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    Department of Tourism guarantees safety of tourists in Bohol

    by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, April 21st, 2017

    MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) held a closed-door meeting with the private sector in the tourism industry.

    This is to address concerns on the security of tourists especially of foreign nationals who wish to spend their vacation in Bohol.

    The issue came after the encounter between alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and government troops last week.

    The DOT assures it is safe to travel to Bohol with the implementation of strict security measures in the province which is among the venues of the 2017 ASEAN meetings.

    DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. said the number of tourists in the country remains high despite trip cancellations from Japan, China and Korea.

    In fact, USec. Bengzon said, a high-profile Japanese TV Production crew is set to shoot videos of scenic views in Cebu.

    “Just to assure you that there is a group in Cebu and again we see this as a strong sign of confidence in our destinations,” he said.

    DOT is also coordinating the Japanese prime minister for the issuance of a travel advisory that it is safe to travel to the Philippines especially in Bohol.

    “Like the Japanese ambassador, he told me, ‘Write me a letter. Tell me what you want and then I will send that letter to Japan for them to tell the residents, the Japanese tourists, to travel to the Philippines because it is safe’,” Department of Trade and Industry Sec. Wanda Teo Tulfo said.

    There has been coordination with the United Nations World Tourism Organization to lift the travel advisories in the country.

    “The travel advisories have been a problem of the country every time there is kidnapping somewhere in the Philippines. There have always been travel advisories saying it is not safe to travel in the Philippines. So he told me…as the Secretary General of UNWTO, can call the embassy concerned and tell them to lift the travel advisory,” Sec. Tulfo added.

    The Department of Tourism is confident that the department will reach the targeted 8 million tourist arrivals this year. —Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue

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    3 suspected Abu Sayyaf members arrested in Zamboanga City

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

    Abu Sayaff Group

    MANILA, Philippines — Authorities arrested last Saturday, three suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

    They were identified as Omar Asakil and father and son Mukaram and Abdula Sapil.

    They are now detained at the Zamboanga City Police Office detention facility.

    The three  were arrested by the joint forces of the Zamboanga City Police office, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Joint Task Force Zamboanga, and other law enforcement agencies on Saturday at Sitio Banghouse, Taluksangay, in Zamboanga City.

    Authorities recovered from the suspects a .45 caliber gun, and several materials used for making bombs and grenades.

    Zamboanga City Police Office spokesperson P/Insp. Edwin Duco said the three may have had plans to sow violence in the city.

    “With respect to the place or time, we don’t have an idea, but possession of such explosive would suggest that they really had that deliberate plan,” Duco said.

    Authorities are now processing the documents needed for the possible filing of charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosive against the suspects.

    The suspects, on the other hand, denied any involvement in the Abu Sayyaf Group or any lawless armed group.

    “I don’t know. I don’t know anything about it. I have nothing to say,” Omar Asakil said.

    The suspects will undergo inquest proceedings on Tuesday. – Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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    Congress should assess if martial law in Mindanao be lifted or not – Sen. Honasan

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, June 30th, 2017

    IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_062917_HONASAN

    MANILA, Philippines — Thirty-eight days after martial law was declared in Mindanao, Senator Gringo Honasan couldn’t tell if the declaration should be lifted or not.

    However, he certainly believes it is now time for the Congress to act on its mandate and do its part on the issue.

    “By law , yung 60 days kailangan disisyunan ng Kongreso kung ititigil na yung martial law o itutuloy (By law, after 60 days Congress should decide if martial law should continue or not),” said Sen. Honasan.

    He said that the military operation should not be given a deadline in order to make sure that there will be no terrorist left in Marawi.

    The senator believes the area will be cleared soon.

    “Hindi ka pwedeng mag deadline dahil isa lang dyan ang maiwan na terorista na may hawak na pampasabog o may baril hindi mo pupwedeng sabihing clear yung area (You cannot put a deadline because if there is even one terrorist left holding an explosive devise or a gun, you cannot say that the area is cleared),” Honasan said.

    He added that the rehabilitation and recovery program for the hundreds of thousands of affected residents should be given a big consideration.

    Honasan pointed out the problems of hunger and social injustices as the main reasons why there are fighting’s in different parts of the country.

    He said that same incidents are just being repeated such as in Ipil, Zamboaga, Bohol and now in Marawi.

    “Bakit na naman may Marawi? So hindi na-a-address yung root causes, (Why is there [a similar fighting] in Marawi?  The root causes are not being addressed) ” Honasan added.

    The senator believes this administration is on the right track a year after President Rodrigo Duterte was elected as the president of the country.

    “He has a clear sense of direction. Pero ang tatanungin dyan dapat hindi yung nasa gobyerno, yung tao na dapat makinabang dyan. The intended beneficiaries or the unwilling victims (He has a clear sense of direction. But it is not those in government that should be asked but the intended beneficiaries or the unwilling victims),” Honasan said. – Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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    ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon incapable of launching new attacks – AFP

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, June 29th, 2017

    IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_062817_MAUTE GROUP

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has no valuable evidence that will confirm reports that Abu Sayyaf and Daesh leader in the Philippines, Isnilon Hapilon, has already escaped Marawi City.

    AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said this report may also be a disinformation to mislead military troops running after him.

    “But because we have no evidence and we are doing our best to check all the exit points, we are not yet concluding until we get proof. So this can also be disinformation to distract our troops pursuing him,” he said.

    However, the military is confident that Hapilon no longer has the capacity to launch attacks same with what his group did in Marawi City.

    “Now, we don’t believe that he has the capacity to launch attacks. We have decimated their capacity in the last weeks, and they no longer have the ability to do such scale of violence like what they did in Marawi City,” Padilla said.

    The military stressed that it is relevant for Hapilon to be caught dead or live, the reason why the United States of America and the Philippines have placed a huge bounty on his head.

    Meanwhile, based on the latest report of the government, the number of residents killed by Maute terrorist group in Marawi City has reached 27.

    The military fears this number will increase significantly.

    “The number which you have right now which is 27 may increase significantly once we’re able to validate all these information because there have been significant number that have been seen in the video but again we could not include many of these because we have not validated or authenticated this,” Padilla added. – Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

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