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

admin   •   March 2, 2017   •   3861

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

Congress can revoke martial law any time sans anti-terror law amendments — Drilon

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2019

Filipino government troops check a villager at a military checkpoint in the town of Pingcawayan, North Cotabato province, southern Philippines, 21 June 2017. EPA-EFE/CERILO EBRANO

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday said that the government should not use the proposed amendments to the Human Security Act as a pre-requisite to the lifting of martial law in Mindanao.

Drilon made the statement in response to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s earlier remark that another extension would not be necessary if Congress amends the anti-terror law.

“Do not dangle lifting martial law in Mindanao in exchange for the speedy passage of the Human Security Act,” he said in a statement.

“The passage or non-passage of the amendments to the Human Securities Act is not a ground for extending martial law in Mindanao,” he added.

Citing Section 18, Article VII of the Philippine Constitution, the senator said that it was clear that martial law may be declared if actual rebellion exists, and that Congress may extend the declaration if the rebellion persists and public safety requires it.

“That is the only ground for extension of martial law. But it is clear since day one that the martial law or its extension in Mindanao has no basis,” Drilon said.

“It is high time that we lift (martial law to) bring back normalcy in the region,” he added.

He further stated that Congress can revoke martial law any time sans amendments to the Human Security Act.

He also said that Lorenzana was correct in saying that martial law has been going on for too long but he hopes that the government will not use it “to put pressure on Congress to pass the amendments to the Human Security Act.”

“The non-passage of the amendments to the Human Security Act should not be used as a basis or justification to further extend martial law. The amendments need thorough debates,” Drilon said.

Mindanao has been under martial law since 2017 after the Maute Terror group attacked Marawi City.

The martial law was initially set for 60 days but it was extended until the end of 2017, then until the end of 2018 and to the end of 2019.

It is set to expire on December 31, 2019.

Infant dies of severe dehydration in quake-hit Makilala, Cotabato

Robie de Guzman   •   November 7, 2019

An aerial shot taken with a drone shows makeshift shelters at an evacuation center in the earthquake-hit town of Makilala on Mindanao island, Philippines, 01 November 2019. EPA-EFE/CERILO EBRANO

MANILA, Philippines – A six-month-old infant died due to severe dehydration in Makilala town, Cotabato which was among the areas heavily-hit by earthquakes that jolted Mindanao last month.

According to Sheryl Orbita, acting municipal administrator of Makilala, the baby and her family were staying in a makeshift tent outside their home in Barangay Bulatukan due to aftershocks.

She said the baby had recurring fever and rashes on the body when a volunteer doctor visited their place on Sunday.

“Noong Sunday, nag-request na po yung grandmother ng doctor. Pinuntahan po iyan doon noong Sunday, ang inireklamo po is rashes binigyan naman yun ng gamot,” Orbita said.

But the baby’s condition worsened and was rushed to a hospital on Tuesday. Attending physicians declared the infant dead.

“Noong Martes lang po siya binawian ng buhay dahil po sa dehydration, doon lang po sa bahay nila,” Orbita said.

To prevent a similar incident, local authorities advised parents to immediately seek medical help when their relatives, especially children, feel sick or are manifesting symptoms of illness.

The number of people who died in Makilala, Cotabato due to recent quakes in Mindanao now stands at eight following the death of the infant.  

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) said that more than a thousand quake victims were provided with free medical help and consultation following reports on the rising number of evacuees who have fallen ill in Makilala.

There are enough relief goods for all quake victims in the town but evacuees are complaining of the heat and cramped situation of families in tents at evacuation centers, on top of the trauma brought about by the recent tremors.

The local government has appealed for more understanding and assured it is now taking action to decongest evacuation centers.

“Alam namin na ‘yun ang nangyayari sa mga evacuation camps… Kaunting tiis lang po kasi ang LGU ng Makilala ay naghahanap na po ng paraan,” Orbita said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Janice Ingente)

PH Navy deploys biggest vessel to aid Mindanao quake victims

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 7, 2019

The Philippine Navy deployed its biggest vessel, BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602), on Tuesday (November 5) to provide assistance in the ongoing humanitarian aid in Mindanao.

The BRP Davao del Sur carries around 56 tons of assorted cargoes and equipment including mobile kitchens, cargo trucks and towable water treatment trucks from 10th Infantry Division of Philippine Army, Manila Water and Maynilad.

Navy chief Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad issued his directive for the deployment of one of the largest naval assets in order to assist in the humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) to earthquake victims in Mindanao.

“It is a manifestation of the Philippine Navy being always ready and committed to provide prompt assistance to our disaster-stricken fellow Filipinos in order to alleviate them from their current ordeals,” the Philippine Navy said.—AAC

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