Duterte tells rebels: Joma making you fight futile cause

For a brief candid moment, President Duterte offered to turn over the reins of national government to a group of former rebels during a recent meeting in Malacañang.

The President however quickly insisted on taking back the government if “chaos” erupts under the leadership of the rebel returnees.

Duterte made the offer to a group of former rebels after criticizing Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison for letting poor insurgents fight his war while enjoying a millionaire’s life abroad.“All he wants is to take over the government. Well, here you are now. I’ll give it to you now. Let’s sign the agreement now while we’re all here. I will give Malacañang to those who surrendered. Here, take it. Lead the government as well,” the President said in the Visayan dialect during a merienda hosted for 238 rebel returnees at the Palace last Wednesday.

“But if chaos erupts tomorrow, I’ll get back to you. This is what he wanted and you’re here now so I’ll give you the government now. We’ll sign the papers. Can you do it? Can you? Because I will really sign it. You won’t take it,” he added.

Duterte, now on his second year in office, admitted that leading the country was not an easy task. “I myself have a hard time trying to run this government even though I have a lot of people working for me. Do you think you can do it?” he asked the former rebels.

At the same event, the President slammed Sison for duping the rebels to fight a futile cause.

He said while rebels have become separated from their families, grown poor and have died for their cause, Sison has taken the profits and now has a comfortable life abroad.

“What have you gotten from Sison then? Sison is a millionaire who is living abroad. The son of a b*tch has been there for so many years,” he said. “The money that he is spending is the money that you worked hard for. What’s your capital? Your blood and the lives of your fellow human beings,” he added.

Duterte revealed that the local communist group has extorted as much as P50 million from mining companies while getting P15 million from plantations.

He said the government learned about the rebel collection after keeping track of the remittances and other records. “They don’t ask for money face to face but they made you collect change,” he added.

Duterte also warned of the downfall of the communist rebel movement if they insist on waging a war with the government. He admitted that the government could bomb the rebels without having to engage in close quarters combat.

“Who do you believe in now, Sison? Who is Sison? How is he related to God? Why do you believe in that son of a b*tch? He’s stupid,” he said.

“You are heading towards your death if you believe in Sison. Sison reads the works of Karl Marx and Mao Tse-tung. They don’t believe in anyone else. China — I’ll take you to China. Look at what was then a communist country, but became capitalist in the end,” he added.

The President meantime offered to provide assistance to the rebel returnees including livelihood and housing benefits.

“There are around 1,000 units, some are in Talomo and some are in Bangkal. It’s almost done. It’s supposed to be given to the military and police, but I’ll give them to you instead,” he said.

He encouraged the former rebels to join the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) to enjoy other benefits.

“Get yourselves enlisted now because I’ll give the 1,000 units to you. You will have a house that comes complete with everything. There is a school as well. College education is free. So I will just give you your allowance,” Duterte added.Image may contain: 1 person, text

Duterte tells rebels: Joma making you fight futile cause

Zamboanga City yields 157 loose firearms

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The city government turned over 157 assorted firearms to the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) in compliance with the campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte against loose firearms.

The firearms were presented to Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief, by Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar in a ceremony on Wednesday afternoon at Westmincom’s gymnasium.

The turnover was witnessed by military, police and some barangay officials of this city’s 98 villages.

“Barangay officials from Arena Blanco, Tigtabon, Mercedes, and Cabaluay yielded the firearms to military and police units as an offshoot of the sustained campaign against the proliferation of unregistered and loose firearms,” Col. Leonel Nicolas, Joint Task Force Zamboanga commander, said.

Of the 157 surrendered firearms, Salazar turned over 29 consisting of 28 caliber .30 M1 Garand rifles and a 66-mm HE Rocket Launcher.

Sixteen of the 29 firearms are caliber .30 M1 Garand rifles that were surrendered to the Army’s 11th Infantry Battalion headed by Lt. Col. Rolando Gomez; eight to the Marine Battalion Landing Team-11 (MBLT-11) led by Lt. Col. Michael Ariel Delos Reyes; and, the Rocket Launcher to the Joint Task Force Zamboanga.

The remaining 128 were presented by the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO). These consisted of the following: 92 shotguns; one M-16 Armalite rifle; 15 9-mm pistols; eight revolvers; 11 caliber .45 pistols; and, a caliber .22 pistol.

“The Philippine National Police (PNP) recorded a total of 29,480 loose firearms as of this moment, but because of the implementation of Republic Act No. 10591, there are only 25,245 firearms left,” said Senior Supt. Narciso Verdadero, assistant deputy director for operations of the Police Regional Office-9 (PRO-9).

“We believe that these loose firearms were used in different forms,” said Verdadero, who represented Chief Supt. Billy Beltran, PRO-9 director.

“We are just here to show our commitment and support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines. This turnover only showcases the success of the cooperation between the military and police,” Salazar said during the turnover of the firearms.

“On behalf of our barangay officials, I want to extend my gratitude to Lt. Gen. Galvez for ensuring the security of Zamboanga City,” she added.

Galvez said Westmincom extended its sincerest gratitude and compliments to the local officials for putting their trust in the armed forces as the Westmincom takes strides to neutralize loose firearms and disarm armed groups in the Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi (ZamBaSulTa) areas.

Galvez said the turnover of the 157 guns brought to 257 the total number of loose firearms recovered by the different units of Westmincom since January 1 until Wednesday, February 21.

Of the 257 firearms, 52 were surrendered by municipal and barangay officials in Sulu; 30 were surrendered by former warring clans after “Rido” settlements in Marawi City; nine were recovered by the troops following a law enforcement support operation in Lanao del Sur; nine were surrendered by local officials in Maguindanao; and, 157 were turned over Wednesday in this city.

In line with the pronouncement of President Duterte, Galvez said the campaign against loose firearms was launched by the Westmincom units to implement the Security, Governance and Development Strategies of Martial Law in Mindanao.

“We urge other officials and residents to do the same in order to free communities from these vehicles of violence,” Galvez said.

“If Zamboanga City can do their share of commitment to a peaceful community, I am also sure the others in ZamBaSulTa can also do the same,” he added. (PNA)

Image may contain: 1 person, text


PMA honors 45 war heroes, departed alumni through memorial

Image may contain: one or more people and text

FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City — Two combat heroes were among 45 departed graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) who were honored in last weekend’s alumni homecoming here.

Second Lieutenants Miguel Victor Alejo and Estelito Saldua Jr., who died in 2017, were given tribute along with older alumni in a memorial unveiled on Feb. 16, a day before the homecoming that was graced by businessman Enrique Razon Jr., chair and president of International Container Terminal Services Inc.

Both Alejo and Saldua graduated in 2015, as members of “Sinaglahi” class. Alejo was killed by communist rebels in a clash in Davao Oriental province, while Saldua died fighting Abu Sayyaf forces in Bohol province. Saldua was also a recipient of the Gold Cross medal.


The memorial also honored departed alumni who graduated after World War II. Among them were Brigadier Generals Amado Santiago of Class 1951, Jose Bello Jr. of Class 1956 and Arturo Castro of Class 1959.

“The names etched on the wall died under different circumstances. Many paid the supreme sacrifice in the field of battle. All of them possessed determination and selflessness—qualities needed to fulfill dreams larger than themselves,” retired Gen. Melchor Rosales, chair of the PMA Alumni Association, said in his tribute at the Alumni Memorial Park in Relics Point here.

On Saturday, Razon lauded the military and the police for embracing a policy of political neutrality since the end of the regime of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.


“Over the years, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has matured into the backbone for which we are able to develop and grow our economy and be more competitive in the global marketplace,” he said in a speech at the Borromeo Field.

Razon said he hoped to see the time when political power was no longer used against perceived enemies.

“I can only hope that at some point our politics will mature and our laws apply to all and not just used against political opponents by one administration after the other.”

PMA honors 45 war heroes, departed alumni through memorial

Cafgu detachment pinasabugan ng BIFF sa North Cotabato

Image may contain: 1 person, text

CENTRAL MINDANAO – Pinasabugan ng mga armadong grupo ang isang detachment ng Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) dakong alas-8:55 kagabi sa probinsya ng Cotabato.

Ayon kay P/Supt. Bernard Tayong, tagapagsalita ng Cotabato Police Provincial Office, pinasabugan ng mga miyembro ng Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Fighters (BIFF) ang isang Cafgu detachment sa ilalim ng 38th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army sa Barangay Pagangan, Aleosan, North Cotabato.


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.”

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

“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.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

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