11 Abu Sayyaf members surrender in Sulu

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 19, 2020   •   329

Eleven members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) surrendered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Sulu on Saturday (October 17).

The 1101st Infantry Brigade of the AFP identified the surrenderers in their aliases as: Alji, Gaspar, Amz, Ardin, Bebs, Madz, Uyong, Bahad, Navin, Allon, and Asir.

According to Western Mindanao Command Spokesperson Lt. Colonel Alaric delos Santos, the holistic approach of the Joint Task Force in Sulu paved the way for the former ASG members’ surrender.

The 11 members also surrendered five M16 rifle and one M1 grenade launcher. After surrendering, they will undergo rehabilitation program for them to be able to receive the benefits from the government under the Localized Social Integration Program.

Last October, over 100 ex-ASG members in Sulu were given P15,000 cash assistance. AAC (with reports from Val Villaflor)

2 suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits killed in Sulu clash – AFP

Robie de Guzman   •   November 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A suspected sub-leader and a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed in separate encounters with government troops in Sulu early Friday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.

AFP Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. identified the slain individuals as alleged ASG sub-leader Hatib Munap Binda and a certain Bensio Barahama.

Vinluan said Binda was killed in the first encounter that occurred in Panamao town of Sulu province.

Based on the report submitted by 4th Marine Brigade Commander Col. Ruben Candelario, troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-1 (MBLT) was conducting combat operation st Bud Bawis Complex, Barangay Kawasan when they encountered the group of Binda around 5:45 a.m.

Vinluan said a fierce firefight ensued which lasted for about 30 minutes after which the enemy withdrew.

“While scouring the encounter site, marine troops recovered the dead body of ASG sub-leader Binda, one M16 rifle, and one M14 rifle,” he added.

Vinluan said that based on their records, Binda is the senior leader of the ASG operating in the municipalities of Kalingalan Caluang and Panamao, Sulu.

He was a member of the organization since 2002 and was an associate of the late ASG sub-leader Alhabsi Misaya during the conduct of series of kidnappings in the tri-boundaries of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines.

In a separate operation, another team of the MBLT-1 encountered the ASG group under Sansibar Bensio a few meters away from the previous encounter site at 6:45 a.m. of the same day.

The encounter lasted for about 20 minutes which resulted in the death of a certain Bensio Barahama and the recovery of one M14 rifle, according to the report of MBLT-1 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Marvin Salvan.

“Our good intelligence operations yielded to these positive results and we are grateful that no one from our side was injured during the operations,” Salvan said.

Vinluan said Barahama is the father of Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leader Sansibar Bensio and was operating in the areas of Panamao, Omar, and Luuk.

The AFP said operating troops are still in hot pursuit of the fleeing enemies.

“All the military units here in Sulu remain vigilant and resilient in eliminating the remaining terrorists who refuse to cooperate with us and continue to inflict terroristic activities in the peaceful communities,’’ said Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, Commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu.

“Rest assured that we will continue to work hard to end terrorism here in the beautiful island province of Sulu,” he added.

AFP, PNP shift to relief and rehabilitation ops in typhoon-hit areas

Robie de Guzman   •   November 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The military and police on Tuesday announced they have shifted their priority to massive relief distribution and rehabilitation efforts after days of intense search and rescue operations in areas that were severely affected by recent typhoons that barreled through the country.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson MGen. Edgard Arevalo said all available assets have been mobilized for the transport of relief goods.

Heavy engineering equipment and construction materials for families whose houses were destroyed by the storms were also transported.

“The AFP has shifted to massive relief distribution & rehabilitation operations. AFP Chief of Staff Gen Gilbert Gapay mobilized all sea, air, & land assets,”  Arevalo said.

Earlier in the day, the AFP sent off BRP Tarlac for humanitarian assistance and disaster response mission to Catanduanes in the Bicol region which was pummeled by Typhoon Rolly and Typhoon Ulysses in the previous weeks.

The Philippine National Police (PNP), for its part, said its relief efforts are ongoing for families affected by massive flooding in Cagayan Province.

PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas said they have also mobilized their personnel and several police trucks to send relief items.

“Meron na kaming pinadala doon at least 5-man trucks. Nagpadala po ng 2,500 relief packages doon po sa Cagayan Province,” Sinas said.

The PNP chief also said they have allocated assistance for policemen whose homes were damaged by recent storms. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Over 265k residents rescued by gov’t troops in Ulysses-hit areas — AFP

Robie de Guzman   •   November 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Government troops deployed to areas hit by Typhoon Ulysses have rescued a total of 265,339 individuals, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Monday.

The AFP said 1,078 lives were saved from the dangerous flooding in Northern Luzon including the Cagayan Province; while 263,444 individuals were rescued in Southern Luzon following the onslaught of Ulysses.

In Metro Manila, the search, rescue and retrieval (SRR) teams also assisted a total of 817 residents, it added.

“Our soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines have switched their firearms with ropes, life rings, and life jackets to respond to the cries for help during heavy and widespread flooding that affected our people,” AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay said in a statement.

“The AFP leads the SRR cluster and continues to work with other government agencies to save more lives amidst the challenges brought by natural calamities and a global pandemic,” he added.

Among the members of the SRR cluster of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) are the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, Department of Health–Health Emergency Management Staff, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Office of Civil Defense and Philippine Red Cross.

The military said it has deployed a total of 83 SRR teams nationwide to help local government units in their disaster response efforts.

It also dispatched 83 land assets, nine aircraft, and 18 water assets to help in the operations.

The AFP also launched the Tulong Bayanihan program, a civil-military operations initiative that turns military camps into donation drop-off centers for those who wish to donate and send help to affected individuals.

The military is likewise assisting in the distribution and transportation of food and non-food items in affected communities in Northern and Southern Luzon.

A total of 9,110 relief goods were distributed by personnel from NOLCOM; while 2,579 were disseminated by Southern Luzon Command.

“While the AFP has started to shift to relief efforts in some areas, our responding teams continue to brave heavily-flooded communities to conduct search, rescue and retrieval operations in the hopes of rescuing more individuals,” Gapay said.

“Our resilience and Bayanihan have allowed us to hurdle obstacles. We call on everyone to hold on to safety as help is on the way and help will come,” he added.

The AFP chief said more than 100 teams on standby for possible deployment and augmentation along with military assets.

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