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Martial law extension in Mindanao looms

Published in Latest News

(Photo from pcoo.gov)

 

MARAWI CITY (PhilAmPress) – Although the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Department of National Defense and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have not made their recommendation on the martial law in Mindanao as the battle against terrorists in Marawi City has not stopped, President Rodrigo Duterte has hinted he is likely to extend the martial rule when it expires on July 22.

 

This developed as the number of fatalities in the Marawi siege which flared up on May 23 has breached 600 as more soldiers and terrorists are killed in the battle.

 

In a related development, a Second Quarter 2017 survey of the Social Weather Station showed that 57 percent of those surveyed support the declaration of martial law in Mindanao but more than six out of 10 oppose expanding it to Visayas and Luzon.

  

The extension of martial law maybe made before the President delivers his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) before Congress on July 24, two days before the 60-day martial law decree expires.

 

The 1987 Constitution states that Congress, upon the initiative of the President, “may extend such proclamation [of martial law]or the suspension [of the writ of habeas corpus]for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.”

 

The Supreme Court in its July 4 ruling that upheld Duterte’s martial law declaration under Proclamation 216, raised the possibility of extending military rule beyond 60 days.

 

While in Iligan City visiting the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, Duterte told reporters that he will not lift martial law in Mindanao before his SONA as the situation in Marawi has remained critical.

 

“No,” the President stressed when asked if martial law would be lifted before his SONA.

 

He reiterated that he would make the decision based on the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other security forces like the DND and the PNP.

 

Duterte said he had consulted with the military and was told that the situation in Marawi City was still“critical.”

 
“I consulted them and said it was critical. Ang magsabi sa akin na hindi na critical, ang Armed Forces pati ang pulis (Only the Armed Forces and the police can tell me if it is no longer critical),” he said.

 

 “So, I have just to rely on the word of the Armed Forces and the police because they are the one keeping this Republic healthy and alive,” he added.

 

“Pag sinabi na nilang wala nang delikado [When they say the situation is no longer delicate] and everything is okay, that’s the time we lift martial law,” he added.

 

The President said that he does not “have an independent study” of the situation on the ground.


 “It’s not my job. And I cannot do it physically even,” he said.

 

PNP chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa, meanwhile, sees the need to extend martial law in Mindanao because the security situation there, particularly in Marawi City, is still critical.

 

De la Rosa and Interior and Local Government Secretary Catalino Cuy briefed some senators on the law and order situation and concerns of local governments in Marawi City. Present during the closed-door briefing were Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Senate Majority Leader


Vicente Sotto III and Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Gregorio Honasan II and Joseph Victor Ejercito.

 

President Duterte will meet with members of the Senate majority bloc on July 17, said Sen. Pimentel, adding their agenda would be the “BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) and the entire agenda of the Duterte administration, including martial law in Mindanao.”

 

Meanwhile, President Duterte indicated that he needs 10 to 15 more days to end the crisis in Marawi City, adding he was surprised the terrorists have not run out of weapons and ammunition.

 

"Palagay ko, 10 to 15 days, okay na," he said during the 10th listing anniversary of the Davao-based Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc. at the Philippine Stock Exchange in Makati City. "I need 15 more days."

Duterte said he will once again try to go to Marawi City this week after his first two attempts failed due to bad weather. He reiterated that he wants to be with the soldiers while there is still fighting going on.

Echoing Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Duterte said he too was surprised that the Maute group was able to stockpile weapon in the city.

"This is the 45th, 46th day? Hindi maubus-ubos ang [armas], lalo na 'yung grenades," he said.

 

Duterte said he needed to visit Marawi City to check on troops at the frontlines of the government’s battle against pro-ISIS Maute Group fighters in the besieged city. He had already attempted to fly to Marawi twice but each time the weather was not conducive to flying.


“I have to be with the men, the fighting forces of the government. I should show my face there. Hindi naman pwede iyang peace time ka na pumunta,” Duterte said in a brief interview posted on the Facebook page of the Presidential Communications Office.

“Hindi naman na you place yourself in jeopardy, but during the fighting, you should show yourself, that you are one in the desire to protect the Republic,” he added.


“This is the second time. The last time I was not able to go in because also of the weather. Dito naman, ngayon ganoon din nangyari. We were circling many times but we could not penetrate, the weather was really squallid,” he said.


Marawi City has been under siege since May 23, when Maute fighters attacked several key installations in the city. While still in Russia that day, Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao to quell the terrorists rebellion.

 

The AFP has said it would give its recommendation on martial law to the President next week.


Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has previously expressed hope to end the fighting in Marawi in time for Duterte’s second SONA.

 

In the meantime, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is already finalizing its recommendations on the possible extension or lifting of martial law.

 

“It’s already being done and in a few days it will be submitted to the (Executive) Secretary for his consideration because he is the administrator of martial law. And that recommendation will make its way up to the Commander-in-Chief who will be provided an advance copy,” AFP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Resituto Padilla Jr. said during the Mindanao Hour press briefing in Malacañang.

 

He said that the final assessment would be based on whether the rule of law as well as peace and security in most parts of Mindanao had been re-established.

 

The AFP official likewise stressed however that whatever recommendations the military submit, the final decision is up to President Duterte.

 

“The Department of National Defense or the AFP could only recommend, pero ang eventual decision ay kinakailangang manggaling sa political leadership na merong mas malawak na pinag-iisipang o pinagbabatayan ng kanilang desisyon,” Padilla said.

                   
The Supreme Court has upheld Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.


The SWS survey found that 63% of respondents disagreed with the expansion of martial law in the Visayas and only some 23 percent agreed, while 13% were undecided about the matter.


The survey also found that 67% disagreed with the expansion of martial law in Luzon while only 20% agreed, while 13% were undecided.

 

“Extending martial law is the decision of the President which PRRD said would rest on the assessment and the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other stakeholders of the Marawi situation,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

 

His statement was issued following remarks by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who said that he would push for a five-year extension of martial law.

 

“If I can convince my colleagues, I will push for an extension until 2022, because two months is too short. Five months or one year or two years is too short,” Alvarez said Saturday.

 

However, Abella pointed out that the Speaker has already clarified that “his remarks to extend martial law until 2022 is his personal opinion.” Many senators said they oppose Alvarez proposal.

US vows to help AFP in war vs terrorism

Published in Latest News

(Photo from Philippine Star)

 

MANILA (via PhilAmPress) ― The United States continues to stand by the Philippines in the latter’s fight against terrorism and in efforts to fully secure and rebuild the ravaged Marawi City, according to US Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim.


Kim made the assurance in remarks at the commemoration of the 241st anniversary of US Independence.

 

“We will continue to stand by the Armed Forces of the Philippines as they courageously fight terrorism to keep this country safe,” Kim told a gathering of diplomats and officials at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

 

He noted the US and the Philippines share common core values.


“And we are proud of the support and President Duterte’s determination to secure and rebuild Marawi,” he said.

 

Earlier, The United States has transferred 12 Ford F-550 trucks to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) during a ceremony at Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite.

 

Present at the ceremony last June 29, 2017 were representatives from the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group, as well as Capt. Alfonspin P. Tumanda Jr. and Cmdr. Jim P. Razo, the Commander and Deputy Commander of Philippine NAVSOG, respectively.

 

These trucks will help ease the mobility of the NAVSOG units spread throughout the Philippines including units located in Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga, and Davao, a US Embassy in Manila statement said.

 

They will also aid in the transport and deployment to critical areas of rigid-hulled inflatable boats that were previously delivered by the U.S. to the AFP, it added.

 

The statement further said through a variety of assistance packages over the past three years, the U.S. has provided the Philippines with over US$200 million of grant assistance to assist our partner forces in building the required capabilities for success.

 

Earlier, the ambassador said the US would continue its assistance to Filipino troops, especially those fighting Maute and Abu Sayyaf militants in Marawi.

 

“Our thoughts are with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the residents of Marawi,” Kim said.

 

“They are going through a very difficult time and I will now assure them that we will continue to support them in any way possible going forward,” he added.

 

“This is a good time to think about and reflect on America and America’s friendship with the Philippines.”

 

US Defense Secretary James Mattis assured the Philippines in his address at a regional security summit in Asia last month that the US remained committed to helping a long-time ally under the Mutual Defense Treaty.

 

The US, he added, was unwavering in its commitment to help in the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

WBO review says Horn won 'Battle of Brisbane'

Published in Sports

(Photo from Instagram | @mannypacquiao)

 

MANILA — Now it can be told that Australian Jeff Horn really won the "Battle of Brisbane" last July 2.


This as the World Boxing Organization (WBO), after review of the fight of Horn with world boxing icon and Philippine Senator Emmanuel "Manny " Pacquiao, affirmed the Australian slugger's victory.

 

In a statement reported by Agence France Presse, the WBO stated: "Upon the analysis, the findings stated that Pacquiao won the 3rd, the 8th and 9th by 100 percent; the 5th round was won by 80 percent; and the 11th round by 60 percent."

 

"Horn won the 1st, 6th and 12th rounds by 100 percent; rounds 2, 4, and 7 by 80 percent; and then, the 10th round by 60 percent," WBO stated.

 

"From the results, it can be established that Pacquiao won five rounds while Horn won seven rounds. Based on this analysis, Jeff Horn was the winner of the bout," WBO concluded in the statement.

 

There was no immediate response from Senator Pacquiao and Team Pacquiao.

 

But Top Rank's Bob Arum, in a television interview on GMA, claimed that the WBO review did not settle anything, but showed that the Horn-Pacquiao battle "was a close fight."

 

"Well it doesn't settle anything. It was a very close fight. It could have been scored either way. I had Manny winning the fight by one point, but you know when it gets that close, the fight can go either way," Arum said on GMA news.

 

"First of all they didn't [rule] that Jeff Horn clearly won the fight. They (WBO) had five judges scoring the fight: three had Horn winning narrowly, one had it at draw, one had Pacquiao winning," Arum told the network in live interview.

 

Despite his statements, Arum said Pacquiao should accept the decision and "move on."

 

"Manny has to decide what he wants to do in the future and we'll take it from there," he said.

 

Arum said that after two weeks, he may travel to the Philippines to determine from Pacquiao himself if he would want a rematch with Horn.

 

"I will see whether he really wants to do a rematch, whether he wants to continue boxing, or whether because of his senatorial duty, he is unable to continue," he said.

 

Arum said he would support any Pacquiao-Horn rematch, especially if Pacquiao decides later to fight Horn again.

 

Arum said a decision is a decision and all must respect the decision.

 

Horn's father, Jeff Horn Sr., in another GMA New interview, welcome the WBO review decision made by five judges or boxing experts.

 

He said that despite the pronouncements of Pacquiao regarding the outcome of the fight, their camp respects the Filipino as a boxer.

 

"Manny Pacquiao is just a great warrior and we respect him tremendously for what he has achieved in boxing," he said.

 

He said Pacquiao was a "great warrior" and "respect him" especially for his achievements in boxing.

 

Horn Sr. said he supports a rematch of his son with Pacquiao, saying Pacquiao is a natural welterweight.

 

He assured that his son, who is now the wBO welterweight title holder, will be more than 20 percent better for the rematch.

 

The review was sought by many and supported even by the Philippines' sports agency, the Games and Amusement Board (GAB).


The WBO was triggered by claims by many, including Pacquiao, that the results could have gone the other way or a draw at best .

 

Horn stunned the Filipino legend—who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions—with his ultra-aggressiveness to earn a unanimous 12-round decision.

 

The WBO—which does not have the power to reverse a decision unless fraud or law violations are proven—set up a panel of five independent judges who were asked to watch the bout without sound and determine who won each round.

 

The results were tabulated to show clearly the rounds each fighter won using an average scale based on 60, 80 and 100 percent, with three of the five officials needing to be in agreement, AFP reported.

 

Earlier, the Philippines' Games and Amusements Board (GAB) welcomed the World Boxing Organization (WBO) decision to review the fight.

 

“It’s good that WBO has acted on our request for review,” said GAB Chairman Abraham Kahlil “Baham” Mitra.


Pacquiao lost his WBO world welterweight title to Horn by a unanimous decision from the three judges -- Waleska Roldan (117-111), Chris Flores (1150-113) and Ramon Cerdan (115-113).

 

"I assure you that the Officials who participated in this fight are all professional, distinguished, honest and honorable human beings," said Varcarcel.

 

Valcarcel, however, said that "WBO does not have jurisdiction in the first instance to revoke any decision, as that would correspond to the Australian National Boxing Federation."

 

 

Lead Warriors ace player Steph Curry hoists the 2017 NBA Championship trophy won by his team the Golden State Warriors from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

OAKLAND — Fans and supporters of the National Basketball Association (NBA) 2017 Champion Golden State Warriors were transformed to a sea of humanity when they  flooded the major streets of Oakland City as the city honored the cagers with the team’s victory parade and rally after trouncing the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

Under the searing heat of the sun in a glorious day, the estimated crowd of about 500,000 to 1 million men and women, from as young as two months old to those in their 80s, in all forms and shapes of different races and colors packed patiently the parade route and the rally venue at the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center with children playing cards, people dancing to the beat of the music playing while still others ate food and drank water as they await the parade to pass in front of them.

 

Some celebrities spotted in the parade held on June 12 aside from the Warriors players and front office top officials and staff were City Mayors Ed Lee of San Francisco and Libby Schaaf of Oakland and California State Assemblymember Rob Bonta.

 

Many Fil-Ams like San Jose executive execuive Anthony Rivero also joined the celebration and parade. 

“I am here to support the Warriors who have something special because they bring the community together whether you are from Oakland, San Jose or from San Francisco as much as they play with teamwork in mind. It is the one key thing we can learn from the Warriors and let my kids here with me learn that perseverance and teamwork wins in the end early on in life,” Rivero shared.

 

 

South San Francisco Warriors diehard Maria del Mundo-Ingco (right) spent quality bonding time with daughter Lexy (left) when they watched the championship game the Warriors had with the Cavaliers.

 

Probably one of the oldest Filipinos in the parade, Sam Mendoza, 74, from Dagupan Pangasinan and Alameda City, still walks five miles a day to keep fit. He came to the celebration with grandsons.

 

“Kevin Durant was a big help in both offense and defence for the Warriors this year. If he did not transfer, the Warriors may have had a harder time to win. I had no doubt we will win even after the fourth game loss,” Mendoza considered. “If players stay with the Warriors and not transfer to other teams, we may stay champions for a long time.”

 

South San Francisco Warriors diehard Maria del Mundo-Ingco always had watching Warriors game, either on TV or at the Oracle Arena, as a quality bonding time with daughter Lexy.

 

 

A close family friend brought along this poster of Kimberly Nuestro, a ardent fan of Steph Curry and the Warriors who mysteriously died last month during a basketball game in Santa Clara. Dad Ramir is certain that Kimberly is very happy with the Warriors winning the NBA championship.

 

“Last summer, Durant knew that he may serve as the missing piece to the puzzle after a heartbreaking loss last year. And he definitely is - on and off the court. Our guys have a lot of passion and he brings even more of it. It's so transparent how much he loves the game and he works hard to achieve his goals. He fits in with the team (and the Bay Area) seamlessly; it's just so fun to watch! I really hope he retires with the Warriors, he's an exceptional player,” del Mundo-Ingco noted. “It was just the cherry on top of an amazing season to win the title on our home court. I was there at Oracle that night and it was electric. Seeing my daughter with tears in her eyes when KD was announced as the MVP (who she's been a fan of even when he wasn't on our team) was really special.”

 

Eugene dela Cruz of Pleasant Hill, who also came with wife Cathy, daughter Angel and a son at the 2015 victory parade, was optimistic that the Warriors will regain the championship this year with eventual Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kevin Durant who solidified Warriors’ claim to history.

 

“Kevin Durant has a huge impact guarding Lebron James, becoming the focal point of the Warriors. He is the go-to-guy and also freed up Curry to do what he had to do. I did not think they will have a repeat lost of the championship just like last year. I expected a good game from the Cavaliers as they were champions too. They are going to come up fighting as what top athletes do,” dela Cruz believes.

 

Gladys Salenga of Richmond who works at an office in downtown Oakland was somewhat disappointed together with co-workers that they had to do their celebration within their office room looking down at the parade grounds.

 

“It is each of these hardworking Warrior talents that was the key in becoming the NBA 2017 champs! The 3-0 was a sign to bring out the Broom (sweep) however I loved the fact that the win game was at home. Was that intentional? I don't know but it makes winning much sweeter and special,” Salenga mused.

 

Speaking for his daughter Kimberly Nuestro, an ardent fan and follower of Steph Curry, dad Ramir Nuestro intimated that Kimberly became more excited when Durant went to Warriors and was sure that the Warriors will be champions again.

 

“She told me before she died that the Warriors will be 16-0 in the playoffs and the finals. She was also certain that Durant will be the finals MVP. I don't know if is coincidence that Kimberly turned 16 on April 21 and after 16 days she died,” Ramir curiously pointed out on the role of number 16 in Kimberly’s last days. “And on this day of the Warriors victory parade that falls on Kimberly's 40th day, our family thanks the Warriors for winning the championship. My daughter will be so happy right now in heaven, I just wish I could bring her back to life to celebrate the championship with us. Again thanks to Steph for signing my daughter’s shoes.”

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