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GIS EXCLUSIVE: Foreign terrorists still a threat; martial law extension ‘necessary’ – AFP

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, 7 December 2018 04:18 PM

 

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Security situation remains vulnerable in Mindanao despite the neutralization of Maute terrorist leaders, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

For this reason, according to BGen. Edgard Arevalo, the extension of martial law in Marawi City and the entire Mindanao region is highly necessary.

Arevalo said the AFP believes there are remaining Maute followers scattered in different parts of the country.

“Sa ngayon po ang key leaders nila nakuha na po natin, subalit mayroon po silang remnants. We’re looking at roughly siguro mga 100 all in all,” Arevalo confirmed in an interview on Friday (December 7) on the program ‘Get It Straight with Daniel Razon’.

The AFP Spokesperson noted that the biggest threat to national security at this point is the presence of foreign terrorists who have  established connections with the local terror group.

“Sa ngayon, Kuya Daniel, ang masasabi natin na isa pa rin sa pinakamahigpit na (binabantayan) ay ang foreign terrorists. Pagkatapos po ng kanilang kabiguan sa Iraq at sa iba pang bahagi ng Syria, ang kanila pong kagustuhan ngayon ay lumipat, magtayo ng isang probinsya sa iba pang bahagi ng mundo. At ang nakikita po nila ay ang Southeast Asia,” he explained.

“When you talk of Southeast Asia, Pilipinas and when you talk about Philippines, ang Mindanao parin po ang kanilang nakikita,” Arevalo added as he confirmed possible threats of the notorious Islamic State (IS) militants to the country.

Arevalo admits that one of the biggest challenges the military is facing now is how they will be able to cut the ties of local terrorist groups from those who are outside of the country.

He noted that the terrorists are actually taking advantage of the modern technology to execute their plans.

“May mga bangko po tayo. Hindi na po kasi talaga kagaya noong araw na (nilalagay sa) bag natin ang pera. Ngayon po may mga electronic means na po na to transfer money at yun po ang isa sa pamamaraan. At ang isa pa po sa challenge natin is yung advent ng social media. Yan po ang ginagamit nilang flat form upang sa gayon yung kanilang mga materyales, mga video, audio, at lahat po ng recruitment nila dinadaan po nila rito. And we admit that is quite difficult to check. Although we are trying our best to check this,” Arevalo explained when asked how local terrorists are able to get foreign funding.

Given the situation, the official believes it is high time that the country’s anti-terrorism law, specifically the Human Security Act of 2007, be amended to impose extension to the period of detention and surveillance of suspected terrorists to at least 30 days.

Arevalo noted that despite the implementation of martial law, they couldn’t get enough information from investigations because they need to release the person suspected to terrorism after a maximum period of three days. Otherwise, they will have to pay a huge amount of fine.

“Ang martial law po natin, ang malaking naitutulong po sa atin nyan on the grounds of terrorism pwede nating hulihin ang isang tao even without warrant but you can only hold them for 36 hrs or maximum of 72 hrs. So balik pa rin po tayo doon. And then (if you charged him) wrongly, (that’s) P500,000 (per day ang ibabayad sa suspect),” he noted.

Nevertheless, Arevalo said the AFP is closely coordinating with other concerned agencies to further establish and harden communication lines to fight terrorism.

Specifically, the military is working on what they call a ‘network centric warfare capability’ through the use of all possible platforms to win the ongoing electronic warfare which also involves combating fake news and disinformation as among the strategies of the enemies of the state. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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AFP condemns mall blast in Cotabato City; eyes terrorists links

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, 1 January 2019 03:43 PM

 

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

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AFP checks weapon stocks for possible theft from military arsenal

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 19 December 2018 11:04 AM

(file photo)

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is set to  investigate a possible gun theft from the military arsenal following an alleged gunrunning activity in Valenzuela City.

AFP Spokesperson Col. Noel Detoyato said they will conduct an inventory of their stocks to make sure that the captured firearms were not from their armory.

‘While we can already confirm that the captured firearms are not in our inventory, only a thorough inventory of our ammunition stocks will confirm whether there are losses in our stocks that could have fallen to the hands of these gunrunners,” the military spokesman said.

“Erring AFP personnel will be dealt with accordingly with the full force of our military justice system and that the result of our investigation will be brought out to the public at once,” he added.

Several firearms and thousands of ammunition sealed in boxes bearing the name of the AFP were seized from alleged Abu Sayyaf gun dealers in Valezuela City on Sunday.

The markings on the boxes “RP Government Property AFP” indicate that the weapon could have been taken from the AFP armory.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) considers the incident a matter of concern especially if government weapons are being supplied to the enemies of the state.

“Kasi ang initially na sinabi nung source na nanggagaling doon sa Fort Magsaysay and Fort Magsaysay is the headquarters of 7th ID,” PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde noted.

The Army’s 7th Infantry Division and the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) are set to conduct a joint investigation on the matter with results expected to be made public as soon as the investigation is completed. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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AFP, PNP to recommend another extension of martial law in Mindanao

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, 4 December 2018 09:11 AM

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez Jr. will recommend extending the martial law in the entire region of Mindanao for another year.

Galvez cited as basis for the recommendation the reported terrorist incidents in Mindanao, including the blast in Basilan that killed 10 civilians on July 31; Sultan Kudarat bombing that killed two people and the recent bombing In General Santos city that injured 8 individuals.

“There is really a clamor for the extension considering the terrorists are still lurking in the area,” Galvez said.

The recommendation will be presented to President Rodrigo Duterte through Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana next week.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde expressed support to the military’s recommendation.

“We are in favor because of the upcoming plebiscite and upcoming elections in Mindanao,” Albayalde said.

The group of Lumads in Mindanao also shared the same sentiment for the planned martial law extension

“Huwag ihinto ang martial law. Kapag ihinto ang martial law mauubos ang mga Lumad. Huwag itigil ang martial law para matulungan ang presidente kasi kung kami ang magpapaalis sa kanila, hindi pwede iyan,” said Bai Pilar Libayao, the municipal IPMR in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

But the Makabayan congressmen are opposing the plan, saying it only targets the opposition group and the critics of the Duterte administration.

“They wanted to silence all dissent, all oppositions,” said Anak Pawis Rep. Ariel Casilao.

Though the recommendation has yet to be forwarded and approved, Malacañang believes that the president is likely to heed the proposal.

“Of course, the president will always evaluate whatever recommendations that the AFP and the PNP will give him,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

“But given the support of martial law in Mindanao, even by a Catholic bishop and the citizens there, the president may be persuaded to go on to approve the recommendation; but of course, again, that is the prerogative of the president,” he added.

Senator Aqulino Pimentel III, on the other hand, believes the military should be prepared in defending their basis in extending the military rule.

 “If there is a request for extension there should be a briefing and bakit justified pa even after one year and seven months,” Pimentel said.

Mindanao has been placed under martial law since May 2017 after the Maute terror group attacked Marawi City.

It is set to expire on December 31, 2018 after the government sought for its extension to give way to the ongoing rehabilitation of Marawi.

The recommendation needs to be approved by both houses of Congress before an extension can be implemented.

House majority leader Rolando Andaya Jr. assured they are ready to grant the extension should President Duterte ask for it.

Andaya also said lawmakers from Mindanao will be asked to give their inputs during deliberations.

“If the president will ask for it, then chances are it shall be given. The inputs and views of the congressmen from Mindanao, who represent the people directly affected will carry much weight during  the deliberations,” he concluded. – Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

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