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Expect checkpoints, curfews to continue in Mindanao despite lifting of Martial Law

in News/Tabloid PH News

Despite the formal lifting of Martial Law in Mindanao today (January 1), the government will maintain visibility of soldiers in the region and implement measures such as checkpoints and curfews to ensure quick response versus rebels and insurgents.

“The present number of troops will remain where they are and will continue to collaborate with the LGUs (local government units) to sustain peace and stability,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana clarified.

Bangsamoro Transition Authority member of parliament Zia Alonto Adiong said under Memorandum No. 3, the military can still implement curfews and establish checkpoints to suppress lawless violence and acts of terror in Mindanao and prevent such violence from spreading and escalating elsewhere in the country. 

The memorandum mandates the Department of National Defense and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to coordinate the immediate deployment of additional forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“Our security forces will still be able to accurately respond to the threats,” Adiong said.

On Tuesday (December 31), Lorenzana announced that the Martial Law in Mindanao, which was in effect since May 23, 2017, was to end “at midnight 31 December 2019 … after two years and seven months or 953 days of effectivity.”

The attack of the ISIS terror cell Maute Group in Marawi City prompted President Duterte to declare Martial Law in Mindanao. Congress extended it thrice.

“Upon the recommendation of the security sector, the President has decided to allow martial law to lapse and not ask for another extension anymore,” Lorenzana said.

AFP Spokesman Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said Proclamation No. 55 is still in effect so the “people can then be assured that the AFP will deploy to suppress any and all forms of lawless violence to prevent them from spreading and escalating.”

“We encourage local government executives to continue their robust partnership with government security agencies. In the event that isolated incidents of violence and lawlessness erupt in Mindanao after martial law has lapsed, there still is Proclamation 55 in effect,” Arevalo said.

7 foreign terrorists confirmed to have entered PHL, 60 more being monitored by AFP

in News/Tabloid PH News

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) disclosed that it is now monitoring at least 67 suspected foreign terrorists that have entered the country, most likely via the Southern Philippines backdoor.

Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, in an interview with radio station DZMM, said seven of these foreigners have been confirmed to be terrorist fighters, and the rest are still for monitoring and confirmation.

“We are not saying they (60 foreigners) are really terrorist fighters, but they are being monitored to determine what is their purpose in coming to the country,” Arevalo said.

The AFP, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (AFP) are now on heightened alert to prevent a repeat or spillover of the most recent bombing incident in the country last Sunday in Indanan, Sulu.

Arevalo said they have also enlisted some paramilitary men, mostly fishermen, to help in patrolling the waters around Sulu to prevent the entry of more foreign terrorists via the southern backdoor. 

These foreign terrorists are operating under the wing of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

“What is important right now is the AFP is in full alert, not just in monitoring but also actual combat operations, because we really need to end this Abu Sayyaf Group,” Arevalo stressed.

The AFP has also sought the help of its counterparts in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, and the US. More importantly, Arevalo said they need the cooperation of the public in information sharing, to avoid casualties from the military and civilian sector in case of another attack.

Arevalo also said they have already sent DNA samples to the PNP to determine if the suicide bomber in the Indanan, Sulu attack was indeed a female caucasian as earlier reported. She was the fourth suicide bomber in the Philippines, the first being a Filipino and the other two an Indonesian couple.

Arevalo did not say if the recent suicide bombing would lead to an extension of the Martial Law currently in effect in Mindanao. 

“It’s too early to talk of an extension or non extension (of Martial Law), but this will have an impact on our assessment,” Arevalo said, stressing that the ultimate decision will come from President Duterte.

Duterte ready to enforce PHL’s territorial rights in “unfriendly manner”

in News/Tabloid PH News

President Duterte has had enough of foreign intrusions into Philippine waters, declaring that Philippine authorities will be compelled to enforce its territorial rights in an “unfriendly manner”.

Duterte’s spokesman and chief legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, on Tuesday (August 20) said: “To avoid misunderstanding in the future, the President is putting on notice that beginning today, all foreign vessels passing our territorial waters must notify and get clearance from the proper government authority well in advance of the actual passage.”

Malacanang’s pronouncement came after persistent reports of foreign vessels—including those from China and Vietnam— being spotted within the Philippines’s exclusive economic zone.

“Either we get a compliance in a friendly manner or we enforce it in an unfriendly manner,” Panelo said.                           

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) earlier disclosed that Chinese warships have been spotted in Sibutu Strait in the South since February.

Chinese research vessels were also monitored by a US-based maritime expert within the Philippine EEZ.

Vietnamese and Chinese fishing vessels, as well as a coast guard vessel of China, were spotted by the AFP in Ayungin Shoal.

Because of these recent intrusions, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. already ordered on Monday the filing of another diplomatic protest against Beijing.

This is a prelude to President Duterte’s scheduled visit to China from August 28 to September 2.

Manila and Beijing are signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which allows innocent passage of ships through the territorial sea of a coastal state provided that it will be “continuous and expeditious.”

On Monday, Panelo told reporters that Duterte takes the unannounced entry of foreign vessels into Philippine territory seriously. “It is an issue with the Office of the President given that we need to be informed in advance of any passage in our territory, because that is what the UNCLOS says.” 

Super pissed Duterte vows ‘more severe measures’ vs NPA

in News/Tabloid PH News

Back in September 2018, President Duterte declared that he expects to end the war against communist rebels by the second quarter of 2019. Today, armed fighters of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) continue to kill with impunity, and Duterte is so pissed off that he wants the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to go all out and give the rebels what they deserve.

“I will give you tit for tat; that’s what I told the military, give them what they deserve,” Duterte said on Friday. “You communists, you have crossed the red line. The countryside is infested with parasites like you.” 

When the President said last year that the war against CPP-NPA would end in 2019, he was basing his optimism on the big number of rebels who were surrendering to the government.

Chummy at first

He was actually welcoming communist leaders to his fold when he was elected president in 2016, mainly because he was mentored by CPP-NPA leader-en-exile Jose Maria Sison. 

He appointed several left-leaning figures to his Cabinet, including Judy Taguiwalo to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Rafael Mariano to the Department of Agrarian Reform, Liza Masa to the National Anti-Poverty Commission and Joel Maglunsod to the Department of Labor and Employment. 

But when verbal and armed attacks from the CPP-NPA did not stop, their relations turned south, and these leftists in government were fired by Duterte one by one. 

Duterte also stopped peace negotiations with CPP-NPA leaders and shifted to localized talks instead, something that the communist leaders did not like, leading to sporadic attacks in the provinces.

Negros killings

Over the last two weeks, Negros Oriental saw the impunity of communist insurgents, with about 14 civilian and government personnel killed.

“You are killing everybody there. Everyone that is anti-communist or does not want communism, you kill,” Duterte said on Friday in Davao City, where he led the Mindanao-wide distribution of land certificates to agrarian reform beneficiaries. “I will not take it sitting down. I told the military…do it to them also.”

The threat

He then repeated his threat that “a more severe measure” is forthcoming to end insurgency-related violence in the Philippines. “I’m telling you, I will implement a more severe measure. What is it? Hintay lang kayo (just wait). But you cannot do it unrestrained, unbridled, uncontrolled,” he added.

Again, he did not detail what he would do. 

His spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said there is a big possibility that Duterte would place Negros under Martial Law if the authorities in the province would still fail to contain the NPA rebels there.

Duterte also said he would be dispatching his “death squad” against communist insurgents. The President’s death squad, commonly known as “DDS” for Duterte Death Squad, is believed to behind the killings of drug suspects from the time he was the mayor of Davao City up to today.


The President said the presence of these communist rebels in the provinces has been holding back development in the countryside.

“The reason why we cannot develop fully is the countryside are — the countryside is infested with parasites like you. You do not work, you exact taxation…With the communist theories and your ideologies which is rotten already — it is a corrupt just like the ISIS, you fight, you kill,” he said.

“You know what you did in Negros, it did — is not just fighting. The danger there is you are now implementing the commune system of the discredited communist party strategy,” he added.

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