DILG tells PNP to fast track probe on ambush of Lanao del Sur mayor

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2019   •   230

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to speed up its investigation into the ambush of Masiu, Lanao del Sur Mayor Nasser Pangandaman Jr.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the PNP, in coordination with its military counterparts, should exert all efforts to ensure the immediate arrest of the suspects behind the ambush.

“The DILG condemns this atrocity which is a huge affront to the efforts of the government through our law enforcement groups to ensure peace and order in our communities. The PNP, in coordination with its military counterparts, should exert all efforts to arrest the suspects of this dastardly act,” Año said in a statement.

Pangandaman and his convoy were ambushed by unidentified men on Sunday, Nov. 10, while on their way to a council meeting.

The mayor survived the attack but his police escort, Corporal Jabbar Pangandaman was killed while two others were injured.

Following the incident, Año called for intensified security measures from police and the military such as regular foot and mobile patrols and setting up checkpoints.

The DILG chief also said that a manhunt operation has been launched against the suspects.

Investigators are also looking into possible motives behind the ambush, including “rido” or feud between warring clans in Lanao del Sur.

“The PNP is exploring several leads and interviewing witnesses so that we can easily track down the suspects behind this ambush. We assure the Pangandaman family that all hands are on this case,” Año said.

The DILG chief has expressed his condolences to the family of Corporal Pangandaman, and assured them of the government’s assistance.

DILG supports DND recommendation to lift martial law in Mindanao

Robie de Guzman   •   December 5, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Armed Forces of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday expressed support for the recommendation of the Department of National Defense (DND) not to extend the declaration of martial law in Mindanao after it expires on December 31 this year.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said his agency concurs with the DND’s view that “the purpose of Martial Law has been attained based on the assessment of military and police forces.”

The DILG chief also said that “normalcy has returned to the entire region and the peace and order situation in the area has remarkably improved since the Marawi Siege of 2017.”

“In the last two years and eight months that Martial Law is in effect in Mindanao, our military and police forces in the region have significantly degraded the forces and capabilities of the Maute and other threat groups that they no longer have any capacity to launch a Marawi-type attack,” he said in a statement.

“Moreover, three guerilla fronts have been cleared and three Pulang Bagani commands of the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) have been dismantled,” he added.

The DILG chief also stated that the lifting of martial law will be beneficial to the country’s economy, bringing with it more local and foreign investments and increase tourist arrivals in the region.

“We also believe that the lifting of Martial Law will be advantageous to the economy as it will signal the full return to normalcy and the end to perceived security risks of investing and travelling to Mindanao,” he said.

Mindanao has been under martial law since 2017 after 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.

Año further noted that local government units, through their respective local peace and order councils from the regional down to the barangay level, are also now more engaged and are actively working with their counterparts in the security sector to carry out peace and security measures in Mindanao.

“In fact, there is a 30% drop in crime in the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) alone,” he said.

Año also assured the public that even without martial law, the police and military will continue to launch security operations to protect the public against possible threat from extremists and communist rebels.

DILG tells PNP to arrest vandals

Robie de Guzman   •   December 4, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Interior Secretary Eduardo Año directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to go after all the vandals in the country for their “utter disregard of the law and defacement of government properties.”

Año issued the order following the arrest of four members of a left-leaning art group, Panday Sining, for vandalizing places in the city of Manila.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) chief called the arrest of the four activists “just and lawful.”

“Nagsusumikap ang gobyerno na magkaroon ng kaayusan at kalinisan pero binababoy nila. They have been repeatedly warned and now they will face the consequences of their actions,” he said in a statement.

In November, Manila City mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso warned the group that he would make them wipe their spray-painted messages with their tongue if he happens to catch them committing vandalism.

The group earned Mayor Isko’s ire after they spray-painted messages on the newly-painted walls of Lagusnilad underpass and UN Avenue.

But instead of heeding the government’s warning, Año pointed out that the group defied authorities and went on with their protest in different places in Manila.

The DILG chief said members of the group spray-painted messages on a telecom box near the Manila City hall, the walls of Araullo High School in Manila, and a concrete post of LRT-2 in Recto Avenue, among others.

“Imbes na tumigil, tuloy pa rin sila sa pagsasalaula nila sa kapaligiran. Hindi na sila nakikinig sa awtoridad. Sobra na. Tama na. Tama lang na maturuan sila ng leksyon para magtanda,” he said.

On Nov. 30, Saturday, four members of Panday Sining, namely, Joven Laura, Jeanne Vaughn Quijano, Mikhail Collado, and another minor, were arrested by the police after they were caught painting on the walls of LRT-2 during protest rallies marking Bonifacio Day.

Vandalism is a prohibited act in the City of Manila under Ordinance No. 7971 which imposes penalties on any person who defaces public and private property.

Panday Sining has called for the release of their members, and accused the police of manhandling their activists.

Año stressed that that while the government “respects their groups’ freedom of expression, such freedom is bounded by rules and regulations in order to ensure law and order.”

“Huwag ninyo namang gawing malaking drawing board o canvas ang Metro Manila. Maraming paraan para ipahayag ang inyong saloobin at hindi kasama doon ang walang habas ninyong pagpipinta sa mga pader ng Maynila,” he said.

The DILG chief also lamented that the arrested Panday Sining members are young people who are supposed to be focusing their time studying and making their parents proud.

“Huwag kayong magpaloko sa mga organisasyong makakaliwa at huwag ninyong sirain ang kinabukasan ninyo sa mga walang kuwentang gawain. Magsipagtapos kayo sa pag-aaral ninyo at tumulong kayo sa pamilya at bansa,”he said.

DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya also said that the public is likewise “outraged” by the group’s recent actions as evidenced by negative comments on social media and an online petition initiated by a non-governmental group.

“Even the people are fed up with your antics. Mag-isip-isip na kayo at magbago na habang bata pa kayo. Disiplina muna bago po tayo magreklamo at magprotesta. Ang pagbabago’y nagsisimula sa sarili,”he said.

PNP reminds spectators to follow security protocols in SEA Games venues

Robie de Guzman   •   November 29, 2019

Elite Filipino police officers patrol the area outside the New Clark City Aquatics Center ahead of the official opening of the SEA Games 2019, in Capas, Philippines, 28 November 2019. The SEA Games 2019 is expected to hold its opening ceremony on 30 November 2019. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday reminded those who are interested to watch the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games events to follow security protocols implemented in sporting venues.

The SEA Games being hosted in the country will formally open on Saturday, Nov. 30 at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan. It will run until Dec. 11, with closing ceremonies to be held at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

Participating in the biennial meet are more than 12,000 athletes and coaches, international media members and volunteers from 11 countries in the Southeast Asian region.

Thousands of spectators are expected to flock to various SEA Games venues across the country to rally behind their athletes competing in various sporting events.

The PNP reminded those who will visit the venues to watch the games to follow security procedures, and refrain from bringing the following prohibited items as listed in the 2019 SEA Games official Facebook page:

  • Bottles, cups, and cans of beverages (including glass, tetra pack, PET or any container using hard material)
  • Large bulky objects (ladder, stools, folding chairs, boxes, and paperboard containers, coolers)
  • Video camera or any audio-visual recording device for non-personal use
  • Camera extenders such as selfie stick, tripod and bipod
  • Animals (pet and non-pet)
  • Drones
  • Outside food and beverages
  • Pyrotechnic materials including fireworks, flares, canisters, matches, lighters and cigarettes and vapes
  • Large banners including flags exceeding 3 feet x 5 feet
  • Flag poles exceeding one meter
  • Propaganda materials containing racist, xenophobic, charity and ideological causes
  • Flammable objects including spray gas cans, corrosive material
  • Sharp objects
  • Possible projectiles (sports equipment)
  • Noisemaking items (airhorn, drums, whistles, bugles, vuvuzelas)
  • Weapons and firearms
  • Stimulants (alcohol, drugs, narcotics)
  • Laser pointers

Bringing of backpacks, tinted plastics, fanny packs as well as purse, suitcase, camera case, duffle bag, and printed bag are also prohibited.

Organizers also said that it is enforcing a clear bag policy and only small clutch bags that do not exceed 4.5” x 6.5” with or without strap and storage bags (Ziploc) are allowed.

PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac said spectators and vehicles going to sporting venues will be subjected to strict inspection.

The PNP also set up a tactical operations center at the Clark Freeport Zone to monitor the arrival and security of delegates.

Police forces will also be deployed to monitor assemblies that may be mounted by different groups to ensure safety and zero untoward incident.

The PNP likewise assured it has prepared contingency plan for the possible effects of Typhoon Kammuri as it creeps closer to the country.

The state weather bureau earlier reported that Kammuri is likely to enter the Philippine area of responsibility between Saturday and Sunday and will be named “Tisoy.”

“Sila ang gagamitin natin kung saka sakaling may pangangailangan at makatoon ng immediate deployment at maraming bilang, ito usually ay magagamit natin kung sakaling magkaroon ng natural disaster,” Banac said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Leslie Huidem)

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