PNP returns to normal operations as election period ends

Maris Federez   •   June 13, 2019   •   1781

The Philippine National Police has lowered its alert status as the election period comes to an end.

PNP spokesperson PCol. Bernard Banac said only a few areas that have reports of the presence of threat groups such as the Abu Sayyaf, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and communist groups, are still on full alert.

These include Police Regional Office 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Banac, however, stressed that these areas are not under security threat.

“Wala namang security threat sa naturang mga lugar, nakafull alert pa din ang mga lugar na yun dahil martial law,” Banac said.

Banac added the past election period has been generally peaceful and validated election-related incidents had been low as compared with the 2016 Presidential Elections. (with reports from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

Bangsamoro gov’t thanks Aquino admin for peace efforts in Mindanao

Robie de Guzman   •   June 25, 2021

The government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) said it is “forever grateful” to the administration of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III for its efforts to promote peace in Mindanao as it expressed sadness over the demise of the former leader.

“The Bangsamoro Government joins the entire country in mourning the death of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino who passed away today, June 24,” BARMM chief minister Ahod Ebrahim said in a statement.

“We are forever grateful for his administration’s efforts in revitalizing the peace talks and their help in laying the groundwork for lasting peace in Mindanao,” he added.

Ebrahim said Aquino played a vital role in the Bangsamoro peace process and remembered his administration’s sincerity when they met in Narita, Japan on August 4, 2011 for peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“Because of the confidence by both parties in the peace process during his term, we saw the eventual signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro – documents that would pave way to the foundations of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” he said.

The peace pact, which was seen as the solution to the decades-long Muslim insurgency in Mindanao, was regarded as among Aquino’s legacy during his presidency from 2010 to 2016.

Ebrahim also remembered Aquino’s “commitment to fight corruption and just like his parents, his unwavering commitment to democracy.”

Noynoy is the son of Philippine democracy icons, former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino and former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino.

He served as the 15th President of the Philippines from 2010 to 2016.

He passed away in his sleep on Thursday morning due to renal disease secondary to diabetes, his family said.

“Our thoughts go out to his family, friends, and to the rest of the country during this difficult loss,” Ebrahim said.

Bangsamoro execs seek more oxygen supply for COVID-19 patients

Robie de Guzman   •   June 22, 2021

Some members of the Bangsamoro Parliament are pushing for the allocation of funds for the procurement of additional oxygen tanks for COVID-19 patients in the region.

Bangsamoro Parliament deputy speakers Ziaur-Rahman Adiong and Atty. Nabil Tan, and Parliament Member Atty. Ubaida Pacasem filed a bill that seeks to appropriate P50 million for the acquisition of additional oxygen tanks to be distributed in the different provinces of the region.

“The bill is being introduced as a pre-emptive measure to guarantee the sufficient supply of oxygen in our medical facilities in the region,” they said in the bill’s explanatory note.

“If realized, the same will serve as a buffer stock to contend the possible scarcity of required oxygen so that BARMM constituents will not be deprived of oxygen tanks, should there be supply shortages in the future as the number of COVID-19 patients is rapidly increasing,” the lawmakers added.

Under the bill, the P50 million will be allocated under the Quick Response Fund (QRF) in the Bangsamoro Treasury Office not otherwise appropriated, as additional funding and budgetary requirements for fiscal year 2021.

Ministry of Finance, Budget and Management shall release the appropriated amount to the Ministry of Health, subject to existing accounting and auditing laws, rules and regulations.

Terror threats in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi declined in past 2 years – WestMinCom

Robie de Guzman   •   May 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The number of terrorist threats observed in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao have significantly dropped in the last two years, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) chief Lieutenant General Corleto Vinluan Jr. said.

Data from the military’s Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu showed that from July 1, 2020 to May 2, 2021, the force had 38 encounters with Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and has neutralized 260 of its members; 34 of which were killed, 42 apprehended, and 184 surrendered.

In the first quarter of 2021, JTF Sulu said ASG now only have 132 of its manpower compared to its 282 and 145 members in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The military also observed a significant decrease in ASG’s firearms this year with only 147 left when it used to possess 330 weapons in 2019 and 155 in 2020.

The JTF Sulu further said that there was also no recorded terrorist acts perpetrated by the local group this year, noting that their last attack was the two explosions in Brgy. Walled City in Jolo, Sulu on August 24 last year.

According to JTF Sulu, it is its mission to conduct military operation to defeat ASG, and support the government peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in order to “significantly contribute to the peace, security, and development efforts of the Government in Sulu province.”

“Military action is only a small factor in combatting terrorism, the major factor here is the assistance (from the Bangsamoro Government),” Vinluan was quoted as saying in a statement released by the Bangsamoro government.

“We need your help to finally end the conflict in Sulu,” he added.

For his part, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Ebrahim said the interim Bangsamoro Government has been put to place to assure that the people gets its well-deserved peace and sustainable development after years of conflict and unrest.

“When we signed the peace agreement with the national government, we knew that this transition period would not be an easy track. We also acknowledge that there are still splinter groups and extremist organizations that would provide challenges in the process,” Ebrahim said.

“We are fortunate that in this journey, we have our dear partners from the security sector to help us out in maintaining order. Troops whom we once faced at the other side of the fence – now working with us, side by side, one in building a Bangsamoro that we can be proud of,” he added.

Vinluan and the JTF Sulu commanders paid courtesy visit to Ebrahim and other BARMM officials on Monday, May 3, at the Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City.

The visit was particularly aimed at providing the BARMM government an update regarding the security situation and development challenges in the province of Sulu, a stronghold of local terrorist ASG.

 

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