TESDA exec with alleged links to Abu Sayyaf Group nabbed

Marje Pelayo   •   June 25, 2019   •   1938

MANILA, Philippines – A high-ranking official of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) was nabbed in a joint operation by soldiers and police for illegal possession of explosives in Isabela City, Basilan.

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Regional Field Unit 9 Chief PCol. Tom Tuzon said the suspect was identified as Muida Hataman, TESDA’s provincial director based in Basilan, believed to have links with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Police Colonel Bernard Banac said Hataman was arrested early morning on Tuesday (June 25) at Barangay San Rafael in Isabela City as a warrant for her arrest was being served.

Seized from the suspect several materials in making explosives such as blasting cap, chemical ingredients, four cellular phones, and two laptop devices.

“Ang suspek ay kasalukuyang nasa kustodiya ng CIDG Region 9 at sumasailalim na po sa imbestigasyon at patuloy na inaalam ang posible pang kasamahan at iba pang gamit sa pampasabog na maaari pang nakatago sa ibang lugar,” PNP Spokesperson PCol. Banac said.

(The suspect is currently under the custody of the CIDG Region 9 and is now being investigated. [Authorities] are looking into some of her possible cohorts and other explosive materials that are still being kept somewhere.)

While the CIDG already received information that Hataman is connected to an ASG sub-unit, authorities are still verifying information regarding her identity as the investigation goes on.

“Patuloy pang inaalam ng mga taga CIDG kung ano ang kanyang background, kung meron ba siyang kinalaman sa grupong ASG at (kung) mayroong kamag anak at bakit nasa possession niya ang mga naturang gamit pampasabog,” Banac said.

(CIDG personnel are still verifying her background – if she has links to the ASG, any relative and why she was in possession of bomb making paraphernalia.)

Hataman is believed to be the wife of ASG sub leader Radzmir Janatul. – (with details from Lea Ylagan)

PNP rescues 3 kidnapped Indonesians in Tawi-Tawi

Maris Federez   •   March 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Tawi-Tawi have rescued three kidnapped Indonesian fishermen in the municipality of South Ubian.

PLt.Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said, based on the reports that reached the PNP Command Center in Camp Crame, the Indonesian nationals were identified as Arizal Kasta Miran, male, 30 years old; Arsad Bin Dahlan, male, 41 years old; and Andi Riswanto, male, 26 yrs old.  All three are residents of Kabupaten Wakatobi Municipality, Sulawesi Tengara, Indonesia.

Arrested in the rescue operation was one of their captors, Suhud Salasim alias Ben Wagas, 45, a resident of Maimbung, Sulu.  Salasim is reportedly a member of the Abu Sayyaf group.

The three Indonesians said they were fishing in Tambisan, Sandakan in Sabah along with 5 others on January 15, 2020, when seven armed men took them by force and brought them to Sulu province.

They said bad weather caused their motorboat to capsize along the shore of Pasigan Laut, South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi, while they were fleeing from authorities.

Tandubas Municipality Police Station chief PCpt. AL Kenneth Cayanga said they received a report on Thursday at 5:30 PM about the sea mishap and proceeded to the area to conduct rescue operation.

The three Indonesians said their abductors freed three of their companions, while the other one got separated from them when their motorboat capsized. One died while their kidnappers were engaged in a firefight with AFP troops.

“The PNP in coordination with the Coast Guard is conducting search operations for other missing persons lost at sea. Meanwhile, we are also coordinating with the Indonesian government to validate the identities of the victims and find their families”, Eleazar said.

TESDA resumes distribution of toolkits for scholars in NCR, other regions

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will resume the distribution of starter toolkits for 2019 scholars in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other regions of the country.

TESDA delivered six lots of tool kits for the 2019 beneficiaries of the agency’s Special Training for Employment Program (STEP).  This is part of the total 18 lots intended for the region in 2019 and is expected to be delivered from January 4 to February 6.

The lots include 5,155 toolkit packages for graduates of courses such as Perform Body Massage, Perform Body Scrub, Perform Facial Make-up, Electrical Installation and Maintenance NC II, Pastry Making, and Cake Making.

 TESDA chief Secretary Isidro Lapena assured that the packages will be delivered to the beneficiaries.

“We will work closely with PITC so that the remaining packages of STEP toolkits will meet the targeted delivery dates. We are aware that there are so many TESDA graduates waiting for their starter toolkits to arrive, and we are doing our best to make sure all pending toolkits will be processed accordingly,” he said.

2 suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits killed in Sulu clash – AFP

Robie de Guzman   •   November 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A suspected sub-leader and a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed in separate encounters with government troops in Sulu early Friday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.

AFP Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. identified the slain individuals as alleged ASG sub-leader Hatib Munap Binda and a certain Bensio Barahama.

Vinluan said Binda was killed in the first encounter that occurred in Panamao town of Sulu province.

Based on the report submitted by 4th Marine Brigade Commander Col. Ruben Candelario, troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-1 (MBLT) was conducting combat operation st Bud Bawis Complex, Barangay Kawasan when they encountered the group of Binda around 5:45 a.m.

Vinluan said a fierce firefight ensued which lasted for about 30 minutes after which the enemy withdrew.

“While scouring the encounter site, marine troops recovered the dead body of ASG sub-leader Binda, one M16 rifle, and one M14 rifle,” he added.

Vinluan said that based on their records, Binda is the senior leader of the ASG operating in the municipalities of Kalingalan Caluang and Panamao, Sulu.

He was a member of the organization since 2002 and was an associate of the late ASG sub-leader Alhabsi Misaya during the conduct of series of kidnappings in the tri-boundaries of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines.

In a separate operation, another team of the MBLT-1 encountered the ASG group under Sansibar Bensio a few meters away from the previous encounter site at 6:45 a.m. of the same day.

The encounter lasted for about 20 minutes which resulted in the death of a certain Bensio Barahama and the recovery of one M14 rifle, according to the report of MBLT-1 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Marvin Salvan.

“Our good intelligence operations yielded to these positive results and we are grateful that no one from our side was injured during the operations,” Salvan said.

Vinluan said Barahama is the father of Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leader Sansibar Bensio and was operating in the areas of Panamao, Omar, and Luuk.

The AFP said operating troops are still in hot pursuit of the fleeing enemies.

“All the military units here in Sulu remain vigilant and resilient in eliminating the remaining terrorists who refuse to cooperate with us and continue to inflict terroristic activities in the peaceful communities,’’ said Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, Commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu.

“Rest assured that we will continue to work hard to end terrorism here in the beautiful island province of Sulu,” he added.

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