Thursday, November 23, 2017

Army eyes 300 new recruits in Panay

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): Army eyes 300 new recruits in Panay

Panay Island is in need of 300 additional soldiers, Capt. Eduardo Precioso Jr., spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division based in Jamindan, Capiz said on Wednesday.

Precioso said the new recruits would form part of the 20,000 additional soldiers needed by the Army across the country.

With this, the Army Recruitment Office will conduct the Armed Forces of the Philippines Service Aptitude Test (AFPSAT) in Camp Peralta, Jamindan, Capiz on November 23-24 as part of their ongoing recruitment activities.

Precioso said that young Filipinos particularly in Panay, who aspire to become soldiers and to serve the people, are encouraged to take the written examination as scheduled.

Interested applicants should bring birth certificate from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA); College Diploma and Transcript of Record or Form 137 and diploma for High School graduates; 2x2 pictures; valid identification card and pencil.

According to Precioso, the pre-entry written exam would be for three hours and would be conducted per batch.

Qualifiers for the written examination will further undergo a series of examinations like physical and neuropsychological test and training.

Currently, there are three Philippine Army battalions in Panay island. They are 82nd Infantry Battalion (IB) based in Miag-ao, Iloilo; 61st Infantry Battalion (61 IB) based in Calinog, Iloilo; and 12th Infantry Battalion based in Banga, Aklan.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1016774

Military foils NPA plan to sabotage ASEAN Summit

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): Military foils NPA plan to sabotage ASEAN Summit

Military officials here revealed on Wednesday that they have foiled a plan by the terrorist New Peoples’ Army to sabotage the ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings.

Brigadier General Arnulfo Marcelo B. Burgos Jr, commander of the Army’s 202nd Infantry Brigade which supervises the operations. said an enemy encampment was discovered on Nov. 19 by troops from the 730th Combat Group of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) under Major Engelberto Nioda.

“The encampment is believed to have been occupied by NPA terrorists belonging to KLG Honda, the same NPA group which incurred heavy casualties during our focused military operations in Batangas City last September,” Burgos said.

On Monday (Nov. 20), government forces encountered the NPA terrorists in Barangay Utod in Nasugbu, Batangas around 8:18 a.m.

The military reported no casualty on the part of the government while the NPA is believed to have suffered undetermined number of casualties during their encounters.

Maj. Gen. Rhoderick M. Parayno, acting commander of the AFP’s Southern Luzon Command, disclosed that the NPAs which the government forces engaged have been on the run since September.

“Because of the PNP and soldiers’ sacrifices, commitment and dedication to their mission, the insurgents’ plans were disrupted and the terrorists were never given an elbow room to execute those plans,” he said.

Parayno added that pursuit operations have been launched against the NPAs.

“We have tapped and placed all military available assets, including aircraft, on red alert. The NPAs will face the full might of the government,” he warned.

He also vowed the military forces would protect the Filipino people from fear and atrocities which the NPA terrorists plan to sow while ensuring the safety of citizens in the area.

Capt. Melchor R. Durante, 2nd Infantry Division (2ID) public affairs office chief, also revealed that since the first week of October, joint AFP and PNP forces had been conducting security operations to ensure the country’s peaceful and successful hosting of the ASEAN Summit 2017.

The 2ID reported that intensified clearing operations were part of the security preparations for the high profile meetings among ASEAN and Dialogue Partners leaders held in Manila and neighboring provinces last week.

It also confirmed that government forces had been placed on high alert prior to ASEAN 2017 after recovering documents, including sketches, detailing terrorist plans to conduct tactical offensives in the region with the primary purpose of humiliating the Philippine government before the international community.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1016788

Antique guv: NPA-PNP encounter isolated incident

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): Antique guv: NPA-PNP encounter isolated incident

Antique Governor Rhodora J. Cadiao has assured that the clash between the police and New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Sitio Tumagad of Barangay Pis-anan in Sibalom town on Wednesday was an isolated incident.

The police force and the provincial government are “on top of the situation”, Cadiao stressed in her press statement released Thursday.

“We are giving all-out support to the police for the maintenance of peace and order,” she said.

The Wednesday encounter took place after policemen received a call that a Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) detachment in upper Barangay Bulalacao in Sibalom was strafed by NPA rebels earlier that day.

The Sibalom Municipal Police Station sent out a team to carry out preventive patrolling. But on their way to the CAFGU detachment, the team was hit by a landmine explosion in Barangay Pis-anan which damaged their patrol car and van.

A 15-minute firefight between the NPAs and the policemen ensued where three policemen were injured.

Cadiao said the provincial government is extending assistance to PO3 Gabby Orantes, who underwent surgery at the Angel Salazar Memorial Hospital in San Jose de Buenavista on Wednesday, due to a gunshot wound in the stomach.

Police Officers 3 Michael Alejo and Salvador Cordero suffered minor injuries and were treated at the Ramon Maza Sr. District Hospital in Sibalom.

It was uncertain if the NPA rebels suffered any casualty.

News of the encounter prompted Sibalom Mayor Joel Occena to immediately suspend classes on Wednesday.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1016823

Cops foil bombing try at Sultan Kudarat festival

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): Cops foil bombing try at Sultan Kudarat festival

ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat—Civilians and police authorities prevented Wednesday night a bombing attempt, in what could have been a bloody culmination program of a local festival here.

Police Senior Supt. Raul Supiter, Sultan Kudarat police provincial director, said combined police and force multipliers consisting of civilian volunteers discovered the homemade bomb left on a roadside in Barangay Kalawag here, where people had been gathering for the week-long Kalimudan (Thanksgiving) Festival.
Supt. Supiter said police bomb experts were quickly deployed and disarmed the powerful improvised explosive device (IED) made of black powder, cut nails and metal sheets with torch as triggering device around 9:30 p.m.

He said it was placed by still unidentified men in the middle of parked vehicles near the main entrance of the provincial capitol grounds, the venue of culminating program.

Supiter said the IED could blow up a car and could send its metal shrapnel to as far as 500 meters away had it exploded. He lauded the alert civilians tasked by police to serve as eyes and ears against lawless elements out to disrupt the festival.

Following the attempt, more soldiers from the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion had been deployed as the celebration lasts until December.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1016836

Hopes high as advocates mark Mindanao Week of Peace

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): Hopes high as advocates mark Mindanao Week of Peace

Peace advocates in Mindanao are not losing hope genuine peace is still attainable in the island and country as a whole.

A Roman Catholic bishop, who has been working for peace, will lead this year’s celebration of Mindanao Week of Peace that features various activities promoting peace and solidary among Mindanao’s tri-people constituents of Christians, Muslims and “Lumads” (natives).

The Mindanao Week of Peace starts on Nov. 29-Dec. 6 with this year’s theme: “Owning Mindanao’s History for Peace and Development.”

In a statement released here today, Kidapawan Diocesan Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, DCC, said two major activities would form part of programs prepared by peace advocates in various areas in Mindanao.

Bishop Bagaforo said he believes that genuine peace is still a big possibility in Mindanao amid rising violence and terrorism.

“We will not stop working for peace, nobody can stop peace advocates from doing their shares in our desire to have peace in our land,” he said in one of his recent homilies.

For the Diocese of Kidapawan, a Peace Summit to be held at the North Cotabato provincial capitol gymnasium will kick off the weeklong celebration. Expected to participate are multi-sectoral groups to include local government units, representatives from the military, police, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other security sectors.

Another activity where various sectors were invited to actively participate is the Bike for Peace which Bishop Bagaforo, a bike enthusiast, will personally lead.

Bagaforo said thousands of bike enthusiasts from three areas of Kidapawan, Marbel and Cotabato, more known as KIDMACO, have expressed desire to participate and share their simple contribution for the attainment of peace in the island.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1016837

Terror group 'member' nabbed in Sarangani

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): Terror group 'member' nabbed in Sarangani 

Police operatives arrested in an outskirt village in Maasim town Wednesday an alleged member of a terrorist cell operating in Sarangani Province.

Police Sr. Supt. Joseph Semillano, Sarangani police director, identified the suspect as Akbar Maguid Buyoc alias Abu Saipen, who was arrested in an operation at around 3:15 a.m. insidee his residence in Sitio Dampilan, Barangay Lumatil in Maasim.

Buyoc is tagged as directly involved in several bomb attacks in the area staged by terror group Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines (AKP).

Operatives recovered during a search at the suspect's house a PRB 423 fragmentation grenade, Supt. Semillano said.

Semillano said Buyoc was arrested based on Arrest Order No. 2 issued last June 5 by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, in line with the declared martial law in the entire Mindanao.

It directed law enforcement authorities to "arrest, take into custody and conduct/continue the investigation" of the 185 persons "for violation of Article 134 (Rebellion) of the Revised Penal Code" and any crime related to it.

The listed subjects were alleged members/supporters/spies/couriers of the Maute group, Abu Sayyaf Group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Maguid Group (AKP). Number 83 in the list was named "Akbar Buyo," reportedly referring to the suspect.

Citing intelligence reports, Semillano said Buyoc was a close ally of alleged AKP founder Mohammad Jaafar Sabewang Maguid alias “Tokboy,” who was killed in an encounter with police operatives in January at a beach resort in Kiamba, Sarangani.

He said the suspect handled the purchase of bomb-making materials for the AKP as tasked by Maguid.

AKP, which has pledged support to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, had been blamed over a string of terror attacks in Sarangani and neighboring areas these past years.

"We're continuously conducting intelligence monitoring for alleged regrouping activities of AKP remnants," Semillano said in a press conference.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1016832

TC-90 to help PH Fleet identify threats, says commander

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): TC-90 to help PH Fleet identify threats, says commander

The newly-activated Japanese-donated Beechcraft King Air TC-90 will help the Philippine Fleet determine the exact capability needed to defeat a particular threat in the country's waters, a Navy official said.

"(The) TC-90 will have a big role in maritime air surveillance, which is a critical component of naval operations. It will provide a bigger and better perspective of the operating environment, which is crucial for decision making because it will determine the type of capability needed to address a certain threat," Philippine Fleet commander, Rear Adm. Gaudencio Collado, said Tuesday.

TC-90 with tail number 390, one of the two Japanese aircraft donated to the Philippines last March 27, was activated during short ceremonies at Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite City on Tuesday.

Its activation will boost the operations and maritime air surveillance capabilities of the Naval Air Group (NAG).

With the completion of this process, the plane is mission-ready and could be deployed to any area designated by the Navy headquarters.

Prior to its activation, the TC-90 was fitted with navigation and maritime air surveillance equipment, apart from other upgrades.

Philippine Fleet spokesperson, Lt. Sahirul Taib, earlier said no schedule has been set on the activation of the second TC-90.

The first airplane has also been used for familiarization and training of other NAG pilots.

The TC-90 has a range of more than 1,000 nautical miles and a cruising speed of 260 knots, and is capable of carrying eight passengers along with the pilot.

At present, the Navy is operating about six Norman Britten "Islander" patrol aircraft, four GAF "Nomad" airplanes, five Agusta Westland combat utility helicopters, and one Robinson R-22 training helicopter.

The TC-90, which is part of the Beechcraft King Air aircraft family, was offered by Japan shortly after the Agreement Concerning the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology was finalized on Feb. 29, 2016.

Two TC-90s were delivered to Sangley Point, Cavite last March 27. Three more will be delivered in the first quarter of 2018.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1016703

DND: PRRD tired of rebels’ 'double-talk' on peace

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): DND: PRRD tired of rebels’ 'double-talk' on peace

President Rodrigo Duterte has had enough of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) double-talk and continued atrocities against the Filipino people, a defense official said Wednesday.

"The President has had enough of the Communist movement’s penchant for double-talk and continued acts of atrocities against the Filipino people. In keeping with the President's guidance, the DND (Department of National Defense) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) will continue to vigorously pursue operations against their armed components," DND public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong said after Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza announced the cancellation of planned meetings to revive peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Dureza, in a statement, said that atrocities and other violent incidents committed by the rebels forced the Chief Executive to decide to cancel all planned meetings with the CPP-NPA-NDF.

"Recent tragic and violent incidents all over the country committed by the communist rebels left the President with no other choice but to arrive at this decision. We take guidance from the President’s recent announcements and declarations. This is an unfortunate development in our work for peace. Never before have we all reached this far in our negotiations with them," he added.

Peace talks between the Philippine government and the CPP-NPA-NDF were suspended last Feb. 4 following a series of atrocities conducted by rebel forces against unarmed security troops and civilians.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1016709

Gov't cancels peace talks with Reds

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): Gov't cancels peace talks with Reds

The Philippine government on Wednesday terminated its peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) following President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements that he will no longer pursue talks with the communist rebels.

"We are hereby announcing today (Wednesday) the cancellation of all planned meetings with the CPP/NPA/NDF in line with President Duterte's directive that there will be no more peace talks with them," Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said in a statement.

"Recent tragic and violent incidents all over the country committed by the communist rebels left the President with no other choice but to arrive at this decision. We take guidance from the President's recent announcements and declarations," he added.

In a speech in Taguig City on Tuesday, President Duterte said he has “decided to cut talks with the NPAs,” adding “giyera na lang tayo (Let’s just fight it out).”

He said he has told Dureza and government chief negotiator, Silvestre Bello III, to convey to communist leaders abroad that the peace talks would no longer resume.

The President has repeatedly lambasted the communist rebels for continuously attacking state troops and giving unreasonable demands in the peace negotiations.

Among the demands the communist leadership has made was the release of all political prisoners prior to the peace talks.

He also cited the NPA ambush of a police vehicle in the village of Tikalaan, Talakag town, Bukidnon, on Nov. 9, which resulted in the death of a four-month old infant.

“In-ambush nila ‘yung pulis in Mindanao, tapos pati ‘yung bata na four months old, tinamaan. Kaya napundi talaga ako (They ambushed the policeman in Mindanao, killing a four-month-old baby in the process. I really lost my temper),” Duterte said.

It can be recalled that President Duterte on Saturday told reporters that he would declare the NPA a terrorist group because he was sick of their shenanigans.

Peace negotiations were stalled in May this year following a string of attacks committed by communist rebels against state troops.

In the meantime, Dureza said the cancellation of peace talks with the Reds “is an unfortunate development in our work for peace”.

“Never before have we all reached this far in our negotiations with them,” he said.

Talks between the Philippine government and the CPP-NPA-NDF have reached a fourth round, and a fifth round was being worked out when the process was stalled.

Dureza noted that President Duterte has taken unprecedented steps and has walked the so-called extra mile to bring peace, but the communist party and its armed elements have not shown reciprocity.

“There will be no peace negotiations anymore with the CPP-NPA-NDF until such time as the desired enabling environment conducive to a change in the government's position becomes evident. We will closely watch the developments,” he said.

“We have expressed our deep gratitude to the Royal Norwegian government for its strong support as we also expressed to their officials our regrets for this turn of events,” Dureza said.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1016712

AFP gears up for possible NPA attacks after peace talks cancellation

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): AFP gears up for possible NPA attacks after peace talks cancellation

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero said the military would do its best to protect and defend all peace-loving communities from the attacks of the communist rebels.

This after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the cancellation of all planned meetings aimed at reviving the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) Wednesday following a series of atrocities conducted by the rebels.

"We support the President's decision to cancel talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF and will continue to safeguard our communities against attacks by the NPAs," he added.

In line with this, Guerrero urged the public to continue supporting the AFP's peace and development efforts.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, in a statement, said atrocities and other violent incidents committed by the rebels forced the Chief Executive to come about with the decision cancelling all planned meetings with the rebel group.

"Recent tragic and violent incidents all over the country committed by the communist rebels left the President with no other choice but to arrive at this decision. We take guidance from the President’s recent announcements and declarations. This is an unfortunate development in our work for peace. Never before have we all reached this far in our negotiations with them," he added.

Duterte suspended the peace talks between the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF last February 4 following a series of atrocities conducted by rebel forces against unarmed security troops and civilians.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1016724

Military plays key role in Marawi rehab: AFP chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): Military plays key role in Marawi rehab: AFP chief

Aside from winning the fight against the Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) plays a key role in the ongoing efforts to rehabilitate and reconstruct the war-torn city.

"The role of the military as far as rebuilding Marawi is concerned is two folds, one is the maintenance of security and peace and order and the other is the support that we can provide as far as rebuilding and recovery efforts are concerned," AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero said in a press briefing in Marawi Wednesday.

By support, the AFP chief was referring to ongoing clearing operations in the so-called Main Battle Area, recovering cadavers and unexploded ordnance left by the Maute terrorists.

Military units in Marawi City are also helping in the post-conflict needs assessment being conducted by Joint Task Force "Bangon Marawi" headed by Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council headed by Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario, Guerrero added.

"Just recently our ground commander (1st Infantry Division commander) Brig. Gen. Rosseler Murillo has already (given) the go-signal for our teams, post conflict needs assessment teams to enter the area for them to be able to conduct their business," the AFP chief added.

An estimated 933 Maute Group terrorists and their allies were reported killed in the five-month campaign to retake the city from the lawless elements.

On the other hand, 165 government troops and 47 civilians were also killed in the conflict which started after security operatives tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS emir in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon, last May 23.

Fighting was only declared over after the military confirmed the death of Hapilon and Maute Group co-founder Omar Maute last October 23.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1016746

Pres. Duterte: Soldiers commended by ASEAN delegates

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): Pres. Duterte: Soldiers commended by ASEAN delegates

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday, November 22, said soldiers received praises from delegates who attended the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits held in the country last week.
In a speech at the Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, the Chief Executive said heads of states and military officials congratulated him for the government’s campaign against the rebellion in Marawi.

“You know, marami akong natanggap na accolades but it was not for me. But rather coming from the military attach├ęs of the countries participating and the heads of state and everybody else na nandoon and they were congratulating me for the Marawi campaign, which to them, was successful,” he said.

Duterte said the soldiers were also lauded by the delegates he met during the meetings held last week. “Everybody whom I meet during the ASEAN, walang sinabi kung hindi, 'Napakahusay ng sundalo mo,'" the President said.

President Duterte visited the headquarters of the Special Operations Command in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija and conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu to soldiers who fought during the Marawi siege in the Islamic City.
The Chief Executive acknowledged the contribution of the soldiers who offered their lives for the country. “I mourn and extend my condolence to our fallen soldiers and I say na, ‘Maraming salamat sa mga sundalong nagpakamatay sa Pilipinas,’” he said.
The President then reiterated his commitment to provide soldiers with “best of the arms now.” “Kung anong kailangan ninyo, binibili ko. Sabihin lang ninyo at bibilhin ko. Walang secondhand,” Duterte said, noting that he has reserved a certain portion of the country’s income dedicated to the purchase of a new generation of firearms and for intelligence.

Meanwhile, the President also discussed the independent financial body that would be established for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).

“‘Yun ang mag-manage ng pera ninyo at tingin ko, with the yearly appropriation, nandiyan man talaga ‘yang inyo, the extra income that you get from the real estate business na makukuha, hindi na kayo kukulangin. And even ‘yung incremental increase ninyo sa sweldo, makapagplano pa na,” he said, referring to the income of the troops that they might earn once properties, like their camps, are put on lease.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1016809

AFP engineering units clear war debris in Marawi

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): AFP engineering units clear war debris in Marawi

Military engineering units are at the forefront of the debris clearing operation in Marawi City, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero said Wednesday.

"Right now, we have also our engineers here in the area (Marawi City), composed of Army, Air Force and Navy engineers (who) are also undertaking debris clearing in the most-affected areas," Guerrero said during a press briefing in Marawi.

The AFP chief noted that since the clearing operations began on Oct. 23, the engineering units have recovered 77 assorted firearms, believed to be owned by the Maute Group terrorists, and 11 cadavers, which are undergoing DNA testing and swabbing for identification purposes.

The AFP is also tasked to maintain security in Marawi and clear the area of cadavers and unexploded ordnance left by the Maute Group terrorists, he added.

Fighting in Marawi City began after government troops tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS “Emir” in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon, last May 23.

It was only declared over when authorities positively identified Hapilon and Omar Maute, a co-founder of the Maute Group, as among the estimated 920 terrorists killed in the five-month military campaign.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1016814

DND to acquire 24 attack helicopters

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): DND to acquire 24 attack helicopters

The Department of National Defense (DND) confirmed plans to acquire 24 brand-new attack helicopters which will be used by the military to support troops engage in fighting terrorists and other lawless elements.

This was confirmed by DND public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong in a message to the PNA Thursday.

"We have programmed procurement of 24 attack helicopters under the Second Horizon of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program. We are awaiting for the final approval of the Office of the President on the RAFPMP Second Horizon," he added.

However, the project still has no "ABC" (approved budget for contract) as of this posting, Andolong pointed out.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in a recent visit to the Army General Hospital in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, told wounded troops that the time for second equipment and armament is now a thing of the past.

There, he told soldiers present that his administration is planning to acquire at least 23 attack helicopters to help troops in defeating terrorists and other local threats.

The RAFPMP is divided into three horizons, with the first lasting from 2013 to 2017, the second from 2018 to 2022 and third 2023 to 2028.

The Second Horizon calls for the acquisition of equipment more attuned to external defense missions, including jet fighters and other air assets and missile systems.

Acquired during the First Horizon were the three Gregorio Del Pilar cutters, three combat utility helicopters for the Navy, two naval attack helicopters, six MPACs (multi-purpose assault craft), eight combat utility helicopters for the Air Force and refurbishment of two Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" cargo planes.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1016839

Moro leaders oppose plan to build military camps in Marawi

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Nov 22): Moro leaders oppose plan to build military camps in Marawi

Two Moro leaders on Wednesday, November 22, criticized the President’s plan of putting up a military camp in Marawi City.

Drieza Lininding, convener of the Moro Consensus Group said: “Building a camp at the heart of the city is not a guarantee that the city will become safe.”
Lininding’s statement came following the latest pronouncement of the President that he is keen on putting up a military camp to ensure that an incident similar to the Marawi siege six months ago will not happen again.

On Tuesday, November 21, President Duterte said the plan to build a camp will start even before the rebuilding of a large portion of the war-torn city is completed.

This is to ensure “that all of these things will never happen again.”

But according to Lininding, the President needs to understand that the city is situated within the envisioned Bangsamoro entity, thus such security plan needs to be “left to the Moros rather than soldiers.”

“We, Moros, can police our own ranks if the national government will allow us and empower us,” he added.

The idea of mounting a camp, he added, would also endanger the residents – as they will eventually become potential targets among those who want to attack the government.

“The best way to avoid similar attacks is for the government to address the centuries-old conflict via political settlement be it the Bangsamoro Basic Law or the federal set-up,” he said.

Duterte told: Focus on rebuilding shelter, justice

Meanwhile, Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, head of the Ranao Rescue Team, suggested that instead of talking about setting up military camps in Marawi, the President should speak about “shelter, investigations on looting and about transitional justice concern.”

She said the government should make sure that they have gained the trust of the residents who lost their homes during the five-month conflict with the Maute group.

“Investigate actions that are unlawful done by certain personnel, that I think should be the focus of the conversation and the pronouncements of the presidents. We already have a lot of military camps,” she said.

Duterte, meanwhile, acknowledged that there is a huge challenge to fighting terrorism.

“I’m trying my very best to come up with an agreement with the MI (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) and MN (Moro National Liberation Front) because they are the mainstream rebel fronts that would want or would settle for a government that is acceptable to them,” he said.

He said “there is no way” to find peace in Mindanao if the government cannot give back to the Moro people a part of their heritage.

http://davaotoday.com/main/politics/moro-leaders-oppose-plan-to-build-military-camps-in-marawi/