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Jan 25 2008

Retiring RP Military Chief May Be Extended, Gets Strong Supports In Mindanao

Philippine military chief General Hermogenes Esperon answers questions from journalists Friday, January 25, 2008 in Zamboanga City after inspecting troops in Basilan and Sulu provinces. Troops in the southern Philippines and Sulu provincial officials led by Governor Sakur Tan have expressed strong support on proposals to extend Esperon’s term. A veteran army commander in Mindanao, Esperon is due to retire on February 9, 2008 at age 56. Governor Tan and his mayors have passed a joint resolution Friday urging President Arroyo to extend Esperon’s term so he can continue his programs and reform in the military. (Mindanao Examiner Photo/Arthur Abasolo)

AMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 25, 2008) – Government soldiers deployed in Mindanao have expressed support to the possible extension of the term of Philippine military chief General Hermogenes Esperon.

Esperon, a veteran army commander in Mindanao, is set to retire on February 9 at age 56, but government sources said President Gloria Arroyo is likely to extend his term so he can continue his programs and reforms in the military.

Arroyo is in Switzerland since Tuesday for a series of meetings with the officials of the Aragon Financial Group (AFG) and the Swiss Chamber of Commerce. The AFG could help the Philippines in its policy to ensure continuous and adequate supply of energy through integrated and intensive exploration, production, management and development of the country’s indigenous energy resources such as oil and natural gas.

The President may announce Esperon’s extension when she returns to Manila, sources said on Friday. It is unknown how long Esperon would be extended.

Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano is said to be the next AFP Chief-of-Staff.

“The soldiers are in favor of the continuation of General (Hermogenes) Esperon as CSAFP (Chief-of-Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines). We have our reasons in supporting him and we believe in his able leadership and capacity as our Chief-of-Staff.”

“We want him to continue implementing reforms and programs for the AFP and the soldiers,” an army platoon leader, who gave his name only as “Dela Cruz,” told the Mindanao Examiner.

Sulu provincial officials are also supporting the extension of Esperon’s term. “General Esperon has done a very a good job and as you know he is one of the proponent of many AFP-related humanitarian program in Sulu. We are very supportive of General Esperon and will support his extension as Chief-of-Staff,” Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan told reporters.

He said business and religious leaders and the mayors in Sulu are also supporting Esperon’s possible extension. “We have a relatively good peace and order condition in Sulu because of AFP and other stakeholders of peace. The AFP is our partner in peace and progress and we are the government’s partner in nation building,” Tan said.

Tan has previously hailed Esperon for creation of the National Development Command, a new unit in the AFP that especially focus on the basic socio-economic development and infrastructure projects in conflict-affected areas.

Through the NDC, the AFP hopes to contribute in the convergence of efforts by the different line agencies of government in the repair and construction of schools, health centers, sources of potable water, roads and bridges and in the process rebuild lives that have been disrupted by terrorist activities and violence.

Radio reports on Friday quoted Esperon as saying: “Di ko alam kung magkakaroon ng announcement. But kung magkaganoon man, tulad ng sinasabi ko, I’d be very honored to serve for some more time kung gaano katagal ibibigay sa atin na extension lalong lalo na, kailangan nating pursue ang ating momentum nagawa natin against the New People’s Army and Abu Sayyaf terrorists.”

(I don’t know if there will be an announcement (by the President), but if there will be as I have said, I would be very honored to serve for some more time. We need to pursue the momentum (of what we have already achieved) against the New People’s Army and the Abu Sayyaf terrorists.)

Esperon on Friday inspected troops in Sulu and Basilan provinces and Zamboanga City as part of his farewell visit in southern Philippines, where he started his military career.

In Zamboanga City, Esperon expressed gratitude to Tan and the mayors in Sulu and said the locals are supportive of AFP efforts in the province. “I would take it (support of Sulu provincial officials) as their oneness to the Armed Forces of the Philippines because of the sacrifices of our soldiers in the province.”

“We brought a lot of changes in Sulu, from how it was in the past years. I take that as a compliment and I would like to take that as recognition of the efforts of the Armed Forces in Sulu. I have always said that any extension must reflect on the kind of operations that our men in the field are doing,” he said in a press conference.

Sep 02 2007

Dengue Fever Kills 75 In Malaysia: AFP

A worker from the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council dispenses mosquito poison using a fogging machine at a low-cost apartment complex in Ampang Jaya, Kuala Lumpur in 2005. Dengue fever has killed 75 people in Malaysia so far this year, local media reported Saturday, with a spike in the mosquito-bourne disease blamed on lingering hot, wet weather.(AFP/File/Tengku Bahar )

KUALA LUMPUR — Dengue fever has killed 75 people in Malaysia so far this year, local media reported Saturday, with a spike in the mosquito-borne disease blamed on lingering hot, wet weather.

The situation was «under control,» the New Straits Times said quoting a health ministry statement, but people were urged clear any stagnant water from around their homes to stamp out Aedes mosquito breeding grounds.

Malaysia is among many Southeast Asian countries which have seen dengue cases rise this year, leading to warnings of a possible epidemic.

In the first four months of 2007, 44 people died of dengue in Malaysia, while 16,214 cases were reported. This is double the same period the previous year, when 21 people died out of 10,244 cases.

In squeaky-clean Singapore, cases of dengue so far this year have doubled to 3,600 from the previous year, while in Cambodia dengue deaths have already eclipsed fatalities in the whole of 2006.

The World Health Organisation believes 2007 could be on a par with 1998, when nearly 1,500 people died in Asia of dengue fever. The illness is endemic to Malaysia, which has seen cases surge 16 percent every year since 2003. Fatalities from dengue in Malaysia reached record levels in 2004, when 102 people died. (AFP)

Aug 19 2007

Thai PM Declares Victory In Referendum: AFP

BANGKOK — Thailand’s army-installed government declared victory Sunday in a referendum on a new constitution and vowed to hold general elections by year’s end to restore democracy following last September’s coup.
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont claimed victory after exit polls showed that nearly 68 percent of Thai voters had approved the charter, with at least two-thirds of the nation’s 45 million eligible voters casting ballots.»We consider that this constitution has been approved by the people, and by the end of August the constitution will be submitted to the king for endorsement,» Surayud said on national television.»Overall, the turnout was more than 50 percent. I thank the Thai people for coming out to exercise their vote,» he said.Sunday’s vote was the first test at the ballot box for the ruling junta, which ousted elected premier Thaksin Shinawatra in a bloodless coup last September.Surayud, who had said the country’s first-ever referendum would help put the nation back on track after more than a year of turmoil, reaffirmed that with the approval of the charter, general elections would be held by year’s end.»I reaffirm that the election will be held late this year. The exact date is still under consideration, but I believe the most suitable date is after the king’s birthday» on December 5, he said.»What the public has to do next is to learn about the political parties’ platforms, and the public must participate in the next general election late this year,» he said.The prime minister was speaking about 30 minutes after polling stations had closed, and before any early returns had been released by election officials. Preliminary results were due later Sunday.Although the military has insisted the charter will clear a path to elections, the new constitution also outlines amnesty for the generals who toppled Thaksin.Even when elections are held, critics say the new charter will return control of government to traditional power centres in the military, the bureaucracy and the royal palace.All three institutions have played key roles in most of Thailand’s turbulent political history, which has seen 24 prime ministers and 18 coups over the last 75 years.Thaksin, who since the coup has lived in exile in Britain where he has bought the Manchester City football club, has called the draft «fruit from a poisoned tree.»His youngest daughter Paethongtan was the only member of his immediate family still in Thailand and able to vote. She cast her ballot dressed entirely in black, telling reporters only that her father «misses Thailand a lot.»Opponents, including Thaksin supporters and democracy advocates, have been campaigning against the charter, warning it will trim the powers of elected leaders.They say the new constitution rolls back reforms included in the previous 1997 charter, and could set the stage for fragile coalition governments that would fall under the military’s sway.

Campaigning has been tilted heavily in the direction of the government, with half the country still under martial law and a new law threatening prison for anyone convicted of obstructing the referendum.(AFP)

Jul 25 2007

Pinas, Di Natinag Sa Pagtapyas Ng U.S. Military Aid

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 25 Jul) – Hindi natinag ang Department of National Defense (DND) at Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa ulat na tatapyasan ng Estados Unidos ang tulong-pinansyal nito sa Pilipinas.

Ayon sa proposal ng US State Department, partikular na mabawasan ay ang Foreign Military Financing to the Philippines ng Amerika na mula $30 milyon ay naging $11 milyon na lamang.

Ipinahayag kanina ni acting Defense Secretary at National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales ang kumpyansang sasapat na ang sariling pondo ng gobyerno upang tugunan ang capability upgrade program ng militar.

«Whatever happens, we will proceed with the upgrade program of the Armed Forces. There’s no money coming from international [sources], we will use our own because it is something that we need to do,» ayon kay Gonzales.

Bagamat nakapanghihinayang aniya ang mabawasan ng financial aid subalit walang magagawa ang pamahalaan dito. «Sayang lang kung mababawasan tayo ng pera, but that’s about it,» ani Gonzales.

Kasabay nito’y umalma ang kalihim sa pag-uugnay ng pagbabawas ng US assistance sa pagkakadawit ng AFP sa extrajudicial killings at mga pagdukot.

«I don’t know why this is linked to human rights… Let’s not treat this as another propaganda issue. We will see the actual result of the deduction,» punto ni Gonzales.

Hindi naman naniniwala si Gonzales na makakaapekto ang natapyasang financial aide sa implementasyon ng Human Security Act of 2007 o ang Anti-Terrorism Law.

«We’ll see. That’s incoming money. We have been doing anti-terrorism activities ever since for several years now, so I don’t think so,» ayon kay Gonzales. (Juley Reyes)

Jul 24 2007

RP Troops Surround MILF Lairs In Basilan Island

BASILAN ISLAND (Mindanao Examiner / 24 Jul) – Philippine troops have surrounded the lairs of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and were preparing to launch punitive actions against rebels who decapitated ten marine soldiers in Basilan island.

The soldiers were among 14 killed in a firefight July 10 in Al-Barka town, a known MILF stronghold, while searching for a kidnapped Italian Catholic priest Giancarlo Bossi.

The 57-year old priest was freed July 19 by rogue MILF rebels in Lanao del Norte province in Mindanao.

Bossi said he was never taken to Basilan island by his captors, who told him they were Abu Sayyaf militants.

Philippine military chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon has ordered troops to mount punitive actions after the MILF ignored a one-week ultimatum which ended Sunday to surrender those behind the killings.

He said more soldiers were also deployed in some areas in Basilan other than Al-Barka to prevent the escalation of fighting should the offensives begin.

«Somehow, something must give in. I am not threatening, but our purpose here is simply to punish the perpetrators of the barbaric acts,» Esperon said. «If we do not punish the ‘beheaders’ there would be future ‘beheaders’ because they will think that beheading people is perfectly alright.»

The MILF, which is currently negotiating peace with the Arroyo government, denied beheading the soldiers, saying, the bodies were left behind intact after security and rebel forces agreed to a cease-fire.

Mohagher Iqbal, chief MILF peace negotiator, said rebels forces are in heightened alert in Basilan and ready to defend themselves from any military offensive.

A Muslim human rights group, SUARA Bangsamoro, has expressed concerns that any fighting between government soldiers and rebels may escalate and affect the peace process in Mindanao.

«The peace talks will definitely be derailed given the punitive stance of the military following the incident. What we fear is the detrimental consequences on Moro civilians.»

«The escalation of military operations against MILF will definitely cause grave human rights violation against civilians, massive evacuation of innocent people, warrant-less arrest and abductions, and summary executions of civilians suspected as terrorists,» said Abubakar Uy, SUARA Bangsamoro Secretary General for Southern Mindanao Region. (With reports from Juley Reyes and Juan Magtanggol)

Jul 23 2007


STATEMENT OF UNITY AND SOLIDARITY:A CALL FOR PEACE, SOBRIETY AND RESTRAINT Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim.Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Ta’ala Wabarakatuhu!When the Peace Talks was forged between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the peoples of Mindanao subsequently became hopeful that a just and lasting piece would finally reign in their land.Bearing this common aspiration of the people in mind, both the GRP and the MILF peace panels strived hard to carry their respective mandates and missions to reach several milestones in the on-going peace process. Foremost among these is the Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities signed last July 18, 1997 at Cagayan De Oro City, which serves as the basic foundation of the peace talks. These milestones deserve appreciation.When the Peace Talks experienced an impasse, both the government and the MILF peace panels had asserted and assured the people that the mechanisms which have been jointly established on the ground have remained and will continue to remain in full force and effect.As stakeholders of peace, we have savored and treasured all the gains reached by the peace talks so far. As such, we have become morally and legally obligated to preserve these gains as our peace dividends and for the future generations.Like others, we are also saddened by the armed confrontation between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the MILF Forces in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan on July 10, 2007. If only the military hierarchy had respected and abided by the Ceasefire Agreement, this painful, horrible and costly incident would never have taken place.As we join others in extending our empathy and heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family of Ustadz Matarul Hakim Alkanul, who was beheaded an hour prior to the military operations, and also to the families of the Marines who were killed in that encounter, we also declare our collective abhorrence to any terrorist action perpetrated against innocent civilians, specifically those in Tipo-Tipo, and vehemently condemn those who are responsible for both incidents in the highest manner!Like the Midsayap War in North Cotabato, the Tipo-Tipo Armed Encounter between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the MILF Forces must be regarded and treated as an isolated case and must not erode the gains painstakingly attained by the GRP-MILF Peace Negotiations. It must not cripple the growing chance for a resumption of the GRP-MILF Peace Process and to eventually accomplish its mandate of seeking a viable solution to the centuries-old Mindanao conflict.We, the undersigned leaders of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, Inc., therefore, make the following assertions with the highest conviction:First, we call on the government to suspend any military action in Basilan and other parts of Mindanao and instead allow the GRP and MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) to immediately conduct an impartial probe on the incidents to identify the real perpetrators and bring them to the bar of justice, as per mandated by the GRP-MILF Ceasefire Agreement;Second, to prevent the occurrence of this eventuality, we strongly urge HE Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in her dual capacity as “Civilian President” and “Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines” to order the immediate pull-out of pursuing military troops, who are about to undertake “punitive actions” against the alleged perpetrators to diffuse tension, pre-empt the possible eruption of war, and avert its escalation to other parts of Mindanao, as well as the subsequent perpetration of widespread human rights violations;Third, we also enjoin all Moro and Non-Moro civil society organizations and networks, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, the Bishops-Ulama Conference, concerned LGUs, as well as all other sectors of society who have a common vision of a just and lasting peace in Mindanao to unite themselves in urging the government to settle the Basilan Crisis in a civilized and peaceful manner;Fourth, we issue this heartfelt appeal to our brothers and sisters in Luzon, Visayas and the rest of Mindanao to objectively understand the Basilan Crisis and the kidnapping of Fr. Bossi. Let us not to be derailed or unduly influenced by the unnecessary “sensationalization” of this issue by some parties with questionable interests. The Bangsamoro and the Filipinos have suffered enough from centuries-old animosities. Let us continue to build peace together in the Philippines in general and in Mindanao in particular.Enough is enough! We cannot afford to add more Internally Displaced People in our homeland. They are still suffering from the aftermath of seemingly unending wars. We cannot anymore afford to increase the number of children of war and widows of war, whose hearts still bleed and are still waiting for justice for the death of loved ones.Enough is enough! Onward with peace!Adopted and signed in Pagadian City, this 23rd day of July 2007.NATHAN INSUNGChairperson, Regional Mgmt CommitteeCBCS – Zambas Region SULTAN MAGUID A. MARUHOM DATU AMENODIN T. CALIChairperson, Regional Mgmt Committee Chairperson, Regional Mgmt CommitteeCBCS – Sibugay Region CBCS – Ranaw Region TIMOJEN TULAWIE USTADZ RAHIB KUDTOChairperson, Regional Mgmt Committee Chairperson, Regional Mgmt Committee CBCS – Sulu Region CBCS – Kutawato Region OSCAR SULAIMAN SAMMY BUATChairperson, Regional Mgmt Committee Chairperson, Regional Mgmt Committee CBCS – Rajah Buayan Region CBCS – Dabaw RegionSAMMY P. MAULANAActing Secretary-GeneralHuman Right and Justice OfficerCBCS Central OfficePagadian City23 July 2007 The Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society is a solidarity network of Bangsamoro NGOs and POs and other civil society organizations in Mindanao committed to a more sustained advocacy for Peace, Human Rights, Good Governance and Development. It is a network of over a hundred member organizations that engenders cooperation, collaboration and coordination among Moro civil society organizations in facing the challenges of creating a peaceful and just society.

Permanent good can never be the outcome of untruth and violence.—Mahatma Gandhi

Jul 23 2007

After Threatening To Attack MILF Rebels In Basilan Island, Manila Now Appeals To Preserve Peace Talks

BASILAN ISLAND (Mindanao Examiner / 23 Jul) – After threatening to attack Moro Islamic Liberation Front gunmen involved in the beheading of ten marine soldiers in the southern island of Basilan, Manila now said there is a need to preserve the peace talks with the country’s largest Muslim rebel group.

“We have to exhaust all means to preserve our gains in the peace process and we should not allow the Basilan incident to squander the gains that we have all achieved so far,” said Presidential peace adviser, Jesus Dureza.

Dureza also called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to refrain from making public statements about the tense situation in Basilan island.

Acting Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales and AFP chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon last week warned security forces would launch punitive actions if the MILF fails to surrender rebels involved in the beheading and mutilation of the soldiers, who were among 14 killed in fierce fighting on July 10 in Al-Barka town.

Dureza appealed for sobriety, saying, the cease-fire committees of the government and rebel peace panels were investigating the beheading of the soldiers in Basilan.

”We call on all concerned groups to properly respond to the unfolding events with informed and engaged actions towards the preservation of peace,” he said.

The soldiers were searching for a kidnapped Italian Catholic priest Giancarlo Bossi in the village of Guinanta, a known MILF stronghold, when the rebels attacked them.

Bossi, kidnapped by rogue MILF rebels on June 10 in Payao town in Zamboanga Sibugay province, was freed in the town of Karomatan in Lanao del Norte province on June 19.

The 57-year old priest said he was never brought to Basilan, but false intelligence reports fed the military led the soldiers into the rebel stronghold.

Even President Gloria Arroyo ordered troops to hunt down the attackers. More than 2,000 soldiers, including dozens of elite Presidential guards, are helping in the hunt for rebels.

The MILF, which is negotiating peace with Manila, has repeatedly denied beheading the slain soldiers and said rebel forces are ready to defend themselves should the government launch a punitive attack.

The military has formed Monday a new anti-terror task force to run after MILF rebels who beheaded the soldiers.

Maj. Eugene Batara, a regional army spokesman, said the new group called Joint Task Force Meteor will be headed by Marine Brig. Gen. Juancho Sabban.

“It will be tasked to conduct operations and effect punitive action against those involved in the beheading and mutilation of marines in Guinanta.”

“The task force will coordinate with the Philippine National Police and the Department of Justice,” Batara said.

The military demanded the MILF to surrender the rebels who decapitated the soldiers and it also linked Abu Sayyaf militants whose group is tied al-Qaeda in the beheading.

The rebel group defied a one week ultimatum that ended Sunday and is bracing for military attacks. Security forces have surrounded the stronghold of the MILF in Basilan island.

Sattar Alih, head of the MILF cease-fire monitoring team in Basilan island, said rebel forces withdrew from the battle scene, leaving the bodies of soldiers behind, after military and rebels agreed to a cease-fire.

It was unknown who were behind the decapitation, but intelligence sources in Basilan have implicated unnamed politicians who allegedly supplied the Abu Sayyaf and with mortar rockets, weapons and munitions during the fighting.

Their private armies allegedly fought against the military forces side-by-side with the MILF and that two gunmen had died in the skirmishes. The gunmen were believed behind the mutilation of the slain soldiers.

Mohagher Iqbal, chief MILF peace negotiator, said any attack on MILF forces in Basilan could spark an all-out war and may hurt the peace talks.

He said the MILF will not surrender any of its members because the clashes, sparked by the soldiers’ intrusion into a rebel stronghold, violated a six-year old cease-fire agreement.

A senior MILF leader Abdurahman Macapaar, commander of the 2nd Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, warned that any attack against the rebel group, could escalate and spark fighting in other areas.

The MILF is the Philippines’ largest Muslim rebel group fighting the past three decades for separate homeland in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner)

Jul 18 2007

Muslim Missionary Decapitated In Southern Philippine Island

A hearse carrying the bodies of two marine soldiers killed by Abu Sayyaf militants tied to al-Qaeda terror network in Jolo island passes. Troops are pursuing Abu Sayyaf leaders and two Jemaah Islamiya Bali bombers Dulmatin and Umar Patek in Jolo island, about 950 kms south of Manila. And Philippine military chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon answers questions from reporters inside the Western Mindanao Command headquarters in Zamboanga City also on Wednesday. Gen. Esperon on Wednesday orders more troops in Basilan island to pursue Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels behind the killing of 14 marines soldiers, ten of them beheaded, in an attack last week. Gen. Cedo has given a one week ultimatum for the MILF, which is negotiating peace with Manila, to surrender the rebels behind the killing. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

BASILAN ISLAND (Mindanao Examiner / 18 Jul) – A Muslim missionary, who provided information to the Philippine military about terrorists, was found dead and mutilated in the southern island of Basilan, officials said.

Officials said the preacher’s body was chopped into several pieces when found by civilians inside a sack in the village of Balagtasan in Lamitan town.

“We condemn the killing and authorities are now hunting the culprits behind the gruesome murder of the Tabliq,” Marine Colonel Ramiro Alivio, the island’s military chief, told the Mindanao Examiner.

Ramiro said the victim had provided information to the military about the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and lawless elements in Basilan.

“Villagers, including the tabliq, are helping us and providing intelligence about terrorists and lawless groups in Basilan,” he said without further elaborating.

Last week, Abu Sayyaf militants also killed a Muslim preacher in Basilan’s Al-Barka town on suspicion he was passing information to military authorities about a kidnapped Italian Catholic priest Giancarlo Bossi.

But the MILF said the soldiers were behind the killing of the preacher, an accusation strongly denied by the military, saying, the Muslim tipped off soldiers about Bossi’s location in Al-Barka town.

Bossi, kidnapped on June 10 in Zamboanga Sibugay province, was earlier reported being held by the Abu Sayyaf and rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels in Al-Barka town.

It was also in the town where MILF rebels attacked and killed 14 marine soldiers searching for the 57-year old clergy from Milan. Ten of those killed were beheaded.

Philippine military chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon on Wednesday said they have given the MILF one week to surrender those responsible in the killing of the soldiers.

Esperon he ordered troops to pursue the culprits if the MILF fails to yield those behind the beheading. “This is not a time for revenge, but a time to punish those responsible in the barbaric act,” he said.

The MILF, which is currently negotiating peace with Manila, said it will not surrender any of its fighters.

Mohager Iqbal, the MILF chief peace negotiator, said his group will not surrender any of its fighters. “The fighting between government soldiers and MILF forces in Basilan was a legitimate encounter. We will not surrender any of our fighters. We will not give in to the demands of the Philippine government. We are ready to defend our selves and that is our right,” he said.

Iqbal said the military already violated the cease-fire when soldiers went inside MILF stronghold in Al-Barka town.

Sattar Alih, head of the MILF cease-fire monitoring team in Basilan island, said rebel forces withdrew from the battle scene, leaving the bodies of soldiers behind, after military and rebels agreed to a cease-fire.

It was unknown who were behind the decapitation, but intelligence sources in Basilan have implicated unnamed politicians who allegedly supplied the Abu Sayyaf and with mortar rockets, weapons and munitions during the fighting.

Their private armies also fought against the military forces side-by-side with the MILF and that two gunmen had died in the skirmishes. The military is now investigating the reports.

Peace talks were stalled since last year after MILF, which is fighting for a separate Muslim homeland, rejected a government proposal for a limited autonomy.

Esperon said: “We are determined to punish those who perpetrated these inhuman and barbaric acts. These are not in the ambit of the peace process anymore. And offensive operation is the last option here.”

Philippine authorities tagged Akiddin Abdusallam, a leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as mastermind in Bossi’s kidnapping.

Abdusallam was also implicated in many kidnappings-for-ransom in the South.

But the MILF said Abdusallam was kicked out long time ago because of his criminal past and has joined the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group.

Esperon, who was in Zamboanga City, held a conference with senior military and police commanders inside the Western Mindanao Command headquarters.

He said hundreds of soldiers are on their way in Basilan to help in the hunt for terrorists and search for Bossi. “We have reports that Father Bossi is in Basilan and there will be no let-up in the operation in recovering Father Bossi and we assure you that,” he said.

Early this month, three undated photographs of Bossi in captivity were sent through cell phone to his friend, Spanish priest Angel Calvo, in Zamboanga City. The military said a former Basilan town mayor was the source of the photos. It was unclear how the former official was able to get the photos. (With a report from Juan Magtanggol)

Jul 13 2007

Palpak Na U.S. Mortar, Iimbestigahan Ng Marines

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 13 Jul) — Bubusisiin ng Philippine Marines ang naging pagpalpak ng ilang mortar na umano’y galing sa Estados Unidos habang nasa kasagsagan ng pakikipaggiyera sa mga miyembro ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) sa Basilan. Sinabi ni Philippine Marine Corps spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Caculitan na bagamat prayoridad nito ang pagtutugis sa mga sumalakay sa tropa nito, mahalaga ring maungkat ang sanhi ng pumalyang mortar ng militar. «On the level of the AFP, this will be addressed and our primary concern is to ensure that our weapons are working properly and that we are efficient in combat,» ani Caculitan.Magugunitang labing-apat na Marines, kung saan ay sampu ang napugutan ng ulo, sa naturang engkuwentro.Inihayag naman ni AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro na batay sa lot number ng mga pumalpak na mortar, natunton na nagbuhat ito sa Estados Unidos, ngunit hindi niya matiyak kung binili ito o donasyon lamang.Sinabi ni Bacarro na posible ngang hindi pumutok ang isang mortar ngunit imposible nang makailang ulit ang pagpalya nito.Zero-defect aniya ang nasabing mga mortar subalit posibleng nagkaroon ito ng damage nang dalhin ng mga sundalo sa field na bukas sa ibat-ibang epekto ng kalikasan.Ang bawat mortar ay nagkakahalagang $134 kada isa at may fuse na aabot naman sa $150.Samantala, inatasan na ng Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo si Acting Defense Secretary at National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales na madaliin ang full implementation ng modernisasyon ng Armed Forces of the Philippines.Ayon kay Gonzales, pinag-aaralan na nito kung paano maipatutupad at mapopondohan ng mabilis ang pagbili ng mga makabagong kagamitang pandigma ang militar.Ayaw ng kalihim na gumamit pa ang mga sundalo ng mga segunda-mano o donasyong gamit mula sa ibang bansa sapagkat buhay ng mga tauhan ng AFP ang nakataya o nalalagay sa alanganin.Ipinag-utos rin ni AFP chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr., ang suspensyon sa paggamit ng libu-libong rounds ng 81-milimeter mortar nito habang iniimbestigahan ang pagkakapalya ng mga bala sa kasagsagan ng giyera ng Philippine Marines sa MILF.

Binigyang ni Esperon ang investigating team sa pamumuno ni Brigadier General Henry Galarpe, deputy Armed Forces Inspector General, ng pitong araw upang tapusin ang pagbusisi nito maging sa mga nangyari sa engkuwentro. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 28 2007

NPA Lang, Kayang-Kayang Umano Ng Armed Forces!

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Jun) – Nagmamalaki ang Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa kakayanan nitong madurog ang rebeldeng New People’s Army (NPA) kahit na hindi tulungan ng Estados Unidos sa anti-insurgency campaign nito.Kumpyansang ipinahayag ni AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro na kung tutuusin ay mas maaga pa sa takdang panahon ang mga istratehiyang isinasakatuparan nito para sa matagumpay na kampanya laban sa mga komunista.»Strategically, the way we are going right now based on the projections that we have, we are doing well, we are even ahead of the schedule,» ani Bacarro.Target ng militar na unti-unting mapilayan ang mga rebelde hanggang sa maparalisa sa taong 2010.»We will defeat them by 2010, reducing them to an inconsequential level,» ayon sa opisyal.Nagsimula aniya sa mahigit 7,000 noong nakaraang taon ang bilang ng mga rebelde, gayundin ang pag-arangkada ng Oplan Bantay Laya ng militar, target ng AFP na mabawasan ng 1,000 gerilya kada taon ang puwersa ng NPA.Sinabi ni Bacarro na sa ganitong paraan ay hindi na makapaglulunsad ng malalaking pagsalakay ng komunistang samahan, bukod pa sa gugutumin rin ang mga ito kapag napilayan ang pinagkukunan ng kanilang resources.Naniniwala pa ang opisyal na mas kayang makontrol ang NPA kaysa halos 300 hanggang 400 miyembro ng Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).»Ang ASG kasi, it has stake taken international prominence, but the NPA we are determined that we can handle them,» hirit pa ni Bacarro.Ngunit sa kabila ng mga pahayag ng U.S. at AFP ukol sa NPA ay nagbanta naman ang rebeldeng grupo na gaganti ito kung sakaling makikialam ang mga Kano sa labanan.Tinuligsa rin ng NPA ang ginawang invasion ng U.S. sa Iraq at Afghanistan at ang Pangulong si George Bush.“Right now the US is sinking deeper in two quagmires, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even Bush is now in boiling water in Washington for launching wars of aggression.”

“However, should the US decide to bring in more troops to the Philippines and engage in further intervention or aggression against the revolutionary forces, the Filipino people and revolutionary forces would gain the golden opportunity to avenge the more than 1.5 million Filipinos who were martyred by US military actions from the start of the US-Filipino war in1899 to the end of the US pacification campaigns in 1914,” ani Fidel Agcaoili, ang chairman ng National Democratic Front Human Rights Committee. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 26 2007

U.S. Pacom Chief Keating Braves Abu Sayyaf Heartland In Southern Philippines

U.S. Pacific Command Chief Admiral Timothy Keating and U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney in the former mountain hideout of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group during a surprised visit to the extremists’ hotbed of Patikul, on the island province of Jolo in southern Philippines Tuesday June 26, 2007. Admiral Keating visited the island where U.S. troops are helping the Philippine military fight the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah terror groups. Accompanying them are Armed Forces Chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and Army Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

JOLO ISLAND (Mindanao Examiner / 26 Jun) – The U.S. Pacific commander, Adm. Timothy Keating made a surprised visit Tuesday on the southern Filipino island of Jolo, where American troops are helping the Philippine military defeat terrorism.

Keating was accompanied by U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Philippine military chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, who were briefed by local commanders on the progress of an ongoing operation against the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya on the island, about 950 km south of Manila.

Clad in a green camouflage uniform, Keating met with U.S. troops stationed inside a Philippine Army base near Patikul town and then hiked Mount Tugas where Filipino commanders showed him a captured Abu Sayyaf base.

Keating used a broken tree branch as a cane to help him climb Mount Tugas, where he inspected bunkers and trenches and secret tunnels previously used by the Abu Sayyaf.

Local commanders also briefed Keating on the progress of the hunt on Abu Sayyaf terrorists.

“We welcome the visit of Adm. Keating in our area, particularly in Jolo. It also gives a moral booster to the U.S. and Filipino troops. The visit gives us a higher spirit because it recognizes the efforts of the Filipino soldiers and our country in the fight against terrorism.”

“His visit is a manifestation of a strong U.S. support in our fight against international terrorism,” a regional army commander, Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo, told the regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.

Keating visit coincided with the killing of local policeman who was ambushed by suspected Abu Sayyaf militants in Calingalan Kaluang town.

U.S. and Filipino troops guarded Keating while in Jolo. Philippine Air Force MG-520 attack choppers and a U.S. EP-3 reconnaissance plane flew overhead during the jungle trip.

The U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) is a unified command – based in Hawaii — which includes about 300,000 military personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps (about 20 percent of all active duty U.S. military forces).

In April, Keating told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that: «We intend to concentrate on winning the war on terror, advancing security cooperation and engagement in the theater, making sure that our forces are properly postured and equipped to respond to crises should they develop.»

Hundreds of U.S. troops are deployed in the southern Philippines and training local soldiers on the request of the Filipino government. (Mindanao Examiner)

Jun 25 2007

AFP, Bulag Pa Rin Sa 3 Heneral Na Whistle-Blower!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 25 Jun) – Bulag pa rin ang liderato ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa mga sinasabing heneral na handang tumulong at magbigay ng mga ebidensya kay Senator-elect Antonio Trillanes IV upang idiin ang militar sa umano’y pagkakasangkot ng kapwa heneral sa extrajudicial killings ng mga militante at aktibista sa bansa.Pilit naman pinalulutang ni AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro ang tatlong heneral na handing lumabas at tumestigo upang mabigyan umano ng kredibilidad ang kanilang mga alegasyon.Ngunit malaki ang hinalang oras na lumutang ang tatlong heneral ay siguradong babalikan sila ng AFP at posibleng masibak pa sa puwesto upang pagtakpan ang pagkakasanggkot ng ibang heneral sa extra-judicial killings.Sinabi ni Bacarro na patuloy ang kanilang pagbeberipika kung sinu-sino ang mga nasabing heneral at seryosong inuungkat ang mga akusasyon bagamat pinaninindigang hindi polisiya ng AFP ang makisangkot sa political killings.Aminado si Bacarro na nahihirapan ang AFP na paghahanap sa mga naturang heneral na posibleng pinalulutang lamang din ng nais manira sa organisasyon.»It can be rumors that could have been manufactured by some interest groups with the intent of destroying the Armed Forces. Though, we are not ignoring it, it is also a concern of the AFP, that’s why we are conducting the verification,» ani Bacarro.Hindi aniya madali ang beripikasyon dahil posibleng magkamali sa kanilang konklusyon kung kayat kailangan ring maging maingat.Gayunman, may babala si Bacarro na mahaharap sa paglilitis ng military court ang mga naturang heneral kung hindi ito tatalima sa chain of command.

Unang kumanta sa media ang dalawang heneral na nagsabing naroon sila sa isang pulong ng pagusapan ang umano’y planong paglikida sa mga militante at aktibista. Mula ng umupo si Pangulong Gloria Arroyo nuong 2001 ay umabot na sa halos 900 ang bilang ng mga aktibistang napapatay. Marami sa kanila ay dinukot at hindi na matagpuan. (Juley Reyes at Juan Magtanggol)

Jun 23 2007

Fr Bossi, Wala Pa Rin Balita!

Ang larawan ito ay mula sa blog site ng Pontifical Institute of Foreign Mission sa Pilipinas at sa orihinal na litrato ay nakasaad ang panagalan: Father Giancarlo Bossi. Ito kaya ay si Fr Bossi? Nakalubog pa sa putikan ang kanyang mga paa at isang M16 ang nakatutok sa kaawa-awang lalaking ito na mukhang dayuhan dahil sa maputi at mabalahibong mga binti. Hindi nagsabi ang PIME kung ang litrato ay ipinadala ng mga kidnappers bilang pruweba na buhay pa ang Italyanong pari. (Mindanao Examiner)

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY (Mindanao Examiner / 24 Jun) – Wala pa rin balita ang mga awtoridad sa kinaroroonan ng Italian priest na si Giancarlo Bossi – dalawang linggo matapos itong dukutin ng mga rebeldeng Muslim sa lalawigan ng Zamboanga Sibugay.

Maging ang Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions (PIME) na kinabibilangan ni Bossi ay abala sa paghahanap sa pari na umano’y nasa grupo ni Akiddin Abdusallla, isang rogue commander ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Itinanggi ng MILF na may kinalaman ito pagdukot kay Bossi at nasa Abu Sayyaf na umano si Abdusallam. Ngunit tumutulong umano ang MILF na mabawi si Bossi.

Ngunit posibleng may sikretong negosasyon ang PIME o kaya ang Italian Embassy sa mga kidnappers at gamit ang MILF upang mapalaya si Bossi.

Ito ay dahil inilagay ng PIME sa isang blog ang litrato ng mga mabalahibong binti ng isang Caucasian na lalaki na nakalubog ang mga paa sa putikan sa gitna ng mangrove marshland at doon nakalagay ito: Father Giancarlo Bossi. Isang M16 automatic rifle rin ang nakatutok sa lalaki.

Hindi ipinakita sa larawan ang mga mukha ng naroon sa hindi malamang dahil.

Naunang sinabi ng Italian Embassy na handa itong makipag-negosasyon sa mga kidnappers na umano’y humiling ng isang milyong dolyar kapalit ni Bossi.

Karamihan sa mga dinukot na dayuhan sa Mindanao ay napapalaya lamang kapalit ang ransom. Bukod kay Bossi ay dinukot na rin noon sina Italian priests Luciano Benedette at Giuseppe Pierantoni na parehong napalaya matapos na iuamno’y magbayad ng malaking ransom ang pamahalaan ng Pilipinas at kanilang embahada.(Mindanao Examiner)

Jun 20 2007

Heneral, Opisyal Sabit Sa Bigong Coup, Hindi Palalayain!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 20 Jun) – Malabong mapalaya ang mga heneral at iba pang opisyal ng militar na sangkot sa bigong planong kudeta noong Pebrero 2006 matapos na tanggihan ito mismo ni Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief, General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.Ito’y sa harap ng pagkapanalo ni dating Navy Lieutenant Seniorgrade Antonio Trillanes IV bilang senador. May naunang pahayag ito na tutulungan ang mga nakapiit sa paratang na kudeta upang mapalaya.Mahigit isang taon nang nakakulong ang grupo ni dating Marine commandant Major General Renato Miranda, dating Army Scout Ranger chief Brigadier General Danilo Lim at Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin kasama ang iba pang mga tauhan nito dahil sa sinasabing balak ng pag-agaw sa kapangyarihan ng Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.Binigyang-diin ni Esperon na may proseso ang marapat na masunod sa ilalim ng umiiral na mga probisyon ng hustisyang miliitar.Makakalaya lamang aniya ang mga coup plotter kung malilinis ang mga ito sa mga kaso o napagsilbihan na ang kaparusahan.Kasalukuyang dinidinig ng special General Court Martial sa pamumuno ni Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) Chief Lieutenant General Alexander Yano ang mga kasong paglabag sa Articles of War nina Miranda, Lim at Querubin.» We now have the General Court Martial which is proceeding against them and have taken jurisdiction over them, so by the provision of the Articles of War, it simply has to go on, the military justice system will go on,» ani Esperon.

Hindi naman nababahala si Esperon sa anumang plano ni Trillanes para mailigtas ang grupo nina Miranda, Lim at Querubin hanggat maidadaan ito sa legal na proseso. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 19 2007

AFP Handa Ng Bitiwan Si Trillanes

Ang pasasalamat ni failed coup leader at ngayon ay senator-elect Antonio Trillanes na makikita sa website ng Magdalo Para Pagbabago.

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 20 Jun)- Handa na ang liderato ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) na alisin ang kustodiya nito kay Senator Antonio Trillanes IV na kasalukuyang nakaditine sa Philippine Marines headquarters sa Fort Bonifacio, Taguig dahil sa bigong coup nuong 2003.

Ayon kay AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., sumulat siya kay Makati Regional Trial Court branch 148 presiding judge Oscar Pimentel upang pagpasyahan kung mananatili sa militar ang pangangalaga kay Trillanes.

Ipinunto ni Esperon na kailangang malinaw sa mababang hukuman kung nanaisin pa nitong maipagpatuloy ang ibinigay sa kanila na custodial authority sa senador sa harap na rin ng mga kontrobersyang sumulpot hinggil sa nasabing usapin.

«I am writing honorable Oscar Pimentel, clarifying with him whether he wants me to continue having the custodial authority over Senator Trillanes, as he gave me.If he wants, I can continue. If he doesn’t, he has just to rule and I will follow the official ruling,» ani Esperon.

Aminado ang heneral na problemado ito sa isyu ng kustodiya kay Trillanes at gustong pagbigyan ang mga hirit ng dating junior officer partikular ang makadalo sa sesyon at trabaho ng Senado ngunit kailangan naman niyang protektahan ang mandato at regulasyon ng militar at General Court Martial kung saan ay may kinakaharap rin na kaso ang senador.

«This is my dilemma as chief of staff. Gusto kong largahan ang kanyang pagnanais. We know he can accomplish many things. But I also want protect the interest of the AFP, including the people in the GCM,» ayon kay Esperon.

«I just want to say that I am just an implementer of laws. I am not an interpreter, neither do I make laws,» dagdag nito.

Si Trillanes kasama ang 30 pang sundalo ay may kasong kudeta sa Makati RTC bukod pa sa paglabag sa Articles of War 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman) sa military court.

Gayunman, nagpasakalye si Esperon na kung mananatili ang detensyon kay Trillanes sa kanilang hurisdiksyon ay mapapayagan naman ang senador na tumungong Senado ngunit dapat na may karampatang pahintulot. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 19 2007

Walang Loyalty Check Sa Mga Sundalo: AFP

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 19 Jun) – Wala umaning balak ang liderato ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) na magsagawa ng loyalty check sa hanay nito kasunod ng sinasabing pagkatig ng dalawang heneral sa hirit ni Senator Antonio Trillanes IV na ungkatin ang extrajudicial killings ng militar.

Nananatiling kumpyansa ang AFP sa pagtalima ng mga myembro nito sa batas at regulasyon kung kayat malabong makisangkot sa paglikida ng mga militante o aktibista.

Ayon kay AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro, mahigpit ang pagrespeto ng mga sundalo sa karapatang pantao bilang bahagi ng mga isinasagawa nilang pagsasanay.

Hindi rin aniya dapat makalimutan ng publiko na ang komunistang grupo ay kilalang pumapatay ng sariling miyembro lalo na ang mga pinagdududahang espiya ng gobyerno at militar.

Samantala, tinitiyak naman ni AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., na nakahanda itong humarap sa anumang pagsisiyasat na nais ipatawag ni Trillanes kaugnay sa political killings.

Gayunman, ipinunto ni Esperon na umiiral ang Executive Order 464 at ang pagharap nito sa congressional inquiry ay nakadepende sa magiging basbas ng Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo bilang Commander-in-Chief.

Hinahamon pa nito ang mga nagdidiin sa militar sa extrajudicial killings, maging ang dalawang heneral na sinasabing nagkumpirma nito, na maglabas ng ebidensya sa akusasyon.

Binigyang-diin pa ni Esperon na walang polisiya sa AFP na tugisin ang mga militanteng organisasyon. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 17 2007

AFP, Nagmamatigas Pa Rin Kay Senador Trillanes

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 17 Jun) – Nagmatigas ang Armed Forces na hindi nito papayagan si detained Senator Antonio Trillanes na makadalo sa mga pagdinig at sesyon ng Mataas na Kapulungan.Sinabi ni Lt. Col. Jose Feliciano Loi na kung ang pagbabatayan ay ang kaso ni dating Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos, ay tiyak naman na mahihirapan si Trillanes na maging aktibo sa Senado.»I believe there is jurisprudence… Take the classical case of Congressman Jalosjos, he was even re-elected as congressman and yet there was this conviction of rape…Although re-elected as congressman, he cannot attend the session in Congress. Probably, that will also apply to the good senator-elect Sonny Trillanes,» punto ni Loi. Tinukoy pa ni Loi na sa ilalim ng Articles of War, hindi pinahihintulutan sa military court ang pagpipyansa para sa pansamantalang paglaya. «He may not be allowed to attend the sessions before the Senate if there is no court order or there is no approval from the GCM (general court martial),» dagdag nito.Si Trillanes ay nahaharap sa kasong paglabag sa Article of War 96 or conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman kaugnay sa nabigong kudeta noong Hulyo 2003 at kasalukuyang nakaditine sa Marine headquarters sa Fort Bonifacio, Makati City.

Sinabi pa ng military lawyer na wala sa probisyon ng Articles of War na nagbibigay sa mga detinido ng temporary pass. «There is none. Once you are charged before a court martial, you are restricted to quarters. So if you are restricted to quarters, how can you attend the proceedings?,» diin nito. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 15 2007

Trillanes, Muntik Ng Sumabit Sa Proklamasyon!

Isa sa mga campaign material ni Senador Antonio Trillanes. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 15 Jun) — Muntik nang hindi makadalo si senator-elect Antonio Trillanes sa proklamasyon nito sa Commission on Elections kaninang umaga matapos na harangin ng Armed Forces ang paglabas nito sa kulungan.

Ngunit pinagbigyan pa rin ni Armed Forces Chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon si Trillanes bagamat iginigiit nito na marapat ay sinusunod ng senador ang proseso habang nasa hurisdiksyon pa rin ng militar.

Nabigo umano ang ang kampo ni Trillanes na magsumite ng pahintulot kay Esperon upang makadalo sa proklamasyon nito kanina.

Bukod sa permiso ng Makati Regional Trial Court, obligado si Trillanes na magpaalam sa AFP dahil bahagi ito ng proseso bukod pa na sila ang may hawak ng kustodiya sa dating opisyal ng militar.

Pinagkaguluhan naman si Trillanes ng media ng dumating sa COMELEC kasama ang mga mahal sa buhay at supporters.

Wala naman balak si Trillanes na gantihan si Esperon kahit pa ito ay nanalo bilang senador.

Sinabi pa ni Trillanes na habambuhay nitong irerespeto si Esperon bilang miyembro ng Upper Class sa Philippine Military Academy (PMA) at nakatataas na opisyal ng militar.

Gayunman, binigyang-diin ni Trillanes na ang kanyang ipinaglalaban ay para rin sa mga miyembro ng Armed Forces at mahalagang malinis ang institusyon sa lumalalang katiwalian at magpatupad ng reporma.

Kasabay nito, hindi naman natitinag si Esperon sakaling gisahin siya ni Trillanes sa anumang imbestigasyon ng Senado na ipatatawag nito.

Sinabi ng heneral na bahagi ito ng demokratikong proseso sa bansa at malimit rin naman siyang humaharap sa mga pagdinig ng Mataas ng Kapulungan.

«That’s part of the democratic process. Lagi rin naman akong humaharap sa Senado,» ani Esperon sa pahayagang Mindanao Examiner.

Makakaharap aniya siya sa Senado kung bibigyan ng awtoridad ng Commander-in-Chief o ng Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo para dumalo sa anuma ng pulong o pandinig.

Bagamat hindi masama ang loob ni Esperon sa pagkapanalo ni Trillanes ay inamin naman nitong kagulat-gulat ang pagkakahalal ng failed mutiny leader.

Samantala, masalimuot na proseso ang dadaanan ni Trillanes bago tuluyang mailipat ang kustodiya rito mula sa militar tungong Senado.

Ayon naman kay Armed Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro ay hindi magiging madali para kay Trillanes ang makabitaw sa kustodiya ng militar bunsod na rin ng kinakaharap nitong kasong paglabag sa Articles of War noong aktibo pa sa serbisyo.

Nais naman ni Trillanes na magkaroon ng pagbabagop sa kanyang kulungan at posibleng doon nito isagawa ang anumang pandinig o pulong na may kinalaman sa kanyang pagiging senador. Ito ay kung hindi siya papayagang makadalo sa Senado.

Posibleng maibigay kay Trillanes ang Defense Committee at mailipat sa kustodiya ng Senado o Sergeant-at-Arms nito o sa Senate President ang kaso nito.

Sabit sa Trillanes sa nabigong coup apat na taon na ang nakalipas. Korupsyon sa pamahalaan at Armed Forces ang naging isyu ng Magdalo Group na kinabibilangan nito ng kanilang okupahan ang Oakwood Premiere Hotels sa Makati City. (Juley Reyes at Juan Magtanggol)

Jun 14 2007

AFP Info Drive, Ikakasa Na Sa Metro!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 14 Jun) – Pinupuntirya na naman ng militar ang Metro Manila sa kampanya nito kontra komunismo sa mga paaralan at unibersidad.Binigyang-diin ngayon ni Armed Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro na layunin ng naturang “information campaign” na ibukas ang isipan ng mga estudyante sa panlilinlang ng rebeldeng New People’s Army (NPA) upang pasukin at impluwesyahan ang mga paaralan.Ang mga sundalo ang mismong magbibigay ng impormasyon sa mga mag-aaral hinggil sa taktika ng panghihikayat ng NPA sa kolehiyo at unibersidad.Ikinatwiran ni Bacarro na tanggap naman ng mga opisyal ng unibersidad at naturang kampanya at ang mga ituturo ay hindi kahalintulad ng naunang isinagawa sa mga mahihirap na barangay sa Kalakhang Maynila.May naunang impormasyon ang militar hinggil sa plano ng komunistang grupo na ma-infiltrate ang kalakhang Maynila bunsod na rin ng pagkatalo ng huli sa pinaigting na opensiba sa mga lalawigan.Bagamat inaasahan na ang mga pagbatikos ng mga militanteng grupo sa nasabing hakbang ng Armed Forces, naninindigan si Bacarro sa hangarin ng institusyon na mapilayan ng husto ang operasyon ng mga rebelde.

Samantala, nasa proseso pa rin ng pag-aaral ang panukalang maibalik sa Metro region ang tropa ng mga sundalong pansamantalang inalis noong panahon ng eleksyon upang hindi mapagdududahang namumulitika. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 13 2007

Kay Antonio Trillanes: Sinong Takot? Ang AFP?

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 13 Jun) – Ipinagkibit balikat lamang ng mga opisyal ng militar ang babala ng ilang retiradong heneral na maaaring magkaroon ng kudeta o demoralisasyon sa hanay ng Armed Forces ang nabibiting proklamasyon ni failed coup leader Navy Lieutenant Seniorgrade Antonio Trillanes.

Si Trillanes ay ika-11 sa Magic 12 ng senatorial candidates ng Genuine Opposition at posibleng ma-proklama kung hindi magbabago ang bilangan ng boto sa Commission on Elections.

Sinabi ni Armed Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro na malabong mangyari na ikadismaya ng mayorya ng mga sundalo na mauuwi sa kudeta, lalo na ang mga bumoto kay Trillanes ang posibilidad na mabaligtad ang resulta Commission on Elections.

Malinaw naman aniya sa kasundaluhan ang proseso ng halalan at ang pagdistansya sa usaping pulitikal.Idinagdag pa ni Bacarro na makabubuting ipaubaya na lamang din sa Comelec ang desisyon at hintayin ang hakbang nito kung kailan opisyal na maidedeklarang nanalong senador si Trillanes.

Una na ring pinagdududahan ng kampo ni Trillanes na ang nauudlot na proklamasyon ay dahil sa posibleng niluluto pang pandaraya ng administrasyon upang ilaglag ang dating opisyal ng militar.

Naniniwala rin si Bacarro na sa mga ganitong usapin ng nabibiting proklamasyon ay mahalaga ang maitutulong ng inilunsad nitong survey upang magkaroon ng information drive at maunawaan ng mga sundalo ang tamang proseso.

Sa pagsusumikap aniya ng AFP leadership na magkaroon ng epektibong kampanya ng impormasyon ay maiiwasan na may umalma o magbalak ng pagrerebelde sa hanay ng militar. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 12 2007

Man Jumps To His Death In South RP

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 12 Jun) – Tinatayang 19 na pinuno ng barangay sa kalakhang-Maynila ang humihirit diumano ng pagpapabalik sa tropa ng mga sundalo para sa kanilang kampanya kontra kriminalidad.Sa liham kay Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., ay ipinunto ng mga barangay chairman ng Maynila, Quezon City, Caloocan City at Taguig City na malaking pakinabang ang mga sundalo sa Metro upang mapababa ang antas ng krimen bukod pa sa nagsilbing inspirasyon din ang mga ito ng kabataan.Nagpakita rin anila ng propesyunalismo at disiplina ang militar sa National Capital Region (NCR) kung kayat walang masama na maibalik ang mga ito.»Dahil po sa pakikipag-ugnayan namin sa mga kasundaluhan, panatag na po ang aming mga kalooban na naririyan sila para sa aming kaligtasan at kasiguruhan. Nais po naming iparating sa inyo na sa kanilang pag-alis bago ang halalan ay mas naramdaman namin ang aming pangangailangan sa kanila sa pagtataguyod ng kaayusan at kaunlaran sa ating bayan,» ayon sa kanilang liham na ipinakita sa pahayagang Mindanao Examiner kaninang umaga.Gayunman, wala pang balak ang liderato ng militar na tugunan ang nasabing kahilingan ng mga barangay official.Pinag-aaralan pa rin ng AFP leadership ang naunang isinumiteng accomplishment report ng National Capital Region Command hinggil sa naging civil military operations nito sa Metro.

Nauna nang nagpahiwatig si Esperon na kung sadyang kailangan ang mga sundalo sa Metro Manila ay may posibilidad na mapakilos muli ang mga ito. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 12 2007

AFP Dedma Lang Sa Mga Tropang Sumuporta Kay Trillanes!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 12 Jun) – Dededmahin lamang umano ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ang mga sundalong nakisimpatiya o bumuto kay failed coup leader Antonio Trillanes matapos amining gumawa ng isang survey ukol sa dating opisyal ng Navy.Sinabi ni AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro na walang balak ang militar na gantihan ang mga tropang sumuporta sa senatorial bid ni Trillanes. Hindi rin ipahuhuli ng AFP ang mga sundalong lumahok sa nasabing survey at sabihing si Trillanes ang kanilang ibinoto sa nakaraang halalan.Posibleng makaupo na si Trillanes dahil nasa ika-11 pa rin ito sa bilangan ng Commission on Elections at ibang poll watch groups.Binigyang-diin pa ni Bacarro na hindi rin naman nasisindak o nababahala ang AFP sa pag-upo ni Trillanes.»Hindi kami nasisindak. We have nothing to fear. We have nothing to worry about. Besides, Trillanes is a former member of the Armed Forces and he could help the institution thru legislation,» ani Bacarro.Ibang-iba ang pahayag nito ngayon kaysa mga nakaaraang bitiw ng mga salita. Tipong maamo na ang dating ni Bacarro.Samantala, duda naman si Bacarro na may mga sundalo sa kanilang hanay ang hayagang tututol sa pag-upo ni Trillanes bilang senador.Sinabi ni Bacarro na malinaw naman ang mandato ng taumbayan kay Trillanes nang iboto ito ng mayorya ng mga pinoy noong nakaraang halalan.Tanggap na rin aniya ng AFP ang pagkapanalo ni Trillanes na pinaniniwalaan nitong magiging kaalyado rin ng institusyon. Maraming mga sundalo ang sumuporta kay Trillanes sa kabila ng mahigpit na pangangampanya ng AFP sa mga tropa na huwag itong iboto.Isa si Trillanes sa mga nagtangkang pabagsakin ang pamahalaang Arroyo ng sakupin ng grupo nitong Magdalo ang Oakwood Premier Hotels sa Makati City ilang taon na ang nakalipas.

Corruption at state-sponsored terrorism ang naging batikos ng Magdalo Group sa pamahalaan. (Juley Reyes at Juan Magtanggol)

Jun 11 2007

Militar Takot Sa Pagaalsa, Tropa Pinulsuhan!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 11 Jun) Kinumpirma ngayon ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ang inilunsad nitong survey sa mga kasundaluhan upang pulsuhan ang sentimyento sa pagkapanalo ni failed coup leader Navy Lieutenant Seniorgrade Antonio Trillanes.Noong isang linggo pa sinimulan ng Civil Relations Service ng AFP ang naturang survey, gayunman, agad na kinatwiranan ni military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro na layunin lamang nito na mabatid ang damdamin ng mga miyembro ng organisasyong militar dahil sa posibilidad na marami rin ang pumapalag o hindi pabor sa pag-upo ni Trillanes sa Senado.Sakali aniya may mga matanggap na dissenting opinion o negatibong pananaw sa pagiging senador ni Trillanes, magsasagawa ang AFP ng kaukulang information drive o pagpapaliwanag para mapahupa ang anumang pag-alma.»Gusto nating malaman yung sentiment ng ating mga kasundaluhan. It is possible na merong mga dissenting opinions coming from our soldiers and on the part of the AFP leadership we also like to know kung ano yung mga efforts na pwede nating gawin.”“It is to remove rumblings within the organization, posible kasi na itong dissenting opinion ng ilang sundalo would create rumblings within the organization,» paliwanag pa ni BacarroPartikular na nais aniyang ipaliwanag ng AFP sa mga sundalong maaaring umalma sa pagkakaluklok kay TRillanes ay ang mandatong ibinigay ng taumbayan sa dating opisyal ng militar ngunit hindi nangangahulugang ligtas na ito sa parusa ng batas.Itinanggi naman ni Bacarro na iniingatan ng AFP na magsilbing inspirasyon o tularan ng mga sundalo si Trillanes na kilalang nanguna sa mutiny laban sa gobyerno kung kayat nagsagawa ito ng survey.Hindi umano maituturing na banta sa militar si Trillanes na kung tutuusin ay puwede itong maging kasangga ng AFP.

«He would know what are the needs of the AFP, he can push for some legislation that would favor the AFP,» dagdag nito. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 06 2007

Ina Ng Nawawalang Aktibista, Di Nagpakita Sa Pulong!

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 06 Jun) — Hindi nagpakita kanina ang ina ng nawawalang anak ng dating publisher at aktibistang si Jonas Burgos sa itinakdang pakikipagpulong nito kay Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.Umano’y naramdaman ni Mrs. Edith Burgos na gagamitin lamang siya nina Esperon at Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita upang magkaroon ng publisidad na may pakikipagtulungan ang militar sa paghahanap sa batang Burgos.Ang militar ang pangunahing pinagdududahan na dumukot kay Burgos at natunton rin sa isang kampo ng Philippine Army sa Norzagaray, Bulacan ang sasakyan na may nawawalang plaka at ginamit sa getaway vehicle sa biktima.Si Jonas ay nagsisilbing consultant para sa Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.Subalit, sinabi ni Armed Forces Public Information Office Chief Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro na dumating sa pulong ang tiyuhin at abogado ni Jonas ngunit nabigong makausap si Esperon dahil dumating ang mga ito ng dakong alas-10 ng umaga o isang oras nang nahuli sa usapan.

Si Colonel Daniel Lucero, ang executive assistant ni Esperon at ang hepe ng AFP Human Rights Office na si Colonel Benedicto Jose ang kumausap sa tiyuhin at abogado ng batang Burgos. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 03 2007

Armed Forces, Duda Kay CPP Founder Joma Sison!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 03 Jun) – Malaki ang duda ang Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa pag-aangkin ni Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison na hindi na ito konektado sa rebeldeng New People’s Army (NPA) at sa sariling organisasyon.

Sinabi sa pahayagang Mindanao Examiner ni AFP spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro na ipinahayag lamang ni Sison ang naturang pagdistansya sa CPP at NPA, gayun rin sa National Democratic Front of the Philippines upang protektahan ang sarili nito, ngunit matibay pa rin ang impormasyon ng militar na nananatil itong lider ng organisasyon.

«This was done to protect himself but basically what the information that we have on the ground is that he is still recognized as the top leader of the CPP-NPA,» ani Bacarro.

Una nang inaangkin ni Sison na 29 na taon na siyang wala sa komunistang samahan ngunit sinabi ni Bacarro na may mga dokumento silang hawak na aktibo pa rin si Sison sa CPP-NPA.

Kahit aniya itinanggi ni Sison na siya ang nagpapakilalang «Armando Liwanag», naniniwala ang militar na kinikilalang lider ito ng mga gerilya at patuloy pa ring nagbibigay ng mga kautusan.

Kasabay nito, ipinauubaya na lamang ng AFP sa European Union kung tuluyang maihahanay sa mga terorista si Sison.Hinamon rin ni Bacarro si Sison kung talagang hindi na kabilang sa CPP-NPA ay kusa itong bumalik ng Pilipinas at harapin ang mga kaso. (Juley Reyes)

Jun 01 2007

“Dirty Harry” Rejects Plans To Hold RP-US Anti-Terror Warfare In Davao

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo by CPJ.Org)

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 1 June) – A Southern Philippine mayor on Friday rejected government proposal for U.S. and Filipino troops to hold joint anti-terror training in the port city of Davao.

Rodrigo Duterte, the city’s mayor, said the training would put Davao on the list of possible terrorist target and warned that any attempt to pursue the plan could attract more attacks from anti-American militants and communist insurgents.

Duterte said he would not allow Davao City as venue of any war games between Filipino and American soldiers. He said a senior government official phoned him about the proposal to bring the training to Davao City.

«If troubles erupt, I will wash my hands,» Duterte, known as the “Dirty Harry” of the Philippines, said.

Dirty Harry is a 1971 film directed by Don Siegel. Clint Eastwood played the title role, in his first outing as San Francisco Police Department Inspector «Dirty» Harry Callahan.

Callahan’s nickname, «Dirty Harry,» is a reference to his reputation for taking on the «dirtiest» cases and resolving them even if it involves the violation of criminals’ rights.

«The mere presence of U.S. soldiers is like a magnet for terrorists,” Duterte said. (Romy Bwaga)

May 30 2007

Tropa, Ibabalik Na Sa Metro-Manila!

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 30 May) – Inirekomenda ni Armed Forces of the Philippines-National Capital Region Command (AFP-NCR) Chief Major General Mohammad Dolorfino ang pagbabalik ng tropa sa kalakhang Maynila.

Sa kanyang isinumiteng ulat kay AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., ipinunto nito ang pangangailangan ng presensya ng militar sa Metro Manila bunga na rin ng nananatiling banta ng insurhensya at terorismo sa rehiyon.

Mandato aniya ng militar ang protektahan ang lipunan bukod pa sa naging epektibo ang pakikipag-ugnayan nito sa mga barangay para magsakatuparan ng mga proyektong makakatulong upang masugpo ang insureksyon at kriminalidad na bumubulabog sa National Capital Region.

«The National Capital Region is not spared from the threats of insurgency, the terrorism so we have to do something in order to be proactive in confronting the threats,» ani Dolorfino.

«As far as we concerned, we see to it that we will continue or CMO (civil-military operation) activities. Our view is we should continue our peacetime role as an active partner of local government units,» dagdag nito.

Una nang na-pull out dahil sa eleksyon ang tinatayang 260 sundalong kabilang sa civil military operations sa 19 na barangay sa Manila, Quezon City at Caloocan City matapos ang anim na buwan na pananatili ng presensya nito.

Binanggit rin ni Dolorfino sa after operations report nito kay Esperon ang sinasabing accomplishment tulad ng pagsuko ng walong miyembro ng terorista sa Tondo, Maynila.

Natapos na ang refresher training ng mga sundalo at naghihintay na lamang ng go-signal buhat sa AFP Chief kung babalik ang mga ito sa komunidad. (Juley Reyes)

May 30 2007

Militar Balisa Kay Trillanes!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 30 May) – Umaasa ang ilang opisyal ng militar na hindi magsisilbing inspirasyon sa mga batang sundalo ang napipintong pagkapanalo ni dating Navy Lieutenant Seniorgrade Antonio Trillanes sa Senado.Ayon kay Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres, Jr. hindi malayong may mga mag-idolo ngayon kay Trillanes at subukang gayahin ang isinakatuparan nitong pagrerebelde at kahit na nakakulong ay may tsansang maging senador.Isa si Trillanes sa nangunang junior officers nang isagawa ang nabigong mutiny sa Oakwood Hotel, Makati City noong Hulyo 2003.Si dating Senador Gregorio Honasan umano ang nagsilbing halimbawa ng mga batang opisyal ng militar sa kanilang hangaring ipaglaban ang kalagayan ng mga sundalo at linisin sa korupsyon ang sistema ng gobyerno at Armed Forces.Si Honasan ay magugunitang dating Colonel na nakisangkot rin sa ilang insidente ng pagrerebelde sa pamahalaan subalit paulit-ulit na nailuluklok sa gobyerno.Gayunman, malinaw naman aniya ang itinatadhana ng regulasyon ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at Articles of War laban sa sinumang magiging pasaway sa hanay ng militar at walang sinuman ang makakalusot dito.Iginigiit pa ni Torres na may proseso o sistema sa militar para sa pag-aksyon ng anumang hinaing o problema sa institusyon.Ngunit ayaw man ng militar na sumikat si Trillanes ay hindi makakaila ang kagustuhan ng maraming mga sundalo na magwagi at maupo ito bilang senador.Maraming sundalo rin ang sumuporta kay Trillanes nuong nakaraang halalan sa kabila ng banta ng kanilang mga commander na nangangampanya diumano laban sa failed coup leader.Sa Zamboanga City lamang ay nakapaskil ang campaign poster ni Trillanes sa loob mismo ng Edwin Andrews Air Base ng Philippine Air Force. Siguradong gagawan ng paraan umano ni Trillanes na makulong ang mga tiwaling opisyal ng militar at pamahalaan sakaling manalo bilang senador at isulong ang interes ng Armed Forces.

Sa pinakahuling partial and official tally ng Commission on Elections, nakapako sa ika-11 puwesto si Trillanes o pasok pa rin sa Magic 12 ng senatoriables. (Ulat nina Jukey Reyes at Juan Magtanggol)

May 24 2007

Search For Missing Activist Continues, Supports Mounting!

Photo by Bulatlat.

The Free Jonas Burgos Movement (FJBM) calls on all our colleagues in the artists’ and writers’ circle to manifest their support in our call to the AFP, PNP and the GMA government to double their effort in locating Jonas Joseph Burgos, son of late press freedom icon Jose «Joe» Burgos, who was abducted on April 28, 2007 at the Ever Gotesco Mall in Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.

We are humbly soliciting your signatures in support of our call to surface Jonas and all «desaparecidos» and demand justice for all the victims of human rights violations of the current regime and previous governments in our country.

For more information call 063 4546468. Please pass to all fellow artists and writers. Free Jonas Burgos. Free all Desaparecidos.

Jonas Burgos, the son of the late press freedom fighter Joe Burgos, has kept himself in low profile for all his years spent teaching farmers about natural and self-sustaining farming techniques. But now even his captors may have been caught by surprise at the national and international furor his abduction generated.

His abduction immediately made the headlines. And that may be due to his surname. Jonas Burgos, the son of the late press freedom fighter Joe Burgos, has kept himself in low profile for all his years spent teaching farmers about natural and self-sustaining farming techniques. But now even his captors may have been caught by surprise at the national and international furor his abduction generated.

The closest Jonas would get to follow the footsteps of his journalist father was to delve into photojournalism, Jonas’ younger brother, JL, told Bulatlat in an interview during an indignation rally held May 4 at the People Power Monument along the Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA).

More than a hundred friends and supporters marched at least two kilometers along EDSA to demand the safe and immediate release of Jonas who was abducted April 28 in broad daylight, 12 noon, inside the Ever Gotesco Mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.

Witnesses testified that the younger Burgos was accosted by two unidentified men and was “held by the hands and feet” and taken to a waiting van outside the mall.

The Burgos family has been searching for him since but his whereabouts remains undetermined.

Human rights groups and old friends of the family since Martial Law accused state security agents of being behind Jonas’ enforced disappearance. The military top brass had denied the accusation while police authorities have vowed to locate the missing Jonas.


Jonas, the third of five children, took up political science at the San Beda College. “Pero hindi nya tinapos,” JL said, “kasi ang hilig nya talaga ay ang pagsasaka.” (But he did not complete his course because he was really interested in agriculture.)

He may have taken the passion for farming from their parents, JL said. Their parents plant organic palay (unhusked rice grain), corn, vegetables and fruit bearing trees in their 12-hectare agricultural lot in Barangay Tartaro, San Miguel town in the province of Bulacan.

The 36-year-old Jonas finished BS Agriculture at the Benguet State University. After which, he helped manage their farm especially when his father got ill. The older Burgos died of stroke in November 2003 and left the farm to his wife, Edith, and their five children.

By then, Jonas had been sharing his knowledge to his barrio mates and introduced organic farming to peasants in their town and other surrounding areas. He had since been a member of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan (AMB or Alliance of Concerned Peasants in Bulacan), the local chapter of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP or Peasant Movement of the Philippines) in the province.

“Nung bata pa kami, nagpakita na si utol ng pagmamalasakit sa kapwa,” (Even when we were still children, my brother had already shown his concern for others.) JL said as he remembers his brother taking the slippers of their father and giving it to an elderly woman knocking at their door for alms.

During their younger years, JL said, they also helped in their family’s rice advocacy campaign for high school students who went to their farm for summer exposure.

The difference

Two weeks before Jonas was abducted, JL said, he and Jonas talked about the intensifying political situation that has led to unabated killings, disappearances and harassment of political activists.

“Alam namin delikado lahat ng aktibista pero hindi namin inisip na may mangyayari sa kanya,” (We knew that it is dangerous for activists but we did not think that something would happen to him.) JL said shaking his head. He said his family did not notice any obvious threat against Jonas until he went missing.

“Lumaki kami na hinaharas ang tatay namin at ang buong pamilya,” (We grew up in a situation where our father and the whole family was being harassed.) JL said. Their parents were then publishers of one of the first anti-dictatorship newspaper during Martial Law, the We Forum.

The older Burgos, however, was not able to evade Martial Law authorities for long. Their press office was raided by the Metropolitan Command (Metrocom) on December 7, 1982 and Joe Burgos, together with the editors and staff of We Forum, was arrested and stayed in prison for almost a year.

“Pero nung martial law, may warrant of arrest nung kinuha nila ang tatay ko. Ngayong sinasabi na nagbalik na ang demokrasya, ngayon lang may nawala sa pamilya namin at hindi ito panahon ng martial law,” (During Martial Law they had a warrant when they arrested my father. It is ironic that it is now when democracy was supposedly restored that one of our family members was forcibly disappeared. And it is not even Martial Law.) JL said.

Missing in Bulacan

The province of Bulacan counts for the most number ofmissing individuals since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo held power in 2001. Jonas is the 26th victim of enforced disappearance in the province.

Victims of forced disappearances in Bulacan included Bernie Santos, a farmer from the town of San Miguel who was abducted April 24, 2005 allegedly by soldiers of the First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSRR) based in Camp Tecson; farmer Manuel Merino and University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Emepeño who were roused from sleep and were dragged to a jeepney-type vehicle before dawn of June 26, 2006.

Ricardo Valmocina Jr. and Robin Solano who were abducted inside the CV Tamayo Farms in Barangay Pinaod, San Ildefonso town; and jeepney driver and Anakpawis provincial coordinator Emerito Lipio who was abducted July 3, 2006.

Oscar Leuterio, a security guard of the Metal Ore Company in the town of Doña Remedios Trinidad was also abducted April 17, 2006 and was held incommunicado for five months inside a safehouse in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, the headquarters of the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (ID PA).

He was released on September of the same year when he agreed to work for the military.

Leuterio, however, sought the assistance of human rights groups and instead testified in court that he saw several victims of abductions inside the same safehouse. He now serves as witness to the abduction of the two UP students who, Leuterio said, were also seen inside the Fort Magsaysay headquarters.

There are 199 victims of enforced disappearance from Jan. 2001 to May 2007, records from the human rights group Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples’ Rights) show. (With reports from Dabet Castaneda of Bulatlat)

May 24 2007

AFP Deputy Chief, Nag-retiro Na!

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 24 May) – Pormal ng bumaba ngayon sa tungkulin ang itinuturing na ikatlong mataas na lider ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas.Kasunod ito ng mandatory retirement ni Lieutenant General Christie Datu bilang deputy chief of staff ng Armed Forces. Miyembro ng Philippine Airforce (PAF) at nagtapos ng Philippine Military Academy Class 1973 si Datu na pinalitan ni Major General Pedrito Cadungog.Si Cadungog na tumayong kumander ng Air Education and Training Command ay miyembro ng PMA Class 1975.Sa turn-over ceremony, ipinahayag ni AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. ang kumpyansa na magiging epektibo sa tungkulin ang pagpapalit ng opisyal bilang deputy chief of staff.

Ilan pang heneral ng AFP ang nakatakdang magretiro ngayong taon, kabilang ang hepe ng Philippine Army na si Lieutenant General Romeo Tolentino sa Agosto at Major General Jose Angel Honrado, kasalukuyang tagapagsalita ng militar. (Juley Reyes)

May 24 2007

RP, US Hold Naval War Games Off Mindanao

U.S. troops during a joint anti-terror training in Jolo island in the Sulu Archipelago in southern Philippines. The Philippines and United States are to hold new naval training off the Sulu Archipelago in June. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 24 May) – Philippine and U.S. soldiers are to begin a joint naval exercise off the southern region of Mindanao, where Filipino security forces are hunting down members of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and Jemaah Islamiya.

Some 1,400 American and 600 Filipino troops are expected to join the training next week off the Sulu Archipelago, where fighting between military and Abu Sayyaf forces had been reported.Filipino military officials said the training is part of an annual activity between the two countries, but this would be the first time that a naval exercise would be held in the south.Previous naval trainings were held in northern Philippines.“We welcome this training as it will improve our combat capabilities and strengthen military bilateral relations between the Philippines and the United States,” a regional Filipino military spokesman, Major Eugene Batara, told the independent regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.The training, Batara said, is designed to enhance the ability of soldiers to fight terrorism and other maritime functions from rescue to interception.Hundreds, perhaps thousands of U.S. soldiers are currently stationed in the southern Philippines and helping the Philippine military defeat terrorism.U.S. forces have trained Filipino troops the past years in the southern region in anti-terrorism warfare and provided intelligence about the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya.

A small fleet of EP-3 Orion spy planes are also deployed in the restive region. (Mindanao Examiner)

May 22 2007

Tropa Babalik Muli Sa Metro; Unibersidad Ang Susunod Na Target!

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 22 May) – Nagpahiwatig ngayon ang liderato ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ng posibilidad na maibalik ang mga sundalong una nang ipinakalat sa Kalakhang Maynila.Tinukoy ni AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., ang mga proyekto sa mga barangay tulad ng light engineering projects na mahalagang matapos dahil nabitin ito sa pagdaan ng May 14 elections.Malaking bagay rin aniya ang pagkilos ng mga sundalo laban sa maaaring pag-atake ng ng mga nalalabing miyembro ng terrorist sleeper cell sa Metro Manila bukod pa sa pagpupumilit na makapasok ng New People’s Army (NPA) sa mga mahihirap na barangay at unibersidad.Gayunman, sinabi ni Esperon na kailangan pa ring magsagawa ng pag-aaral o ebalwasyon sa naunang operasyon ng AFP National Capital Region Command sa komunidad.Kasabay nito, mahigpit ring tutukan ng militar ang seguridad sa mga kolehiyo at unibersidad sa harap ng sinasabing pang-iimpluwensya ng mga rebelde sa student councils at organizations.Ayaw pang tukuyin ni Esperon ang mga paaralang pinaghihinalaang napasok ng mga rebeldeng ideyolohiya ngunit nakikipag-ugnayan na rin ito sa mga school official para sa kaukulang seguridad.Hindi na rin naman aniya kakailanganin ang deployment ng sundalo sa mga unibersidad dahil pakikilusin na rin ang mga reserved officer training corps (ROTC).

Ipinunto ni Esperon na bagamat hindi nakakaalarma ang infiltration ng mga komunista sa mga paaralan, kailangan pa ring alertado ang mga awtoridad. (Juley Reyes)

May 12 2007

Photo: Philippine Navy Officer Antonio Trillanes IV

A picture of a detained coup leader, navy officer, Antonio Trillanes IVis displayed inside a tightly guarded Philippine Air Force base in Zamboanga City. Trillanes is running for senator in May 14 elections with politicians opposed to President Gloria Arroyo’s rule. Trillanes is one of many military officers accused of trying to oust Arroyo during the so-called Oakwood mutiny on July 27, 2003. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

May 09 2007

Militar, Alarmado Sa Burgos Kidnapping

QUEZON CITY – Mismong ang liderato ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ay naalarma na rin sa pagpaparatang sa institusyon sa pagkawala ng aktibista at anak ng publisher na si Jonas Joseph Burgos.

Gayunman, agad na sinabi ni AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. na walang kinalaman ang militar sa sinasabing pagdukot sa batang Burgos.

Nabatid kay Esperon na pinakilos na ang Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) upang hanapin si Burgos.

Bukod pa rito, nag-iimbestiga na rin ang Provost Marshall ng Philippine Army matapos na matunton ang kumpiskadong illegal logging truck na dapat sana ay may plakang ginamit bilang getaway vehicle sa pagtangay sa biktima sa headquarters ng 56th Infantry Battalion.

Sinabi ni Esperon na ang naturang truck ay na-impound sa 56th Infantry Battalion noong Hunyo 2006 dahil sa pagdadala ng ilegal na troso at iniimbestigahan kung paanong napunta ang plaka nito sa isang Toyota Revo na naging sasakyan para tumakas ang mga suspek bitbit si Burgos.

Walang nakikitang ugnayan ang AFP Chief sa natuntong logging truck sa kampo ng militar at sa pagdukot kay Burgos bagamat hindi aniya nito isinasara ang posibilidad sa maaaring pananagutan ng ilang tauhan nito. (Juley Reyes)

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