No need to declare martial law in Sulu – Wesmincom commander

admin   •   May 17, 2017   •   6078

ZAMBOANGA — The commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (AFP-Wesmincom), Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. is set to face the leadership of the lower house of Congress on Thursday.

The military official will report the accomplishments of Wesmincom in his area of responsibility.

The report will cover accomplishments from the time President Rodrigo Duterte gave the order to neutralize the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

It will also include the equipment needed to neutralize all kinds of terrorism as part of the AFP’s modernization program.

“I was required to give a report to him (House Speaker) on what are the capabilities that we need in order to really defeat and sustain our gains here,” Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

Based on AFP’s accomplishments in the past months, Lt. Gen. Galvez said there is no need for President Duterte to declare martial law in Sulu.

He said the AFP is on top of the situation in the area, and added that the  AFP have won not only the support of the local government units, but also of the residents.

“We believe that declaring martial law in some parts of Sulu is not anymore necessary. If martial were to be declared, it should have been when the campaign was starting,” Galvez added.

The Wesmincom commander added that the town of Patikul need focused operations since that is where ASG’s fortress is located.

“The need is more on education, more on bringing in the socio-economic development, basic services, and governance. That’s what’s needed in the area,” Galvez said. — Dante Amento | UNTV News & Rescue

Doctor kidnapped by armed men in Sulu

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 5, 2020

A doctor has been kidnapped by armed men from his clinic in Jolo, Sulu on Tuesday (February 5).

Authorities are still investigating which group abducted Dr. Daniel Moreno who is a public servant treating local residents in Jolo, Sulu.

Based on the investigation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, four men in camouflage entered Moreno’s clinic in Barangay Walled City past 7:00 p.m. The men forced the doctor to board a red Tamaraw FX.

“Nakasuot ito ng military at PNP uniforms kung kaya’t siguro mas napadali iyong kanilang execution. Tayo po ay naniniwala na matagal na nilang sinu-surveillance at minamatyagan itong doctor na ito, (They were wearing military and PNP uniforms so the execution was easier for them. We believe they have long been monitoring this doctor),” according to Western Mindanao Command Spokesperson Major Arvin John Encinas.

Authorities are currently determining the motive of the kidnapping and if the Abu Sayyaf Group is involved in the said incident.—AAC (with reports from Val Villaflor)

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AFP to send ships, planes, 2 battalions for repatriation of OFWs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 8, 2020

The Department of National Defense (DND) said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will send two ships, three planes, and two battalions for the repatriation of overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in the Middles East.

DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the two landing ships can accommodate 500 persons each. They will also send two C130 and a C295 planes.

Lorenzana clarified the two battalions will be deployed to assist Filipinos who will return to the country as tension continues to rise between the United States (US) and Iran.

“The two battalions will not be there to engage in combat with anybody, but to facilitate or help assist in the repatriation of the OFWs especially in Iraq. Hindi sila magpunta doon para makipaglaban, (they will not be sent there to fight)” Lorenzana said.

The Defense Secretary also said they also considering to use cruise ships and commercial airlines to accommodate more Filipinos returning home.

Meanwhile, the BRP Gabriela Silang of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is set to sail in the Middle East to assist in the repatriation.

Lorenzana also raised concerns over Filipinos who will refuse to leave the Middle East and said it will be a challenge.

“Some Filipinos do not want to leave their job. Kasi sabi nila, ‘anong gagawin natin sa Pilipinas?’ (because they will say ‘what will they do in the Philippines?’) But hopefully, we will be able to convince them—kung medyo delikado iyong buhay nila (if their lives are in danger)—to come home,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

AFP ready to deploy if gov’t orders evacuation of Filipinos in Middle East

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 6, 2020

Iranians attend the funeral ceremony of Qasem Soleimani, the late Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General and commander of the Quds Forces, in the city of Tehran, Iran, 06 January 2020. Soleimanil was killed in a targeted US airstrike on 03 January 2020, in Baghdad, Iraq.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced on Monday (January 6) that it is prepared to deploy its air and naval assets once the government orders the evacuation of Filipinos in the Middle East.

AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. said they have already laid out their contingency plan to President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The indicators will be determined. Pag-uusapan namin ng national government (we will discuss it with the national government) the go signal is from them especially with the DFA with all the inputs,” he said.

Among the air and naval assets available include the C-130s as well as new frigates that are able to travel to the Middle East.

The AFP chief of staff added they are still improving their plans due to the possibility that tension might spread in neighboring countries of Iran.

“We are improving our plans not only on Iran and Iraq but the whole Middle East. We don’t know; it might spread to other countries, especially if you know the history of the war. It might spread to Israel. There are probabilities like that,” he said.

Meanwhile, the AFP is monitoring a possible retaliatory act of Iran in countries allied with the United States (US).

It is also monitoring local terrorist groups who might sympathize with the Iranian militia.

“Siyempre mayroong sympathetic, either by race or by ideology, so the PNP [Philippine National Police] is profiling possible threats, possible groups who may take advantage or who might share sympathies (Of course, there will be those sympathetic, either by race or by ideology, so the PNP is profiling possible threats, possible groups who may take advantage or who might share sympathies). So our intelligence monitoring will be continuous up until medyo luminaw na iyong problema doon sa Middle East (until the problem in the Middle East clears up),” Santos said.

Tensions between the U.S and Iran rose following the death of Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani on January 3 after the US launched an airstrike on an airport in Baghdad, Iraq.

President Rodrigo Duterte called for an emergency meeting in Malacañang on Sunday (January 5).

This is to determine the possible effects of the rising tension on thousands of Filipinos in the Middle East especially in Iran and Iraq.—AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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