TESDA exec with alleged links to Abu Sayyaf Group nabbed

Marje Pelayo   •   June 25, 2019   •   1887

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)

TESDA resumes distribution of toolkits for scholars in NCR, other regions

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will resume the distribution of starter toolkits for 2019 scholars in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other regions of the country.

TESDA delivered six lots of tool kits for the 2019 beneficiaries of the agency’s Special Training for Employment Program (STEP).  This is part of the total 18 lots intended for the region in 2019 and is expected to be delivered from January 4 to February 6.

The lots include 5,155 toolkit packages for graduates of courses such as Perform Body Massage, Perform Body Scrub, Perform Facial Make-up, Electrical Installation and Maintenance NC II, Pastry Making, and Cake Making.

 TESDA chief Secretary Isidro Lapena assured that the packages will be delivered to the beneficiaries.

“We will work closely with PITC so that the remaining packages of STEP toolkits will meet the targeted delivery dates. We are aware that there are so many TESDA graduates waiting for their starter toolkits to arrive, and we are doing our best to make sure all pending toolkits will be processed accordingly,” he said.

2 suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits killed in Sulu clash – AFP

Robie de Guzman   •   November 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A suspected sub-leader and a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed in separate encounters with government troops in Sulu early Friday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.

AFP Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. identified the slain individuals as alleged ASG sub-leader Hatib Munap Binda and a certain Bensio Barahama.

Vinluan said Binda was killed in the first encounter that occurred in Panamao town of Sulu province.

Based on the report submitted by 4th Marine Brigade Commander Col. Ruben Candelario, troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-1 (MBLT) was conducting combat operation st Bud Bawis Complex, Barangay Kawasan when they encountered the group of Binda around 5:45 a.m.

Vinluan said a fierce firefight ensued which lasted for about 30 minutes after which the enemy withdrew.

“While scouring the encounter site, marine troops recovered the dead body of ASG sub-leader Binda, one M16 rifle, and one M14 rifle,” he added.

Vinluan said that based on their records, Binda is the senior leader of the ASG operating in the municipalities of Kalingalan Caluang and Panamao, Sulu.

He was a member of the organization since 2002 and was an associate of the late ASG sub-leader Alhabsi Misaya during the conduct of series of kidnappings in the tri-boundaries of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines.

In a separate operation, another team of the MBLT-1 encountered the ASG group under Sansibar Bensio a few meters away from the previous encounter site at 6:45 a.m. of the same day.

The encounter lasted for about 20 minutes which resulted in the death of a certain Bensio Barahama and the recovery of one M14 rifle, according to the report of MBLT-1 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Marvin Salvan.

“Our good intelligence operations yielded to these positive results and we are grateful that no one from our side was injured during the operations,” Salvan said.

Vinluan said Barahama is the father of Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leader Sansibar Bensio and was operating in the areas of Panamao, Omar, and Luuk.

The AFP said operating troops are still in hot pursuit of the fleeing enemies.

“All the military units here in Sulu remain vigilant and resilient in eliminating the remaining terrorists who refuse to cooperate with us and continue to inflict terroristic activities in the peaceful communities,’’ said Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, Commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu.

“Rest assured that we will continue to work hard to end terrorism here in the beautiful island province of Sulu,” he added.

TESDA offers free skills training for residents in calamity-stricken areas

Robie de Guzman   •   November 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) said it will conduct free skills training in areas devastated by recent typhoons to help residents recover and revive their livelihood.

TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña gave this assurance as his agency conducted relief operations and turned over solar street light panels and portable charging stations in Marikina City and other affected communities in Region 2, Bicol, CALABARZON, and MIMAROPA.

Lapeña said they are closely coordinating with local government units (LGU) to continue to deliver its programs and help those who have been displaced and rendered homeless by the spate of typhoons that hit the country in the previous weeks.

He said TESDA regional offices have been consulting LGUs and affected residents on the implementation of relevant training programs that could help them find livelihood opportunities.

Lapeña said post-calamity assistance will come in the form of free skills training on carpentry, electrical installation and maintenance, plumbing and other construction-related courses “to help those whose houses were damaged be able to rebuild their dwellings without the need to hire additional carpenters and electricians.”

“In this way, the residents themselves, once equipped with the right skills, can help one another in re-constructing their houses.  Malaking bagay ito na makakatipid sila sa gastusin sa pagpapatayo ng kanilang bahay na nasira ng bagyong Rolly at Uysses,” he said.

The TESDA chief said cookery training program will also be offered for free in evacuation centers and affected communities “as an immediate relief.”

“By implementing a training program on cookery, the evacuees and residents themselves will have the resources to prepare and cook foods for their own consumption and would not be heavily dependent on relief food packs,” he said.

“Once they finish these training programs, these skills will remain useful which they can use to pursue jobs or new livelihoods,” he added.

Lapeña said TESDA trainers will conduct the training at the nearest and most conducive site located in the affected areas so that the trainees will no longer have to travel to the training centers.

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