Duterte eyes to raise bounty for killing rebels to P100K

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during the oath-taking ceremony of newly-appointed officials at the Malacañan Palace on Feb. 13, 2018, reiterates that he will not tolerate corruption in government during his term. Presidential photo/King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is intending to raise the reward for killing communist rebels from P25,000 to 100,000.

Duterte, in a speech before the Chinese Filipino Business Club Monday night, said that he has to consult the military first before resuming peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines.

“And I will tell you, ‘pag sabi nila, ‘ubusin na lang natin, Mayor.’ Oh it’s fine. Sabi ni (Joma) Sison, hambugero, ‘kill one soldier a day.’ Eh di sinabi ko, ‘you kill one NPA and I’ll give you P25,000,'” Duterte said.

“Kwenta-kwenta ko kung hanggang end of my term mas magastos. Bayaran ko na times active — they cannot be more than 3,000. Sa 25, makamura ako,” he added.

Last week, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said that Duterte was serious when he offered government militias P25,000 for every communist rebel that they would kill.

The president said that he plans to increase the bounty for every communist killed so that they would resort to “killing each other.”

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“At next week, mag-increase ‘yan. I will increase it to make it 30, then… I-increasan ko ng 100,000, sila na ‘yung magpapatayan,” Duterte said.

The Philippine government recently declared the CPP and its armed wing the NPA as terrorist groups. The declaration follows the cancellation of peace talks between the government and the communists.

An international rights organization raised concern over Duterte’s offer to reward those who will kill communist rebels as it encourages war crimes.

“This is not the first time the President has made public statements that would encourage laws-of-war violations. He also told soldiers to shoot female rebels in their vaginas, eliciting public outcry,” Carlos Conde of the Human Rights Watch Asia Division said in a statement.


More troops deployed in drive to crush NPA

THE Army’s 901st Brigade has been redeployed from the Bicol region to the eastern part of Mindanao as part of the military’s continuing effort to defeat the communist New People’s Army.

The brigade arrived at the headquarters of the 4th Infantry Division in Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City on Thursday last week.

Maj. Gen. Ronald Villanueva, 4th ID commander, said the redeployed unit is composed of 80 men led by the brigade’s commander, Col. Larry Mojica. Villanueva said the brigade is now operating in the Bukidnon, North Cotabato, and Davao areas.

He said the 19th and 92nd Infantry Battalions, which came from the Central Mindanao, have been attached to the brigade. Another battalion, the 88th IB, will soon be placed under the brigade.

“It’s meant to cover the area where we have a blind spot,” said Villanueva on the redeployment of the 901st brigade. He said the brigade will help accomplish the military’s objective to crush the NPA.

Maj. Ezra Balagtey, spokesman of the AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command, expressed confidence that the redeployment of the brigade will lead to the restoration of peace in the areas.

“The 901st Brigade will augment troops in Northern Mindanao and Caraga Regions to help 4th ID in crushing NPA terrorists. Further, the brigade will be deployed in the priority areas of 4th ID,” added Balagtey.

“They will help in the accomplishment of the objective given by higher headquarters, we are sticking with that. (The objective) is to crush the NPA,” said Balagtey.

President Duterte terminated peace negotiations with the communist-led National Democratic Front in November last year due to series of rebel attacks against military and civilian targets.

Also yesterday, the 56th IB arrived in Mindanao to augment the 10th Infantry Division, based in Compostela Valley, in the fight against the communists. The battalion used to operate in Aurora province.

“They will be operating in the 10th ID area, they are going to be additional force against the NPA,” said Balagtey of the 56th IB. A battalion is composed of around 500 officers and men.


President Duterte is due to have snacks today in Malacañang with 241 former NPA members. They are part of the 683 NPA members who surrendered to the Armed Forces in Eastern Mindanao last year.

Balagtey said the 241 former rebels are composed of 38 women and 203 men who used to operate in the Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte. They were flown to Manila yesterday morning from Davao City, and toured by the military to Luneta Park and Fort Santiago in Manila.

On February 7, Duterte also had snacks with the first batch of 217 former rebels.

Balagtey said the third batch, composed of 225 former rebels, will also  dine with Duterte and given the same tour but no date has been set.


Palace hosts 2nd dinner for ex-NPA rebels tonight

DAVAO CITY  , Philippines  — President Duterte is set to host another dinner tonight for a new batch of former rebels.

Some 241 former New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas who have surrendered will be feted at a dinner with the President in Malacañang. They came from the provinces of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley.

The surrenderees, 38 of them female, left for Manila yesterday on board two military transport planes from the Davao International Airport.

They are part of the 683 former rebels from Eastern Mindanao that were presented to the President last Dec. 21.

The trip to Manila, including the visit to Malacañang, aims to give the rebel returnees a better perspective on life, particularly in peace building and nationalism. It is part of the government’s continuing activity of reintegrating the former rebels into mainstream society, officials said.

Part of the Manila tour of the former NPA rebels will be a historical and heritage trip to Rizal Park and Intramuros in Manila while a welcome ceremony will be held today at the Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo to be hosted by AFP chief Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero.

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Before the dinner with the President, the former rebels will also get a chance to interact with other former comrades who now work as advocates of peace and development.

The tour of the second batch of former rebels is expected to conclude tomorrow, while the tour of a third batch of NPA surrenderees will be determined later by the Appointments Office of the President.

Three more NPA rebels surrendered in Ilocos Sur over the weekend.

The former rebels would undergo vocational courses with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

“We are committed and more than willing to accommodate NPAs who want to return to the fold of the law and take part in building a nation of peace for progress and development,” Eastmincom commander Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. said.

Last November, Duterte terminated the peace talks with communists, whom he accused of pushing for a power-sharing setup that goes against the 1987 Constitution.

The President was also angered by the continuing NPA attacks against government forces and civilians and the collection of revolutionary taxes from businesses.

Duterte, who had a friendly relationship with communists when he was mayor of Davao City, has also declared the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the NPA as “terrorist organizations.”

Duterte said the resumption of peace talks with the communists would depend on the recommendation of the military.

Duterte said he had informed officials of Norway, the third party facilitator of peace talks, that he would have to consult with the Armed Forces before deciding on whether to resume the talks.

“So I’m talking to the communists. The Norwegian officials came here to explore the possibility of talking again. I have to consult my military people. Why? They are the ones dying, not me. I said ‘I will talk to the military.’ If you would agree, I might,” the President said.

During his meeting with Norwegian special envoy to the peace process Idun Tvedt in Davao City last Thursday, Duterte said the Philippines is committed to peace but it should be attained “with due regard for the national interest.”

But if the President would have his way, he would not even think about negotiating with the communists.

“I am not thinking about it even. Why? Because now it’s beyond my control… How do you feel? What’s your take? It is good for us to fight forever or should we talk?” Duterte said during the 20th anniversary of the Chinese-Filipino Business Club in Manila.

While raising the possibility of resuming the talks, Duterte said he would increase the bounty for every NPA member killed to P30,000 from P25,000, and even joked about decapitating rebels.

Duterte reiterated that he would save money if he offers bounty instead of launching a counterinsurgency campaign.

“If I offer P25,000, I will save money. That’s true. Next week, it will increase. I will increase it to P30,000. Then I can increase it to P100,000, they are the ones who will kill each other,” the President said.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the resumption of peace talks is unlikely for now.

“While they are calling for the resumption of the peace talks, they continue to use violence. While we want peace, holding peace talks will not mean anything if they are not interested in genuine peace,” Roque said.


Maguindanao residents surrender loose firearms

SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: For the Moro, owning more than one gun is not only a “status symbol” but also a necessity — for self-defense and to protect his property against lawless elements.

Thus, owning guns, whether legally or illegally, remains prevalent today in the same manner that Moros are legally allowed to have four wives as long as they give all of them equal financial support.

But, considering that Mindanao is under martial law until the end of the year, Magundanao residents have begun to regard gun ownership in a new light and are supporting the military’s campaign against loose firearms.

On Monday, Maguindanaoans started surrendering their loose firearms to the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6th ID) based in Camp Siongco, Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat.

“The military’s intensified campaign against loose firearms continues and has earned the public support of local officials and residents of Maguindanao,” Major Gen. Arnel dela Vega, commander of the 6th ID and Task Force Central said.

Residents and a member of a private army in Maguindanao surrendered at least nine high-powered firearms with magazines and ammunition to the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion stationed in Datu Salibo.

The battalion is under the 601st Infantry Brigade.

Quiapo Dalandas, chairman of Barangay Damabalas, Datu Piang, voluntarily turned over one locally made caliber 50 sniper rifle and two US caliber M1 Garand rifles modified into caliber 7.62 M-14 rifles.

Edris Sindatok, chairman of Barangay Madia, in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, handed over one US caliber-30 M1 Garand rifle modified into 7.62 M14 rifle and one US 5.56 Colt M16 rifle.

Mantila Tambak of Task Force Itihad (Unity) of Barangay Ambadao, Datu Piang, surrendered one US caliber 30 M1 Garand rifle and one US caliber 5.56 Elisco M16 rifle.

Meanwhile, Abe Andal, reportedly a member of a private army, yielded one US caliber 5.56 Elisco M-16 rifle with attached locally made M203.

Brig. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, 601st Brigade commander, told the residents: “I appreciate your commendable action and genuine gesture in giving up your firearms,” even as he encouraged other Maguindanaoans who are still illegally bearing firearms to voluntarily surrender so that they will not be liable for charges of illegal possession of loose firearms.

Maguindanao residents surrender loose firearms

IS commander falls in Manila

POLICE presented an Egyptian accused of being a commander of the Islamic State  and his Filipina partner Monday after they were arrested in an apartment in Ermita, Manila on Friday.

At a press conference, Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa identified the alleged ISIS leader as Fehmi Lassqued, an Egyptian national, and his girl friend as Anabel Moncera Salipada.

Dela Rosa said Lassqued was arrested on the strength of a search warrant after intelligence reports from the PNP’s foreign counterparts alerted them to an international terrorist hiding in Manila.

An ISIS flag, makeshift bombs, a .45-caliber pistol and ammunition were taken from Lassqued during the raid, he said.

ISIS SUSPECT DETAINED. Police and army troops have arrested an Egyptian national they believe was a former commander of the Islamic State group along the Syria and Turkey border in a raid on a Manila apartment. PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa identified the man as Fehmi Lassqued alias John Rasheed Lassqued and his Filipino woman companion Anabel Moncera Salipada.
Manny Palmero

“At present, his status in the Philippines is a recruiter, but he was formerly a negotiator between ISIS and local officials in Syria and Turkey… so he is a commander of ISIS,” Dela Rosa said.

Records showed that Lassqued entered the country on July 26, 2016 through Iran using a fake passport.

Over the next year, he traveled several times to Malaysia and Turkey.

“He was traveling in and out of Manila,” Dela Rosa said, adding that the police and their foreign intelligence counterparts have yet to determine Lassqued’s mission in the countries he frequented.

Salapida told investigators she only met Lassqued in Manila, and said the suspect had not traveled to Mindanao.

The PNP has asked the Justice Department to prosecute Lassqued and Salipada for illegal possession of explosive devices and firearms.

Lassqued and Salipada were brought to the DoJ for inquest proceedings following their arrest in Ermita, Manila on Friday, Feb.16, by police and military agents.

The charge sheet ,signed by Supt. Carlito Narag Jr., sought the indictment of the suspects for violations of laws on the illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Assisted by lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office, Lassqued and Salipada waived their right to immediate release from detention and opted to remain in detention to answer the charges in a preliminary investigation.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong then set the hearing for Wednesday next week, Feb.28, for submission of counter affidavit of the respondents.

In an interview, Lassqued denied being an ISIS commander and claimed that authorities also forced him to admit that the explosive devices were also his.

“They forced me to say I am from ISIS and they put for me many weapons, and they told me to say this is mine and forced me to do that,” he said.

The suspected terrorist said he only went to the Philippines “to escape our country” even as he admitted possessing a fake Tunisian passport. Asked where he is from, Lassqued could not give a definitive reply.

“UAE [United Arab Emirates], Tunisia, Egypt, many countries I am from… I am half Tunisian, I am half Libyan, but I was born in UAE,” he said.


Arrested IS terror suspect yields bomb parts

A suspected Islamic State (IS) terrorist and his Filipino companion have been arrested in their apartment in Manila, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa said on Monday.

Dela Rosa said Fehmi Lassqued, who carried a Tunisian passport but was earlier identified as an Egyptian born in Syria, was an IS commander who had been traveling in and out of the country for the past several years.

Planned activities

Authorities, however, were still investigating whether Lassqued had planned any terrorist activities in the country, the PNP chief said.

Lassqued and his female companion, Anabel Moncera Salipada, 32, of Upi, Maguindanao, were arrested at 3 p.m. last Friday at Room 409 of Casa Blanca Apartment on M. Adriatico Street in Malate, Manila.

IED components

Military and police counterintelligence agents seized assorted firearms, ammunition and components for improvised explosive device (IED) during a search of their apartment.

The IED components included two 9-volt batteries, three capacitors, three pieces of LED, three battery clips, four pieces of wire, 11 resistors, two switches and four electronic devices.

Lassqued admitted that he “was Isis before” but denied knowledge of the items seized from their apartment.

Presence tipped off

Philippine authorities were tipped off on his presence by their foreign counterparts.

Police charged Lassqued and Salipada in the Department of Justice with illegal possession of explosive parts, firearm and ammunition.

Militants aligned to IS laid siege to Marawi City last year. After their defeat, IS loyalists have been recruiting fighters for fresh attacks in a bid to gain a foothold in Mindanao and set up an East Asian caliphate, authorities said.

Arrested IS terror suspect yields bomb parts


Provinces around MM on alert against NPAs

Camp Crame, Quezon City/Camp Geronimo, Rizal — Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), ordered yesterday all elite police units to intensify the combat operations against the communist rebels in all the provinces surrounding Metro Manila.

“This order is in relation to the ambush carried out against our SAF (Special Action Force) in Antipolo City,” said Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, PNP spokesman, adding that the PNP Chief also ordered close coordination with the military to further improve the combat operations against the rebels.

During the ambush, six SAF commandos were wounded as the vehicle they were on was strafed in Barangay San Jose on Sunday morning.

Bulalacao also clarified that there are no missing SAF commandos after the ambush. “All the SAF personnel are fully accounted for, including their firearms,” said Bulalacao, quoting a report from the SAF Director Noli Talino.

Major General Rhoderick Parayno, commander of the Army’s Second Infantry Division (2ID), said that two of the reported missing SAF members were already rescued by government forces under the army’s 80th Infantry Battalion.

Hit by bullets were PO2 Brendo Carino, PO2 Reymar Guevarra, PO2 Mark Andrew Bwela, and PO2 Joseph Alberca. PO2 Gran Omines and PO2 Ryan Gonzales sustained bruises and wounds as a result of the attack in the remote sitio of San Joseph in Barangay San Jose, Antipolo City.

In the website, the Philippine Revolution Web Central, believed to be managed by the communists, a certain Jaime “Ka Diego” Padilla, spokesperson of the NPA-Southern Tagalog (Melito Glor Command) in a press statement, congratulated the Rizal-based rebels for the attack.

The entire Rizal Police Provincial Office (PPO) has since been on heightened alert, said Supt. Ruben Piquero, PPO deputy director.

5 NPAs arrested

Meanwhile, at least five New People’s Army (NPA), including the leader of training specialist of the rebel group’s demolition and explosive team, were captured in a raid by government forces in Cabisera 17-21, Barangay San Antonio, Ilagan City, Isabela.

Sr. Supt. John Cornelius A. Jambora, Isabela PPO director, identified thosee captured as Mauricio Sagun, aliases “Raul” and “Johny,” of San Mariano, Isabela, alleged training leader; Mario Turqueza, 65; Ariel Peñaflor, 48; Bernard Peñaflor, 21; and Maximiñano Domingo, 44.

3 Reds surrender

Meanwhile in Camp Aquino, Tarlac, the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) reported the surrender of three NPA guerrillas to government forces in Ilocos Sur last Sunday.

Lt. Col Isagani Nato, Nolcom public information officer identified the surrenderers as Joel Tayan Sabino, alias “Ben,” 48, of the NPA’s Begnalen Command; and Judith Balingsat Dumalig alias “Maya,” 49, and Jayson Batuli Catriz, alias “Mayo,” both of the Milisyang Bayan (MB) utilized by Komiteng Larangang Gerilya (KLG) Montes operating in Tubo, Abra. (With reports from Danny J. Estacio, Liezle Basa Iñigo, Franco G. Regala, and Mar T. Supnad)

Provinces around MM on alert against NPAs

NPA bomb training specialist,4 others nabbed in Isabela

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: A suspected training specialist of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) demolition and explosive team, and four others were arrested by police and military personnel in Ilagan City, Isabela on Sunday.

Senior Supt. Cornelius Jambora, Isabela provincial police director, said Mauricio Sagun, alias “Raul/Johny,” 65, of Barangay Old San Mariano, San Mariano town in Isabela, was arrested at around midnight on Sunday at Cabisera 17-21 in Barangay San Antonio.

Jambora said intelligence reports revealed that Sagun is the training head of the NPA’s Special Partisan Unit or Sparu Demolition and Explosive Team, Regional Operation Command in Cagayan Valley.

The other arrested rebels were Mario Turqueza, 65; Ariel Peñaflor, 48; Bernard Peñaflor, 21; all of Barangay Minanga in San Mariano; and Maximiñano Domingo, 44, of Barangay Old San Mariano.

A police report said law enforcers and the Philippine Army’s 86 Infantry Battalion, 502 Brigade of the 5th Infantry (Star) Division (5ID), and military intelligence groups served the warrant of arrest against Sagun issued by Judge Isaac de Alban of the Regional Trial Court Branch 16 in Ilagan City.

The four others who were with Sagun were found in possession of Pietro Berreta caliber .9mm pistol with magazine and ammunition, a caliber .38 revolver with ammunition and three hand grenades.

Police said the suspects have been turned over to the custody of the Ilagan City police station.

Meanwhile, three NPA members surrendered to the Philippines Army’s (PA) 7th Infantry Division (7ID) in Barangay Bugbuga, Santa Cruz town in Ilocos Sur on Sunday.

Lt. Col. Isagani Nato, Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) public information officer, identified the surrenderers as Joel Tayan Sabino, alias “Ben,” 48, of the armed propaganda Unit-Begnalen Command; Judith Balingsat Dumalig, alias “Maya,” 49, and Jayson Batuli Catriz, alias “Mayo,” both of the Milisyang Bayan (MB) utilized by Komiteng Larangang Gerilya (KLG) Montes operating in Tubo, Abra.

He said the rebels are from Barangay San Ramon East in Manabo, Abra.

The rebels also surrendered their high-powered firearms with ammunition and magazine – Colt M16A1 rifle and two caliber .30 Springfield Garand rifles.

NPA bomb training specialist,4 others nabbed in Isabela

Navy ships deployed in Malampaya area

THE TWO multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC) and a Naval vessel were deployed to patrol the waters off Palawan, particularly the Malampaya gas field area, will also be utilized in rescue operations, the Philippine Navy said on Monday.

Lt. Junior Grade Maivi Neri, spokesman for the Naval Forces West (NavForWest), confirmed that BRP Nestor Reinoso (PC380) and the 3rd Boat Attack Division composed of two MPACs, will be under the operational control of Joint Task Force-Malampaya of the Palawan-based Western Command (WesCom).

The three ships were sent off last week by the Philippine Fleet based in Sangley Point, Cavite last week to conduct maritime patrol and surveillance; maritime law enforcement; and maritime security operations.

But Neri confirmed that the two ships will be within the Malampaya gas platform at the offshore of Palawan.


The Malampaya gas field or the Malampaya-Camago reservoir is a deepwater gas-condensate reservoir located offshore 80 kilometers northwest of Palawan island or within the disputed waters of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

It was discovered during the drilling of Camago-1 well in 1989 after the appraisal of Malampaya field in the 90s; the first gas flowed in 2001.

Shell Philippines Exploration developed the Malampaya gas field and is now operating it as joint venture partnerships with Chevron Malampaya LLC and the Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corp.

The $4.5 billion project started in 2002 and power generated from Malampaya’s resources has accounted for roughly 30 percent of the energy produced in Luzon.

It also provides natural gas to the Ilijan plant of Korea Electric Power Corp. and the Santa Rita and San Lorenzo plants in Batangas.

Navy ships deployed in Malampaya area

Zubiri: Putin offered Duterte a Russian sub

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri “strongly suggested” yesterday that President Duterte and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) consider taking up an offer of Russian President Vladimir Putin to give a submarine for the country’s military hardware.

The Putin offer was revealed by Zubiri in yesterday’s Senate Committee on National Defense public hearing on the modernization program for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Sought for more details into the offer from the Russian president, Zubiri said President Duterte revealed the Putin offer during a dinner with him and others just before the President left for Russia on a state visit in May, 2017.

The submarine offer of the Russian President was actually made during a brief chance meeting Duterte had with Putin when they attended the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Peru in November, 2016.

Recalling Duterte’s narration of the Duterte-Putin exchange, Zubiri said that Duterte had mentioned to the Russian President that Philippines-US relations are a bit strained.

Duterte had said he felt the Philippines is too dependent on the US and is thus going to other countries for its military equipment purchases.

Putin, according Zubiri’s recollection, surprised Duterte when he said “I will give you a submarine.”

During the May, 2017 dinner, Duterte said Russia has good military equipment, best armaments and best helicopters for the external and internal defense of the Philippines.

Russia also has one of the best and affordable diesel-powered submarines compared to the US hardware, Zubiri said.