Mindanao has large concentration of terrorist groups
DUTERTE: DAYS OF DANGEROUS LIVING AHEAD
President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted a stronger military and police force to prepare for “dangerous times ahead” in the Philippines.
He urged Congress to pass measures that will provide the Armed Forces and the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) with more assets and equipment before the end of his term in 2022.
“I hope that Congress would tide us over to complete the instruments that we need in dealing, especially with terrorism,” Duterte said in his speech during the appreciation dinner for former President and outgoing House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the Manila Hotel on Tuesday (July 9) night.
Although he was not belittling the capabilities of the next President, Duterte said he simply wanted a completed modernization program before he exits.
“I hope that by the time I make my exit, nandiyan na lahat ‘yan (it’s all there) because I am not belittling the events to come or the person coming in to be the next president,” Duterte said.
“I’d rather that I leave with a strong military and police and equipped to challenge the enemies of the state, especially terrorism,” he added.
The chief executive warned of “dangerous times ahead”, especially in areas of Mindanao where there is a larger concentration of terrorist groups.
“I see very dangerous times ahead. And I hope that we will be able to contain whatever there is to really to… Lumalabas nga ‘yung pawis sa kamay ko (My hands are sweating) just thinking about if it would go awry outside of Sulu and Basilan Islands,” Duterte said.
Duterte further stressed the need to continue acquiring more assets and equipment because of the threats that lie ahead.
“So that I said, I must be prepared. And nabili ko na ho ‘yung mga kailangan (I have bought what is needed), but there are still a few things that I must have for my Armed Forces and the police,” Duterte said.
“And one of these days, I will call for a — just — for a time to talk and we’ll talk about it because it’s really needed by the country,” he added.
PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac, for his part, described Duterte’s remark as an “accurate and honest assessment” of trends in terrorism, transnational crime, and cross-border criminal activity.
Noting that these problems required greater flexibility and capability of military and police forces, Banac thanked the national government for being “responsive” to the situation.
He stressed that since Duterte’s assumption in 2016, the PNP has been provided with not just operational requirements but also morale and welfare services, which have improved living standards of uniformed personnel and their families.
“Over the last three years, the PNP has been able to keep up with our modernization and development plan with the procurement of more and better equipment and recruitment of more personnel,” Banac said.
“Between now and three years hence, the PNP is in a better position to perform its law enforcement and public safety mandate thru enhanced operational capability,” he added. (With reports from Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)
The 60-day Martial Law in Mindanao that President Rodrigo Duterte declared on May 23 may be extended.
But Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said they need a couple more weeks to determine whether they would recommend an extension of the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao.
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Four Mindanao terrorist groups have pledged allegiance to the Middle East-based international terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Solicitor General Joe Calida identified the groups as the Abu Sayyaf led by Isnilon Hapilon, Ansarul Khilafah Philippines (AKP) led by Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, Maute Group led by Omar Maute, and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Calida named the terrorist groups in a consolidated comment he submitted on June 13 to the Supreme Court, which on the day started hearing oral arguments of petitioners seeking to nullify President Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.
According to Calida, the groups linked up with ISIS for the purpose of establishing a wilayah (province) in Mindanao.
ISIS, considered as today’s most violent terrorist group, plans to establish a global caliphate and has tapped Mindanao terror groups to make the Philippines’ southern island as part of the ISIS worldwide Islamic state.
The May 22 attack on Marawi City by combined forces of the Maute Group and the AbuSayyaf Group was part of the terrorists grand plan to capture the Muslim city to become part of the caliphate of ISIS.
The terror attack prompted President Duterte to issue Proclamation 216 declaring Martial Law in Mindanao.
The Supreme Court held three days (June 13, 14, 15) to hear oral arguments on the petitions seeking to nullify President Duterte’s declaration on grounds it had no factual basis.
TECHNICAL HELP ONLY
Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella on Sunday clarified the “assistance” being provided by United States in the ongoing operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Marawi as only “limited to technical assistance”.
“We have standing protocols which are already in place under the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board with the US under the purview of the PHL-US Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951. It does not involve any boots on the ground nor is there any direct participation in combat operations, a matter prohibited by law,” Abella said.
The fight against terrorism, he said, is not only the concern of the Philippines or the United States but it is a concern of many nations around the world.
“The Philippines is open to assistance from other countries if they offer it,” he added.
Still on Marawi, Abella said the Palace was deeply saddened by the news on the 13 Marines killed in action during a firefight in Marawi City.
“This incident, albeit unfortunate, gives us greater impetus to clear Marawi of lawless elements, save the trapped civilians, and restore order, security and normalcy to the city and its residents,” he stressed.
He went on to enjoin every one to continue showing strong support to our “courageous and heroic men and women in uniform fighting for Marawi and defending the Republic”. (PNA)
Maute death toll now at 191 — AFP
“The AFP has greatly diminished the number of the terrorists. So far 191 were confirmed dead while undetermined number of them killed were being validated,” AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said.
A total of 158 firearms were also seized in the ongoing operations, he added.
Government losses as of Saturday stands at 58 troops with 20 civilians executed by the terrorists.
“However, the recalcitrant remnants of the Maute-ISIS continue their stiff resistance while holed in fortified buildings and structures,” Arevalo pointed out.
Using these defensive positions, the terrorists are using sniper fires, mortar fire, anti-tank rounds, and improvised explosive devices to kill anyone — government security forces, relief and rescue workers, and civilians — who get in the way of their fanatical desire to dismember Marawi from the Philippines and establish it as a “Wilayat” or an ISIS province in this part of Asia, the military official said.
“Your AFP and PNP will continue to break the heavy resistance of and clear Marawi from the Maute-ISIS group, restore normalcy in the city, and make way for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi,” he added.
And to be able to fulfill that mission, Arevalo said that there is need to use armor, artillery and air power assets to breach the terrorists stronghold and their underground fortresses.
“This has since become a fight not only of your security forces, but also of every peace-loving Filipino deserving of a peaceful and progressive nation,” he pointed out.
“This war is between good and evil. Everyone needs everybody to stand up, unite, fight against, and repulse the onslaught of the forces of evil attempting to establish foothold in our land. We would not and should not surrender even an inch of our soil to the harbingers of doom and perfidy,” Arevalo concluded. (PRIAM F. NEPOMUCENO/PNA)