Thursday, August 30, 2012

Texts: ABS-CBN, Jan. 2001

January 1, 2001, ABS-CBN, 05:47 PM, NPA raids Quezon mayor's hacienda,
January 1, 2001, ABS-CBN, 08:12 PM, Strong quake hits Mindanao,

January 2, 2001, ABS-CBN, 3:27 PM, The Funders of "Jose Velarde", by Joel Gaborni,
January 2, 2001, ABS-CBN, Weena bus firm mulls closure,
January 2, 2001, ABS-CBN, MILF attacks village in Gensan,
January 2, 2001, ABS-CBN, Pastor killed, 4 others wounded in Davao del Sur shooting,

January 3, 2001, ABS-CBN, 4:53 PM, Terror Wave in Metro Manila? by Rodney Jaleco,
January 3, 2001, ABS-CBN, Manila bombings blamed on government,
January 3, 2001, ABS-CBN, Abu Sayyaf denies part in Metro bombings,
January 3, 2001, ABS-CBN, Davao's most wanted falls,
January 3, 2001, ABS-CBN, Negros Vice mayor faces rape charge,

January 4, 2001, ABS-CBN, Cebu lawyers set to file charges vs. Atty. Mendoza,
January 4, 2001, ABS-CBN, Army men face raps for Midjal's death,
January 4, 2001, ABS-CBN, 9:29 p.m. "Emmanuel" finally reunited with mother,
January 4, 2001, ABS-CBN, 8:31 p.m. Paranoia hits tribunal over small mic found near judges' bench,
January 4, 2001, ABS-CBN, 7:52 p.m. Makati-based businessmen plan not to pay taxes - Palace,
January 4, 2001, ABS-CBN, 7:15 p.m. Another protest rally to be headed by anti-Erap movements,
January 4, 2001, ABS-CBN, 6:02 p.m. "Right solution" needed for clean polls-Concepcion,

January 5, 2001, ABS-CBN, Jaime and Fernando, by Lynda Jumilla,

January 6, 2001, ABS-CBN, Police charge seven Moro guerillas for Metro bombings,
January 6, 2001, ABS-CBN, Fluvial boat capsizes off Agusan river, 2 missing,
January 6, 2001, ABS-CBN, Army launches assault on NPA in Cavite, Batangas,
January 6, 2001, ABS-CBN, Bomb explosion at Gaisano mall foiled,

January 8, 2001, ABS-CBN, MILF renews offensive in Lanao del Norte,

January 9, 2001, ABS-CBN, "Eleuterio Tan" and his fishy Philphos deal, by Joel Gaborni,
January 9, 2001, ABS-CBN, Abu Sayyaf back in Basilan,

January 10, 2001, ABS-CBN,Abu Sayyaf back in Basilan,
January 10, 2001, ABS-CBN, MILF attacks Lanao village, houses torched,

January 11, 2001, ABS-CBN, British girl abducted in Basilan,
January 11, 2001, ABS-CBN, 9 MILF rebels killed in skirmish with military,
January 11, 2001, ABS-CBN, Defensive Buying - Cilette Liboro,

January 12, 2001, ABS-CBN, British girl abducted in Basilan,

January 14, 2001, ABS-CBN, Abu Sayyaf targets British national,

January 15, 2001, ABS-CBN, Abu Sayyaf targets British national,

January 16, 2001, ABS-CBN, Joint RP-US military exercises set in Subic, Clark,

January 17, 2001, ABS-CBN, Anti-Erap rallies ripple across the country,

January 18, 2001, ABS-CBN, Manila judge shelves charges against MILF leaders,

January 19, 2001, ABS-CBN, Christians and Muslims unite vs. Erap,

January 20, 2001, ABS-CBN, Nation sees new hope in Arroyo,
January 20, 2001, ABS-CBN, Military in Mindanao junks Erap; Lobregat still defiant,

January 23, 2001, ABS-CBN, 08:35 PM, Orly dismisses coup plots against Arroyo gov't,
January 23, 2001, ABS-CBN, 06:41 PM Mindanao businessmen see region's progress,
January 23, 2001, ABS-CBN, 06:41 PM Papin says Nora Aunor an illegal drug user,
January 23, 2001, ABS-CBN, 08:58 PM President names additional appointees,

January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, Lumads take up arms vs NPA rebels,
January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, 2 soldiers killed in Isabela clash,
January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, ASG leaders back in Basilan, hostages at large,
January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, NPA threatens to attack Misamis Occ. village,
January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, 04:41 AM Political jockeying up in Congress,
January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, 03:33 AM Gov't has P47-B cash; Coffers not empty,
January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, 04:11 AM SEC, BSP draw line over jurisdiction on financial institutions,
January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, 06:17 AM EDSA Youth: Going beyond the MTV generation,
January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, 05:35 PM Anti-crime groups to block Mendoza's appointment,
January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, 5:47 a.m, "Rosebud" links PNP top brass to crimes,
January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, 4:12 a.m. Man takes kid brother hostage in Antipolo,

January 25, 2001, ABS-CBN, ASG leaders back in Basilan, hostages at large,
January 25, 2001, ABS-CBN, 09:54 PM, Jolas to retire next year,
January 25, 2001, ABS-CBN, MILF willing to talk peace anew,

January 27, 2001, ABS-CBN, 11:55 PM, Robin-Rica starrer encounters snag,
January 27, 2001, ABS-CBN, 02:44 AM, Luis Singson: Whistleblower,
January 27, 2001, ABS-CBN, 5:11 PM, 6 NPAs reported dead in Laguna skirmish,

January 28, 2001, ABS-CBN, 10:55 PM, Suspension of military ops vs. MILF mulled,January 28, 2001, ABS-CBN, 9:22 PM, Estrada should be prosecuted, not exiled,
January 28, 2001, ABS-CBN, 8:45 PM, Russian Federation President congratulates Arroyo,
January 28, 2001, ABS-CBN, Ermita to consult AFP over suspension of military operations vs. MILF,
January 28, 2001, ABS-CBN, 08:07 PM, Residents to seek court injunction to close Payatas dumpsite,
January 28, 2001, ABS-CBN, 8:45 PM, Russian Federation President congratulates Arroyo,
January 28, 2001, ABS-CBN, 8:34 PM, Ermita to consult AFP over suspension of military operations vs...,
January 28, 2001, ABS-CBN, 8:10 PM, Mayon activity nearing Alert Level 4,
January 28, 2001, ABS-CBN, 5:45 PM, Solon urges reconsideration of PAOCTF abolition,

January 30, 2001, ABS-CBN, 7:13 PM, Gov't to safeguard gains of EDSA Dos,
January 30, 2001, ABS-CBN, 6:31 PM, Boots Anson-Roa to run for Senator,
January 30, 2001, ABS-CBN, 6:03 PM, GMA recalls Abadia appointment,
January 30, 2001, ABS-CBN, 5:28 PM, Estrada accounts total P10-15 billion,
January 30, 2001, ABS-CBN, 5:11 PM, 11 dead in clash with Abu Sayyaf,
January 30, 2001, ABS-CBN, 7:38 PM, P9 million shabu seized in Pangasinan,

January 31, 2001, ABS-CBN, Surigao cops in hot water for vice mayor's death,
January 31, 2001, ABS-CBN, Baguio officials linked to log cabin deal,

January 1, 2001, ABS-CBN, 05:47 PM, NPA raids Quezon mayor's hacienda,

QUEZON (ABS-CBN)---Communist rebels raided Saturday the hacienda of a municipal mayor in Quezon and torched six trucks and two heavy equipment vehicles, military authorities said.

Reports reaching Camp Aguinaldo said 22 members of the New People's Army swooped down on Mayor Domingo Reyes' Villa Reyes Hacienda at sitio Kulisan in San Narciso, Quezon around 3:45 p.m. Saturday.

The report said the rebels, who were clad in military fatigue uniforms, manned a checkpoint at sitio Kusilan in barangay San Juan.

After commandeering one dump truck, the rebels then raided the hacienda in the nearby village, burning the heavy equipment in the process.

Torched were three 10-wheeler trucks, two Isuzu forward trucks, one fire truck, one tractor and one backhoe.

There were no reported casualties during the raid, coming at a time when the Communist Party had just observed its 32nd founding anniversary on December 26.

Authorities did not mention the reason for the attack on Reyes' hacienda.

Authorities have since launched pursuit operations against the communist rebels, who are believed to be under the command of Gregorio "KA Roger" Rogel. Coppmmander of the Melito Glor Command and spokesperson of the communist party.

January 1, 2001, ABS-CBN, 08:12 PM, Strong quake hits Mindanao,

QUEZON CITY, (ABS-CBN) – An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter scale rocked several provinces in Mindanao, the Philippine Volcanology and Seismology said Monday.

Philvocs director Raymundo Punongbayan said he does not expect the earthquake to cause any major damage, except to old buildings.

He, however, stressed some aftershocks would be felt in light of the quake's magnitude.

Areas affected by the quake include Davao City, Bislig and General Santos.

January 2, 2001, ABS-CBN, Weena bus firm mulls closure,
05:12 PM ZE8

DAVAO CITY (ABS-CBN) – Weena Bus Lines, one of the country's largest bus companies, said it might shut down operations due to continued losses.

Company officials said it paid more than P30 million to indemnify the families of the victims who perished or were injured in a mishap involving two of its buses.

Two Weena units collided with each other in Kinuskusan, Bansalan, Davao del Sur on Christmas Day, killing 39 people and injuring more than 60 others.

The incident prompted the Davao del Sur provincial government to consider filing charges against the bus firm.

Provincial officials said the bus firm was remiss in its duties of providing relief to the families of the victims.

It will not be the first time government has brought charges against the company. Two years ago, the provincial government filed charges of reckless driving against the bus firm.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board also threatened to cancel the bus firm's franchise.

Weena officials said the company also suffered heavy losses when several units were torched and bombed by lawless elements.

At least seven weena buses were burned last year due to the company's alleged failure to pay revolutionary taxes.

Police authorities blamed the New People's Army for the incident.

At present, Weena currently services the Davao-Cotobato route, passing through Davao del Sur and owns a total of 260 buses.

In a related development, four people were killed while two others were injured in an encounter between NPA rebels and civilian volunteers from the Philippine Army Sunday evening, military authorities said.

One of those killed was a passenger of a Weena bus.

Major Roque Calagui, battalion commander of the 68th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, said volunteers from his battalion had an encounter with the NPA.

He said the NPA went on a shooting spree, hitting the ill-fated bus.

Calagui said the volunteers were pursuing the Fernando Hermosa led-rebel group when the incident occurred.

Two of the civilian volunteers were killed while two other were injured. One fatality was reported from the rebels' side.

January 2, 2001, ABS-CBN, MILF attacks village in Gensan,
11:10 PM ZE8

GENERAL SANTOS, (ABS-CBN) – One person was wounded after suspected members of the Moro Liberation Front attacked a remote village over the weekend, authorities said.

Authorities said the group fired upon the Pascual residence in Purok Supo, Barangay Tambler.

A foreman of the Pascual's farm, Pedro Olarte, was hit in different parts of the body following the attack.

Probers said the incident might have been triggered by a land dispute as the Pascual family allegedly is leasing a Pasteur farm in the area.

Another family, the Guintos, is reportedly trying to get the lease for the said parcel of land.

The police, however, did not elaborate the reason why the MILF got involved in the affair.

January 2, 2001, ABS-CBN, Pastor killed, 4 others wounded in Davao del Sur shooting,
04:01 PM ZE8,

DAVAO CITY (ABS-CBN) – A pastor was killed while four others were shot Sunday by armed men in Upper Aspangilok, Barangay Bacongan, Magsaysay town, Davao del Sur, authorities said.

Police officials said they are still looking for the individuals who strafed the Alliance Church late Sunday evening.

Pastor Velasco Pelayo died on the spot while his wife, Pastora Rufina Pelayo, and daughter, Eden, sustained gunshot wounds. Also, reported wounded in the incident were Conchita and Edwin Calumpitan, followers of the Alliance Church.

The police said the incident might be the handiwork of bandits in the area, the New People's Army or the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Authorities also have yet to establish the motive of the attack.

The attack came barely three days after suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits ambushed a Catholic priest in Jolo island, Sulu.

Defense Secretary Orlando Mercado immediately ordered the military to intensify its offensive against the Abu Sayyaf terrorists who shot dead Fr. Benjie Inocencio in Jolo, Sulu.

Fr. Inocencio was on his way to buy Christmas gifts for church workers in downtown Jolo when he was murdered last December 28.

The prelate, who sustained two bullets wounds in the head, was pronounced dead on the spot by police authorities while his driver, Domingo Pama, Jr. and two other companions on board an owner-type jeep were injured.

Police in Jolo are still investigating the incident.

January 3, 2001, ABS-CBN, Negros Vice mayor faces rape charge,
11:37 PM ZE8,

BACOLOD CITY, (ABS-CBN) - A vice mayor in Negros Occidental became the latest candidate for death penalty after he was accused of rape by a 17-year old student, one of his seven scholars.

David Pontillano, vice mayor of Salvador Benedicto town presented himself to the police to deny the rape charge slapped against his by the alleged victim, a considered a minor by law.

The local courts recommended no bail for Pontillano's temporary liberty.

Pontillano swore he never abused the youthful complainant, one of seven constituents whose high-school education he is supporting.

A warrant for his arrest was issued last November 22.

Pontillano denied going into hiding, explaining that he merely attended to the funeral of his two brothers and a grandson.

Pres. Joseph Estrada recently visited Benedicto Salvador town for a dialogue with local leaders while also signing a peace pact with rebel groups.

January 3, 2001, ABS-CBN, Davao's most wanted falls,
04:10 PM ZE8

DAVAO CITY (ABS-CBN) – The Philippine National Police announced it has arrested Ruben Feliciano, one of Davao's most wanted, in Mati, Davao Oriental last

Supt. Wilfredo Fuentes, PNP Region 11 chief, said they have four standing warrants of arrest for Feliciano.

Feliciano was tagged as one on the individuals behind the killing of lawyer Alfredo Vicente thirteen years ago in Surigao del Sur.

He also faces robbery, carnapping and estafa charges. Before he became a fugitive, Feliciano was with Philippine Navy and a resident of Davao City.

Feliciano, now in detention, flatly denied all charges.

January 3, 2001, ABS-CBN, Abu Sayyaf denies part in Metro bombings,
12:31 AM ZE8,

ZAMBOANGA CITY (ABS-CBN) – The Abu Sayyaf Group denied allegations it was responsible for the spate of bombings in Metro Manila last December 30, which killed 14 and injured several others.

Abu Cantada, speaking on behalf of the Abu Sayyaf, stressed that his group would readily own the bombings if they were indeed behind the attacks.

"If we were responsible, we would have admitted it at once, we will not hide" Cantada clarified, three days after nearly simultaneous bombs rocked different parts of Metro Manila.

In an interview, Cantada said the ASG is being used as a "scapegoat'' to hide identity of the real perpetrators.

At present, no group or individual has made a credible claim of responsibility for the bombings and police have reported few clues in their investigation.

Abu Sayyaf is the smaller but more radical of two Muslim separatist guerrilla groups in Mindanao.

The larger group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has been blamed for bombings in Manila in the past. It also denied involvement in Saturday's attacks.

A lack of clear suspects and government warnings of more attacks have unleashed a cross fire of accusations targeting the government, political opposition, the army, right wing factions and Muslim and communist guerrillas, among others.

The explosions came at a key moment of instability for the government and plunged the capital into confusion ahead of new year's celebrations.

Government officials pointed to the opposition seeking the ouster of Pres. Joseph Estrada as the likely culprits, while oppositionists believe the sinister plot was hatched by people in power to divert attention from the impeachment trial of the president at the Senate.

After a ten-day recess, the Senate impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada resumed Tuesday with a senior bank executive saying her boss ordered her to cover up documents that would indicate Estrada hid millions of dollars in accounts under a false name.

January 3, 2001, ABS-CBN, Manila bombings blamed on government,
12:31 AM ZE8

BACOLOD CITY (ABS-CBN)---Various militant groups in Negros and Cagayan de Oro said government was responsible for the spate of bombings that hit Metro Manila Saturday.

The five nearly simultaneous bombings, which killed 14 people and injured many others, is also believed to be a prelude to the declaration of Martial rule, according to the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) - Negros.

BAYAN-Negros secretary-general Julius Mariveles said the bombing was intended to divert the public's attention from the impeachment trial.

Mariveles said the sinister plot was hatched since the administration could not deal with the testimonies made, especially that of Equitable-PCIBank officer Clarissa Ocampo.

Sharing the same line of thinking are leaders of the National Federation of Sugar Workers and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.

Gov. Luis Singson, in a telephone interview with ABS-CBN-Bacolod said he also believes the Estrada administration is responsible for these fatal bombings.

Supporters and followers of Pres. Joseph Estrada on the other hand blamed the attacks on the opposition and other anti-Estrada groups.

In Cagayan de Oro City, Muslim leaders likewise said the bombings may be the handiwork of the Estrada administration with the collusion of the armed forces.

Bangsa Moro Council chair Macapanton Abbas, and Junior and Moro National Liberation Front ICC Chair Habib Mujahab stressed the various Muslim groups will join forces to stop any attempt to implement martial law or a state of national emergency by the administration.

Meantime in Cebu, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas national chairman Cerge Remonde called for sobriety from the media.

Remonde said media has a responsibility to ensure that news are made and done as objectively as possible and in ways that do not cause unnecessary panic among the citizenry even amid troubled times.

January 4, 2001, ABS-CBN, Army men face raps for Midjal's death,
10:10 PM ZE8

ZAMBOANGA CITY, (ABS-CBN) – The Commission on Human Rights plans to file charges against members of the Philippine Army's 32nd Battalion for allegedly torturing renegade Abu Sayyaf leader Abdul Midjal.

The CHR said they are preparing the evidence against three platoons in order to determine if Midjal was tortured before he was killed.

Witnesses claimed army soldiers mutilated the ears of Midjal before he was executed.

The military, on the other hand, admitted the renegade leader was fired upon by the Army troops when he resisted arrest and fought back at the arresting soldiers.

"The soldiers have different versions, giving their legitimate defenses," CHR regional director Manuel Mamauag said.

The CHR said there was no post-mortem analysis conducted on Midjal's body since investigators and medico-legal officers from the National Bureau of Investigation arrived in Basilan after Midjal was buried.

Mamauag disclosed Midjal's two brothers, who are among the eyewitnesses in the incident, gave a detailed account of the incident.

"They sliced off his ear, then Midjal was limping away but the military still fired at him," related Midjal's brothers, Mamauang said.

The military earlier reported that Midjal was killed in an encounter with the military last November in Sitio Da-ingan, Barangay Ticus in Sumisip town.

Witnesses further narrated the military demanded to see Midjal's firearm to which the former bandit-leader-turned-vigilante-leader willingly agreed.

They said the soldiers then stripped Midjal of his jacket, shoes and P7,000 in cash then later cut-off his ears before he was killed.

The same source said residents of the village retaliated upon seeing the brutal killing of Midjal, who was once a civilian volunteer in the area.

He said charges would be filed against the Army soldiers once the commission gathers enough concrete evidence that would lead to the positive involvement of the Army troops in the alleged torture of Midjal.

"We will infuse these evidences to the government to give justice to where it is due," Mamauag stressed.

Early this year, Midjal's group seized Abu Sayyaf leader Khadafy Janjalani's mother, his pregnant wife, their one-year-old child, and eight other clan members in an attempt to force the Abu Sayyaf to free hostages, including two of Midjal's daughters.

Midjal broke away from the Abu Sayyaf and formed a vigilante group to fight his former comrades after disagreeing with their activities, including kidnappings and attacks on Christian communities.

January 4, 2001, ABS-CBN, Cebu lawyers set to file charges vs. Atty. Mendoza,
10:10 PM ZE8

CEBU CITY, (ABS-CBN) - Anti- Estrada lawyers in Cebu plan to file charges against Defense lawyer Estelito Mendoza for obstruction of justice.

The Caucus of Lawyers for Erap's Abrupt Resignation Cebu chapter is contemplating on filing charges against Mendoza for obstruction of justice following Clarissa Ocampo's testimony of a cover-up for the Jose Velarde account allegedly owned by President Estrada.

Equitable-PCI Bank vice president Ocampo testified that a signing of the transfer of the Velarde account to presidential pal Jaime Dichaves took place in Mendoza's office.

But Mendoza vehemently denied in open court his involvement in the alleged cover-up.

Mendoza stressed he was not in the room when the signing took place and he was not even aware that it happened.

Apart from criminal liability, CLEAR lawyers said Mendoza may also face possible disbarment but a verified complaint must first be submitted to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the CLEAR lawyers noted that should the prosecution fail to convince the impeachment court on the materiality and relevance of Ocampo's testimony that the alleged Jose Vellarde account of President Estrada should be admitted as part of evidence for article 2 of the impeachment complaint for graft and corruption, the lady bank executive's testimony may very well go into thin air.

Atty. Gabriel Ingles of CLEAR said that the defense's refusal to cross-examine the explosive witness only means to prove that Ocampo's testimony held enough water than the defense could swallow.

This, despite the defense team's insistence that their refusal to cross-examine Ocampo only meant to bolster their stance that her testimony is immaterial to the whole proceeding.

But Ingles added, President Estrada may have a way out. The lawyers believe, senator-judge Miriam Santiago first mentioned it to the court.

January 6, 2001, ABS-CBN, Bomb explosion at Gaisano mall foiled,

DAVAO CITY (ABS-CBN) - Authorities foiled a bomb explosion at the Gaisano Mall in this city Friday with the perpetrators identified to be either communist or Muslim secessionist rebels.

Members of the Special Anti-terrorist Unit (SATO) of the police recovered an improvised bomb inside the luggage center of the mall in Bajada district at around 4:00 p.m.

The mall's administration staff were informed of the luggage and immediately called for police assistance.

The bomb experts said the bomb was composed of a kilo of explosive yellow powder combined with black powder, a detonation cord and alarm clock. A number of nails were also found inside the improvised bomb.

SATO officials said the bomb was set to explode between 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Bomb experts disclosed had the bomb exploded, it would be strong enough to cause major damage to life and properties.

They also revealed the composition of the bomb was the same as those used by the New people's Army (NPA) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in previous bombings in Cotabato.

SATO said their office received three bomb threats last week, but all of them were false alarms.

Last week, a platoon of soldiers were deployed in key areas to augment police forces following several bomb threats in Davao City.

Among those receiving bomb threats was a Marine Review center last Thursday.

On the same day, SATO elements responded to another bomb scare when a wrapped object was found abandoned along one of the city's busy streets.

It took some 20 minutes before bomb specialists discovered the box contained medical equipment and not explosives.

After the series of bombings in Metro Manila last December 30, a security alert was raised in almost all parts of the country.

A number of bomb threats also hounded key establishments in different parts of the country.

In Cebu City, a bomb threat was received by a staff of the Cebu Waterfront Hotel last week.

After a thorough search, however, no bomb was found in the city's top tourist spot.

January 6, 2001, ABS-CBN, Fluvial boat capsizes off Agusan river, 2 missing,
11:58 PM ZE8

BUTUAN (ABS-CBN) - Two children were confirmed missing after a pumpboat capsized at a fluvial parade in Butuan River Friday.

The 30-foot pump boat carrying about 100 passengers capsized at around 3:00 pm at the banks of the river in Barangay Ong Yiu.

The boat was about to dock after it participated in the fluvial procession marking the Ong Yiu barangay fiesta.

Reports said passengers suddenly rushed to one side of the boat, thinking the vessel was already docked. The boat then lose its balance suddenly capsizing.

Despite the strong current brought by continuous rains in the area, residents immediately helped the submerged passengers.

Except for two unidentified children reported missing, all the passengers were safely rescued.

The said barangay is in the central part of Butuan City, along the Agusan River.

Residents said the parade was not called-off despite rains, saying it is the barangay's tradition.

Fluvial parades have increasingly been known to be dangerous after a series of parades resulted in deaths a few years back.

In January last year, a fluvial parade tragedy took place in Lumban, Laguna where at least 13 persons were killed.

The wooden Pagoda on board a boat laden with people snapped a hanging electrical wire wherein the victims either drowned or were electrocuted.

The tragedy was reminiscent of another fluvial accident almost six years ago in Bocaue, Bulacan.

More than 300 people, most of them women and children, died when the Pagoda float they were riding tipped over the Wawa River.
(With a report from Andy Rara)

January 6, 2001, ABS-CBN, Army launches assault on NPA in Cavite, Batangas,

QUEZON CITY (ABS-CBN) - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), throwing its might, launched a three-day full-scale military offensive against the communist guerillas based in Cavite and Batangas.

Senior Superintendent Oscar Calderon of the Southern Tagalog police said the military offensive was launched after it was confirmed that the rebel's established a fighting force with 30 to 60 fighters.

One Huey and two MG520 attack helicopters are now providing air cover for the Army's Special Forces, Scout Rangers, Marines and police who have been conducting search and destroy operations since Friday against the heavily armed New People's Army (NPA) rebels.

As of Saturday, several Army teams from the Special Forces successfully entered a rebel stronghold located in the Batangas-Cavite boundary.

The full military offensive is being supervised by the Southern Luzon Command (Solcom)'s Task Force Banahaw, the government's anti-insurgency force in Region 4.

Reports reaching the Task Force's advance command post at Camp Jose Razon in Barangay Palico, Nasugbu claimed that while there have been heavy sightings of the rebels, the guerillas have been evading direct contact with government troops.

Police provincial mobile groups from Batangas and Cavite, mobilized to provide additional support for the ongoing military offensive, have already sealed all possible escape routes of the rebels.

Early this week, two suspected NPA rebels and a Marine soldier were killed while three more Marines were critically wounded in a fierce gunbattle in Barangay Kaylawya, Nasugbu town.

January 8, 2001, ABS-CBN, MILF renews offensive in Lanao del Norte,

ILIGAN CITY (ABS-CBN) – At least 12 persons, including two members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit, were wounded in several clashes between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Almost simultaneous encounters were reported in the hinterland areas of the towns of Kauswagan, Munai, Magsaysay and Tubod starting Saturday morning.

Reports from ABS-CBN News in Iligan said more than 500 heavily- armed MILF rebels attacked a military detachment on Saturday.

On Sunday, the MILF attacked another military installation using mortars. The resulting firefight lasted for almost an hour.

The Philippine Air Force launched several air strikes in Magsaysay tow following reports the rebels have begun building a new camp.

The installation reportedly will replace Camp Abubakar, the former MILF stronghold that government seized last year.

Earlier, the MILF was tagged by the government as the group responsible for the Rizal Day bombings, which left 22 dead and over 120 others injured. The MILF has denied the allegations and said they were being used as an excuse by the Estrada administration.

After the attacks, the military beefed up security in several vital installations, including the National Power Corp. plant to thwart any attempts to destroy the hydropower plants.

Local officials asked the Army to send more troops to the area to stabilize the situation.

Offensives against the MILF and the Mindanao war started after the foiled seige of the Kauswagan municipal hall in March last year during a respite in the peace talks.

The MILF has launched a series of attacks at the start of this year. The Lanao del Norte attacks were the third major attacks launched by the MILF in a span of two weeks.

January 9, 2001, ABS-CBN, Abu Sayyaf back in Basilan,

ZAMBOANGA CITY, (ABS-CBN) – Police authorities have declared a double red-alert status in seven municipalities following reports the Abu Sayyaf is planning to wage terror in Basilan.

Basilan police chief Superintendent Akmadul Pangambayan has ordered all police officials in the province to tighten security and be vigilant to pre-empt entry of the Abu Sayyaf from Sulu.

Pangambayan said both the police and the military are closely coordinating with each other to effect the arrest of any suspected members of the extremist group seen in Basilan.

Intelligence reports revealed Abu Sayyaf bandits were spotted in the province and were believed to have come from Sulu.

This after the military in Sulu has relentlessly intensified its operations against the two factions of the extremist groups holding captive American Jefrrey Schilling and the lone remnant of the Sipadan hostages, Filipino Rolando Ullah.

An ABS-CBN News source from Sulu revealed authorities are now zeroing on the lairs of Abu Sayyaf spokesperson Abu Sabaya and Sulu-based Radulah Sahirun in two separate villages in Patikul town, Sulu.

Ground and aerial bombardments have been on going since Monday in Sulu in a bid to rescue the two remaining hostages and totally dismantle the Abu Sayyaf group.

Authorities in Basilan are not discounting the possibility that other members of the bandit group were able to sneak-out of Sulu to Basilan.

January 10, 2001, ABS-CBN, MILF attacks Lanao village, houses torched,

ZAMBOANGA CITY, (ABS-CBN) - Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels attacked a village in Lanao del Norte Monday, torching at least three houses and destroying a transformer of the Lanao del Norte Electric Cooperative.

Philippine National Police (PNP) regional command director Superintendent Dominador Domingo reported the attack was directed at the police and military units in Salug town who earlier received threats from the MILF.

Domingo said the authorities were able to prevent the Muslim secessionist rebels from further pursuing its planned terroristic attacks in Salug.

The military and the police have launched pursuit operations to track down the perpetrators.

Meanwhile, a militiaman identified as Arnel Asim was killed after a group of MILF rebels strafed him Monday at Barangay Suhaile in Siocon town.

Reports from PNP regional command revealed the victim was patrolling his area when he was chanced upon by the rebels.

He suffered multiple gunshot in different parts of his body and died on the spot.

Abu Sayyaf strikes in Sulu

Abu Sayyaf bandits struck anew in Indanan, which reportedly injured an Army soldier on Tuesday.

Reports said, a contingent of the Riverine Assault Company and soldiers of the Scout Ranger were on their way to raid an Abu Sayyaf hideout in Barangay Panabuan in Indanan when they were ambushed by no less then 80 Abu Sayyaf bandits.

The encounter lasted for an hour which resulted to the wounding of one armyman.

AFP denies full-scale war

In another development, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Command denied a full scale war has resumed in central Mindanao against the MILF.

Spokesperson of the Southern Command Col. Hilario Atendido explained movement of Army troops in central Mindanao has nothing to do with the renewed call of President Joseph Estrada to operate against the MILF after the rebel group was tagged responsible for the December 30 bombings in Metro Manila.

Atentido said it has been a normal procedure for the AFP to pull-out and deploy Army troops to remote villages or towns where peace and order is unstable.

January 12, 2001, ABS-CBN, British girl abducted in Basilan,

ZAMBOANGA CITY, (ABS-CBN) - A six-year old British girl was reportedly kidnapped by four armed men Thursday night in Lamitan town, Basilan.

Reports from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Command said, the armed men barged in to the house of the Grant family at Sitio Lipos in Barangay Sengal and forcibly took April Adzam Grant at gunpoint.

The military is still confirming whether the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) or MILF rebels are responsible for the latest kidnapping case.

"The Abu Sayyaf is a natural suspect but we still have to confirm if they are really responsible. We cannot also discount the possibility that the incident was hatched by the MILF or other kidnap for ransom groups in the area" military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Generoso Senga said.

Col. Hilario Atendido of the Southern Command (Southcom) divulged, the kidnappers escaped using a motorized pumpboat passing through Gabunan river.

April is a daughter of Filipina Hadja Mina Rasul of Basilan province who is married to British national Frank Grant.

Elements of the Philippine Army's 18th Infantry Battalion launched pursuit operations against the suspects.

Motive of the abduction is still undetermined, as no ransom demand has been received by the family so far.

Chua abduction

Meanwhile, authorities in the South are exploring all possibilities to retrieve Filipino-Chinese businessman Steven Chua unharmed from the hands of his abductors.

Chua, 33, was abducted Monday in Sitangkai town, Tawi-tawi by three Armed men believed to be Abu Sayyaf bandits.

Chua's two helpers, identified only as a certain Bobby and Jimmy were released by their captors Tuesday in an island off Bongao town.

But neither the authorities nor the victim's family have received any ransom demand from the abductors at the moment.

Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) in Western Mindanao confirmed the extremist Abu Sayyaf group is behind Chua's abduction.

Operations against the abductors continue in nearby islands.

January 14, 2001, ABS-CBN, Abu Sayyaf targets British national,
10:46 PM ZE8

BASILAN, (ABS-CBN) -- A Briton whose stepdaughter was abducted by Abu Sayyaf rebels in Basilan last week has been warned not to return to the Philippines because he was also a target of the rebels.

"They know the British have money, I advised him not to do that," Mina Rasul Grant revealed, adding that "We are afraid of our safety here."

Mina said her husband, Briton Douglas Abdullah Grant, a Muslim convert, has expressed his desire to return to Basilan and swap himself for his kidnapped stepdaughter April Adzam Grant.

Grant is currently in Scotland working on immigration visas for his wife, April and her baby sister. April is Mina Rasul's daughter from a previous marriage.

April Adzam "Aiman" Grant, daughter of Filipina Mina Rasul Grant and stepdaughter of Briton Douglas Grant, was kidnapped by four armed men Thursday night in Lamitan town, Basilan.

April was reportedly being kept in a heavily-forested area in Parang, Tuburan in Basilan. A P100,000 ransom has been demanded from the Grant family.

Mina said the rebels had initially asked for 1,000 pesos but later seized the girl at gunpoint when she failed to hand over an additional demand for 100,000 pesos. She said the rebels told her they would kill April if she failed to raise the ransom money.

"I'm confused and suffering from sleepless nights. I hope the kidnappers will have mercy on my innocent child. Please, in the name of Allah, free my daughter," she pleaded.

Meanwhile, at least 20 heavily armed soldiers have been detailed at the Grant residence following the abduction while police and military personnel were scouring remote areas of Basilan to recover the victim.

Military officials confirm a certain Jubaran, an Abu Sayyaf member, has been identified as one of the kidnappers of six-year-old April.

January 16, 2001, ABS-CBN, Joint RP-US military exercises set in Subic, Clark,
08:50 PM ZE8

QUEZON CITY, (ABS-CBN)-- Over 400 Filipino and American Air Force personnel will embark on an 18-day joint military exercise beginning Thursday in the two former U.S. bases in Central Luzon.

A statement from the Philippine Air Force (PAF) said 203 Filipino soldiers and 200 members of the U.S. Air Force 353rd Special Operations Group will take part in "Teak Piston 01-02" at the Air Force city in Clark and Subic Bay.

The exercises will run from January 18 to February 5.

The joint training will include lectures and actual scenario on air intercept, airborne operations, fast-rope exhibitions, C-130 operations and helicopter refueling.

A total of four Philippine aircrafts and five from the American side will be utilized for the event.

Teak Piston 01-02 is part of the small-scale combined military exercise this year.

The large-scale Balikatan 2001 has been scheduled for April to May this year, wherein thousands of Filipino and American troops would be participating.

Russian military officials visit RP

Meanwhile, the Russian military's second highest official is scheduled to make a four-day visit in the country on January 22 to meet with his counterparts.

The scheduled visit of General Coronel Yuriy Baluyevskiy, chief of the Main Operations Directorate and First Deputy General Staff chief, Russian Federation Armed Forces (RFAF), was upon the invitation of Armed Forces chief Gen. Angelo Reyes.

"The visit is aimed to promote harmonious relationship between the AFP and the RFAF and to share information and valuable insights necessary in the fulfillment of respective mandate," a report from Reyes' office said.

Military commands in Luzon merged

A single military command was created on Tuesday that will be responsible for all external and internal security operations for the entire Luzon, Reyes said yesterday.

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January 17, 2001, ABS-CBN, Anti-Erap rallies ripple across the country,
07:15 PM ZE8

QUEZON CITY (ABS-CBN) - Protest rallies reverberated across the archipelago as provincial folks took to the streets slamming the stunning developments in the impeachment trial of Pres. Joseph Estrada while reinforcing calls for him to step down.

The mass actions, held simultaneously with those in Metro Manila continued to swell towards the afternoon of Wednesday, an apparent show of support to Jaime Cardinal Sin's call for the restaging of People Power II.

Anti-Erap rallies mushroomed after 11 senator-judges blocked the opening of an envelope which is said to contain documents that will strongly link the president to a questionable P3.3-billion bank account, which led to the withdrawal of the 11-man prosecution panel, who pinned much of their case on the bank documents.

Those who voted against the opening of the envelope were senators Tessie Aquino-Oreta, Nikki Coseteng, Miriam Santiago, Juan Ponce-Enrile, Ramon Revilla, Robert Jaworski, Tito Sotto III, Blas Ople, Gringo Honasan, John Osmeña III and Francisco Tatad.

Other than the rally led by Cardinal Sin, former president Cory Aquino and Vice president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the EDSA shrine, Bacolod City also hosted a mammoth rally as residents numbering over 10,000 trooped to the city plaza for an indignation rally and a mass to pray for the president's immediate resignation.

Classes in Catholic schools were called off also to lend support to the protest action.

In neighboring Iloilo province, thousands likewise spilled to the streets of Iloilo City with the same bitter message to the president and his 11 allies in the Senate.

Rallyists swelled by mid morning Wednesday as members of the business and student sectors joined other protesters and militant groups.

Some public and private vehicles blew their horns to show their support during the anti-Erap motorcade Wednesday morning around the city.

It was just as emotional and intense in Cebu City, as irate anti-Erap Cebuanos felt betrayed by their very own Sen. John Osmeña's vote opposing the revelation of vital evidence against the president.

Students, businessmen, church leaders, among others actively participated in the rally at Fuente Osmeña near the provincial capitol.

Former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña lambasted the decision of Sen. Osmeña, his cousin, challenging him to face their provincemates angered by his association with Mr. Estrada.

Zamboanga: 'Adios Erap!'

Chavacano-speaking anti-Erap groups in Zamboanga are also drawing up plans for a wave of rallies led by the Adios Erap Movement.

Rev. Fr. Buddy condemned the decision of the 11 pro-Erap senators who voted against the opening of the second envelope containing documents that are likely to link the president to more anomalies.

'Adios Erap' and other multi-sectoral groups initially staged a noise barrage Wednesday afternoon which will culminate in a rally that will circle Zamboanga City.

At least 10 other entities opposing the continued stay in power of Mr. Estrada are expected to mobilize its members to participate in the protest mass actions. [More: Dead Link" Page: 1 2 Next »]

January 19, 2001, ABS-CBN, Christians and Muslims unite vs. Erap,
10:34 PM ZE8

CAGAYAN DE ORO, (ABS-CBN) - Christians and Muslims in the province unite in a very rare occasion to call for President Estrada's immediate resignation.

The Jesuit-run Xavier University and Ateneo de Cagayan called off classes and work Friday to allow its employees and students to join a rosary held around Plaza Divisoria to demand for the President's ouster.

Xavier University Task Force Erap Resign Now convener Ermin Stan Pimentel said the rally is their expression of dismay over the Senate's controversial decision Tuesday evening not to open the second envelope of documents from Equitable-PCI Bank. "The rally is a symbolic manifestation of our dismay for failure to uncover the truth," he said.

The rosary rally is to give enlightenment to the Filipino people.

Meantime, another multi-sectoral is being organized by the Erap Resign Movement early Friday afternoon which will be followed at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. by the daily noise barrage.

Protest actions are expected to escalate this weekend when Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. comes home.

Pimentel is a former mayor and assemblyman of Cagayan de Oro who was hailed as a hero for his heroic act of resigning his post as Senate President due to the majority's refusal to open the controversial envelope from Equitable-PCI Bank.

On the other hand, the Bangsa Moro youth took up the cudgels for their elders in Marawi City.

Thursday afternoon, the Bangsa Moro Youth Movement held a demonstration and rally around the city demanding the President's ouster and the pull-out of military troops from the area.

An armored vehicle and six truckloads of troops were reportedly closely monitoring the activities but did not interfere.

Friday, the Muslim Sabbath, all Imams in Marawi will read a sermon similarly calling for the President's immediate ouster.

Meantime, it can be noted that since the start of the series of protests action Tuesday night, no pro-Erap rally has been held so far in the city.

January 20, 2001, ABS-CBN, Nation sees new hope in Arroyo,
05:33 PM ZE8

CEBU CITY (ABS-CBN) - The whole nation welcomed newly installed President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the people expressed optimism the new leadership will bring new hope to our beleaguered nation.

Cebu marked the declaration of the country's 14th president with a fluvial parade which also commemorated the Sinulog, the province's most important feast paying homage to Senior Sto. Nino.

The traditional fluvial parade was held at the Mactan channel participated in by anti-Estrada groups led by Akbayan.

Prayers were offered as a thanksgiving for their "success" in calling for President Estrada's immediate resignation.

The residents expressed relief over the peaceful resolution of the political crisis.

A thanksgiving concert is likewise set in the later part of the day at the Fuente Osmeña plaza to celebrate another landmark in the country's history.

Meanwhile, a thanksgiving mass was held at the Democracy Center in Cagayan de Oro City led by the Erap Resign Movement right after newly-installed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn by Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. at the Edsa Shrine.

The Democracy Center was the venue of anti-Estrada protests during the past months.

All-out support for Arroyo

Bishop Vicente Navarra, Apostolic administrator of the Bacolod Diocese was thankful for the new leadership.

The prelate has been one of the prime movers of the protest actions in the province calling for Mr. Estrada's ouster.

He said Estrada has done a "heroic act" with his graceful exit as he urged the citizenry to support the new leadership.

"Mas makakabuti para sa bansa ang pagtulong ng mga tao sa bagong administrasyon (It will be better for the country if the people will help the new administration)," he stressed.

But while majority welcomed her new assignment, a number of Bacoleños remain skeptic of President Arroyo's capacity to lead the country out of the crisis it is now in.

Pete Pico, a columnist of a local newspaper said, President Arroyo must first consider organizing a reform council to help her start her job and to ensure a smooth transition of government.

"Dapat unahin ni Arroyo and pag porma ng reform council bago ang gabinete (Arroyo must first from a reform council before her cabinet)," he stressed.

Continued vigilance

A noise barrage was held at noon in Baguio city as the residents were jubilant with President Estrada's exit.

Some wept because of excessive joy after President Arroyo was finally declared the new president.

This they said, is their way of expressing their full support to the newly-installed chief executive.

"Ito ay pagpapakita rin ng suporta sa oath taking ceremony ni Arroyo (This is to show support fro Arroyo's oath taking)," they said.

Anti-Erap movements are set to hold a victory party Saturday night at the People's Park to culminate their four days of struggle.

But amid the victory, they stressed, the "fight" is not yet fully won because they will continue to be vigilant and monitor if President Arroyo will be able to perform her responsibilities as expected.

January 20, 2001, ABS-CBN, Military in Mindanao junks Erap; Lobregat still defiant,
08:20 PM ZE8

DAVAO CITY (ABS-CBN) - The commanding officer of Mindanao's biggest military command has followed the decision of his superiors by withdrawing support to President Joseph Estrada, urging his men to do the same.

Major General Roy Cimatu, commanding officer of the 4th Infantry Division announced his withdrawal of support Friday afternoon as a manifestation of his support to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Angelo Reyes.

Reyes, together with Defense chief Orlando Mercado, joined anti-Estrada rallyists at the EDSA shrine early Friday afternoon to declare their withdrawal of support to Mr. Estrada.

The whole of Davao is eagerly monitoring developments unfolding in Metro Manila as People Power II unfolds.

Anti-Estrada groups in Davao were overjoyed upon learning of the resignation of key Estrada cabinet men and the support of the entire military and police organization.

It's a different story in Zamboanga City, meantime, as mayor Maria Clara Lobregat said she and other local officials still throw their full backing to the embattled president.

Lobregat announced that among the moves to be undertaken as a show of support to the president will be the blocking of planned anti-Estrada rallies in the city.

Cagayan de Oro City mayor Vicente Emano also shared Lobregat's sentiment.

January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, NPA threatens to attack Misamis Occ. village,

ZAMBOANGA CITY, (ABS-CBN) - The New People's Army threatened to attack a village in Misamis Occidental should its residents expose the rebels' recruitment program to the authorities.

Misamis Occidental police director Recorde Nogra revealed that local farmers sought police assistance and reported that the communist rebels are recruiting them into their group.

Nogra said the communist rebels are trying to convince young residents mostly in their teens to join the revolutionary group and fight against the government.

The police chief said he has deployed additional policemen to secure the lives of the farmers and their family.

Misamis Occidental was also placed under a red alert status following the reports.

CHR probe results

In another development, the Commission on Human Rights is set to release the results of its probe on the brutal slay of a Catholic priest in Sulu province last month.

CHR regional director Manuel Mamauag disclosed, the commission's investigators are in the process of collating pieces of evidences in line with the murder of Father Benjie Inocencio.

The commission initiated a moto-propio investigation to determine the identities of the suspects and the motive for the killing.

Father Inocencio was killed on the spot after sustaining a gunshot wound on the head on December 28 last year.

His driver was also killed while two others were wounded in the incident.

Initial reports from the Southern Command revealed, a group called Jama'a is behind the priest's murder.

Jama'a is said to be a group created by the Abu Sayyaf purposely to assassinate Christian missionaries in the south.

January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, ASG leaders back in Basilan, hostages at large,
06:23 PM ZE8

ZAMBOANGA CITY, (ABS-CBN) - A top military official in the south confirmed the return to Basilan of leaders of the extremist Abu Sayyaf group, though the fate of their two remaining hostages remains unknown.

Southern Command (Southcom) Civil Relations Group chief Fredisvindo Covarrubias bared that residents from Lantawan town reported the presence of Khadafy Janjalani and Isnulan Hapipul at the Lantawan town boundary.

However , Covarrubias did not confirm if American hostage Jeffrey Schilling was seen with Janjalani's group in Lantawan.

He said troops from 103rd Infantry Brigade are now conducting clearing operations in Lantawan and adjoining towns in Basilan in pursuit of the bandits.

Aside from Schilling, the fate of Filipino Rolando Ullah, the lone remnant of the Sipadan hostages, is also uncertain.

Covarrubias also said, military operations against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in central Mindanao continue.

He stressed that the military will continue to run after the MILF and other criminal groups unless ordered not to do so by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Covarrubias said they are expecting new developments to unfold especially with the resumption of peace talks between the MILF and the government.

Earlier, the MILF leadership has expressed willingness to go back to the negotiating table with the new administration.

January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, Lumads take up arms vs NPA rebels,
06:53 PM ZE8,

DAVAO CITY, (ABS-CBN) - Young lumads from a remote village in this city have decided to take up arms against the communist New People's Army (NPA) rebels who have been harassing them for more than 20 years.

Paquibato District, a remote village in this city has been known as the haven of New People's Army guerillas but residents are about to change that as they vowed not to allow the rebels take over their lives.

The residents decided to train themselves under the military to prepare for an uprising against the communist rebels.

They claimed that for more than 20 years now, their lives were disrupted by Moro and communist rebels, but now they want to live normal lives.

More than 100 young lumads (local tribesmen) eagerly went through military training to join the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) in Sitio Kinse-kinse, Baranggay Salpawan in Paquibato District.

"Halos kada-gabii naa na sila (NPA rebels) dinhi, mangayo sa amo [They (NPA rebels) are here almost every night, asking for food]," complained Datu Luis Manlangan, the village chieftain.

Farming is the basic means of livelihood for the more than 3,000 residents of Paquibato District but their lives are constantly disrupted by extortion sorties of the rebels.

The area has been considered as underdeveloped as government agencies are hesitant to go to the place due to rebel threats.

The young lumads are expected to go through the rigid Cafgu training for three months.

During the training, not only will they be taught how to use firearms and combat tactics to prepare them battlefields but more importantly, they are expected to learn the value of life and how to preserve it.

"We designed to make it three months yung training para makuha nila lahat [the training so they can be trained in all aspects], just like our regular soldiers three months din sila nag training [they also underwent a three-month training]," Lt. Col. Ed del Rosario, 73rd infantry battalion commander said.

The military official, however, did not elaborate if the young civilian trainees will be issued firearms or will be allowed to carry firearms after their three-month training.

January 24, 2001, ABS-CBN, 2 soldiers killed in Isabela clash,07:00 PM ZE8,

ISABELA, (ABS-CBN) - Two soldiers were killed while five others were wounded during an encounter with suspected New People's Army rebels in Kalinga, the military reported Wednesday.

Philippine Army 5th Infantry Division commanding officer Maj. General Rodolfo Garcia said the soldiers were on foot patrol at Sitio Gamalan, Barangay Gawa-an, Balbalan town when they were waylaid by the suspected rebels.

Killed on the spot were Corporal Efren Allauigan and PFC Noel Capua, both from the 21st Infantry Battalion.

Wounded in the attack were Lt. Bienvenido Bermal, Sgt. Jose Quemado, Corporal Elorde Bunay, PFC Edwin Baccay and PFC Junie Paguia.

The official said the troopers were caught off guard as the attackers were positioned at the top of a mountain while the soldiers were still at the lower slope. The wounded government troopers were rushed to a nearby hospital while pursuit operations against the suspects continue.

The incident was the second major encounter between government troops and the NPA in the north this year.

On Monday, fourteen suspected communist rebels were killed while 12 high-powered firearms were recovered during a heated encounter with government forces at Sitio Dordori, Barangay San Vicente in Sta. Ignacio town, Tarlac.

The report said a platoon from the Bravo Company of the 69th Infantry Battalion was dispatched to Dordori after the task force received an intelligence report of the presence of NPA members in the area.

Heavy fighting immediately ensued when the soldiers encountered some 30 communist rebels.

January 28, 2001 10:55 PM, Suspension of military ops vs. MILF mulled,

MANILA (ABS-CBN) - Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Eduardo Ermita said he would consult the Armed Forces of the Philippines on the possibility of suspending military operations against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as a prelude to the resumption of peace talks.

Ermita, in an ambush interview over the weekend, said the Estrada administration failed to forge a peace agreement with the said Muslim secessionist group because of its "war policy."

"The reason it bogged down is the war policy of Estrada so we have to talk with the AFP and consult with them on the suspension of military operations because AFP is involved," Ermita said.

Ermita said he would have to consult first AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Angelo Reyes on the current military situation in Mindanao before making his proposal.

"Look, I am only a presidential adviser. The chief of staff is the commander of the AFP. I don't want to supersede whatever he is doing so I'll sit down with him and get his insights whether we can consider recommending a temporary suspension of military operations," he said.

He said the suspension of the military operations is an important part of the confidence-building measures being implemented by the government in order to convince the MILF to go back to the negotiating table. He said this might also lead to a permanent ceasefire.

MILF peace panelist Aleem Elias Macarandas, meanwhile, welcomed the resumption of peace talks provided that the charges against its leaders were dropped and government troops were removed from former MILF camps.

The MILF suffered massive losses and lost several camps to the government last year after then-president Joseph Estrada declared an all-out war policy against the secessionist group. Macaranda says the camps should be given back to the Muslim rebels as a "goodwill gesture."

"This should be given back to the MILF and developed into zones of peace," Macarandas said.

He also assailed the National Bureau of Investigation for accusing the group of masterminding the December 30 bombings that killed 18 people and injured scores of others in various parts of Metro Manila.

According to Ermita, the government will reopen peace talks with the MILF and the Communist Party of the Philippines - National Democratic Front (CPP-NDP) as long as it is conducted locally and not on foreign grounds.

He said the government would not want to "unnecessarily internationalize" the issue saying that the status of the MILF is different from the status of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the Muslim community.

Ermita said the MNLF has been granted an observer status in the Organization of Islamic Community (OIC) while the MILF has yet to be recognized by other Islamic countries.

"We should work it here because we do not want to unnecessarily internationalize the issue because the status of the MILF is different from the MNLF. The MNLF is recognized and with an observer status in the OIC. The MILF does not have a similar status," Ermita noted.

Two NPA captives to be released

Meanwhile, a local leader of the New People's Army has readied the release of two of its captives following the government's proposal to reopen peace talks with the rebel group.

Leftist leader Satur Ocampo admitted local NPA leader Gregorio Rosal has offered the release of army Major Noel Buan and police Chief Inspector Abelardo Martin as a "gesture of sincerity" by the rebels in resuming peace talks. Buan and Martin were abducted by the rebel group in July and August 1999.

Ermita said the government has yet to establish a venue for the peace talks as they are now concentrating on establishing contact with CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison who is now in exile in the Netherlands.

"Well that is something we have to consider because you know the leaders of the NDF Joma Sison and Fr. Jalandoni are in abroad so we will see how we can invite them over. But, the most important thing is we must first establish the link and let them know that these are the new policies," Ermita added.

January 31, 2001, ABS-CBN, Baguio officials linked to log cabin deal,

BAGUIO CITY (ABS-CBN) - A city councilor here tagged several ranking city hall officials for dipping their hands in the controversial construction of luxurious log cabins inside Camp John Hay.

Councilor Edgardo Bilog bared that some top city officials benefited from the expensive project, which was the subject of several objections and controversies.

The councilor, however, failed to specify how the city officials exactly benefitted from the log cabin project at the former Voice of America grounds.

It will be recalled that the ownership of some of the multi-million peso cabins were said to be owned by ousted president Joseph Estrada and his cronies, which sparked a big controversy at the height of the impeachment trial last year.

Bilog begged off from naming the officials with questionable involvement in the project, but said Baguio city lawyer Romy Maramat, Reynaldo Banta of the Public Attorneys' Office and one Alfredo Ballesteros know who the officials are.

Following Bilog's allegations, the Baguio city council approved a resolution filed by Councilor Richard Carino asking president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to initiate an investigation on the supposed anomalies.

January 31, 2001, ABS-CBN, Surigao cops in hot water for vice mayor's death,

DAVAO CITY, (ABS-CBN) - Relatives of a slain vice mayor in Surigao del Sur, believing that several local police officials were behind the assassination of their kin early this year, sought military assistance to help resolve the case.

Former vice mayor Amerosin Onsing was killed last January 14 this year while hearing mass at the Lingig cathedral.

The relatives sought the assistance of the military to help in the case. Maj. Gen. Ernesto Carolina, commander of the 7th Infantry Division personally went to see the Onsing family in Lingig town.

"We went to that area to investigate and we assured them (family) a fair probe," a military official disclosed.

Reports said the Onsing family opted not to seek police assistance, believing some local policemen were involved in the assassination.

The relatives recalled that late last year, the slain vice mayor filed a petition before the Commission on Election seeking the transfer of Lingig police chief Leonardo Veduya and his men.

The request for transfer was filed because Veduya is the cousin of Onsing's staunch political rival, Robert Malijao Luna.

The vice mayor stated in his complaint before the Comelec that Luna was using the entire police force of Lingig as his bodyguards during campaign sorties.

Ex-councilor's murder

Meanwhile, one of the convicts tagged in the murder of former Davao City councilor Cesar Abog Robillo is set to be transferred to the Davao Penal Colony but Henry Adriano refused to follow the order of Ma-a city jail warden superintendent Serafin Barreto, where he is currently imprisoned.

Atty. Melchor Quitain, lawyer of the convict stressed, he will not allow the transfer of his client from Ma-a city jail to the Davao Penal Colony because they still have a pending motion filed in the court.

However, the jail warden explained, the Ma-a city jail only accommodates prisoners sentenced with three years of imprisonment or less.

But Adriano and his co-accused, Lt. Adrian Sievert II, PFC Roberto Gocela and Joey Herbolingo were sentenced to reclusion perpetua last January 5 by presiding judge Salvador Ibarreta.

Herbolingo remains at large.

February 20, 2001, ABS-CBN, MILF lauds Gloria's SOMO order,
09:46 PM ZE8

ZAMBOANGA CITY (ABS-CBN) - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), through its spokesperson Eid Kabalu lauded the suspension of military operations (SOMO) ordered by Pres. Gloria Macapagal - Arroyo, saying it will pave the way for the resumption of peace talks.

In welcoming the development, Kabalu said the MILF will not make any additional demands at this time until an official communication with the government negotiators headed by Jesus Dureza is made.

Kabalu said they are eagerly awaiting word from the government panel on the next step in the peace process.

"We hope that we can start talks now and focus our attention on beginning the peace negotiations" Kabalu said.

Pres. Arroyo on Tuesday ordered the suspension of military operations (SOMO) against the MILF Tuesday, after consulting with various sectors of society.

Acting Defense chief Eduardo Ermita and Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Angelo Reyes were ordered by the president to effect the SOMO order immediately.

"My decision to suspend military operations against the MILF is based on three imperatives, which is meant to bring back peace to Mindanao and rebuild the lives of Mindanaoans".

The president, in ordering the SOMO said she wants to create the proper environment for the reconstruction of the peace talks.

She also cited the need for the residents affected by the fighting in Mindanao to rebuild their lives and also to pave the way for the implementation of immediate rehabilitation and development projects which would normalize the livelihood opportunities of the people of Mindanao.

While the SOMO is not covered by a specific time frame, the chief executive said she hopes it lasts for a prolonged period of time.

Pres. Arroyo however clarified that her decision to suspend military offensives does not give the MILF the right to reoccupy its sprawling former headquarters, camp Abubakar in Maguindanao.

MILF leaders reportedly demanded the return of the camp as one of the conditions for the resumption of the talks.

"We should clarify that under the SOMO, there shall be no return of territory to the MILF" the president said.

"The government shall retain the option of calibrated response to preserve law and order and protect the civilian communities from armed depredations and secure vital government and nongovernment facilities and prevent regrouping or consolidation of lawless elements" she added.

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