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Restoration of normalcy in Marawi City begins

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — Of the 95 villages in Marawi City, 33 are heavily damaged by the more than four months of clashes between the government troops and the ISIS-inspired Maute terror group.

In these areas, the structures damaged by the bombs and ammunition can no longer be used.

While in areas considered controlled, the homes of residents remain intact.

The local government is currently processing the return of the evacuated residents back to their homes but the displaced residents still have to undergo a process before returning home like cleaning their communities.

“Mayroon po tayong (we will have)  clustering after the clean-up drive. We would have a phasing, a clustering , pagkatapos po ng restoration ng mga (following restoration of) facilities, government facilities and services within the controlled area including yung mga schools natin (our schools). Pababalikin natin yung mga residente natin dito sa (we can then allow residents to return to their homes in the controlled area,” said Provincial Crisis Management Committee spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong.

Only 44% of households and establishments in Marawi City are without electricity. These are the villages within the main battle area.

There is also no water supply in the area.

The local government unit of Lanao del Sur explained that once residents in the controlled area can finally return home, they will still have to undergo a screening process with the help of village officials.

The LGU also plans to provide passes to the residents allowed to return home.

“Remember this calamity is not brought about by typhoon or an earthquake. This is a product of an armed conflict and there are several allegedly sympathizers are still outside so of course, we want to secure our residents,” said Adiong.

Meanwhile, residents evacuated from the main battle area will stay in temporary shelters.

Before the year ends, they are expected to be transferred to the temporary shelters.

“We are discussing the reparation for the civilian properties damaged. We have no official master plan for rehabilitation yet because everything now is what we call recommendation,” said the spokesperson.

Meanwhile, authorities have recovered 144 dead bodies within the war zone.

133 of the cadavers have already been buried including terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute while 61 individuals are still missing due to the clashes. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue

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Nations commend the AFP for ending Marawi siege in a short period of time

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, November 17th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — Other countries like Australia salute the capability of the Philippine military and police for successfully winning the battle in Marawi City.

They said the government forces were able to neutralize the Maute terror group despite having few number of troops.

According to Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office (AFP-PAO) chief Col. Edgard Arevalo, representatives of the Australian government held a briefing with the Philippine military to determine how the Filipino troops were able to win the war.

In fact, Arevalo noted that Australia also requested for a counter-terrorism drill last week between the Australian defense force and soldiers of the AFP.

“We are glad because this only shows that our success is being recognized — our counter-terrorism operations in Marawi City,” said Arevalo.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that other countries are seeking to observe and participate in the shoulder to shoulder exercises of the Philippines and the United States.

“We now have England observing that. Singapore also would like to participate that will have to sit down our table and craft the necessary document to allow their troops to stay in the Philippines,” said the defense secretary.

In line with this, the defense chief expressed gratitude to countries that commend the capability of Filipino soldiers and policemen.

“It’s heart-warming. It boosts the morale of our troops. That will drive our military and police to do more good for the country,” said Lorenzana.

The Marawi City siege lasted for 154 days. The battle ended faster than the war in Iraq which lasted for several years. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue

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AFP maintains no violations of any rule of engagement in the Marawi siege

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, November 17th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is confident that military personnel performed their duty well in fighting for the liberation of Marawi City against the ISIS-inspired Maute terrorist group.

This is the response of the AFP against the report of  Amnesty International alleging the military of violations of human rights to include looting, maltreatment of detained and fleeing civilians, and extensive bombing in the main battle area.

“But our commitment to the respect of human rights and the abidance by international humanitarian law cannot be overemphasized by the accomplishments of our troops in the marawi siege,” said AFP Spokesperson MGen. Restituto Padilla Jr.

The military defended the employment of airstrikes because of grave threat including a large number of terrorists invading Marawi.

Nevertheless,  the AFP said it is willing to cooperate with any investigation and vowed to penalize their personnel once proven of violating any rules of engagement.

However, until now, no group individual has filed any formal complaint against them.

“If these are allegations, they will remain allegations until there are concrete and formal reports that come our way and we will act on it,” said Padilla.

On the isolated incidents of looting and reports of hurting captured Maute member, the AFP still investigates.

The military also did not dismiss the possibility of black propaganda against the AFP because of negative reports against them.

On the other hand, the military appeals to the public not to disregard their loss of 166 soldiers during the most strenuous battle against terrorism in Marawi City.

“We hope that if there are some of our fellowmen who are not satisfied with our performance, we appeal to them to respect the memory and the sacrifice of our fallen soldiers,” said the AFP spokesperson. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue


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PNP chief: Failed attack of Abu Sayyaf Group during ASEAN Summit linked to ISIS

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, November 17th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has revealed the arrest of three alleged members of the Abu Sayaf Group (ASG) on November 10 in the village of Culiat, Tandang Sora in Quezon City.

The intelligence group of the PNP has discovered that the said terrorists planned to conduct bombings during the conduct of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

The alleged terrorists were identified as 19-year old Abdulgaffar Jikiri alias Abu Bakar, 19-year old Alim Sabtalim Labing, and 24-year old Sadam Jhofar. The arrested men are from Basilan.

“Obviously, being a member of the Basilan based Abu Sayaff Group, they are connected to ISIS,” said PNP chief PDG Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.

Before the suspects were arrested, the PNP monitored their posts on their social media accounts regarding their planned terror attack in Metro Manila.

The police said suspects posted photos of high powered firearms and improvised explosive devices with captions, saying they would use the firearms to kill kafirs or non-Muslims.

They also posted their alleged possible targets like malls and parks in Manila.

Pictures of armed children are also posted on their social media accounts.

“That’s part of the intelligence gathering on the web on the internet. It’s also part our intelligence gathering. We also get much information thru social media also,” said NCRPO Director Oscar Albayalde.

Authorities confiscated from the suspects firearms, ammunition, grenades, and cellular phones.

The suspects had already undergone inquest proceedings in the Quezon City Prosecutors Office.

They are now facing charges of unlawful possession of firearms, illegal possession of explosives and violation of the existing gun ban.

The PNP said that it still conducts monitoring as there might be other ASG members in Metro Manila.

The police noted that the public has nothing to worry about, saying its personnel remains on a full alert status for the entire holiday season. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

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