President Rodrigo Duterte declares liberation of Marawi City

admin   •   October 17, 2017   •   4591


MANILA, Philippines — After more than four months of heavy battle, the Philippine flag was finally raised and the singing of the Philippine national anthem was once again heard in the city of Marawi.

At a school campus within the main battle area, President Rodrigo Duterte addressed the soldiers and policemen battling the ISIS-inspired terrorists.

With full conviction, the government troopers simultaneously recited the oath of allegiance.

The burden of war has left its trace on the men’s faces as they listened to the good news.

The president made the declaration a day after government troops killed terrorist leaders, Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, who both led the invasion of Marawi City.

Duterte assured that the government will never allow a repeat of a similar crisis, noting that the troops were not able to immediately enter the city which allowed the terrorists to store firearms there.

Despite 160 deaths on the government’s side during the more than four months of clashes, the soldiers said they are happy since their hardship is finally bearing fruit.

Even after the president’s declaration of liberation, the military continues its operation in the strife-torn area to neutralize or capture the remaining terrorists, and rescue other hostages.

Based on the latest military figures, the enemy still holds hostage 22 individuals, and 30 members of the Maute-ISIS terror group are still holed up in the city. But the military said that the remaining terrorists are now demoralized because of the death of their leaders.

Now that the war is over, the government faces a herculean task of rebuilding Marawi City as the heavy battle left buildings and homes in total devastation. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue

Germany arrests four Tajiks suspected of planning attack against U.S. bases

UNTV News   •   April 15, 2020

German police on Wednesday (April 15) arrested four suspected members of Islamic State, all from Tajikistan, believed to have been planning deadly attacks in Germany, including against unidentified U.S. installations, an official said.

Special forces in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia made the arrests near the cities of Essen and Duesseldorf and raided properties in the area.

Prosecutors suspect the four men, with a fifth who has been in detention for the last year, of being in contact with leading members of Islamic State in Afghanistan and Syria and of receiving instructions from them.

“There were concrete attack plans, such as against two U.S. air bases in Germany,” said North Rhine-Westphalia’s state interior minister Herbert Reul.

Prosecutors said in a written statement they believed the suspects had already carried out surveillance of their targets and were procuring weapons, ammunition and components for a bomb.

Prosecutors identified the suspects as Azizjon B., Muhammadali G., Farhodshoh K. and Sunatullokh K., in line with German privacy rules. The fifth man who is already in detention was identified as Ravsan B. (Reuters)

(Production: Stephane Nitschke, Michele Sani)

PNP says no ISIS threat in Bulacan, probes leak of draft memo

Robie de Guzman   •   September 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now investigating the leak and circulation online of a draft memorandum stating about the alleged presence of “ISIS affiliates” in Bulacan.

The said document posted on social media states that the Bulacan Provincial Police Office was on full alert status because of threats posed by the terrorist group. It said ISIS-inspired militants from Tuguegarao are moving to Bulacan to attack religious communities in the province.

According to Bulacan provincial police director Chito Barseluna, the document was not official and was not intended for public release.

He added that there was a miscommunication in drafting the memo as this should have been written to alert police units following recent bombings in Mindanao.

Barseluna confirmed that Bulacan police was indeed on full alert but this is because of the celebration of the Singkaban festival in the province.

The police official also denied receiving an intelligence report about the presence of an ISIS-inspired group in the province.

Barseluna also called on the public to stay calm and assured that tight security measures are in place. RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines—Duterte

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 10, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and the ISIS flag | Courtesy : PCOO

President Rodrigo Duterte is confident that ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines.

During his speech in Jolo, Sulu on Tuesday (April 9) in commemoration of the Day of Valor, he said that the government is close to crushing violent extremism and is pleased with the military efforts against the Abu Sayyaf Group.

“Your efforts have brought us even closer to our ultimate objective of totally crushing the violent extremism at its roots. With this, I can confidently declare that ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines,” he said.

ISIS-linked militants held Marawi City hostage back in 2017. The military was able to retake the city after five months killing almost 900 insurgents including Isnilon Hapilon, considered leader of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

The Chief Executive assured that he will continue the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) while he is still in office. He will also provide assistance to the military and their families.

He committed to release P500 million fund for the military.

“I will continue to release 500 more and 500 more millions to my soldiers who do something for their country. I will see to it that you will have funds when you retire and that your school—your children and their schooling will be assured even if we are no longer there either by natural or by any other means of saying goodbye to this world. I have your back covered,” the president said.

The Chief Executive is eyeing on appointing former military officials to government posts. However, he denied using the military to empower himself.

He said that he prefers the military because he has seen failure and corruption in the bureaucracy.

“Hindi ako sabihin na pinapalakas ko ang sarili ko sa (I am not empowering myself using the) military because I do not need that. The people elected me. But I have a special fondness for the military for being fundamentally honest at (and) industrious. Kaya as you would see, the next few officials coming in would be military guys,” he added.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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