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BIFF holds 5 hostages in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato – AFP Eastmincom

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacked the town of Pigcawayan in North Cotabato at early dawn Thursday.

Spokesperson for martial law implementation, Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay said this was after the militants attacked a barangay outpost in Malagakit and an outpost of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Barangay Simsiman.

The BIFF also attacked an elementary school campus and took several students hostage.

“In the course of the firefight we received reports that there were five pupils held hostage and we are still awaiting yung (the) progress,” said Gapay.

Authorities said the men involved in the attack are being led by BIFF commanders Abunawas Damiog alias Bayawak, Abu Zaiden and another one called Abu Sala.

Meanwhile, more than 900 residents of Malagakit, Banucagon and Panatan are being evacuated to Barangay Poblacion, so they could avoid being trapped in the turmoil.

Cops and local government employees are now helping in the evacuation of residents.

Authorities are still determining the motive behind the attack and the number of BIFF fighters involved in the violence. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue

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ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines—Duterte

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and the ISIS flag | Courtesy : PCOO

President Rodrigo Duterte is confident that ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines.

During his speech in Jolo, Sulu on Tuesday (April 9) in commemoration of the Day of Valor, he said that the government is close to crushing violent extremism and is pleased with the military efforts against the Abu Sayyaf Group.

“Your efforts have brought us even closer to our ultimate objective of totally crushing the violent extremism at its roots. With this, I can confidently declare that ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines,” he said.

ISIS-linked militants held Marawi City hostage back in 2017. The military was able to retake the city after five months killing almost 900 insurgents including Isnilon Hapilon, considered leader of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

The Chief Executive assured that he will continue the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) while he is still in office. He will also provide assistance to the military and their families.

He committed to release P500 million fund for the military.

“I will continue to release 500 more and 500 more millions to my soldiers who do something for their country. I will see to it that you will have funds when you retire and that your school—your children and their schooling will be assured even if we are no longer there either by natural or by any other means of saying goodbye to this world. I have your back covered,” the president said.

The Chief Executive is eyeing on appointing former military officials to government posts. However, he denied using the military to empower himself.

He said that he prefers the military because he has seen failure and corruption in the bureaucracy.

“Hindi ako sabihin na pinapalakas ko ang sarili ko sa (I am not empowering myself using the) military because I do not need that. The people elected me. But I have a special fondness for the military for being fundamentally honest at (and) industrious. Kaya as you would see, the next few officials coming in would be military guys,” he added.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Marawi vice mayor arrested over rebellion charges

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: A handcuffed man | Photo by Omar Sobhani /Reuters

Marawi City Vice Mayor Arafat Salic was arrested Wednesday morning over rebellion charges, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.

Salic was apprehended by military and police officers in a joint law enforcement operation conducted at the Marawi City hall.

“Salic is included in the Office of the Martial Law Administrator Arrest Order dated September 4, 2017 for rebellion case,” said Col. Romeo Brawner, 103rd Infantry Brigade Commander in a statement from the Philippine Army Wednesday.

No details on the case were provided as of posting time.

The Military said Arafat underwent custodial debriefing and medical check-up.

He is set to be turned over to police custody. – Robie de Guzman

This is a developing story. Please refresh page for updates.

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Zamboanga City, 12 towns in North Cotabato under state of calamity due to dry spell

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The City Council on Tuesday, March 5, approved a resolution placing Zamboanga City under a state of calamity due to a dry spell caused by a weak El Niño phenomenon.

In a report on UNTV News and Rescue’s Good Morning Kuya program by Dante Amento, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) Chief Dr. Elmeir Apolinario said the resolution was based on their recommendation after drought affected crops, irrigation for rice fields and water supply in the city.

“We are now under state of calamity by reason of, isa ‘yung advisory ng DOST-PAGASA na weak El Niño and of course, yung facts naman on the ground na there is a water resources problem sa City of Zamboanga. And of course, sa agriculture sector and other sector,” Apolinario said.

The Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) has recently implemented water rationing operations after its daily production declined by 50 percent, from 158 million liters to 80 million liters.

The local agriculturist office, meanwhile, reported that a total of 600 hectares of rice fields have been hit by the dry spell.

With the state of calamity declaration, government agencies can now use the calamity fund to implement mitigating measures, such as cloud seeding operations and leasing of tanks for water distribution, and to procure alternative crops and drilling rigs for affected sectors.

The Zamboanga CDRRMO said P13 million has been allotted for cloud seeding operations while the City Agriculturist office has P20 million to aid drought-affected farmers.

“We are looking at ways forward on how to help our water district in terms of distribution ng tubig, in terms of finding other sources, in terms of having ‘yung mga drilling rigs. Mayroon tayong mga alternative crops, mga vegetables na pwedeng ipamigay sa mga farmers,” Apolinario said.

Meanwhile, 12 towns in North Cotabato have also been placed under state of calamity due to the prevailing heat.

According to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), the affected towns are Carmen, Pikit, Aleosan, Midsayap, Matalam, M’lang, Alamada, Tulunan, Kabacan, Libungan and Pigcawayan.

Local disaster officials have already recommended to the provincial board level the inducement of artificial rain through cloud seeding as well as the procurement of water pumps and other assistance to farmers to save their remaining crops. – Robie de Guzman

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