Wednesday, June 21, 2017

CAFGU member fires at Lumad school in Talaingod

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Jun 21): CAFGU member fires at Lumad school in Talaingod

Ramil Miguel of the Association of Community Educators in Mindanao during a press conference last May 20, 2016 at the UCCP Haran compound where displaced Lumads from Davao del Norte take refuge due to the militarization in their community. (Ace R. Morandante/
“Please rescue me, karon na” (right now).

This was the frantic text message sent by teacher Ramel Miguel to Ricky Balilid, moments after the Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center in Sitio Nasilaban, Talaingod, Davao del Norte was fired upon by a certain Rodel Buntanlog on Tuesday, 10 am.

“Sir ned (sic) na gyod namu rescue gianhian me ni Rodel S. Buntanlog Alamara gitiunan ug gpabuthan ko ug pusil 3 times (Sir we really need to be rescued. Rodel S. Buntanlog, an Alamara member came here, pointed a gun at me and fired three times),” he added.

Miguel is the chairperson of the Association of Community Educators, a group of volunteer teachers working in IP schools. Balilid is the group’s vice-chairperson.
In the same text message, Miguel said Buntanlog left after 15 minutes, but not before vowing to torch the school upon his return. The gunfire claimed no lives or injuries.

In a phone interview with Davao Today, Balilid said Buntanlog had been hunting for Miguel for some time, and threatened to kill the teacher should they meet face to face.

“Sa pagkakaron si Sir Miguel naa pa gihapon kahadlok ug na-trauma siya tungod sa panghitabo. Wala pa gihapon naulian sa iyang kahadlok (Right now, sir Miguel is still in a state of trauma because of the shooting. He has yet to recover from the fright he experienced),” he said.

Balilid said Buntanlog wanted to prevent the students from studying in the school, as he believed the school was run by the New People’s Army.
Balilid said Buntanlog was a member of the Alamara, a paramilitary group allegedly armed by the military to hunt for NPA sympathizers among Manobos in Talaingod, most of whom are relatives.
In a separate phone interview, 60th Infantry Battalion officer-in-charge and 1001st Infantry Brigade Deputy Brigade Commander Col. Gilbert Saret confirmed that Buntanlog is a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit. Saret however, denied any knowledge of Buntanlog’s links with the Alamara.

“As far as the military is concerned, wala kaming alam na may Alamara (As far as the military is concerned, we do not know anything about the Alamara),” he said.

Saret confirmed that they have received reports of the incident, but are still trying to locate Buntanlog as of press time.

“Should we know of his whereabouts, we’ll verify the allegations. We will investigate. We’ll also look into his psychological and emotional well being,” he added.

Based on Buntanlog’s claims, Saret also told Davao Today that Buntanlog was a regular NPA fighter for almost 14 years, but had surrendered to the 1003rd Brigade in 2013.

Saret said Buntanlog claimed to have participated in the founding of the school, and also taught there for some period of time.

But Balilid denied this claim and said it is a way of the army’s vilification of the school.

Balilid said the army has been consistently accusing the STTICLC of being run by the communist guerrillas, even though they have been issued operational permits by the Department of Education.

In previous reports, other teachers of the school have claimed of being harassed by military intelligence operatives.

In July last year, STTICLC executive director Ronnie Garcia claimed he and his family were harassed by military agents in Tagum City.

Read related story: Army intel “visits” Lumad school admin’s family

Balilid added that on June 2, an Alamara member barged in on a class in STTICLC looking for a 17-year old student named Lando.

The Alamara said the military was looking for Lando who had a standing warrant of arrest. Miguel confronted the Alamara and refused to release Lando.

Angered, the Alamara member issued death threats to Miguel, who has since then gone into hiding in Baranggay Nasilaban, Talaingod where the school was located.

In several instances, the army denied any links to the group, reducing the conflict as mere “pangayaw” (tribal wars) between rival groups.

On that same day in Baganga, another school teacher, Jiper Marson left his duties as a school teacher of the MISFI Academy there after an intel soldier allegedly threatened to harm him and his family if he continues to work for the school.

Balilid said they have been unable to contact Marson since then.

“It’s possible he may still be processing the trauma and gone hiding, or that there is simply no phone coverage there,” he said.

The two schools have claimed to be the butt of attacks since their inception. In 2015, a MISFI school in Kitaotao, Bukidnon, was ordered shut down by village chief, Felipe Cabugnason, who also accused the school of being run by the NPAs.

Read related story: Bukidnon barangay captain closes tribal school

Balilid called for a stop to the harassment and the vilification of their schools.

Balilid also denied links with the communist guerrillas, saying that the schools were born out of the Lumad’s will to provide education to their children.

The schools also received initial funding from local and international humanitarian groups. STTICLC for example, was built in partnership with the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines.

“Sila pa ang nagbayanihan ana (They built the schools themselves),” he added.

AFP starts preparing for Marawi rehab

From Malaya Business Insight (Jun 20): AFP starts preparing for Marawi rehab

THE Armed Forces has started deploying engineering personnel and equipment to Marawi City in preparation for rehabilitation of areas devastated by the ongoing armed conflict with members of the terrorist Maute Group, the military said yesterday.

The Armed Forces still has not set a deadline for ending the conflict which has been going on for almost a month now.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the deployment of the engineering personnel and assets was based on a directive issued by Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año, and the rehabilitation of the city will be pursued by the military in collaboration with government agencies.

He said rehabilitation work will start when the city is completely cleared of Maute members.

“They are preparing already. In fact, there are already engineering personnel in the area... They are slowly building up (personnel and assets)... They are readying for the rehab,” said Padilla.

Padilla could not immediately say the extent of rehabilitation work needed to be done. “I have no estimate because those who are doing the estimate cannot go in yet because of the firefight.”

Asked when the conflict will end, Padilla said: “We’re not providing any timelines, knowing the complexity of the environment but we will do our best to expedite it... We are doing our best to expedite the liberation of Marawi at the soonest time possible,” said Padilla.

“We’re getting nearer each day... We’re getting closer to totally liberating Marawi because we are continually are working to degrade the capability of the enemy to hold on to their spaces and at the same time sustain their fight,” he also said.

President Duterte said a P20-billion rehabilitation plan is being finalized for conflict-affected areas like Marawi.

He also apologized to Marawi City residents, particularly those displaced by the fighting, and explained to them he had to impose martial law in the whole of Mindanao because the Maute is already destroying their city.

“I will help you, I will rehabilitate Marawi, it will be a beautiful city again,” he said during a visit to displaced families now staying at an evacuation center in Iligan City.

“I would like to say to the Maranao people that I am very, very, very sorry na nangyari ito sa atin. Sana kung madaling panahon, you will find a new heart to forgive my soldiers, ang gobyerno, pati ako for declaring martial law. (I would like to say to the Maranao people that I am very, very, very sorry that this happened to us. I hope in the near future, you will find a new heart to forgive my soldiers, the government, even me for declaring martial law),” he also said.

“Wala akong choice, sinisira na ang Marawi. I have to drive them out. But I am very sorry (I have no choice, they are destroying Marawi. I have to drive them out),” he added

Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law for 60 days on May 23 and suspended the writ of habeas corpus following an attack by the Maute Group which had pledged allegiance to the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria.

Padilla could not immediately say the number of engineering personnel and assets already in the city. He said the military is planning to send at least two engineering battalions for the rehabilitation phase.

“The AFP chief of staff has directed the mobilization of engineering units in preparation for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and rebuilding of Marawi as soon as the conflict is over,” said Padilla.

On Monday,  the Navy’s BRP Davao del Sur arrived at the Iligan City port, carrying relief goods and supplies for Marawi City, said Navy spokesman Capt. Lued Lincuna.

Lincuna said the ship was loaded with five tons of relief goods, AFP mobile kitchen, heavy equipment for the rehabilitation of Marawi City, and “other items to support our troops.”

Zia Alonto Adiong, a member of the ARMM regional assembly representing the first district of Lanao del Sur, said military operations in the city were continuing yesterday.

“As of now, (the military) can’t still give an actual date,” said Adiong when asked when the conflict will end.

“But they are hoping that it will be over the soonest possible time because our recovery plan is dependent on this. We cannot proceed (with the rehabilitation) while the fighting are still ongoing,” said Adiong.


Adiong said they have already laid out rehabilitation plan for Marawi. He said coordination has been made with the United Nations Development Program.

“It (rehabilitation) is going to be massive because of the damage caused by air strikes and bombardment on both civilian and government properties. The damage is indeed massive,” he said.

The fighting has so far resulted in the death of 258 Maute members, 65 soldiers and policemen and 26 civilians.

Padilla said 16 high-rise buildings occupied by Maute members have been recovered by government soldiers in the past days and “two (are) in progress.” He could not say how many buildings are still due for clearing.

“Enemy resistance continues to wane and the enemy-held areas continue to diminish as government security forces press its advance... Troops continue to get deeper into once enemy-held positions,” said Padilla.

Padilla said the conflict remains confined in four barangays. He said the Maute Group’s use of snipers, improvised bombs, and rocket propelled grenades from the their remaining vantage positions “still remain a challenge.”


The Australian Embassy in Manila said Australia will provide $920,000 in humanitarian assistance to displaced civilians.

It will also provide some 500 tons of rice through the World Food Program to help feed 60,000 children over the next three months.

“Our support includes the provision of tarpaulins, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and water and sanitation kits through the Philippine Red Cross to assist 1,000 displaced families,” said foreign minister Julie Bishop. “This assistance is in addition to the package of support for the peace process and education in Mindanao that I announced when I visited in March 2017,” she added.

The Australian government is also providing hygiene items, torches and whistles for protection, sanitary supplies and clothes as well as clean birthing kits through the United Nations Population Fund, to assist over 6,400 women and girls affected by the fighting.


Fighting was intense early yesterday as security forces made a push to drive the militants, entrenched in Marawi’s commercial district, south towards a lake on the edge of the city.

Planes flew overhead dropping bombs while on the ground, automatic gunfire was sustained with occasional blasts from artillery. Armored vehicles fired volleys of shells while the militants responded with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades.

Fighting later died down as heavy rain fell but  resumed by evening.

Military sources said troops were attacking the militants from three sides and trying to box them towards the lake.

“We’re gaining ground and we’re expanding our vantage positions,” said Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera, another military spokesman, although he declined to comment on specifics.

“We are moving towards the center of gravity,” he added, referring to the militants’ command and communications center.

An army corporal near the front line told Reuters soldiers were tagging houses and buildings that had been cleared.

“We still have to clear more than 1,000 structures,” he said, adding infantry units were left behind at “cleared” areas to prevent militants from recapturing lost ground.

Military: No order to stop offensives vs NPA

From Malaya Business Insight (Jun 20): Military: No order to stop offensives vs NPA

THE Armed Forces yesterday said it has yet to get an order from higher authorities   to stop offensive operations against the communist New People’s Army in any part of the country.

On Sunday, government chief negotiator Silvestre Bello said the government is suspending offensive operations against the NPA in response to an earlier statement of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili has said the NDFP has recommended to the Communist Party of the Philippines that it order the communist group’s armed wing, the NPA, to refrain from attacking government forces in Mindanao so soldiers can focus on the campaign against the Maute Group and other terrorist groups.

The CPP has not issued any statement in response to Agcaoili’s statement.

“There is still no such order. Our offensives against the NPA are still continuing,” said Arevalo in a phone interview.

“Insofar as we are concerned, we have not received any formal orders for a cessation of military operation against the NPA,” he added.

Earlier yesterday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said notwithstanding Bello’s statement, the AFP “will continue to fulfill its mandate and conduct support to law enforcement operations all over the Philippines.”

“Recent events have shown that the upper echelons of the communist movement do not have actual control of NPA units on the ground, which continue to commit atrocities even while their comrades talk peace with the government,” said Lorenzana.

Lorenzana cited the NPA raid of the Maasin town police station in Iloilo last Sunday.

“Thus, any member of the NPA who continues to commit terroristic acts such as extortion, burning of property, kidnapping, roaming around with firearms to intimidate people, and attacks on government forces will be pursued, apprehended, and brought to justice,” said Lorenzana.

Presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza said the planned suspension of offensives will be limited to Mindanao, which means government troops can go after and even take decisive and immediate actions against the NPA if it attacks.

Dureza also said he was disheartened by the NPA attack in Iloilo, which he said would have a negative impact on the mutual commitment of government and communist peace panels to provide an enabling environment conducive to the continuation of peace negotiations.

“The ‘impact’ is not just on the peace negotiations, it illustrates the tragedy of the insurgency. Hopefully, the attack is just part of the birth pains of the agreement to stop offensive military actions, even if it covers only Mindanao as of now. It is an argument for a nation-wide ceasefire,” he added.

In Quezon Sunday night, NPA rebels attacked a Globe cell site and injured two soldiers pursuing them in Catanauan town.

Lt. Xy-zon Meneses, spokesman of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, said about 10 rebels wearing “Army pattern camouflage uniform” swooped down at the Globe cell site in Barangay Tuhian at around 8 p.m. and burned two generator sets.

Meneses said the Globe cell site remained functioning because there was a third generator set.

The military said they are eyeing extortion as the motive in the attack.

Troops from the Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion were deployed to pursue the perpetrators after receiving information about the rebel atrocity.

However, Meneses said, the rebels waylaid the soldiers in Barangay Ajos, also in Catanauan town, while approaching the Globe cell site at around 8:30 p.m. A brief firefight followed.

Meneses said the rebels detonated an improvised explosive device on the soldiers’ truck, wounding two Army troopers. The injured soldiers were brought to a hospital for shrapnel wounds and are now in stable condition.

2 BIFF men in arrest list killed in Maguindanao

From Malaya Business Insight (Jun 20): 2 BIFF men in arrest list killed in Maguindanao

Two members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, including a medical officer, were killed following a firefight with soldiers and policemen in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao on Sunday night.

The medical officer was identified as Raul Angkay alias Dok while the other slain BIFF member is yet to be identified, said Capt. Arvin Encinas, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.

Encinas said Angkay is included in Arrest Order No. 2 issued by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who is also administrator of martial law in Mindanao. The list includes members of the Maute Group and other terrorist groups.

President Duterte placed the entire Mindanao under martial law on May 23 hours after the Maute Group engaged government forces in a firefight in Marawi City. The armed conflict is ongoing.

Encinas said Angkay is in the arrest order for rebellion but clarified he is not part of the Marawi City siege.

“Arrest Order No. 2 includes personalities who are members of lawless groups such as the BIFF,” he said.

The BIFF, the Maute Group, and the Abu Sayyaf have all pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Encinas said troops from the Army’s 601st and 603rd brigades, the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, and Shariff Aguak police found Angkay and one of his men in Barangay Poblacion at around 9:30 p.m. Sunday but they resisted arrested, leading to a brief firefight that led to the killing of the two BIFF men.

Seized from the suspects’ possession were a cal. 45 pistol and a fragmentation grenade.

Encinas said cadavers of the two suspects were turned over to the police.

PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa said the declaration of martial law in Mindanao made it easy for authorities to arrest Maute Group members and their sympathizers.

Without martial law, he said, suspected Maute members or their sympathizers cannot just be arrested because a trial court has to first issue a warrant of arrest after a case has been filed.

Among those who have been arrested were Cayamora Maute, father of Omar and Abdullah Maute who are leading the Marawi siege; Farhana Maute, mother of the Maute brothers; a sister of the Maute brothers; Mohammad Noaim Maute alias Abu Jadid, Maute bomb-maker and a cousin of the Maute brothers; and former Marawi City Mayor Fajad Salic.

The Maute parents are detained in separate cells in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno gave her support to his appeal for the transfer to Taguig City of the cases and detention of Maute members and their sympathizers charged with rebellion.

Aguirre made the disclosure after his meeting with Sereno at the high court where he said they agreed to hold the trial of the cases inside the Special Intensive Care Area of Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig.

He said they also agreed to establish two courtrooms for the trial, adding he would be asking the PNP, the military, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and the Armed Forces to see if this is feasible.

Aguirre said holding trials inside Camp Bagong Diwa is still subject to the approval of the Court en banc since it was the en banc which issued the resolution designating Cagayan de Oro courts to handle the cases against the Maute group members and their supporters.

The SC will hold its regular en banc session today, Tuesday.

The DOJ wants the transfer, citing security risks of holding the trial in Cagayan de Oro.

Aguirre said Sereno also proposed the conduct of continuous trial to expedite the resolution of the cases. Under the continuous trial system, postponements of hearings are prohibited unless on exceptional grounds. It also directs courts to promulgate a decision not later than 90 days from the submission of the case for decision.

Sought for comment, SC spokesman Theodore Te said the high court has yet to order the transfer of the cases to Taguig.

“The SC resolution stays until the SC says otherwise. It has not issued another resolution. The letter of the Secretary of Justice asking for reconsideration has not yet been granted by the SC,” Te said.

Te stressed that a matter like that would not be decided by the Chief Justice alone but by all the magistrates, meaning the en banc.

“I don’t know how they would act on it. If there’s a letter it would be tackled during the en banc session and until they say otherwise, the resolution stays,” he added.

No en banc session took place last week as the Court held three days of oral arguments on the martial law declaration in Mindanao.

Aguirre has yet to respond to Te’s clarification.

AFP deploys equipment, personnel for Marawi City rehab

From Update Philippines (Jun 21): AFP deploys equipment, personnel for Marawi City rehab

Military engineering equipment and personnel are now being deployed to Marawi City to help in the rehabilitation of areas devastated by the ongoing conflict with Maute Group terrorists, said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla on Tuesday.

This deployment is based on an earlier order by AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año, he added.

Military engineering units and personnel will help other government agencies in the proposed rehabilitation once the last Maute Group terrorists is neutralized or driven away.

“They are preparing (engineering units) already. In fact, there are already engineering personnel in the area… They are slowly building up (personnel and assets)… They are readying for the rehab,” Padilla pointed out.

However, the AFP spokesperson cannot give exact figures for engineering equipment and personnel already in Marawi City but added that the military is planning to deploy at least two engineering battalions.

In the fourth week of the conflict which started May 23, a total of 258 Maute Group terrorists have been killed along with 65 troops and police officers, and 26 civilians.

Also, Padilla said a total of 16 buildings, formerly occupied by the lawless elements, have been captured in the past few days.

However, he declined to comment on how many buildings are needed to be captured to ensure the total elimination of the lawless bandits in Marawi City.

“Enemy resistance continues to wane and the enemy held areas continue to diminish as government security forces press its advance… Troops continue to get deeper into once enemy held positions,” the AFP spokesperson pointed out.

Attacks scare ‘hoax' but vigilance urged

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 21): Attacks scare ‘hoax' but vigilance urged

Army and police officials yesterday said an alleged warning of attacks from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency on key cities nationwide by Islamist terrorists on June 30 is a hoax, but said they are not letting their guard down and are continuing to strengthen security measures.

The alleged NICA warning circulating on social media networks and through text messages, also alleges that some of the terrorists were monitored in Negros and Guimaras.

Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, 3 rd Infantry Division commander, and Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, Negros Occidental OIC police director, both denied receiving such intelligence report.

It's a hoax, but we are not letting our guard down, Aying said, as he reiterated the appeal for civilians to immediately report any unusual activity or unfamiliar persons in their communities.

“Whether it is a hoax or a fact we just have to be vigilant. Everyone should do their share to help secure our communities,” he said.

“Definitely there is no reason to panic, but there is always a reason to be careful, vigilant, and to cooperate with each other, especially in the sharing of information,” Aying added.

The Army and police are also on alert against theNew People's Army after they raided a police station in Maasin town in Iloilo province on Sunday,and took high-powered firearms.

B arangay tanod Romeo Cabalong was also wounded when government soldiers clashed with suspected NPA rebels in Barangay Lampaya in Leon town, Iloilo, yesterday.

Aying said the NPA rebels who staged the raid Sunday took advantage of the vacuum as the Army was distracted by the movement of 82nd IB soldiers to Marawi, and the PNP is preparing to send forces if needed, to Mindanao.

Government troops have been reminded not to let their guard down, although there is no cause for alarm as the NPA is a declining force, he added.

Chief Supt Edmund Gonzales, Negros Island police director, has been inspecting the security preparedness of police stations in the island in the wake of the rebel raid in Iloilo.

Castil said the police have been on alert and a reiteration of the need not to let their guard down was just being made.

They have not received any confirmation from the police intelligence community of the alleged NICA warning on June 30 attacks but remain prepared, Castil said.

Aying said ahoax warning was also circulated earlier of June 12 attacks that did not happen, and now it has been moved to June 30.

The alleged NICA document being circulated on social media since Monday, requests for validation and monitoring of information that a “joint ISIS Maute, BIFF terror group will launch major attacks over key cities nationwide on June 30.”

It also said petroleum lorry trucks and LPG delivery trucks will be hijacked and used as vehicle bombs with populated areas such as shopping malls and churches as their targets.

It said foreign terrorists from the ISIS group will carry out suicide attacks and that 20 Maute special units are already in place and mosques will not be spared.

Aying said they have no confirmation of such document, but remain vigilant as they strengthen their intelligence networks.

“It's more of a hoax, but, on the other hand, we should not underestimate possibilities,” he added.

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday convened Task Force Buglas at his office at the Capitol in Bacolod for an organizational meeting.

Buglas, a task force on peace and security, was created by the governor amid the rising threat posed by Islamic extremism.

The governor reminded those present to stay vigilant and not to let their guard down.

Present at the meeting were officials of the Army, Coast Guard, Navy,other line agencies and representatives of civil society. Only the Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office failed to send a representatives, Ma. LinaSanogal, Task Force Buglas executive director, said.

Ayingsaid the meeting discussed strengthening of communication lines between the various security forces, line agencies and communities to secure Negros from terror threats.

At the Task Force Buglas organizational meeting various suggestions were made that will be included in an amended version of the order of the governor on its creation, Sanogal said.

The task force will hold a one-day planning workshop to flesh out the functions of its various task groups next week, and an anti-terror summit is being eyed for July, Sanogal added.

3rd ID ADC for reservists, retirees named

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 21): 3rd ID ADC for reservists, retirees named

Colonel Aniano Orap-Orap, former deputy commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, has been promoted as the 3 rd Infantry Division assistant division commander for Reservist and Retiree Affairs.

Orap-Orap was installed Monday by Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, 3ID commanding general, in a ceremony held at Camp Macario Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz.

Lt. Col. Arnel Cabugon, 3ID Public Affairs Office chief, said that the ADC for Reservist and Retiree Affairs is a new position created by the Philippine Army in the Division level to invigorate the development program of the Army's Reserve component in its area of responsibility.

Aying emphasized the crucial roles of the RRA, not only to the AFP but to the country and the people.

“The utilization and employment of the AFP Reserve Forces in support to the AFP Development Support Security Plan must be given full support and attention,” Aying said during the installation of Orap-Orap.

Two Army Geographical Battalions were also organized by Aying in the Negros Island Region to support the non-traditional military activities of the Army in the newly-created region.

Orap-Orap promised to do his best in the performance of his duties and responsibilities in support to the attainment of the objectives of the AFP's Development Support Plan.

Col. Inocencio Pasaporte replaced Orap-Orap as the 303 rd Infantry Brigade deputy commander.

NPA hitmen kill ex-Army soldier

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 21): NPA hitmen kill ex-Army soldier

Three suspected New People's Army members yesterday shot and killed a former Army sergeant in Brgy. Lumapao, Canlaon City in Negros Oriental.

The victim was identified by the 303rd Infantry Brigade as former Army Sgt. Ronnie Montejo, formerly of the 11th Infantry Battalion.

Montejo was riding a motorcycle when he was gunned down by three suspects believed to be members of the NPA Special Partisan Unit, two days after the rebel group also raided a police station in Maasin town, Iloilo.

Lt. Col. Arnel Cabugon, Public Affairs Office chief of the 3rd Infantry Division, yesterday said that the motive of the shooting incident is still being determined.

Montejo was reported as an intelligence operative of the 11IB when he was still active in the military service.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, in a statement issued by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said the NPA attack in Maasin, Iloilo, and elsewhere must be dealt with accordingly and decisively by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Police.

It is disheartening to note that such attacks provide a negative impact in our mutual commitment with the National Democratic Front to provide that enabling environment conducive to the continuation of peace negotiations with them, Dureza said.

Since the latest statements of the NDF and the government to mutually refrain from taking offensive operations against each other cover only Mindanao, Dureza clarified that there is yet no mutually agreed bilateral ceasefire agreement in place nationwide.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also criticized the communist hierarchy for failing to rein in its forces after the New People's Army attacked the Maasin police station.

Metro Manila bomb plot memo 'chismis' – police official

From Rappler (Jun 20): Metro Manila bomb plot memo 'chismis' – police official

The cop who signed the internal memorandum – which made the rounds in public – is also sacked pending investigation

 UNVERIFIED. The chief of the NPD says the information in this memorandum is unverified or 'chismis' (rumors).

UNVERIFIED. The chief of the NPD says the information in this memorandum is unverified or 'chismis' (rumors).

 A police official whose subordinate signed a memorandum about an alleged Metro Manila bomb plot said it was "raw intel".

"In short, chismis (rumors)," said Chief Superintendent Roberto Fajardo, chief of the Northern Police District (NPD), referring to a memorandum supposedly written by the Valenzuela City police offices' intelligence chief, Chief Inspector Jowielouie Bonaobra Bilaro.

The memo, which was dated June 16 and supposedly written by Bilaro, detailed an alleged plot by the Maute Group to "conduct bombing in Trinoma, Quezon City, SM Cubao, Quezon City Circle, certain places in Quiapo and Makati."

Fajardo confirmed the authenticity of the document but clarified that it was merely "raw intel." He said in a text message to Rappler on Tuesday, June 20, "But we double check even if it's just chismis (rumors), just to make sure."

Still, Bilaro has been relieved from his post pending investigation.

"That's our question too," said Fajardo when asked how the memorandum went viral through social media and online messaging platforms.

In the supposed memo, the Valenzuela City Police Station's intelligence branch informed community precincts about a "Plan Bombing in Metro Manila."

It reminded community precincts to "initiate counter security measures to prevent government casualty and attacks from the enemy, particularly PNP stations/AFP units and vital installations in your respective AORs (areas of responsibility)."

Metro Manila police chief Director Oscar Albayalde had earlier said they would investigate the memorandum while reminding the public not to share unverified information.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on June 20 also reminded its officers to handle confidential and internal documents properly.

The supposed memo comes as government troops continue to flush out terrorists in Marawi, who attempted to take control of the city on May 23.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Mindanao island under martial law, partly to quell the threat of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups, which earlier pledged allegiance to international terror group Islamic State (ISIS). (READ: 20 ISIS cell groups operate in Mindanao – Calida)

Police in the National Capital Region have remained on alert following a string of high-profile events and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

COA: Delivery of P3-billion worth of PNP firearms, ammo delayed

From Rappler (Jun 21): COA: Delivery of P3-billion worth of PNP firearms, ammo delayed

State auditors say there are firearms and equipment that have not yet been delivered for 3 or more years

Nearly P3-billion worth of firearms, ammunition, and equipment have not yet been delivered by the Procurement Service (PS) to the Philippine National Police (PNP), state auditors said.

In its report released last June 15, the Commission on Audit (COA) said that between 2013 to 2015, the PNP had paid for some P2.998-billion worth of equipment that have yet to be delivered by the PS, an agency under the budget department.

COA said that around P2.103-billion worth of undelivered items were overdue for two years, including the purchase of motorcycles and patrol years. There were also P893.897 million worth of items that were overdue for 3 or more years, and P1.278 million worth of items that have not yet been delivered for over a year.

These items include the following procurements:

2,680 units motorcycle 125cc et al - P1.04 billion
various equipment (887 units motorcycle 125cc et al) balance - P899.631 million
assorted various equipment balance - P342.838 million
1,021 units Patrol Jeep balance - P130.832 million
12,368 units Cal. 9mm balance - P107.843 million
procurement of various equipment balance - P98.913 million
26,667 rounds of 7.62MM ammo - P11.895 million
240,753 rounds of 9mm - P13.498 million
230,000 rounds of 5.56 M855 ammo - P5.074 million
297 units Ca. 5.56 assault rifles - P43.21 million
318 units patrol jeeps - P43.93 million
48 units handheld dual band communications - P32.005 million

“Analysis of reports monitoring the liquidation/deliveries of APRs (agency procurement requests) showed that only 7.38% (worth P241.784 million) of prior years’ and 0.07% (worth P3.262 million) of CY 2016 purchases/requisitions were delivered during the year,” auditors said.

COA also suggested that the PNP stop transferring funds to the PS, noting that it had transferred P4.112 billion worth of funds last year despite the slow delivery of equipment.

“Almost all of the funds transferred are intended for the procurement of equipment under the Capability Enhancement Program of the Philippine National Police. The additional fund transfer has further increased the outstanding balance by 117.97% or P7,142,087,984.62,” COA said.

Included among the PNP's 2016 purchase requests were various firearms and ammunition, patrol jeeps, and digital handheld radio units.

BIFF attacks North Cotabato village, holds 5 civilians hostage

From Rappler (Jun 21): BIFF attacks North Cotabato village, holds 5 civilians hostage

(3RD UPDATE) Members of the BIFF are holding civilian hostages used as human shields as they fled government forces

(3rd UPDATE) – Clashes between troops and members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in North Cotabato's Pigcawayan town were reported Wednesday morning, June 21.

The BIFF was said to be holding hostage "at least 5 civilians."

An initial police report said that the hostages were students of Malagakit Elementary School, but the military later clarified that none of the hostages were students.

The police said the firefight erupted after 300 "fully armed" BIFF fighters launched early morning attacks on a Barangay People's Augmentation Team (BPAT) outpost in Barangay Malagakit and a CAFGU detachment in Barangay Simsiman.

Pigcawayan Mayor Eliseo Garsesa placed the number of gunmen at around 200.

The police said the gunmen were reportedly led by commanders identified as Abunawas Damiog, Abu Zaiden, and Abu Sala.

The police said Pigcawayan police helped the local government evacuate affected civilians. They had also set up checkpoints, secured the municipal building, and coordinated with barangay officials and the military on the incident.

Around 513 people were evacuated ‪from Barangay Malagakit to the poblacion‬, and also from Banucagon and Panatan, the police said.

The attack happened as the military accused the BIFF of planning to reinforce the terrorists fighting troops government in Marawi City. (READ: 62 soldiers, cops killed in 4-week Marawi crisis)

Sources said, however, that a BIFF faction responsible for Wednesday's attack had no links to ISIS. The BIFF supposedly suffered a split after the death of founder Ameril Umra Kato in 2015.

Enemy retreat
Military spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said in a Palace news briefing late Wednesday morning that the incident had been "resolved."

"Umatras na po ang kalaban (The enemy has retreated)....It's already resolved," Padilla said in response to questions about the incident.

He said the area has been secured, and troops were on "pursuit mode" against the BIFF.

Padilla confirmed that the BIFF members had taken hostages which they used as "human shields" as they fled pursuing government troops, but he had yet to receive information on whether they had been released at the time of the news conference, which was before noontime Wednesday.

"In the withdrawal phase of the armed group, they used some civilians as human shields....We are just ascertaining if they have released at least 5 civilians they have held [hostage]," Padilla said.

In an interview on Brigada News FM, BIFF spokesman Abu Misry Mama confirmed their men launched the attack on Pigcawayan but denied that they held the "teachers and students" hostage. He claimed that the BIFF members just "secured" them to "protect them" following the clash.

'Opportunistic' attack

Padilla described the BIFF attack as an "opportunistic activity" rather than a diversionary tactic. He also noted that since the incident happened between 5 am and 6 am, less people were affected.

"They are taking advantage of the situation. [They think] that we have a very lightly defended outpost and they think our forces are elsewhere in the province. Our forces are spread all over. We have been facing many fronts pero maayos na na-assign lahat ng puwersa na harapin ang mga banta (but all the forces have been properly assigned to respond to any threat)," Padilla said.

When asked, he said the attack could not be called a "spillover" of the Marawi clashes, since the BIFF came from elsewhere.

Chief Inspector Realan Mamon did not dismiss the possibility that the attack was meant to veer the military's attention from the Marawi siege. Mamon said in a radio interview that the attack could be a diversionary tactic to ease pressure on local terrorists in Marawi, which is 160 kilometers from the North Cotabato town.

The BIFF is a breakaway group of the dominant Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is talking peace with the Philippine government. (READ: ‪4 PH terror groups link up with pro-ISIS fighters in region‬)

The BIFF broke away from the MILF as it differed with the latter in its demands from the government.

AFP downplayed ISIS threat as part of psychological ops – Año

From Rappler (Jun 21): AFP downplayed ISIS threat as part of psychological ops – Año

AFP chief General Eduardo Año cites an order to the military to downplay 'news or information' on ISIS 'so as not to give them recognition and fan the flames of rebellion'

PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE. AFP Chief General Eduardo Año is a veteran intelligence officer who scored big arrests of communist leaders. Photo from Malacañang

PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE. AFP Chief General Eduardo Año is a veteran intelligence officer who scored big arrests of communist leaders. Photo from Malacañang

As part of its psychological operations in its war on terror, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was ordered to downplay the presence of global terror group ISIS in the Philippines, according to its chief.
AFP Chief General Eduardo Año admitted this is his affidavit quoted by Solicitor General Jose Calida in a memorandum submitted to the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday, June 19.
"That despite the actual threat of ISIS in the Philippines, there had been a directive to all AFP spokesperson and personnel to downplay any news or information pertaining to this collective group. This is so as not to give them recognition and fan the flames of rebellion," Año said in his affidavit quoted by Calida.
The AFP chief was referring to the repeated statements of AFP Public Affairs Office Chief Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo on May 24 that the military was in "full control of the situation" of the siege in Marawi City.
In the same statement, Arevalo also said "the armed men we are dealing with are not ISIS but members of a local terrorist group."
After May 24, the military would admit the ISIS links of the Maute terror group which would become the main defense of the government for the sufficient factual basis of President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Año also said in his affidavit that the statements downplaying ISIS' presence in the country "were made to encourage foreign investments and maintain confidence in the Philippine economy."
According to Calida, this is part of the military's psychological operations in its war against terrorists "to mislead, intimidate, demoralize, or otherwise influence the thinking or behavior of an opponent."

"What Petitioners failed to consider is that while the conflict is real, these statements were made as part of the AFP’s psychological operations," Calida said.
Therefore, Calida said, Arevalo's statements quoted by news reports and used by petitioners against the government are not valid because they were just part of the so-called psywar.
"The unreliability of these news reports to establish facts in a judicial proceeding becomes even more evident in the face of psychological warfare,” Calida said.
During the oral arguments on petitions against martial law in Mindanao, Solicitor General had revealed that the military had prior knowledge of a plot to establish an ISIS caliphate in Mindanao, and even the plot to attack Marawi City.
Calida also claimed there were 20 ISIS cell groups operating in Mindanao, though Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told Rappler these groups have been reduced to an insignificant number and not a cause for panic.
Rommel Banlaoi, chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, had also said that Calida's list of ISIS cell groups may be inaccurate because it includes double entries and the Balik-Islam Group, which is dominated by Muslim converts who "very peaceful, very democratic, and very tolerant."

Joint AFP-PNP council tackle Marawi security, Martial Law

From the Mindanao Times (Jun 21): Joint AFP-PNP council tackle Marawi security, Martial Law

TOP MILITARY and police officials the current peace and order situation and Martial Law implementation during the Mindanao-wide AFP-PNP Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council meeting in Cagayan de Oro City.

Gen. Eduardo Ano, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), told TIMES yesterday that they discussed updates on the ongoing Marawi crisis.

Ano said they also agreed on signing of additional operational guidelines for the AFP and PNP on the implementation of Martial Law.

“The implementation already include the roles of each unit in the arrest or search of target personalities,” he added.

Ano and PNP Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, the the national co-chairs of the council, gave their respective messages during the meeting.
Present also during the meeting were Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, commander of Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom); Brig. Gen. Ramiro Manuel Rey, commander of Joint Task Force Ranao; Brig. Gen. Isidro Purisima, chief of operations of AFP.

They presented the proposed operational guidelines for the Martial Law implementation in Mindanao, the concept plan for the post-conflict and rehab phase for Marawi city, and the Daesh link to local terrorist groups.

Aside from using and peddling illegal drugs—with the recovery of 11 kilos of shabu in the Maute stronghold in Marawi City–the Maute and ASG terrorists are also using Mosques as sniper positions, logistics hub, and safe havens for the command and control of their core group.

Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of 1st Infantry Division, slammed the terrorists for their continued use of mosques as battle positions and the use of drugs.
“We condemn the acts of the Maute/ASG in using Mosques as battle positions as we deplore their use of illegal drugs that is equally evil as both are Un-Islamic,” said Bautista.

BIFF attacks NorthCot town; DepEd orders suspension of classes

From MindaNews (Jun 21): BIFF attacks NorthCot town; DepEd orders suspension of classes

Suspected Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacked an Army outpost in a village in the municipality of Pigcawayan, North Cotabato early morning Wednesday, police said.

Chief Insp. Realan Mamon, municipal police station chief, said the armed group traveled from the marsh in nearby Kabuntalan and Northern Kabuntalan towns in Maguindanao and went to Barangay Malagakit in Pigcawayan where they attacked an outpost of the 34th Infantry Battalion.

The attackers, according to the 34IB, were led by a certain Commander Aguila of the BIFF.

The exchange of fires led a number of families in Barangay Malagakit to flee, according to Mamon.

The 34IB, along with staff from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management of the Pigcawayan LGU, reportedly led the rescue of these families and brought them to the town’s poblacion, particularly at the multi-purpose building, as their temporary shelter.

Others are housed at Barangay South Manuangan, also in Pigcawayan, and at Barangay Panatan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

None was believed wounded or killed on the government side, Mamon said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) in Region 12 said that the armed clashes caused the disruption of classes in Pigcawayan and neighboring Midsayap town.

In a text message, DepEd 12 spokesperson Antonio Maganto said classes were suspended in two elementary schools in Barangay Rapacon and Malingao in Midsayap, North Cotabato. These villages are adjacent to Barangay Malagakit.

He said DepEd 12 also ordered suspension of classes at all levels in Pigcawayan’s west district due to the ongoing clashes between government forces and the BIFF.

Maganto also reported that a school in Barangay Simsiman, also in Pigcawayan, was ransacked by the armed men.

He said they based their report on a statement issued by the security guard assigned at Simsiman High School that said the attack happened around 4 a.m. on Wednesday. The still unidentified guard, according to him, managed to escape and sought refuge at the nearest military detachment at Barangay Malagakit.

The reports from DepEd 12, however, have yet to be verified, according to Mamon.

“So far, based on our monitoring, no school in our area of responsibility had been attacked by the BIFF members,” he said in an interview over DXND.

Jihadist group raids Philippine town

From the Mindanao Examiner (Jun 21): Jihadist group raids Philippine town

Jihadist fighters armed with automatic weapons swooped down early Wednesday on a southern Filipino town and attacked military posts and schools and escaped with at least 5 civilian hostages used as shield against pursuing army soldiers, officials said.

Officials said more troops were sent to pursue the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Pigcawayan town following the daring raid. Fighting broke out in at least 2 villages and sent civilians fleeing into safer areas to avoid getting trapped in the battle.

At least 200 militants, whose group pledged support to the Islamic State, were said to have attacked and ransacked several schools, but there were no reports of civilian casualties. Abu Misry Mama, a spokesman for the BIFF, confirmed his group launched simultaneous attacks against military targets and said they took several civilians during their escape.

The BIFF raid coincided with the on-going battle between local ISIS fighters and security forces in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur province. But a military spokesman, Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, was quick to say that the BIFF attack was not connected to the Marawi crisis, now entering its second month. “It was purely an opportunistic attack and is not connected to the Marawi fighting,” he said.

The Department of Education in North Cotabato has suspended classes in the town, citing the breakout of violence in the area. It did not say when classes would resume, although the fighting was reported in the villages of Malagakit and Simsiman.

It was unclear how the BIFF managed to launch attacks without being detected by the police and military in the town and during the state of martial law imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte in the region in an effort to quell the ISIS rebellion in Marawi and other parts of the Mindanao. Security officials would not say if there was failure in intelligence gathering or lapses in security in the province.

Just recently, security forces also killed 2 alleged  BIFF members in a firefight in Maguindanao’s Shariff Aguak town. Officials said policemen, backed by soldiers, were trying to arrest Raul Angkay and Edz Dalending when they engaged security personnel in a gun battle.

Angkay was also included in the list of wanted terrorists. Troops also recovered a .45-caliber pistol and a fragmentation grenade from Angkay. No other details were made available by officials.

Authorities nab rebel instructor in Surigao City

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 21): Authorities nab rebel instructor in Surigao City

An alleged political instructor was recently apprehended by the joint elements of the Philippine Army (PA) and Philippine National Police (PNP) here.

Civil Military Operations officer 2Lt. Jonel Castillo of the 30th Infantry Battalion, PA identified the suspect as Rovelyn Mahimay a.k.a Apple/Apo, "one of the best political instructors at Medic Samahang Partido sa Platon (SPP) 1, Guerilla Front (GF) 30, Northeastern Mindanao Regional Command (NEMRC)."

She was apprehended by virtue of warrant of arrest on June 15, 2017 in Sitio Tumanday II, barangay Rizal, this city.

“The subject person was presently in Surigao City to stabilize the IPO (Ideological, Political, Organizational) works of the SPP 1, GF-30 NEMRC and to train medics of the NPA platoons in Surigao del Norte,” Castillo said.

The authorities recovered from her position one improvised explosive device (IED) with blasting cap and detonating cord.

Castillo, further said the subject person has a pending case of two rebellion and one frustrated murder and is now at the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-13.

BIFF attacks NoCot villages

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 21): BIFF attacks NoCot villages

An undetermined number of suspected Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on Wednesday attacked two villages in the borders of North Cotabato and Maguindanao, police said.

Chief Inspector Realan Mamon, chief of Pigcawayan PNP, said the BIFF first harassed the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) outpost in Barangay Malagakit which resulted to a fierce firefight.

The tension now centers in Barangay Malagakit and the adjacent Barangay Simsiman, forcing hundreds of residents to flee.

Mamon said the lawless group was led by Commander Aguila that operates in the boundary of Pigcawayan and Northern Kabuntalan town of Maguindanao.

He also confirmed that nobody was hurt as of posting time.

The LGU quickly suspended classes in all levels in Malagakit, Simsiman and nearby villages to guarantee the safety of students.

Mamon has yet to confirm reports circulating that some students were held hostage by the rebels.

Meantime, joint elements of military and PNP are conducting pursuit operations against the BIFF.

The Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (MDRRM) rescued some residents and brought them to an evacuation center nearby.

Filipinos must unite to defeat terror threats - Lorenzana

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 21): Filipinos must unite to defeat terror threats - Lorenzana

As military units continue to capture and neutralize remaining Maute Group positions in Marawi City, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday urged the Filipino people to unite with the government to defeat terrorism.

"As government security forces continue to defeat and retake positions from ISIS-linked local terrorists, we see the need, now more than ever, for the Filipino people to unite against these forces of evil," he added.

Lorenzana also stressed that terrorism is against all ideals and aspirations of peace-loving Filipinos.

"It is anti-environment, anti-people, anti-country, and anti-God," the DND chief added.

In the fourth week of the conflict which started May 23, a total of 258 Maute Group terrorists have been killed along with 65 troops and police officers along with 26 civilians.

Also, a total of 16 buildings, formally occupied by the lawless elements, have been captured in the past few days.

Fighting as of this posting are still confined in four barangays, adding that the use of snipers, improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades are slowing down the progress of military personnel engaged in clearing operations.

"Let us all show our strong rejection of the terrorists and their sympathizers' futile attempts to sway the hearts and minds of our people by ignoring and reporting terrorist-linked and suspicious social media accounts to the proper authorities. We must also be very discerning in sharing any information that may cause undue panic that would further the enemy's agenda," Lorenzana concluded.

Duterte won't allow civil war under his watch

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 21): Duterte won't allow civil war under his watch

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, June 20, said his administration will not allow a civil war to break out among Filipinos suffering the brunt of war.

"Ang malakas na driving force nila mapalitan na itong nationalism o 'yung paghinakit nila nawalaan sila ng lupa at malipat doon sa ISIS na philosophy, gulo na 'yan," the Chief Executive told soldiers during his visit at Camp BGen. Edilberto Evangelista Station Hospital, 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City.

"Gulo na 'yan kasi ang mga Kristiyano sa Mindanao, mag-a-armas rin. Iyan ang ating hindi na pwedeng payagan kasi 'pag ang mag-armas na ang civilian rin, it will be a civil war," the President noted.

The Chief Executive visited wounded-in-action soldiers and awarded them Wounded Personnel Medals. They also received cash aid, among other assistance.

"So ang trabaho natin dalawa na: How to hold itong mga Kristiyanos na may armas at ito namang IS sa Maute. Kaya ang pag-asa natin diyan mapabilisin natin ang peace talks tapos sabihin ko sa kay Murad pati sa MI, 'Kayo na ang bahala diyan. Tutal kung ‘yan ang gusto ninyong lugar, Central Mindanao -- Lanao, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, 'yan inyo. Huwag na lang tayong mag-away'," he said.

In an interview with reporters following his visit, the Chief Executive said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is about to submit its version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

"The BBL tapos na. And the MI will give it to me, I will sign it doon sa Eid'l Fitr," he told reporters.

"And if I find things in order, I will sign it. And wait for the document, the formal one and I'll send it to Congress," he said, noting that it's the only way to achieve peace in Mindanao is "we go federalism."

Meanwhile, the Commander-in-Chief expressed gratitude to the government troops and expressed condolence to the grieving families, adding that he would have wanted to personally extend his condolences.

"So pasasalamat ako sa serbisyo ninyo at ganoon lang man ang mga… Iyong namatay natin mga kapatid, kasama na ‘yung sundalo, gusto kong puntahan isa-isa ‘yung mga pamilya pero hindi ko lang talaga kaya kasi busy ako," he said.

"But I want to just express to them my sincerest condolence. At ako man ang unang… nasasaktan diyan. Ako ‘yung Commander-in-Chief ninyo," he said.

Police personnel to be penalized for leaking internal memo

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 21): Police personnel to be penalized for leaking internal memo

Sanctions will be meted out against police personnel who allegedly leaked an internal memorandum claiming that ISIS, Maute Group and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters terrorists and their allies are planning to conduct attacks in key cities in Metro Manila this coming June 30.

In the same memorandum, which also circulated in the social media, these same groups will also allegedly hijack petroleum and LPG delivery trucks and convert them into bombs for use in their suicide attacks.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos said the information contained in the memorandum was still raw and unverified and still subject for verification.

The same memorandum originated from the PNP Aviation Security Group last June 18.

Sanctions will be meted against police personnel found to have leaked this memorandum as the information is intended for the internal use of the PNP, he added.

Immigration tightens passenger-screening to thwart entry of foreign jihadists

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 21): Immigration tightens passenger-screening to thwart entry of foreign jihadists

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday ordered its officers officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other ports of entry in the country to tighten screening of arriving foreign passengers, particularly from countries where jihadists came from.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente directed Marc Red Mariñas, the bureau’s port operations division chief, to subject all foreigner nationals to a stringent inspection, following reports that some of the terrorists fighting government troops in Marawi City are foreign nationals.

"Those who have questionable documents or doubtful purposes in coming to the country should be excluded and booked on the first available flight to their port of origin,” he said in a statement.

Morente noted that it was difficult to assess and establish if an arriving foreign visitor was a suspected terrorist, especially if the latter was completely documented and able to satisfactorily answer questions propounded to him by the immigration officer.

"That is why we have in our database the names of thousands of suspected international terrorists that were given to us by the different law enforcement and intelligence agencies here and abroad,” he said.

The BI chief explained that a foreign passenger whose name and description matches the person appearing in our derogatory list is immediately turned back and barred from entering the country.

On the other hand, Mariñas noted that aside from alerting BI personnel in all the international airports, he also issued a similar directive to immigration officers assigned to the southern seaports and border crossing stations in the South.

"They were instructed to coordinate with the military and police authorities in their areas in conducting border screening formalities for foreigners arriving in their respective ports,” he said.

Mariñas believed that most of the foreign jihadists now involve in the Marawi siege entered the country via the backdoor and did not pass inspection by immigration authorities, given the country’s long and porous shorelines.

On the other hand, BI Spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang did not identify the nations that have allegedly links to extremist organizations.

Aguirre replaces head of prosecutors handling Maute raps

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 21): Aguirre replaces head of prosecutors handling Maute raps

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II replaces the chairman of panel 2 of prosecutors that will conduct the inquest proceedings and preliminary investigations of all cases from Marawi and Lanao del Sur.

In a one-page department order, Aguirre said acting on the letter of Senior Assistant Regional Prosecutor Merlynn Barola-Uy, over-all chairperson, centralized prosecution office for Lanao Del Sur and Marawi City that panel 2 OIC-PP Mangontawar Gubat will be replaced by Celso M. Sarsaba, Deputy City Prosecutor (Officer-in-charge Iligan City) and his members Assistant City Prosecutor Abdullah D. Macagaan (OCP-Cagayan De Oro City) and Assistant Provincial Presecutor Gerald Cecilio P. Roa (OPP-Misamis Oriental).

“Acting on the June 14, 2017 letter of Barola-Uy, over-all chairperson centralized prosecution office for Lanao Del Sur and Marawi City, in connection with the voluntary inhibition of OIC-PP Mangontawar Gubat, as chairperson of Panel 2. This order modified the Department Order nos.348-B dated June 8, 2017 and 348-D dated June 9, 2017 and takes effect immediately and shall remain in force until further,” read the order signed by Aguirre.

The creation of Centralized Prosecution Office for the province of Lanao del Sur and Marawi City will consist of four panels of prosecutors headed by one prosecutor per panel as chairperson.

Uy is one of the chairpersons, the others being City Prosecutor Eduardo Cueto of Iligan, Provincial Prosecutor Chuchi Azis of Misamis Oriental, and Senior State Prosecutor Lilian Doris Alejo of DOJ Manila.

Each panel would have two member-prosecutors and each group will take turns in handling inquest and preliminary investigations of all criminal complaints for rebellion involving the Maute Terror Group in the entire province of Lanao del Sur and Marawi City.

In a separate department order, Aguirre ordered additional of five prosecutors - three from Cagayan de Oro City and two from Misamis Oriental - due to difficulties in accommodating numerous respondents by existing panel of prosecutors.

The pool of prosecutors namely, Alfonso S. Vicente Jr., Louie L. Borja, Ansharey S. Lalia were all Assistant City Prosecutors of Cagayan De Oro City, Assistant Provincial Prosecutors Lito A. Sanchez and Tadeo V. Polestico were both from Misamis Oriental will be assisted in the inquest proceedings of rebellion cases involving the Maute group.

On Tuesday, around 12 suspected members of the Maute terrorist group, who were arrested last June 16 in a hospital in Pagadian City, underwent inquest proceedings for rebellion in Cagayan de Oro city.

Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes said the 12 faced the prosecutors handling the case during the proceedings at the headquarters of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division in Camp Evangelista which was earlier designated by the Supreme Court for the trial of the cases against the Mautes and their supporters.

Balmes said originally 13 suspects would have to undergo the proceedings but one of them died in the hospital while undergoing treatment.

Facing charges of rebellion are Racma Macatuon Talib, Lambo Ampaso Ameril, Huwarda Macatuon Talib, Cosnia M. Talib, Sanabae Saliling Macatuon, Amerodin Capga Ameril, Yusoph Taha Halil, Dima Ampaso Ali, Sapacan Mustapha Talib also known as Sapacan Sabar Talibm Halil Saliliing Ali, Mansawi Imam Gumobat and Lanoden Macatuon Dimarugong.

Junaid A. Dimarugong, alias Ameodin Ameril, was also arrested with the 12, but according to Balmes, Dimarugong died in the hospital.

He said that after the inquest, the prosecutors would evaluate whether to elevate the case against the suspects to the regional trial court or not.

Earlier, the Department of Justice (DoJ) approved the filing of rebellion charges against Ominta Tamano "Farhana" Maute, mother of Mauter group leaders Abdullah and Omar, former Marawi City Mayor Fahad Salic and nine others in connection to the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur before the Cagayan De Oro City Regional Trial Court (RTC).

”The centralized Prosecution Office of Lanao Del Sure and Marawi City accuses [the 11 individuals] of the crime of rebellion under Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code,” read the four-page resolution dated June 13, 2017 was signed by Prosecutors Ramonchito Bienvenido Ocampo Jr. and Liezel Aquiatan.

Rebellion is a non-bailable offense.

Aside from Salic and Maute, also charged in court are Sumaya Bangkit Masakal, Radiea Tugosa Asire, Mariam Ibnu Abubakar, Zafeerah Rosales Musa, Nehreen Macaraya Abdul, Nora Moctar Limgas, Mardiyya Haji Ali, Sumayya Lawi Ali and Noronisa Haji Camal.

All 11 accused were included in the list of over 300 individuals identified as members of the Maute group, the Abu Sayyaf group, and their sympathizers earlier ordered arrested by the government for the crime of rebellion.

They were indicted after investigating prosecutors found probable cause to file the case in court following inquest proceedings held at their temporary detention cell in Camp Evangelista in Cagayan De Oro City.

Marawi city is the site of clashes between security forces and Maute members since the latter attacked the city last month.

DOJ records showed that there were 89 Maute members facing kidnapping and kidnapping with murder cases before the Malabang Regional Trial Court in Lanao Del Sur.

Philippines: Marawi Conflict Displacement Snapshot (20 June 2017)

Posted to the Relief Web (Jun 21): Philippines: Marawi Conflict Displacement Snapshot (20 June 2017)

Published on 21 Jun 2017
Almost one month after the Marawi armed conflict started, over 314,800 people are now displaced. 94 per cent are staying with host families, while 17,700 (6%) people are staying in 83 evacuation centres.
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

Philippines: Returnees - DREF operation update No. 1 - DREF operation n° MDRPH025

Posted to the Relief Web (Jun 15): Philippines: Returnees - DREF operation update No. 1 - DREF operation n° MDRPH025

Published on 15 Jun 2017 View Original

DREF update n° 1: 15 June 2017

Timeframe covered by this update: 31 March 2017 – 25 May 2017

This Operation Update informs the extension of the operation’s timeframe by two months (until 31 August 2017). The extension allows the chapter in providing support to the individuals who are not able to return within the initial timeframe of the operation due to issues on documentation and transportation.

A. Situation analysis

Description of the situation

Since 15 February 2017, there has been a rapid increase in the number of Filipino returnees from the state of Sabah in Malaysia arriving in Zamboanga City, Mindanao. Most of the returnees are coming from the eastern part of Sabah such as Semporna, Tawau, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Sandakan- Romero and Sandakan-Kumunak. While repatriations were procedural and common prior to the increase, the sinking of a vessel that previously transported the returnees prompted suspension of the exercise in September 2016. The suspension led to a backlog of repatriations of approximately 7,000 undocumented Filipino migrants in Sabah.

As of 26 May, a total of 2,382 returnees have arrived since the exercise started on 15 February.

Following the arrival of sixth batch of returnees on 22 March, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) leadership and Zamboanga City chapter determined that they needed to increase their capacity to respond to the needs of the returnees. On 23 March, the leadership of PRC communicated formally to seek support from the IFRC Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). The request was made after a dialogue between the PRC national headquarters, PRC chapters in Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga City, local government counter parts and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Based on assessments conducted through key informant interviews with returnees, the immediate needs were temporary accommodation, food, sleeping materials, hygiene items, medical support and psychosocial support.

By mid-April, the number of returnees began to slow down and PRC have now requested an extension of the operation timeframe until 31 August 2017. There are two main reasons. Firstly, the flow of returnees has slowed down due to congested shipping lines transporting the returnees from Sabah to Zamboanga and the expected number of 7,000 returnees is yet to be reached. Secondly, on 25 May, the Government of Philippines declared a state of Martial Law due to the Marawi crisis which may have an impact in the future.

The extension will also allow PRC to undertake an internal review of the response and lessons learnt workshop. Considering the local context of key information who will be involved in the review and lessons learnt workshop, it is appropriate that these activities are undertaken after the end of Ramadan.