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PNP: No established link yet between Jolo and Zamboanga City bombings

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

(Left) Decimated church seats of the Mt. Carmel Cathedral
in Jolo, Sulu after it was hit by twin explosions on January 27, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Ahmad Sajan. (Right) Bodies of worshipers lay lifeless after a grenade detonated inside their mosque in Masjid Jutay, Barangay Talon-Talon in Zamboanga City on January 30, 2019. | Photo courtesy of PNP Region 9 Office

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Authorities cannot yet confirm if the grenade blast at a mosque in Masjid Jutay in Zamboanga City on Tuesday night is connected to the twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday.

According to Zamboanga City Police Spokesperson PSInsp. Shelamie Chang, the explosives used in last night’s bombing in Zamboanga was in no way similar to the ones used in Jolo.

The officer said, the incident in Jolo was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) while a grenade launcher was used in a mosque in Zamboanga City.

Authorities continue to investigate as to the motive behind the Zamboanga City blast that killed two individuals and injured three others. — UNTV News and Rescue

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TESDA exec with alleged links to Abu Sayyaf Group nabbed

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A high-ranking official of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) was nabbed in a joint operation by soldiers and police for illegal possession of explosives in Isabela City, Basilan.

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Regional Field Unit 9 Chief PCol. Tom Tuzon said the suspect was identified as Muida Hataman, TESDA’s provincial director based in Basilan, believed to have links with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Police Colonel Bernard Banac said Hataman was arrested early morning on Tuesday (June 25) at Barangay San Rafael in Isabela City as a warrant for her arrest was being served.

Seized from the suspect several materials in making explosives such as blasting cap, chemical ingredients, four cellular phones, and two laptop devices.

“Ang suspek ay kasalukuyang nasa kustodiya ng CIDG Region 9 at sumasailalim na po sa imbestigasyon at patuloy na inaalam ang posible pang kasamahan at iba pang gamit sa pampasabog na maaari pang nakatago sa ibang lugar,” PNP Spokesperson PCol. Banac said.

(The suspect is currently under the custody of the CIDG Region 9 and is now being investigated. [Authorities] are looking into some of her possible cohorts and other explosive materials that are still being kept somewhere.)

While the CIDG already received information that Hataman is connected to an ASG sub-unit, authorities are still verifying information regarding her identity as the investigation goes on.

“Patuloy pang inaalam ng mga taga CIDG kung ano ang kanyang background, kung meron ba siyang kinalaman sa grupong ASG at (kung) mayroong kamag anak at bakit nasa possession niya ang mga naturang gamit pampasabog,” Banac said.

(CIDG personnel are still verifying her background – if she has links to the ASG, any relative and why she was in possession of bomb making paraphernalia.)

Hataman is believed to be the wife of ASG sub leader Radzmir Janatul. – (with details from Lea Ylagan)

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Two more years for Zamboanga City full recovery from 2013 siege — local officials

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

REUTERS FILE PHOTO: These members of Philippine Army wait for an opportunity to shoot against the MNLF forces on the ongoing siege in Zamboanga City.

Local officials in Zamboanga City said it will take two years for the full recovery of Zamboanga City after the 2013 siege.

There are still over 1,000 unfinished housing for the victims. Local officials said there was difficulty in getting land which delayed construction.

According to Rodrigo Pagotaisidro, Officer-in-charge, Housing and Land Management Division, full recovery in Zamboanga city would take two more years.

“In the next two years it has to be completed not only the housing construction but also the power, water, the sewer, and the footbridges,” he said.

Among the unfinished projects under the Zamboanga City Road Map include the reconstruction and recovery of the bridge in Barangay Rio Hondo.

“All wooden footbridges needing immediate repair has been recommended for repair or rehabilitation by converting to more permanent and concrete footbridges,” Pagotaisidro adds.

Based on the data of the city government there are 6,341 fully constructed housing, 5,112 were already turned over to the beneficiaries while 1,229 are still under construction.(with reports from Dante Amento)

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Zamboanga City, 12 towns in North Cotabato under state of calamity due to dry spell

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The City Council on Tuesday, March 5, approved a resolution placing Zamboanga City under a state of calamity due to a dry spell caused by a weak El Niño phenomenon.

In a report on UNTV News and Rescue’s Good Morning Kuya program by Dante Amento, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) Chief Dr. Elmeir Apolinario said the resolution was based on their recommendation after drought affected crops, irrigation for rice fields and water supply in the city.

“We are now under state of calamity by reason of, isa ‘yung advisory ng DOST-PAGASA na weak El Niño and of course, yung facts naman on the ground na there is a water resources problem sa City of Zamboanga. And of course, sa agriculture sector and other sector,” Apolinario said.

The Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) has recently implemented water rationing operations after its daily production declined by 50 percent, from 158 million liters to 80 million liters.

The local agriculturist office, meanwhile, reported that a total of 600 hectares of rice fields have been hit by the dry spell.

With the state of calamity declaration, government agencies can now use the calamity fund to implement mitigating measures, such as cloud seeding operations and leasing of tanks for water distribution, and to procure alternative crops and drilling rigs for affected sectors.

The Zamboanga CDRRMO said P13 million has been allotted for cloud seeding operations while the City Agriculturist office has P20 million to aid drought-affected farmers.

“We are looking at ways forward on how to help our water district in terms of distribution ng tubig, in terms of finding other sources, in terms of having ‘yung mga drilling rigs. Mayroon tayong mga alternative crops, mga vegetables na pwedeng ipamigay sa mga farmers,” Apolinario said.

Meanwhile, 12 towns in North Cotabato have also been placed under state of calamity due to the prevailing heat.

According to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), the affected towns are Carmen, Pikit, Aleosan, Midsayap, Matalam, M’lang, Alamada, Tulunan, Kabacan, Libungan and Pigcawayan.

Local disaster officials have already recommended to the provincial board level the inducement of artificial rain through cloud seeding as well as the procurement of water pumps and other assistance to farmers to save their remaining crops. – Robie de Guzman

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