Monday, September 25, 2017

Inter-agency probing PN, Vietnamese fishermen incident

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 25): Inter-agency probing PN, Vietnamese fishermen incident

An inter-agency investigation is now underway to determine circumstances on the incident involving the BRP Miguel Malvar (PS-19) and a poaching Vietnamese fishing vessel which left two Vietnamese crewmen dead last Sept. 23.

The encounter between the Filipino patrol craft and Vietnamese ship took place around 1 a.m., 34 nautical miles off Bolinao, Pangasinan, AFP public affairs Col. Edgard Arevalo said Monday.

"There is an ongoing inquiry by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine Navy (PN) on the circumstances surrounding the incident," he added.

Arevalo said the PN is making its personnel available on-call for the inquiry to shed light on the incident.

"We have submitted the incident report to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) who will also be furnished updates and results of the investigation. We may have to direct further queries and issuances to the DFA," he added.

Initial reports reaching AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City indicated that two Vietnamese fishermen were found dead in their vessel during the visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) procedure done by PN personnel on the Vietnamese ship.

Before the VBSS, the Navy ship gave chase to the said fishing vessel that was spotted, along with five other fishing vessels, to be illegally fishing near Bolinao, Pangasinan.

Cafgu member killed in NPA attack in NorthCot

From the Mindanao Times (Sep 25): Cafgu member killed in NPA attack in NorthCot

A MEMBER of Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) was killed when the New People’s Army (NPA) mounted an attack on a detachment in Arakan, North Cotabato last week.

In a statement of 10th Infantry Agila Division, the slain Cafgu member was identified as Joel Batawan.

The attack also wounded Jonathan Lasoy, also part of the Cafgu Active Auxillaries of Salasang detachment in Barangay Sto. NiƱo, Arakan, North Cotabato.

Both Batawan and Lasoy were on their way home when the NPAs hit them.

The troops of 39th Infantry Battalion and police in Arakan immediately conducted pursuit operation. They were able to recover the bodies of two NPA members on Sept. 22, and brought them to Alojado Funeral Homes.

“Recovered from the possession of the two cadavers were a back pack containing BDA uniform, subversive documents and live ammunition of cal. 45 pistol,” cited the statement of the 10th Infantry Division.

Col. Roberto Ancan, 1002nd Infantry Brigade commander, in a statement urged the remaining NPA rebels to return to the folds of the law. “We believe that the lowly members of the NPA are being used to commit crimes and sow terror to the people by their communist leaders,” he added.

NPA releases ‘proof of life’ of captive police officer

From MindaNews (Sep 25): NPA releases ‘proof of life’ of captive police officer

The New Peoples’ Army (NPA) in Southern Mindanao recently released a video footage of a police officer who was abducted last month in a barangay here.

The NPA abducted Police Officer 1 Bristol Catalan, a member of the police in Makilala, North Cotabato last Aug. 16 in Purok 4, Barangay Katipunan, Kidapawan.

The NPA’s Mount Apo Sub-Regional Command of the Merardo Arce Command uploaded on YouTube the video of Catalan whom it considered a “prisoner-of-war”.

It said the video proves that the captive is still alive.

In the video, Catalan assured his family that he was being treated well by the rebels.

“Ever since I have not seen a Red fighter… That’s why (when I was caught) I thought they would ill-treat me. But what I found out, it’s far from the truth. I did not receive even a single flick. They treated me well,” he said during one of his conversations with the guerrillas.

He appealed to the local government units of Makilala and Kidapawan City to facilitate his speedy release as he called on the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police to halt their operations.

Catalan’s video was uploaded after the release of another NPA captive, SPO2 George Rupinta, on September 15.

On August 16, Catalan was driving a motorcycle to the city proper with his two children when six men who identified themselves as NPA rebels flagged him down in Katipunan.

The rebels seized his service 9mm pistol.

Nothing had been heard about Catalan since.

Bishop Colin Bagaforo of the Diocese of Kidapawan has issued several appeals for Catalan’s release.

Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the Regional Operations Command of the NPA in Southern Mindanao, said the intensified operations of the AFP and the PNP have hampered Catalan’s release.

“The NPA ensures the welfare of POW Catalan in the midst of these offensives but ultimately futile operations. Negotiations with regard to his possible release are being sabotaged by these operations,” said Sanchez.

Catalan’s wife Gigi expressed appreciation toward the NPA’s gesture to show them ‘proof’ that her husband is still alive.

“I have sought many times from the group to show us proof that my husband is OK while in captivity. We were glad we saw his face through the YouTube,” said Gigi.

She again appealed to the NPA to release her husband as they only rely on him for their daily needs.

“To meet our needs, I worked as rubber tapper. I made it sure my children can go to school. Also, I received help from friends and from LGUs. But we want my husband to be with us,” she said.

2 Sayyaf bombers captured in Zamboanga City

From the Mindanao Examiner (Sep 24): 2 Sayyaf bombers captured in Zamboanga City

Security forces captured 2 Abu Sayyaf militants who were sent to bomb civilian targets in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines, officials announced Sunday evening.

Officials said the duo, Omar Askali and Mukaram Sapie, were captured in separate operations on Saturday in Zamboanga City. Askali was tracked down by soldiers and policemen along Governor Lim Avenue in downtown Zamboanga and Sapie in the village of aluksangay.

“Government forces thwarted Abu Sayyaf members under top leader Furuji Indama from bombing the city of Zamboanga,” said Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command.

She said security forces seized a fragmentation grenade and two identification cards, including a cell phone from Askali, a bomb-maker and a trusted aide of Indama who is tagged by authorities as behind the spate of terror attacks and killings in nearby Basilan, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

An improvised explosive and a .45-caliber pistol were also confiscated from Sapie in Taluksangay, Petinglay said, adding, soldiers were still searching for a second bomb in the village. “The area is still being searched for another IED since information from Askali revealed that Mukram was keeping two improvised explosive devices,” she said.

Army Colonel Leonel Nicolas, commander of an anti-terror task force in Zamboanga City, said: “Intelligence reports revealed that the group will bomb public places in the city three days from now. This prompted our troops to conduct a joint operation with the police to capture the bandits and preempt their bomb ploy.”

Zamboanga, which was targeted in the past by Abu Sayyaf bombers, is celebrating an annual Catholic feast in October.