Friday, November 2, 2018

Duterte's anti-NPA Task Force won't weaken NPA —CPP

From GMA News (Nov 3): Duterte's anti-NPA Task Force won't weaken NPA —CPP

The Communist Party of the Philippines on Friday said the anti-NPA Task Force of the Duterte administration will "fail in weakening the NPA [New People's Army]."

"Duterte's anti-NPA Task Force will, however, fail in weakening the NPA. On the contrary, with his strongman tactics, Duterte is succeeding only in pushing more and more people to join and support the New People's Army," the CPP said in a statement.

On Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the creation of a national task force to "address the armed conflict occasioned by the local communists."

"The President was unwavering with regard to the issue as a result of the communist group's efforts in infiltrating and overthrowing the government," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo then said.

The CPP however said such a move is just a rehash of the "whole-of-government" approach of the Aquino administration "in line with the US counter-insurgency doctrine."

"It aims to mobilize and train efforts of all state agencies to deceive the people by pretending to address poverty with superficial programs. This will be combined with so-called 'localized peace talks' combined with corruption-laden 'integration programs,'" the CPP said.

It also said the task force will "serve as a tool against the legal democratic opposition which the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] call the 'political infrastructure of the CPP-NPA," adding that organizations and political forces labeled as fronts or in conspiracy with the CPP will be targeted.

"Combined with the terrorist proscription case which charges scores of activists of being members of the CPP, as well as with the militarization of the bureaucracy, Duterte's task force will put the entire state machinery to high gear under the regime's effort to crackdown against all opposition," the CPP said.

It added that "Duterte is merely using the CPP-NPA as scapegoat to justify the imposition of draconian measures against various forces who stand against his strongman rule."

"The regime is now in survival mode. It is now primarily concerned with staving off and suppressing all opposition amid the rising clamor for Duterte's ouster from power," it said.

MalacaƱang on Saturday hit back at the CPP-NPA, saying the statement is self-serving.

"[CPP founding chairman Jose Maria] Sison's statement is self-serving. Obviously he cannot say that the creation of the Task Force will weaken the NPA," Panelo said in a text message.

Panelo said it is the communist rebels who have failed in its struggle to overthrow the government.

"The fact of the matter is that it has not succeeded in fifty years overthrowing the government," the Presidential spokesperson said.

"It has only succeeded in alienating itself from the masses of our people by their atrocious assaults on hapless victims by their ambushes of soldiers, policemen and civilians alike, by their unlawful and forcible collection of revolutionary taxes and their destruction of the properties who fail to fail or refuse to give in," he added.

Duterte on Thursday ordered the Department of Justice to pursue the proscription case against the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization.

The President also challenged Netherlands-based CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison to go back to the Philippines and wage his war in the country.

Moreover, Duterte also criticized communists for believing in what Sison would always say, calling members of the NPA as fools.

Duterte seeks action declaring CPP ‘terror organization’, forms task force vs. armed conflict

From the Manila Bulletin (Nov 2): Duterte seeks action declaring CPP ‘terror organization’, forms task force vs. armed conflict

Intensifying the government’s campaign against its “anarchical activities,” President Duterte has ordered authorities to pursue the proscription case seeking to declare the communist rebel group as a terrorist organization.

The President also authorized the creation a national task force to address the armed conflict as well as the investigation of the massacre of nine sugar farmers in Negros Occidental during a high-level security meeting with officials in Cebu last Tuesday, according to his Spokesman Salvador Panelo.

President Rodrigo Duterte (Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)
The meeting of Executive Committee-National Security Council (EC-NSC) chaired by the President discussed issues and concerns that “disturb our national security.”

“Among the matters discussed were the recent anarchical activities of the CPP/NPA/NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front),” Panelo said.

“The President was unwavering with regard to the issue as a result of the communist group’s efforts in infiltrating and overthrowing the government. PRRD ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to pursue the proscription case against the CPP/NPA/NDF as a terrorist organization,” he said.

The government earlier filed a petition before the Manila Regional Trial Court to declare the communist group as a terrorist organization, citing terror activities and other atrocities. The move came after the President terminated peace negotiations with the rebels over violence and hostilities endangering lives and properties of innocent people.

In the same closed-door security meeting, Panelo said the President announced the creation of the National Task Force “to address the armed conflict occasioned by the local communists.” He added there was no information yet on the composition of the new task force.

The massacre of the farmers in Sagay, Negros Occidental was also tackled during the security meeting convened by the President.

“The President also directed that an in-depth investigation be undertaken anent the shooting incident in Sagay which resulted in the deaths of nine farmers,” Panelo said.

The President earlier tagged the communist rebels as allegedly behind the brutal killing of the farmers in Sagay last month. He said it was the style of the rebels to kill their own comrades and blame the deaths on the government.

The President’s latest directives came following the military’s discovery of an alleged plot of the communist group and other opposition forces to overthrow the government. The rebels were allegedly pursuing activities, including occupation of private and public lands, to incite unrest against the administration.

When he assumed office in 2016, the President resumed peace talks with the communists, even allowing left-leaning activities to join his Cabinet. The cordial ties however crumbled when he denounced the rebels’ continued attacks on government troops.

Duterte later decided to cancel the peace talks amid concerns the rebels were insincere in the talks and merely wanted to grab power. Conditions to the revival of the talks include a ceasefire, cessation of rebel taxation, and no demand for coalition government.

Recently, Duterte asked communist leader Jose Maria Sison to give him a good reason to revive the talks.

AFP readies shift to external defense role

From the Business Mirror (Nov 3): AFP readies shift to external defense role

In Photo: Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. (left) and Adm. John Richardson, chief of Naval Operations of the US Navy, chat prior to a news conference following their meeting on October 29, 2018 at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. The US Navy will continue patrolling the disputed South China Sea even after a Chinese destroyer came dangerously close to one of its ships during a “freedom of navigation” sail-by near a contested reef.

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has served notice it is on track in meeting its objectives under its ongoing internal security operations (ISO), as it gears up to shift its full focus on the country’s territorial defense by way of its ongoing modernization program.

The military puts its level of progress thus: in the stage of “clearing operations” in the war against local threat groups, particularly local terrorist groups and the New People’s Army (NPA).


The neutralization of the Mindanao-based terrorists and foremost, the NPA, whom the military listed as the primary threat group, are the only remaining hindrances to the military’s shift to external defense.

No less than Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana said that all threat groups have been on the retreat in past months, as shown by the consistent arrest and surrender of their members and followers.

The number of attacks has also declined, thus prompting even the Commander in Chief to declare that the communist-led insurgency being waged by the NPA may be over by June next year.
On the run

LORENZANA said the focused operations conducted by soldiers against the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Dawlah Islamiyah, all in Mindanao, have degraded these groups’ capabilities to stage attacks on a bigger scale as what they have been used to undertake.

“As of the period, 591 were neutralized, out of which 232 surrendered and 474 firearms were recovered,” the DND chief said at the 79th anniversary of the Department of National Defense on Wednesday.

“[The] enemy-initiated violent incidents were reduced to 114, owing to the conduct of 880 ground operations,” he added. Lorenzana said the statistics covered a one-year period.

Lorenzana said the martial law being implemented in Mindanao is helping the government deal with the terrorists, and this is why the military and defense establishments would support it—if, when and until—when President Duterte wishes to prolong it.

He said the measure is also needed in order to ensure the success of the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the scheduled midterm elections next year in Mindanao.

“With the able guidance and leadership of our senior leaders, we have so far, been successful in the sense that it goes smoothly. With the professionalism of our troops, we have not received any single complaint from the citizens. At least, none that I know of,” the defense chief said.
Operational successes

LORENZANA said that at the current stage and success of the operations against the NPA by the military, no less than President Duterte has declared that the insurgency will be over by mid-2019.

He added the country-wide security operations against the NPA have led to the neutralization of 1,162 rebels in less than a year, 907 of whom yielded to the government.

The operations also resulted in the recovery and surrender of 1,238 firearms, 560 of which are high-powered weapons.

Since last year, the soldiers have cleared 210 formerly NPA-influenced barangays and have dismantled three of its guerrilla fronts.

“2,890 AFP ground operations were conducted, which led to lesser NPA-initiated violent incidents. Moreover, 16 high-value targets from their central committee, national organization and territorial commission such as Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao Commissions, fell into the hands of the authorities,” Lorenzana said.

Steady stream of surrender

THE defense chief said the steady stream of surrender from the rebels prompted the administration to create the “Inter-Agency Task Force Balik-Loob” in order to process communist surrenderers.

The task force centralizes the government’s reintegration efforts and oversees the “Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program,” or E-CLIP, for former rebels.

As of September this year, at least 3,443 rebels have reportedly surrendered to the government.

“E-CLIP provides former rebels with benefits and services. These are not rewards for surrendering, but are intended to give them a foothold in restarting their lives,” Lorenzana said.

The success of the operations against rebels, as the defense chief put it, was apparently among the reasons the government has also permanently abandoned its peace talks with the rebels on a national level.

A localized version of the peace negotiations with local rebel leaders is, however, being pushed. Its mechanics are still being drafted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

NPA rebel surrenders in Midsalip

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga  (Nov 2 ): NPA rebel surrenders in Midsalip

A MEMBER of the New People’s Army (NPA) has surrendered on Tuesday to military authorities in Midsalip town, Zamboanga del Sur province, military official said Friday, November 02.

Lieutenant Colonel Marlowe Patria, Army’s 53rd Infantry Battalion commander, identified the NPA member only as a certain Ka Pipoy, who is a member of Platoon Basil of the NPA’s Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee.
He said Pipoy decided to surrender due to pressures by the military campaign in Midsalip. The surrender has turned over to them two AK-47 assault rifles.

The army official said Pipoy will be enrolled to the Enhanced Local Integration Program (E-Clip) of the government.

Major General Roseller Murillo, Army’s 1st Infantry Division commander, has commended the troops for the success in their campaign that led to the surrender of Pipoy.

Murillo has encouraged other NPAs to surrender and take advantage of the benefits being offered by the government through the E-Clip.

'Breakaway' MNLF group backs BOL

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 3): 'Breakaway' MNLF group backs BOL

BOL SUPPORT. Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza meets with MNLF leaders in Davao City on Friday (Nov. 2, 2018). To his left is former Sulu governor Yusop Jikiri. (Photo courtesy of OPAPP)
DAVAO CITY -- A faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which emerged in the wake of an ouster move against Moro leader Nur Misuari as MNLF chairman a few years back, has thrown its support to the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Former Sulu governor Yusop Jikiri said in a meeting with Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza here last Monday (Oct. 29) that they have agreed to implement a massive information, education and communication campaign to push forward the BOL's ratification in January.

Jikiri's group was also known as the Council of 15 and was formed in late 2001 by the MNLF's most senior leaders amid claims that Misuari had lost regard of the Moro people. It was previously chaired by Muslimen Sema, Misuari's vice chair for political affairs, and was recognized by then president Gloria Arroyo as the real MNLF.

In the meeting with Dureza, Jikiri and his group said they were “committed to help the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte by supporting the BOL and campaigning in the plebiscite.”

Jikiri said the campaign would cover “all areas” that were proposed for inclusion in the future Bangsamoro entity.

He said they will partner with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to develop and implement a multi-stakeholder campaign on the issue.

Misuari's faction was unclear in its support of the BOL. However, it has been reported by Duterte that the aging Moro leader had voiced several concerns over it, including the perception on diminished autonomy and powers. Misuari also insisted on the 1996 peace agreement he had signed with the government.

Duterte had repeatedly said he was talking to Misuari to convince the Moro leader to support the BOL, which he described as the last shot to forging peace in Mindanao.

The President even floated the idea of creating a separate autonomous region for Misuari's group.

“I’d like to talk to Nur on what he really wanted so that I can give it by the end of the year,” Duterte said in Zamboanga Sibugay in July 2018. He said Misuari can have “autonomy.”

“If that is what he wants and pending the federal system implementation,” he added.

Firdausi Abbas, Jikiri's foreign minister vice chair, had earlier suggested that Misuari's faction should also be included, particularly in the composition of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the body that would steer the new region until the elections in 2022.

Abbas, in an interview by Manila Bulletin in August, said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) can have 80 percent of the representation to the BTA, the members of whom Duterte will be appointing. His group, he added, was willing to take just 10 percent and the remaining 10 percent should go to Misuari's faction.

“We still consider them (Misuari’s faction) part of the MNLF,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dureza -- in a statement -- acknowledged the “strong commitment” of Jikiri's group to help the national government push for a “greater level of public awareness” on the BOL.

“I am very pleased with the MNLF’s determined efforts to help the Duterte administration in generating a groundswell of support for BBL and ensure its ratification,” Dureza told Jikiri during the meeting.

“The MNLF, under the leadership of Chair Jikiri, has over the years been a reliable partner of the national government in sustaining the gains of peace in Mindanao,” he added.

Dureza noted that Monday's meeting was an affirmation of the Oct. 7 meeting of the Jikiri-led MNLF in Sulu, during which, a resolution was passed declaring the organization’s “unequivocal support” for the BOL.

2 miyembro ng NPA sa Eastern Samar, sumuko

From ABS-CBN (Nov 2): 2 miyembro ng NPA sa Eastern Samar, sumuko

Sumuko sa Eastern Samar Police Mobile Force Company ang dalawang dating commander ng New People's Army.
Ayon sa impormasyon mula sa Police Regional Office 8, kinilala ang dalawang dating rebelde na sina alyas "Nestor" at alyas "Joel."

Residente si Nestor, 40, ng Barangay Pilit sa bayan ng Basey, Samar.

Commander umano si Nestor sa ilalim ng Jorge Bolito Command. Isinuko rin niya ang isang kalibre .45 at isang 9-millimeter na baril kasama ang bala at magazine.

Sumuko rin si Joel, 34, residente ng Barangay Loog, Basey.

Si Joel ang umano'y political instructor ng national command ng NPA. Isinuko niya ang isang shotgun kasama ang magazine at mga bala.

Ipinresenta ng pulisya ang dalawang sumukong rebelde sa isang command conference sa rehiyon.

Isasailalim ang dalawa sa Enhanced Comprehensice Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) kung saan tutulungan sila sa pamamagitan ng iba't ibang programa upang makapagbagong buhay.

U.S. ambassador pays courtesy call on DFA chief Locsin

From Rappler (Nov 1): U.S. ambassador pays courtesy call on DFA chief Locsin

'I very much look forward to working closely together,' says US Ambassador Sung Kim after meeting with Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro 'Teddyboy' Locsin Jr

COURTESY CALL. US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim pays a courtesy call on Foreign Secretary Teodoro 'Teddyboy' Locsin Jr at the Department of Foreign Affairs on October 31, 2018. Photo courtesy of Ambassador Kim

COURTESY CALL. US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim pays a courtesy call on Foreign Secretary Teodoro 'Teddyboy' Locsin Jr at the Department of Foreign Affairs on October 31, 2018. Photo courtesy of Ambassador Kim

US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim paid a courtesy call on newly appointed Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin two weeks after the Philippines' new top diplomat took office.

The meeting took place on Wednesday, October 31.

"Delighted to meet with new Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teddy Locsin today. Great discussion on our shared priorities. I very much look forward to working closely together," Kim tweeted on Wednesday.

On Thursday, November 1, Locsin commented that Kim's insights on the Korean Peninsula have been useful for him since the ambassador shared these with him in 2016.

Kim is a veteran US diplomat and an expert on Korean affairs. In May, he even led preparations for the historic June 12 meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Kim previously served as special representative for North Korea policy and deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs at the US State Department.

Kim was a former nuclear negotiator with North Korea. He also worked as US ambassador to South Korea from 2011 to 2014.

"I've been running on his insights on the Korean peninsula since he shared them with me two years ago," Locsin tweeted on Thursday.

Kim's courtesy call on Locsin follows the phone call of US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to the Philippines' new DFA chief.

During the phone call, Pompeo "reaffirmed the longstanding US-Philippines alliance," and also discussed with Locsin the "ongoing efforts to address regional issues such as North Korea, the South China Sea, and counterterrorism."

Kim's courtesy call also comes days after China's top diplomat, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi,
visited Davao City and held a bilateral meeting with Locsin.
During Wang's trip, he and Locsin witnessed the signing of 3 agreements between the Philippines and China covering humanitarian assistance, law enforcement, and infrastructure.

Cebuano News: 302nd Bde gibansay sa pagka-photojournalists

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 2): Cebuano News: 302nd Bde gibansay sa pagka-photojournalists

CAMERA READY. Nangandam na ang mga katropa sa 302nd IBde sa ipahigayon nga bansay sa pagkuha og hulagway samtang gisinatyi sa matag usa ang camera. (PIA/Bohol)

CARMEN, Bohol -- Sa kadaghan sa makapaguol nga balita nga nagpasad karon, mituo ang mga tinugyanan sa 302nd Infantry Brigade nga mas maayo nga ilang itampo ang mga maayong balita ngadto sa mga katawhan nga padayon nga naningkamot alang sa maayong kinabuhi.

Tungod niini, mihagyo si Army Captain Khadaffy A. Tawantawan, Civil Military Operations Officer sa 302nd IBde nga hatagan sa bansaybansay sa pagkuha og hulagway ang mga katropa, aron kini magamit sa pagpa-ambit sa maayong balita ngadto sa mga Bol-anon.

Didto sa bansay-bansay, 14 ka sakop sa 302nd Inf Bde ang mitambong ug aktibo nga misalmot sa mga ehersisyo sa paghupot sa camera, pagkuha og hulagway sa mga kalihukan sa mga sundalo ug sa mga units nga ilang gidumala dinhi sa Bohol.

Nagbase sa Camp Rajah Sikatuna sa Katipunan Carmen, Bohol, ang 302nd Infantry Brigade mao’y nagdumala sa tanan nga mga allied units sa kasundalohan nga nia sa Bohol.

Kahinumduman nga human ikadeklara ang Bohol nga insurgency free niadtong 2010, nausab ang gimbuhaton sa mga sundalo nga nahimilin sa Bohol.

NAGPRACTICE SA SHOOTING. Napulo ug upat ka mga sakop sa 302nd IBde ang milampus sa usa ka adlaw nga bansay sa pagkuha og hulagway, nga gilauman usab nga ilang magamit sa pagpakatap sa ilang mga kalampusan ngadto na sa katilingban nga Bol-anon. (PIA/Bohol)

Inay pusil ug mga tanque de guerra, piko, pala, gabas ug martilyo na ang kasagaran nila nga misyon sa pagtabang sa katawhan sa mga komunidad nga kanhi-ay nga gihulga ug gilumluman sa mga rebelde.

Sukad niadto, halos kadaghanan sa mga trabaho sa kasundalohan dinhi sa Bohol, mao ang paghimo og mga pulongpulong, nga pagpatukod sa mga tunghaan, pag-ayo sa mga kadalanan ug pag-ayo sa mga naguba nga barangay halls.

Kasagaran sa ilang mga trabaho, dili na gani mabalita sanglit, kuwang sila sa kahibaw sa paghimo niini ngadto sa mga balita.

Labut pa, may gi-atiman nga social media account ang 302nd IB nga wala pa magamit og maayo, sumpay ni Captain Tawantawan.

Tungod niini, nahitabo ang bansay uban sa Philippine Information Agency.

Milaum ang mga opisyales sa 302nde IB pinangulohan ni Major General Ignacio Madriaga, nga makahatag na og kaugmaran ang 302nd Bde ngadto sa katilingban'g Bol-anon, ilabi na sa ilang mga kalihukan.

More NPA regulars surrender in Comval, Davao Norte

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 2): More NPA regulars surrender in Comval, Davao Norte

More members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) turned themselves to army troops in Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte provinces amid the government's intensified campaign against the group's recruitment activities.

Capt. Jerry Lamosao, of the Army's 10th Infantry Division, on Friday said the combat operation launched by the 66th Infantry Battalion since Tuesday forced two members of the New People’s Army (NPA) Pulang Bagani Command (PNC) 8 to surrender in Barangay Andap, New Bataan, Compostela Valley Province.

identified the surrenderers only as alias Romy, a political guide, and alias Dandan.

Lamosao said government troops launched the strike following information from a civilian on the presence of armed men in the remote portion of Barangay Andap.

According to Lamosao, it has been a long time since the NPA were seen in the mining area of Andap.

Their presence this week, Lamosao said, followed the dismantling of the NPA’s Guerilla Front 25. He surmised the rebels were  trying to recover lost grounds by forcibly recruiting people in the area.

On the other hand, the Army's 60th Infantry Battalion received 41 NPA rebels operating in the boundaries of Loreto, Agusan del Sur and Kapalong, Davao del Norte, early this week.

The 60IB based in Kapalong reported that of the 41, 10 were regular NPA members of Guerilla Front 34, and one member of Pulang Bagani Command 4.

The rest of the 41 surrenderers were members of the Milisyang Bayan and underground mass organization under Guerilla Front 34 led by Maximo Catarata alias Datu Makatindog.

The surrenders also handed over a Garand rifle, caliber .22 homemade rifle, a .45 caliber handgun and an improvised explosive device.

Lamosao said the 10ID already recorded 23 NPA armed regulars and 71 underground mass supporters of the NPA who surrendered since the previous week.

NPA rebel surrenders in Zamboanga del Sur town

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 2): NPA rebel surrenders in Zamboanga del Sur town

A member of the New People’s Army (NPA) has yielded to authorities in Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur, military officials said Friday.

Lt. Col. Marlowe Patria, the Army’s 53rd Infantry Battalion commander,
identified the surrenderer only as a certain Ka Pipoy, a member of Platoon Basil of the NPA’s Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee.

Patria said Pipoy gave himself up on Tuesday and turned over two AK-47 assault rifles.

“The initial custodial debriefing found out that he (Pipoy) was tired of hiding and evading our troops,” he said.

“Rest assured that we will enroll and facilitate him to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government,” he added.

Major Gen. Roseller Murillo, the Army’s 1st Infantry Division commander, has commended the troops for the success of their campaign that led to Pipoy’s surrender.

He called on other communist rebels to yield and take advantage of the benefits being offered by the government through the E-CLIP.

“It will provide them an opportunity to return into mainstream society and together, we will solve their problems in a peaceful way,” added Murillo, who is also commander of Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao).

Troops rescue 2 kidnap victims in Sulu

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 2): Troops rescue 2 kidnap victims in Sulu

Government troops have rescued two kidnap victims one after the other and arrested four suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits in the province of Sulu, police said Friday.

The Sulu Provincial Police Office identified the rescued victims as Jose Duterte, 63, and a seven-year-old girl, of Zamboanga del Norte and Tawi-Tawi, respectively.

Police said Duterte was rescued by troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu and Naval Forces Western Mindanao in Barangay Kandayok, Panamao, Sulu at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

Duterte's rescue came after the troops managed to zero in on his location. Duterte, who owns a coconut farm, and his wife, Jessica, 53, were seized by five ASG bandits on the evening of March 3, 2017 while they were resting in their residence near the shore in Barangay Sta. Maria, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte.

The couple was forced to board a waiting motorboat that sped to the high seas. The ASG bandits freed Jessica in Basilan province on Oct. 31 last year.

Meanwhile, police said four ASG bandits were arrested when seven-year-old Astah was rescued by policemen in Barangay Walled City, Jolo, Sulu at about 2:45 p.m. Thursday.

The arrest was made after the payoff of the ransom between the victim’s grandfather and the ASG bandits.

Police withheld the names of the arrested ASG bandits, who were detained at the police headquarters in Jolo, Sulu.

The girl was seized by ASG bandits in Sitio Polao Pinang, Barangay Himba, Tandubas, Tawi-Tawi on the evening of June 25 this year.
Her mother, Rahsa Malyn, was injured when she was seized as her father, Rahim, put up a fight that triggered a brief shootout.

The ASG bandits pretended to buy gasoline from the business establishment of the girl's family at the shore of Barangay Himba when they seized the child.