PH security forces foil bomb plot in Jolo, Sulu

Robie de Guzman   •   September 21, 2020   •   201

A bomb plot in the capital town of Jolo in Sulu province believed to have been orchestrated by local terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was foiled by the Philippine security forces, the military said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said, this is after the elements of the Philippine Coast Guard-Explosive and Ordnance Division (PCG) discovered a baggage that contained an improvised explosive device allegedly planted at the local port on Saturday.

The military added that a PCG patrol team found the abandoned baggage between the office of the Harbor Master and the Maritime Police Office at Jolo port.

A K9 unit deployed to the area confirmed that the baggage contained a bomb.

Operating troops of the 35th Infantry Battalion immediately cordoned off the area while the bomb squad carefully disarmed the explosive which was assembled using two electric blasting caps, a rifle grenade, a spark plug and concrete nails.

“I commend our troops and our partners for the accomplishment. You saved the lives of the innocent people and foiled this terroristic activity of our heartless enemies,” said Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the anti-terror Joint Task Force Sulu.

AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. also commended the troops.

“This success is a result of the intensified conduct of intelligence operations and the strengthened collaboration with the police and other security agencies, thus preempting the terrorists from executing their terror plan. I commend the troops of the JTF Sulu for a job well done,” he said.

The military said tight security measures remain in place as government troops continue to pursue ASG leader Mundi Sawadjaan who was said to the brains of the twin bomb attacks in Barangay Walled City in Jolo barely a month ago that killed 14 people and injured others. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Val Villaflor)

15 fishermen rescued after boat capsizes in waters off Pangasinan town – PCG

Robie de Guzman   •   October 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Fifteen Filipino fishermen were rescued on Sunday after their boat capsized in waters off a town in Pangasinan, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.

The PCG said its station in Pangasinan received a report on Sunday, Oct. 11 about the F/B Aqua Princess boat that capsized at vicinity waters of Agno town.

The boat was carrying the captain and 16 crew members.

Initial investigation showed the boat went on a fishing venture on Oct. 2.

Around Oct. 7, it was battered by big waves and eventually capsized.

The PCG said boat captain, Eddy Ariño instructed two crew members, Pedro Manalo and Jerby Regala, to use their service boat and proceed to the nearest Coast Guard Station to call for help. They left the rest of the crew clinging to the capsized boat’s outrigger.

The two fishermen reached the Coast Guard Sub-Station Infanta at Barangay Cato on Oct. 11 and reported the incident.

The PCG said it immediately deployed BRP MalaPascua to conduct search and rescue operations and issued a notice to transiting vessels within the vicinity to be on the lookout and render necessary assistance to Filipino fishermen if found.

“At around noon of 11 October 2020, the PCG Command Center received a message from Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier, M/V Kumano Maru that they have found and safely rescued 15 Filipino fishermen of capsized motorbanca, F/B Aqua Princess at vicinity waters 75 nautical miles west of Agno, Pangasinan,” the agency said.

The rescued fishermen were then turned over by the foreign vessel to BRP Malapascua near Quinawan, Bagac in the province of Bataan.

After undergoing medical screening and health protocols, the PCG transported the fishermen back to their hometown in Infanta.

PCG, BOC strengthen cooperation on border patrol, anti-smuggling ops

Robie de Guzman   •   September 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have agreed to enhance their cooperation on border control, anti-smuggling and other customs fraud.

This is through the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Thursday for the joint manning and operation of 20 newly-procured fast patrol boats of the BOC.

In a statement, the PCG said that under the MOA, Coast Guard commandant Admiral George Ursabia and Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero have agreed to work together for the efficient utilization and navigation of these 12-meter floating assets for the performance of law enforcement functions to uphold security, peace, and order within the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines.

Under the MOA, the BOC shall have the authority to deploy the fast patrol boats for law enforcement missions, while the PCG shall share its technical expertise in operating and navigating said floating assets and ensure that knowledge and skills are efficiently transferred to BOC personnel.

In an event of natural calamity or national emergency, the PCG, upon proper coordination with the BOC, may utilize the fast patrol boats in conducting search and rescue (SAR) operations and responding to maritime incidents.

Each fast boat shall be manned by a total of nine crew members, composed of five BOC personnel and four PCG non-officers, who satisfactorily completed the Small Boat Operation and Management Course.

While the PCG assists the BOC in maintaining the fast patrol boats, the BOC shall be responsible in allocating funds for the daily preventive maintenance of equipment or machines onboard, procurement of spare parts and other consumables, as well as dry docking and other repair activities.

“We are honored to further collaborate with the Bureau of Customs in deterring and preventing illegal activities in our country’s waters. Rest assured that we will pursue our commitment in keeping the Philippine maritime jurisdiction safe and secured,” Ursabia said.

“I look forward to the successful implementation of this agreement. I am grateful to the Philippine Coast Guard for assisting us in the enforcement of laws pertaining the border control, prevention of entry of smuggling, and other customs fraud that hinder the growth of our national economy,” Guerrero added.

The MOA took effect on September 10 and shall be referred in full force and effect for a period of five years.

9 cops, 3 officials face administrative charges over Sulu shooting incident

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 7, 2020

Nine police officers are facing administrative charges for their involvement in the shooting of four soldiers in Jolo, Sulu on June 29.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief PGen. Camilo Cascolan confirmed on Monday (September 7) that the PNP-Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) has filed administrative charges against the nine cops and their three immediate superiors.

“Summons were served last week to the nine respondents who are presently under restrictive custody by the headquarters support service in Camp Crame,” he said.

Aside from the administrative charges, the nine cops will also face criminal charges for murder and planting of evidence filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Cascolan also said the three immediate superiors will face administrative charges “for gross neglect of duty under the doctrine of command responsibility.”

The Philippine Army previously reported that the four soldiers are members of their intelligence unit who are on the hunt for two suicide bombers. They also said the two suicide bombers are those responsible for the twin explosions in Jolo, Sulu on August 24 which killed 15 and injured 74. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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