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

Marje Pelayo   •   December 7, 2018   •   2468

 

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)

AFP, PNP form Board of Inquiry to revise operational procedures after Jolo shooting

Marje Pelayo   •   July 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) created a Board of Inquiry that will revise their respective operational procedures following the fatal shooting in Jolo, Sulu. 

According to PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa, one of their main focus will be the cooperation and expansion of their interoperability including the various tactical approaches depending on the security situation in the shooting area.

“To determine operational lapses and how we can improve our operational procedures both the AFP and the PNP,“ the PNP Chief.

Meanwhile, all nine cops involved in the incident were supposed to go to Camp Crame but the trip was deferred. 

One of them contracted coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and is now undergoing quarantine in isolation but still has to take the swab test for confirmation. 

But Gamboa assured that they will be sent to the headquarters anytime this week by Police Regional Office – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO-BAR) Director PBGen. Manuel Abu.

“Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na: ‘You will go to Crame para ma-diffuse iyong tension and then expect kung ano ang sasabihin ng NBI, hindi ako makikialam.’ So kung meron liable sa inyo, so be it,” Gamboa said. 

[I told them: ‘You will go to Crame to diffuse the tension and expect that whatever the NBI says, I will not intervene.’ If anyone is liable, then so be it.]

“So for the meantime, you will be under the custody ng Philippine National Police” he added.

Gamboa said the President emphatically ordered the PNP to make sure those responsible in the incident will be penalized while the Chief Executive toned down when it came with the Philippine Army. 

Alam nya na may mga sintimiyento lalo na [He knows that there are sentiments especially] on the part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Gamboa said. 

“Sabi pa nga nya, kayo kung ano ang gusto nyong gawin ay pwede nyong gawin but you still have to ponder whether it will do good to the public o to the community [He even said, you just do whatever you want but you still have to ponder whether it will do good to the public or to the community],” he concluded. —MNP (with inputs from Lea Ylagan)

PH strengthens border security with Indonesia, Malaysia

Marje Pelayo   •   November 18, 2019

Participants are seen gathering near a Royal Malaysian Navy (RAM) patrol gunboat at the port of Zamboanga City, southern Philippines, 27 November 2018. The RMN is participating the Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines (INDOMALPHI) 4th Trilateral Maritime training exercise to enhance joint patrol with the three navies aiming to combat the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group and pirates operating in the common borders of the three nations in southern Philippines. EPA-EFE/LAURENZ CASTILLO

MANILA, Philippines – Backdoor entry through the Philippines southern border has made the country susceptible to threats from foreign terrorists.

Thus, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has been working with its neighboring countries Indonesia and Malaysia to further strengthen its border security.

In 2017, the three countries entered into an agreement coined as ‘INDOMALPHI’ or Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines Trilateral Cooperative Agreement which commits the three nations to securing common borders.

“If ever there are reports from let’s say Indonesia or Malaysia that they going here, they have to share that information (to prevent entry of terrorists),” explained AFP Chief of Staff General Noel Clement.

“The same is true also if we have reports that we have fighters that are coming here and going to their respective countries,” he added.

The AFP admits, however, that the lack of floating assets of its naval arm – the Philippine Navy – gives foreign terrorists the chance to penetrate the country’s territories like the suicide bombers in the Sulu attack.

Worse, these terrorists teach their local counterparts how to create explosives and execute their plans, according to Clement.

“Ang kanilang intention bakit sila nandito is para makapag-conduct ng kanilang mga terroristic activities particular ang pagbobomba (Their intentions for entering our territory include conducting terrorist activities particularly bombings),” the official said.

“Hindi natin dapat payagan ito because kapag naisagawa nila yung kanilang mga hangarin na ito ay maraming mape-perwisyo at madadamay, (We won’t allow that because if they succeed in their plans, many people will suffer),” he added.

The ‘INDOMALPHI” is conducting joint maritime exercises aimed at strengthening capabilities against sea-jacking, piracy, smuggling and other illegal activities at sea.

Meanwhile, the AFP also tapped the support of the fishing industry in ZAMBASULTA area to augment as force multipliers in guarding and protecting the waters within the Philippine territorial jurisdiction. – MNP (with details from Dante Amento)

AFP to prove CPP front orgs receive EU, Belgium funding

Maris Federez   •   March 13, 2019

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is set to prove that several groups that benefit from the financial assistance being doled-out by the European Union and Belgium are front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations Brigadier, General Antonio Parlade, said they are now collating the evidence that will prove their allegations.

Parlade said this will help Belgium and the member countries of the EU in screening and selecting the organizations that are most deserving of their financial assistance.

“They wanted us to provide more evidence and then to file the formal complaint. That’s what we are doing now, we are consolidating all our evidence para submit sa [to submit to the] European Union,” Parlade added.

In Mindanao alone, around 30 groups have been receiving donations from the EU.

One of them is the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) which, reportedly, had already received 622,000 euros from the EU, and is set to further receive 1.3 million euros more from the said organization for their future projects.

This is aside from the funding they receive from the Belgian parliament.

The AFP official also mentioned Ibon and Karapatan as legal front liners of the CCP that are bent on discrediting the Duterte Administration to the international community.

Parlade hopes that once they release the names of these groups, the international funding communities would stop providing them with financial assistance.

This is why Parlade and his delegation also seized the opportunity to talk to the EU, the Belgian Foreign Ministry and the United Nations when they went to Europe recently.

“It’s all about money. I think this is really a big scam that we have to uncover. So bottom line, magaling po silang mag-fabricate [they are good at fabricating]. And these materials, these literatures are well-funded by these organizations—by these governments in Europe, including the EU at kinakailangan pong malaman nila ito [and they have to know about this],” Parlade said.

Ibon, Karapatan and RMP are yet to issue their reactions regarding this.

Karapatan and RMP, however, have already filed complaints before the Commission on Human Rights against the government for linking them with the CPP-NPA and for tagging them as rebels and part of terrorist groups. – Maris Federez (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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