No harassment of Filipino fishermen near Pag-asa Island—AFP

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 7, 2019   •   2262

Photo credit: Rogz Necesito, Jr. | PVI

There are no reported complaints of harassment from the Filipino fishermen near Pag-asa Island according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command (AFP WESCOM).

AFP WESCOM Spokesperson Capt. Cherryl Tindog said the troops of Joint Task Force West are in constant communication with the fishermen, and according to the task force, they have not received any reports of harassment.

They also added that the claims of Kalayaan Mayor Roberto del Mundo on China’s alleged harassment of fishermen at Sandy Cay had no basis.

WESCOM also showed a satellite image plotting the locations of monitored fishing vessels in the Philippines along the Pag-asa island from January 1, 2018 to March 5, 2019.

WESCOM continues to encourage local fishermen to continue their activities in the area.

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana previously ordered the AFP to verify the report of Kalayaan Mayor Roberto Del Mundo about China harassing Filipino fishermen in Sandy Cay. —Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

READ: DND orders AFP to confirm reported harassment of Filipino fishermen near Pag-asa Island

Duterte warns water concessionaires: I will order the AFP to take over

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 13, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has warned Maynilad and Manila Water that he will order the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to take over water distribution operations.

“I will order the Armed Forces to operate the water, ‘Sige, sundalo, take over kayo’ (Soldiers, go take over). And I will declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus but only against economic sabotage,” he said during the birthday celebration of former Senator Manny Villar on Thursday (December 12).

The Chief Executive has previously threatened the two water concessionaires with “economic sabotage” due to alleged irregular water deals.

In a letter, the two companies revoked their compensation claims prompting the government to pay almost P11 billion, as ordered by an attribution court in Singapore.

They have also offered to revisit the contracts in order to come up with possible amendments.

However, Malacañang said the President is still reviewing the said letter and has yet to decide on his next action on the issue.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has advised the two water concessionaires that the President will strive to enforce the law.

“The concessionaires are put on notice that the Chief Executive will not renege from his constitutional duty of enforcing the law. Neither will he be swayed nor enticed into accepting a compromise. Dura lex sed lex,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

AFP to push for tougher anti-terrorism law

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 11, 2019

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday (December 10) said they will push for tougher laws against terrorism, as martial law in Mindanao will no longer be extended.

In a statement, AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the AFP is pleased that President Rodrigo Duterte heeded their recommendation to no longer extend martial law in Mindanao.

He also said that they will continue to push for tougher laws to prevent counter-terrorism.

“The AFP will pursue our advocacy towards the amendment of the Human Security Act into an Anti-Terrorism Law that will not be too restrictive to security forces but has more teeth to prevent or counter terrorism,” Arevalo said.

Malacañang announced earlier on Tuesday that President Rodrigo Duterte will not extend martial law in Mindanao upon its expiration on December 31, 2019.

Meanwhile, the AFP said they will “continue to collaborate with local chief executives, and the people in the communities in the conduct of our current activities to sustain these gains brought about by ML.”—AAC

On non-extension of Martial Law: We’re pleased that the Commander in Chief listened to us —AFP

Maris Federez   •   December 10, 2019

(FILE) Filipino government troop check villagers at a military checkpoint in the town of Pingcawayan, North Cotabato province, southern Philippines, 21 June 2017. EPA-EFE/CERILO EBRANO

MANILA, Philippines— The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has confirmed that they are one of the security-related agencies that were consulted as to whether or not Martial Law will be extended or not.

In a statement released on Tuesday (Dec. 10), AFP spokesperson Marine Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said they are pleased that their recommendation for the non-extension of ML was considered by the Commander-in-Chief.

“We have cited several reasons like improved security climate in Mindanao, the continues decline of the Daesh-inspired local terrorist groups, & to further promote an environment more conducive to economic activities as it did in terms of increase in trade and commerce in Mindanao,” the statement further reads.

Arevalo added that they will continue to collaborate with local chief executives and the people in the communities as they conduct current activities to sustain the gains brought about by Martial Law.

He further said that the AFP will pursue the “advocacy towards the amendment of the Human Security Act into an Anti-Terrorism Law that will not be too restrictive to security forces but has more teeth to prevent or counter-terrorism.” —/mbmf

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