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Makabayan congressmen: “We are not terrorists!”

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, December 7th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — “We are not terrorists,” said ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio.

This was the cry of Makabayan congressmen now that they are being tagged as terrorists under the Palace’s Proclamation No. 374.

It has been obvious that members of the Makabayan bloc in Congress are leading the series of protests against the government.

But the group said they are not insinuating terrorism in doing so.

“Hindi terorismo na ipaglaban ang human rights, ang right to due process ng bawat mga Pilipino lalo na ng maralita. Hindi terorismo ang ipaglaban ang karapatan sa lupa ng mga magsasaka,” said Tinio.

(It’s not terrorism but human rights that we are fighting for; the right to due process of all Filipinos especially the poor. It’s not terrorism to fight for the right of farmers to property.)

The group fears that the proclamation is being used to silence all progressive groups and activists.

“Ang mangyayari dito maraming mga trumped-up charges, pero ang layunin ay para mapatahimik, masupil at mapakulong pa mga ang mga aktibista at mga organisasyong makakaliwa,” said Tinio

(There will be more trumped-up charges to hush, suppress and put in jail all activists and leftist organizations.)

But according to the Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, it is clear that Proclamation No.374 declares the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as an identified terrorist organization under Republic Act 10168, contrary to the claim of the Makabayan bloc. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

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French hostage’s son searches for mother in West African desert

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

French citizen Sophie Petronin who is being held hostage at an unknown location in Mali is seen in this still image taken from an undated video released by al-Qaeda-linked JNIM. REUTERS/ via Reuters TV


Sebastian Petronin sat slumped over a laptop watching a video of his mother, in a headscarf and looking frail and tearful, the latest proof the 72-year-old is alive nearly two years after she was kidnapped by jihadists and held somewhere in the Malian desert.

Now, fearing for her deteriorating health, he hopes her captors will allow him to visit her just once, even if there is scant chance he will be able to take her back.

“We are really concerned. She is a fighter but I feel like she has suffered blows to her morale that affected her,” Sebastian, 38, told Reuters as the video played in his hotel room in the Nigerian capital Niamey.

Gunmen kidnapped Sophie Petronin in December 2016 in the northern Malian city of Gao, where she ran a charity for malnourished and orphaned children.

She is being held by fighters loyal to the main coalition of Islamist groups in the Sahara, the Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM).

Her family has tried locate her and get her released, but in the last propaganda video, filmed and distributed to jihadist websites last month, she said she would like to see her son and that if her captors say he can come safely, he can believe them.

The video was enough to launch Petronin on a mission to try to track his mother down. It has taken him to parts of the Sahara as far afield as Mauritania and Niger, where he is meeting a negotiator he hopes can put him in touch with Sophie’s captors.

On one such trip into the desert, filmed by Reuters TV, he sat on the sand with a former acquaintance of hers, whose face was covered by a green turban.

“The desert is a huge territory but paradoxically a lot of people know each other,” he said. “We must not disregard anything and make connections with people in the city but also with people who are connected to the desert.”

French citizens are prime targets for kidnappers, both because of a perception that the government pays ransoms to get them out and because of their country’s role in the fight against so-called Islamists.

France, a former colonial master to most of the countries across the Sahara and the semi-arid Sahel, has 4,000 troops on a mission to try to crush the Islamist threat. — Reuters

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Makabayan Bloc seeks probe on alleged Chinese influence in Marawi rehab works

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Opposition congressmen want to probe ongoing rehabilitation works in Marawi City.

On Wednesday, representatives from the Makabayan bloc filed a resolution seeking for an investigation into an alleged report that some Chinese corporations are getting the favor of the government to manage the rehabilitation works in the war-torn city.

Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate accused the administration of taking advantage of the martial law to serve the interest of said Chinese firms.

“Bilyon-bilyon ang gugugulin ng gobyerno pero sa ngayon kahit nga residente ng Marawi ay at a lost (kung) ano ba talaga ang tunay na plano sa Marawi,”Zarate said

(The government will spend billions but until now the residents are at a loss as to what really is the government’s plan for Marawi.)

Civic groups, meanwhile, expressed concern over the proposed construction of a military base in “ground zero” or in the main battle area in Marawi.

“Pag nilagyan kame ng malaking military garisson sa loob ng main affected areas baka sa mga susunod na panahon atakihin nanaman nila uli ang Marawi,” said Drieza Liningding, Head of a civil society group in Marawi City.

(If they construct a military garrison inside the main affected area, time might come that they (terrorists) would attack Marawi again.)

Meanwhile, the group also calls on the House Committee on Human Rights to probe on reports of abuse of human rights of the residents in the war-torn city. – Grace Casin / Marje Pelayo

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German police rule out ‘terrorism’ in Berlin knife rampage

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, June 4th, 2018


Police in front of the Berliner Dom after a German policeman shot a man at the Berlin Cathedral, German media reported in Berlin, Germany, June 3, 2018. Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch


German police on Sunday (June 3) said they had shot and injured a man who had rampaged with a knife through the Berlin Cathedral, adding that there were no signs the incident was politically motivated.

Police said on Twitter that officers rushed to the scene after a staff member at the Berliner Dom, a major tourist attraction on the historic Museum Island in the German capital, called the emergency services to report the incident.

A policeman shot the knife-wielding man in the legs. One policeman was also injured, police said, providing no details on how the injuries were sustained.

Both the suspect and the police officer were taken to hospital for treatment. Some 100 people were at the Dom at the time, police said. There are no indications that the motive was “terrorism- or Islamist-related” police wrote on Twitter. — Reuters

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