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AFP condemns mall blast in Cotabato City; eyes terrorists links

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

 

CCTV footage of bombing at South Seas Mall in Magallanes Street, Cotabato City

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is looking at terrorist involvement in the bombing incident in a mall in Cotabato City on Monday (December 31).

In a statement, AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal said though they consider the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and its breakaway group Daulah Islamiyah as “the ones with the wicked desire to sow terror and inflict harm to innocent civilians,” the military does not discount “the possibility of other interest groups aligned with the same evil intentions to be involved.”

Two individuals were confirmed dead while 34 others were injured in a suspected improvised explosive device (IED) found at the baggage counter of South Seas Mall in Magallanes Street, Cotabato City.

Investigation is underway. – Marje Pelayo

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AFP to prove CPP front orgs receive EU, Belgium funding

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is set to prove that several groups that benefit from the financial assistance being doled-out by the European Union and Belgium are front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations Brigadier, General Antonio Parlade, said they are now collating the evidence that will prove their allegations.

Parlade said this will help Belgium and the member countries of the EU in screening and selecting the organizations that are most deserving of their financial assistance.

“They wanted us to provide more evidence and then to file the formal complaint. That’s what we are doing now, we are consolidating all our evidence para submit sa [to submit to the] European Union,” Parlade added.

In Mindanao alone, around 30 groups have been receiving donations from the EU.

One of them is the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) which, reportedly, had already received 622,000 euros from the EU, and is set to further receive 1.3 million euros more from the said organization for their future projects.

This is aside from the funding they receive from the Belgian parliament.

The AFP official also mentioned Ibon and Karapatan as legal front liners of the CCP that are bent on discrediting the Duterte Administration to the international community.

Parlade hopes that once they release the names of these groups, the international funding communities would stop providing them with financial assistance.

This is why Parlade and his delegation also seized the opportunity to talk to the EU, the Belgian Foreign Ministry and the United Nations when they went to Europe recently.

“It’s all about money. I think this is really a big scam that we have to uncover. So bottom line, magaling po silang mag-fabricate [they are good at fabricating]. And these materials, these literatures are well-funded by these organizations—by these governments in Europe, including the EU at kinakailangan pong malaman nila ito [and they have to know about this],” Parlade said.

Ibon, Karapatan and RMP are yet to issue their reactions regarding this.

Karapatan and RMP, however, have already filed complaints before the Commission on Human Rights against the government for linking them with the CPP-NPA and for tagging them as rebels and part of terrorist groups. – Maris Federez (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Cotabato City mayor seeks to declare BOL plebiscite a failure

by admin   |   Posted on Friday, January 25th, 2019

Cotabato City Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi presenting to the media alleged evidence of vote-buying in connection with the BOL plebiscite.

Cotabato City Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi has bared alleged irregularities in Monday’s plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

She also noted that members of the plebiscite committee were neither residents nor teachers of the city.

Sayadi found the situation questionable particularly because the members were BOL supporters.

“One factor din na yun, mali mali yung mga entries, kasi mga na-hire nila doon, ni hindi mga nakapag-training ng BEI’s (Board of Election Inspectors) kaya maraming problema sa precinct level pa lang,” she said.

She also cited allegations of ghost voters and incidents of intimidation by BOL supporters during the plebiscite.

“Eto yung mga pictures ng mga tao who are not residents of Cotabato City. Yung mere presence nila ng ganyan, talagang natakot ang mga tao,” said the mayor.

Her camp has already prepared the evidence needed to file a petition with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking to declare the plebiscite a failure.

“Pinag-uusapan nga namin although the petitions are already finished, we are going to file it next week,” said Sayadi.

The recent plebiscite witnessed Cotabato City’s historic “yes” vote to its inclusion in the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). — Nel Maribojoc

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Comelec to probe alleged harassment of teachers during BOL plebiscite

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) reported their general assessment on plebiscite for January 22.

According to Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez, they did not see any big problem with the election day except for some delays in some polling centers.

The poll body also believes there are issues concerning the presence of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Cotabato City during the plebiscite.

This is amid the reported the MILF’s alleged intimidation on some voters.

 “The presence of MILF inviduals or elements of MILF was known here in Cotabato City, but there were in civilian clothes, they had no arms and their presence was matched by an augmentation of the forces of the AFP,” said Jimenez.

Comelec will also investigate the alleged harassment on teachers who served as plebiscite committee members.

This is one of the reasons cited on why some teachers withdrew their services in the plebiscite.

“What is worrisome is someone take that information and used it to harass teachers who are simply doing their duty. ‘Yun ang nakakabahala, but we are looking into it to identify the person or persons behind that move,” said Jimenez. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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