Friday, November 8, 2013

Sultan follower in Sabah territory claim dies in Tawi-Tawi jail

From the Manila Standard Today (Nov 9): Sultan follower in Sabah territory claim dies in Tawi-Tawi jail

A sickly follower of the Sulu Sultanate who was arrested for allegedly taking part in the Sabah intrusion last February died in the provincial jail of Tawi-Tawi Thursday night.

Haiber Jailani, 62, died of a “lingering illness” in detention in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, said Abraham Idjirani, the secretary-general of the sultanate.

Jailani was part of the 200-member Royal Security Forces of the Sulu Sultanate who sailed to Sabah on February to press claim over the territory.

According to Idjirani, Jailani fell ill after drinking contaminated water in Tanduo village in Lahad Datu, Sabah. He and several others were arrested by the Philippine Navy while trying to escape during a clash with Malaysian troops in March.

“The sultanate is dismayed by the failure of the PNoy administration to show equal humane sympathy by failing to address his medical treatment,” Idjirani said.

He said Jailani’s relatives were scheduled to pay his bail along with 21 other co-detainees next week.

The group was first held at the Bato-Bato Navy Yard before being transferred to the Tawi-Tawi.

“Jailani died without seeing his liberty. He was imprisoned for his patriotic act to live in peace in an ancestral land gifted to the Sultan of Sulu in 1704,” Idjirani said, referring to Sabah, which the sultanate claims as part of its ancestral territory.

Led by Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, the sultanate’s “royal army” sailed to Sabah on February and clashed with Malaysian security forces leaving 68 Filipinos dead along with 68 Malaysian policemen and soldiers.

4 terror group members arrested in Mindanao

From the Daily Tribune (Nov 9): 4 terror group members arrested in Mindanao

Four members of an alleged terror network group were arrested by police operatives during separate operations in Agusan del Sur and Mindanao province.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima identified the notorious senior leader of the Al-Khobar Group as Jabide Abdul aka Zabide or Beds.

He was arrested at 2 p.m. last Thursday in Barangay Titulok, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat by joint operatives of Task-Force Sanglahi-Alpha composed of operatives from the Regional Intelligence Unit -12 of the PNP Intelligence Group and Special Project Mindanao Khilafa Islamiya (SPMKI) and the Regional Public Safety Battalion-12.

Abdul, who has a P3.3-million reward for his arrest, is said to be behind the string of deadly bomb attacks in Central Mindanao over the last seven years that killed at least 31 persons and 145 others wounded.

The arresting teams were armed with warrants of arrest issued by the RTC Branch 17 of Kidapawan City, RTC Branch 16 of Kabacan, Cotabato and RTC Branch 19 of Digos City for the crimes of multiple murder, multiple frustrated murder, multiple attempted murder and destruction of property.

The notorious Al-Khobar Group led by Abdul is tagged as responsible in the following terrorist activities, namely, the Oct. 10, 2006 bombing of a crowded in Makilala, North Cotabato during the town’s founding anniversary that killed six persons and 40 wounded.

The PNP also said that Abdul and his group were also responsible in the bombing of a Weena Bus at the Cotabato Terminal that killed three and 15 others wounded on May 10, 2007; three separate bombings of Yellow Bus Line units in Sultan Kudarat that killed one and four wounded in July and August 2007.

He was also behind the bombing in Kidapawan that killed one person on Aug. 5, 2007; the 2007 Bombing of Sugni Superstore in Kabacan, North Cotabato; bombing at Philbest Canning Corp. in Tambler, General Santos City that killed four and wounded 28 on Jan. 30, 2008; the bombing of a Metro Shuttle Bus in Digos City that killed six and wounded 30 on April 2, 2008; the bombing of a passenger van in Midsayap, North Cotabato that wounded four persons in May 2008; and two more bombings in Davao del Sur that killed 10 and in Kidapawan City that wounded nine persons.

According the Villacorta, the Al-Khobar Goup continued its extortion and bombing operations targeting local bus companies as well as NGCP transmission lines in North Cotabato.

Gov't marshals air, naval forces to move relief goods to Yolanda-hit areas

From GMA News (Nov 9): Gov't marshals air, naval forces to move relief goods to Yolanda-hit areas

Government teams are on their way to Tacloban City in Eastern Visayas, one of the areas hit hard by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Saturday.

AFP public affairs deputy head Maj. Angelo Guzman said a C-130 plane of the Philippine Air Force took off for Tacloban Saturday morning.

He also said a commo van was loaded to the C-130 "to help government agencies operate amid the loss of elecricity."

A separate report by dzBB's Sam Nielsen said the flight, the first by the PAF to the typhoon victims, was also loaded with relief goods.

Yolanda ripped through several parts of the country Friday, making landfall several times. It is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility Saturday.

Meanwhile, Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras said President Benigno Aquino III ordered that the government prioritize making sure relief goods reach those affected.

"(Ang) priority instructions ng pangulo since yesterday, we need to make sure that one, relief goods are moving (President Aquino's priority instructions since Friday were to make sure relief goods are moving)," he said at a news briefing at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, parts of which were aired on dzBB radio.

"We are moving assets from Mindanao to Visayas. We need as much air and naval support to move relief goods and medical supplies," he added.

He said the government has enough resources but needs help from volunteers to repack them.

Concern for Leyte, Tacloban

Meanwhile, Almendras said they are verifying reports that a storm surge had killed many in Tacloban City.

"We are very concerned about the situation there," he said.

AFP to fly relief teams to Tacloban City

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 9): AFP to fly relief teams to Tacloban City

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday announced that a C-130 "Hercules" cargo aircraft will be flying relief teams to Tacloban City, one of the areas hardest hit by super typhoon "Yolanda".

Major Angelo Guzman, AFP deputy public affairs office chief, said the plane will fly teams from the military and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), and medical teams from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Aside from teams, the C-130 will also transport relief goods for the typhoon victims.

NDRRMC head Eduardo del Rosario and AFP chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista are to take the flight.

"Yolanda" ripped through several parts of the country Friday, making landfall several times.

It is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility Saturday.

Meanwhile, offers of help from the international community are starting to come in, a day after the cyclone battered several parts of the country.

The Philippine Embassy in Washington on Friday night said Americans are giving offers of help including K-9 units and emergency power restoration facilities.

"Offers of assistance received by the Philippine Embassy from Americans include canine dogs and emergency power restoration services," it said on its Twitter account.

A Catholic group is also sending some 8,000 tarpaulins to Cebu City to help families affected by "Yolanda"

Catholic Relief Services also said its response teams are traveling to the areas hit hardest by the typhoon to determine what people there need.

“The pain of another disaster is devastating. We’re currently moving tarpaulins to Cebu City so that we can provide 8,000 families with inevitable shelter needs. Our response teams are traveling to the areas hardest hit to determine exactly what people need and how CRS can help them,” CRS’ regional director for Southeast Asia Greg Auberry said.

"Yolanda" on Friday swept through parts of Visayas and Luzon, disrupting power and communications.

CRS noted that for Cebu and Bohol, Yolanda occurred barely less than a month after a magnitude-7.2 quake jolted the Central Visayas region.

"Especially vulnerable are the roughly 281,000 people living in makeshift shelters and tents near their homes. Another 89,000 people are living in evacuation centers and spontaneous settlements. The typhoon will cross relatively close to Bohol with heavy rains," CRS said.

It added that it will work with local governments, Caritas partners and local parishes in the Philippines to maximize its response and recovery efforts.

Family feud heating up in Zamboanga town

From the Mindanao Examiner (Nov 9): Family feud heating up in Zamboanga town

Google map of Labangan town in Zamboanga del Sur province in southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner)

A six-year old Muslim girl was shot in the head in an attack by a group of gunmen in the town of Labangan in Zamboanga del Sur province in southern Philippines, police said Friday.

Police said the gunmen attacked the house of village chieftain Mohibat Pagayao and four other houses in Old Labangan and hit the girl Danah Maguindra.

The victim was rushed to hospital in Pagadian City and police said the attacks were believed to be connected to a family feud.

Police said the houses of, Mike Pagayao, Jumael Buhisan, Sabila Maguindra and Zaidal Zamplidan were strafed by gunmen, who escaped after the shootings.

Earlier in November, motorcycle gunmen also shot and wounded Abdul Racman Talumpay, village chieftain of Dalapang in Labangan town, in Pagadian City. Talumpay was attacked near Agora Market along Pajares Avenue in Santa Lucia District.

In October, a village chieftain in Labangan town, Leopoldo Selada, of Nuboran, narrowly escaped death after gunmen strafed his house with automatic weapons. Selada was sleeping alone in the house when the attack occurred.

It was unknown whether the gun attacks were connected to each other, but prior to that, a suspected bomber was killed after an improvised bomb he was transporting exploded in the village of Tapodoc in Labangan town.

Police recovered an improvised bomb assembled from a 60mm mortar and rigged to a detonator and a cell phone, not far from the dead man’s decapitated body at a rice paddy near the highway.

Muslim preacher gunned down near mosque in Southern Philippines

From the Mindanao Examiner blog site (Nov 9): Muslim preacher gunned down near mosque in Southern Philippines

A Muslim preacher was shot and killed near a mosque in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga del Sur, police said.

Police said Ustadz Esmael Malaco was allegedly shot in Dimataling town by Esmael Mandapal, who is also from the same place and fled after the shooting.

Melaco was shot twice in the body and died before reaching the hospital.

The motive of the attack is still unknown, but police are investigating the shooting, according to Chief Inspector Ariel Huesca, a regional police spokesman.

“He (Melaco) was rushed to Chavez Medical Clinic for immediate medical treatment, but was declared dead on arrival by the attending physician,” he said adding the preacher was shot with a .45-caliber pistol based on recovered slug and bullet shells.

“The recovered items are now under the custody of Dimataling police station for subsequent submission to provincial crime lab office for ballistic examination.
Dimataling Police station is now conducting a follow-up investigation and manhunt operation for the possible arrest of the suspect,” Huesca said.

MILF: Editorial -- Moros, IPs blood brothers

Editorial posted to the MILF Website (Nov 8): Moros, IPs blood brothers

Since time immemorial, the Moros and indigenous peoples (IPs) are one and united. 
There had never been an instance in the past of serious and widespread animosities or fighting between the two communities, because they are blood brothers.
They are the descendants of the two brothers, Mamalu and Tabunaway, who once settled in what was “Maguindanao”, now Cotabato City. They only parted ways after the Moros accepted Islam while the IPs especially the T’durays stuck it out with their traditional belief.  However, before they separated, they pledged unto each other to cooperate both in times of distress and plenty, a covenant they hold on to this day.

The only time that troubles erupted between the two communities was in early 1970s. But the violence was not a large-scale one. Most members of their respective communities remained uninvolved. This was the heyday of the so-called “Ilagas” or “rats” or “fanatics” led by Commander Toothpick (real name: Feliciano Luces) who rallied the T’durays against the Moros. They killed hundreds to thousands of Moros in Mindanao from 1970 to 1972. But the sad part of it is that the conflict was not homegrown, rather it was instigated by outsiders. Toothpick was an Ilonggo from the Visayas in the central part of the Philippines, who was used by the prime movers of Martial Law to create troubles, as part of the justifications for its declaration in 1972. Toothpick was merely used; in a sense, he too was also a victim of evil machination.

As blood brothers, the Moros and IPs have one ancestral domain in the Bangsamoro. It is not two, contrary to what a new batch of outside “whisperers” are trying to tattle into the ears of some IP groups. 

What is intriguing is that these people do not bring their crusade into areas outside of the Bangsamoro where the IPs and their ancestral domains are set aside completely. Look at what is happening to the B’laans of Tampakan in South Cotabato where a mining company is not only polluting the environment especially the rivers and lakes but virtually driving them away from their homes and farmlands.

There is no way we can separate the ancestral domain of the IPs from the Moros and vice versa. They are inseparable, as there was only one Moro Province before, so named after the Moros.

Unfortunately, there was none named after the IPs, who were considered by the Moros as their “small brothers” --- always under the protective shield of their “elder brothers”. They always belong to the same world; fate has destined it that way.

Perhaps, what can be delineated are ancestral lands, because among them are tribes, for instance, Maranao ancestral lands, Tausog ancestral lands, Maguindanao ancestral lands, so on and so forth. Even so, this cannot be absolute. A Maranao can own a land in Sulu, as a Tausog can possess land in Lanao, or Maguindanao can hold land in Tawi-Tawi.

Since the start of the GPH-MILF peace negotiation in January 1997, the MILF has consistently opposed any reference to the Indigenous Peoples Republic Act (IPRA) as mode of determining or settling of land issues in the Bangsamoro. The law is so lop-sided and detrimental to the collective rights of the native inhabitants over their ancestral domain, because only the surface of the soil is conceded to the IPs, while all what is beneath it are taken away or virtually owned by outsiders mainly mining companies. This opposition is soaked in blood of Moro martyrs, who carried on their armed struggle for more than four decades. But even minus IPs’ major starring role, their Moro brethren did it against all odds, which is why the MILF is not a pushover in the negotiating table.

MILF: BDA-UNICEF conducts end of project evaluation for Child Protection Project

From the MILF Website (Nov 8): BDA-UNICEF conducts end of project evaluation for Child Protection Project


The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA)-United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Child Protection Component Program (CPCP) gathered the project implementers of the Child Protection Project to evaluate its yearlong operation.
The activity, held at Eden Natures Park and Resort at Davao City on October 30-31, 2013, was aimed to draw inputs from the participants on the lessons learned and challenges encountered during the project implementation through workshops.

The participants also related their actions taken to address the encountered challenges.

Salidatan Abdulmaguid, CPCP Monitoring and Evaluation Officer from the Central Management Office, and Nor-ayn Makakena, CPCP Project Operations Officer facilitated the workshop.

Comprising the participants were the Community Organizers, Community- Based Child Protection Networks (CBCPN) Representatives, Community Welfare Volunteers (CWV) and Youth Focal Points (YFP).

BDA Executive Director, Dr. Mohammad S. Yacob graced the affair. He reminded the BDA staff implementing the CPCP to anchor their undertakings on Islamic values.

He thanked the CBCPN, CWV and WPF, community volunteers who were committed to participate in the project undertakings.

BDA-UNICEF Operations and Training Officer Abdul Gafor Ahmad also gave inspirational message.

The project focuses on instituting the Systems- Based Approach to Child Protection in Bangsamoro communities in core areas of the MILF.

A pilot implementation was undertaken in six (6) municipalities namely: Butig , in Lanao Del Sur, Taragona,  in Davao Oriental, Datu Saidona,  in Maguindanao, Lake Sebu,  in South Cotabato, Mohammad Ajul,  in Basilan, and Sirawai,  in Zamboanga Del Norte, from September 2012 to September 2013.

The project shall be continued for another year covering three communities per region.

BDA has regional offices namely: Central Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula, Zamboanga-Basilan, Davao, Ranaw and Sulu-Tawi Tawi.

2 of 5 AW-109 PN helicopters equipped with weapons, electronic warfare systems

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 8): 2 of 5 AW-109 PN helicopters equipped with weapons, electronic warfare systems

The Philippine Navy (PN) on Friday announced that two out the five AgustaWestland AW-109 "Power" helicopters that it will be acquiring this year are classified as combat helicopters.

Navy spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic made this announcement after noting that these aircraft are fitted with weapon and electronic warfare systems.

He did not give the exact specifications, citing operational security reasons.

"The two helicopters which will arrive next year are classified as combat helicopters than the initial three that are classified as naval helicopters. They are more upgraded in terms of firepower and electronic warfare systems," Fabic said.

Three of the PN's AW-109 helicopters are scheduled to arrive this December.

These are the naval versions, Fabic stressed.

The PN spokesperson said that these combat helicopters can be deployed aboard their Gregorio Del Pilar class frigates and in the future, as two of the modern frigates and strategic sealift vessels are set to be bidded out.

The PN's AW-109 helicopter deal is worth P1.33 billion.

Fabic said that the decision of to acquire two more is based on the PN's desired force-mix of 18 naval helicopters to serve the fleet.

The AW-109 "Power" is a three-ton class eight seat helicopter powered by two Pratt and Whitney PW206C engines.

The spacious cabin is designed to be fitted with a number of modular equipment packages for quick and easy conversion between roles.

The aircraft’s safety features include a fully separated fuel system, dual hydraulic boost system, dual electrical systems and redundant lubrication and cooling systems for the main transmission and engines.

The AW-109 has established itself as the world’s best selling light-twin helicopter for maritime missions.

It's superior speed, capacity and productivity combined with reliability and ease of maintenance make it the most cost effective maritime helicopter in its class.

For shipboard operations, the aircraft has a reinforced-wheeled landing gear and deck mooring points as well as extensive corrosion protection measures.

The ability to operate from small ships in high sea state enables the AW-109 to perform its mission when many other helicopters would be confined to the ship’s hangar.

Over 550 AW-109 "Power" and AW-109 light utility helicopters have been ordered for commercial, parapublic and military applications by customers in almost 50 countries.

AFP deploys disaster response units to 'Yolanda' battered provinces

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 8): AFP deploys disaster response units to 'Yolanda' battered provinces

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has deployed its disaster response task units (DRTUs) to provinces in the Visayas and Southern Luzon which were badly-battered by Supertyphoon "Yolanda".

Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, AFP public information office chief, said these DRTUs were taken from the Central and Southern Luzon Command.

He also said that AFP chief-of-staff Gen Emmanuel T. Bautista has ordered both military commands to prioritize disaster response efforts and make available all of its air and naval assets for immediate assessment of damage; rescue, and transport operations.

Bautista also instructed other area commanders and their DRTUs to support humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) efforts when requested.

Helicopters and C-130 cargo aircraft are also on standby for relief transport, rescue, and damage assessment operations.

AFP units are also supporting on-going evacuations led by the Office of Civil Defense and Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils in Visayas and Southern Luzon.

As of Friday morning, a total of 8,384 families or 45,077 persons were already evacuated in various shelters in Bohol, Cebu, and Leyte.

The AFP Central Command also tapped its units including the 3rd Infantry Division, 8th Infantry Division, Joint Task Force 7, 2nd Air Division, Naval Forces Central, and the 53rd Engineering Brigade for deployment, ready for HADR operations as soon as the weather permits.

Update on AFP relief, rescue operations on typhoon 'Yolanda'

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 8): Update on AFP relief, rescue operations on typhoon 'Yolanda'

The following is an update on relief and rescue efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in response to typhoon "Yolanda" (international name Haiyan):

-- Government troops were deployed and on standby as Metro Cebu is experiencing power outage.

-- The 7th Infantry Division has coordinated with non-government organizations and prepositioned relief goods at the Division depot for distribution to affected communities in Regions 1 and 3.

-- The 3rd Infantry Division reported that 26 families or 81 persons were evacuated in six evacuation centers in Guimaras; 85 families or 425 individuals were brought to six evacuation centers in Iloilo; 327 families or 1,641 persons now in evacuation centers in Aklan; while 3,040 families were brought to 55 evacuation centers in Negros Occidental.

-- The Naval Forces Southern Luzon has deployed two M35 trucks and two DRO teams to support the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of Albay in prepositioning of relief goods to Bacacay, Albay. The command center also sent two liaison officers to Albay to assist in monitoring of overall efforts.

Personnel of PG371 and DF350 of the Philippine Navy stationed in Nasipit, Butuan, were tapped to assist in the distribution of food to an estimated 500 evacuees in Nasipit Central Elementary School Gym.

Super typhoon "Yolanda" is considered the strongest typhoon ever known to make landfall and the 4th strongest storm ever recorded in the world.

It smashed the Visayas region as it made its first landfall in Guiuan in Eastern Samar Friday morning.

"Yolanda" has since made landfall five times as it steamrolled through Samar provinces, Leyte, Cebu, and Bohol, uprooting trees, causing power outages, felling cell sites, stranding seagoing passengers, cancellation of local and international flights, and killed at least three persons as of Friday afternoon.