Jolo twin blasts: Foreign intel points to Yemeni couple

admin   •   January 30, 2019   •   1762

Photo courtesy of Ahmad Sajan

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted that President Rodrigo Duterte has received information from intelligence authorities in Singapore about the possible perpetrators in the bombing of a Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday (January 27).

Lorenzana said that the President was informed about a Yemeni couple believed to be suicide bombers who planned to sow terror in Jolo.

Such report, Lorenzana said, was the President’s basis for concluding that suicide bombers were behind the tragedy at Mt. Carmel church.

“Marami kasing body parts na nakita kami eh. Meron mga paa doon, may mga part ng ulo, may nakasabit sa fence. It appears to be suicide bombing and I was also convinced immediately na baka suicide bombing iyon,” the president said.

However, Lorenzana said that no group has claimed membership of the two suicide bombers.

“Kapag kasi suicide bombing yan somebody will immediately claim na itong tao na ito ay naging martir. Wala pa namang tayong nakikita na ganoon,” Lorenzana explained.

“Although the ISIS on their website claims that 21 Filipino crusaders died (but) di naman nila sinasabi na itong tao na ito ay naging martir siya because he detonated the bomb,” he added.

To verify the identity and the nationality of the bombers, Lorenzana said they ordered a DNA test on unclaimed human fragments recovered in the blast site.

“Nasa SOCO. You cannot identify. Nobody claimed him ba kung sino siya so we have him/her DNA tested para malaman natin,” the Defense official said.

“I don’t know how we are going to find out who he is by DNA, but maybe we can find out what nationality kung Filipino o foreigner,” he said.

On the other hand, survivors of the blast said they noticed a Filipina who left a package on the fourth row of the churchgoers prior to the blast.

“Mayroon kasing survivor na babae na she was about four seats away from the blast. Napansin daw niya may babae sa unahan niya na medyo balisa at pag-alis daw ay may naiwan na package,” Lorenzana narrated.

“Hindi naman sinabi na yun ang nakita nyang sumabog pero yun ang nakita nya, and that definitely is not suicide bombing,” he added.

There were earlier reports that some 40 foreign terrorists have already entered the country.

Authorities want to find out if a Yemeni couple was among them, whom reports say were the ones behind the Jolo twin blasts. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Duterte to give incentives to SEA Games athletes on Dec. 18

Marje Pelayo   •   December 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – All athletes who participated in the recently concluded 30th South East Asian Games (SEA Games) will be awarded and will get additional incentives from President Rodrigo Duterte.

The ceremony will be held at the Malacañang on December 18, Senator Bong Go told reporters.

The former Special Assistant to the President said the President is also giving the Order of Lapu-Lapu Award to all the athletes.

“Lahat ng gold medalist, silver medalist at ang bronze medalists ay makakatanggap ng Lapu-Lapu Award mula sa Pangulo (All gold, silver and bronze medalists will receive the Lapu-Lapu Award from the President),” Go said.

Among the recipients will be the ‘hero’ surfer Roger Casugay for exemplifying the Filipino value of bayanihan and showing the true spirit of sportsmanship when he chose to save his Indonesian competitor over his quest for a gold medal.

Go said the incentives and the awards are on top of what the athletes deserve to receive as mandated by law. – MNP (with inputs from Dante Amento)

Duterte meets with Filipino SEA Games ‘hero’ surfer, surfing team in Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 11, 2019

President Rodrigo (left); hero surfer Roger Casugay (center) with the rest of the Philippine surfing team at Malacañan Palace

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday met with the members of the Philippine surfing team, including Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist Roger Casugay, who recently went viral for his heroic act of saving his Indonesian rival during their event.

Casugay and the rest of the team paid a courtesy call to Duterte in Malacañang, based on photos released to media on Wednesday morning.

Casugay earned praises after he rescued Indonesian surfer Arip Nurhidayat who was swept by rolling waves after he broke his leash in the middle of men’s longboard open surfing competition in La Union. 

The 25-year old surfer eventually won the gold medal after the event between the two was rescheduled on Sunday.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday expressed his appreciation for Casugay for personifying sportsmanship in the ongoing biennial meet.

The Senate also adopted a resolution commending the athlete for displaying an act of heroism and courage.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Casugay will be conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu by the President in a Palace ceremony next week.

The Order of Lapu-Lapu is bestowed upon individuals who are recognized for their invaluable service in relation to a campaign or advocacy of the President.

Casugay was earlier chosen to be the country’s flag bearer in the SEA Games closing ceremonies to be held on Wednesday at the New Clark City in Tarlac.

Duterte fetes Philippine Army shooters

Robie de Guzman   •   December 10, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte announces to the Philippine Army Team that they will receive P500,000 incentive for their sterling performance in the ASEAN Armies Rifle Meet 2019 held recently in Indonesia. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte gave recognition to Philippine Army shooters who hauled medals from the recently-concluded ASEAN Armies Rifles Meet (AARM) held in Indonesia.

The recognition was conducted in Malacañang on Monday during a courtesy call to the President, the Philippine Army said in a statement Tuesday.

According to Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, members of the shooting team called “Manunudla” were introduced to the president while they presented their medals and trophies from the AARM 2019.

“Manunudla” is a Filipino word that means shooter. It was chosen to symbolize the team as a way of embracing its Filipino identity while representing the country in various international events.

The shooting team were able to bring home a total of 22 medals – 7 gold, 8 silver and 7 bronze – putting them at the second place. The 6 gold, 7 silver, and 7 bronze were from the team events, and 1 gold, 1 silver from the individual events.

The competitions during the AARM include the pistol (men & women), rifle/carbine and machine gun matches.

“I give my full support to the training of the Philippine Army soldiers so they can perform their duties at the best of their abilities. For the shooters, aim to be on the top of AARM next year,” Duterte said as he lauded the shooters for their efforts during the event.

“With the support of the President, our soldiers will train hard to excel not only in the field of competition but in everything they do as we transform into a world-class Army,” Gapay said.

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