1 CAFGU killed, 5 PSG members injured in NPA ambush in North Cotabato

UNTV News   •   July 20, 2017   •   6893

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_071917_NPA ATTACK

Suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) attacked the convoy of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) in Barangay Gambudes, Katipunan, Arakan, North Cotabato, at 6:05 in the morning on Wednesday.

The PSG members were on board two vehicles from Camp Panacan in Davao and were supposed to head to Cagayan de Oro City (CDO).

Authorities said the PSG convoy was blocked at a checkpoint by armed men who introduced themselves as members of Task Force Davao.

But when the PSG verified that the armed men were not members of the Task Force Davao, the firefight began.

A member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU), identified as Benjamin Pandia, died in the encounter, while five members of the PSG were wounded; two of them rushed to the Panacan Station Hospital.

“They sustained minor wounds only. As of now, they are already stable. They are being properly accommodated here,” Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao Commanding Officer Ltc. Erickson Gob said.

Authorities are now going after the armed men who are allegedly holding hostages.

“The 10th infantry brigade which is helping now the pursuit operation on the incident involving the group of Presidential Security Group personnel,” 10th ID spokesperson Capt. Ryan Batchar said.

Malacañang, meanwhile, condemned the attack.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said they are still waiting for a directive from President Duterte as to his decision on whether or not to proceed with the peace negotiations with the communist group. – Leslie Longboen | UNTV News & Rescue

Task Force Davao boosts security after North Cotabato bombing incident

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 29, 2021

The Task Force Davao said it will heighten security in Davao City following the bombing incident in Tulunan, North Cotabato on Wednesday (January 27).

TF Davao Commander Consolito Yecla reported that additional personnel have been deployed to various checkpoints and buses that enter the city are thoroughly inspected.

“We immediately alerted our checkpoints and we conducted a thorough inspection, especially the bus passengers entering Davao City. We inspected the buses utilizing canine dogs and deployed additional personnel in the checkpoints, especially in the Sirawan checkpoint,” he said.

They also advised the management of the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT) to implement the policy of not picking up of passengers outside the terminal.

Meanwhile, Davao City Police Office Chief Colonel Kirby John Kraft said beginning next week, all police stations in the city will have 24-hour checkpoints.

Travelers are also encouraged to cooperate during inspections and residents are reminded of the “no-unattended-baggage” policy, especially at terminals.

One elderly and seven others were hit by shrapnel from an explosion near a Yellow Bus unit on Wednesday. AAC 

Probe on PSG COVID-19 vaccination to push through – FDA

Robie de Guzman   •   January 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday said it will push through with its investigation into the unauthorized inoculation of COVID-19 vaccine to some members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

FDA Director-General Eric Domingo issued this statement even after President Rodrigo Duterte told his security detail to keep mum should lawmakers ask them about their vaccination.

Duterte’s order to the PSG prompted the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to call off its investigation into the controversial immunization.

Domingo said the president’s directive only applies to congressional hearings.

“Ang FDA po mayroong set po ng proseso kung paano po naming hina-handle at ini-investigate ang mga complaint at mga reports na mga ganito,” he said during a public briefing.

“Itutuloy naman po namin ‘yun according to process laid down by FDA,” he added.

The National Bureau of Investigation is also conducting a separate probe into the issue.

Malacañang earlier lauded the security group’s courage in taking an unregistered vaccine as part of their mission to protect the health and safety of the president. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

COVID-19 vaccination hearing on Jan. 11 will not include the PSG — Sotto

Marje Pelayo   •   January 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate hearing on the government’s vaccination plan will push through on Monday (January 11) but Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the probe will not include members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

Despite this, several senators maintained that it is the responsibility and mandate of Congress to conduct a probe in aid of legislation that will benefit the people.

Sotto, who heads the Senate Committee of the Whole, said the probe will focus on the government’s P72.5 billion budget for the vaccination plan against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and not anymore on the PSG’s use of unauthorized COVID-19 vaccines.

“He is misinformed. I’m the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole as Senate President. The topic of my hearing is the roadmap for the P72.5 B for vaccines. Who in heaven’s name told him I’m calling for PSG? I think the President is being misled,” Sotto said in a statement.

Sotto believes the President was misinformed because the PSG was not really part of the investigation.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said he acknowledges the President’s executive privilege to bar the PSG from attending the probe.

“To investigate in aid of legislation is also a valid exercise of legislative power.  There is no preventing Congress from eliciting information in aid of legislation from other resource persons. Congress can exact information on matters that can help it craft better legislation,” he said.

He noted, however, that the Chief Executive should not stop Congress from doing its mandate.

“The Senate should continue with the hearing, especially in the light of the revelation that 100,000 POGO workers were inoculated in the country. That is illegal. In aid of legislation, the Senate must elicit information from other sources on how to strengthen the FDA and the Bureau of Customs to prevent similar episodes in the future,” Drilon said.

For his part, Senator Richard Gordon said it was wrong of the President to warn Congress considering they are a co-equal branch of government.

He added that though he recognizes PSG’s loyalty to him, still no one is above the law.

“Well, that’s unfortunate because I think he’s wrong. The president has got to respect the separation of powers clause,” Gordon said.

“To shackle the Senate or the Congress into not doing what it is supposed to do is I think a wrong thing to do for the president,” he added.

Amid the issue, Gordon still wants to know who supplied that vaccine administered to the PSG and how the group received the unauthorized vaccines.

He said the senators will sit on a caucus to discuss if they will raise the matter in the investigation.

“Bakit nila tinatago? Is somebody laying the predicate here for the Chinese medicine to be pushed? Because lumabas na ngayon 300-200 Chinese na ang inoculate,” Gordon said.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, stressed that it is the Senate’s responsibility to scrutinize and put in order any negligence on the part of the Executive branch.

“Kung hindi pa handa at nagkakanya kanya at iba iba ang direksyon ng mga ahensya ng Executive branch, responsibilidad at tungkulin ng Senado magsilbing check and balance at busisiin ito at subukan ilagay sa ayos ang anumang kakulangan o kapabayaan na nagaganap sa kilos ng mga kinaukulan,” Pangilinan said.

This issue is not a matter to be ignored, according to Senator Risa Hontiveros particularly the report that some POGO workers were also inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines without the proper authorization.

“Hindi pwedeng ipagsawalang kibo ng pamahalaan ang napabalitang paggamit ng 100,000 POGO workers ng smuggled at unauthorized vaccine,” the opposition senator said.

“Bakit ba ang nangunguna pa yatang kunsintidor ng kontrabando ay ang sarili pa nating gobyerno?” she added.

To date, Sotto’s committee has yet to finalize the list of resource persons to be invited to the probe on Monday. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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