Philippines Today

Switch to desktop

Latest News

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA and ALFRED G. GABOT

 

MARILOU DANLEY: MARILOU DANLEY poses at the western end of the Rizal Monument at the old Luneta, now Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines. She posted this photo in her now deleted Facebook account. (Contributed photo)

 

LAS VEGAS (JGL) — A millionaire known to be a casino player but without previous criminal record on the use of guns strafed concert goers from his 32nd floor room in Mandalay Hotel here on Oct. 2, killing 59 people and injuring 527 others, including two Filipino Americans, in what could be the worst mass murder in US history .

 

Those injured were by gunfire or shrapnel, some trampled in the pandemonium that followed adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip as police scrambled to locate the assailant.

 

The gunman, Stephen Paddock, 64, later shot himself fatally before police could storm his room in the hotel casino resort. A search on his room and later in one of his homes yielded several high-powered guns and ammunition.

 

RIZAL MONUMENT: THIS IS THE FULL view of the Rizal Monument at the old Luneta, now Rizal Park, where Marilou Danley had her photo taken. (Contributed photo)

 

The FilAm who was injured was identified as Las Vegas-born Arthur "Arty" Andrade, 21, who was on a double-date with his girlfriend, his friend and the latter's girlfriend when he was shot in the stomach, his family told ABS-CBN News. The other FilAm was not immediately identified by the Philippine Consulate General's office in Los Angeles and the Department of Foreign Affairs but said he had sprained ankle and has been discharged from the hospital. 

 

Andrade underwent surgery and is confined at a local hospital, according to his family.

 

Las Vegas is home to some 120,000 Filipinos, according to the Philippine General Consulate in Los Angeles, California. 

 

In Manila, the Department of Foreign Affairs urged Filipino residents and tourists to call the consulate and give their whereabouts and contact details. 

 

COUPLE: STEPHEN CRAIG Paddock is shown in this photo. Stephen Paddock went on a shooting spree Sunday (Oct. 1st) night from his Mandalay Bay hotel casino on the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 59 people and injuring 527. (Facebook photo)

 

"Sa dami ng Pilipino doon, we have 131,000 Filipinos in southern Nevada alone. Most of these kababayans based in the Las Vegas area, napakahirap i-trace kung isa-isahin," DFA spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar told Manila reporters.

 

Initially, Paddock's girlfriend, Marilou Danley, a Filipino Australian, was listed as a person of interest in the incident but was later cleared as she was vacationing in Hong Kong and the Philippines with friends days before the incident. The Bureau of Immigration in Manila disclosed that Danley arrived in Manila on Sept. 23.

Danley, 62, whose maiden name is Bustos, voluntarily returned to Las Vegas to help police authorities in the investigation as she claimed innocence and advance knowledge of the plans of Paddock. She was met by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (BFI) agents at the Los Angeles International Airport.

"I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man," Marilou Danley said in a statement read by her attorney Matthew Lombard. "I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together with him," she said.

 

"He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen," she added.

 

BROTHERS: STEPHEN CRAIG Paddock (right) is shown with his brother, Erick Paddock. Stephen Paddock went on a shooting spree Sunday (Oct. 1st) night from his Mandalay Bay hotel casino on the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 59 people and injuring 527. (Courtesy of Eric Paddock)

 

Danley added that two weeks ago, Paddock had told her he found a cheap plane ticket for her to visit family in the Philippines.

 

"Like all Filipinos abroad, I was excited to go home and see family and friends," that statement said. "While there, he wired me money ($100,000), which he said was for me to buy a house for me and my family."

 

She said she became concerned at that point, thinking he wanted to break up with her.

 

"It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone."

Danley said she was devastated by Sunday night's attack on concertgoers -- the worst mass shooting in modern US history -- and her prayers went out to all the victims.

 

"I am a mother and grandmother and my heart breaks for all who have lost loved ones," she said.

 

Danley's profile in LinkedIn describes her as “Gambling & Casinos Professional” and resides in Reno, Nevada. Public records show that she is 62 years old (born, Dec. 12, 1954), four feet, 11 inches tall and weighed 111 pounds.

 

Paddock open fired from his 32nd floor large suite of Mandalay Bay hotel casino at about 10:08 p.m. overlooking a crowd of more than 22,000 concertgoers. The victims were across the street attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival concert when bullets rang out. 

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department SWAT responded to the call, breached the hotel room and found the gunman dead.

 

Although early press reports indicated that Ms. Danley is now off the hook because she was outside the United States when the mass shooting happened, LVMPD Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told a news conference, “We are still continuing to ask her several questions. She is out of the country. She is in Tokyo (Japan), not in the Philippines.”

 

 

Police said Paddock had no criminal record. The gunman killed himself before police entered the hotel room from where he was firing, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.

 

"We have no idea what his belief system was," Lombardo said. "I can't get into the mind of a psychopath."

 

Federal officials said there was no evidence to link Paddock to militant organizations.

"We have determined to this point no connection with an international terrorist group," Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) field office in Las  Vegas, told reporters.

 

The Clark County Fire Department estimated that approximately 406 people were transported to area hospitals and 50 were dead following Sunday evening’s shooting.

 

Among the dead were a nurse and a Las Vegas police officer who was off-duty at the time. His name was withheld pending notification of next of kin. There were also two on-duty officers injured, one of whom was upgraded recently from critical to stable condition. The other sustained non-life threatening wounds.

 

This is still an active investigation, Sheriff Lombardo said. The Federal Bureau of Investigations is asking for anyone with videos or photos concerning the shooting to call 1-800-CALLFBI or (800) 225-5324.

 

LVMPD and Clark County Coroner’s Office have set up a hotline for family or friends to report a missing loved one connected to this incident.

 

The hotline is only to take reports on missing people. The number is (866) 535-

5654.

 

LVMPD also opened up a family reunification center at its headquarters at 400 S. Martin L. King Blvd. in Building B. The identification process of all of the injured and the deceased will take time, so authorities are asking the public for patience.

 

Paddock, 64, lived in Mesquite, Nevada retirement community, where amenities include golf and tennis. He was a multimillionaire real-estate investor and liked to travel to Las Vegas to play high-states video poker.

 

Investigators are still puzzled why Paddock would bring with him 17 guns inside his hotel room and spray bullets upon an outdoor country music festival below.

 

His brother, Erick Paddock, told reporters, “I can’t even make something up. There’s just nothing.”

 

Country music star Jason Aldean was performing for more than 22,000 fans on the Route 91 Harvest Festival when Paddock launched the attack.

 

Sheriff Lombardo ruled out connection to international terrorism although Islamic State group had claimed responsibility. 

Paddock was a “lone wolf” assassin. He said three scenes are still being processed: the 32nd floor room in Mandalay Bay where the shooting emanated; Paddock’s house in Mesquite; and another house in north Nevada.

 

In Mesquite, police found more than 18 firearms, explosives and electronic devices. 

Lombardo said there were 16 firearms in the room where Paddock killed himself, some with scopes and some that appeared to have been modified to convert them to fully automatic weapons.

 

Lombardo said the gunman apparently used a "device similar to a hammer" to smash the windows from which he fired.

 

Police found at least 18 additional firearms, some explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition at Paddock's home in Mesquite, about 90 miles (145 km) northeast of Las Vegas, along with "some electronic devices that we are evaluating at this time," Lombardo told reporters.

 

Meanwhile, the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) issued the following statement after the shooting at the Route 91 Music Festival in Las Vegas:

 

“In the strongest terms, NaFFAA condemns the senseless attack that took over 50 lives and injured over 500 more in Las Vegas this weekend,” said Brendan Flores, NaFFAA National Chairman. 


“My hometown of Clark County is home to over 145,000 Filipino Americans, and is a vibrant and diverse community. I have faith that they will come together to overcome this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the innocent lives lost and wounded in the shooting. As I said in response to the Charlottesville attacks, we must join together in the spirit of community to act as lights in the face of darkness.”

 

Amie Belmonte, NaFFAA’s Desert Mountain Region Chair (NV, AZ, UT), added: “As we struggle to make sense of the devastating attack on innocent lives that occurred in our beloved Las Vegas community, one thing is crystal clear: We are eternally grateful for the first responders, the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, and all other selfless individuals who risked their lives to come to the aid of victims on the ground. It is their stark bravery that offers a glimmering light of hope in the shadow of this cowardly act of hate.

 

As NaFFAA’s Desert Mountain Region Chair, we offer our prayers and sympathies to the victims, pledge our support to anyone from our community affected by the attacks, and encourage those who are able to donate blood to do so. In situations like this, such donations can mean the difference between life or death for those recovering from the attack.” (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. '; document.write(''); document.write(addy_text47627); document.write('<\/a>'); //-->\n This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Read more... 0

 

MARAWI CITY — The war between the IS-inspired Maute terrorists and government troops in Marawi City may be over soon.

 

This as President Rodrigo Duterte's visited Marawi City for the third time, this time in the main battle area further boosting the morale of fighting troops in the so-called main battle area.

 

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año said of the visit:. "The third visit was not just about the Commander-in-Chief in close proximity with the men, it was a seal of his commitment to walk the talk -- literally and figuratively," he added.

 

Although many of his advisers consider the President's second visit to Marawi's Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA) last August 4 to be daring, this time, the Chief Executive went inside the Main Battle Area (MBA) around 4: 20 p.m.

 

"He (Duterte) braved the perils of sniper fires, Improvised Explosive Devices(IEDs), and Unexploded Ordnance in the yet to proclaimed 'Cleared' portions of the MBA -- just so he can be with his Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Policemen in the front-lines," the AFP chief stressed.

 

Duterte, in justifying his third visit to Marawi City, said that he wants to show his unity with the Filipino soldiers engaged in neutralizing the terrorist group.

 

"I am here once again to show -- not just say -- my unity with you. That much as you all are willing to die for your country with unquestioning resolve to follow the orders to 'Charge!' coming from your Commander-in-Chief, I am and I can be in the same muddy ground that you now stand; drenched like you under the same rain; and somehow smell like you in this battleground," Año quoted the President as saying.

 

Upon touchdown, Duterte boarded a convoy where he received an informal briefing from Joint Task Force Marawi head Brig. Gen. Rolando Bautista as the vehicles moved around portions of the MBA for grounds inspection up to the foot of Mapandi Bridge -- the site of one of the bloodiest encounters between government security forces and the Daesh-inspired Maute Group.

 

At one point, he alighted from his vehicle, walked towards the Casualty Evacuation Area without bulletproof vests on, and went further to greet and console the wounded soldiers being treated there.

 

He came as close to the fight area after he climbed a sniper position and twice pulled the trigger of a sniper rifle trained on an identified position of terrorists trading shots with military marksmen.

 

Talk-to-the-troops followed at the camp of Task Force Trident under Major Gen. Danilo Pamonag where Duterte handed combat watches, Soldier's Individual Packs, and P5,000 each intended for all the troops in Marawi.

 

"It was not just his physical presence, but his unspoken words that he has the back of his men covered," Año said.

Published in Latest News
Written by
Read more... 0

(Photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

 

MANILA — Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno broke her silence over the impeachment complaint filed against her by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and the Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc. (VPCI) before the House of Representatives, stating that she has not done anything wrong.

 

“I have done nothing wrong. Nothing can be proven against me. I have served the country with all faith and diligence,” Sereno said uring the Ulat sa Hudikatura in Cebu.

 

Alam mo 'yan ang masarap sa malinis na konsensya, it [impeachment] does not affect me at all. The work is there. It is enormous. Just imagine. If I take an inordinate amount of time looking at it and being exasperated by those documents, work will not be done so just give it the right attention so that you understand that when the appropriate time comes, you are ready,” Sereno added.

 

Sereno said she does not want to be bothered by impeachment threats because she wants to focus on the various judicial reforms needed to expedite judicial processes.

 

“If I take an inordinate amount of time looking at it and being exasperated by those documents, work will not be done so just give it the right attention so that you understand that when the appropriate time comes, you are ready,” she noted.

 

The Chief Justice said she gives the allegations against her the "right attention" so she could prepare her answers when the right time comes.

 

"But I shouldn't be fazed because I have done nothing wrong. Nothing can be proven against me that will show that the chief justice has betrayed her oath of office. I have served the country with all faith and diligence. I will never waver from that pledge," she stressed.

 

Last August 2, VACC founding chair Dante Jimenez led the filing of the impeachment bid against Sereno on the grounds of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

 

Jimenez noted in the complaint that Sereno culpably violated the Constitution for the following reasons:

-- issuing an administrative order creating the new Judiciary Decentralized Office (JDO) and re-opening the Regional Administration Office (RCAO) in Western Visayas in the absence of an authority from the Court en banc;
-- violating the constitutional provision that appointive government officials shall not hold another public post unless provided for by law, in appointing Atty. Solomon Lumba as her staff head. Lumba was a faculty member of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law when he was appointed as Chief Justice staff head;
-- appointing Atty. Brenda Jay Mendoza as Philippine Mediation Center Office Chief by mere memorandum which was not referred to the court en banc for its consideration;
-- granting to members of her staff travel allowances for foreign travel charged to the Supreme Court funds without court en banc approval.

 

VACC also said that Sereno betrayed public trust through “inexcusable negligence”, for sitting on the applications for the vacant posts in the Supreme Court.

 

Lawyer Larry Gadon, on the other hand accused Sereno of living a lavish lifestyle when she purchased a Toyota Land Cruiser worth P5.1 million using public funds.

 

Gadon said Sereno wanted a luxury vehicle on top of her “coterie of security personnel riding in separate vehicles and traffic escorts two motorcycles,” which were also purchased “using Supreme Court funds.”

 

He added that Sereno also uses taxpayers’ money to stay in opulent hotels when attending conferences in the Philippines and abroad, and flying on business or first class together with her staff and security.

 

But Sereno maintained that she has been living a life of modesty.

 

“I have always lived a life of modesty. I have been prudent in use of the court's resources al the expenses for judicial reform, my travels, my security requirements are all regular and above board. Public docs the records will speak for itself and I have not objected in the public release of the same,” the Chief Justice noted.

 

The SC earlier granted the release of additional documents for the impeachment of Sereno as requested by Gadon, who is set to file the second impeachment complaint.

 

The High Court granted Gadon's plea for the release of 20 documents which shall be used against Sereno impeachment case before the House of Representatives.

 

Among these were Sereno's SALNs since she was appointed to the SC in 2010 and documents pertaining to the purchase of Sereno's luxury service vehicle and to her travels.

 

Last Aug. 10, the VACC has already received the records from the Supreme Court in support of the impeachment complaint filed against Sereno.

 

The SC, in an en banc session last August 8, granted the release of documents, except the copy of the memorandum dated July 10, 2017 issued by Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro.

 

The SC also granted the release of Sereno's memorandum for appointment of lawyer Solomon Lumba as her staff head and the subsequent letter of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio withdrawing his signature in the said appointment over an internal issue.

Published in Latest News
Written by
Read more... 0

By CLAIRE MORALES TRUE

 

(Photo from PCOO)

 

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — President Rodrigo R. Duterte personally showed support to poultry raisers of Pampanga and Nueva Ecija affected by avian flu by joining a boodle fight to assure the people that poultry products from the two provinces are safe to eat.

 

Duterte, along with former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol, Gov. Lilia PIneda and other officials, ate "balut," chicken, quail and "itik.:

 

At the same time, Duterte distributed checks to chicken, quail and duck raisers affected by bird flu as indemnity and assistance for the culling of some 700,000 birds in poultry farms in four towns in the two provinces.

 

In the presence of former Pampanga congresswoman Andrea Domingo, now Chairman and CEO of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), Mr. Duterte said the assistance to the poultry raisers maybe increased possibly from Pagcor funds.

 

The President also presented citations to soldiers, policemen and other local and national officials who helped in culling the birds and in containing the avian flu before it could spread to other areas.

 

Duterte also assured that the national government will continue its surveillance and vigilance to mitigate the impact of bird flu.

 

Speaking before some 1,000 people from the local government units and poultry raisers, Duterte said Pampanga is not only a factor in food security but part of the food chain.

 

“The efforts and sweat poured in by the Kapampangans play a crucial role in securing the country’s food chain,” the President added.

 

He also pointed out the resiliency of the Kapampangans in these trying times, and that he is confident that the LGUs can contain the avian flu outbreak.

 

The President, together with Secretary  Piñol, awarded an indemnity check to San Luis town worth P20,723,790.

 

He also gave checks to two poultry farm owners from Jaen town, Mary Grace Castro and Manuel Ruiz Luiz, whose poultry farms were depopulated because of the avian flu outbreak.

 

Shortly after the awarding ceremonies, President Duterte, along with Piñol, Governor Pineda, Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Rep. Aurelio Gonzales, Bulacan Goveror Willy Alvarado and local chief executives ate chicken, balut, and eggs in a boodle fight here to show the public that poultry products in Pampanga are safe.

 

  Piñol said an opportunity was presented by the crisis brought about by the avian influenza outbreak after a group of German and Colombian engineers committed to provide technology to turn chicken manure to organic fertilizer.

 

He said the group is now establishing a facility for the project.

Published in Latest News
Written by
Read more... 0

 

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has disclosed that the family of former president Ferdinand Marcos is willing to “open everything” and “return” to the Philippine government some wealth in question, including a few gold bars.

 

“The Marcoses -- I will not name the spokesman -- sabi nila na they’ll open everything and probably return ‘yung nakita lang,” the President said during his speech after the mass oath-taking of newly-appointed government officials in Malacañang.

 

Sabi nila na, ‘malaki ang deficit mo sa… maybe this year, ang projected deficit spending would be big,’ sabi niya. Baka makatulong. Pero hindi ito malaki,” Duterte said.

 

He said that the deal includes even some gold bars.

 

“But we are ready to open and bring back, sabi niya, ‘pati ‘yung a few gold bars.’ Hindi ganun kalaki, it’s not a Fort Knox, it’s just a few. But sabi nila, isauli nila para walang ano,” Duterte said.

 

The President likewise said that an explanation was given by the Marcoses for the wealth in question and that he was accepting it.

 

“And the only reason really was sabi nila, that the father was protecting the economy. Now, of course, the eventual kung maalis siya. But he was thought of regaining the Malacañan and that is why ganito ang lumabas. Parang naitago,” he said.

 

“I will accept the explanation, whether or not it is true, wala na eh. And they are ready to return. How much, they would give me an accounting,” Duterte said.

 

Duterte said he is now trying to look for a person not identified with any concerned party to handle the negotiations.

 

“So I am now scouting around. I have yet to select the guy para walang duda. Baka sabihin na naman ‘nag-hao-siao,’ there is a back channeling,” he said.

 

“I’m looking at a former Chief Justice. Sila na lang mag-usap. Then another certified public accountant (CPA), and maybe a representative of all that is accepted also by all. Para… So that tatlong tao ‘yan, mag-usap sa kanila,” Duterte said.

Published in Latest News
Written by
Read more... 0

(Photo from Philippine Star)

 

MANILA — The Philippines has slid to 13th place from 12th largest country in the world in terms of population.

 

POPCOM Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III said the country has lost the 12th spot three years after taking the post.

 

"On July 1, 2017, Ethiopia overtook our spot, making the Philippines the 13th largest country in the world," said Perez.

 

The country currently has an estimated 104.3 million population, according to the POPCOM "Population Clock".

 

It was in 2014 when the United Nations (UN) had ranked the Philippines as the 12th most populated country with a 100 million population then.

 

Perez added that the country may further rank lower in the coming years.

 

This as 14th placed Egypt was found to have a higher population growth rate of 1.9 versus compared to the Philippines' 1.5.

 

And with the drop in the world's most populated country rankings, the POPCOM Official said the government is now more pressed to provide better services to Filipinos.

 

"This event is a challenge to provide a quality life for the babies and make every Filipino count in the progress and development of the country as the population increases rapidly every year," said the official.

 

"It is also a reiteration of POPCOM’s advocacy through the years that every child should be born wanted, and his/her basic rights on social services, such as health and education, are ensured for his/her total development," he added.

 

Meanwhile, he said the Philippines’ symbolic 100 millionth babies have already turned three years old on this day (July 27).

 

For that reason, POPCOM is providing their families with PHP5,000 gift packs for the babies’ developmental needs.

Published in Latest News
Written by
Read more... 0

(Photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

 

MANILA — The United States (US) has vowed to work with the Philippines to resolve the issue involving the Balangiga bells, which were seized by US troops from a town in Samar 116 years ago.

 

”We will continue to work with our Filipino partners to find a resolution,” the US Embassy in Manila said in a statement issued following President Rodrigo Duterte's call for US to return the bells.

 

"We are aware that the Bells of Balangiga have deep significance for a number of people, both in the United States and in the Philippines,” it added.

 

President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in his second State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA),, called on the US to return to the Philippines the bells of the Balangiga church.

 

The President said those bells belonged to the Philippines and were part of its national heritage.

 

During the Philippine-American war in 1901, Filipino freedom fighters from the village of Balangiga defended Samar Island from American colonizers, resulting in death of 48 American officers and men and 28 Filipinos.

 

The US troops looted three bells from the burned out Catholic town church, which they took back to the US as war booty.

Published in Latest News
Written by
Read more... 0

(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.

Published in Latest News
Written by
Read more... 0

(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.

Published in Latest News
Written by
Read more... 0

 

MARAWI CITY/MANILA — Even as the war against terrorists in Marawi City has resumed after an eight-hour truce, President Rodrigo Duterte met Muslim and Mindanao leaders in Malacanang on June 27 to celebrate the Eid’l Fitr, the end of the Muslim Ramadan.

 

During the rites, Duterte, who showed up after six days of absence, stressed anew his promise to the Filipinos that he would secure lasting peace in Mindanao, adding that Marawi City will rise again from the rubbles of the war on the terrorists.

 

"Sabi ko tatapusin ko talaga ito but one thing I will promise you: I will see to it that Marawi will rise as a prosperous city again," Duterte said

 

In his first public speech in six days, the President vowed to release P20 billion for the rehabilitation of Marawi, a cultural and trade center located at the heart of mainland Mindanao.

 

"I need a big amount because I will rebuild Marawi. Kailangan ko talaga itayo ang Marawi kasi, kung hindi, I will remain forever a kontrabida," said Duterte, the first Mindanaoan president. (I need a big amount because I will rebuild Marawi. I badly need it because if I fail to rebuild Marawi, I will remain a villain forever.)


“To our brothers and sisters who have been affected by the violence and conflict in Mindanao, I assure you that the government is committed to securing just and lasting peace in the island,” President Duterte said in his speech before an audience of Muslim Filipinos.


The Chief Executive said the military and police remain hard at work to ending the crisis with dispatch, especially in Marawi City.

At the same time, Duterte said the government will continue to support Muslim Filipino scholars like Omar O. Sacar and Abdul Aziz A. Banisil to help improve the capabilities of the country's youth.


Sacar and Banisil are now studying at the Imam Muhammad Bin Saud University in Indonesia. 

Duterte hoped that the two will become part of the next generation of leaders who will help develop and advance their localities towards greater prosperity and progress.

Amid the continuing conflict in Marawi, Duterte said the entire nation stands beside the Muslim Filipino community.


“We will be with you as you rebuild your homes and localities, and as you realize your dreams of a better life,” he said.


Also in his address, the President expressed his sentiments over the misguided goals of the Maute group, which he said are against Filipino values and are only geared towards destroying lives and communities.

 

Duterte said it pains him to see Marawi crumble in the hands of extremists who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which he said was trying to bring an unacceptable ideology into the country.


“Ang masakit sa akin, na pumasok a fractured ideology na hindi naman malaman sila mismo kung ano ang ginagawa. All that they want is to kill and destroy. Paano tayo mabubuhay niyan?” he said.

The President called for national unity as he extended his greetings of peace for the Eid’l Fitr celebration.


“So let us unite to achieve our common goals. With our solidarity and faith in each other, let us make Mindanao and the Philippines a land of order, stability, harmony and prosperity,” he said.

 

The siege in Marawi City began a month ago, when the Maute group, led by brothers Omar and Abdullah, captured parts of the city in an alleged bid to establish an ISIS province in Mindanao. More than 450, mostly suspected terrorists have perished in the siege.

 

The clashes erupted after government troops attempted to arrest Abu Sayyaf senior leader Isnilon Hapilon in the city on May 23. Hapilon, known as ISIS' anointed leader in Southeast Asia, evaded arrest and has reportedly escaped after weeks of fierce clashes.

 

The conflict prompted Duterte to put the entire Mindanao under martial law, a declaration facing opposition at the Supreme Court.

Published in Latest News
Written by
Read more... 0

Copyrighted for Philippines Today Tel: (650) 872-3200. Website developed by: SP3Media.com

Top Desktop version