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Mario J. Mallari

AFP okays ceasefire if ASG frees hostages

Saturday, 25 October 2014 00:00 Published in Headlines

Only an unconditional release of all 10 hostages, including two Europeans and a Japanese, believed to be held by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Tawi-Tawi would make the Armed Forces of the Philippines agree to a ceasefire with the terrorist group.
Chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang said the ASG should ensure the safe release of its hostages before the military agrees to a cessation of fighting after it had poured 1000 fresh troops to track down the group which kidnapped the two European bird watchers, a Japanese and seven others.
Catapang’s statement was in response to a query by a school teacher during a public forum.
“That is possible but they need to release all hostages first. The lives of these people (ASG) are going to waste. Let’s help one another in changing them,” Catapang said.
The two European bird watchers were kidnapped in Tawi-Tawi in February 2012 while they were on a cruise off Palawan.
Last Friday, two German hostages –Stefan Viktor Okonek and his wife Herike Diesen — were released by the ASG in Patikul, Sulu.

The German hostages were abducted while on a cruise off Palawan aboard a yacht last April.
But the military claimed the release was the result of an “all-out law enforcement operation” launched by government security forces upon the order of the Special Action Committee, headed by Sulu Vice Gov. Abdusakur Tan II.
Catapang attended yesterday’s consultative meeting at the Sulu Provincial Capitol, attended by 15 municipal mayors, including Jolo town Mayo Hussin Amin. The gathering was organized by the governor, Tan’s father.
In his message, Catapang vowed closer coordination between the military and local officials, saying he will direct military commanders in the area to visit local officials and identify community problems with them.
“We will help identify development projects and other social interventions that will directly address the problems,” Catapang said.
The elder Tan said he will support the move to organize a peace and economic summit that will be attended by different stakeholders including the civil-society organizations.
“We will do our part by working closely with different organizations. We also believe that we can solve these problems by helping each other,” said Tan.

4 holdup men killed in clash with Cavite cops

Saturday, 25 October 2014 00:00 Published in Nation

Four members of a robbery holdup gang were killed after shooting it out with responding policemen in Cavite yesterday.
Senior Supt. Joselito Esquivel Jr., Cavite Provincial Police Office director, said that PO1 Ruben Cruzado, of the Cavite SWAT, was wounded during the shootout at Josephine Subdivision in Barangay Luksuhin, Silang.
Esquivel said that the shootout erupted after a flash alarm was aired among Cavite police units following report of hijacking of a delivery van of Mighty Cigarette along Barangay Maguyam also in Silang.
A concerned resident identified a white Toyota Avanza with licensed plates XTC-386 as the suspects’ vehicles.
Esquivel said that the Cavite police subsequently received information that the said vehicle and the aluminum delivery were sighted at Josephine Subdivision.
“However, said suspects instead traded shots and shoot the responding members of Silang MPS and SWAT team causing instantaneous death of four robbers while the other one manage to escape,” said Esquivel.
Seized from the suspects were one shotgun, a Carbine, a caliber .45 pistol, a caliber .38 revolver and the Toyota Avanza.
The victims — driver and two helpers, were also rescued unharmed. They were placed by the suspects at the backseat of the vehicle with duct tape.

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will deploy 1,300 additional policemen on a rotational basis in identified “problem areas” in Metro Manila where crime rate is high.
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Roxas II ordered the rotational deployment of troops after noting positive results in areas where fresh policemen were dispatched earlier.
“It worked in some instances. This ‘one time, big time’ deployment has had a substantial impact in areas like Pasay, Parañaque, Raxa Bago, Valenzuela and Manila,” Roxas said.
The NCRPO reported a significant improvement in the rate of criminality in the areas where the augmentation troops were deployed on a weekly basis.
The places were previously classified as problematic areas.
Four other problematic areas where the 1,300 additional cops would be deployed on rotational basis were identified. These are Masambong in Quezon City, Sampaloc in Manila, Pasig City and Mandaluyong City.
Roxas specifically ordered NCRPO chief Director Carmelo Valmoria to direct all Metro Manila district directors to analyze their data based on the geographical information system and determine what areas require additional cops.
Roxas said the deployment must be made on a rotational basis, such that the deployed personnel will also be deployed in other problematic areas to avoid “fraternization.”
The DILG earlier had ordered the hiring of additional non-uniformed personnel to handle administrative work at the police stations, including encoding of incident report forms so that all police personnel will be assigned to the field.
He said using the “whole of PNP approach,” these “programmatic” interventions are being utilized to beef up the Philippine National Police’s  anti-criminality campaign.
It will be recalled that four of the five district directors in NCR were ordered relieved due to underperformance.
“We brought in new doctors and nurses. Half of the stations are new, we have new energies, new motivations, we have new staff and assistance coming.  We will make sure that the patient will receive all the medicines and medical interventions needed to ensure recovery,” Roxas said.


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