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

admin   •   June 14, 2016   •   3194


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.


AFP sends soldier-athletes to 2019 SEA Games

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is expecting its soldier-athletes to perform well in the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games which is set to be held in the country from November 30 to December 11.

Around 127 soldiers on active duty will join the Filipino contingent competing in this year’s SEA Games.

Overall, the AFP is sending over 400 soldier-athletes, coaches, and emergency preparedness and response teams and security personnel from the military’s Regular and Reserve Forces.

A send-off ceremony, led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and AFP chief of staff Noel Clement, was held for the AFP contingent on Monday, Nov. 11.

“We have all been tirelessly working for this momentous event. We are able to lay down the joint operational guidelines for our troops who will be deployed. Similarly, our soldiers have relentlessly trained for their various events. These are clear indications of our strong will and desire for a safe and successful conduct of the Games,” Clement was quoted as saying in a statement.

“On behalf of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, I offer my heartfelt support to our athlete-soldiers and coaches joining the 30th SEA Games. Show the world your discipline and dedication and may you have God’s favor” he added.

The 30th SEA Games will open on November 30 in Bulacan.

Around 12,000 athletes and their coaches, 1,000 international media members, 15,000 volunteers, and spectators, among others are expected to participate and watch the games.

It is said to be the biggest SEA Games yet as it features 56 sports and 530 events in 44 venues. Although these events will be conducted in various parts of Luzon, a bulk of these tournaments will be held in Metro Manila.

The closing ceremony of the games will be in the New Clark City in Tarlac on December 11.

AFP to heighten security in Mindanao following death of 3 suicide bombers

Maris Federez   •   November 6, 2019

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM) is set to intensify the security in Mindanao following the slaying of three suicide bombers in Indanan, Sulu on Tuesday (November 5).

AFP-WESMINCOM chief LtGen. Cirilo Sobejana said part of the security adjustment that they will implement is the stricter chokepoint and checkpoint operations, as well as the conduct of foot patrol in the different areas in Mindanao.

“I directed all commanders and under Western Mindanao Command to take extra miles to monitor the hostile plans of this threat group,” Sobejana said.

He added that they will not set aside the possibility that several members of the terrorist groups in the country are planning to wreak havoc after ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Bagdhadi was killed in a US Forces-led operation in northwest Syria.

The PNP, meanwhile, allayed the public’s fear brought about by the series of suicide bombings in the country.

PNP spokesperson PBGen Bernard Banac said the PNP and the AFP are in control of the situation in Mindanao and that there is nothing to be worried about.

“Sa ngayon ay mataas na ang ating level ng security sa bahagi ng Western Mindanao at yung nangyari kahapon at patunay na mahigpit ang ipinatutupad na seguridad doon,” said Banac.

The authorities said the death of the three suicide bombers had helped prevent the bomb threat in Metro Jolo. (from the report of Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

AFP chief Noel Clement promoted to rank of general

Robie de Guzman   •   October 30, 2019

Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Noel Clement receives his fourth star in a donning of ranks ceremony held on October 30, at the Department of National Defense presided by DND Undersecretary Cardozo Luna.

MANILA, Philippines – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Noel Clement has been promoted to the rank of general, more than a month after his appointment in September, the AFP Public Affairs Office said.

The donning of ranks ceremony, which was presided by Department of National Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna, was held on Wednesday.

Clement’s wife, Geraldine Anne, and their two sons witnessed the ceremony for the AFP chief’s donning of fourth star. Also present were the Commanders of the AFP Major Services and AFP Southern Luzon Command.

Clement took over the post as AFP chief of staff on September 24 after he was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

He vowed that the military will sustain focus operations against communist rebels and other groups who pose threat to communities in a bid to end the armed insurgency in the country.


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