2 kidnap victims freed from ASG captivity

Marje Pelayo   •   November 2, 2018   •   2063


Rescued kidnap victim Jose Duterte

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines – Two kidnap victims were safely freed from Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) captivity on Thursday (November 1).

The military first rescued Jose Duterte, 66, who was held hostage on March 3, 2017, from their house in Sta. Maria, in the municipality of Siocon in Zamboanga Del Norte.

He was rescued amid an intensified operation by the military against the bandit group.

“Kung iyan ang tanuningin ninyo sa akin siguro mga sampung beses ang engkwentro. Iyong October ang engkwentro bago lang malapit kami,” Duterte said.

He was submitted to medical checkup and was sent home to his family.

The local government calls for more security personnel to man the area.

“Sana po kung madagdagan lalong lalo na doon sa amin sa siocon yun kasi peligro kasi yung daanan natin galing doon sa Dipolog (city),” said Vice Mayor Nathaniel Husin of Siocon, Zamboanga Del Norte.

Meanwhile, another victim Radzmalyn Asta, 7, was rescued from the hands of the bandits with the help of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Kidnapping Group at Barangay Walled City in Jolo, Sulu.

Authorities said a ransom was paid by the boy’s family for his release.

Four suspected kidnappers were arrested in the operation during the actual payment of ransom.

The boy was kidnapped on June 25, 2018, in the province of Tawi-Tawi before he was transferred to Sulu.

As of press time, eight more victims remain in captivity in Sulu – six Filipinos and two foreign nationals. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Dante Amento)



Ferry fire kills three in Zamboanga del Norte

Marje Pelayo   •   August 28, 2019

Rescued passengers of the ill-fated M/V Lite Ferry 16 are attended to by rescuers and crew of the vessel which responded to the incident on August 28, 2019 in Zamboanga del Norte. (Courtesy: Philippine Coast Guard)

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines – Three individuals were killed after a passenger ferry went ablaze early morning on Wednesday (August 28) some four miles from Port of Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte.

The vessel, M/V Lite Ferry 16, was said to have come from the port of Samboan in Santander, Cebu bound for Dapitan.

According to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the vessel which has a loading capacity of 317 has in its manifesto a total of 136 passengers and 36 crewmen.

However, authorities were able to rescue 245 individuals.

“The rest of the passengers are being taken care of and accommodated in available facilities in Dipolog,” said Lite Shipping Corp.’s COO Fernando Inting.

“A team has been dispatched from Cebu to assist the branch and to ensure that all passengers’ needs are attended properly,” he added.

Inting said they will provide each victim with P10,000 financial assistance while they coordinate with the families of the casualties to discuss their demands for assistance.

Meanwhile, the PCG-Visayas confirmed that M/V Lite Ferry 16 had complete legal documents thus it was cleared to sail.

“There are 28 rolling cargoes onboard pero wala pong (but there isn’t any) flammable or hazardous cargoes doon kasi ipinagbawal na natin yan matagal na, (because we already banned such [products] a long time ago,)” explained PCG-7 PIO LTJG Michael Encina.

“Hindi pwedeng pagsamahin ang mga passenger at tsaka ito pong dangerous cargoes. (Passengers and dangerous cargoes cannot be combined on board.) We are certain about that na walang (there is no) flammable material onboard ang vessel before it departs,” he added.

The vessel’s operator Lite Ferry Management is now working with the PCG for the conduct of the investigation in the incident.

“The area po that the maritime incident transpired is in Dapitan which is under the Coastguard Northern Mindanao,” Encina said.

“(Every time there is) maritime incident, the PCG will create a board. We call it BMI (or) the board marine inquiry wherein the group of PCG and at the same time the MARINA will investigate the matters and kung ano po talaga ang nangyari dun sa insidente (on what really transpired in the incident,)” he concluded. MNP (with details from Gladys Toabi)

6 Abu Sayyaf members nabbed in separate NBI operations

Maris Federez   •   June 11, 2019

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) presented to the media on Tuesday (June 11) six alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) who were arrested in separate operations last month.

The NBI said that the six were arrested in Taguig City, Balanga City in Bataan, and Zamboanga City on May 16 and 20.

NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said, “the six arrested were involved in various terrorist activities, ranging from ambush, kidnap for ransom, bombing in Southern Philippines, and recruitment of other members.”

He added that the arrest stemmed from the intelligence reports that they gathered and have led them to the whereabouts of Azmier Maalum in Taguig City.

The joint operations of the NBI, the Philippine Navy (PN) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) had led to the arrest of Maalum, along with Amar Assan, Musa Tahil Sampang, Jamil Ibrahim, Yong Aming, and Majuk Tahil Amil.

Maalum has several warrants of arrest for eight counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of Golden Harvest plantation workers in Basilan in 2001, while Sampang was involved in several bombing incidents also in Basilan.

The NBI said the six had been recruiting members in Metro Manila. (with reports from April Cenedoza) /mbmf

Twin blasts in Jolo, Sulu linked to Abu Sayyaf Group

Marje Pelayo   •   January 28, 2019

|Photo courtesy of AFP WestMinCom

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) suspected possible links of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) to the deadly twin explosions in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday morning (January 27).

Colonel Gerry Besana of the AFP Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) said that the group Ajang-Ajang, an ASG-affiliated armed group known for abduction and sowing terror in the area, has been identified as the perpetrators of the blast.

The military positively identified the group through a CCTV  footage recovered from the crime scene which showed some members of Ajang-Ajang entered the Mt. Carmel Cathedral and rushed outside before the two explosions happened.

“Iyan ang mga Abu Sayyaf na nandudoon sa city pagala-gala lang doon at sila ang mga itinuturo palagi na gumagawa ng atrocities laban sa ating mga kasundaluhan. At the same time gumagawa din ng mga kalokohan at panggugulo dyan sa bayan ng Jolo,” confirmed Besana, AFP Westmincom’s spokesperson.

“Ngayon ang kagandahan dito may lead na tayo at alam natin sino ang perpetrators ng pagpapasabog na ito,” he added.

The AFP-PNP joint investigation on the incident is now ongoing particularly the assessment of the signature prints on the recovered parts of the improvised explosive devices (IED) used by the suspects.

Meanwhile, former Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan believes the attacks had something to do with the recently concluded plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Tan suspects the incident was plotted by BOL supporters after they (Tan) voted ‘no’ for the BOL.

“They want to undermine our leadership in the province after the plebiscite, but we will never give in we won’t give in we will fight back and we are ready to fight,” Tan said. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Dante Amento)


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