Locsin confirms filing of protest on Chinese warships’ entry in Sibutu Strait

Maris Federez   •   August 22, 2019   •   219

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr., confirmed Thursday that the diplomatic protest against China on the illegal entry of its warships in Sibutu Strait has already been filed.

This, following his order to the DFA-Office of Asia and Pacific Affairs to file the protest against the Chinese warships that trespassed in the Philippine seas this month, and also last July, without coordinating with concerned authorities.

Based on the report of the Armed Forces of the Philippines – Western Mindanao Command (AFP-Wesmincom), two Chinese warships were sighted in July. Another three were also monitored passing in the Philippine waters this month.

Locsin said that such acts are clear cases of trespassing as they are not authorized to sail in the waters within the Philippine territory.

“I already described my foreign policy as the fist and iron glove of the Armed Forces. so we work hand in hand with the military,” Locsin added.

The DFA chief hopes that this issue will be tackled in President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China next week for the two countries to agree on the necessary steps to take on the matter.

Locsin said they are now in the drafting the agenda of the meeting between President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (with details from Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

Palace: Lorenzana to probe AFP-third telco deal

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 16, 2019

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will investigate the deal between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and third telco firm, Dito Telecommunity Corp.

This was after the third telco was allowed to build their facilities near the military bases of the country.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Lorenzana was not aware of the said deal.

“The DND Secretary texted me about it, and said he doesn’t know anything about it,” he said.

Panelo also said Lorenzana will investigate the matter and that the government can terminate the said deal if there is a proven security threat in the country.

“He’s going to investigate and ask the concern people involved in the deal so we’ll wait for his findings,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

AFP readies for Abu Sayyaf retaliation following death of key member

Robie de Guzman   •   September 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is preparing for possible acts of reprisal from the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) following the death of one of its key members in a recent encounter with government troops in Sulu.

According to AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) Spokesperson Maj. Arvin John Encinas, they are not discounting the possibility of retaliatory attacks by the ASG after the younger brother of an ASG leader was killed in a gun battle in Patikul, Sulu last Tuesday (Sept. 10).

Philippine Army’s 41st Infantry Battalion faced around 40 ASG members in a heavy firefight that broke out in Sitio Tubig Pansol in Barangay Langhub.

ASG fighters were said to have retreated after about 20 minutes of gunfight.

READ: AFP: Kin of Abu Sayyaf leader killed in Sulu

Government troops then overran the ASG camp and found a body, which military identified as Nanz Sawadjaan, brother of ASG sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan.

Nanz Sawadjaan was one of ASG’s bomb experts who was allegedly involved in Jolo cathedral blast and other recent suicide bomb attacks in Sulu.

Encinas said the death of Sawadjaan is a great loss to the terrorist group.

“Yung pagka-neutralize natin dito sa kapatid ni sub-leader Sawadjaan ay isang malaking dagok sa hanay ng mga Abu Sayyaf Group considering na itong si Nanz Sawadjaan ay trained sa paggawa IED (improvised explosive device),” he said.

(The neutralization of the brother of sub-leader Sawadjaan is a great loss to the Abu Sayyaf group considering that this Nanz Sawadjaan was trained in making IEDs.)

The military said that before the demise of Sawadjaan, they received information about the ASG’s plans to launch a series of suicide bombings in Sulu, including in military detachments.

Last Sept. 8 a female suicide bomber was killed in Indanan town after she tried to attack a military checkpoint by blowing herself up. No one was injured in the blast because soldiers were able to take cover following shouts of alarm from other detachment members.

The AFP assured the readiness of their troops and urged the public to immediately report any suspicious individuals or things spotted in their areas. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

AFP: Kin of Abu Sayyaf leader killed in Sulu

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 12, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Abu Sayyaf Group

The brother of an Abu Sayyaf leader was killed during an encounter with the military forces in Sulu on Tuesday (September 10).

The soldiers identified the neutralized terrorist as Nanz Sawadjaan, the younger brother of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan.

The 41st Infantry Battalion conducted a focused military operation in Sitio Tubig Pansol, Barangay Langhub, Patikul, Sulu.

They encountered 40 ASG members under Almujer Yadah, Ben Tattoh, and Apo Mike. The heavy firefight lasted for 20 minutes until the military was able to overrun the enemy encampment.

Two soldiers were injured during the encounter.

According to Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, the troops are still conducting pursuit operations.

“Our troops remain persistent in tracking down and neutralizing the remaining terrorists in Sulu,” he said.

“The successful operations of our troops are also attributed to the local community who feeds information, directing our troops to the terrorists’ location,” he added.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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