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Lacson pushes for localized peace talks; urges gov’t to exclude Sison from talks with Reds

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson (Courtesy: pinglacson.com)

Senator Panfilo Lacson believes it is high time for the government to focus its peace talk efforts with those who do not listen to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison.

Lacson stressed that the strength of the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels differs depending on their localities and that a localized peace talks is a much better way to stop the problem with communist rebels.

The senator said, “such a move is long in coming. I have always believed that this is the better way to deal with the five-decade insurgency problem.”

Lacson made the statement following President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to create a new peace panel tasked to “oversee” localized peace talks.

Lacson added that he had dealt with the NPA when he was still with the Philippine National Police which he headed from 1999 to 2001 and had been battling for localized peace talks since then up until now as a member of the Senate.

“I have been batting for localized peace talks and in fact strongly suggested the same to former Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III in one committee hearing of the Senate Committee on Peace and Unification chaired and presided by Senator Gregorio Honasan II,” he added.

Lacson also suggested that local government officials negotiate with guerilla leaders in areas where the NPA is not that influential, while the military focuses on areas where the NPAs are a threat.

 “So it is better that governors and mayors and other LGU officials be the ones to talk to local communist guerrillas, under the guidance and direction of a government peace panel that will provide the parameters for such localized peace talks but with enough flexibility in handling such peace initiatives,” he said.

Lacson believes that it is useless to deal with Sison, as he does not have control over the NPA.

“Experience has shown that while Sison asks for a ceasefire and government accommodates his request, NPAs continue conducting ambushes and raids. This shows Sison no longer has control over the NPA’s armed regulars,” Lacson added.

The NPA, the armed wing of the CPP, had been declared by the Philippine government, as well as the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, as a terrorist organization. – Maris Federez

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AFP foils NPA extortion, seizes arms cache in Rizal

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2019

Courtesy: AFP-2DPAO

RIZAL, Philippines — Elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 80IB recovered assorted fire arms and ammunition during an intelligence operation against members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the province last week.

According to the information from 202nd Brigade spokesperson and 2DPAO Chief Army Capt. Patrick Jay Retumban, soldiers were able to seize three firearms, five hand grenades and a rifle grenade in Sitio Batangasan, Barangay San Andres in the municipality of Tanay on Thursday (May 16).

80IB Commander Lt. Col. Christopher Diaz reported that “the war materiels belong to the terrorists’ extortion group who were targeting the farms in the area and, for the longest time, have been threatening the people of Tanay,”

“Your soldiers are, and will always be, ready to respond to any NPA terroristic actions,” Diaz assured the public while asking for the community’s continued support, cooperation and vigilance.

Meanwhile, Acting Commander (2ID) BGen. Elias Escarcha lauded the success of the troops’ operations against the NPA terrorists branded “enemies of the state”.

“The fact that the NPA terrorists left these war materiel as they tried to leave the area in a hurry is a manifestation of the NPA’s prevailing fear upon the government’s military might and their diminished will to fight,” Escarcha said.

202IB Commander BGen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, who has jurisdiction over CALABARZON, commended the operation saying “this accomplishment is a product of our former rebel engagements” wherein those who surrendered “actively participate in the government’s campaign against the NPA terrorists”. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Jennica Cruz / 2DPAO)

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NUPL takes ‘Oust Duterte’ matrix to SC

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) has taken the issue of the alleged “oust-Duterte” matrix to the Supreme Court to justify its plea for protection from alleged harassment by government forces.

In a manifestation filed by mail late Wednesday, the group cited its inclusion in the Association between Bikoy and Ellen Tordesillas which shows the names of organizations, journalists and lawyers said to be involved in the black propaganda against President Rodrigo Duterte by publishing and distributing online videos which contain the alleged involvement of the Duterte family in the narcotics trade.

The petition was filed following the release of the matrix last Monday tagging the group in the alleged destabilization plot against the Duterte government.

The group told the Supreme Court in its pleading that the “baseless and reckless” claim against their group and others named in the matrix is proof of intimidation and harassment.

“These malicious statements and dangerous claims, as well as the contrived matrix above, baseless and reckless as they are, compel the petitioners to again seek this time for the Honorable Court’s protection and reiterate their prayer for a temporary protection order,” the group said.

“Petitioners simply chose to practice the ideals of the legal profession by rendering services to the underprivileged as mandated by our oath and by legal, constitutional and international principles,” it added.

The matrix shows the supposed links between NUPL, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), Vera Files, Rappler and other media groups and personalities. The groups were also accused of distributing the “Totoong Narco list” videos.

The lawyers’ group earlier sought protection from the High Tribunal through the issuance of a writ of amparo and writ of habeas data.

The group claims that the military harassed their members after they were accused of being part of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (NPA).

In its SC manifestation, the NUPL named as respondents Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade, President Rodrigo Duterte, National Security Adviser and National Security Council Director Hermogenes Esperon, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, deputy commander for intelligence Brig. Gen. Fernando Trinidad, Intelligence service chief Maj. Gen. Erwin Bernard Neri and Philippine Army commanding General Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Mai Bermudez)

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6 dead, 9 injured in Calbiga, Samar ambush

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

Six members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were killed while nine were injured during an ambush by suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Calbiga, Samar on Tuesday morning (April 23).

Members of the 46 Infantry Battalion (46-IB) were ambushed around 2:50 a.m. with the use of an improvised explosive device (IED) or a landmine which exploded in the area between Barangay Daligan and Barangay Baluan.

According to initial information of 46-IB, they were conducting a community support program when suspected NPA members waylaid their troops.

The 46-IB added that the encounter between the AFP and suspected rebel group continues. — Aileen Cerrudo

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