by Maris Federez | Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2019
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) presented to the media on Tuesday (June 11) six alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) who were arrested in separate operations last month.
The NBI said that the six were arrested in Taguig City, Balanga City in Bataan, and Zamboanga City on May 16 and 20.
NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said, “the six arrested were involved in various terrorist activities, ranging from ambush, kidnap for ransom, bombing in Southern Philippines, and recruitment of other members.”
He added that the arrest stemmed from the intelligence reports that they gathered and have led them to the whereabouts of Azmier Maalum in Taguig City.
The joint operations of the NBI, the Philippine Navy (PN) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) had led to the arrest of Maalum, along with Amar Assan, Musa Tahil Sampang, Jamil Ibrahim, Yong Aming, and Majuk Tahil Amil.
Maalum has several warrants of arrest for eight counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of Golden Harvest plantation workers in Basilan in 2001, while Sampang was involved in several bombing incidents also in Basilan.
The NBI said the six had been recruiting members in Metro Manila. (with reports from April Cenedoza) /mbmf
by Aileen Cerrudo | Posted on Friday, May 10th, 2019
The Philippines, United States (US), Japan, and India navies sailed together in the South China Sea as part of the maritime cooperative activity.
This is the first phase of the ASEAN-Plus Defense Ministers’ Meeting Maritime Security Field Training Exercise (ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX) 2019 in Busan, Republic of Korea.
The Philippine Navy patrol vessel, BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17) joined in the quadrilateral sail together with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force vessel, JS Izumo (DDH-183) and JS Murasame (DD-101), Indian Navy Ships, INS Kolkata (D63) and Shakti (A57), and the United States Pacific Fleet vessel, USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110).
According to Captain Roy Vincent T. Trinidad, who is leading the Philippine Navy delegation for the ADMM-Plus maritime exercise, “The group sail showed the active participation of the Philippine Navy as it strengthens its relationships with allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. This gives us another opportunity to learn from like-minded navies.”
For the week-long transit, the ships conducted a series of training exercises and social interactions.
The ships will transit through the West Philippine Sea where the conduct of “freedom of safe navigation” is applied in support of a rules-based international system benefiting all countries.
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019
Everyone may visit the disputed Panatag Shoal off Zambales, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Spokesperson Captain Armand Balilo said on Monday.
Balilo made the statement after Otso Diretso Senatorial candidate and Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano wrote a formal letter to the PCG to request for permission to visit the contested shoal.
The letter, dated April 13, was addressed to PCG Commandant Admiral Elson Hermogino.
“Sir, the PCA ruling in 2016 clearly stated that the Scarborough Shoal is a traditional fishing ground of Filipino and Chinese fishermen, hence, both of our fishermen can fish there. However, our local media has reported otherwise, which, if left unchecked would greatly undermine our people’s rights to the resources found there,” Alejano’s letter read.
Balilo said there is no policy that prohibits people from visiting Panatag Shoal as long the trip is properly coordinated with the PCG station for rescue operation in case of emergency.
However, the Philippine Navy said Alejano and other opposition senatorial candidates cannot just sail to the disputed area, saying this should be cleared with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM).
The Philippine Navy said Alejano’s request should be forwarded to the AFP-NOLCOM as it has operational control of the navy ships deployed in Panatag shoal.
Nevertheless, authorities expressed doubt that the trip would be permitted if it’s going to be used for something other than fishing.
The PH Navy also stressed it can always deny request to travel to Panatag Shoal as it is not a tourist destination that anyone can visit.
The military said the AFP-NOLCOM’s priority concern is safety, and the current maritime dispute between the Philippines and China comes second. – Robie de Guzman
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