Declaration of liberation in Marawi, premature – peace & security expert

admin   •   October 20, 2017   •   6586


MANILA, Philippines — Although the battle is not yet over, President Rodrigo Duterte decided to declare on Tuesday the liberation of Marawi City from the influence of terrorists.

This was after government troops killed terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.

“I hereby declare Marawi City liberated from the terrorist influence that marks the beginning of rehabilitation. Huwag na natin itong ulitin kailanman (Let us not have a repeat of this ever),” said President Duterte.

But for peace and security expert Prof. Rommel Banloi, it is still early to say that Marawi City is already terror-free.

“The liberation of Marawi was declared considering the fact that the clearing operations in areas of Marawi City are ongoing, fights are still happening. In fact, as we speak now, the battle is continuing,” said the expert.

One proof he said are the many residents who still cannot go back to their homes. Their situation has not changed, as well.

It is also possible that President Duterte, in haste, declared the liberation of Marawi City after the military failed to miss the deadline several times.

“The government may have been forced to declare liberation, though its premature because that kind of situation has been anticipated for a long time,” said the professor.

Malacañang respects the statement of Banlaoi.

However, the palace said that the declaration of the President is a strategic message.

The government also believes the recovery of the city can now proceed.

“As it has been reported and announced, this was a strategic message and technically the leadership has been neutralized and whatever forces that are left are non-significant. And it has been referred to should be a matter of police enforcement, so from the perspective of the government. Everything is aligned and on the road to recovery,” said Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella.  — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

Germany arrests four Tajiks suspected of planning attack against U.S. bases

UNTV News   •   April 15, 2020

German police on Wednesday (April 15) arrested four suspected members of Islamic State, all from Tajikistan, believed to have been planning deadly attacks in Germany, including against unidentified U.S. installations, an official said.

Special forces in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia made the arrests near the cities of Essen and Duesseldorf and raided properties in the area.

Prosecutors suspect the four men, with a fifth who has been in detention for the last year, of being in contact with leading members of Islamic State in Afghanistan and Syria and of receiving instructions from them.

“There were concrete attack plans, such as against two U.S. air bases in Germany,” said North Rhine-Westphalia’s state interior minister Herbert Reul.

Prosecutors said in a written statement they believed the suspects had already carried out surveillance of their targets and were procuring weapons, ammunition and components for a bomb.

Prosecutors identified the suspects as Azizjon B., Muhammadali G., Farhodshoh K. and Sunatullokh K., in line with German privacy rules. The fifth man who is already in detention was identified as Ravsan B. (Reuters)

(Production: Stephane Nitschke, Michele Sani)

AFP condemns mall blast in Cotabato City; eyes terrorists links

Marje Pelayo   •   January 1, 2019


CCTV footage of bombing at South Seas Mall in Magallanes Street, Cotabato City

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is looking at terrorist involvement in the bombing incident in a mall in Cotabato City on Monday (December 31).

In a statement, AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal said though they consider the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and its breakaway group Daulah Islamiyah as “the ones with the wicked desire to sow terror and inflict harm to innocent civilians,” the military does not discount “the possibility of other interest groups aligned with the same evil intentions to be involved.”

Two individuals were confirmed dead while 34 others were injured in a suspected improvised explosive device (IED) found at the baggage counter of South Seas Mall in Magallanes Street, Cotabato City.

Investigation is underway. – Marje Pelayo

One year after Marawi siege: 70% returned home, thousands remain displaced

Marje Pelayo   •   May 23, 2018





FILE PHOTO: UNTV Drone shot of Marawi City ruins


MANILA, Philippines – On May 23 last year, Islamic State-inspired militants started an uprising against the government in the city of Marawi in Lanao del Sur.

Abdullah and Omar Maute, together with Basilan fighters headed by Isnilon Hapilon, the then emir of Islamic State in South East Asia, attempted to establish a “caliphate” in the region by leading the militants to storm Marawi city, triggering a five-month battle that resulted in deaths of thousands of people, leaving the city that was once the center of trade and culture in southern Philippines, in total ruin.

One year after the chaos, more than half of the city’s population have gone back home. This was announced by Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque during a briefing at Malacañang on Tuesday, May 22, though he said conditions in the city remains far from normal. Government forces are still working to clear the main battle area of bombs, IEDs and other remnants of the fiercest battle in the modern-day Philippines.

“The good news is that, as far as the residents are concerned, 70 percent have gone back to their homes. We have provided temporary or permanent homes for them,” he said.

However, thousands of families remain displaced. It was not easy for the residents to start their lives anew as all their properties were destroyed by the war. Although their current earnings are not the same as before the war broke out, the internally displaced residents are still thankful for being able to return to their homes. And even with just a small income, they can still address their daily needs.

“Dati po maraming nakatira dito ngayon nahati na po kasi yung iba di pa bumabalik. Yung kita ko po di tulad dati nasa P700 isang araw ngayon pinakamalaki na P400 minsan P300,” narrated a resident, Bolkya Marohom Mbsar, who earns his living as a tricycle driver.

(Many people used to live here. Now there are only half as many because others have not yet returned. I used to earn P700 per day, this time the most I can earn is P400 -P300.)

Resident Mimang Malaco is also asking for aid from the government after using up her capital for the treatment of her ailing husband. For now, Mimang is just depending on the financial assistance she gets from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other private organizations.

“Iyong asawa ko po di makapagtrabaho kasi paralyze po. Gusto ko humingi ng tulong mismo sa mahal na pangulo,” she said.

(My husband is unable to work because he’s been paralyzed. I am appealing directly to our dear president.)

In a speech yesterday, May 22, President Rodrigo Duterte said he was taking full responsibility for the Marawi crisis.

“I did not anticipate or even guess that there would be so much ordnance and the fight would take us about four months to finish. All of these faults, if it is indeed one, or our faults, it belongs and it falls on my shoulders as commander-in-chief. And I assume full responsibility to the nation for what’s going to happen,” the President said.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) on Monday, May 21, announced that the government will have to allot P53.4 billion for the rehabilitation of the conflict-torn city. However, the fund does not cover the amount needed for the repair of the entire ground zero or the main battle zone. The government targets to completely rebuild Marawi by 2021. – Marje Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue


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