Contrary to media reports, it is not the president who is hot-blooded in declaring martial law in Mindanao. The Save Sulu Movement urges the President to declare it in six of 19 municipalities of Sulu. This is to suppress the terror acts of the Abu Sayyaf rebels. “I need time to ponder on it deeply and it is not only a political decision, it is an emotional decision. You do not tinker with the…powers of the state,” Du30 replied.
Youtube video by; News5Everywhere
[VIDEO]: President Du30 on declaring “Martial law” in Mindanao
The Save Sulu Movement pointed out that the insurgents continue to instill terror despite the President’s declaration of a state of lawlessness in Sulu. The six towns allegedly serving as Abu Sayyaf sanctuaries in the province are Patikul, Indanan, Parang, Maimbung, Talipao, and Kalingalan Caluang.
Corruption Blamed for Insurgency
The Abu Sayyaf operates with the seed money from Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network. They are responsible for kidnap for ransom of foreigners and locals for decades. At least 19 foreigners and six Filipino are still held, hostages. The Abu Sayyaf has eventually used the support of local communities. Their transactions involve millions of dollars in ransom and connivance with corrupt local officials. This is to defy the long-term military operations.
Media Sound Bites
Octavio Dinampo of the Save Sulu Movement challenges the government to investigate local officials in cahoots with the Abu Sayyaf. He expressed his disgust with local officials taking a share of ransom money paid by victims’ families. His group even criticized the Armed Forces Chief Eduardo Año and the president’s pronouncements for crushing the terrorist rebels. They are only good for media sound bites. he said.
Firm Call for Martial Law
The group is fed-up with the no-ransom policy when everyone knows too well that ransom is actually paid. It is even brokered by the local government officials. Members call on the Senate to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the palpable connivance between the local officials and the Abu Sayyaf. On top of that, they also recommend to Congress to criminalize the giving and payment ransom. These can only be implemented properly when these troubled areas are under martial law or military rule due to the current situation.
By: Elena Grace Flores
President Rodrigo Duterte’s sympathy towards Abbu Sayyaf is understandable as per his example on the existence of ISIS which was the result of hatred towards the U.S.’s bombing Iraq during the time of U.S. President George W. Bush. He does not want to repeat the mistakes of the Americans when they killed both the culprits and innocents with survivors armed with hate to carry out ISIS’s terrorist attacks – when dealing with the local insurgents. However, he seems to forget that his now becoming bloody war on drugs will also result to hate and we can only guess the rest. Read his view on this:
Rappler wrote: President Rodrigo Duterte says ISIS will not flourish in the Philippines as the situation in Mindanao is not the same as in the Middle East MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – If strongmen Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi were still alive, the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS or the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq) “would not be what it is today.” This is the belief of President Rodrigo Duterte, which he shared in a speech after a power plant inspection in Buluan, Maguindanao, on Friday, July 22. While discussing the Communist Party of the Philippines, Duterte shifted the topic and criticized the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, which paved the way for the capture of Saddam and his execution for crimes against humanity in 2006. “Sa totoo lang, kung hindi nila pinatay si Saddam, hindi sila pumasok; hindi nila pinatay si Gaddafi, hindi ganoon ngayon ang [ISIS]…ISIS is a product of desperation,” he said. [Frankly speaking, if they didn’t kill Saddam, they didn’t enter the picture, they didn’t kill Gaddafi, ISIS would not be what it is today…ISIS is a product of desperation.) Duterte is not alone in this observation. US presidential candidate Donald Trump had said the same thing about Saddam. Saddam was Iraq’s president from 1979 until he was deposed in 2003. His security forces killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis during his regime and ordered genocides to keep his grip on power.
It added: Duterte also spoke about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose crackdown on dissenters eventually led to civil strife in his country.
“Una pumutok Iraq, tapos Syria. Tapos itong Assad na ito, binobomba ang mga tao niya ng gasolina tapos, bata, sunog lahat isang community. Ito ngayon mas malala pa, kasi wala na eh, na-desperado. Kaya ganoon, ISIS everywhere,” he added. (First, Iraq blew up, then Syria. Then this Assad guy started bombing his own people using gasoline, then children, an entire community went up in flames. Now, the situation got worse because they got desperate. So now, ISIS is everywhere.) Duterte said the situation in the Middle East, however, cannot compare to the Philippines where parts of Mindanao, he added, are reportedly “contaminated with ISIS.” “Iyong ISIS doon [sa Middle East]…masakit ang dinaanan nila. The Middle East was divided by America, France and Britain. Sila lang ang naghati-hati niyan….Eh bakit man tayo magsunod [sa ISIS] na wala man tayong inapi-api na tao dito, wala naman tayong binomba [na nga lugar]…Sino ba ang papayag niyan?” [The ISIS in the Middle East…went through a painful experience. The Middle East was divided by America, France, and Britain. They were the ones who divided it….Why would we follow [ISIS] when the people here were not as oppressed, we didn’t bomb their communities….Who will allow that?) Duterte had earlier approved a peace roadmap which seeks to usher in peace and development by addressing the issue on the Bangsamoro and resumption of peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF). In June, ISIS urged its followers in Southeast Asia to fight for the terror group either in Syria or in the Philippines, based on a video that the Philippine military dismissed as “propaganda.”
By: Elena Grace Flores
Abu Sayyaf Group or ASG recently kidnapped seven Indonesian sailors in the Sulu Sea as per the announcement of Indonesian authorities announced the incident that the Armed Forces of the Philippines just recently confirmed.
AFP’s Western Mindanao Command o WesMinCom two motorized boats with armed men intercepted the Indonesian’s tugboat while en route to Indonesia in the Sulu Sea around 11 a.m. last June 22. Seven out of the 13 crewmen on board the Indonesia tugboat were taken as hostahes by the rebels.
The boat’s captain managed to called his wife in Indonesia to let her know that the kidnappers were asking 20 million Malaysian ringgit for his release. GMA reported that Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi firmly said: “We absolutely do not tolerate this. The government will try all options to free the hostages,”. Since March, already 17 Indonesians had been kidnapped by Abbu Sayyaf and all had been released.
It is not clear however how they were released and if ransoms are paid – since Canadians refused paying ransoms in fear that their citizens can become easy targets that resulted to the beheading of 2 Canadians. Contrary to that, the previous Malaysian hostages were released after their government paid the agreed ransom. Negotiations are underway with the help of Philippine President Duterte for the one remaining Norwegian captive – after they released one Filipino.
By: Elena Grace Flores
Not all Malaysians consented into the government or any private groups paying the Abbu Sayyaf for ransom of the four hostages – hence raised fears that the ransom payment would make them the favorite targets of kidnappers. The statement of their Home Minister was indeed right saying; “If we were to pay ransom, it could be seen as us condoning such acts of violence. We can see a trend from this latest abduction whereby out of the 10 people onboard, the Myanmar nationals and Indonesians were released. “Only the Malaysians were taken,” he rightfully said.
The controversy actually discloses the somewhat process of this international “kidnapping” trade. The Malaysians implicated that officers from both sides got a share of the ransom money. Naturally, the mayor of Jolo, Sulu, Hussin Amin, was not even surprised with the allegation. He seems to have a personal knowledge that some military officers in Sulu are in connivance with the Abu Sayyaf group.
Abu Sayyaf has been able to elude government forces no matter how powerful the military operations were launched against them – simply because the families of the insurgents have evolved over time with relatives from both the Filipino military and the Malaysian providers. They would know beforehand what comes next in the negotiations before it actually happens. Since the Malaysian government never resisted on the ransom payment and outgoing President Aquino also kept his silence on the issue, perhaps both leaders are also in cahoots with each other.
By: Elena Grace Flores
130 million Pesos was raised by families and friends of the kidnapped Malaysian sailors who were taken forcibly by the Abbu Sayyaf Group last April. However, only P100 million ranson for the four Malaysians reached the kidnappers. Rumors had it that government officials from both Malaysia and the Philippines kept the remaining 30 million to be divided among themselves as commissions. Regardless, brothers Wong Teck Kang, 31, and Teck Chii, 29; their cousin Johnny, 21; and co-worker Wong Hung Sing, 34 were all safe and now back to Malaysia.
The abdusction took place off Sabah then they were released in Jolo, Sulu, on June after a lengthy negotiations with the rebels led by a certain Apo Mike. The news became a sensation in Malaysia but still have to be absorbed by the Philippine media. The lump sum was believed to be coursed through a special branch of the Malaysian police and given to local officials in Sulu before the hand off to the ASG happened. It was reported that Malaysia knew that there’s a P30 million kickback by officials from both countries but this has not been confirmed by the local negotiators in Sulu.
The deputy Prime Minister justified the action by saying RM12 million was not paid to the kidnappers but to “legally and religiously sanctioned” organizations and agencies in the Philippines. However, religious organizations involved were not identified but a Malaysian official confirmed that the RM12 million that was handed over to the Special Branch was given as a form of contribution to certain organizations in the Philippines.” As per The Manila Times; there is credence to allegations by Jolo Mayor Hussin Amin that some local officials, probably including the military, may have colluded with the ASG, which recently beheaded Canadian Robert Hall. Another Canadian, John Ridsdel, was executed by the group in April when the group’s ransom demand was ignored- so as not to tolerate this insurgent activity that will put many travellers’ life at risk.