called for the passage of BBL may be overridden by Duterte’s plans to grant regions autonomy through federalism. It said the administration of Duterte should immediately work for the passage of the BBL where the Aquino government left off. It stressed that the negotiation is completed following the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the MILF and government peace panels. Politicians questioning the BBL said the provisions in the draft law remain the same.  Zamboanga City Representative Celso Lobregat, who was one of those who opposed the BBL during the Aquino administration citing unconstitutional provisions in the draft law, is again raising the same issue. Unconstitutional In a previous statement, Lobregat made it clear, he will be vigilant and consistent with his stand with regards to the BBL. “I am for peace, I am not anti-peace, but we need a Bangsamoro Basic Law that is just, that is fair, that is acceptable, feasible and more importantly, it should not be contrary to the Constitution and existing laws,” he said. He said the BBL which the Bangsamoro Transition Commission submitted to Duterte still contains the same and even more contentious and questionable provisions. “Among the contentious provisions in the present version of the BBL is that there will be six plebiscites – one for ratification of the law, and second the periodic plebiscite every 5 years for a period of 25 years in the cities, municipalities and other geographic areas outside the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which did not join the Bangsamoro after the ratification of the BBL,” Lobregat said. Lobregat, who was also former mayor of Zamboanga City, said Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) was the predecessor of the old BBL filed during the previous 16th Congress. The MOA-AD was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2008 describing the process that led to its crafting as “whimsical, capricious, oppressive, arbitrary and despotic.” He said the MOA-AD and the BBL have similar provisions, with some unconstitutional and controversial provisions. “Instead of promoting peace, there will be a constant tug of war on the political boundaries that will promote instability. The Bangsamoro will try to expand its area of jurisdiction and in turn, the local government adjacent, surrounding or neighboring the Bangsamoro will also fight tooth and nail in order to retain their territory,” Lobregat said. Lobregat said he will again be active and vigilant in the committee deliberations, plenary debates and caucuses to ensure that the interest of Zamboanga City and the rest of Mindanao are protected. Davao del Norte Representative and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Duterte’s ally in the lower chamber, said the country’s push for federalism has almost the same concept of the BBL. “The BBL will be absorbed by the federal form of government, because that’s the same. The concept of BBL is the same in federal form of government,” he said, suggesting an amendment in the Constitution. “How can you implement the provisions of the BBL without amending the Constitution? You cannot do it because there are provisions in the BBL that run contrary to the provisions of the Constitution,” said Alvarez. MILF’s rival group, the Moro National Liberation Front under Nur Misuari, has strongly opposed the government peace talks with the MILF, citing a 1996 peace accord with Manila. And Misuari, who eventually became government of the Muslim autonomous region, is now facing rebellion charges for deadly attacks in Sulu’s Jolo town and in Zamboanga City in 2001; and another raid in 2013 in retaliation to government’s failure to fully comply with the peace agreement. Under the accord, Manila would have provided a mini-marshal plan in the restive region and livelihood and housing facilities for thousands of MNLF rebels. Misuari, a close friend and political ally of Duterte, also wanted to become a perpetual regional governor. He is also […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsJan 27th, 2018

The Mindanao Trust Fund: Supporting Reconstruction and Development in Conflict-affected areas in Mindanao

MAGUINDANAO – Conflict-affected communities in Mindanao are among the poorest in the Philippines suffering from poor infrastructure and lack of basic services, including education and health, weak local governance, and minimal private sector investment, according to a report by the World Bank. It said insecurity has been a major challenge. Frequent armed clashes driven by multiple and inter-related forms of conflict—insurgent groups, clan disputes, and quasi-ideological criminal banditry—have created severe economic dislocation and displacement of people. Armed conflict and poverty are inextricably linked. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), one of the most heavily conflict-affected regions, has poverty incidence of 52.9 percent, almost double the national average. Based on the peace deal with the Philippine government in 2012, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is expected to transition into a social and political movement. One of the key challenges for a successful transition is to help the MILF build development planning, budgeting, and public administration skills within its ranks. The Mindanao Trust Fund or MTF works to enhance access to services and economic opportunities and build social cohesion while enhancing the capacity of local institutions in conflict-affected areas. It supports the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), the development arm of the MILF. Based on a 2001 agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the MILF, the BDA is tasked to determine, lead, and manage relief, rehabilitation, and development projects in the conflict-affected areas. It’s a unique project that enables various stakeholders—government, the World Bank, and other development partners—to work with a revolutionary movement in delivering development results even before the signing of a final peace agreement. With an enhanced role of women, the program helps the BDA to deliver community development and income-generating subprojects in communities. This enhances access to basic services such as clean water, roads and day care centers. BDA also works to strengthen community enterprises for employment and income generation. The community-based approach brings people from different groups—Muslims, Christians, and Indigenous Peoples—together for the common good, building social cohesion and trust. Over time the program has expanded beyond community development to assist the BDA to develop skills in macro-development planning. A broad package of engagement complements the MTF promoting inclusive growth across Mindanao. For example, US$121 million for farm-to-market roads in Mindanao is included in the nation-wide PRDP while the National Community Driven Development Project is financing US$190 million for CDD activities in Mindanao. Over a decade, 650,000 people (52% of whom are women) in 284 villages have benefitted from 641 subprojects financed by the MTF. The subprojects have included water systems, community centers, sanitation facilities, access roads, post-harvest facilities, and farming and fishing equipment. Eighty-six percent of the beneficiaries say that the project reflected their needs. The subprojects have reduced travel time to market, increased agricultural productivity, reduced post-harvest costs, and increased access to basic services such as clean water. Beneficiaries of income-generating subprojects reported a 10 to 20 percent increase in incomes. About 330,383 women beneficiaries learned skills in community planning and implementation. And 42 community enterprises in 11 villages have been trained in business development to generate sustainable employment and income. The Bangsamoro Development Agency has evolved from a small group of volunteers with no development experience to a leading development agency in Mindanao with 300 staff across seven regional management offices. BDA cooperates with multiple national and international partners, including JICA, WFP, and UNICEF. Bangsamoro Development Plan: the MTF provided technical assistance to help the BDA formulate the first comprehensive economic development blueprint prepared by a non-state armed group. Under the Alternative Learning System project, about 1,832 former combatants, housewives and out-of-school youth reported increased confidence because of improved reading, writing and numeracy abilities. These contributed to their more active participation in community meetings, stronger support for their children’s schoolwork, and better fair farm pricing transactions in city markets. The MTF has remained an important mechanism for consolidating peace and development in Mindanao. Beyond the impact of subprojects at the community level, the program’s ability to converge government and international support to empower Bangsamoro people and institutions to lead in community development seeks to lay the foundation for future sustainable and inclusive development in the Bangsamoro. The program fostered social cohesion by creating spaces for dialogue between Muslims, Christians, and Indigenous Peoples, as well as a diverse mix of local, regional, and national institutional actors. In many remote locations, the project provided the only opportunity for different groups to interact. The increased familiarity built mutual understanding—the basis of trust. Project policies also ensured active and meaningful participation of indigenous peoples and women, who are often otherwise marginalized from decision-making processes at the village level. The participative approach fostered social unity and built trust among stakeholders. In tri-people communities, minority groups shared better understanding and more harmonious relations with Muslims due to the consensus-building nature of CDD/CDR. While residents of remote communities—who had had little to no government access—disclosed growing trust towards government institutions at the end of the project due to the assistance provided by officials. The Bank’s technical and analytical support through the MTF and other engagements supporting peace and development in Mindanao have produced a significant body of literature that helps inform policy dialogues among various stakeholders. For instance, the Land Conflict study prepared for the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission provides short- and medium-term recommendations that can help address land conflict in Mindanao. Also, the Public Expenditure Review in […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsJan 26th, 2018

Duterte Order: ‘Shoot to Kill’

DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered soldiers to shoot and kill armed communist rebels as security forces are readying to fight the New People’s Army following the total collapse of the peace talks. Duterte, who previously supported the rebel group when he was mayor of Davao City, gave the order recently and assured members of the armed forces that he shall take sole responsibility for it. He tagged the NPA as a terrorist group and vows to finish off the rebels who are fighting to overthrow the democratic government and install its own. “So what will be my orders to the? Shoot them, they will kill you anyway. So if there is an armed NPA there or terrorists, if he’s holding any firearms, shoot and tell any…ako na ang magsagot, you just shut up. Do not answer if that issue of human rights, you say, go to Duterte. It is and was his order para tumahimik ka, sabihin mo. And so? You are destroying my country, you expect me to pat you in the back and say, dahan-dahan ka lang,” Duterte told soldiers. He said an executive order declaring the NPA as terrorist group would be out soon. He said human rights organizations and fronts allied with the communist rebels would also be branded as terrorists. “I am preparing now. They are preparing the executive order declaring them to be terrorists and they will be afforded the treatment of being criminals. There will be no filing of cases under the public security like rebellion because rebellion is considered sometimes a noble undertaking, it’s only because you want your country to do better,” the tough-talking President said. Duterte said he would no longer negotiate peace the communist rebels, who also vowed to intensify their attacks on government and military targets. No. 1 Terrorist Communist rebel chieftain Jose Maria Sison also branded Duterte as the “No. 1 terrorist” in the country and accused him of mass murder after the President scrapped the peace talks. “Duterte is the No. 1 terrorist in the Philippines. He is culpable for the abduction, torture and mass murder of an increasing large number of poor people suspected drug users and pushers, peasants and indigenous people in suspected guerrilla fronts and Moro people suspected of aiding the Dawlah Islamiyah from the time of the indiscriminate bombing of Marawi City to the present in several Bangsamoro areas,” Sison, who is self-exile in The Netherlands since 1987, said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner. Duterte has threatened to outlaw the Communist Party of the Philippines, which Sison founded; and its political wing, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and jail its leaders, including leftist and human rights organizations conniving with them. He scrapped the peace talks after rebels declined to sign a ceasefire accord and continue attacking government and civilian targets despite on-going negotiations. Sison called Duterte as a “bloodlust” politician whose mania for mass murder are boundless. “Duterte´s blood lust and mania for mass murder are boundless. He expects to wipe out through arbitrary arrests, torture, indefinite detention and massacre of suspected revolutionaries and legal social activists both the armed revolutionary movement and the legal democratic movement in order to set up a fascist dictatorship in the service of US imperialism and his fellow oligarchs among the big compradors, landlords and corrupt bureaucrats,” he said. “And yet Duterte is utterly malicious and shameless in threatening and scheming to label and outlaw as terrorists the suspected members and entireties of such revolutionary organizations as the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People´s Army and even such legal patriotic and progressive organizations as BAYAN and its affiliates,” added Sison, a former university professor. He said the Duterte administration, backed by the United States, is hell-bent on frustrating the people´s clamor for peace negotiations to address the roots of the civil war through the adoption and implementation of social, economic, political and constitutional reforms as the basis of a just and lasting peace. Sison said the Duterte government is striving to intimidate the people with its own terrorist scheme and crimes in order to seize absolute autocratic power for the President and limitless opportunity for the bureaucratic corruption of his family and ruling clique. He said the rebel forces now have no choice, but to wage all forms of resistance and fight for national sovereignty, democracy, economic development, social and cultural progress and independent foreign policy. “The Filipino people and revolutionary forces waging the people´s democratic revolution have no choice but to intensify the people´s war through an extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare in rural areas and partisan or commando operations in urban areas. The legal democratic forces and broad opposition have no choice but to develop the underground and encourage endangered activists to become fighters in the people´s army.” “Duterte is already discredited as a mass murderer, political swindler, a sycophant to foreign powers and a corrupt bureaucrat. These characteristics of his and the ever worsening chronic crisis of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal ruling system will surely limit his ability to stay in power and accelerate the growth and rise of a revolutionary united front against his rule of greed and terror,” Sison said. He said even within the armed forces and police, there are already rumblings against the “despotic, criminal and corrupt character of […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2017

NPA attacks intensify in Luzon

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO --- The New People's Army (NPA) stepped up attacks in parts of Luzon almost 11 months before President Rodrigo Duterte unilaterally canceled the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), according to an overseas security and intelligence group. The NPA, armed wing of the CPP, has also intensified its attacks in the Visayas and Mindanao, according to reports reaching the Inquirer. The latest NPA attack killed a policeman and wounded 10 others in Sitio Camansi, Barangay Bolo, Maasin town, Iloilo province. The Jose Percival Estocada Command of the NPA owned the ambush in a statement posted on Facebook on Saturday. The attack came thr...Keep on reading: NPA attacks intensify in Luzon.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 26th, 2017

Duterte unfazed by NPA attacks, vows to achieve Mindanao peace

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his commitment to achieve peace in Mindanao under his term despite the communist rebels' continued attacks in the region. &'8220;Sad to say, despite our efforts, peace especially in the island of Mindanao, continue to elude us. But of course, it is not the peace of the dead but the peace of [...].....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsJul 24th, 2017

ISIS fighting now on 2nd month

MARAWI CITY – Despite the thousands of troops fighting the local ISIS group, the military still failed to liberate the besieged city of Marawi from militants who are holding about 240 hostages, including a Catholic priest.  The city is now in ruins, buildings in rubbles and tens of thousands of lives shattered by the fierce fighting that has raged on for two months now. Still, peace is elusive for many families whose only wish is for the violence to stop.  The military boasts of killing nearly 300 militants, but the fighting is not only about propaganda. It is a battle to stop ISIS radicalization of Muslims in Mindanao, a war that is just starting in Mindanao where new breeds of young militants will continue to carry on the struggle for freedom and self-determination in a land once under the rule of sultanates.  Militants are holding Fr. Chito Suganob and dozens of civilians since May 23 after they launched a daring raid in Marawi and now they wanted Cayamora and Ominta Maute -parents of ISIS leader Abdullah Maute &'' freed in exchange for the priest. The demand was reportedly relayed by Abdullah to a group of ulama sent by the government to talk to the militants.  The Philippine military said it was not aware of a deal offer by the local ISIS group. Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, a military spokesman, said they have no information about the demand. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said it is up to the government to decide on the sensitive matter. But Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said the government does not negotiate with terrorists.  The militants also demanded that they be allowed to withdraw from Marawi. This was the same demand they made in May through Suganob who appealed on President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately withdraw thousands of soldiers from Lanao del Sur province.  Manila flatly rejected the demand.  Suganob made the appeal in a video that surfaced on Facebook and the 5-minute clip went viral on social media. In the video, Suganob, the Vicar General of the Marawi prelature, said militants seized him, along with other church workers, including children and adults, mostly Christians, when members of the Maute group attacked the city.  Behind the ruins of buildings destroyed in fierce clashes and the sound of sporadic gunfire, Suganob made an emotional appeal to Duterte to save all of them, saying, the militants are ready to die for their religion. He asked Duterte to stop military assaults, both in air and on the ground, and for security forces to quickly leave Marawi and Lanao del Sur, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region. Below is the transcript of Suganob’s appeal:  “Mr. President, I was taken as a prisoner of war together with one MSU female professor – the Mindanao State University – two lady church workers, two male teachers of Dansalan College Foundation Incorporated and five female teachers of Dansalan College Foundation Incorporated, along with us are about 200 carpenters, household helpers, children and youth and ordinary Christian settlers and other Subanon tribes with us as captives and as prisoners of war.  Mr. President, we are in the midst of this war, we are asking your help to please give what your enemies are asking for – this simply am not asking for anything just to withdraw your forces away from Lanao del Sur and Marawi City and to stop the air strikes, your air attacks and to stop the canons.  Mr. President, from out heart, please consider us. You know it is hard Mr. President from time to time we hear bursts of gunfire from the ground of your enemies, heavy firearms from your side, it’s hard. And Mr. President, we do not ask for anything, we just ask that you leave this place peacefully, do not give so much attack, the city in my background is ruined like this and Mr. President if you are in our place, you will really consider us because you’ll hear the outburst of gunfire and everything, bombs and canons. We are victims and Mr. President, if you have a good heart for us considering, Mr. President, about 240 prisoners of war are asking your good heart, please consider us, we want to live another day, we want live another month, we want to live few years, and in your heart, we know you can make something, they do not ask anything Mr. President after all this is their place give them the land and Mr. President, you are attacking from your heart, do not use violence because your enemies they are ready to die for their religion, they are ready to die and their laws will be followed in this place.  Mr. President you are from Mindanao, you know the conflict in Mindanao, you know the problems and I hope Mr. President you understand them. I am also saying these things Mr. President because you know the history; they have the right to live here, they have the right to their own laws be respected and Mr. President, you cannot use force because they have their commitments, they will die for this, they are ready to die for this, Mr. President we ask you please consider us, we are in the midst of war, we are victims, do not be happy Mr. President that we are the collateral damage of war, we are [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsJul 1st, 2017

Military unaware of ISIS prisoner swap demand

MARAWI CITY – The Philippine military said it was not aware of a deal offer by the local ISIS group in the besieged city of Marawi for a prisoner swap – a Catholic priest for the release of at least a dozen fighters, including the parents of the militant leaders facing rebellion charges. Militants are holding Fr. Chito Suganob and dozens of civilians since May 23 after they launched a daring raid in Marawi and now they wanted Cayamora and Ominta Maute freed in exchange for the priest. The demand was reportedly relayed by Abdullah Maute, one the militant leaders, to a group of ulama sent by the government to talk to the militants. Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, a military spokesman, said they have no information about the demand. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said it is up to the government to decide on the sensitive matter. But Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said the government does not negotiate with terrorists. The Western Mindanao Command also did not issue any statement on the ISIS demand and it was not immediately known whether Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza is involved or secretly negotiating with the militants for the freedom of the hostages. The militants also demanded that they be allowed to withdraw from Marawi. This was the same demand they made last month through Suganob who appealed on President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately withdraw thousands of soldiers from Lanao del Sur province. Suganob made the appeal in a video that surfaced on Facebook and the 5-minute clip went viral on social media. In the video, Suganob, the Vicar General of the Marawi prelature, said militants seized him, along with other church workers, including children and adults, mostly Christians, when members of the Maute group attacked the city. Behind the ruins of buildings destroyed in fierce clashes and the sound of sporadic gunfire, Suganob made an emotional appeal to Duterte to save all of them, saying, the militants are ready to die for their religion. He asked Duterte to stop military assaults, both in air and on the ground, and for security forces to quickly leave Marawi and Lanao del Sur, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region. Below is the transcript of Suganob’s appeal: “Mr. President, I was taken as a prisoner of war together with one MSU female professor – the Mindanao State University – two lady church workers, two male teachers of Dansalan College Foundation Incorporated and five female teachers of Dansalan College Foundation Incorporated, along with us are about 200 carpenters, household helpers, children and youth and ordinary Christian settlers and other Subanon tribes with us as captives and as prisoners of war. Mr. President, we are in the midst of this war, we are asking your help to please give what your enemies are asking for – this simply am not asking for anything just to withdraw your forces away from Lanao del Sur and Marawi City and to stop the air strikes, your air attacks and to stop the canons. Mr. President, from out heart, please consider us. You know it is hard Mr. President from time to time we hear bursts of gunfire from the ground of your enemies, heavy firearms from your side, it’s hard. And Mr. President, we do not ask for anything, we just ask that you leave this place peacefully, do not give so much attack, the city in my background is ruined like this and Mr. President if you are in our place, you will really consider us because you’ll hear the outburst of gunfire and everything, bombs and canons. We are victims and Mr. President, if you have a good heart for us considering, Mr. President, about 240 prisoners of war are asking your good heart, please consider us, we want to live another day, we want live another month, we want to live few years, and in your heart, we know you can make something, they do not ask anything Mr. President after all this is their place give them the land and Mr. President, you are attacking from your heart, do not use violence because your enemies they are ready to die for their religion, they are ready to die and their laws will be followed in this place. Mr. President you are from Mindanao, you know the conflict in Mindanao, you know the problems and I hope Mr. President you understand them. I am also saying these things Mr. President because you know the history; they have the right to live here, they have the right to their own laws be respected and Mr. President, you cannot use force because they have their commitments, they will die for this, they are ready to die for this, Mr. President we ask you please consider us, we are in the midst of war, we are victims, do not be happy Mr. President that we are the collateral damage of war, we are already victims of heavy gunfire for seven days. Mr. President, if you want me to kneel before you just to have your heart in favor of our families, who are crying out there in different places, for our relatives and for those other 240, Mr. President we will do that. So Mr. President, I am asking you consideration.” There were no signs troops were pulling out from the city as clashes continue without letup. The army claimed nearly 300 [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsJun 27th, 2017

ARMM peace and order council readies response to Marawi clashes

LANAO DE SUR, Philippines — The security council of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has condemned attacks in Marawi City by the Maute terror group......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2017

Clashes in Syria’s Damascus after surprise rebel attack – Al Jazeera

Heavy clashes rocked eastern districts of the Syrian capital on Sunday after rebel fighters launched a surprise assault on government forces, a monitor and state television said. Steady shelling and sniper fire could be heard across Damascus on Sunday as rebel factions allied with former al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fateh al-Sham launched an attack on government positions in the city's east. The clashes centered on a government-held gap between two besieged opposition enclaves, the Jobar and Qaboun neighborhoods. The Ahrar al-Sham rebel group said fighters had &'8220;liberated&'8221; the area. Tahrir al-Sham &'' a umbrella group of rebels formed by Jabhat Fateh al-Sham last month &'' and the independent Failaq al-Rahman group also participated in the attack. Syrian state media said the military had repelled an attack by one group after &'8220;terrorists&'8221; infiltrated through tunnels in the middle of the night. Rebels detonated two large car bombs at 5:20am on Sunday close to the Jobar neighborhood. Tahrir al-Sham claimed responsibility for the attack. Rebels then advanced into the nearby Abbasiyn Square area, seizing several buildings and firing a barrage of rockets into multiple Damascus neighbourhoods, according to Rami Abdelrahman of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Government forces responded with nearly a dozen air strikes on Jobar, he added. Al Jazeera's Mohamed Al Jazaeri, reporting from near Damascus, said that at least 15 civilians had been killed after government forces shelled residential neighborhoods in Eastern Ghouta, but that the fighting had since become less intense. &'8220;This advance is the largest for opposition groups in over a year and a half,&'8221; Al Jazaeri said. &'8220;Military operations have not stopped in the area but it has calmed down. There remains sniper shooting from both sides and regime forces are shelling Jobar neighborhood, as well as other areas controlled recently by the opposition.&'8221; Control of Jobar &'' which has been a battleground district for more than two years &'' is divided between rebels and allied fighters on one side, and government forces on the other. It is one of three pockets in the Syrian capital still in opposition hands. The recent fighting has resulted in rebel control of industrial areas in Al-Qaboun in addition to parts of Abbasiyn breaking a siege on the area and linking it to Jobar neighborhood, which is connected to Eastern Ghouta, Al Jazaeri said. Joshua Landis, an expert on Syria at the University of Oklahoma, told Al Jazeera that the offensive had taken the government by surprise and that its response was likely to be very significant. &'8220;I don't think it's going to change the trajectory of the war, which has been seeing the regime make important gains and the opposition getting increasingly restricted. But it shows the opposition is far from dead. It shows also that this new combination led by [Tahrir al-Sham] is very potent,&'8221; Landis said. &'8220;The regime is going to realise that it cannot allow these two areas to linger there because they are beachheads for this Tahrir a-Sham group to make inroads into the Damascus area,&'8221; he said, adding the government would likely withdraw some forces from areas such as Homs and Hama to refocus on Damascus. &'8220;It means that the fight is still on, there are many fronts to this war, and the opposition remains powerful.&'8221; Syrian state TV aired footage from Abbasiyn Square, typically buzzing with activity but now empty except for the sound of shelling. Residents said artillery shells and rockets were landing in the heart of the city. The Observatory said rebel shells hit several nearby districts in Damascus, including Bab Touma, Rukn al-Din and the Abbasiyin area. Several schools announced they would close through Monday, and many civilians cowered inside in fear of stray bullets and shelling. According to the Observatory, the Faylaq al-Rahman group and the Fateh al-Sham Front &'' known as al-Nusra Front before it broke ties with al-Qaeda &'' were present in Jobar. &'8220;This neighbourhood is the most important front line because it's the closest rebel position to the heart of the capital,&'8221; said Abdel Rahman. Government forces have long sought to push the rebels out of the district because of its proximity to the city centre in Damascus. But with Sunday's attack, Abdel Rahman said, &'8220;rebels have shifted from a defensive position in Jobar to an offensive one&'8221;. &'8220;These are not intermittent clashes &'' these are ongoing attempts to advance,&'8221; he said. One rebel commander told the Associated Press news agency they launched the assualt from Jobar as a way to relieve allied fighters in the nearby districts of Barzeh, Tishreen, and Qabun from government attacks. &'8220;This is to relieve the pressure on rebels with the regime not stopping its bombardment and artillery shelling,&'8221; said Abu Abdo, a commander from Failaq al Rahman. The attack on Damascus comes just days before a fresh round of UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva aiming to put an end to Syria's six-year war. Rebels and government troops agreed to a nationwide cessation of hostilities in December, but fighting has continued across much of the country, including in the capital. Rebels said the army had advanced in the last two days after weeks of bombardment and aerial strikes aimed at regaining control of strategic areas inside the capital, a few kms away from President Bashar al Assad's seat of power. The army had advanced towards a road between Qaboun and Barza, whose capture severed the links between the two besieged rebel districts where tens of thousands of [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsMar 20th, 2017

Duterte urged to continue peace talks with rebels

DAVAO CITY – Farmers fighting for genuine land reform have appealed on Sunday to President Rodrigo Duterte to continue the peace talks with communist rebels after he scrapped the negotiations following the spate of deadly attacks by insurgents in southern Philippines. Duterte’s decision to abandon the negotiations with communist leaders came on Saturday barely a day after he terminated the government’s unilateral ceasefire with New People’s Army rebels who also ended earlier its own truce. Since then, at least 4 soldiers had been killed by rebels in separate attacks and three more are being held prisoners in the troubled region. The rebels demanded the release of some 400 political prisoners &'' mostly NPA fighters and their leaders – languishing in jails across the country, but Duterte flatly rejected the demand, saying, a peace accord must be signed first before he could grant amnesty to political prisoners, although he had ordered the release from prison at least 21 senior rebel leaders to join the peace talks. Duterte said he cannot free all political prisoners and claimed that such action may trigger unrest in the police and military. Peace talks and land reform  But Joseph Canlas, chairman of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, one of the biggest farmers’ organizations in the country, said the continuation of peace negotiations is in the best interest of farmers, who are pressing for genuine land reform, land distribution and real change under the Duterte administration. “Farmers want the peace negotiations to continue. We want the peace talks to help address the problem of land monopoly, landlessness of farmers, unemployment and to realize the equitable distribution of social wealth,” Canlas said. “The peace negotiation is a separate and distinct track of struggle to press for significant pro-people reforms. While the New People’s Army and President Duterte announced the termination of the unilateral interim ceasefires, it should not hinder the continuation of the talks that is gaining relevant developments with regard to discussions on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, particularly agrarian reform and rural development,” he added. Canlas said based on the reported outcome of third round of the peace talks in Rome recently, the government, in principle, acquiesced to free land distribution to farmers and farm workers and that alone is a milestone with regard to pushing for socio-economic reforms and enough grounds to continue the talks. Pedro Arnado, leader of the farmers’ group in southern Mindanao, also urged Duterte not to abandon the peace talks, saying, the resumption of war with rebels may spark a series of illegal arrest and human rights violations, and even extrajudicial killings of civilians by government soldiers. “We call for the continuation of the peace talks and compliance to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Law to avoid rights violations of civilians,” said Arnado, who noted that at least 20 farmers and national minorities were killed during the ceasefire period. “For us farmers, a just peace means food for our families, education for our children and recognition of our right to the land we till.” Arnado said while the ultimate goal of the peace talks is to resolve the armed conflict and achieve cessation of hostilities, that wouldn’t be possible at this period when there are conflicting social classes and interests. “Big land estates, haciendas and landholdings remain intact and under the control of a few landlord families. That is in contrast with the situation of millions of tillers,” Arnado said, adding, Duterte should realize that people in the countryside are supporting and even joining the armed revolution because of the systemic and chronic crisis that is worsened by the government’s failure to address the most basic problems in rural areas. “Historically, it is the peasant masses that have made the ultimate sacrifices to achieve peace. Buhay na ang ibinuwis ng mga magsasaka para sa lupa at kapayapaan. The cost of peace is too expensive, farmers have paid it with their lives,” Arnado said. Cancel passport of communist negotiators Duterte also threatened to cancel the passports of the representatives National Democratic Front of the Philippines &'' the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA &'' who make up the peace panel negotiating with the government, saying, “they are in the wanted list, so I will alert the International Police to arrest them where they are because they are in wanted list. I'll cancel their passports.” “They can return, all of them. For those released by the government, they should, on their own volition, return here and go back to prison. Or else I will be forced to, I am alerting all the intelligence community to keep track of where they are now,” Duterte said. “Iyon na-release temporarily to talk with us in Oslo, they should come back and submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the government because they are still in prison. Walang pardon, walang amnesty, wala lahat.” Blame Duterte, AFP The NPA blamed Duterte for the breakdown of the talks and accused the military of sabotaging the peace negotiations, saying, security forces encroached and attacked rebel territories in Mindanao, and murdered innocent civilians suspected of supporting the communist group. “To conceal their own ceasefire violation, the spin doctors of the Armed Forces of the Philippines concocted yet another storyline of an anti-criminality operation to assist the Philippine National Police in going after lawless elements such as their botched combat operations in Makilala and Matalam [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2017