Military backs Anti-Terrorism Council’s resolutions on terrorist tag

Robie de Guzman   •   May 13, 2021   •   200

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday expressed support for the decision of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) to publish resolutions designating some individuals as terrorists.

“The AFP supports the Anti-Terrorism Council’s Resolution Nos. 16 and 17 which designate 10 local terrorist group individuals and 19 CPP-NPA members as terrorists,” AFP chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana said in a statement.

“The military organization further conveys its full confidence to the ATC’s decision which was carried out based on verified and validated information,” he added.

The ATC published on Thursday Resolution No. 17, designating 19 alleged leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army as terrorists.

The council also listed as terrorists in Resolution No. 16 ten members of different local terrorist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and the Daulah Islamiyah.

These individuals are accused of conspiring, planning, and preparing for the commission of terrorism, covered by Sections 6, 7, and 10 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

With this development, the AFP said it will be able to further protect the public citizens from terrorist acts by closely working together with government law enforcement agencies and focusing resources to bring the mentioned personalities to justice.

“We are optimistic that the ATC’s resolution will continue to empower government, under the rule of law, to eradicate terrorism in our country, and maintain a peaceful and progressive nation for every Filipinos,” Sobejana said.

Under the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020, the ATC has the authority to designate individuals, groups of individuals, organizations, or associations as terrorists without a court hearing.

This measure will allow the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze the assets of designated personalities or organizations.

Persons designated as terrorists have 15 days to file a request for delisting.

AFP, UN sign strategic plan to protect children in armed conflict

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United Nations (UN) have signed a strategic plan to protect children in armed conflict.

In a statement on Thursday (June 10), AFP Chief  Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the AFP shall ensure to maintain professionalism and discipline in conducting daily operations. He also said the AFP will aim to strengthen the protection of children in armed conflict and prevent grave child rights violations.

“We shall guarantee that all our personnel are properly educated and trained, to raise their awareness, and for a deeper sense of respect and regard to the promotion and protection of Human Rights in particular, to children’s rights, and adherence to International Humanitarian Law,” he said.

Under the “Strategic Plan to Prevent and Respond to Grave Child Rights Violations in Situations of Armed Conflict”, the AFP should fully comply with its obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

The Strategic Plan was signed by Sobejana along with UN resident coordinator and co-chair of UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (UN-CTFMR) Gustavo Gonzales, and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative to the Philippines Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov on Wednesday (June 9). AAC

AFP, PNP to file criminal charges vs NPA units in Masbate mine blast

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 9, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines—The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will file criminal charges against members of the New People’s Army (NPA) involved in the Masbate mine blast.

This was after the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) took “full responsibility for the tragedy”.

In a statement, AFP Spokesperson MGen. Edgardo Arevalo reiterated that the use of anti-personnel landmines — which is prohibited in the Philippines under the Mine Ban Treaty — is a war crime.

“We will continue to work vigorously with the PNP in the filing of criminal cases against the murderers and the violators of Republic Act 9851 for the CTG’s leadership who directed the wanton killing of hapless non-combatant civilians using land mines,” he said.

The NPA has planted an improvised explosive device in Brgy. Anas, Masbate City last Sunday (June 6) which killed football player Kieth Absalon, his cousin Nolven Absalon, and injured others.

CPP information officer Marco Valbuena, in a statement said the CPP-NPA expresses their deep remorse over the untimely and unnecessary deaths.

“The entire CPP and NPA take full responsibility for the tragedy. There is no justification for the aggravation this has caused the Absalon family,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Makabayan Bloc condemned the said incident and has called it a violation of international and humanitarian law.

“We condemn the military action by a unit of the NPA in Masbate City that caused their death and injuries to others for violating international humanitarian law. Our commitment to human rights binds us to condemn any and all acts that harm or kill unarmed civilians, non-combatants, and protected persons in situations of armed conflict,” it said. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Duterte grants reward to Marines for neutralization of ASG leader, rescue of kidnap victims in Tawi-Tawi

Robie de Guzman   •   May 31, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has conferred medals and monetary reward to the Philippine Marine troops behind the rescue of Indonesian kidnap victims and the killing of an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader in Tawi-Tawi, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) said Monday.

In a statement, the WestMinCom said AFP chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana handed over the reward in a ceremony held at the 2nd Marine Brigade headquarters in Barangay Sanga-Sanga, Bongao on Sunday.

Sobejana awarded the Distinguished Navy Cross to Colonel Nestor Narag, Jr. for the latter’s extraordinary achievement as the Deputy Commander of Joint Task Tawi-Tawi during the successful rescue of 4 Indonesian kidnap victims in Kalupag Island, Languyan, Tawi-Tawi on March 21, 2021.

The WestMinCom said Narag orchestrated a comprehensive Fleet-Marine operation and provided command and control to the operating sailors and marines who engaged the enemies, which resulted in the death of Abu Sayyaf Group leader Majan Sahidjuan alias Apo Mike, and two of his followers.

A Silver Cross Medal was awarded to the Special Intelligence Team under the 2nd Marine Brigade who provided timely intelligence information that led to the successful conduct of focused military and combat clearing operations in Kalupag Island, Languyan and Tandungan Island, Tandubas, all of Tawi-Tawi on March 19 to 24, 2021.

We have to make ourselves happy all the time so that we become more productive. I always translate happiness into productivity regardless of where we are,” Sobejana said.

“To the commanders, let us always strike a good balance on mission accomplishment and the morale and welfare of our soldiers,” he added.

Sobejana handed over the monetary reward amounting to P2 million intended for the units involved in the successful neutralization of Apo Mike.

WestMinCom Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Naval Forces Western Mindanao Commander Rear Admiral Toribio Adaci, Jr., Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi Commander Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, and other military officers were also present during the ceremony.

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