ASG ‘kidnap-for-ransom’ a cottage industry — AFP

admin   •   March 2, 2017   •   4292

FILE PHOTO: AFP Spokesperson BGen. Restituto Padilla Jr.

FILE PHOTO: AFP Spokesperson BGen. Restituto Padilla Jr.

PHILIPPINES — Despite the relentless military operations to capture the bandit groups in the southern portion of the country, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) admits that it is still very difficult for them to repress the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)because of the culture in the communities where these groups are hiding.

“Mahirap talagang hanapin kasi kasabwat na nila yung bawat barrio na may isang bahay dyan na hindi mo alam sa silong nila may isang nakatago; so it’s not easy (They are difficult find because they are in cahoots with every barrio. A house may be hiding a bandit in the basement and we just don’t know it; so it’s not easy.) ,” said AFP spokesperson, BGen. Restituto Padilla, Jr.

“It has been a culture, parang cottage industry na sinusuportahan; magkakamaganak ‘yan eh (It has been a culture, like a cottage industry that everyone supports; they’re all related.),” he added.

Recently, the group beheaded German national Jurgen Kantner.

As of today, there are still 25 foreigners and six Filipinos still held captive by ASG.

Based on information gathered by the AFP, these hostages include 12 Vietnamese nationals, 7 Indonesians, 5 Malaysians, 1 Dutch national and 6 Filipinos.

AFP explains that it is not under their jurisdiction to control a certain community, unless the President declares martial law in a specific area or put it under the state of emergency.

In line with this, the AFP has launched the Integrated Area Development Plan that aims to strengthen and develop the ties of the military with the local government units in some portions of the Mindanao region.

“He is trying to have the whole government agencies team up to address the systemic problems or systemic needs of the place,” said Padilla.

“Hindi po malulutas ng batas, ng military solutions lamang ang mga problema dito sa lugar na ito. Malalim na ang ugat ng pinagmumulan ng problemang ito. Sa lalim nito ang tingin na ng ibang tao sa kidnap for ransom ay isang cottage industry o kabuhayan (The problems facing this area are not easily solved by the law of military solutions. The problem has deeply rooted itself that people already look at kidnap for ransom as a cottage industry or a livelihood). ”

Meanwhile, the AFP has created a task force to search for the remains of the German national beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf Group. — Joan Nano | UNTV News and Rescue

NTF to send more vaccine supply to Mindanao areas facing surge in COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   July 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – More COVID-19 vaccine doses will be deployed to parts of Mindanao that are experiencing surge in infections, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. gave the assurance during a dialogue with local officials in Cagayan de Oro City held on Monday, July 19, to discuss the health situation there.

In particular, Galvez said additional vaccine supplies will be sent to Northern Mindanao and nearby areas that reported cases of Delta COVID-19 variant.

“’Yung Region 10 magiging priority natin sa July, August and even September kaya nga nag-usap kami ni (Gingoog City) Mayor Erick [Cañosa] na kung kaya ang 2,000 [jabs] a day susuportahan namin siya,” he said.

“Ganoon din kay (Cagayan de Oro City) Mayor [Oscar Moreno] at sa lahat ng ating mga LGU kung ano ‘yung capacity natin we will support so that we can have immediate protection as soon as possible time kasi this is a race against time and we wanted na while the Delta variant is mutating, we are now vaccinating the vulnerable,” he added.

According to Dr. Joselito Retuya, a Cagayan de Oro-based epidemiologist, six Delta variant cases have been reported in Region 10, five of which are in Cagayan de Oro City and one in Gingoog City.

A shipment of 26,660 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single dose COVID-19 vaccine were delivered at the Laguindingan Airport, Misamis Oriental on Monday.

Galvez said these doses should immediately be rolled out to offer protection to the public.

The vaccine czar also reiterated the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to ensure the equitable distribution of the vaccines among the regions and provinces throughout the country.

“Ang pinaka-primary consideration natin sa pagdedeploy ng vaccines are one, ‘yung health risk, economic risk, social, at security risk. And second, geographical, if that area is potentially vulnerable considering that highly-urbanized area sya, geographically disadvantaged siya, walang hospital and then also talagang potentially siya ang tatamaan pag magkaroon ng surge, ayun ang binibigyan natin,” he said.

Aside from Region 10, the NTF also deployed a batch of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine doses to the Bangsamoro region on Monday.

The Philippines has so far confirmed 35 cases of Delta variant, including three fatalities and 32 recoveries.

Eleazar orders BASULTA police units to beef up border control vs Delta variant

Robie de Guzman   •   July 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar on Monday directed police units in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi (BASULTA) to help intensify the intelligence monitoring and regular coastal patrol operations to prevent the illegal entry of people from neighboring countries amid the threat of Delta COVID-19 variant.

In a statement, Eleazar said he recently visited the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi to check the security measures being implemented in the said provinces against the highly transmissible coronavirus variant.

The PNP chief said he has tasked local police forces and the Maritime Group to coordinate with local government units, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Philippine Coast Guard, in order to come up with tighter measures and seal the Mindanao boundaries against illegal entrants.

The move comes after the Philippine government included Indonesia in the list of countries with strict travel restrictions due to the surge of COVID-19 cases, which health experts attributed to the Delta variant.

The travel ban on Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, and Oman is effective until July 31.

Eleazar said the Philippines shares border with Indonesia and Malaysia in Mindanao, and the porous border in the South is reportedly being taken advantage of for smuggling activities, including those who want to easily get in and go out of the Philippines.

“Bukod sa’ting mga local police forces, nagbigay na din ako ng kautusan sa ating mga commanders doon, lalo na sa Maritime Group, na palakasin ang border control sa lahat ng pumapasok na galing sa Indonesia at Malaysia upang matiyak na hindi tayo malulusutan doon,” he said.

Eleazar said he will also meet with the officials of the Police Regional Office- Bangsamoro Autonomous Region to discuss security and safety measures in the region.

No security threat in Metro Manila despite arrest of 2 ASG members in Taguig – PNP

Robie de Guzman   •   July 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Eleazar on Wednesday said that no security threat has been monitored in Metro Manila despite the recent arrest of two suspected members of Abu Sayyaf Group in Taguig City.

In a statement, Eleazar said authorities continue to check if the two suspects have cohorts in Metro Manila and if they were planning to commit acts of terror.

“Sa panig ng PNP, wala tayong nakikitang banta ng terorismo dito sa Metro Manila. Patuloy ang imbestigasyon sa pagkakaaresto sa dalawang miyembro umano ng Abu Sayyaf sa Taguig. Inaalam pa ng mga imbestigador kung bakit narito sa NCR ang mga suspek,” he said.

“Magkagayon man, nananatiling alerto ang ating kapulisan para masiguro ang kapayaan at kaayusan dito sa Kamaynilaan,” he added.

The two suspects, identified as Taupik Galbun a.k.a “Pa Wahid,” and Saik Galbun a.k.a “Pa Tanda,” were nabbed during an operation in Sitio Imelda, Upper Bicutan, Taguig City last Saturday, July 10.

Teams from the National Capital Region Police Office, the Southern Police District, the Taguig City Police, and the Joint Task Force NCR conducted the operation.

Reports reaching the Office of the PNP chief said that Taupik Galbun has several arrest warrants against him including six counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with ransom.

He was said to be a member of the ASG directly under the late Isnilon Hapilon and Radulan Sahiron.

Taupik Galbun allegedly took part in the beheading of three persons and the abduction of three teachers in Zamboanga City as well as six members of the Jehovah’s Witness in Patikul, Sulu.

Saik Galbun was also implicated in the kidnapping of the six Jehovah’s Witness members and also has a warrant of arrest for kidnapping and serious illegal detention with ransom.

The two suspects were placed under the custody the District Special Operations.

Eleazar urged the public to immediately report to authorities if they see anything suspicious or if they have information on the presence of lawless individuals in their areas.

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