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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

ISIS owns up daring prison raid in Philippines

Members of the Khilafah Islamiyah Movement and its shadowy group Ghuraba (strangers) train their fighters in Lanao del Sur province in the Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao in this screen shot from the propaganda video of Islamic State in the Philippines.

MARAWI CITY – The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the daring raid on the provincial jail here that freed 30 prisoners, including 8 members and their wives.
“Fighters from Islamic State stormed a prison in Marawi City in Philippines on Saturday, south of the country, and were able to free 30 prisoners and seizing weapons,” Amaq news agency reported.
It added that “30 fighters carried out the attack and were able to release 30 detainees, including fighters from the Islamic State and their wives. The fighters of the attack and all the detainees, who were freed, arrived to safe places without injuries.”
On August 27, suspected members of the Khilafah Islamiyah Movement (KIM), joined by Butig-based jihadists in Lanao del Sur, stormed the prison and authorities said the escapees included 8 detained jihadists.
All escaped jihadists have been identified by authorities as Hashim Balawag Maute, Abdul Jabbar Tominaman Macabading, Jamil Batoa Amerul, Muhammad Sianodin Mulok and Omar Khalil; and Hafidah Romato Maute, Norhanna Balawag Maute, who are sisters of the Maute group leaders Abdullah and Omar Maute; and Nasifa Pundug believed to be wife of a senior KIM member. They are all members of the Islamic State Ranao.
Security forces arrested the jihadists on August 22 after stopping their van at a road block in Lumbayanague town near the town of Butig while attempting to transport improvised explosives and weapons. They also admitted during interrogation that they were on a mission to bomb civilian targets in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.
Both KIM and Maute group pledged allegiance to the ISIS. (Mindanao Examiner)

Zambo vice mayor’s son, 2 others nabbed for drug possession

Photos from the Facebook account of Zamboanga city Mayor Beng Climaco show suspected crystal meth seized from three people, one of them a son of Zamboanga City Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde.

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Police have arrested 3 people, including a son of Zamboanga City Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde for alleged possession of illegal drugs at a checkpoint here.
The 18-year old Oliver Iturralde and his companions are facing drug charges after policemen seized 8 sachets of crystal meth or shabu from their motorcycle late Tuesday.
The drugs were also presented by the police to Mayor Beng Climaco, who passed by the village of Divisoria.
Climaco, apparently unaware that one of those arrested is Iturralde’s son, congratulated the policemen and even posted the photos in her Facebook account and wrote this message: “PNP Station 5 with Bgy. Chair Natividad conducts checkpoint where Drugs were discovered. Drug campaign intensified in Zamboanga City with the support of the Barangays. Evidence presented! Police in Action! Vaya con Dios.” 
Police said the trio underwent a drug test and are all facing criminal charges. The drugs were allegedly found hidden inside cell phones in their bag. (Mindanao Examiner)

Duterte condoles with families of slain soldiers

President Rodrigo Duterte condoles with families of slain soldiers and visited wounded troops in Zamboanga City on Wednesday, August 31, 2010. (Photos by Michael Rey Baniquet)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte flew to Zamboanga City on Wednesday to meet with the families of soldiers slain in fierce clashes with Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Sulu province where security forces are battling the jihadist group linked to the Islamic State.
Duterte, accompanied by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Philippine military chief General Ricardo Visaya, promised to help the widows and their children – providing them with scholarship program and government aid – to cope with their losses.
The military said 15 soldiers were killed and over a dozen more wounded in the fighting.
Duterte branded the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist group after one of the soldiers had been beheaded during the clashes in Sulu, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.
“I am sorry that this has to happen. I do not want it happen again kung maari lang at saka may pakiusap ako at kung hindi lang man tayo magkaintindihan eh huwag mo naman ganoon mga style na sirain mo ang katawan ng tao, wala sa akin yan, eh lalaki tayo,” he said.
The President was referring to the mutilation of the soldier believed to be Pfc. Jison Falcasantos.
“At may mga tao na ayaw…they don’t give maskin konting pag-asa lang na magkaroon tayo ng kapayapaan. I don’t have any problem with Nur, we have agreed in principle na mag-usap para to resolve the conflict history of the Mindanao,” he said, referring to Misuari, the chieftain of the former rebel group Moro National Liberation Front, who he spoke on the phone before coming to Zamboanga.
“Wala na akong problema sa iba eh, pero may problema ako sa Abu Sayyaf because they are terrorists and their killings, putulan ng ulo sa harap ng mundo sibilyan o sundalo, you know I hate to say this, ang lola ko Maranao, Moro kaya every time na may bakbakan malalaman mo dito, nasasaktan talaga ako,” Duterte said.
Duterte also spoke about the brief history of Muslims in the Philippines and blamed Spanish colonizers for the unrest in Mindanao. He also offered the Muslims a federal state in the country if it would bring peace and stability in the restive region.
“Gawain natin itong Pilipinas na magustuhan ng lahat, walang nalulugi. Ngayon kung mag-usap tayo at gusto talaga ng mga kapatid natin dito sa Moro side gusto nila Federal system eh di okay. Ano kasalanan natin na magpapatayan tayo na walang…we know, I know and ang Christians know na dito sa Mindanao nauna ang Moro dito na relihiyon Muslim by 100 years…bago dumating ang Kristiyanismo, but that alone hindi natin kasalanan, ang nag-umpisa nito ang mga Espaniol na nagpunta dito 1571 they landed in Leyte bringing their religion Christian and then ang Amerikano cultivated Mindanao, and tapos sabi come to Mindanao because it is the Land of the Promise, anong kasalanan namin?,” he asked in front of the families of the widows and soldiers.
The country was also colonized by the United States after the Spaniards.
Duterte said the widows’ family would be enrolled on the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) so they can receive financial aid every month, and ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government to employ the wives of the slain soldiers if they do not have any job.
“Kaya kayong mga pamilya automatic yan, out of endearments o makita sa pagmamahal ng isang bayani, enrol kayong automatic mga biyuda sa 4Ps then I have directed itong DILG, hanapin lang ninyo kung saan ang yun regional office at may directive ako diyan.”
“Yun biyuda tanggapin sa gobyerno isang empleyado at yun lahat ng anak ninyo, i-enrol lang ninyo at ako ang magbayad o paalamin niyo lang ako o sabihin mo doon sa eskwelahan sabi ni Presidente Duterte mag-enrol kami dito tapos paalamin mo siya at doon ka mag-kubra sa kanya…state colleges or schools,” he said.
Duterte then met with the bereaved families and condoled with the m and embraced the widows. He even kissed a photographed of one of the slain Muslim soldiers in front of his family and saluted at the flag-draped coffins.
Security officials also briefed Duterte on the progress of the military operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, but details of the closed-door meeting were not released to the media.
But Duterte said he spoke with Misuari - who is currently in hiding in Sulu after authorities implicated him in deadly attacks by his followers in Zamboanga City in 2013 - wanted to meet with him in Malaysia and resume the peace talks with the government on the condition that the meeting would be brokered by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to which the MNLF is a regular observer in the influential body.
Duterte has ordered police and military to allow Misuari to move freely and without fear of being arrested.
“Well, if there is a warrant of arrest all I have to do is not implement it against him because if you arrest Misuari, you place him under the custody of the police diyan sa...and he dies for whatever reason, kumpromiso na tayo. Then there’s not gonna be a...mahirapan na tayo mag…He is the only known leader who has the influence and the structure, nobody else,” Duterte said.
“I told him, Nur, I have no intention of detaining you or placing you in the custody of the government. You can simply walk out there, ask any soldier and police to escort you. Kung saan ako, mag-usap tayo,” he added.
There was no immediate statement from Zamboanga City officials led by Mayor Beng Climaco who are pursuing the criminal charges against Misuari and all those involved in the siege. (Mindanao Examiner)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

ARMM holds ports management authority summit in Zamboanga

ZAMBOANGA CITY - To increase the efficiency and the capacity of port terminals in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Regional Ports Management Authority (RPMA) conducted a ports management summit here on Tuesday.

With the theme ‘Collaboration and Information Sharing as Key Factors to Promote Development Initiatives in ARMM Ports,’ this year’s summit is a maiden flagship initiative of the RPMA-ARMM.

Ersan Imban Warad, general manager of RPMA-ARMM, said the conduct of the summit was aimed at soliciting diverse regional platforms from various investors, port operators, stakeholders and port users to explore potential business opportunities, discuss management strategies and development initiatives in the ports sector.

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said the years before were challenging times for the ports authority as it only earned P9.4 million in 2013. “But in the years that followed, our good governance agenda paved the way for reforms. We sought out the problems and we worked hard to find solutions,” Gov. Hataman said.

The authority was restructured and made sure that its roadmap is aligned with the region’s reform agenda.

Arthur Nogas, harbor master of the Philippine Ports Authority-Zamboanga City and one of the presenters during the summit, discussed the best practices on ports management and operation that may be applied in the region.

Engr. Jun Macalawan, supervising investment specialist of the Regional Board of Investments-ARMM, meanwhile, tackled the investment opportunities in the region. As of August this year, the authority generated P5.7 million income from its seaport operations.

“As we move forward, we will continue our efforts on information sharing and collaboration with our clients. The reforms we implement in our ports are only as good as their continued engagement,” Gov. Hataman added.

During the summit, the authority distributed equipment for the various base and sub-ports in Jolo and Siasi in Sulu; Bongao, Mapun, Sitangkai and Sibutu in Tawi-Tawi; and Lamitan City and Maluso in Basilan.

The participants confirmed their solid commitment in achieving the vision of the regional government based on safe, reliable ports facilities and secure sea transportation, protection of the maritime environments and the promotion of the rules of national and international maritime law.

“We are continuously working to develop safe, integrated and sustained seaports network in the ARMM,” Warad said. (Bureau of Public Information)

The Mindanao Examiner Radio August 30, 2016

You are listening to Mindanao Examiner Radio - also broadcast daily from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on RPN-dxXX 1008 kHz covering Western Mindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and Central Mindanao.

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15 soldiers, 27 Sayyafs killed in clashes in Southern Philippines

Caskets containing the bodies of slain army soldiers arrived Tuesday,  August 30, 2016, in Zamboanga City from Sulu province. (Mindanao Examiner Photo - Ely Dumaboc) 

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Philippine military on Tuesday said 15 soldiers were killed in fierce clashes with Abu Sayyaf militants in Sulu, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao.
It said at least 12 more army soldiers were wounded in Monday fighting in Patikul town, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf which pledged allegiance with the Islamic State. Military forces continue its assault, firing artillery on suspected lairs of the militant group blamed for the spate of ransom of kidnappings across the Malaysian border.
Philippine military chief Ricardo Visaya said the “fifteen soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice while twelve others were wounded following series of intense skirmishes in Sulu. As we gaze at the national flag that flies at half-mast anew, soldiers knew that one too many heroes among them has again offered his life - that others may live. Much as every soldier, sailor, marine or airman knows that laying down one's life is all part and parcel of their job, we in the AFP vow to pursue this battle to conclusion.”
Among the military casualties was an army officer, Lt. Ernan Gusto, and most of those killed were members of the 32nd Infantry Battalion, ambushed by militants in Patikul. The soldiers - sent to the province to fight the Abu Sayyaf still holding nearly 2 dozen Malaysian and Indonesian hostages – were not familiar with the town’s terrain and virtually walked into their brutal demise where over a hundred Abu Sayyaf gunmen were battling security forces since last week in Patikul and Talipao towns.
One of the slain soldiers, Pfc. Jison Falcasantos, was beheaded by militants and even sent cell phone message to his family in Zamboanga City to say that they chopped off the head of the infantryman. Using Falcasantos’ cell phone, one militant said: “Patay na ang son mo. Wala ang ulo niya, pinutulan na naman kahapon.”
Falcasantos’ family replied: “Wala kang kunsensya.” But the unidentified militant went on to say: “Talaga, wala kaming kunsensya dahil nagpunta sila dito sa lugar namin, pati ikaw puputulan din kita.”
The Western Mindanao Command said over 2 dozen militants had been killed in the clashes, but troops only recovered at least 10 cadavers and one of them was the body of Mohammad Said alias Amah Maas, an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader blamed for the beheading of Canadian hostages John Ridsdel and Robert Hall just this year after their families failed to raise P600 million ransoms for their freedom.
There was no military report on the fate of the hostages, including Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, who was kidnapped last year in Samal Island in Davao del Norte province along with Ridsdel and Hall.
President Duterte ordered security forces to destroy the Abu Sayyaf following the recent beheading of a Filipino hostage Patrick James Almodovar after his family failed to pay P1 million ransom.
Duterte said negotiators had paid P50 million ransoms to the Abu Sayyaf for the safe release of Sekkingstad, but the militants demanded P250 million more. He did not say where the ransom came from.
The Western Mindanao Command said among those killed in the fighting was Mohammad Said, alias Amah Maas who was an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader tagged by the military as involved in the beheading of 2 Canadian hostages – John Ridsdel and Robert Hall – just this year.
Sulu Governor Totoh Tan has ordered social workers to look into the welfare of civilians who fled their villages and to ensure their safety. (With a report from Ely Dumaboc.)

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Mindanao Examiner Radio August 29, 2016

You are listening to Mindanao Examiner Radio - also broadcast daily from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on RPN-dxXX 1008 kHz covering Western Mindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and Central Mindanao.

For radio advertisements and sponsorship, please call 062-9925480 or 082-2960658 or text 0995-5202358 and 0947-4823453. For more details, please visit

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Jihadists storm Philippine jail, spring 8 terrorists

MARAWI CITY – Armed jihadists stormed a provincial jail late Friday and freed 8 local terrorists, including three women, who were recently captured transporting explosives in Lanao del Sur in southern Philippines.
The raiders, believed to be members of the Khilafah Islamiya Movement, fled in several vehicles after the daring attack on the jail in Marawi City. One informant said as many as 7 vehicles with heavily-armed men stormed the jail and disarmed the guards.
More than a dozen other prisoners took advantage of the attack and also bolted jail near an army base. Jail officials were not immediate available to shed light on the escape of the prisoners.
Security forces captured the terrorists who are members of a jihadist group operating in Lanao del Sur tagged as behind the series of terrorism. Officials said army soldiers and policemen intercepted the group while transporting explosives in a van in the village of Nanagun in Lumbayanague town.
Troops seized from them two pipe bombs, two fragmentation grenades, one improvised explosive assembled from an 81mm mortar, two .45-caliber pistols and electronic triggering devices.
Officials said those arrested also gave out different names to mislead authorities, but army and police interrogators later found out that all those intercepted are members and relatives of Abdullah Maute, who founded the Dawlah Islamiya or “Islamic State” in southern Philippines.
Interrogation reports revealed the gang was plotting to bomb civilian targets in the volatile region, according to the military’s Western Mindanao Command.
Just recently, security forces killed 3 members of another jihadist group called Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines (AKP) in Daliao village in nearby Sarangani’s Maasim town and troops recovered improvised explosives from the slain militants. Both the AKP and Maute group pledged allegiance with the Islamic State or Iraq and Syria and pledged to support each other in fighting the Philippine government. (Mindanao Examiner)