AFP continues focus operations vs Abu Sayyaf group to rescue remaining hostages

admin   •   June 14, 2016   •   3351

IMAGE_JUNE-14-2016_UNTV NEWS_AFP

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not daunted by the latest beheading of the Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) to one of its captives.

According to AFP-Western Mindanao Command, the military is constantly conducting focus operations in Sulu to eliminate the bandits and rescue the remaining captives.

“Our operation is ongoing and we are not ceasing. I believe we are gaining ground but we cannot rush things,” said spokesperson Maj. Felimon Tan.

Based on AFP intelligence report, the bandits still have six captives including the Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor who were kidnapped at Samal island in Davao del Norte last year.

They were with Canadian nationals John Ridsdel and Robert Hall. The latter was allegedly the latest to be beheaded because the government refused to give ransom money.

The military believes that the Abu Sayyaf is moving on a limited territory, however, they don’t want to rush the operation as it would jeopardize the lives of the remaining captives.

The AFP admits that the bandits are more familiar with the terrains so they need to be more careful.

“Our military knows how to address the problem but we cannot rush things. We should also consider the safety of the kidnap victims and the safety of our soldiers as well. We cannot use them as bait. That is not our tactic,” explained Maj. Tan.

Meanwhile, the AFP revealed that they have received information about the bandits’ plan to dispose the decapitated body of the beheaded foreigner.

It is also possible that a sub-group of the ASG was the one who did the beheading to divert the attention of authorities.

(DANTE AMENTO/UNTV NEWS)

AFP to assist in distribution of SAP 2nd tranche in ‘problematic areas’

Robie de Guzman   •   May 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is ready to provide assistance to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the distribution of the second tranche of the emergency subsidy under the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

In a statement on Wednesday, AFP Spokesperson Marine Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said the military has coordinated with the DSWD to discuss the process and the security to be provided in the distribution of cash assistance especially in the ‘problematic areas’.

Arevalo said that ‘problematic areas’ include those where SAP anomalies were reported, geographically-isolated barangays in island municipalities and far-flung areas, and locations with reported presence of terrorists and other threat groups.

The military spokesperson expressed confidence that the military will be able to do its part in the mission, as they have undertaken a similar task in the past such as the distribution of election materials in hotspot areas.

“We will employ in this task our experience in distributing election paraphernalia during local polls,” Arevalo said.

He also said that the new task may “affect our security operations” in terms of troop adjustments, but he assured that this is “not enough to hamper operational success.”

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, a former Philippine Army chief, on Tuesday revealed that the AFP and the Philippine National Police will assist them in the distribution of cash assistance as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

PH military confirms preparations for possible enforcement of ‘martial law-like’ quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has confirmed a Philippine Air Force (PAF) document circulating online advising its personnel to prepare for the possible implementation of ‘martial law-like’ quarantine measures as earlier warned by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The memorandum dated April 17 directed unit commanders to prepare for strict implementation of a possible extensive enhanced community quarantine.

The memo further stated that the AFP will be the over all in-charge of roads and highways.

It also stated the need to request for a briefing from the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the legal and safety measures in dealing and engaging with pedestrians and motorists.

The memo leaked online a day after the president threatened to impose a ‘martial law-like’ crackdown following reports of increased public violation of quarantine protocols.

In a statement on Sunday, PAF spokesperson Aristides Galang Jr. said the internal memo was merely a preparatory move for the troops as normally done by the organization.

“The PAF is just anticipating of any scenarios in case the President, as Commander in Chief of the AFP, would decide to implement his statements lately to the public as earlier stated and prepare our troops in advance as normally done by the military organization in the past,” he said.

AFP spokesman Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo also defended the order, saying this was just issued for the purpose of providing advance information to guide its personnel.

Arevalo assured that there is no reason to be alarmed over the order as it is just a “normal reaction” of the AFP to prepare and deploy when it becomes necessary.

“What we should all be alarmed about instead is the fact that a lot of people are blatantly violating the law and disobeying the rules and health protocols which MUST be strictly enforced —otherwise people die,” he said in a statement.

“Law-abiding citizens and those who follow the rules should not worry. There is no reason to be alarmed,” he added.

Based on the report from the PNP, around 130,177 quarantine violators have been apprehended from March 17 to April 18. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

11 fallen heroes in Sulu encounter return home ⁠—AFP

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 20, 2020

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has brought the remains of 11 soldiers who were killed in the recent Sulu encounter to their respective hometowns.

In a statement, the AFP said eight of the soldiers are from Luzon, one from Visayas, and two from Mindanao.

The fallen soldiers were given honors by Philippine defense leaders at Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base, Pasay, City on Saturday (April 18).

“In honor of their sacrifice for the nation, we assure the bereaved families that we will take care of them and extend to them the necessary assistance that their families will need.” according to AFP Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Gilbert I. Gapay.

READ: 11 soldiers killed, 14 wounded in Sulu encounter

Eleven soldiers of the AFP were killed while 14 others were wounded during an encounter with suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in Sulu on Friday (April 17).

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