NY Times’ Philippine correspondent included by Philippine Army in its ‘Order of Battle’

Account of the incident:

On May 18, 2009, the International Solidarity Mission (that probed reports of human rights abuses in certain parts of Mindanao from May 14-17) spearheaded by the church group Exodus for Justice and Peace, presented to the public a PowerPoint presentation that contained an order of battle (OB) naming persons and civil society organizations as either “dominated, targeted or organized” purportedly by the communists.  The document was reportedly handed to the ISM by a soldier who would not like to be identified for obvious reasons.

The presentation was entitled “JCICC Agila, 3rd Qtr 2007 OB Validation Report,” which is marked “Secret” and was apparently prepared by the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (IDPA) based in Southern Mindanao.

An OB or “order of battle” is an organizational tool used by the military intelligence to list down and “neutralize” persons they consider as “enemies of the state.”

Prof. Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, noted the problem of "vilification," "labeling," "guilt by accusation" and the AFP's "order of battle" in relation to the unabated trend of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the country.

According to the NUJP, the 10th IDPA OB lists down more than a hundred individuals, mostly leaders and members of progressive and left-leaning organizations – Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Bayan Muna, Gabriela – and includes church organizations, based in Davao City, all of which are classified as “organized,” “dominated” and “targeted.”

The 10th IDPA denied the existence of an order of battle and that it is a target list.  In a press statement issued by its Public Affairs Chief, Lt. Col. Kurt A. Decapia, it said, “The allegations are nothing but communist propaganda,” but continued to say that the OB “The 10ID has its Order of Battle, and it is not for public consumption. It requires thorough confirmation and validation… about the people and organizations that may in one way or the other, wittingly or unwittingly, become involved in the CPP’s grand design.” (CPP stands for Communist Party of the Philippines, which is waging a revolution in the country for the past 40 years).

This OB list also included the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, under which is listed Carlos Conde. He is among those categorized as “targeted.”

Mr. Conde, a journalist of 15 years is presently working as a freelance correspondent for US-based publications, namely The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and GlobalPost.com.

Mr. Conde said “The order of battle has caused anxiety and fear in my family because, as we all know, an order of battle in the Philippines is a veritable hit list.”

Only two weeks ago, peasant leader Ludenio Monsod who was gunned down by suspected state security forces in Davao Oriental was reportedly included in an order of battle, as was Celso Pojas, Secretary General of the Farmers’ Association of Davao City (FADC) who was assassinated last year.  Incidentally, Celso Pojas was included in the OB in this 10th IDPA powerpoint presentation.

There is growing concern for the safety and security of Mr. Conde and members of the organizations named in the order of battle that the Armed Forces of the Philippines routinely make on a false assumption.