Oct 212017

MANILA, Oct 16 (Mabuhay) — Government forces rescued at least 20 more hostages of the Maute group in Marawi City.

Colonel Romeo Brawner, Joint Task Force Marawi deputy commander, said the hostages were rescued by troops during operations since Saturday.

The military earlier said the Maute group still has at least 40 civilian hostages.

Government troops failed to meet the October 15 deadline to end the Marawi crisis.

Brawner said the remaining Maute group members, which just around 40, are still using their hostages as human shields against the advancing troops.

The crisis started with the Maute group’s attack in the city on May 23.

The military said more than 800 militants and 162 soldiers and policemen have been killed.

The civilian death toll, meanwhile, was still at 47. (MNS)

Oct 212017

MANILA, Oct 16 (Mabuhay) – The government can expect more Maute-ISIS fighters to surrender to security forces in Marawi City following the deaths of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and Maute group leader Omar Maute early Monday. “Kung totoo talaga yung information, we are expecting (surrenderers) from their ranks. Expect na natin ‘yun at talagang mag-weaken ang positions nila sa main battle area,” Marawi Crisis Management Committee head Zia Alonto Adiong said. Adiong, during the interview, said he has yet to receive confirmation from the military on the killings of Hapilon and Maute. Later in the day, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed the deaths of Hapilon and Omar Maute. He said the bodies will be subjected to a DNA test. Adiong welcomed the development saying the end of the conflict in Marawi City is in sight since the two terrorist leaders served as the brains and morale boosters of the ISIS-inspired fighters. “Ito po ay nagsisimbulo na patapos na po ang bakbakan dito,” he said. “Hudyat po ito na talagang patapos na po dahil itong dalawang leaders ang kumbaga center of gravity.” “(Sila) po yung nagmu-move, nagpa-plan, and at the same time nagbibigay ng morale sa kanilang fighters. Kung mawala ho talaga sila ay talagang mag-weaken exponentially, substantially ang kanilang strength at pati na rin ang kanilang ipinaglalaban,” Adiong added. Adiong also said the end of the conflict would help affected residents start their recovery. “Imagine for more than four months our evacuees have been living sa mga evacuation centers. Read More …

Oct 212017

MANILA, Oct 16 (Mabuhay) — Malacañang on Monday confirmed the death of pro-ISIS Maute group leader Omar Maute and Abu Sayyaf subleader and supposed ISIS emir in Southeast Asia Isnilon Hapilon. “We confirm that government forces killed Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon early morning today, Monday, the 16th of October in Marawi City,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement, which echoed the earlier announcement of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. He said that an initial report from Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ground commanders in Marawi mentioned that both Maute and Hapilon were neutralized while government troops were conducting an operation to retake the remaining stronghold of the terrorists in the city. “Our operating units have already recovered their bodies… Mopping up operations are now underway. Details of the operation will be released by the AFP as soon as permissible,” Abella said. He added that the termination of hostilities would be announced once government troops neutralize or capture the remaining terrorists holed up in Marawi and once they clear all structures of improvised explosive devices and other traps. “Once the fighting stops and the clearing operations end, we will put our efforts and energies on the challenging task of rebuilding and rehabilitating Marawi,” Abella said. (MNS)

Aug 092017
Maute stronghold in Marawi down to two barangays  — military

The Army’s 52nd Engineering Brigade transport one of several armored personnel carriers to Marawi City, where government forces are fighting Daesh-inspired terrorist groups that attacked and destroyed the city over two months ago. The military transport vehicles and other hardware arrived in Iligan port on board the BRP Davao del Sur on August 3. (MNS photo) MANILA, Aug 5 (Mabuhay) — Relentless armed offensives have narrowed down ISIS-inspired Maute group’s area of control to two barangays in Marawi City,  the military said Saturday. “Nasa dalawang barangay na lang tayo ngayon nakatuon … itong area na may military operation ay nasa mga less than 1 square kilometer na lang,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla Jr. said. As of 7 p.m. on August 3, a total of 522 Maute members and 119 government forces were killed in the ongoing clashes. Terrorist have so far killed 45 civilians. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said that only 30 to 40 Maute group members remain holed up in Marawi, noting that these are the most capable of inflicting casualties on the government side. However, Padilla said that the Maute members are running out of ammunition “Halata naman sa kanilang galaw, noong mga nakaraang linggo talagang akala niyo eh hindi sila mauubusan ng bala at kagamitan dahil talagang kung sila’y gumanti sa putukan ay tuloy-tuloy, ngayon eh hindi na. Mukhang talagang kinokonserba nila ang kanilang natitira pang kagamitan,” he said. Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte visited troubled Marawi City a second Read More …

Jul 082017
SC: Unjustified fears, past experience should not cloud martial law significance

(Supreme Court of the Philippines} MANILA, July 6 (Mabuhay) –Supreme Court justices believe fears and apprehensions stemming from the nation’s traumatic experience during the Marcos years should not dilute the significance of the imposition of martial law for the promotion of public safety. Affirming President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao aimed at crushing ISIS-inspired militants, the SC said the 1987 Constitution placed several safeguards to prevent possible abuses of the commander-in-chief’s powers. “Not only were the grounds limited to actual invasion or rebellion, but its duration was likewise fixed at 60 days, unless sooner revoked, nullified, or extended; at the same time, it is subject to the veto powers of the Court and Congress,” the July 4 decision stated. While the imposition of martial law would create apprehensions among the public, the SC said the “importance of martial law in the context of our society should outweigh one’s prejudices and apprehensions against it.” “The significance of martial law should not be undermined by unjustified fears and past experience,” the SC said. “After all, martial law is critical and crucial to the promotion of public safety, the preservation of the nation’s sovereignty and ultimately, the survival of our country.” It also added that martial law “is vital for the protection of the country not only against internal enemies but also against those enemies lurking from beyond our shores. As such, martial law should not be cast aside, or its scope and potency limited and unsubstantiated assumptions.” The late President Read More …

Jul 082017
Exercise prudence on martial law statements, Escudero tells Panelo

Senator Chiz Escudero, .(MNS photo) MANILA, July 6 (Mabuhay) –Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo should “exercise more prudence” in his statements over martial law in Mindanao, following the latter’s remark that another proclamation is necessary should Congress deem an extension unnecessary. “If its for the same area and to address the same threat, it is, for all intents and purposes, an extension and not a ‘re-declaration’,” Escudero, also a lawyer, said in a text message to reporters on Wednesday. “I hope the legal advisers of the President will exercise more prudence instead of advising him about ‘trailblazing legal theories’ that may raise more constitutional issues than settling them,” he added. Panelo earlier said Duterte could still implement martial law even without congressional approval by signing another proclamation. “If Congress does not extend the 60th day upon the initiative of the President then there can be no extension. Another proclamation is necessary,” said Panelo. Duterte signed Proclamation No. 216, declaring martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao, on May 23 while he was in Moscow, Russia a few hours after ISIS-inspired Maute group attacked Marawi City. The 60-day martial law proclamation, the validity of which had been upheld by the Supreme Court, will lapse on July 22. Article VII, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution states that Congress may revoke or extend the proclamation of martial law “voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of Read More …

Jun 242017
23 refugees die from illnesses in Marawi

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte comforts one of the evacuees from Marawi City during his visit Tuesday (June 20, 2017) at the Iligan City National School of Fisheries where 229 displaced families have taken shelter. (MNS photo) LEGAZPI CITY, June 15 – Some 23 refugees from strife-torn Marawi City have died due to various illnesses, of whom 19 died inside designated evacuation camps while the remaining 4 died outside the camps, Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said here on Thursday. She emphasized that the victims died not because they were hit by bullets and bombs during the crisis but because of sickness. “The four evacuees staying outside the evacuation centers died of dehydration,” said Ubial who arrived in this city today for the 7th ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Dengue Day celebration. She said during the press conference at Daguinsin Hall at the Department of Health-Bicol (DOH-5) office in this city that the 19 death cases at the evacuation centers were of people who were already suffering from illnesses when they were brought to the various camps. Ubial said some of the evacuees suffering from kidney disease are undergoing dialysis while the others who had died of cancer and heart ailments were able to undergo treatment at a government hospital. Ubial said DOH set up 68 evacuation centers for the 20,627 persons or 4,249 families who fled Marawi City. She said the centers were established in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, particularly in Cagayan De Oro City, and Read More …

Jun 242017
Marawi unlikely to become IS fighters’ new hub – Palace

City Of Marawi MANILA, June 20 – Malacañang on Tuesday said Marawi City is unlikely to turn into a new hub for extremist fighters from Southeast Asia as it downplayed concerns raised by several American lawmakers due to presence of foreign militants in the area. At a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had been able to thwart the ISIS-inspired Maute group from taking over the whole of Marawi and making it as base for Islamic State operations. “At this stage, we’ll have to take the position that it’s unlikely for Marawi to become a new hub for IS fighters. The Philippine military has already preempted the Maute group from establishing a wilayat or a province in Marawi,” Abella said. The Palace official issued the statement after some US lawmakers expressed their belief that the US should take a bigger role in the Marawi operations to prevent the spread of the extremist group’s reach in the region. At present, the role of the US in the month-old crisis is limited to providing aerial surveillance and Malacañang wants it to stay that way. “The role of the US is to provide technical assistance as prescribed by the Constitution and we will abide by that. Let’s go by what is already present, technical assistance,” Abella said. He also downplayed suggestions that Philippine-US cooperation against extremist forces in Marawi was indicative of an improving relationship. “It’s always existing like that. Gen. Padilla has expressed that Read More …

Jun 242017
Duterte visits Marawi evacuees in Iligan City

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte interacts with evacuees from Marawi City during his visit Tuesday (June 20, 2017) at the Iligan City National School of Fisheries where 229 displaced families have taken shelter. (MNS photo) ILIGAN CITY, June 21 – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte visited Iligan City on Tuesday, June 20, to personally check the condition of evacuees currently being housed at the Iligan City National School of Fisheries in Barangay Buru-un here. In his speech, Duterte vowed to give assistance to families affected by the Marawi siege from their immediate needs up to rehabilitation and recovery phase. “Most important thing is that matulungan ko kayo. Huwag kayong mag-alala, tutulungan ko kayo, hindi ko kayo pababayaan, hanggang relocation,” Duterte said. Duterte said the government will rehabilitate Marawi and will make it beautiful and livable again. “But this I will promise you, I will set aside initially PHP20 billion para maumpisahan, ‘yung mga mahirap ang unahin ko,” he said. The President also apologized to the Maranao people who have been affected by the attack of the Maute terror group. “I would like to say to the Maranao people that I am very, very, very sorry na nangyari ito sa atin,” he said. “Sana sa madaling panahon, you will find a new heart to forgive my soldiers, ang gobyerno, pati ako for declaring martial law. Wala akong choice eh sinisira na ang Marawi. I have to drive them out. But I am very sorry,” he added. He provided financial assistance to the evacuees. Read More …

Jun 242017
Duterte won’t allow civil war under his watch

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte stresses that those who sow terror will receive a harsh response during his speech upon arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 on Wednesday (May 24, 2017). A day earlier, President Duterte declared Martial law in Mindanao and had to cut short his official visit to the Russian Federation to oversee the terror crisis which erupted in Marawi City. He also thanked Russia President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government for giving the Philippine delegation a warm welcome in Moscow. (MNS photo) MANILA, June 21 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, June 20, said his administration will not allow a civil war to break out among Filipinos suffering the brunt of war. “Ang malakas na driving force nila mapalitan na itong nationalism o ‘yung paghinakit nila nawalaan sila ng lupa at malipat doon sa ISIS na philosophy, gulo na ‘yan,” the Chief Executive told soldiers during his visit at Camp BGen. Edilberto Evangelista Station Hospital, 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City. “Gulo na ‘yan kasi ang mga Kristiyano sa Mindanao, mag-a-armas rin. Iyan ang ating hindi na pwedeng payagan kasi ‘pag ang mag-armas na ang civilian rin, it will be a civil war,” the President noted. The Chief Executive visited wounded-in-action soldiers and awarded them Wounded Personnel Medals. They also received cash aid, among other assistance. “So ang trabaho natin dalawa na: How to hold itong mga Kristiyanos na may armas at ito namang IS sa Maute. Kaya ang Read More …