DND: Parañaque raid that killed alleged ASG members highlights need for tougher anti-terror law

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2020   •   799

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of National Defense (DND) on Friday said that the recent joint police and military operation in Parañaque City, which led to the killing of suspected Abu Sayyaf members, highlights the need for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, “the presence of these terrorists in the NCR highlights the need for us to enhance our measures against those who intend to bring harm to our people.”

“A law such as the Anti-Terrorism Bill of 2020 will give our law enforcers greater capacity to stop these terrorists and prevent them from wreaking havoc in our communities,” he added.

Lorenzana also commended the police and the military for the “successful” law enforcement.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), meanwhile, said the incident calls for an urgent decision of the President.

“This development all the more highlights the need for the President and Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Duterte to expedite the signing and immediate implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Bill,” AFP chief-of-staff General Felimon Santos, Jr. said in a statement.

He said terrorism really poses great threat to public security and places general welfare at stake.

“We should protect and defend from terrorists— without further delay than it had already been —fellow Filipinos from wanton death or destruction of their property,” he said.

Santos also said that the recent operation against the alleged members of Abu Sayyaf group only shows that a pandemic could not deter terror groups from committing lawless acts.

“The unwanted presence of terrorist ASG members in Metro Manila and their timely neutralization in Parañaque proves that terrorist groups know no pandemic or people’s suffering in the Philippines or elsewhere in the world,” he said.

“Not even COVID-19 could deter or prevent the terrorists ASG and their cohorts from planning and looking for the opportune time to strike and kill or maim innocent civilians and to destroy massively government infrastructure and private property,” he added.

The Philippine National Police earlier reported that four suspected ASG members were killed in an operation jointly conducted by police and military forces in Barangay Don Bosco, Parañaque City on past Friday midnight.

The government security forces were about to serve a search warrant issued by the Parañaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 258 when they were engaged by the suspects in a firefight.

The clash eventually resulted in the killing of the suspects, identified as Bensaudi Sali alias “Boy,” his wife Merhama Abdul Sawari alias “Mheng,” Rasin Hussin alias “Boscon,” and Jamal Kalliming alias “Pando.”

The police and military said the operation stemmed from an information they received about the presence of the group tagged as members of Daulah Islamiyah and acting as a financial conduit of Daesh-East Asia, in Parañaque City.

Authorities recovered from the encounter site various handguns, wires, suspected explosive devices, and ISIS flags.

COVID-19 inoculation mandatory but soldiers can choose brand – AFP spox

Robie de Guzman   •   February 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The vaccination of military personnel against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be mandatory although the soldiers can choose which brand to receive, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Thursday.

In a virtual press briefing, AFP Spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said all soldiers will be obliged to get inoculated as ordered by AFP chief of staff Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana.

The directive came even as the military has yet to ascertain where its vaccine supply will be coming from, or if they are among those who will receive the first 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines donated by the Chinese government.

“Ang Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas po is not like any ordinary organizations. Tayo po ay nasa service-orientated organization. Tayo po ang inaasahan sa napakaraming mabibigat na tungkulin kagaya nga po ng pagharap sa pandemya as early as 2020. Kaya sinabi natin na hindi opsyon ang pag-ayaw. Subalit kinikilala natin yung kanilang kagustuhan ng brand na gusto nila” he said.

Military personnel who will be choosing other brands of the vaccine will need to pay for their own jabs, Arevalo said.

Those who refuse to get vaccinated will face sanctions under military rules, he added.

“We are an organization under military regulations. So, ang pagtupad sa mga regulasyon o sa mga tinatadhana ng existing legal orders buhat sa ating mga superiors just like this one from the AFP Chief of Staff, no less, will be dealt with disciplinary actions kung hindi nila susundin,” he said.

“But we are confident na hindi na tayo darating sa punto na iyon,” he added.

The AFP said all its employees and troops assigned in the medical and healthcare units will be the first to get inoculated against COVID-19.

The donated Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines from China are expected to arrive in the country this weekend. RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Four Lumad parents of rescued children taken by suspected communist militants

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Four parents of the rescued Lumad children were taken by suspected communist militants, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).

PNP chief PGen. Debold Sinas cited reports that the parents were supposed to meet with the police in Davao del Norte on Monday (February 22) for their trip to Cebu City However, only two parents showed up.

Reports also stated that the four Lumad parents were taken on Sunday (February 21) by suspected organizers of communist front groups who posed as police officers.

“Obviously, these four parents were lured into believing they would be meeting with their children in Cebu when they were taken by persons who disguised themselves as police officers,” Sinas said.

The PNP chief added that the said stunt was a desperate move of communist front organizations to get away from criminal liability of serious illegal detention and child exploitation.

Sinas also assured that police authorities are already exerting efforts to locate the parents.

The Ata Manobo children were among the 19 Lumad minors who were brought to Cebu City by communist front.

Reports indicate that the children were undergoing radicalization and revolutionary warfare indoctrination.

AFP confirms PSG personnel vaccinated vs COVID-19 experienced no side effects

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has confirmed that members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) who received COVID-19 vaccine shots have not experienced adverse side effects.

AFP Spokesperson Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, in a statement, said the personnel volunteered to get vaccinated to make sure President Rodrigo Duterte will be safe from the COVID-19 virus.

The personnel received criticisms after they were inoculated without proper government authorization.

“We are pleased that PSG Personnel who have volunteered to be vaccinated in the pursuit of their mission to protect the President did not only perform a selfless act. They were also safe as an aftermath of the inoculation. No adverse side effects as we speak,” Arevalo said.

Last week, the Palace confirmed that the Food and Drug Administration granted the PSG a compassionate permit for the use of 10,000 doses of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine. -AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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