Philippines to adopt US strategy in counter-insurgency starting January 1

Monday, December 20, 2010

Asian Defense News

ANN – Tuesday, December 21 Manila – A Filipino lawmaker on Monday bared that the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) new counter-insurgency strategy had the mark of the United States’ own counter-insurgency operation plan, but said it is bound to fail if the government will not address the root causes of the armed conflict.

Left-leaning Anakpawis party-list Representative Rafael Mariano said Oplan Bayanihan was patterned after the US Counter-Insurgency (COIN) Guide in January 2009, which shifts the strategy of combating insurgency toward a “whole of nation and people-centered” approach.

This file photo taken on July 2, 2010 shows Philippine soldiers marching during a parade at the handover ceremony for the new military's chief of staff, attended by President Aquino (not pictured) at the military headquarters in Manila. The Philippines said Decmber 7, 2010 it was set to sign a 'substantial' deal to buy military equipment from China, but insisted it should not impact on its close ties with the United States.

This file photo taken on July 2, 2010 shows Philippine soldiers marching during a parade at the handover ceremony for the new military's chief of staff, attended by President Aquino (not pictured) at the military headquarters in Manila. The Philippines said Decmber 7, 2010 it was set to sign a 'substantial' deal to buy military equipment from China, but insisted it should not impact on its close ties with the United States.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. said Oplan Bayanihan, which will be implemented starting Jan. 1, 2011, will shift to the “whole of nation approach,” which means that “even ordinary people should be involved.”

Mabanta had said that it will also be a “people-centered approach which gives primordial consideration to human security.”

The direction of the new counter-insurgency strategy, which replaces Oplan Bantay Laya of the Arroyo administration, takes after the US COIN’s “population-centric (focused on securing and controlling a given population or populations) than enemy-centric (focused on defeating a particular enemy group),” according to the COIN Guide furnished by Mariano.

“Note that this does not mean that COIN is less violent than any other conflict: on the contrary, like any other form of warfare it always involves loss of life,” the COIN Guide added.

Mariano said that “in reality, COIN campaigns will rarely be purely enemy-centric or population-centric, but will generally include elements of both, with the relative balance changing over time.” Continue reading

Philippines: 66 year old peasant activist leads colleagues in storming Aquino’s palace


10 peasant leaders stage mass burning of 100 pictures of PNoy


Oct 1, 2010

By Axel Pinpin and Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines -Sixty six year old fisherfolk activist Pedro Gonzalez led 29 other farmer and fisherfolk leaders from Southern Tagalog in conducting an all rural people’s lightning rally or surprise rally some 200 meters near Malacanang Palace to denounce President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III and his running policy of land reform denials and political repression in the region.

Gonzalez, survivor of the ambush staged by elements of death squad allegedly from the Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during the May 2004 elections, along with farmer and fisherfolk leaders aging from 50 to 60 years old and all members of the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas-Timog Katagalugan (Pamalakaya-TK) trooped to the heavily guarded gate of Malacanang to warn Aquino of “intensified peasant war” over the President’s failure to address the land problem in Southern Tagalog.

“If Aquino wants war, we will give him war. There’s no turning back. They can’t stop me and the rural people from fighting for land and justice. His first 100 days in office is checkered with agrarian injustice, scores of human rights violations, triple platinum corruption and extreme disregard of people’s rights and welfare. This regime of Aquino is doomed,” added Gonzalez. Continue reading

Militants denounce Aquino’s failures in his first 100 days

10/08/2010, LBG/VVP, GMANews.TV

Unimpressed by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s report about his first 100 days in office, militants protested near Malacañang Palace on Friday to denounce the chief executive’s alleged failures.

Radio dzBB’s Carlo Mateo reported farmers from Southern Luzon were the first to reach Mendiola bridge near Malacañang Palace, where they burned an effigy of what they called the “Hacienda Republic.” “Hacienda” refers to the embattled “Hacienda Luisita,” the 6,435-hectare plantation estate of Aquino’s family.

As anti-riot police watched from a distance, the farmers burned the “Hacienda Republic” effigy hung on one of the rolls of barbed wire barrier. The previous night, some of the farmers were hurt in a clash with police.

On Thursday, a day before Aquino marked his first 100 days in office, he delivered at La Consolacion College near Malacañang, a 20-minute report about his first 100 days in office. Aquino boasted of strengthening the Philippine economy and ending certain anomalous government practices but remained silent on the controversial August 23 hostage incident. Continue reading

Impunity and Murder in the Philippines

Asia Sentinel
04 October 2010

After years of international attention and outrage, the Philippines has only convicted fewer than 1 percent of the murderers responsible for a spate of killings of leftists, journalists and others during the reign of departed president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, according to a new study by Pacific Strategies and Assessments, a Manila-based risk assessment company.

The PSA report, issued Monday, also questions whether the new administration of Benigno Aquino III has the intention to attempt to clean up the mess. “To date, President Aquino has made no categorical statement or substantive effort to shift away from Oplan Bantay Laya (Safeguarding Freedom) that rests at the core of extra-judicial killings and other human rights abuses in the country,” the report said. “His ambiguity or outright avoidance of the issue may simply be a sign that addressing the country’s extra-judicial killings problem is low on his priority list.”

However, the report continues, “it could be that Aquino, like his predecessor, prefers a hard-line solution against perceived government dissenters which would favor security offensives to community development and socio-economic reform. Continue reading

Philippine President Aquino talks peace and multiplies troops in Mindanao

October 04, 2010

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) – About 1,000 Army troops from central Luzon were deployed in the southern Philippines to boost the operational capability of the 10th Infantry Division in addressing the insurgents in the area, a senior military official said today.

The 701st Infantry Brigade, which arrived in Mindanao Saturday, came all the way from Burgos, Tarlac to its new workplace in Davao, according to Major General Jorge B. Segovia, commander of the 10th Infantry Division.

Known for its success in counterinsurgency operations, the Brigade under Colonel Leonido Bongcawil will provide command and control on existing army battalions deployed in one of the provinces in the Davao region, Segovia said.

Davao Region is considered to be the national priority area by the Army leadership. The insurgency has been waning in this region for the past few years. The success of the counterinsurgency operations in other regions like Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog and Central Visayas is more tangible and visible with the decreasing atrocities attributed to the leftist New People’s Army, the military said. Continue reading

Philippines: Aquino’s undeclared martial law and the response of the New People’s Army

Noynoy Aquino’s ‘undeclared Martial Law’ would aggravate human rights violations

Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos

Spokesperson, NDF Philippines, Mindanao

September 21, 2010

Today, September the 21st, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines — Mindanao (NDFP-Mindanao) joins the Filipino people in recollecting the tens of thousands of victims of grave human rights abuses upon the declaration of Martial Law. It was the Dictator Marcos’s virulent edict that plunged the nation into the darkest period of its history — 14 years of brutality when the people’s national democratic aspiration was single-handedly snuffed out through unrivalled and widespread repression.

Today, 23 years since the ouster of the fascist Marcos, and after the rule of four almost equally brutal regimes from Corazon Aquino to Gloria Arroyo, the symptoms of those dark years remain with us as summary executions, enforced disappearances, barefaced militarism and other appalling forms of human rights violations continue to persist.

On account of the newly installed Aquino government, it has carried on the infamous militarist legacy of the vile period of Martial Law despite the euphoria created by Mr. Aquino’s pre-programmed victory in the recent presidential elections and its hard sell campaign for ‘change.’ Continue reading

Is Philippine President Aquino promoting ties of dependency on the U.S.?

New Philippine President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy" Aquino III and new US ambassador to Manila Harry K. Thomas Jr.


By CenPEG | 08/16/2010

By the Policy Study, Publication, and Advocacy
Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG)

Those who are watching the first 100 days of the new administration can now start focusing their lens on President Benigno S. Aquino III’s coming visit to the United States in September – his first major official foreign trip. The decision to make the U.S. as his maiden foreign destination is not only symbolic but will have far-reaching implications not only on foreign policy but also on the so-called special relationship between a former colony and a superpower. In the long run, it will have broad implications on the Filipino people.

Of course, the presidential spokesperson says Aquino III, together with other heads of state, is going to address the United Nations General Assembly when it convenes next month. The more important agenda, however, pertains to the event that will happen at the White House and other meetings with high U.S. officials. The new president will make a courtesy call to the world’s most powerful leader – a traditional ritual performed by the Philippines’ past presidents from Manuel Quezon to Ferdinand Marcos and until recently, Gloria M. Arroyo who made several visits to Washington, DC. Continue reading