AFP monitors foreign terrorist activities in Western Mindanao

Marje Pelayo   •   August 14, 2019   •   165

Interoperability Exercise between the Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy, and the Philippine Army during AFP Joint Exercise (DAGIT-PA) on August 2018. | 📷Divino Lozano

MANILA, Philippines – At least seven foreign terrorists are currently under the surveillance of the military, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom).

The alleged terrorists, mostly Asians, are reportedly active in Central Mindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi (BASULTA) area conducting series of training on manufacturing and use of improvised explosive devices (IED) and other explosives, according to Major Arvin John Encinas.

“We believe nadiyan pa rin iyan within sa area natin (We believe they are still present within our area),” Encinas said.

“Particularly diyan sa Jolo na kung saan ito yung priority of concern natin kung kaya’t mas lalo po nating pinalakas ang ating tropa (Particularly in Jolo where [terrorism] is our primary concern. That’s why we are strengthening our troops [in the area]),” he added.

The series of twin bombings in Sulu this year, the latest was on Tuesday (August 13), were influenced by these terrorists, according to Encinas.

The AFP Westmincom spokesperson said these foreign terrorists are being protected by the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

This prompted the military to reiterate its call to the public not to be easily swayed by misinformation or spread unverified messages while it assures that all intelligence units of concerned government law enforcement agencies are constantly working to curb terrorism.

Still, the military fervently appeals for cooperation from communities especially after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order No. 70 which institutionalizes a “whole-nation approach” against insurgency through a collaboration from authorities, local government units, and the residents.

“Mahikayat po natin ang mga mamamayan na magsumbong po sa atin (We encourage our communities to report to us),” Major Encinas noted.

“Magreport  kung may nakikita po silang kahina-hinalang bagay o tao sa kanilang lugar upang sa ganun nga ay ma-pre-empt po natin itong mga pagtatangka (Report to us if they notice suspicious things or persons in their areas so that we could preempt any threat),” he concluded. – MNP (with details from Dante Amento)

PNP admits security problems in Sulu following twin blasts

Marje Pelayo   •   August 13, 2019

The scene outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu after twin explosions ripped through it on January 27, 2019. | Courtesy of WestMinCom

SULU, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Oscar Albayalde admits there are security concerns in Sulu after the recent twin blasts in Patikul, Sulu.

Albayalde said that though the military and police are on high alert in the area, they still need the cooperation of the members of the community to combat terrorism.

“Talagang may problema tayo dyan sa lugar na yan and talagang merong nakakasingit sa mga ganyang insidente especially so kung talagang determined yung enemies of the state kung tawagin natin kaya talagang we have to be vigilant (We really have problems in that area and there really are such incidents. So if the enemies of the state are really determined, we have to be vigilant),” Albayalde said.

“We have to be alert always. Very important po ang participation ng community dito. Napaka importante ng impormasyon na ibibigay ng community dito para maubos at matigil na ang insidente na ito sa ating bayan (The information that we get from the community is very important to eliminate and curb [terrorism] in our country),” he added.

One soldier was wounded in the twin explosion that took place in Patikul, Sulu on Tuesday (August 13). – with details from Lea Ylagan

No reports of threats from suspected ‘lone wolf terrorist’ – PNP

Marje Pelayo   •   July 26, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that seven foreign terrorists of diverse nationalities – Egyptian, Malaysian, Indonesian and Singapore – have already entered the country.

Lorenzana has already warned local security forces to intensify their guard on the possibilities of a ‘lone wolf terrorist attack’ in major cities in the country like Metro Manila, Cebu and other big cities in the part of Mindanao.

But according to Philippine National Police (PNP) Spokesperson Police BGen. Bernard Banac they have not monitored any threat to the country’s security or any reason for the public to panic.

“Sa mga oras na ito ay wala naman tayong natatanggap na ano mang banta sa seguridad at tayo naman ay nagiging alerto at vigilant at ang peace and order sa bansa ay under control (At this time, we have not monitored any threat in security and we are always alert and vigilant. The country’s peace and order is under control),” the official said.

The official added that police operatives are strengthening their monitoring to prevent the terrorists from sowing violence in the country.

The PNP also called on the public to immediately report to the nearest station any suspicious individual or activity in their area.

BGen. Banac assured that regular checkpoints are in place and that the PNP has intensified police visibility across the country to thwart any terror attempt despite their normal alert status. – with reports from Lea Ylagan

7 foreign terrorists training future suicide bombers in Mindanao, AFP to boost security

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 24, 2019

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will boost security in Mindanao after seven foreign tourists are reportedly training future suicide bombers.

AFP’s Western Mindanao Command will implement security adjustments to spoil their plans.

Chief of Western Mindanao Command Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said on Tuesday (July 23) that they are still validating the nationalities of the said foreign terrorists.

“We still have a lot of criteria in validating for them to be considered as foreign terrorists. It’s more on an effort by our intelligence unit,” he said.

Meanwhile, the AFP is monitoring 42 other foreign terrorists regarding their association with ISIS.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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