MANILA – The Taguig Regional Trial Court sentenced on Tuesday 10 members of the extremist Maute Group to up to 40 years imprisonment for the abduction of six saw mill workers, two of whom were beheaded, in Butig, Lanao del Sur in 2016.Among the 10 found guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal… Read More
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Six more members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) yielded to the military in this province on Wednesday afternoon.The latest batch of surrenderers came barely a day after 10 of their comrades also gave up to the Army’s 1st Mechanized… Read More
Apart from the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has also designated the Islamic State East Asia, Maute Group, Daulah Islamiyah, and other associated groups as “terrorist organizations”
The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has designated the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and the Islamic State East Asia, Maute Group, Daulah Islamiyah, and other associated groups as “terrorist organizations, associations, and/or groups of persons”.The two… Read More
The government is set to reconstruct various mosques in Marawi City destroyed during the five-month-long siege, Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) chairperson, Secretary Eduardo del Rosario said Saturday.In a statement, del Rosario said the task force is preparing to repair three mosques… Read More
The Senate has conducted a public hearing and inquiry in aid of legislation to reconstitute the Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation and for the Special Committee to conduct an inquiry on the utilization of funds for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Muslim City in Mindanao that was left in ruins in the 2017 siege by terrorists.
Held at the Mindanao State University-IIT in Iligan City on February 21, the public hearing led by Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, chairman of the Special Committee, and joined by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, aimed to ensure that the residents affected by the bloody six-month siege will benefit from the government’s rehabilitation and reconstruction programs.
On May 23, 2017, the Islamic State-linked Maute Group, backed by other Mindanao-based local terror groups, launched attacks on the Muslim City in southern Philippines and occupied residential and commercial establishments.
Hundreds of thousands of residents fled the city as military launched massive operations against the terrorists. The firefights also led to hundreds of dead terrorists, troopers and policemen, and civilians.
Marawi City would be liberated on October 17, 2017, six months after the start of the terrorist attacks that left most parts of the city in ruins and thousands homeless.
The government established Task Force Bangon Marawi to supervise the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the beleaguered city but progress of efforts to put back Marawi City, the Muslim capital of the Philippines, on its feet were slow.
The widely-attended public hearing by the Senate Special Committee, assessed the status of the rehabilitation and ascertained the causes of the snail-paced implementation of the programs to find solutions to avoid further delays.
According to Senator Bato, the vital solution to the problems presented at the public hearing is for Malacañang to call all the involved agencies for a dialogue to hasten the rehabilitation and recovery process.
The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), a member of the sub-committees on Business and Livelihood and Health and Social Welfare, and member of the support group on Finance and Resource Mobilization of the Task Force Bangon Marawi, has committed to help look for means to fast track implementation of interventions and continue its engagements with Task Force Bangon Marawi. (with MinDA report)
Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said he is not inclined to recommend another extension of martial law in Mindanao once the third extension ends on December 31.
“We are waiting for the recommendation of the Armed Forces at saka yung (and of the) PNP (Philippine National Police), depende sa kanilang (it will depend on their) recommendation but kung ako lang (as for me), I will not recommend anymore the extension,” he said in an interview Monday.
When asked for his reasons, the DND chief said a stronger Human Security Act is a more viable approach.
“Matagal nang masyado eh (It is already too long). (So that) we can do our job, kaya nga (that is why) especially if the Senate or the Congress can pass the Human Security Act na nabigyan ng konting ngipin yung ating (which will give more teeth to our) law enforcement, then that’s a better arrangement than martial law,” Lorenzana added.
However, the DND chief said he will act accordingly in case the AFP and PNP decide to recommend another extension.
“We’ll see, we’ll evaluate the reasons of the military and the police and act accordingly,” Lorenzana added.
The House of Representatives, voting 235-28-1 in a joint session on Dec. 12, 2018, approved the extension of martial law in Mindanao for the third time until Dec. 31, 2019.
The AFP recommended another year-long extension of martial law in Mindanao in its bid to neutralize terror groups still operating in the southern Philippines.
Lawmakers, in a special joint session in July 2017, granted the extension of martial law until Dec. 31, 2017, at the President’s request.
In December 2017, the Senate and House of Representatives, convening in a joint session, granted President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s second request for the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for a period of one year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018.
Martial law in Mindanao was declared on May 23, 2017 following attacks launched by the Maute Group in Marawi City.
Duterte admits praying country is spared from ISIS attacks
With the bloody siege of Marawi City and the recent suicide bombings in Mindanao at the background, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday admitted that he continues to pray to God to spare the Philippines from possible attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
ISIS is really making me feel nervous, Duterte said in a speech during the oath-taking of newly-appointed officials in Malacañan Palace on August 5.
A day after Duterte voiced his fears that followed a leaked military intelligence hinting presence of ISIS and its local allies in Northern Luzon, the police ordered an alert over possible terrorist attacks in the area.
The Middle East-based international terrorist group ISIS backed the 2017 six-month siege of Marawi City, the country’s Muslim capital city in western Mindanao, by local terrorists led by the Maute Group, one of the country’s terror groups based in the souther island of Mindanao.
I am not a person easily swayed by terrorists but the bombing attack) makes you spectators of the international scene, he added.
Duterte said what he feared the most is seeing scores of innocent people killed just like in Iraq and Syria.
What I’m really afraid of is just like in Iraq, Syria. There will be many innocent people killed, said Duterte.
I’m praying, I really pray, I really kneel to God to spare us the kind of brutality and cruelty in our country because it will really be bloody, bloody as it can ever be, he added.(with PNA report)
Mindanao has large concentration of terrorist groups
President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted a stronger military and police force to prepare for “dangerous times ahead” in the Philippines.
He urged Congress to pass measures that will provide the Armed Forces and the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) with more assets and equipment before the end of his term in 2022.
“I hope that Congress would tide us over to complete the instruments that we need in dealing, especially with terrorism,” Duterte said in his speech during the appreciation dinner for former President and outgoing House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the Manila Hotel on Tuesday (July 9) night.
Although he was not belittling the capabilities of the next President, Duterte said he simply wanted a completed modernization program before he exits.
“I hope that by the time I make my exit, nandiyan na lahat ‘yan (it’s all there) because I am not belittling the events to come or the person coming in to be the next president,” Duterte said.
“I’d rather that I leave with a strong military and police and equipped to challenge the enemies of the state, especially terrorism,” he added.
The chief executive warned of “dangerous times ahead”, especially in areas of Mindanao where there is a larger concentration of terrorist groups.
“I see very dangerous times ahead. And I hope that we will be able to contain whatever there is to really to… Lumalabas nga ‘yung pawis sa kamay ko (My hands are sweating) just thinking about if it would go awry outside of Sulu and Basilan Islands,” Duterte said.
Duterte further stressed the need to continue acquiring more assets and equipment because of the threats that lie ahead.
“So that I said, I must be prepared. And nabili ko na ho ‘yung mga kailangan (I have bought what is needed), but there are still a few things that I must have for my Armed Forces and the police,” Duterte said.
“And one of these days, I will call for a — just — for a time to talk and we’ll talk about it because it’s really needed by the country,” he added.
PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac, for his part, described Duterte’s remark as an “accurate and honest assessment” of trends in terrorism, transnational crime, and cross-border criminal activity.
Noting that these problems required greater flexibility and capability of military and police forces, Banac thanked the national government for being “responsive” to the situation.
He stressed that since Duterte’s assumption in 2016, the PNP has been provided with not just operational requirements but also morale and welfare services, which have improved living standards of uniformed personnel and their families.
“Over the last three years, the PNP has been able to keep up with our modernization and development plan with the procurement of more and better equipment and recruitment of more personnel,” Banac said.
“Between now and three years hence, the PNP is in a better position to perform its law enforcement and public safety mandate thru enhanced operational capability,” he added. (With reports from Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)