by UNTV News | Posted on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attend a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima, Peru, November 19, 2016. (Photo courtesy: Reuters)
Russia is aggressive in offering the Philippines assistance to fight international terrorism and piracy.
However, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana clarified that there is no military alliance yet between the country and Russia.
“Very aggressive sila na makipag-ano tayo sa kanila relationship na military. Hindi naman alliance pero exchange lang ng mga estudyante, mga personnel, participation sa exercises, kumbaga observer lang sa exercises muna,” Sec. Lorenzana explained further.
(They are very aggressive in intensifying our relationship with them in terms of military. But it’s not alliance. It’s more of providing exchange students, personnel, participation in exercises, or providing observer in exercises.)
President Rodrigo Duterte plans to visit Russia in April or May.
Meanwhile, US State spokesperson John Kirby said there won’t be any effect on how the United States views the importance of its bilateral relationship with the Philippines.
The statement was made after reports of planned maritime exercises and intensified defense ties between Russia and the Philippines.
“And so again, I would leave it to both of their governments to discuss it. What I can promise you is that it won’t affect how we view the importance of our bilateral relationship with the Philippines,” Kirby said.
Two Russian navy ships are currently docked in the country for a goodwill visit and they will remain in the Philippines until Saturday.
Kirby also gave assurance that the defense relationship of the US and Philippines remains strong.
“The first thing I would say is that the defense relationship between the United States and the Philippines remains very, very strong. We do have security commitments, alliance commitments that we take very, very seriously.”
Pres. Duterte has already invoked independent foreign policy creating a bit of a tension with America in connection with his controversial war on drugs.
The president also explained his plans to intensify the relationship of the country to other world power such as Russia and China not for military alliance but for economic alliances. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue
Department of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed the deaths of top Marawi siege leaders following a military operation launched at early dawn Monday.
“They were able to get a testimony from a hostage that was able to escape. She was able to confirm the presence of Isnilon and Maute in that particular building, so that’s the building that we assaulted this morning, early this morning,” said Lorenzana.
During the said military operation, government troops were able to kill Isnilon Hapilon, the designated emir of the Islamic State (ISIS) in South East Asia, as well as Omar Maute, one of the leaders of the pro-ISIS Maute terror group.
Hapilon and Omar were among those who led the siege of Marawi City last May of this year.
The remains of the killed terrorists will undergo DNA testing.
Omar has a P5 million bounty on his head, while Hapilon has P10 million on his.
Meanwhile, the military has initially announced that Abdulla Maute, the brother of Omar, had already been killed in a previous operation.
The country’s Defense secretary believes ISIS has lost a foothold in Southeast Asia after the death of Hapilon.
“That will help eradicate them once and for all. They still have cells there. We believe that they still have cells in Basilan, Sulu, also in Central Mindanao, but we will also get them,” said Lorenzana.
However, he noted that the crisis in the city of Marawi is not totally over since Hapilon and Omar have remaining men in the area whom the military is still locating.
But he said the terrorists can move on only two hectares of land in the city.
“There is still another personality that they are trying to get, si Dr. Mahmud, the Malaysian. According to some reports, he is still hiding in one of the buildings there and that’s what they are trying to do now,” said the Defense secretary.
After the military neutralized the two terrorist leaders, military troops were also able to rescue 17 hostages.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella however, said the government will only announce the end of the Marawi war after these two conditions are met:
First, once government troops have ensured the remaining terrorists in the city are killed or captured. Second, is when they have cleared all the structures of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other traps.
Abella noted that when the clashes end, the government will then intensify its rehabilitation efforts in the war-torn city. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue
MANILA, Philippines — Senators allied with the Liberal Party (LP) have once again denied having plans to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.
According to LP President Sen. Francis Pangilinan, the president just wants to divert the public’s attention away from the issues he is facing.
“Ang concern natin dito ay ang conspiracy na nauwi sa pagpapalusot ng P6.5 billion na shabu sa BOC kasabwat ang mga drug syndicate. Ang conspiracy na iyon ang dapat ipinapaliwanag ng gobyerno,” said Pangilinan.
(Our concern is the conspiracy that resulted in the entry of the P6.5 billion worth of shabu at the BOC in conspiracy with drug syndicates. And that conspiracy must be explained by the government.)
For Sen. Bam Aquino, Liberal Party members have nothing to do with any effort to oust the president, adding that Duterte may just be making up the ouster plot issue.
“Gaya ng kaniyang mga paratang sa bank account ni Senator Trillanes, he probably also made that up. Gawa-gawa lang po iyan. Hindi po totoo (Just like with the bank account of Senator Trillanes, he probably also made that up. It’s just made up. These are not true.),” he said.
Aquino also noted that criticisms against members of the opposition are not a good sign.
“Secretary Aguirre has even created a group against what he calls the enemies of the state, including what he calls the ‘yellowtards’. This is already a political persecution,” said the senator.
Meanwhile, according to the former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and now senator, Panfilo Lacson, any plot to oust the president is impossible to succeed.
“Pwedeng may nag-iisip, pero will they succeed? Ang 82% na approval at trust rating ng Pangulo, mukhang mahirap mangyari ang ma-oust siya through either people power or… military naman, unlikely because he’s so close with the military,” said Lacson.
(It’s possible that someone is thinking about it, but will they succeed? With the 82% approval and trust rating of the president, it would be difficult to oust him through people power or…military is unlikely to do that because he’s so close to the military.)
Solicitor General Jose Calida initially divulged that some groups and personalities are colluding to destabilize the president. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue
MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will share the USD 22-million worth of firearms and ammunition donated by the Chinese government.
This is China’s second donation of military equipment to the AFP.
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año said, 90 sets of sniper scope will go the soldiers battling terrorists in Marawi City while the guns and ammunition will go to the police for their special forces.
“For now, the PNP needs additional firearms, so we have to help the PNP so that they can do their job. They lack long firearms,” said Año.
Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Chinese donation is part of the friendship and cooperation between Beijing and Malacañang in terms of fighting terrorism.
“I want to thank China for its technical assistance in our anti-terrorism operations in Marawi City, this has been vital in winning the battle against extremist,” said Lorenzana.
Thirty-five sets of engineering equipment are also set to arrive before the end of the year. These sets of equipment, the Philippine authorities said, is for the rehabilitation of Marawi City.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said China is in full support of the Philippines’ fight against the ISIS-inspired group Maute and illegal drugs.
The Chinese ambassador noted that Beijing has already donated an estimated of 5.5 billion pesos worth of humanitarian assistance and disaster reduction and military equipment to the Philippines.
“Let me assure you that China will provide additional grants and assistance to the Philippines. We would like to be your partner in a rehabilitation and reconstruction of the city of Marawi,” said the Chinese ambassador.
Jianhua explained that the donations will not push through if not for the efforts of President Rodrigo Duterte to repair the relationship of Manila with Beijing. It can be noted the two countries were at odds over the South China Sea during the term of Mr. Duterte’s predecessor.
“A friend in need is a friend indeed, China would like to be a friend in need so we cherish the friendship that rekindled by President Duterte,” said Jianhua. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue
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