Tag Archives: ZAMBOANGA

RESERVISTS BOOST FIGHT VS. TERRORISTS IN SULU

Reservists battalion activated

 January 25, 2021

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Philippine Army is organizing the first-ever battalion of reservists to boost community-based security forces against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits in Sulu, military officials announced Monday.“We are going to form the first-ever Sulu Ready Reserve Battalion…. Read More

WOMAN SUICIDE BOMBER BLOWS SELF IN ABORTED TERRORIST ATTACK

woman suspected of being a suicide bomber was killed in an explosion near a military camp in Sulu in the southern Philippines on Sunday, Sept. 7.

The Sulu archipelago is a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, one of terrorist groups operating in southern Philippines.

The military said there were no other casualties except the suspected bomber who blew herself up by detonating an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) she was carrying.

An alert sentinel thwarted what appeared to be a “suicide bomb attack” targeting the  military camp in, said  official.

Maj. Arvin John Encinas, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesperson, said the incident, which happened around 5:45 p.m. Sunday in Barangay Kajatian, Indanan, Sulu, resulted in the death of a likely female bomb carrier.

Encinas said the attack was thwarted when the duty sentinel, Cpl. Asmada Sabdani of the 35th Infantry Battalion’s alpha company, noticed “a female person wearing black hijab, known as abaya, who was walking along the road of the Kilometer 3 highway going to the camp.”

Encinas said Sabdani immediately took cover and warned the suspect to stop, while about to enter the camp’s gate.

However he said the suspect disregarded the warning and detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) that caused her death.

He said the suspect was unidentified as her body was shredded into pieces.

He described the suspect as a “woman and foreign looking with long hair based on the recovered mutilated head; however, the recovered dismembered hand is similar to that of a man”.

He added that the trigger mechanism was recovered and investigation is ongoing.

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Westmincom chief, has called on every Suluanon to remain vigilant and to report suspicious items and personalities to authorities.

“We assure the public that the Westmincom forces shall sustain our security and peace efforts to prevent hostile acts that may disrupt the peace and development in the Bangsamoro Region,” Sobejana said. (PNA)

Gov’t forces retake 80% of MNLF-held areas in Zamboanga City

MNLF ZAMBO

Government security forces have retaken 80 percent of the areas earlier controlled by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters.

This was announced by Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy director for operations, Deputy Director Felipe Rojas, Jr., as the standoff entered its 10th day Wednesday.

“If we’re talking percentages, we estimate MNLF presence in only about 20 percent. Most of the MNLF had either surrendered or had been killed,” he said in a radio interview.

Rojas, however, did not identified the areas still held by the rebels.

The standoff started last Sept. 9 when the MNLF took civilian hostages and holed up in several parts of the city.

But in past days, several hostages had been either freed or managed to escape, while the government implemented a calibrated response to the MNLF.

Rojas said they are just focusing on one area where shots were heard, though not as frequently in past days.

He also said that the PNP is now starting its clearing operations with search efforts focused on improvised explosive devices. (PNA)

Zamboanga mining firm joins battle vs. environment code

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

A mining company in Zamboanga has found itself in the same footing as South Cotabato’s Sagittarius Mining Inc. (SMI) whose operation has been threatened by an ordinance banning open-pit mining.
TVI Resource Development (Phils.) Inc. (TVIRD), the Philippine affiliate of TVI Pacific Inc. of Canada, stands to lose $448 million in revenue if the Canatuan copper-gold mine closes prematurely due to an open pit mining ban in Zamboanga del Norte.
TVIRD has filed a case in court challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance, which took effect on November 6 after its publication in local papers. It gave TVIRD one year to wrap up the Canatuan project.
The US$5.9 billion SMI copper-gold project in Tampakan, backed by giant copper mining Xstrata, is also having trouble with the South Cotabato government which has passed the Environmental Code banning open-pit mining in the province.
SMI is wooing the Provincial Board to amend the code.
Earlier, a mining group said local legislation against open-pit mining could kill the Philippine mining industry.
Like a wildfire burning everything in its path, the South Cotabato Environmental Code is developing into a conflagration spreading to as far as the Zamboanga Peninsula and Palawan to push down to its knees the mining industry in Mindanao, a report in the Durian Post said earlier, citing sentiments of the Coalition for Responsible Mining (Coremin).
Local anti-mining legislation, the armed New Peoples Army (NPA) insurgents, and multiple taxation are the biggest threats to mining in Mindanao, said the Coremin.
Coremin raised its concern about threats to the mining industry during the 20th Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) held in Pagadian City in early September.
MinBizCon is the annual conference organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry showcasing Mindanao’s investment opportunities.
Minbizcon 2011 focused on public-private partnerships in mining, tourism and agri-business in Mindanao.

MILITARY HONORS FOR SLAIN BASILAN ARMY HEROES


MANILA, Oct. 22 (PNA) –- The eerie state of silence that pervaded the air for 10 minutes was shattered when a Philippine Air Force (PAF) band played the immortal song “Nearer My God To Thee” as the flag-draped coffins of 15 of the 19 Army soldiers slain in Basilan were unloaded one by one from a lumbering C-130 Air Force plane at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City Friday night.

Four other Special Forces members who were killed during a fierce gun battle with rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Al-Barka, Basilan last Tuesday were ferried, as requested by their families, to Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City where they will be buried with full military honors.

From the PAF aircraft, each coffin was carried by six pallbearers with one senior officer in command. They marched in slow-motion cadence towards a pre-designated area at the tarmac where all the remains of the 15 fallen troopers from the elite Special Forces of the Philippine Army were placed in one row for blessing by a Catholic priest.

On hand to meet the fallen soldiers, considered as heroes who were killed in action, was Brig. Gen. Rolly Tenafrancia, Army chief of staff, who represented Army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz.

Then the families and other close relatives of the soldiers were led to the respective remains of their loved ones.

At this point, the solemnity was replaced by loud cries and wailings that reverberated at the airbase’s tarmac.

Television cameramen and photographers recorded the whole proceedings as a small crowd in a highly-restricted area watched, some in tears as the song “Nearer My God To Thee,” the theme song of the movie “Titanic,” continued to be played.

The bereaved parents, though deeply saddened by the tragedy that had befallen on their sons, most of them in their 20s, took everything in strides as they accompanied the remains of their loved ones to the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery for Heroes) in nearby Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City for a two-day wake to allow friends and comrades to pay their last respects.

President Benigno S. Aquino III visited the fallen Army Special Forces Friday night also to pay his last respects and condoled with their families.

The soldiers were killed during a 10-hour gun battle with hundreds of combined MILF rebels and Muslim bandits in Al-Barka, Basilan on Tuesday. Six rebels were also killed and an undetermined number of others wounded in the firefight.

The troops had run out of bullets during the battle.

Fourteen other soldiers were wounded in the clash, the deadliest since 2007 when 10 soldiers were beheaded after they were killed also in Al-Barka town. (PNA)

Letter to the Editor

 US bullies in Zamboanga

THE NATIONAL Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemns the arrogant and totally illegal manner by which supposedly visiting American soldiers ordered Zamboanga City-based journalists to stop taking footage while the latter were covering a visit by retired general Edilberto Adan, executive director of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) Commission, last Monday.

Adan’s visit, which included the headquarters of the US military’s Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines inside the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), is in line with Sec. 3c of Executive Order No. 199 mandating the VFA Commission to monitor the activities of foreign military and civilian personnel covered by the defense agreement.

NUJP director Julie Alipala, who is based in Zamboanga, quoted a local television reporter as saying that one of the six American soldiers guarding the task force headquarters told the news crew: “I am ordering you not to take footages.” When one of the reporters asked what the basis for the order was, the American replied: “I don’t understand you, but don’t make me take your camera.”

Sought for clarification, Westmincom spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang clarified the American soldier’s actions, saying that the journalists were in a secure facility “and persons going there need clearance” to shoot video and other images.

But as reported by Alipala, the news crew was taking footage outside the task force headquarters.

Even granting Cabangbang’s explanation, we maintain that foreigners still have absolutely no authority to tell us Filipinos what we can or cannot do in our own country, much less threaten to confiscate our property. If they had any issue, they should have conveyed it to their local counterparts who could then have relayed the matter to the journalists concerned.

As far as we are concerned, the task force headquarters is not sovereign American territory; it is Philippine territory that visiting foreign troops are allowed to use as part of a defense agreement.

We believe that ultimate authority over the facility resides in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine government, unless they have conceded this authority to what would then essentially be foreign occupiers.

We ask the VFA Commission to conduct an investigation into this matter, for this arrogant behavior of foreign visitors goes beyond mere security concerns; it strikes at the very heart of our sovereignty as a nation and a people. We also demand that the VFA Commission put the Americans in their proper place and warn them against any repetition of this kind of arrogance. To let this incident pass would be tantamount to giving up our rights and liberties to foreigners.

NESTOR P. BURGOS JR.
Chairman

JULIE ALIPALA
Director

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines,
nujphil@gmail.com

Fight vs. US troops to continue

US-RP Balikatan ends but not people’s war v. US

RESISTANCE against the United States military intervention in the country, particularly in Mindanao, will not end with the closure of the Balikatan exercises, according to the US Troops Out Now-Mindanao Coalition.

Lawyer Beverly Musni, convenor of the group, said their vigilance against the deceptive forms of US military interventions would not stop with the ending of the Balikatan exercises Monday.

The recent joint military exercises of the US and the Philippine government was welcomed by various protest actions that gathered more than 10,000 people across Mindanao who rejected the presence of American soldiers in the region.
Public outrage were expressed in rallies at the start of the military exercises last February 18 here and the cities of Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Cotabato, the Lanao Provinces and the town of Pikit in North Cotabato.

“We must not believe that because this round of Balikatan exercises has come to an end that the US military will leave the country; or that the US troops are limiting themselves to their so-called humanitarian missions,” Musni said.

“Another round of Balikatan may be over, but the violation of our national sovereignty and the endangerment of our lives continue,” she added.

Musni described the approach of the US military as “two-faced” when the American troops conducted medical services and implemented social projects while “covertly engaging in special operations at the same time.”

She said the US military works year-round on clandestine mission through a special US military unit called Joint Special Operations Task Force based in Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City.

She said during the massacre of eight civilians, including a pregnant woman and two children in Maimbung, Sulu, some witnesses noted the participation of American soldiers.

“Such incidents show the US military’s duplicity to the Filipinos — they shower us with supposed gifts with one hand, but use force with the other. Efforts to clear the Filipino soldiers of committing the crime are aimed to whitewash the US complicity in the massacre,” Musni said.

Musni also recounted the 2002 incident in Tuburan, Basilan where a US soldier shot a Moro civilian in a military operation. The soldier was later identified as Sergeant Reggie Lane who took part in medical missions.

“We must remain vigilant in the monitoring and documentation of the movements of US troops in the country. There is a need for further research on the impact and conduct of these so-called humanitarian missions in local communities, which have been controversial in host communities. We also must stay alert and investigate their activities when Balikatan exercises are not being conducted,” Musni said.