Friday, December 15, 2017

CPP/NDF-FSMR: Denounce Duterte’s flagrant brutality and puppetry and utter neglect for the millions of people in Mindanao

NDF-Far South Mindanao propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Dec 14): Denounce Duterte’s flagrant brutality and puppetry and utter neglect for the millions of people in Mindanao

Ka Efren Aksasato, Spokesperson
NDFP Far South Mindanao

14 December 2017

The main goal of the US-Duterte regime in re-extending the Martial Law in Mindanao is to pave the way for imperialist encroachment in the resources-rich island. As a consequence of the military rule, the Mindanaoans are defenseless against unrestrained violations of human rights, worsening poverty and grave suppression of their legitimate struggles.

The NDF-FSMR denounces Duterte’s flagrant brutality and puppetry to imperialist interests and his utter neglect for the millions of people in Mindanao.
The Marawi siege and the incessant attacks against the Moro people, the massacres of Lumads and the indiscriminate bombardments of their communities, and the extrajudicial killings of activists are blatant terrorist doings of his fascist regime.

Being a Mindanaoan president, it is Duterte’s ostensible duty to advance and defend the welfare of his origin. But in adhering to the dictates of his imperialist bosses, he chooses to inflict pain and hardships to the people of Mindanao.

Duterte has become desperately mad about his political ambitions and greed that he is obstinately setting up a fascist dictatorship to ensure his power. He certainly never learned from history that fascist aggression can never suppress the people’s desire for emancipation. Rather, brutality will beget the masses’ resistance and determination to overthrow his rule.

CPP/Information Bureau: Fascist liar Duterte will have himself to blame for rising resistance in Mindanao

CPP-Information Bureau propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Dec 14): Fascist liar Duterte will have himself to blame for rising resistance in Mindanao

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines

14 December 2017
Press Release

The imposition of a one-year martial law extension in Mindanao will heighten the people’s resistance to Duterte’s dictatorship. More and more, he is pushing people to resort to armed struggle as they suffer under his intensifying fascist rule.

The approval was based on AFP reports of “385 atrocities” committed by the NPA in Mindanao, referring to tactical offensives by the people’s army against legitimate military targets and punitive actions against destructive and plunderous companies in the island. This is similar to his previous manufactured claim of 4.7 million drug users to justify his attacks against the urban and rural poor, as well as his political opponents.

Since his martial law declaration, more than 58 activists have been killed in Southern Mindanao, 70% of which are from Compostela Valley, a center of anti-mining resistance which is now dubbed as the “valley of death.” Twelve activists, mostly Lumads, have been killed in the Caraga region. From Lianga to Alabel, thousands have evacuated to escape AFP brutality, forcing them to abandon what little they have and pushing them further into poverty. Lumads in South Cotabato are up in arms after his soldiers opened fire on their community, killing eight and wounding many, on his orders to defend his crony Consunji.

He has pulverized the entire city of Marawi, destroying properties estimated at P100 billion. He has displaced hundreds of thousands of people across the island through militarization, intense aerial bombardment and shelling to clear the way for land-grabbing and plunder by foreign companies and his family’s cronies. He now boasts of using the NPA for “target practice” of his newly-acquired attack helicopters from the US with the same callous attitude to civilian casualties when he ordered the AFP to “flatten the hills” against the people’s army.

By extending martial law, Duterte also bought himself time to ram anti-people and pro-oligarch infrastructure projects under his “Build, build, build” program in Marawi and elsewhere. His Mindanao railway project is due to start next year, fortified by the recent passage of his anti-people tax reform program.

As with all lies, the truth will explode in Duterte’s face. It is historical truth that the NPA increased almost tenfold when Marcos imposed martial law. It was martial law that pushed people from all walks of life and different political persuasions to unite and oust the dictator.

DWDD: FOCUSED OPERATION I Matapat Troopers receives 2 NPA surrenderees

DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 14): FOCUSED OPERATION  I  Matapat Troopers receives 2 NPA surrenderees

KUTA SANG-AN, LABANGAN, Zamboanga del Sur (DWDD) Two (2) NPA rebels surrendered to Headquarters 53rd Infantry Battalion at Camp Sabido, Guipos, Zamboanga Del Sur on December 6, 2017.

The rebels brought along their firearms and ammunitions and formally turned it over to  Lt Col. Virgilio C Hamos Jr., Battalion Commander of 53IB.

The two high-powered firearms were: one M14 and one AK47 rifle.

The two rebels surrendered due to physical hardships, dissatisfaction on their organization’s policy and realized the futility of fighting with government forces.

They are currently under the custody of 53rd IB for proper documentation and disposition prior turn-over to the concerned government agencies for the facilitation of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP), a program for the former rebels which include social welfare, livelihood, and health.

According to Brig. General Roseller G. Murrillo, 1st Infantry Division Commander, “This is a manifestation that the NPA organization is losing their ground.”
“Rest assured that the benefits will be facilitated by the CLIP committee for them to start and live a normal life they desire.” He added. 53IB /MCAG

DWDD: ENCOUNTER I NPA neutralized in Magallanes, Sorsogon

DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 14): ENCOUNTER  I  NPA neutralized in Magallanes, Sorsogon

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur (DWDD) A member of the terror group New People’s Army (NPA) was neutralized by government troops in an encounter in Barangay Salvacion, Magallanes, Sorsogon on December 12.

According to reports, troops from the 31st Infantry Battalion were conducting security operations in the area when they chanced upon 30 members of the terror group under a certain Edwin Dematera alias Dupax of the Kilusang Sangay sa Platoon 1 (KSPN1), Kilusang Probinsiya 3 (KP3) of the Bicol Regional Party Committee (BRPC).

A 15 firefight ensued before the terrorist scampered towards different directions leaving the remains of an unknown comrade. Soldiers recovered two (2) M16 rifle, one M203 Grenade Launcher, and an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Pursuit operations are ongoing against the fleeing NPAs.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, another group of soldiers also belonging to the 31st IB intercepted two (2) NPA members onboard an L300 van at Barangay Calomagon, Bayan in Bulan town.

The troops were conducting monitoring operations when they spotted a vehicle with no license plate. A firefight ensued after which the rebels immediately escaped.

The soldiers thanked the community for their continued assistance and information in dealing with the NPA menace.

According to Brig. Gen. Isleta, Acting Commander, 9th Infantry Division, they encourage the remaining members of the terror group to abandon their cause and return a quiet life with their love ones.

The 9ID also vowed to continue with their intensified operations against eh NPA to maintain the peace and development in the region of Bicol.

The government has livelihood and financial assiatance waiting for surrenderees under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP). AES/MCAG

DWDD: SHARE THE LOVE | Philippine Fleet Gives Love on Xmas

DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 15): SHARE THE LOVE  |  Philippine Fleet Gives Love on Xmas

DALAHICAN, Cavite (DWDD) – “Share the Love this Christmas”

This special season of Christmas is not just an occasion but a season of joy, peace, love and great tidings.

As a part of the Philippine Fleet traditional activity, the command conducted a gift giving to the less fortunate children of Purok 7, Barangay Kapkong, Dalahican, Cavite City on  December 8, 2017. PIO PHL FLEET /MCAG

DWDD: PORT VISIT | PN Frigate in Zamboanga City

DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 15): PORT VISIT  |  PN Frigate in Zamboanga City

ZAMBOANGA CITY PIER, Zamboanga City (DWDD) The Philippine Navy’s Frigate, BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (FF15) is docked at the Zamboanga City Pier in Zamboanga City.

The vessel conducted an “OPEN HOUSE” to showcase its capability as a Frigate as well as to give opportunity to the populace of Zamboanga City for a guided tour aboard ship.

The conduct of the Open House was facilitated by the Naval Reserve Center-Western Mindanao (NRCen-WM), Civil Military Operations Unit- Western Mindanao (CMOU-WM) and in coordination with all the units of Naval Forces Western Mindanao and the Municipality of Zamboanga City.

BRP Gregorio Del Pilar is under the command of Capt Ireneo D Battung and composed of about 80 crew members.

The arrival of BRP Gregorio Del Pilar is aimed to promote peace, develop friendly relations and bring the Philippine Navy and the Armed Forces of the Philippines closer to the hearts of the Zamboanguenos and of the Filipino people in general.

Recently, FF15 along with one of the PN’s Landing Docks, BRP Tarlac (LD601) participated in the ASEAN Multilateral Naval Exercises 2017 (AMNEX) held Sattahip and Pattaya Bay in Thailand last Nov. 13-22, 2017. The said exercise is a maritime security collaboration of navies in Southeast Asia Region which is in conjunction with the commemoration of the 50th ASEAN founding anniversary.

BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (FF15) is the first Del Pilar Class ship of the Philippine Navy which was commissioned last December 14, 2011. It was also the second ship named after the revolutionary general, Gregorio Del Pilar, during the Battle of Tirad Pass. NPAO/MCAG

DWDD: LOVE AND SUPPORT | AMWSLAI-Palawan Hands-over Gift for the Defenders of the Western Front

DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 15): LOVE AND SUPPORT  |  AMWSLAI-Palawan Hands-over Gift for the Defenders of the Western Front

PUERTO  PRINSESA, Palawan (DWDD) Commodore Rommel Jason L Galang, the Commander Naval Forces West officially received bags of assorted good from Air Materiel Wing Savings and Loan Association, Inc (AMWSLAI) – Palawan.

 The gift  bags are intended for the Sailors and Marines stationed in the Philippine-held Island detachments at the West Philippine Sea.

This act has been a tradition of AMWSLAI-Palawan, to show their utmost appreciation to the troops assigned in the disputed areas and will spend the Christmas and New Year away from home. NFW/MCAG

DWDD: COMMUNITY RELATIONS | NFW Info Drive and Coordination with Local Fisherfolks of Macarascas

DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 15): COMMUNITY RELATIONS  |  NFW Info Drive and Coordination with Local Fisherfolks of Macarascas

PUERTO  PRINSESA, Palawan (DWDD) In line with Naval Forces West’s commitment for a safe and secured fishing , as well as other economic activities within its Area of Responsibility, an information drive and coordinating meeting headed by Commodore Rommel Jason L Galang, the Commander Naval Forces West, was held today at Naval Station Carlito Cunanan, Brgy. Macarascas, Puerto Princesa City.

The activity aimed at enhancing cooperation with the local fishermen and other LGUs for a better partnership in environmental protection efforts, was attended by representatives from the local fisherfolks, City Agriculture, City Planning, City Legal Office, and the local government of Macarascas. NFW/MCAG

PRRD visits Pakistan Navy ship docked in Manila for goodwill visit

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 15): PRRD visits Pakistan Navy ship docked in Manila for goodwill visit

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte toured a Pakistan navy ship docked at the Manila South Harbor on Thursday, December 14, as part of its three-day goodwill visit to the Philippines.

President Duterte was welcomed by officials of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Philippines and the Pakistan Navy for an exclusive tour of the Pakistan Navy Ship (PNS) SAIF (FFG-253), one of the four F-22P or Zulfiguar-class frigates of Pakistan.

Duterte warmly greeted the crews aboard the navy ship telling them that they could drop by the country "any time for any reason."

The Chief Executive was accompanied by some of his Cabinet officials led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana during the tour that lasted almost an hour.

The navy ship, with onboard ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) helicopter Z9EC, will stay in the country until December 17. Its three-day visit will include series of confidence-building engagements between the Philippine Navy (PN) and the Pakistan Navy personnel.

Other activities include shipboard tours, visit to national heritage and historical places in Manila, goodwill games, receptions, hosted dinner, and a gift giving at Buhay Tuluyan in Leveriza, Manila. The visit will be capped off with a send-off ceremony.

Prior to their visit here in the country, the PNS SAIF had already been to China and Thailand. Their next stop is Malaysia.

The goodwill visit aims to renew and strengthen the relationship between the Philippines and Pakistan. It also promotes friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding between the two navies through naval diplomacy.

AFP lauds Senate passage of pay hike bill for soliders, cops

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 15): AFP lauds Senate passage of pay hike bill for soliders, cops

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has expressed its gratitude to the Senate for approving on third and final reading the resolution which seeks to increase the base salary of military and uniformed personnel (MUP) starting January next year.
"We are grateful to Congress for this act of approving the resolution," AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said late Thursday.

He added that the pay increase will definitely boost the morale of every soldier, airman, sailor, and marine as this translates to higher take home pay.

Sen. Gringo Honasan, chair of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security and sponsor of Senate Resolution 11, earlier said the proposed law seeks to increase the base salary of all military and police personnel.

This includes jail guards, firemen, coast guards and those under the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority and the Philippine Public Safety College.

"The President has repeatedly made promises of higher salaries to the military and the police personnel. In support of this commitment, this joint resolution, if enacted into law, would double the MUPs base pay," Honasan said in his sponsorship speech.

None of seized weapons in Marawi City from military

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 15): None of seized weapons in Marawi City from military

None of the weapons seized from Marawi City and destroyed this week showed any sign that they came from military stocks, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero said Friday.

"As for the (seized Maute Group) firearms inventoried so far, we are still to see any weapon (serial numbers) matching those in the inventory of the AFP," Guerrero said in Filipino when asked during a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City whether AFP weapons were found among the terrorists’ arms cache.

More than 1,000 firearms of various calibers and types were seized by government forces in the battle to liberate Marawi City.

The battle began when government troops tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS “emir” in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon, last May 23.

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

Some 652 weapons were taken to the Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City to be destroyed ceremonially early this week.

The remaining 400 are still being processed as of this posting.

Expect more action in NPA-affected areas: AFP chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 15): Expect more action in NPA-affected areas: AFP chief

With the one-year extension of martial law, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is expected to put up more checkpoints and conduct more patrols in Mindanao, particularly in New People's Army (NPA) affected areas.

This was disclosed by AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero during a press briefing Friday.

He made this comment when asked what Mindanaoans should expect now that martial law has been extended for one year in Mindanao.

"There will be less skirmishes in Marawi now that operations there have winded down but in NPA affected areas, they can expect more actions (e.g. patrols and checkpoints from) the military, it will be more intensified (in) scope and coverage," Guerrero said in Filipino.

The rationale for this is to establish visibility and presence in population centers to deter the NPAs' terroristic actions, the AFP chief added.

Aside from the communist rebels, military efforts will also focus on Sulu, Basilan, and parts of Central Mindanao where lawless elements like the Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist elements like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and their allies are known to operate.

Martial law in Mindanao was declared on May 23 following heavy attacks by Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City. Congress, in a special joint session in July, granted the extension of martial law until December 31 this year at the President's request.

The Senate and House of Representatives, convening in a joint session early this week, granted President Rodrigo Duterte's request for the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus for a period of one year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018.

A total of 240 members of Congress voted to approve the resolution of both houses calling for martial law extension in Mindanao, while only 27 voted against it.

There was no abstention. A total of 14 senators voted in favor of the motion and four were against it, while 226 House members approved the motion and 23 rejected it.

Military told to go after terrorists’ financiers, too

From the Manila Bulletin (Dec 15): Military told to go after terrorists’ financiers, too

A Mindanao lawmaker is calling on the military not to run only after terrorists, but likewise pursue operations against their financiers to completely crush rebellion and terrorism in Mindanao.

Lanao del Sur Rep. Mauyag Papandayan Jr., chairman of the House Committee on Muslim Affairs, confirmed that the groups of Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers belonging to the DAESH-inspired Da’awatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Masriq (DWIM) have been recruiting new members in their province in exchange for large sums of money.
“Barangay chairmen reported to me that the remnants of their groups are recruiting new members in Lanao del Sur and they are offering money to their recruits,” he said.

He also called on the Duterte administration to run after the financiers of terrorist groups to paralyze their operations.

“We ask the military to run after these terrorists and their financiers. We are wondering where did the ISIS get financial support. The gathering of intelligence information against them should be intensified,” Papandayan said.

Papandayan is among the 270 members of Congress who voted in favor of President Duterte’s request to extend the martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2018.

He also took the opportunity to call on various government agencies – Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) – to fully extend assistance to the Marawi victims.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea assured Papandayan that the government is flexing its muscles to put behind bars the financiers of terrorist groups.

He also assured that the much-needed assistance will be extended to the war victims.

Maute-ISIS remnants recruiting post-Marawi siege — AFP

From the Manila Bulletin (Dec 15): Maute-ISIS remnants recruiting post-Marawi siege — AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) confirmed that they have monitored ‘remnants’ of the Maute-ISIS group to be recruiting new members since the five-month war in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur ended October 23.

The confirmation came days after President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao was extended due to reported terrorist recruitment and existence of other lawless elements.

Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

At the Task Force Bangon Marawi press briefing in MalacaƱang Friday, AFP spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said the recruitment they have monitored was being conducted in municipalities near Marawi City.

“Here we can see that they are trying to intensify their forces through their continued recruitment),” Arevalo said in the vernacular.

The new AFP spokesperson said the terrorist group is still offering financial remunerations, but did not mention any exact amount. He, however, doubts whether or not the terrorists were able to really give the promised amount.

Arevalo said their monitoring was based on the reports of citizens in the locality. “Definitely they are not recruiting in the open.”

He said that the recruitment has been happening since Marawi City was liberated. He said these recruiters are still using social media to reach out.

“There are recruitment videos. I’m sure you have come across such,” he said. “Part of our work is to communicate with Facebook that such a post — if it’s on Facebook — be barred or removed.”

“If it’s in the nature of a recruitment of a terrorist group then that could be a valid ground,” he continued.

However, Arevalo had no data yet confirming whether arrests were made against these reported recruiters.

He added that these recruiters are possibly the ones who were able to escape from Marawi city as the war was ending.

Arevalo said that these recruiters are targeting the family members of their slain members, children, and women.

“The youth is the one they prefer to recruit because these are the sectors of our society that are, could be considered vulnerable,” he said.

“They are gullible. They can be easily fooled into joining their group by making false promises,” he added.

Turaife group

Meanwhile, Arevalo said the assessment of the AFP that a certain Abu Turaife is the successor of Isnilon Hapilon who was killed by the military mid-October in Marawi City is with basis.

Hapilon, the leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group, is said to be the emir of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the Philippines.

“That is an assessment that he could be the successor of Isnilon Hapilon. It is of real basis based on our operating units in the field,” Arevalo said.

He added that based on AFP record, the Turaife group has 22 identified members.

“We cannot underestimate the group just because they only have 22 members).

“We cannot discount their ability to recruit, their mobility, the arms that they have, and their capability to conduct terrorist activities).

“After all, there is no need for a large number of people to bomb a vital installation or institution, or a public place,” he continued.

The Turaife group was cited in Duterte’s letter to the Congress as one of the reasons to extend the martial law in Mindanao. The martial law, which was declared to address the war in Marawi City, will now expire on December 31, 2018.

Firearms recovered from NPA in Tarlac and Nueva Ecija

From the Manila Bulletin (Dec 14): Firearms recovered from NPA in Tarlac and Nueva Ecija

Heavy firearms were recovered by the government troops after a firefight between Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) troopersfrom the 84th Infantry Battalion of the 7th Infantry Division and New People’s Army (NPA) Wednesday in Sitio Dalipawen, Barangay Bunga, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.


Lt Col Isagani Nato, chief of public information of NOLCOM, reported that while their soldiers were conducting combat operations, 84th IB troops encountered a group 10 NPA Communist Terrorists resulting to a fire fight that lasted for about 15 minutes.

After which, Nato said the NPA rebels withdrew towards Northeast direction, leaving behind Two (2) M16 rifles, two (2) magazines for M16 Rifle, one (1) sweatshirt and foodstuffs from the encounter site.

Moreover, he said no casualty was incurred by the NOLCOM troopers while undetermined number on the side of the NPA criminals.

In a separate incident, Nato said one (1) homemade shotgun withtwo (2) ammunitions and one (1) homemade Calibre 30 pistol were also retrieved as a result of a follow-up operation conducted last December 11, 2017 in Sitio Pantol, Barangay Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac.

“This was a positive development after Ricardo David Morales, a surrenderee during the previous operation, cooperated with the 32ndMechanized Infantry Company, 3rd Mechanize InfantryBattalion. The firearms were voluntarily handed-over by Morales, which were hidden in his farm house,” said Nato.

NOLCOM will continue to provide support to Law Enforcement Operations respecting the Human Rights, ensure adherence to the Rue of Law and observance of International Humanitarian Law.

NOLCOM troops will persistently keep the enemy on the run and outbalanced by conducting aggressive, relentless and focused military operations (FMO) in identified NPA lairs in the areas of North and Central Luzon, the army added.

IPs being used by Reds to stop military offensives

From the Manila Bulletin (Dec 14): IPs being used by Reds to stop military offensives

Indigenous peoples (IPs) are being used by New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists to stop the all-out military and police offensives against them.

Chief Supt. Noli A. Romana, regional director of Northeastern Mindanao Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) on Thursday claimed that the evacuation of the IPs in Lianga, Surigao del Sur is allegedly part of the deceptive tactics of the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) terrorists.

Romana said the “bakwits” of lumad (natives) are supported by only a few militant groups in the area in an effort to stop the all-out offensive by the military and police against the NPA terrorists.

“Our combat operations are directed against the NPA terrorists who keep on sowing violence like burning, kidnapping, harassments, extortion activities, and other hostilities in the region,” he added.

The areas of operation are far from the lumad communities so they do not need to flee from their homes and leave their livelihood, Chief Supt. Romana said.

“As the military and police have strengthened counter-insurgency operations, the NPA terrorists exploited the IPs to evacuate and call on the community and other organizations to ask the government to withdraw the operations,” he added.

The latest all-out army offensive is aimed at pursuing rebels responsible for the landmine blast in Barangay San Isidro, Lianga that killed two lumad and a soldier on Nov. 6, 2017, PRO 13 regional spokesperson Chief Inspector Renel E. Serrano said.

Military monitoring intensified recruitment by armed groups

From the Sun Star-Manila (Dec 15): Military monitoring intensified recruitment by armed groups

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday, December 15, expressed worries about reports of intensified recruitment by armed lawless groups inspired by global terror group Islamic State.
AFP spokesperson Colonel Edgard Arevalo said the military is monitoring the "intensified" recruitment activities of Maute terror group members who survived the five-month battle with government troops in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
"The recruitment we are monitoring is from remnants of Maute/ISIS (IS of Iraq and Syria) group. We monitored (such recruitment) in the municipalities around Marawi, the immediate vicinity of Marawi," the military spokesman told a press conference.
"They continue to intensify, in the sense that they do not stop their recruitment. They continue to encourage anyone to join their force. And of course, they continue to offer financial remunerations. They also used social media as a tool for their recruitment activities," he added.
Another group, which Arevalo said is being led by a certain Abu Turayfie, is also reportedly ramping up its membersbip.
Turayfie is believed to be the successor of purported IS emir in Southeast Asia Isnilon Hapilon, who was killed along with Maute leader Omar Maute in Marawi in October.
Arevalo said that while Turayfie's group has only 22 members, it is still deemed a "big threat" because of its capability to endanger the lives of the people in southern Philippines.
"We cannot underestimate them because they are only few. Maybe the 22 is what we could mention with certainty or report with certainty. But their ability to recruit, their mobility, the number of their weapons, and their capability to conduct terrorist activity cannot be measured by their number," he said.
"We don't need to be a large group. The point of saying is they are capable, among other reasons that they are cited (as basis) for the extension of martial law. They are among those considered as a big threat because the group of Abu Turayfie has leaning towards extremism," he added.
Arevalo said these extremist groups were targeting to recruit their relatives and "vulnerable" children. Martial law was declared in Mindanao on May 23, when fighting broke out between the Maute group and government forces in Marawi.
Combat operations were terminated on October 23, or exactly five months later.
The military, however, is still conducting clearing operations in the Islamic city. Congress on Wednesday agreed to extend martial law by another year, or until December 31, 2018, in a bid to totally eradicate the terror acts of terrorist groups like the communist New People's Army and other armed lawless groups.
To counter recruitment efforts of these armed groups, Arevalo said the government has launched several programs for the youth.
"We are countering violent extremism dialogues with the youth. We also have youth leader summit. And just recently, we concluded the education tour of Muslim youth in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Our objective is to give our fellow countrymen, especially the youth, a chance to realize what is extremism (and) how is recruitment being done by these extremists," he said.
"These are among the ways we see to promote unity and have a fruitful and mutual co-existence," he said.

Military sees ISIS-inspired Turaife group as major threat

From the Philippine Star (Dec 15): Military sees ISIS-inspired Turaife group as major threat

Abu Turaife had been described by some reports as a commander of a Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters breakaway group, which was reportedly planning to stage bombings in Cotabato. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

Following the defeat of Maute terrorists in Marawi City, the military on Friday said it is monitoring a small ISIS-inspired militant group it said is capable of carrying out deadly attacks.

Through a swift vote in Congress dominated by his allies, lawmakers on Wednesday granted President Rodrigo Duterte martial law powers across Mindanao for one more year to defeat militants operating in the insurgency plagued region.

In his letter to Congress, Duterte said that with the death of Isnilon Hapilon, the Islamic State’s point man in Southeast Asia and one of the leaders of the Marawi rebellion, Esmail Abdulmalik, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Turaife, might replace Hapilon.

Abu Turaife has been monitored to be planning bombings in the south, Duterte said
Without going into detail, Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office, said the military cannot underestimate Abu Turaife’s 22-member group.
“Maybe what we could mention with certainty or report with certainty is their number, pero ‘yung kanilang (but not their) ability to recruit, their mobility, the arms they possess, and their capability to conduct terrorist activity,” Arevalo told a press conference.

“Kasama po sila sa itinuturing nating malaking banta sapagkat ang grupo po ni Abu Turaife ay may leaning towards extremism (They are considered a major threat since Abu Turaife's group leans towards extremism),” he added.

Abu Turaife had been described in some reports as a commander of a breakaway group from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. The group reportedly planned bombings in Cotabato.

The BIFF also uses the black ISIS flag as its own.

On May 23, Duterte imposed martial law in Mindanao, which was retained until yearend, after the principal Islamic city of Marawi was stormed by heavily-armed Maute extremists who pledged allegiance to ISIS.

In a rousing address to troops last October, Duterte declared Marawi liberated from pro-ISIS extremists after five months of fighting that gave state forces their first taste of urban warfare.

But the president said jihadist fighters who escaped the Marawi battle were actively recruiting to carry out future assaults.
According to Arevalo, rebels are using social media to radicalize their prospective recruits. The terrorists also allegedly us cash rewards to ramp up recruitment.

Philippines to receive more military help from Australia

From the Philippine Canadian Inquirer (Dec 13): Philippines to receive more military help from Australia 

Seeing the intensity of the war of the Philippine government’s military against the Islamic inspired Maute group, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that Australia is ready to help by giving training Philippine troops.

The assistance offered hopes to add potential on beating the fight in the southern Philippines.

“Obviously we would be ready to support the Philippines in the same way we are supporting Iraq in advising, assisting and training,” Bishop said.

Bishop clarified that Australia had not offered to send fighting troops to Marawi City. She told reporters in Canberra that Australia has given the same support in Iraq and that “does not include troops on the ground.”

Bishop also mentioned that the US has offered help as well and if by any chance Philippines would request support from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the countries are equipped to help.

The Royal Australian Air Force spy planes are already operating in the area.