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AFP coordinates with counterparts over ‘entry’ of foreign terrorists in PH

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has confirmed it is closely coordinating with its foreign counterparts over the possible entry of foreign terrorists in the country through its airports and backdoor channels.

AFP Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM) Spokesperson Col. Gerry Besana said this is following reports that some foreign terrorists are attempting to enter the country amid the strict security measures being implemented in the tri-boundary of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“We do not discount the possibility that they might use our airport here. How will you know that people sitting or standing beside you is a terrorist?Not unless he is holding a gun, carrying explosives or anything that will also indicate that he is a terrorist,” Besana said.

The AFP official also revealed that eight out of ten foreign terrorists who were monitored to have entered the Philippines have been tracked in Central Mindanao.

Five of these persons have been identified, including Iraqi Abdul Rahman who allegedly brought an Islamic State flag in the country, two Indonesian nationals, and a Singaporean named Mauwiya.

Mauwiya is believed to be a remnant of Zulkilfli Binhir alias Marwan, the Indonesian terrorist killed by the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP SAF) during a controversial operation, dubbed as the “Mamasapano Encounter” in January 2015.

“We’ve been trying to account all of them, but, of course, [as I’ve] said it is so hard. Nobody can tell who the terrorist is if they simply pose as ordinary people, not unless those are high-value targets reported by our foreign counterparts,” Besana said.

The military assures to continue monitoring and patrolling the country’s borders with the help of other countries, which promised to assist the Philippines in its fight against terrorism. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Lea Ylagan)

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AFP vows NPA’s 50th anniversary is the last

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, March 29th, 2019

A Communist Party of the Philippines Flag | Photo courtesy of PRWC_INFO

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) shrugs off this year’s 50th founding anniversary of the communist group New People’s Army (NPA).

According to AFP Spokesperson BGen. Edgard Arevalo, the leftist group has no reason to celebrate as more NPA members are returning to the government’s fold and their forces are already dwindling.

Since January 2018 to date, the government has accepted a total of 12,500 rebel returnees; 160 were killed during encounters with the military; while 320 were arrested.

“The terrorist group’s supposed 50th anniversary, we say there is nothing for them to celebrate. The AFP with other relevant agencies of government is working diligently to ensure that this anniversary will be their last,” Arevalo said.

If there is something to celebrate, the army officer said, it should be the former rebels’ decision to surrender.

Instead of merry-making, the NPA should instead observe a “national day of mourning for the more than 80,000 killed on orders of CPP-NPA leadership under Jose Maria Sison and a number of his cohorts who planned, conspired and mercilessly executed their own people,” Arevalo said.

The PNP agrees with the AFP that the NPA has no reason to rejoice as they have inflicted harm and violence to the people with all the atrocities they have caused.

The Department of National Defense (DND), for its part, has called on “all patriotic Filipinos to support the government’s efforts to rid this blight from our land. Let us show the world that the NPA and their ways of crime, violence and terror have no place in our homes, in our society, and in our country.” – Marje Pelayo (with details from Lea Ylagan)

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AFP on Duterte’s move to scrap talks with Reds: ‘It’s the right thing’

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2019

File photo: Members of the New People’s Army

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Friday (March 22) that cancelling the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was the right move.

“Dapat lang. 31 years of deceptive ploys using peace talks, across five administrations, only resulted to more terrorist NPAs being released, an opportunity for the CTG (communist terrorist groups) to recruit and recover lost areas of influence, publicity for Joma [Sison] in the international arena as a ‘dove,’” AFP deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr. said in a message sent to media on Friday.

Parlade added that the decades-long peace process “wasted government funds spent for negotiations and junkets, opportunity losses for investments and development because of prolonged and intermittent fighting.”

“They had their best chance when peace was offered again to them by PRRD [President Rodrigo R. Duterte], offering Cabinet posts in good faith for them to help in good governance but they blew it by attacking projects, killing society forces, and even innocent civilians,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday permanently ended the peace negotiations and told the communist rebels to just talk to the next administration.

Malacañang followed this up with an announcement that a new panel will be created to pursue localized peace talks with communist members on the ground in line with the government’s new whole-of-nation approach to end the 50-year armed struggle.

READ: Gov’t to create new panel for localized peace talks

But for CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, there is nothing new in Duterte’s latest move to scrap the peace talks with the Reds, likening him to “an old broken record.”

“As far as the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) is concerned, Duterte formally killed the peace negotiations on Nov. 23, 2017 with his Proclamation 360 terminating them,” Sison said in a statement released Thursday evening (March 21).

The communist leader added that Duterte was just “merely driving more nails into the coffin of the peace negotiations under his regime.”

He also claimed that the President only wants to implement fake localized peace process controlled by the military, instead of negotiating with the CPP national leaders.

“Instead of peace negotiations at the national level by the duly-authorized panels of the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and the NDFP, what Duterte wants is fake localized peace negotiations staged and controlled by the military and military-occupied Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Negotiations,” he said.

But according to AFP, Sison was just trying to muddle the issue to conceal his panic over Duterte’s decision.

AFP Spokesperson Marine BGen Edgard Arevalo said in a statement that Sison is well aware that local peace engagement has been immensely successful.

“Mr. Sison has the temerity to call President Duterte ‘stupid’ for thinking that government will be successful in attaining peace by engaging NPA (New People’s Army) Commanders and fighters on the ground instead of the CPP-NPA’s national leadership,” Arevalo said.

“Mr. Sison consistently calls localized peace talks as a “waste of people’s money”, “cheap trick”, “absurd and stupid”, and by other deriding terms. He moves heaven and earth to prevent it because it will further relegate him to history’s dustbin,” he added.

The AFP official said that since January 2018, more than 11,000 NPA fighters and sympathizers have returned to the government’s fold after realizing that they have been deceived.

“But enough is enough. 50 years of duplicity, deceit, and murder of thousands of his comrades on mere suspicion of being military informants or have expressed desire to go back to mainstream society must stop,” Arevalo said.

He also called on anew to communist rebels to come out of hiding and take advantage of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs being offered by the current government.

“They should follow the lead of their comrades who stopped being menace to society and are now experiencing a life free from hunger, fear, and uncalled for perils fighting government. They should take advantage of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs,” Arevalo said. –— Robie de Guzman

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Immigration Bureau heightens alert status for possible entry of foreign terrorists

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

Facade of the Bureau of Immigration building.

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has alerted all its personnel for possible entry of foreign terrorists in the country following the fatal explosions in Jolo, Sulu.

“I have instructed our Port Operations Division to alert all its personnel and be on the lookout for suspected foreign terrorists who might attempt to enter the country,” Commissioner Jaime Morente said.

Chief Port Officer Grifton Medina assured, meanwhile, that immigration officers at seaports and airports have been directed to carefully check the credentials of arriving foreign nationals.

“They were reminded to make sure that only aliens who are properly documented and are legitimate travelers with valid reasons in coming here are admitted,” Medina said.

The BI is now coordinating with international intelligence agencies for their database of international terrorists to block them from entering the country.

Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) likewise has ordered to intensify security measures in all transport terminals in the country, especially in Metro Manila where the largest of population resides.

It was in 2000 when Metro Manila was terrified by the infamous ‘Rizal Day bombing’ in LRT Blumentritt station that killed 10 people and wounded more than a hundred commuters. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Joan Nano)

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