Five Maute terrorists killed in clash with MILF

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Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. AP FILE PHOTO Read more:

COTABATO CITY, Dec. 10 (PNA) — Five Maute group terrorists were killed in a clash with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerillas at the border shared by Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur provinces, military and MILF officials have said.

According to MILF vice chair for military affairs, Von Al Haq, reports from MILF fighters in Mt. Cararao said the terrorist group also suffered injuries in a clash that began Friday morning.

“They were trying to cross the border obviously to avoid the military operations in Butig,” Maj. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., 6th Infantry Division chief, told reporters.

According to reports, the Maute group continued fighting the MILF sporadically Saturday morning in the heavily forested part of Mt. Cararao.

One MILF fighter was injured when the firefight broke out Friday dawn.

Under the government and MILF peace agreement, both the Philippine military and Moro rebels are bound to cooperate in interdicting criminals and terrorists in areas identified as MILF communities.

Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Friday night instructed Vice Governor Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, also the region’s social welfare secretary, to determine if the clashes have resulted in the dislocation of civilians.

Social workers in the region have distributed tons of relief supplies in Butig, site of Maute-military clashes that affected 11 barangays and displaced 3,468 families.

The military reported 65 Maute terrorist group members killed while the Army suffered three fatalities and 19 injured. (PNA)

Three gunmen killed in Lahad Datu clash with Sabah forces confirmed to be Abu Sayyaf members

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“RECENTLY, Malaysia was again shocked by the kidnapping of five Malaysian tugboat crew by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) off Lahad Datu.” —

By Priam F. Nepomuceno

MANILA, Dec. 10 (PNA) — The Western Mindanao Command (WMC) on Saturday confirmed that the three gunmen shot dead by Sabah security forces in Lahad Datu last Dec. 8 were indeed members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), one of whom headed the Samal Island raid that led to the kidnapping of three foreign nationals and a Filipina in September 2015.

“Per validation made by this Command, the shootout resulted in the killing of Abraham Hamid, leader of the Samal kidnapping incident, and two of his cohorts,” WMC spokesperson Maj. Filemon Tan said.

Two more ASG bandits were captured in the encounter by Sabah security forces. They were identified as Samsung Aljan and Awal Hajal, while two others are being pursued.

Hamid, an ASG spotter, was identified as the leader of the Abu Sayyaf members involved in the kidnapping of Robert Hall, John Ridsdel, Kjartan Sekkingstad and Maritess Flor on Sept. 21, 2015 at the Ocean View Resort in Camudmud, Samal City, Davao del Sur.

He was also tagged in the kidnapping of four Indonesian crew members of tugboat Henry.

“The said Abu Sayyaf members were prevented by security forces in Sabah from executing their kidnapping plans by engaging them in a surprise shootout. The speedboat utilized by the Abu Sayyaf members was sunk during the fight,” Tan added.

Hamid’s death is a big blow to the ASG as his demise has degraded their capability for spotting, he said. (PNA)

DTI – Zambo holds 2-day Noche Buena Diskwento Caravan

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 10 (PNA) — As a present to residents this Christmas season, the Department of Trade and Industry – Zamboanga City Office (DTI – ZCO) is holding a two-day “Noche Buena Diskwento Caravan” in this city.

Engr. Rolando Acuña, DTI-ZCO director, said the caravan kicked off Saturday, December 10, at the Tetuan Plaza and would end Sunday, December 11.

Acuña said the “Noche Buena” products sold at discounted prizes include ham, fruit cocktail, cheese, sandwich spread, mayonnaise, queso de bola, pasta, macaroni, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, and creamer, among others.

Acuña said at least 10 percent discount is being given by participating stores and distributors in the two-day caravan.

“The conduct of Diskwento Caravan is DTI’s way of bringing discounted products easy and more accessible to low income earners in time for the celebration of Christmas,” he stressed.

He said the caravan event is one of the mechanisms of the government to augment income and provide relief to workers through non-wage benefits.

He said that it is a public service conducted by DTI in partnership with big retailers and distributors.

Aside from the Noche Buena Diskwento Caravan, the DTI-ZCO also regularly holds Balik Eskwela Diskwento Caravan, Hariraya Diskwento Caravan, and Fiesta Pilar Diskwento Caravan here. (PNA)

Zambo health official advises public to be diet-conscious on yuletide season

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 10 (PNA) — The Department of Health (DOH) Region 9 here has advised the public to be diet-conscious to avoid sickness during the yuletide season.

Dr. Lucky Rachela Lego, DOH-9 local health systems and health promotion and communication unit chief, on Saturday said people tend to overeat during celebrations, especially Christmas parties, are everywhere.

Lego said the people should regulate their intake of food to include alcoholic beverages.

Lego said the right diet is the intake of food with low cholesterol and high fiber content like vegetables and fruits.

She said over consumption of food with high cholesterol content and sweets may lead to stroke and heart failure as well as asthma and other illness.

Roasted pig, ham and fried chicken are among the food with high cholesterol content.

Lego said the public should also have regular exercise aside from being diet-conscious to live a healthy life. (PNA)

PNP chief to destabilizers: “Over my dead body”

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“Several death squads in the Philippines enact summary executions on drug addicts, sellers and petty criminals without regulation or reprimand as President Duterte moves forward with his war on drugs.” -source:

By Perfecto T. Raymundo

MANILA, Dec. 9 (PNA) — “Over my dead body,” said Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on people who are behind an alleged destabilization plan against the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

There were text messages allegedly from Magdalo group calling to oust President Duterte from power.

”May mga info na ganun (There are such information). Sabi ko sa kanila (I tell them) over my dead body ha. Try me over my dead body,” Dela Rosa said.

Dela Rosa challenged the alleged destabilization plotters to try his leadership.

The PNP chief admitted that he has been receiving information about the plans to oust the Duterte administration, led by some soldiers who are members of the Magdalo.

However, Dela Rosa assured that these destabilization plans would not succeed as long as he is the PNP chief.

”Try me… over my dead body,” this was the challenged posed by Dela Rosa to the destabilizers. (PNA)

Group vows to defend President Duterte vs ‘sinister’ plots

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MANILA, Dec. 9 (PNA) — The one million-strong Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC), which was instrumental in convincing the Chief Executive to run in the last elections, on Friday rallied its supporters all over the country to “defend the president at all costs” from moves to discredit the country’s leader allegedly being hatched by sinister forces affected by his campaign against criminality, corruption and the economic status quo of a privileged few.

In a press conference held at the historic Club Filipino, MRRD-NECC leaders and supporters, who include top officials from various government agencies such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), vowed to offer strong resistance against such moves, stressing that Duterte’s thrust to achieve genuine change is already taking shape.

“In less than six months of his presidency, the President has accomplished a lot in the areas of criminality and illegal drugs, corruption and the drive toward Federalism. In the process, many were affected by these serious campaigns, including those who used to gain from their evil ways,” said MRRD-NECC chairman and TESDA director general Guiling Mamondiong said.

Mamondiong said the President is not only a leader for the rich or the poor but of all Filipinos.

“These threats on the office of the people’s President will not prosper. Any supposed plan being hatched by anyone or group of removing him from office through unconstitutional means shall be dealt with blunt force by the millions of Filipinos who have had enough of the apathy, negligence and ineptness of previous administrations,” he stressed.

President Duterte has been the subject of attacks for his determined campaign against illegal drugs, where critics accused him of launching targeted and deliberate killings of certain drug personalities.

There were reports about some sectors planning to oust him (Duterte), in the light of Vice President Leni Robredo’s resignation from the Cabinet. Likewise, the name of a wealthy businesswoman is being linked to the same plot.

But MRRD-NECC believes that what is deliberate is the apparent campaign by the opposition and their affiliates to discredit the President before the international community by projecting an ugly picture of the anti-drug campaign.

“They use and abuse the term extra judicial killings or EJK with impunity when the fact is that EJK is a misnomer and an illusion. The term EJK already prejudges every murder committed against anyone as government-initiated which is not the case. There is no statute in Philippine laws that punishes EJK as a crime. It is a political term used to demean and discredit the government,” explained Mamondiong.

The TESDA chief, however, stressed that like President Duterte, they believe that the rule of law must be upheld at all times in defense most specially of the weak.

“There is no president in the history of the country other than President Duterte who cared so passionately about the country’s future. As he said, he will stake everything, even his life and the presidency in pursuit of his dreams of making the Philippines a better and safer place to live in,” Mamondiong pointed out.

Also, the group credited Duterte for his determination to establish a Federal Philippines during his term, noting that he is by far the only president who was able to show genuine concern for Filipinos by empowering them.

“The government’s campaign for Federalism is already in full swing. The DILG, through the People’s National Movement for Federalism (PENAMFED) and its new president, former Batangas Mayor Sam Ocampo, we have done so much in a very short time. So far, we have campaigned in several provinces and cities and explained to tens of thousands of people the benefits of Federalism,” said DILG Undersecretary Emily Padilla, the agency’s focal person for the campaign.

“Under this government, the voices of the provinces have been heard and represented. Let us not allow the voices of the few thousands here in Metro Manila to derail the good works of our president. If they plan to muster a million in Metro Manila, we could muster more millions in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon,” DILG Undersecretary Jesus Hinlo, for his part, stressed.

MRRD-NECC said the whole country must unite in defense of the people’s president and in support of all his reform programs and initiatives. The group maintained that Duterte is the country’s last chance to achieve real and meaningful change for all.

MRRD-NECC leaders and members include Sec. Ismael Sueno (DILG), Sec. Guiling Mamondiong (TESDA), SBMA chairman Martin Dino, Rommel Padilla, Cesar Montano, Usec Emily Padilla (DILG), Usec John Castriciones (DILG), Usec Hinlo (DILG), Usec Virginia Orogo (DSWD), Usec Ranibai Dilangalen (DA), Usec Diosdado Padilla, Usec Noel Felongco (DENR), Asec Aimee Neri (DOJ), Asec Epimaco Densing, Asec RJ Echiverri (DILG) and National Tobacco Administration Administrator Wilfredo Martinez. (PNA)

Troops arrest Abu Sayyaf member in Zamboanga City

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 9 (PNA) — Police here announced on Friday the arrest of an Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member involved in a raid of a plantation in Basilan province 15 years ago.

Chief Supt. Billy Beltran, Police Regional Office-9 (PRO-9) director, identified the arrested suspect as Ahmad Adil, who carries the aliases of Abu Umbra and Abdulrakman Zacaria.

Beltran said joint police and military operatives have arrested Adil around 12:20 p.m. Thursday in Barangay Mampang, sitauted some six kilometers east of this city.

Beltran said Adil has standing warrant of arrest for the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for his alleged involvement in the raid of the Golden Harvest Plantation in June 2001 in Barangay Tairan, Lantawan, Basilan province.

During the raid, the Abu Sayyaf bandits beheaded nine of the 30 plantation workers they seized and shot to death another one.

The rest of the workers were either rescued or have escaped at the height of military pursuit operations launched against the bandit group.

Beltran said Adil was detained prior to his turnover to court authorities.

Adil’s arrest came after Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar has ordered the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office to enforce safety and security augmentation plan for the locality.

“My instruction always is to strengthen and tighten security in response to threats of terrorism, extremism and fundamentalism,” the mayor said. (PNA)

Trooper killed along with 2 ASG bandits in fresh Sulu clash

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6 body bags. Soldiers arrange bags containing the bodies of members of Abu Sayyaf after their armed encounter at the village of Bongkaong, Patikul town, Sulu in Mindanao on Aug. 26, 2016. Security forces killed six members of Abu Sayyaf including one involved in the kidnapping of two Canadians who were beheaded in the troubled south, the military said. Foto: Stringer/AFP, source:

By Priam F. Nepomuceno

MANILA, Dec. 9 (PNA) — A trooper from the 21st Infantry Battalion was killed along with Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits following a clash with an estimated 150 terrorists in Patikul, Sulu Thursday morning.

Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Major Filemon Tan said the encounter transpired at 9:53 a.m. at Sitio Datag, Barangay Panglayahan of the above-mentioned locality.

Troopers from the 21st Infantry Battalion were conducting focused military operations in the area when they encountered ASG terrorists under Radullan Sahiron, Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan and Mujer Yadah.

Fighting lasted for 30 minutes and resulted in the death of Staff Sgt. Allan Caliguran, while the terrorists had two casualties and six wounded.

Around 12 noon of the same day, pursuit troops recovered an M-14 magazine and empty cartridges.

At around 3 p.m., patrolling troops also discovered newly abandoned harbor position which can accommodate more or less 100 bandits at Sitio Kan Baddal, Barangay Panglayahan, Patikul, Sulu believed to have been occupied by the engaged enemy.

“Troops further observed fresh enemy tracks towards southwest,” Tan said. (PNA)

Steve Harvey as host of Miss U pageant is ‘very much welcome’ to Pres. Duterte, says DOT

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By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Dec. 9 (PNA) — Contrary to his initial reaction, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte is “very much” open to having Steve Harvey as host of the Miss Universe pageant that the Philippines will host next month, a Department of Tourism official said on Friday.

”I think he’s just kidding,” DOT Undersecretary Katherine de Castro said in a press briefing in Malacanang when asked if Pres. Duterte is still against Harvey as host of the prestigious beauty pageant.

“Because his reaction was ‘What? Steve Harvey is the one hosting it? He’s a disaster.’ But he laughed after. So I said, ‘Sir, we really need Steve Harvey.’ He said, ‘No, I’m very much welcome to have him here in the Philippines,” De Castro explained.

De Castro said the DOT has in fact coordinating with Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar for a possible special participation of President Duterte during the Miss Universe pageant coronation night on Jan. 30.

”We are preparing a ‘pakulo’ (gimmick) between the President and Steve Harvey. So you watch out for that. And the Miss Universe Organization was very much open to that, whatever it is that we are planning to do with the President and Steve Harvey,” she said.

Harvey, who is under a five-year contract as host of Miss Universe Pageant, committed a major blunder at the Miss Universe 2015 coronation night when he mistakenly announced Miss Colombia as the winner instead of Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines.

De Castro announced that all the Miss Universe candidates will pay a courtesy call to President Duterte in Malacanang on January 23.

She said the DOT has reserved seats for President Duterte during the pageant coronation night at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

”I think the Miss Universe Organization is very much welcome to have him in the show,” De Castro said.

When asked if the President can be chosen as one of the judges, De Castro replied: “Apparently, it’s a rule for Miss U Organization not to have a judge from the host country but I think if it’s the President, that’s gonna be another, you know, I think they will make an exception to the rule.”

De Castro said her team will have a courtesy call on Monday with the President to inform him about the Miss Universe organizers’ proposal.

”I think his men are aware that we would like him to be part of you know, to judge it or just even to watch it. But he has not yet given us a concrete answer altogether. We have reserved a VIP section for the President,” she said.

De Castro was accompanied by two Miss Universe candidates Deshauna Barber of USA and Tania Pauline Dawson of New Zealand.

Barber said she is excited to explore the Philippines’ tourist spots, particularly Palawan and Cebu.

”We are gonna swim with whale sharks. I’m really excited so I’m really looking forward to all the experiences that we’re gonna have while we’re here,” Barber said.

Dawson, on the other hand, is not new in the Philippines being a daughter of a Filipina mother from Baguio City.

She is looking forward to meeting Wurtzbach who, according to the DOT, will be busy visiting all the areas that will be visited by the candidates throughout the country. (PNA)

Pres. Duterte signs EO creating consultative committee to review 1987 Constitution

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MANILA, Dec. 9 (PNA) — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Executive Order No. 10 creating a consultative committee that will review the 1987 Constitution.

Pres. Rody Duterte, photo:

The consultative panel will be composed of 25 members representing the different sectors of the country. The members who must be natural-born Filipinos shall be appointed by the President.

”There is a need to review the 1987 Philippine Constitution to ensure that it is truly reflective of the needs, ideals, and aspirations of the Filipino people, and to ensure that the mandate of the people as expressed thereon, is responsive to the changing times,” stated in the EO forwarded to the Malacanang media.

The committee shall study, conduct consultations and review the Charter provisions “including, but not limited to, the provisions on the structure and powers of the government, local governance and economic policies.”

”In the conduct of consultations, the committee shall ensure transparency, and the extensive participation of the Filipino people,” it said.

The Presidential Management Staff (PMS) shall serve as the panel’s secretariat while other government agencies and instrumentalities are directed, and the local government units are encouraged, to render necessary assistance.

The panel has six months to complete its recommendations and proposals which will be submitted to President Duterte before its transmittal to Congress. (PNA)