Al-Baghdadi’s death does not mean extinction of ISIS: Palace
Malacañang said the death of Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was “good news” for countries terrorized by the group but noted that the government should not let its guard down.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that despite the IS leader’s death, the terrorist group still has members around the globe that could wreak havoc at any moment.
“That’s good news for countries that have been terrorized by the ISIS. But then again the leader of one group does not mean the extinction of that band of terrorists and we know that for a fact,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing on Monday.
Panelo acknowledged the possibility that al-Baghdadi’s death could discourage the terrorist group members from committing more atrocities.
However, he assured the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would be on high alert to foil possible attempts by terrorist groups attempting to ride on al-Baghdadi’s death.
“It may also cause discouragement on the part of the terrorist groups. But as far as we’re concerned, whether the leader dies or not, we will secure that part of our country from them,” Panelo said.
Asked if al-Baghdadi’s death would have an impact on the recruitment of IS members in Mindanao, Panelo said: “Hindi ko mabasa yung magiging response ng mga nire-recruit nila (I cannot surmise what the response of those being recruited will be) if it will affect them or not.”
Mindanao has been under martial law since May 23, 2017, the same day Islamic State-linked Maute terror group laid siege to Marawi City in Lanao de Sur province.
Like Panelo, AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the IS leader’s death will not necessarily mean the demise of the terrorist organizations.
“His death will definitely impact on local terrorist groups but not to the point of its demise,” Arevalo said.
On Sunday (US time), US President Donald Trump announced that al-Baghdadi had been killed in a US military operation in northwest Syria.
Trump said US Special Operations Forces conducted a raid Saturday night targeting al-Baghdadi, during which he killed himself by igniting a suicide vest. (PNA)
Warning of “a little trouble” in the coming months, President Rodrigo Duterte urged the military to end communist insurgency stressing the government could not afford to pass it on to the next generation of Filipinos.
“I’m serving notice to everybody that in the coming months, it will be — not really bloody, but there will be at least, a little trouble for our country,” Duterte said during the 31st anniversary celebration of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) main office in Quezon City on Tuesday night.
“So I am telling the military, ‘Can we end it now?’ We cannot afford to pass it on to the next generation. Baka hindi na nila makaya (They might not be able to handle it). It has to be now,” he added.
Duterte also hinted at imposing “very radical change” in the government but did not elaborate what these were.
“Revolution is no longer a vogue. You cannot win a fight for social justice or for a better life in your country if you go to revolution. It won’t work. Hindi nga kayo makahawak ni isang barangay (You can’t even occupy one village). And in the coming days, there will be a very, very radical change in the behavior of government,” Duterte said.
“You know, I am not challenging. You might win or you may lose, but that is something to be seen,” he added.
For him, Duterte thinks the government could no longer afford to wage a war against communist rebels for another 50 years.
“We do not have that hatred in our heart. Ang akin lang (But for me), it’s about time that you stop this revolution. If you want changes, it has to be through evolution. Dahan-dahan lang (We should do it slowly),” Duterte said.
The President also emphasized that the country would never prosper if social ills such as communist insurgency, criminality, and corruption are not curbed.
“I will not stay forever in this world, but these are two things which you must remember. If we cannot have law and order in this country and if we cannot stop corruption in government, there can be no — never will we rise to the next step as a nation,” Duterte said.
Aside from communist insurgency and corruption, Duterte also stressed the need to put a stop to illegal drugs in the country.
“We have to finish it pati droga (even drugs). And this will make us a magnet for all criticisms that are — they’re waiting us — waiting for us to do and commit a wrong,” Duterte said.
Last March, Duterte officially announced the permanent termination of the peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in preference for localized peace engagements.
He has also repeatedly urged communist rebels to “choose a better fight in life”, assuring that the government will provide them with livelihood assistance as long as they laid down their arms.
Earlier, Duterte issued Executive Order 70 directing the creation of a national task force to end local communist armed conflict, as well as the adoption of a national peace framework that will contain policies addressing the root causes of insurgencies.
He also designated Cabinet secretaries as Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) “to help ending regional and local communists.” (PNA)
No funding from the European Union (EU) has been spent on any communist activities, EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen said Tuesday as he stressed the existing terrorist tag on the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its military arm, the New People’s Army (NPA).
Last April, the delegation commissioned a firm for a financial audit on some EU contracts being questioned by the government for links to the CPP-NPA and its alleged front organizations.
Updating the media, Jessen said the firm was not able to identify any irregular or “awkward” expenditure on the part of the groups they finance.
“We asked them to review the expenditure and see if they could find anything that looked awkward and they couldn’t,” he said in a press briefing in Makati.
“So I think in terms of spending we are fine. In terms of objective, the government and us, we share completely the same objective — we don’t want to support an organization where we would be violating our own legal framework,” he added.
The envoy pointed out that the EU has several requirements before funding a non-government organization and, at the same time, conducts regular financing check.
“If we were, in any way or form, seen as supporting the CPP, we will be violating the EU legislation on terrorists. Therefore, it should be very clear to everybody that we would never do that because we would be going against our institution, our legal framework,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jessen said the bloc continues to engage with the Philippine government for further clarification, also citing their past dialogues as “constructive”.
“They’re providing new information to us which is always helpful and whenever we do get new information, we look into it and we verify,” he said.
Aside from the EU, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines listed the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization.
In March, the Philippine government urged the European Union to stop funding local organizations in the country allegedly linked to the CPP-NPA. Included in this group was the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines.
Documents obtained by the Armed Forces of the Philippines earlier revealed that EU has reportedly released its first tranche of more than 621,000 Euros (PHP36,663,840) to the said group and is expected to release 1.3 million Euros (PHP76,752,000) this year until the Philippine government flagged them.
Dengvaxia is the most hated and despised word today in the dictionary of the Pinoys.
ALVAREZ, DENGVAXIAPHOBIA AND TERRORISTS
The anti-drug vaccine, P3.5 billion worth of which had been bought by the Aquino asministration to fight the deadly dengue disease, has stoked dread and fear and mass hysteria in the country.
Lacking clinical studies and yet used by the Department of Health in its anti-dengue campaign, Dengvaxia has placed in danger the lives of about 800,000 schoolchildren vaccinated with the vaccine.
Instead of preventing dengue, several dozens of the children had died from severe dengue.
The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is investigating the anomalous purchase and the implementation by DOH of its dengue campaign using the French-made vaccine, that has been stopped before it could create more havoc.
Jokingly, Dengvaxia has been likened to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who is hated and despised by his partymates in the PDP-Laban, the people of Davao del Norte, and by Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte.
Alvarez has earned the ire of many leaders of the LDP-Laban for allowing entry of narco-politicians –- the war vs. illegal drugs is the flagship program of President Duterte — through his massive and unauthorized recruitment of members into the party of the President.
Mayor Inday has crucified Alvarez for saying that the newly-formed regional party that she heads, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HnP), is an “opposition party” without the blessing of the President.
Badly hurt by the Speaker’s false accusation, Mayor Sara said Alvarez is an asshole who is a burden to the country and the administration of President Duterte, her father.
She has also urged members of the House of Representaitatives to oust Alvarez as Speaker.
People of Davao del Norte could not forgive the Speaker for questioning the legality of a joint venture entered into by Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco) with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) over the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) reservation area, that transformed a leased portion of the penal colony into a banana plantation. Tadeco, owned by the family of Second District congressman Antonio “Tonyboy”Floirendo, Jr., is credited for its tremendous contribution for decades to the economy of Davao del Norte and has provided thousands of jobs to Dapecol inmates and the people of the province.
Mayor Sara, apparently has developed a deep-seated hatred for the Speaker and has vowed to campaign against Alvarez, who represents the province’s First District in Congress, in the 2019 election.
Mayor Inday has thousands of fans and admirers in Davao del Norte who are expected to respond to her call not to vote for Alvarez when he seeks reelection in the 2019 elections.
It now appears that First District voters, suffering from Dengvaxiaphobia, now despise Alvares as intensely as they hate Dengvaxia!
There are two sides that are anchored on fear factor in the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
The first is the fear that Mindanao would be engulfed by continuing violence by terrorist groups if martial law is not extended.
The second is the fear by critics of the current dispensation that President Rodrigo Duterte would use the extended martial law as a pretext to perpetuate himself in power.
Which side are you?
If you fear terrorists and support the extension, you are a peace loving Pinoy who trust President Duterte to protect the country from demons.
If you despise the extension, you don’t want Mindanaoans, and your countrymen throughout the Philippines, to live in peace. You do not only inspire or sympathize with the terrorists. You are also a terrorist.
By a vote of 10-5, the Supreme Court has sent to kingdom come attempts by pro-terrorist groups and personalities to derail the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
Coming after government troops freed Marawi City from the bloody five-month siege of Marawi City by combined elements of the Maute, the Abu Sayyaf and the ISIS terror groups, the High Court upholding the year-long extension of martial rule buttressed the people’s trust in government to defend the country from terrorists.
Despite the defeat of the terrorists in the Marawi siege that left hundreds of the jihadists, soldiers, policemen and civilians dead, President Duterte and the military knew that the seed of terrorism has not died and will continue to hound Mindanao, if the government is not armed with more teeth by martial law in confronting the terrorists.
It is sad to note that the Maute, Abu Sayyaf and ISIS triad of terrorists do not lack in friends and sympathizers in the Senate, the House, former government officials and local militants, who have combined efforts and resources to abort the extension of martial law.
Apparently sympathizing with the terrorists, several anti-Duterte groups had filed petitions with the Supreme Court questioning the legality of the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
Their arguments are a cacophony of empty rhetoric and histrionics and legal gobbledygook, with motive solely to shame the Duterte administration: that the extension of martial law in Mindanao is a prelude to place the whole country under martial rule or under a revolutionary government, a shield to commit human rights violations, and to perpetuate a Duterte dictatorship.
Filipinos are lucky that the Supreme Court did not believe their lies.
It is the height of extreme callousness that in their hidden political motives to discredit President Duterte, these pro-terrorists should disregard the fact that the extension of martial law in Mindanao has as its primordial concern the total defeat of terrorism.
Not a drop of tear from these pro-terrorists for the troopers and policemen and civilians who died in the siege. They want more violence inflicted on the people by opposing the only means that government could stop the terrorists.
It is lamentable that the loudest voices from these cabal of pro-terrorist peronalities, alas, come from politicians masquerading as senators and congressmen, the same people who are supposed to protect Filipinos from terrorists.
They had hounded martial law declaration from the first time it was declared at the start of the Marawi siege, to its 60-day extension after it expired at the end of December 2017, and up to President Duterte’s plea to extend martial law for one year to last up to December, 2018, in view of the continuing threats from the terrorists.
The Supreme Court has dismissed for lack of merit the consolidated petitions against the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
The Supreme Court decision is a triumph for the peace-loving Pinoy.
And a testament to the callousness of some politicians, who seek to inflict more harm on the Pinoys by opposing the extension of martial law before the Supreme Court. They should be enshrined at the top of the country’s hate list.
They are former Commission on Elections chairman Christian Monsod and his group, former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales and his group, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman and his group of congressmen, and the group led by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao. Added to this cabal of terrorist supporters should be Senator Frank Drilon and his company of seven minority senators who supported the petitions against the extension of martial law.
SCARE TACTIC. A teacher in a public school in Davao City has a scare tactic to silence a noisy, rowdy class.
“If you don’t behave and stop the noise, I will bring in Secretary Garin to inject you with Dengvaxia!”
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.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has assured that all areas under the Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) remain safe from any diversionary retaliatory attack by local terrorist groups as martial law in the region entered its 38th day.
“After 38 days of martial law, the EMC under the leadership of Lt. Gen. (Leonardo) Guerrero, who is also the Martial Implementor in EMC, has continuously prevented the spillover and spread of the Marawi crisis in its AOR (area-of-operations),” spokesperson of the EMC martial law implementor, Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, said in a statement Friday.
The conflict in Marawi City began when government security forces attempted to arrest Abu Sayyaf Group leader Isnilon Hapilon, tagged as the ISIS “Emir” in Southeast Asia, last May 23.
An estimated 303 Maute Group terrorists have so far been killed, along with 82 soldiers and police officers and 44 civilians, in the clashes that have entered the seventh week.
Gapay said the EMC has shielded Eastern Mindanao by preventing terrorists from leaking into the area.
“So far, EMC remains generally peaceful, safe and secure. This is largely attributed to the tighter security measures being implemented by the Command. As of today (Friday), 17,494 checkpoint operations have been conducted, wherein the EMC has apprehended 31 violators, and confiscated 15 firearms and 11 illegal drugs,” he said.
Curfews have been imposed in 129 cities and municipalities in coordination with local government units.
Some 1,742 security/vicinity patrols have also been made to secure vital installations, critical infrastructure and places of convergence, such as churches, malls and mosques, Gapay said.
This is complemented by 54 maritime patrols as part of maritime law enforcement operations and intelligence coverage of threat groups.
“Likewise, the Martial Law Special Action Group has been activated to effect arrest included in the arrest order issued by the Martial Law Administrator. As of today, 16 terrorist supporters have already been arrested in Davao City, Cagayan de Oro City and General Santos City, and more than 5,900 community information collection networks have been established,” he said. (Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)
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