US Treasury sanctions Filipina ISIS facilitator Myrna Mabanza

Marje Pelayo   •   May 1, 2018   •   4556

FILE IMAGE: A screenshot of a video in the internet showing some allegedly Filipinos signifying alliance with the ISIS terrorist group

 

The US Treasury Department announced Tuesday, May 1, that it has added Basilan-born Myrna Mabanza to the US government’s list of designated terrorists.

Mabanza, a teacher, served as facilitator of the Islamic State militant based in the Philippines. Reports said she worked with some of the most senior ISIS personnel in Southeast Asia, particularly its Emir in the region, former Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader Isnilon Hapilon. She was allegedly the one who delivered USD$100,000 to Hapilon in January 2016.

Mabanza also served as an “intermediary” to jihadists in Syria. The Treasury’s announcement contains several details regarding Mabanza’s role in the Islamic State militants’ global network. – Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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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)

PNP hunts down Jolo suicide bombers’ alleged daughter

admin   •   February 20, 2019

Photo courtesy of Ahmad Sajan

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is on the hunt for the alleged 10-year-old daughter of the two suicide bombers responsible for the Jolo cathedral blast.

According to a suspect turned witness, the suicide bombers were an Indonesian couple and was with their daughter when they met at the airport in Tayhaji, Buto Tiyam Caltex from Zamboanga. They took the Indonesian family to Bastiong Langub, Patikul Sulu.

He also described the couple which matches the statement of eyewitnesses at the Mt. Carmel Cathedral saying the suicide bombers were a man and a woman.

The man was 5’4 in height and was wearing a black shirt and the woman was 5’2 and was wearing a hijab. Their daughter was wearing a turong.

“Based on account and intelligence information at other accounts ng other witnesses ay talagang merong isang babae at isang lalaki, ang lumalabas sabi nila yung babae ang nasa loob at lalaki ang nasa labas” PNP chief PDG Oscar Albayalde said. (Based on account and intelligence information and other accounts of other witnesses, there was really a man and a woman. They said the woman was inside while the man was standing outside.)

DILG Sec. Eduardo Año previously said the suicide bombers left their daughter to Abu Sayyaf sympathizers before the blast

Meanwhile, Albayalde wants to find the alleged daughter for DNA testing to prove if the suicide bombers are really her parents as well as to confirm their nationality.

“Iyong information na meron silang iniwan na anak dito sa Pilipinas hopefully makita natin dahil paglaki niyan posibleng maging potential suicide bomber din. Of course nakita nila sa kanilang parents.” (There is information that they left their child in the Philippines. Hopefully we can find her because she could end up becoming a suicide bomber herself as she had seen from her parents. )

Albayalde also wants an immediate action to prevent the child from getting influenced by terrorists.

He also confirmed that the two pairs of feet found in the blast site belonged to a man and a woman based on the test done by the PNP Crime Laboratory.

The woman’s feet also matches the DNA of the nape also found in the blast site.

“So the same person, yung isang pares na pangbabae at yung part ng batok na nakuha, at walang nag match sa mga ito doon sa 23 na namatay, walang nag match doon sa DNA nila.” (So one pair of feet and a part of the nape are the same person. It also did not match with the 23 fatalities, their DNAs did not match.)

The PNP chief also explained they have all the parts of the 23 victims but the man and woman whose feet were found recently remains to be unidentified.

“Iyong babae ang sabi nila ay hindi nagsasalita kasi base on witness and source ay bago bago lang siya dito sa Pilipinas, yung lalaki medyo matagal na kaya nakakapagsalita na sya ng konting Tausug.”(Witnesses and sources said, the woman hardly spoke because she hadn’t been in the Philippines long. The man, on the other hand, had been in the country for long so he could speak a little Tausug.)

He also confirmed that the Indonesian Police, who also investigated the 2002 Bali Bombing, arrived in the country and had already taken DNA samples from the blast site. — Aileen Cerrudo

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