AFP chief Sobejana calls for vigilance in Maguindanao after BIFF threat in Datu Paglas

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2021   •   200

 

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana called on local officials and residents in Maguindanao to remain vigilant despite the thwarted attack of the members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

“I enjoin the populace of and local leaders in Maguindanao to remain vigilant as we continue our watch until peace is stabilized,” Sobejana said in a statement.

On Saturday, around 20 BIFF members led by Mohiden Animbang a.k.a. Karialan occupied the Datu Paglas public market.

But state security forces drove them away before they could attack civilian residents.

No civilian or military casualties were reported.

Elements from the Joint Task Central and the 601st Infantry Brigade dealt with the group, which has been the subject of intense military operations for the past days, the AFP said.

Karialan and his group were said to be the ones behind the reported explosions in Datu Saudi Ampatuan in March 2021 and caused the death of two civilians and wounding of two others.

“The extremist groups were forced to withdraw in the same morning after security forces were able to isolate the area. The national highway was again open for public commuters at around 10:30 in the morning of the same day after the clearing of the area was confirmed by security forces,” JTF Central spokesperson Lt. Col. John Baldomar said.

The military recovered four improvised explosive devices left by the BIFF members.

Sobjana said the situation has already normalized but assured that security forces “will not rest until the threat is neutralized.”

“Let us continue to engage local government authorities, stakeholders, and civilians to ensure that peace and security in Datu Paglas and its neighboring towns are preserved,” Sobejana said.

DPWH, DND inaugurate hospital facility, barracks at Camp Aguinaldo

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with the Department of National Defense (DND) on Thursday (June 17) inaugurated the new military facilities at Camp Aguinaldo.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar with DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana led the inauguration and handover ceremony of a four-storey male and female enlisted personnel barracks building and two-storey hospital facility at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo Station Hospital.

The P63.7 million barracks facility will provide enlisted military personnel a safe and secure accommodation or billeting place for troops essential to mission accomplishment. Meanwhile, the hospital facility has 25 beds for emergency services and inpatient care as well as pharmacy, in-house laboratory, and imaging.

The hospital will also be used as the primary health care facility of Camp Aguinaldo for officers, enlisted personnel, civilian human resource.

Secretary Villar said that being in the frontline in protecting the country, the two departments want nothing but the best for the armed forces. AAC

AFP, UN sign strategic plan to protect children in armed conflict

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United Nations (UN) have signed a strategic plan to protect children in armed conflict.

In a statement on Thursday (June 10), AFP Chief  Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the AFP shall ensure to maintain professionalism and discipline in conducting daily operations. He also said the AFP will aim to strengthen the protection of children in armed conflict and prevent grave child rights violations.

“We shall guarantee that all our personnel are properly educated and trained, to raise their awareness, and for a deeper sense of respect and regard to the promotion and protection of Human Rights in particular, to children’s rights, and adherence to International Humanitarian Law,” he said.

Under the “Strategic Plan to Prevent and Respond to Grave Child Rights Violations in Situations of Armed Conflict”, the AFP should fully comply with its obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

The Strategic Plan was signed by Sobejana along with UN resident coordinator and co-chair of UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (UN-CTFMR) Gustavo Gonzales, and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative to the Philippines Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov on Wednesday (June 9). AAC

AFP, PNP to file criminal charges vs NPA units in Masbate mine blast

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 9, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines—The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will file criminal charges against members of the New People’s Army (NPA) involved in the Masbate mine blast.

This was after the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) took “full responsibility for the tragedy”.

In a statement, AFP Spokesperson MGen. Edgardo Arevalo reiterated that the use of anti-personnel landmines — which is prohibited in the Philippines under the Mine Ban Treaty — is a war crime.

“We will continue to work vigorously with the PNP in the filing of criminal cases against the murderers and the violators of Republic Act 9851 for the CTG’s leadership who directed the wanton killing of hapless non-combatant civilians using land mines,” he said.

The NPA has planted an improvised explosive device in Brgy. Anas, Masbate City last Sunday (June 6) which killed football player Kieth Absalon, his cousin Nolven Absalon, and injured others.

CPP information officer Marco Valbuena, in a statement said the CPP-NPA expresses their deep remorse over the untimely and unnecessary deaths.

“The entire CPP and NPA take full responsibility for the tragedy. There is no justification for the aggravation this has caused the Absalon family,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Makabayan Bloc condemned the said incident and has called it a violation of international and humanitarian law.

“We condemn the military action by a unit of the NPA in Masbate City that caused their death and injuries to others for violating international humanitarian law. Our commitment to human rights binds us to condemn any and all acts that harm or kill unarmed civilians, non-combatants, and protected persons in situations of armed conflict,” it said. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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