AFP: Kin of Abu Sayyaf leader killed in Sulu

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 12, 2019   •   750

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Abu Sayyaf Group

The brother of an Abu Sayyaf leader was killed during an encounter with the military forces in Sulu on Tuesday (September 10).

The soldiers identified the neutralized terrorist as Nanz Sawadjaan, the younger brother of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan.

The 41st Infantry Battalion conducted a focused military operation in Sitio Tubig Pansol, Barangay Langhub, Patikul, Sulu.

They encountered 40 ASG members under Almujer Yadah, Ben Tattoh, and Apo Mike. The heavy firefight lasted for 20 minutes until the military was able to overrun the enemy encampment.

Two soldiers were injured during the encounter.

According to Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, the troops are still conducting pursuit operations.

“Our troops remain persistent in tracking down and neutralizing the remaining terrorists in Sulu,” he said.

“The successful operations of our troops are also attributed to the local community who feeds information, directing our troops to the terrorists’ location,” he added.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Nothing in anti-terrorism bill adds any new power to military, AFP says

Robie de Guzman   •   June 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday welcomed the Congress’ move to immediately pass the controversial anti-terrorism bill amid growing opposition from various rights groups.

In a statement, AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said the military is aware of the issues being raised on the proposed measure but based on reports, there is nothing in the bill that adds “any new power” to the military.

“…From what has been reported to me so far is that nothing in the Enrolled Bill to be sent to the President for his consideration adds any new power to the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he said.

He also said that various issues on the proposal were “all considered in the thorough and deliberate discussions in Congress.”

“We reserve further comment until the proposed legislation is signed into law by the President and the IRRs (implementing rules and regulations) are out so we can study the law and the how’s of its implementation,” Arevalo added.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the anti-terrorism bill on second reading with 173 affirmative votes, 31 negative and 29 abstentions.

The Senate passed its version of the bill on third and final reading in February.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier certified the bill as urgent, saying the immediate enactment of the measure is to “address the urgent need to strengthen the law on anti-terrorism in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare.”

The anti-terrorism bill seeks to amend and improve the provisions of the Human Security Act of 2007.

Under the measure, anyone who threatens to commit terrorism, propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall mete out a penalty of 12 years of imprisonment.

It also introduces provisions penalizing those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.

The measure also includes a new section on foreign terrorist fighters to cover Filipino nationals who commit terrorist offenses abroad.

It also aims to provide law enforcers the much-needed tools to protect the people from terrorism threat and, at the same time, safeguard the rights of those accused of the crime.

The Department of National Defense has assured the public that activists and critics of the government will not be considered as terrorists following concerns that the measure will be used to target those who are expressing anti-government sentiments.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government also said that the bill is not anti-human rights as it, in fact, seeks to protect the rights of innocent people from terrorists.

“The Anti-Terrorism Bill aims to eradicate terrorism from our country. The people have nothing to fear from this bill; it is only the terrorists and their supporters who should fear it,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said, adding that this measure is a timely upgrade in the government’s arsenal against all forms of terrorism plaguing the Philippines for so many years.

AFP, PNP provide free ride to commuters amid limited public transport

Robie de Guzman   •   June 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have deployed buses and trucks to help transport stranded commuters after Metro Manila shifted to general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1.

PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac said they sent three police trucks from Camp Crame to Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, Navotas, and Bacoor, Cavite to assist employees returning to work on the first day of Metro Manila’s transition to GCQ.

“Naging maayos at mapayapa at ito ay magandang panimula subalit may mga natanggap din tayo na ulat ng traffic build up at congestion at mga pedestrians at essential workers na hindi nakasakay,” Banac said.

“Agad nagpalabas ng kautusan si PNP chief PGen. Archie Gamboa sa ating mga units na tumulong na magsakay ng mga stranded na essentials workers, maging ang mga PNP Trucks natin ay pinalabas din upang makapaghatid ng mga manggagawa sa kani kanilang destination,” he added.

The military, for its part, deployed six trucks to Batasan and Philcoa areas in Quezon City to augment limited public transport.

“AFP Chief General Filemon Santos Jr. commits to continue to provide commuter assistance in coordination with MMDA to alleviate the concerns of the riding public,” AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said.

Arevalo assured that other military vehicles are on standby for dispatch when requested by authorities. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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)

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