Tag Archive: ceasefire

Alleged members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have reportedly been promising to give lands to tribal folk once the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed, a military official said Friday.

Armed Forces public affairs chief Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc said the military learned of the offer through tribal leaders who had protested the MILF’s “new” camp in Brgy. Rogongon, Iligan City.

Alleged members of MILF 103rd Border Command’s 305th Guerilla Unit recruited Higaonon and Maranao tribesmen to train at the camp, then asked them for an P800 “membership fee,” Cabunoc told reporters.

“At in return diumano ay bibigyan sila ng five hectares of land once na maipasa na ‘yung BBL at ma-establish ang Bangsamoro,” he said.

A total of 85 Higaonon and Maranao tribesmen were recruited at the camp in May 2014 then 90 more were recruited last January, Cabunoc said.

Cabunoc said the offer is an “issue,” considering that tribal folk, particularly the Higaonons, own ancestral lands around the camp.

“Issue talaga ‘yun dahil yung ancestral domain ay para ‘yun sa Higaonon tribe mismo at sila ang talagang kinikilala na may karapatan sa naturang lupa, tapos may biglang magpapakilala na sila ang magbibigay ng lupa na ‘yun para sa mga nagpa-affiliate o nagpa-train. Magkakaproblema ang komunidad,” he said.

Cabunoc made the remarks after confirming that the military endorsed protests by Higaonon tribal leaders against the “new” camp in Brgy. Rogonon.

Colonel Gilbert Gapay, commander of the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, had recommended that the camp be dismantled because of the tribal leaders’ protests and because it was built while the ceasefire between the government and MILF is in effect.

Cabunoc said the issue about the camp is a “challenge” to the MILF sincerity in upholding provisions of the 18-year-old ceasefire.

“Challenge ito sa kanila… Alamin nila kung sino ‘yung mga tao na ‘yun, kung talagang tao ba nila na member talaga ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front or nagpapagangap lang na member ng MILF para magkapera,” he said.

“‘Yung pag-recruit at saka pag-training at saka pag-expand ng area, bawal po ‘yun ayon sa usapang pangkapayapaan na pirmado ng government at saka MILF,” Cabunoc noted. (John Roson)

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The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said it will terminate its ceasefire with the government Wednesday night, 13 days earlier than the agreed date of Jan. 15.

The ceasefire was “abbreviated” because of the government’s failure to extend its own ceasefire order, the CPP central committee said in a statement.

On Dec. 20, the CPP ordered its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), to implement a ceasefire until Jan. 15.

The ceasefire order was issued after the representatives of the government and National Democratic Front agreed on the truce in The Hague, Netherlands, on Dec. 17 and 18.

The truce was aimed at creating “favorable conditions for the resumption of peace negotiations being scheduled for this month” between the NDF and the government, the CPP said.

The CPP also that said it cut the truce short so NPA units will not be placed in “an unduly disadvantaged position” when the Armed Forces of the Philippines ends its suspension of military offensives (SOMO).

The AFP declared a suspension of offensive operations against the NPA from Dec. 16 to Jan. 2.

In a statement issued yesterday, after the CPP said it ended its ceasefire, AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos said the military will implement the “extended SOMO.”

“The objective of the implementation of the extended SOMO is to further demonstrate the AFP’s commitment, sincerity and resolve for peace in spite of conflicts with the insurgent group,” Burgos said.

An AFP operational directive readjusts the termination of the government’s previous unilaterally declared SOMO from 11:59 p.m. of Jan. 2 to 11:59 p.m. of Jan. 15., he said.

“While the AFP fully abides with the extended SOMO, it will maintain activities supporting the government and civil authorities’ peace, development, and humanitarian assistance programs. We will also continue our proactive defense countermeasures,” Burgos added. (John Roson)

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Military halts offensive vs. rebels

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has started an 18-day suspension of offensive operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) for the holiday season but remained on the alert for possible attacks by the rebel group.

Gen. Jessie Dellosa, AFP chief of staff, said the suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) started today (Dec. 16) and will last until Jan. 2.

“The objective of this unilateral implementation of yuletide SOMO to the NPA is to demonstrate the AFP’s commitment, sincerity, and resolve for peace in spite of conflicts with the insurgent group,” Dellosa said in a statement.

The ceasefire is also aimed at giving soldiers and villagers in conflict-hit areas the opportunity to celebrate the holidays peacefully, Dellosa said.

Military spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, however, said that the AFP will continue its “proactive defense countermeasures” despite the SOMO.

This is after the military took into consideration the NPA’s “transgressions” in the past, he said.

Last year, the NPA took advantage of the 18-day SOMO and harassed a peace and development team, killing five soldiers, Burgos noted.

Soldiers will continue to conduct security patrols, route security operations, and checkpoints to protect communities, establishments, and military camps and detachments, he said. (John Roson)

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Members of the New People’s Army (NPA) victimized by typhoon “Pablo” (international name: Bopha) can receive aid from the government, a military official said Saturday.

Maj. Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, head of the Army 10th Infantry Division’s civil-military operations company, said it is possible that some rebels fell victim to devastation because the storm passed through Compostela Valley, a province where the NPA is known to operate.

Kapag pumila sila (rebels) para kumuha ng relief goods, we will not choose kung member ba sila ng NPA o civilian, we are all Filipinos after all,” Obligado said in a phone interview.

In a statement issued Saturday, the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command (SMROC) said a number of its fighters suffered when “Pablo” struck the region on Dec. 4.

“As winds raged fiercely striking houses and timbers, NPA members were with the masses trying to survive from the devastation. A number of Red fighters were hurt, few seriously harmed but no fatalities were reported from the field,” the statement read.

“Six hours after the typhoon, NPA members surveyed their immediate vicinities, attended to the grieving revolutionary forces who were widowed or orphaned, helped in the rescue efforts, and shared the unit’s foodstuffs supply to the masses,” it added.

Obligado, however, said that the military has so far not monitored any effect of “Pablo” on the rebels.

“We are quite busy with the rescue, relief, and rehabilitation activities, these three Rs mean that we lay down our guns and pick up shovels,” he said.

The NPA-SMROC, meanwhile, said its forces will suspend offensive operations against government forces not only in typhoon-wrecked Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, but also in Davao City, Davao del Norte, Lingig in Surigao del Sur, as well as Trento, Veruela, Loreto, and Sta. Josefa towns in Agusan del Sur.

“The NPA Southern Mindanao’s ceasefire coverage is extended to other parts of the region not directly hit by the tragedy to enable its NPA units to muster all efforts in addressing the state of acute crisis,” it said. (John Roson)

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