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AFP verifies report of 23 armed groups joining forces under ‘ISIS Philippines’

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, 6 March 2018 11:01 PM

FILE IMAGE: A screenshot of a video in the internet showing some allegedly Filipinos signifying alliance with the ISIS terrorist group.

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the remaining terrorists are still recruiting and strengthening their forces.

Twenty-three armed groups are believed to have joined forces under the so-called “ISIS Philippines”.

However, the AFP is still verifying the said information.

The military is also looking into intelligence reports that a certain Abu Dar replaced Isnilon Hapilon as the emir of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

Abu Dar, a Maranao, was able to flee the clashes in Marawi City and is believed to have brought with him a huge sum of money.

“We are trying to confirm the veracity of that information. Yesterday, informal reports came in regarding the matter and I’m telling it to the intelligence community, operations and people on the ground we are trying to confirm that,” AFP spokesperson BGen. Bienvenido Datuin said.

The AFP noted that terrorists continue to recruit new members, organize, and re-train themselves.

The military and the police are also verifying a circulating text message, saying terrorists are planning to bomb six cities.

The said text message states a leaked copy of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region X in Cagayan de Oro City.

“We are closely monitoring them to make sure that they will not conduct or execute any atrocities or terroristic actions within the metropolis or any urban areas,” said the AFP spokesperson.

“This is being validated, but this should not be a cause of panic or alarm among our citizens. If we are talking about Mindanao, so we could protect the people there. Here in our area, in Visayas and Luzon, the security forces, the military, the intelligence community and the PNP are on top of the situation. We are doing our part in seeing to it that our people will be protected,” said PNP spokesperson PCSupt. John Bulalacao. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue

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AFP on Duterte’s move to scrap talks with Reds: ‘It’s the right thing’

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 22 March 2019 08:42 PM

File photo: Members of the New People’s Army

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Friday (March 22) that cancelling the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was the right move.

“Dapat lang. 31 years of deceptive ploys using peace talks, across five administrations, only resulted to more terrorist NPAs being released, an opportunity for the CTG (communist terrorist groups) to recruit and recover lost areas of influence, publicity for Joma [Sison] in the international arena as a ‘dove,’” AFP deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr. said in a message sent to media on Friday.

Parlade added that the decades-long peace process “wasted government funds spent for negotiations and junkets, opportunity losses for investments and development because of prolonged and intermittent fighting.”

“They had their best chance when peace was offered again to them by PRRD [President Rodrigo R. Duterte], offering Cabinet posts in good faith for them to help in good governance but they blew it by attacking projects, killing society forces, and even innocent civilians,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday permanently ended the peace negotiations and told the communist rebels to just talk to the next administration.

Malacañang followed this up with an announcement that a new panel will be created to pursue localized peace talks with communist members on the ground in line with the government’s new whole-of-nation approach to end the 50-year armed struggle.

READ: Gov’t to create new panel for localized peace talks

But for CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, there is nothing new in Duterte’s latest move to scrap the peace talks with the Reds, likening him to “an old broken record.”

“As far as the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) is concerned, Duterte formally killed the peace negotiations on Nov. 23, 2017 with his Proclamation 360 terminating them,” Sison said in a statement released Thursday evening (March 21).

The communist leader added that Duterte was just “merely driving more nails into the coffin of the peace negotiations under his regime.”

He also claimed that the President only wants to implement fake localized peace process controlled by the military, instead of negotiating with the CPP national leaders.

“Instead of peace negotiations at the national level by the duly-authorized panels of the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and the NDFP, what Duterte wants is fake localized peace negotiations staged and controlled by the military and military-occupied Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Negotiations,” he said.

But according to AFP, Sison was just trying to muddle the issue to conceal his panic over Duterte’s decision.

AFP Spokesperson Marine BGen Edgard Arevalo said in a statement that Sison is well aware that local peace engagement has been immensely successful.

“Mr. Sison has the temerity to call President Duterte ‘stupid’ for thinking that government will be successful in attaining peace by engaging NPA (New People’s Army) Commanders and fighters on the ground instead of the CPP-NPA’s national leadership,” Arevalo said.

“Mr. Sison consistently calls localized peace talks as a “waste of people’s money”, “cheap trick”, “absurd and stupid”, and by other deriding terms. He moves heaven and earth to prevent it because it will further relegate him to history’s dustbin,” he added.

The AFP official said that since January 2018, more than 11,000 NPA fighters and sympathizers have returned to the government’s fold after realizing that they have been deceived.

“But enough is enough. 50 years of duplicity, deceit, and murder of thousands of his comrades on mere suspicion of being military informants or have expressed desire to go back to mainstream society must stop,” Arevalo said.

He also called on anew to communist rebels to come out of hiding and take advantage of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs being offered by the current government.

“They should follow the lead of their comrades who stopped being menace to society and are now experiencing a life free from hunger, fear, and uncalled for perils fighting government. They should take advantage of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs,” Arevalo said. –— Robie de Guzman

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AFP coordinates with counterparts over ‘entry’ of foreign terrorists in PH

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 22 March 2019 12:34 AM

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has confirmed it is closely coordinating with its foreign counterparts over the possible entry of foreign terrorists in the country through its airports and backdoor channels.

AFP Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM) Spokesperson Col. Gerry Besana said this is following reports that some foreign terrorists are attempting to enter the country amid the strict security measures being implemented in the tri-boundary of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“We do not discount the possibility that they might use our airport here. How will you know that people sitting or standing beside you is a terrorist?Not unless he is holding a gun, carrying explosives or anything that will also indicate that he is a terrorist,” Besana said.

The AFP official also revealed that eight out of ten foreign terrorists who were monitored to have entered the Philippines have been tracked in Central Mindanao.

Five of these persons have been identified, including Iraqi Abdul Rahman who allegedly brought an Islamic State flag in the country, two Indonesian nationals, and a Singaporean named Mauwiya.

Mauwiya is believed to be a remnant of Zulkilfli Binhir alias Marwan, the Indonesian terrorist killed by the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP SAF) during a controversial operation, dubbed as the “Mamasapano Encounter” in January 2015.

“We’ve been trying to account all of them, but, of course, [as I’ve] said it is so hard. Nobody can tell who the terrorist is if they simply pose as ordinary people, not unless those are high-value targets reported by our foreign counterparts,” Besana said.

The military assures to continue monitoring and patrolling the country’s borders with the help of other countries, which promised to assist the Philippines in its fight against terrorism. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Lea Ylagan)

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PNP nabs over 3,000 poll gun ban violators, including cops

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, 21 March 2019 04:35 PM

Seized firearms from violators

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday reported to have arrested more than 3,000 people for violating the election gun ban.

Data from the PNP showed that a total of 3,105 gun ban violators were apprehended from January 13, the start of the election period, to March 20, 2019. Arrested persons include 2,924 civilians, 57 security guards, 44 government officials, 32 cops, five soldiers, two Jail and Management Penology officials and seven other members of law enforcement agencies.

According to PNP Spokesperson Senior Supt. Bernard Banac, the policemen were arrested for carrying unlicensed personal firearms.

“They will face illegal possession of firearms for violating the law, their firearms license will also revoked,” Banac told reporters at a press briefing in Camp Crame.

Also arrested for violating the election gun ban were 23 members of threat groups, six from private armed groups, three foreign nationals and two CAFGU members.

The PNP also seized 2,603 firearms, 64 firearm replicas, 1,038 bladed and pointed weapons and 168 grenades. 356 other types of explosives and over 21,000 rounds of ammunition were also confiscated.

The election period in connection with the May midterm elections will last until June 12, 2019. During this time, only police and military on duty and in complete uniform are allowed to carry firearms.

Under election gun ban, permit to carry firearms outside of residence is cancelled and people are prohibited from bearing, carrying and transporting firearms, explosives and other deadly weapons if they have not secured exemptions from the Commission on Elections (Comelec)

The PNP also called on gun owners with expired licences to surrender their firearms to authorities.“We appeal to the responsible gun owners, if your license has expired, surrender your firearms to the nearest police station for temporary custody and safekeeping until you renew your expired license,” Banac urged. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Lea Ylagan)

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