Month: May 2017

(Updated on May 30, 2017)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ focus continues on safely clearing Marawi of terrorist elements holed up within pockets of the city. The priority of ongoing military action is likewise directed at helping residents who are trapped in the city’s interiors and the recovery of civilians in the hands of the terrorists.

The integration of Joint Operations capabilities and Philippine National Police support significantly degraded the local terrorist group’s (LTG) fighting potentials and its network of supporters and armed members is reduced. The government troops disrupted the LTG’s plan to establish terror cells in Central Mindanao particularly on the grand plan to burn down and bastardize the entire city of Marawi.

Focused military operations are judiciously undertaken to prevent collateral damage at specific targets of resistance to hasten the clearing of Marawi City of terrorist elements.

As of this update, a total of 89 terrorists were killed (42 body counts and 47 confirmed snipers killed). Government forces suffered 24 killed-in-action (AFP-21, PNP-3) and 81 wounded-in-action (AFP-63, PNP-18).

The government troops have rescued and assisted 960 trapped civilian residents since the start of the operations.

Troops on the ground have recovered 91 assorted high-powered firearms, shabu paraphernalia, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and various war materials.

The ongoing operations manifest difficulty among the operating troops due to highly urbanized area with topographically complexity where man-made construction is a dominant feature.

To destroy the remaining LTGs, surgical airstrikes is recommended to continue due to the current battleground where the enemy made their stronghold is complex and dynamic interaction and relationships between its components of terrain, and the population and supporting infrastructure,

“Our forces are working together to hasten the restoration of the rule of law and Marawi’s return to normalcy. We ensure the primacy of Human Rights, Rule of Law and International Humanitarian Law in all conduct of our operations,” said Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, Commander of Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division.

“We count on everyone to unite as one nation and do their patriotic duty for the stability in the Marawi City,” BGen. Bautista said.

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Updated: May 25, 2016 at 9:50pm

Elements of the Joint Task Force ZamPeLan under Brigadier General Rolly Bautista engaged in an armed confrontation with members of the local terrorist group in Marawi City earlier today.

At 9:00am today while clearing two bridges heading toward Bangulo area, operating government troops encountered an estimated 30 heavily armed terrorists.

Thirteen more terrorists were killed after a two-hour armed confrontation with the same troops. Three high-powered firearms were also recovered from the encounter site.

Soldiers continued to conduct assault and deliver artillery fire support to the enemy location, while aerial assets were also deployed to reinforce the troops.

“As of this report, 31 terrorists were already neutralized and 6 high-powered firearms were recovered by the troops,” Brig. Gen. Bautista said.

“Our troops are doing deliberate operations in areas we believe are still occupied or infested with the terrorist’s presence. I specifically ordered our soldiers to locate and destroy these terrorists as soon as possible,” Brig. Gen. Bautista added.

In another area of the city, soldiers also on clearing operations were able to rescue 16 civilians in Barangay Kilala, Marawi City. The rescued civilians were trapped and afraid to go out from where they were hiding. Soldiers escorted them to a safer area after they were rescued.

“The skirmishes and rescue operations today unfortunately resulted to the death of 6 soldiers and wounding of 7 others,” said Lieutenant General Carlito G Galvez, Jr, Commander of the Western Mindanao Command.

“Our soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice in order to ensure that the City be cleared of the terror threat,” Lt. Gen. Galvez said.

“Again we are calling on the people in the community to join us in fighting terrorism by providing us with information that can help our operations in defeating them. We will exert all means possible to crush the remaining Maute members so that the people of Marawi City can go back to their homes the soonest,” Lt. Gen. Galvez said.

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Updated: May 24, 2016 at 8:00pm

As the troops of Joint Task Force Zampelan headed by Brigadier General Rolly Bautista continue to zero-in on Maute members in Marawi City since yesterday afternoon, Government forces were able to take hold of the different areas that were reportedly held by some Maute members since last night.

At three in the afternoon today, the Amai Pakpak Hospital where Maute members accordingly occupied and held captive some seventy-eight civilians (8 patients, 49 construction workers, and 21 hospital staff) was already declared cleared of Maute presence.

Yesterday afternoon, members of Maute allegedly came to the hospital and shot dead one policeman and a security guard before they entered the hospital premises.

According to sources, the militants were bringing along with them two wounded members and sought medical care from the hospital staff upon their arrival. On the process, they also held captive all 78 civilians in the hospital.

In other areas, the Dansalan College in which one of the school buildings was burned last night, was also declared cleared of the Maute threat as of this afternoon after soldiers were able to rescue forty-two teachers of said school who were trapped.

Unfortunately, while in the course of these rescue operations, five soldiers were killed and 31 were wounded while making sure that civilians be brought to safety.

Also, one policeman who was driving a police vehicle was killed yesterday afternoon by the militants.

As of six pm tonight, there were thirteen Maute members who were killed (two cadavers recovered) and an M16 rifle was recovered by the government forces.

Soldiers were also able to recover a number of Improvised Explosive Devices’ components from a safehouse that was previously occupied by the terrorist group.

Earlier this morning, hundreds of residents from Marawi were seen fleeing from the City towards Iligan City, with combined AFP and PNP personnel facilitating their safe and speedy passage.

Likewise, safety procedures like check points/inspections were conducted along routes to ensure that no terrorist elements can mix up with Internally Displaced Persons.

As of this report, soldiers and policemen are still in the area acting on information provided by concerned residents.

“Terrorism problem is something we all have to battle together as one humanity which is strongly against it,” says Lieutenant General Carlito G Galvez, Jr, Commander of the Western Mindanao Command.

“Many people in Marawi and in other areas are denying the presence of a looming terrorism threat in their communities. Sadly, we even received reports that there were even politicians supporting the group in some way.”

“These threat is something that needs to be eliminated and completely destroyed because if left to thrive, it will soon poison our communities and take our freedom and our precious lives away from us.”

“We are therefore calling on all citizens not only those in Marawi but also in other areas of Mindanao to join us in the fight. We have to make noise and disallow these terrorist to destroy our communities. Let us all make a strong stance against this menace before it gets us,” adds Lieutenant General Galvez.

“We would like to pay tribute to our soldiers who perished and made the ultimate sacrifice while delivering their duty to the nation. I am saddened by this loss, but their story will forever be etched in the pages of history. They will be known as heroes who defended Marawi from the claws of terrorism.”

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In the wake of an incident in Marawi City where the presence of a local terrorist group was reported, BGen.Rolly Bautista, Commander of Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division announced that the military and the local government unit in Marawi City are on the top of the situation.

“We have efficiently implemented necessary measures to secure vital installations in Marawi City and prevented the local terrorist group to sow violence in the area. We ensure the continuous protection of the people of Marawi City against lawless elements,” BGen. Bautista said.

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Armed Forces of the Philippines – West Mindanao Command statement as of 9:00PM (May 23, 2017)

The situation in Marawi is under full control of the City Officials. Our soldiers continue to conduct mopping up operations to clear Marawi from remnants of the Maute in order to protect our citizens.

There are data that are coming out from different social media platforms and via text message that are far from the truth and are clearly disinformation to paint an atmosphere of chaos in the city in order to sow fear and panic among the populace at the national level and put the country in deep embarrassment internationally.

We strongly advise the public to be wary of such disinformation and listen only to authorities and respectable media outfits in order to know the truth.

Let us not propagate such disinformation and let us help Marawi City to full recover the soonest time possible.

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An award-winning advocacy film, “Ang Araw sa Likod Mo”, written and directed by Dominic P. Nuesa, is a gripping story of two brothers reunited despite being separated by conflicting beliefs, and the heroism of Filipino soldiers, in the thick of a four-decade old war against terrorism. It stars a talented cast that includes Ping Medina, Bong Cabrera and Mike Liwag.

Inspired by the real stories of Special Operations soldiers in the country known as the Philippine Scout Rangers, “Ang Araw sa Likod Mo” is an intense film filled with raw action that introduces brothers Jamiluddin (Cabrera) and Omar (Liwag) along with Sgt. Benjie Calayan (Medina) within the terrorist infested island in Southern Philippines. It is notable in its research-based authenticity.

“Ang Araw sa Likod Mo” (The Sun Behind You) is a full-length film feature debut and has been nominated in the upcoming prestigious Nice International Awards (2017) this May 20 in the most coveted categories such as Best Director – Dominic Carlo P. Nuesa, Best Lead Actor – Mike Liwag, Best Supporting Actor – Ping Medina, Best Editing – JavierAbola and Best Sound – Greg Rodriguez III.

Produced by Nuesa’s An Earth Below Productions, “Ang Araw sa Likod Mo” has already won five international awards – Best Film in Auckland International Film Festival, Global Award Winner at the Europe-based ARFF (Around Films International Film Festival), and Awards of Recognition for Feature Length, Best Actor (Bong Cabrera) and Best Supporting Actor (Mike Liwag) at the Accolade Global Film Competition in the United States.

Opening very soon in local theaters nationwide on May 24, a major part of the proceeds from the box-office receipts of “Ang Araw sa Likod Mo” will be donated to Help Educate and Rear Orphans (HERO) Foundation, Inc. The foundation aims to uplift the families of soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines who were killed or incapacitated in the line of duty by providing educational assistance to their children to obtain a college degree or vocational course. In return, this will help them have a wider range of opportunities in their future and our society.By taking care of their children, HERO Foundation salutes the Filipino soldiers for their sacrifices.

An avid supporter of the Foundation, Director Dominic Nuesa was inspired to tell their stories into film.

“Ang Araw sa Likod Mo” is a testament to heroism and sacrifice, and challenges us to be more knowledgeable and understanding when trying to make sense of violence and national security. Fighting for a cause, or making a stand, one eventually must sacrifice something and ultimately asks if it was worth it.

A pioneering fusion of filmmaking and advocacy at its best, “Ang Araw sa Likod Mo” is part of this generation’s must-see in an emerging genre of relevant films that aims to elevate the youth’s awareness about the complexities of the Muslim conflict.

Check the film’s trailer at this link.

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The Department of Trade and Industry launched the NEGOSYO Center, an office to serve the needs of micro, small and medium enterprises in the province of Lanao del Sur from business permits to products and services showcasing, in Marawi City on May 19, 2017.

MSME advocate lawmaker Senator Bam Aquino graced the event. The senator’s presence is an indication of the government’s strong commitment in building confidence among the constituents that Marawi City is at par with other cities in furthering inclusive socio-economic development.

“The opening of the NEGOSYO Center is a testament that peaceful market access is in place in Lanao del Sur, a result of our successful collaboration and partnership with various sectors in the fight against lawlessness and terrorism that bring challenges to business owners,” Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito D. Bautista, Commander of Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division said.

“In the occasion of the launching of NEGOSYO Center in Marawi City and for the rest of Lanao del Sur, I would like to assure you of the full support of the Philippine Army in providing the necessary measures in ensuring peaceful market access and linkages of our micro, small and medium enterprises in their services delivery to our countrymen in this province,” BGen. Bautista said.

In order for Lanao del Sur to pursue economic growth, constituents should be secured and peace should be ensured for the business community. Marawi City can be a good template where soldiers and local government units fight side by side against peace spoilers and lawless elements that may bring challenges to peaceful operations and market access for business owners, according to BGen. Bautista.

“Marawi City in the province of Lanao del Sur has an important role in the history of our beloved country. Marawi is a source of inspiration for unity and bravery against foreign intruders. It is one of the few territories in our country that stood strong against the Spaniards and held its stronghold to drive away the invaders, values that are truly worth emulating,” BGen. Bautista said.

“Your Philippine Army in Lanao del Sur is sincerely working to the best of our abilities in fulfilling our mandate in serving the people and securing the land. We are one with the aim of NEGOSYO Center in providing better and more efficient services to business owners,” BGen. Bautista said.

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Kuta Sang-an, Labangan Zamboanga del Sur, May 16, 2017- Two New People’s Army (NPA) rebels voluntarily surrendered to 53rd Infantry Battalion, 102nd Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army on May 16, 2017 in Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur.

According to reports from the ground, the two NPA members identified as Rey Anthony Dungog a.k.a. Mark and Alvin Calibo a.k.a. Jason belong to Mindanao Regional Guerrilla Unit, Western Mindanao Regional Commitee. Dungog and Calibo were unarmed when they surrendered.

Due to relentless Focused Military Operations of government forces, the surrenderer’s group was forced to be always on the run to escape. Lack of food supply and decreasing mass base support contributed to the weakening of their will to fight.

Dungog and Calibo said they realized that joining the “revolution” only made them suffer and experience hardship, pains, and agony of long time dislocation from their families.

According to Brigadier General Rolly D. Bautista, Commander of the 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army, the NPA in Zamboanga peninsula and elsewhere are on the run and they have realized that fighting the government is useless.

Brig. Gen. Bautista said the government offer rehabilitation programs for NPA members who will surrender and come back to the folds of the law.

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