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Sulu Province News October 2011

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Terror suspect escapes assault in Sulu

By Bong Garcia/AP/Sunnex


ZAMBOANGA -- A key Southeast Asian terror suspect in Mindanao escaped air and ground assault launched by the Philippine military on Sunday, but five of his comrades were killed, officials said.

The attack Sunday targeted the lair of Abu Sayyaf leader Umbra Jumdail, alias Doctor Abu Pula, in Mount Tukay, Karawan village, Indanan town in Sulu province, where primary target Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, was temporarily hiding.

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Marwan and Jumdail, however, escaped along with two other Asian militants and dozens of Abu Sayyaf fighters, said Second Marine Brigade commander Brigadier General Romeo Tanalgo.

He said five Abu Sayyaf bandits, including three sub-leaders, were killed during the assault, which "was borne out of intelligence activities."

The slain bandit leaders were identified as Ben Wagas, Apo Mike and Abu Abad, while the followers killed in the attack were Said Madarang and a certain Andag.

"These offensives keep them on the run, disorganized and unable to plot attacks," military spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos said.

Washington has offered a $5 million reward for the capture or killing of Marwan, a US-trained Malaysian engineer long hunted by US and Philippine authorities for his alleged role in past terror attacks.

Marwan, who is believed to have provided bomb-making training and funds to Abu Sayyaf bandits for years, is a key associate of Indonesian militant Umar Patek, who was captured last January 25 in Pakistan's garrison town of Abbottabad, where Osama bin Laden was killed in a highly secretive US commando attack four months later.

Aside from Marwan and Jumdail, the troops in Sulu were also after Singaporean militant Muhammad Ali Bin Al Rahman, also known as Muawiya, and an Indonesian who has been identified only as Qayyim.

Both Muawiya and Qayyim are believed to be affiliated with the Southeast Asian militant network Jemaah Islamiyah, officials said.

Jumdail has given refuge to the foreign militants in his jungle encampment for years, said Sulu police operations chief Amil Baanan.

New intelligence indicated that the three terror suspects have been hiding in the heavily forested Karawan hinterland with about 30 Abu Sayyaf militants, prompting the military to order the assaults.

After the assault, Marines found three rifles, a pistol and camouflage uniforms that were abandoned by the militants.

"The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) has pooled its assets for the conduct of this operation right into the terrorist lair at sunrise. The ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) camp is situated in the jungles of Indanan," Tanalgo said.

"What we are doing is part of our mandate in defeating the ASG and JI as embodied in the AFP Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan," he added.

He said the group of Jumdail and Marwan has standing warrants of arrest for various atrocities they have committed in the past.

He said the group was responsible for the series of bombing, extortion and kidnapping incidents in the province of Sulu, specifically the 2009 International Committee of the Red Cross personnel and 2008 kidnapping of Rosalie Lao, a trader.

Tanalgo assured that the military will exert all efforts to protect the people of Sulu and its future generations from the perils of Abu Sayyaf.

US-backed Philippine offensives have considerably weakened the Abu Sayyaf, one of at least four Muslim insurgent groups operating in the south.

About 380 of its fighters remain at large in the jungles of Jolo island in Sulu, an impoverished Muslim region about 950 kilometers south of Manila, and in nearby Basilan and outlying islands.

The militants have turned to kidnappings for ransom for survival and are believed to be holding a number of hostages, including an American, two Malaysians, an Indian and a Japanese.

3 ASG members dead in Sulu air strike

By abs-cbnNEWS.com


MANILA, Philippines - Three alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf died in an encounter with government forces in Indanan, Sulu around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, the military said.

A military report said troops from the Philippine Marines encountered heavily armed Abu Sayyaf men at Mt. Tukay in Barangay Karawan, supposedly led by Akmadal Jumdail alias “Doc Abu”.

The group is also allegedly coddling Jemaah Islamiyah bomb-maker alias “Marwan”.

The military launched air strikes on the alleged lair of the lawless elements.

Troops on the ground were also able to recover two M-16 rifles, one M-14 rifle, several ammos and a caliber-45 pistol. – from a report by RJ Rosalado, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga

Gov't troops kill 3 Abu Sayyaf militants in Sulu

By Philstar.com


COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Xinhua) - Three Abu Sayyaf militants were killed as they clashed with government forces this morning in the southern province of Sulu, police and military said.

Chief Superintendent Bienvenido Latag, regional police director in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said that the fighting between the soldiers and Abu Sayyaf militants erupted in Indanan town as early as at 06:30 a.m. local time.

"The bodies of slain militants have been recovered along with their weapons," said Latag.

Randolph Cabangbang, spokesperson of the military's Western Mindanao Command, said the three killed militants wore assorted military-style uniforms.

The Abu Sayyaf, active in southern Philippines, was founded in the 1990s and has perpetrated a number of high-profile attacks, including kidnapping, bombing and beheading. The Philippine military estimates the group, which has links with external terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda, currently has less than 400 members.

Gov't probes Basilan, Sulu execs' ties with lawless groups

By Philstar.com


MANILA, Philippines - Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said today that law enforcement agencies are checking reports that several local officials in Sulu and Basilan provinces are helping members of the Abu Sayyaf group.


Robredo said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has received unconfirmed reports that at least 40 local officials, from the municipal and barangay levels, are working in cahoots with the bandit group in the two provinces.


Robredo said during the interview that based on the information he received, there seems to be "tolerance on the part of local officials" in kidnapping cases involving the Abu Sayyaf group.


The interior chief said that they are currently looking for proof, which may be used in the future for the filing of cases against the bandits and their supporters in the two provinces.


A report by ABS-CBN News yesterday night, quoting Robredo, said that the Department of the Interior and Local Government already has a list of officials allegedly coddling Abu Sayyaf members.


Robredo was quoted in the report as saying: “We should be worried. Ang control sa pulis na kay mayor. Ang pera ng pamahalaan na kay kapitan at kay mayor. Sigurado ako pati ang impormasyon.”


The report said Robredo admitted that enforcing the law in the two provinces was difficult because Abu Sayyaf bandits, Moro rebels and even local officials are blood-related.


Robredo today went to Basilan and Zamboanga Sibugay, along with Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman and Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles, to check on the condition of thousands of residents affected by the clashes between the military and lawless groups since last week.

BFAR extends equipment to Sulu

By NONOY E. LACSON


JOLO, Sulu, Philippines – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) had formally launched here on Sunday, the Agrikulturang Pilipino or Agri-Pinoy program of the national government, extending about P15 million worth of fishing facilities and farm input materials to the marginal fishermen and sea farmers of Sulu.

BFAR Director Atty. Asis Perez formally turned over to Rep. Habib Tupay Loong (1st District, Sulu) on Sunday, 24 units of payao (fish shed), 48 units of pump boats complete with 16 horse power engine and seaweed farm input materials coasting the agency about P15 million.

During the turn-over rites, Dir. Perez lauded Rep. Loong for his untiring works and initiatives which have led BFAR to grant P15 million for the projects drawn under the Agri-Pinoy program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

During the occasion, Perez assisted by Rep. Loong and Gov. Abdusakur Tan distributed the payaos coupled with pump boats to the town mayors of Hadji Panglima Tahil, Indanan, Jolo, Maimbung, Pangutaran, Parang, Patikul and Talipao – all belongs to the 1st congressional district of Sulu.

The officials also distributed seaweeds farm inputs to coastal sea farmers of the 1st congressional district as a supplemental support to their livelihood.

Agri-Pinoy is the overall strategic framework of DA that incorporates principles and practices that optimize the development of Philippine resources, natural and human, to achieve Philippine goals in agriculture and fisheries, and contribute to national development, Perez explained during his opening statement at the turn over rites held at the Jolo port here.

Rep. Loong during his speech also said that in order to meet the growing needs of a growing Philippine population, “we need to continually increase productivity to insure sustainability, both ecologically and economically.”

Agri-Pinoy’s center on sustainable agricultural and fisheries principles and practices takes into account the limited bio-physical carrying capacity of our country, while investing to expand the capacity of our human resources.

The challenge is now for the National Government officials to provide to our primary producers, information and assistance so that they can adopt and develop innovative technologies and management systems, Gov. Tan said.

But in order to enhance the opportunities of farming and fishing, Loong said, “we must communicate well for the farmers income prospects, as well as promote a social appreciation of the role of farmers and fishers.”

Gov. Tan also urged BFAR officials to develop role models of farmer-technicians, farmer-scientists, and farmer-entrepreneurs and integrate it into any agricultural and fisheries development plan of the department, Tan said.

Explosion in Sulu cripples transportation

By AARON RECUENCO


MANILA, Philippines -- A loud explosion rocked a remote area in Patikul, Sulu on Monday night, paralyzing the transportation in the area when the explosion damaged the bridge where the bomb was planted.

The bombing occurred while government forces are focused on what they described as law enforcement operation against lawless elements in Zamboanga Sibugay, and preparing to do the same in Basilan over the death of 19 soldiers last week.

Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz, Jr., spokesman of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the explosion occurred on Monday night at the Tangan-Tangan Bridge in Barangay Taung.

“There were no reported casualties but it caused damage and obstruction to vehicles in the area,” said Cruz.

The official said an improvised explosive device was used, but he said the perpetrators are unidentified.

The provinces of Sulu and Basilan are known lairs of the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) but security officials would not say if the explosion has something to do with the air and ground assaults in Zamboanga Sibugay and the planned police and military operations in Basilan.

Statement of Support of Sulu Governor for President Aquino and the Continuance of the Peace Talks with the MILF

By Abdusakur M. Tan

Governor of Sulu Province


In consultations with my fellow Provincial Governors in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Local Chief Executives in Sulu, community leaders and sectoral groups, and in appreciation of the general sentiment prevailing with respect to the Al Barka, Basilan incident, I wish to make the following statement:

1. The wisdom of His Excellency, Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Philippines, in deciding against an all-out war against the MILF, deserves the undivided support of all peace-loving peoples in the region.

2. War mongering will only worsen the situation and stokes sentiments that are divisive and counter-productive.

3. The gains achieved thus far in the peace process as defined in the Mindanao peace framework should be preserved and peaceful means of engagement with concerned group(s) should be continued.

4. The sacrifices of the soldiers who fell at Al Barka were for the preservation of peace and security of the republic and we condole with the families and loved-ones they left behind, as we also pray that their deaths will not lead to more loss of lives and feed the vicious cycle of violence.

5. Sobriety is called to fore in these trying times and patience should prevail to give peace a surviving chance.

Sulu charts roadmap to development

By NEL/RVC-PIA9 ZamBaSulTa


“Socio-economic development could easily be achieved when there is peace and tranquility in the area and the people are literate and levels of employment.”

This was the statement of Sulu’s 1st District Congressman Habib Tupay Loong when he told media that his office has drawn the roadmap to development in Sulu that geared towards uplifting the socio-economic condition of his district and of the people of Sulu in general.

He said attaining peace requires community cooperation and the needed government intervention and support to infrastructures, livelihood projects and programs for the people of the community.

At present, Loong is helping his district by financing small to medium infrastructure projects utilizing his countryside development fund, backed-up with congressional initiatives, as an initial move towards socio-economic development for his district.

Social and community involvement is also needed to realize the much needed development for the community and municipality in general, he said. The Sulu 1st district is composed of the towns of Hadji Panglima Tahil, Indanan, Jolo, Maimbung, Pangutaran, Parang, Patikul and Talipao.

“School buildings and teachers should also be added in the province to help in the literacy rate campaign of the Department of Education (DepEd),” he said.

Loong said that making education as one of the primary concerns of the national government in this province will enable the people of Sulu to have the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute well.

“Because literacy involves a continuous of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society,” he added.

He also urged the national government continue to support and provide more funds for the development of Sulu regardless of having been delegated to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao government (ARMM) where Sulu is part of.

Loong reminded the national leaders that national projects for development and improvement should always be funded by the national government agencies concerned.

The province of Sulu is predominantly known as an agricultural area with farming and fishing as its main livelihood activities.

Its fertile soil and ideal climate can grow a variety of crops such as abaca, coconuts, oranges, and lanzones well as exotic fruits seldom found elsewhere in the country such as durian and mangosteen.

Fishing is the most important industry since the Sulu Sea is one of the richest fishing grounds in the country.

During breaks from fishing, the people build boats and weave mats. Other industries include coffee processing and fruit preservation.

The province also has an extensive pearl industry. Pearls are extensively gathered and a pearl farm is established at Marungas Isl

Gov’t sets up PNP-ARMM Sub-Regional Office in Sulu

By PIA Press Release


ISABELA CITY, Basilan, Oct 20 (PIA) -– The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has opened a sub-regional post of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Police Regional Office (PRO) in Sulu. Provincial Information Officer Sonny Abing III said the new post, BaSulTa (Basilan, Sulu, Taw-Tawi) PRO, was aimed at catering the needs of the island-provinces of ARMM, located hundreds of kilometres away from the main police regional office in Maguindanao. Sulu Governor Sakur Tan said the move will hasten the processing of papers in the isolated provinces of ARMM, adding, “It is very hard for us to go to Maguindanao as it needs a lot of money, time and efforts to process some paper works.” “This new extension of the regional police office here will also help a lot in sustaining the peace and order situation here in Sulu,” he added. For his part, DILG chief Jesse Robredo said the development will give a big advantage to the local government and the people here as more or less 500 policemen were added to the areas’ police forces. “I am very optimistic of this another milestone, and urge our policemen to do their job for the sake of the people here,” Robredo pointed out during the opening of the new police post last Oct. 3. BaSulTa’s sub-regional police post in Sulu will be under the leadership of Police Chief Superintendent Raul Basilio Boac and Police Senior Superintendent Eric Vahn Dela Rama. Gov. Tan said that this initial phase is a prelude to the establishment of a fully operational Regional Command B. “I am looking forward to 2012 and the establishment of a regional command centre in Sulu” Tan said. Tawi-Tawi Governor Sadikul Sahali was also present in the opening and expressed his full support in having PNP-ARMM sub regional office in the area. The DILG Chief also led in the ground breaking ceremony of the reconstruction of the Jolo Police Station. In his speech, Robredo was apologetic to the people of Jolo for being behind in schedule, and because of this, he is removing the counterpart of the Jolo Municipality and that the DILG will pay for all reconstruction expenses of the Jolo Police station. (JPA/SA/RVC-PIA9 ZamBaSulTa)

Sulu veterinary and agriculture seminar

By mb.com.ph


JOLO, SULU, Philippines (PIA) — A total of 150 participants representing the technical personnel from the Department of Agriculture and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, and the academe in the province attended a Veterinary/Agriculture Seminar conducted by Department of Agriculture (USDA) with Mr. Philip Shull, Foreign Agriculture Service Councilor, the highest official of USDA based in the Philippines, as speaker last June 1, 2011 at the Sulu Area Coordinating Center, Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu.

Mr. Shull pointed out in his presentation the following components necessary to develop the economy: Focus on food for progress, improved agricultural techniques, marketing system, farmer education and cooperative development, expanded processing capability, and agricultural business development. He also highlighted the topic on Biotechnology, its power and promises. He also shared the USDA assisted projects in Mindanao.

Other topics discussed were Veterinary Civic Action Program (VetCAP): The Sulu Experience by Ms. Mercia Alli, Provincial Livestock Coordinator of DA-Sulu and Team Leader of the Sulu VetCAP team. She also shared the agriculture situationer with emphasis on livestock and poultry, including the common animal diseases, farmers’ practices, and how Veterinary Civic Action Program or VetCAP as a response will help farmers improve the health and productivity of their animals. Problems encountered as well as the areas for collaboration was also tackled.

Cpt. Angelito Borja, a veterinarian by profession and a reservist at the AFP Veterinary Corps, discussed the veterinary techniques for Mindanao, presenting a comparative situation for vet services. He mentioned that in Luzon and Visayas farmers pay for the services compared to Mindanao like Sulu where it is provided through outreach activity for free. Common diseases and treatment was also part of the discussions. The topic on Veterinary Education in the Philippines was also enlightening and is seen to open opportunities for the academe and the students the potentials of opening a course or pursuing studies on veterinary considering that the province of Sulu lack graduates of veterinary medicine.

The topic on pesticides and herbicides toxicity was discussed by Lt. Col. Don Beckett the Joint Special Operations Task Force veterinarian. He supported his lecture with result of research studies regarding the effects and toxicities to animals and man. This is a timely topic considering the farmers’ uncontrolled use of pesticides to manage external parasites like flies, mites, ticks and mange. He also stressed that improper use of herbicides to control weeds/grasses will endanger animals because they feed on grass. Though agricultural chemical is critical to production its misuse will lead to health hazards, thus education is a very important tool for intervention.

Most vet medicines for livestock are not readily available in the locality; they are usually administered by injection. It is costly because packaging is usually in multiple dosages. Similarly, farmers lack the knowledge and skills in the administration of drugs. Also Livestock technicians can not readily attend to farmers need in treating their animal especially in remote areas but the effectiveness of botanical/herbal medicines are handed down from generation to generation. These are the reasons why Mr. Abdulkamar Taludjog, Animal Quarantine Officer of the Department of Agriculture-Sulu chose the topic on the local remedies for livestock and poultry diseases had been incorporated in this seminar.

The last topic focused on toxic plants to animals. Dr. Nursima Arakama, Coordinator for Agricultural Research of Mindanao State University, handled the session with actual sample of toxic plants available in the locality for familiarization.

USDA Couselor visits Sulu for veterinary and agriculture seminar

By Mercia S. Alli


JOLO, SULU, Oct. 18 (PIA) -- A total of 150 participants representing the technical personnel from the Department of Agriculture and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, and the academe in the province attended a Veterinary/Agriculture Seminar conducted by Department of Agriculture (USDA) with Mr. Philip Shull, Foreign Agriculture Service Councilor, the highest official of USDA based in the Philippines, as speaker last June 1, 2011 at the Sulu Area Coordinating Center, Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu. Mr. Shull pointed out in his presentation the following components necessary to develop the economy: focus on food for progress, improved agricultural techniques, marketing system, farmer education and cooperative development, expanded processing capability, and agricultural business development. He also highlighted the topic on Biotechnology, its power and promises. He also shared the USDA assisted projects in Mindanao. Other topics discussed were Veterinary Civic Action Program (VetCAP): The Sulu Experience by Ms. Mercia Alli, Provincial Livestock Coordinator of DA-Sulu and Team Leader of the Sulu VetCAP team. She also shared the agriculture situationer with emphasis on livestock and poultry, including the common animal diseases, farmers’ practices, and how Veterinary Civic Action Program or VetCAP as a response will help farmers improve the health and productivity of their animals. Problems encountered as well as the areas for collaboration was also tackled. Cpt. Angelito Borja, a veterinarian by profession and a reservist at the AFP Veterinary Corps, discussed the veterinary techniques for Mindanao, presenting a comparative situation for vet services. He mentioned that in Luzon and Visayas farmers pay for the services compared to Mindanao like Sulu where it is provided through outreach activity for free. Common diseases and treatment was also part of the discussions. The topic on Veterinary Education in the Philippines was also enlightening and is seen to open opportunities for the academe and the students the potentials of opening a course or pursuing studies on veterinary considering that the province of Sulu lack graduates of veterinary medicine. The topic on pesticides and herbicides toxicity was discussed by Lt. Col. Don Beckett the Joint Special Operations Task Force veterinarian. He supported his lecture with result of research studies regarding the effects and toxicities to animals and man. This is a timely topic considering the farmers’ uncontrolled use of pesticides to manage external parasites like flies, mites, ticks and mange. He also stressed that improper use of herbicides to control weeds/grasses will endanger animals because they feed on grasses. Though agricultural chemical is critical to production its misuse will lead to health hazards, thus education is a very important tool for intervention. Most vet medicines for livestock are not readily available in the locality; they are usually administered by injection. It is costly because packaging is usually in multiple dosages. Similarly, farmers lack the knowledge and skills in the administration of drugs. Also Livestock technicians can not readily attend to farmers need in treating their animal especially in remote areas but the effectiveness of botanical/herbal medicines are handed down from generation to generation. These are the reasons why Mr. Abdulkamar Taludjog, Animal Quarantine Officer of the Department of Agriculture-Sulu chose the topic on the local remedies for livestock and poultry diseases had been incorporated in this seminar. The last topic focused on toxic plants to animals. Dr. Nursima Arakama, Coordinator for Agricultural Research of Mindanao State University, handled the session with actual sample of toxic plants available in the locality for familiarization. The whole learning session was instrumental in bringing together the agriculture sector particularly those involved in improving the livestock program of the province of Sulu. Aside from enhancing the capabilities of the participants, this training is also meant to strengthen the program of the provincial government in helping farmers increased their income through improved technology, trained agricultural personnel and a unified approach to service delivery. Recognizing the significance of this seminar to the development goal of the province, the message of support from Governor Abdusakur Tan has been delivered during the opening program by Mr. Irwin Tan, the Provincial Administrator and OIC designate. Prior to the VetAg Seminar, a consultation meeting with the agriculture sector was conducted on May 31 participated by commodity specialists of the Department of Agriculture and Mindanao State University College of Agriculture. Discussions have been made on the possible areas of collaboration where the USDA can come in to help the province of Sulu, especially in the area of developing the capabilities of technical personnel and farmers to improve agricultural productivity. Together with Mr. Shull are Ms. Pia Ang and Mr. Perfecto, both Agricultural Specialists, from the US Embassy. The visit of Mr. Shull was facilitated by the Civil Affairs Team of the JSOTF-Philippines, a strong partner of the agriculture sector, together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Initial collaboration made was in the areas of veterinary services, trainings and the recent activity undertaken in the rehabilitation of a dam in Omar municipality to help irrigate farms. (JPA/MVC/MSA/PIA9-ZAMBASULTA/DA-Sulu)

Sulu MNLF to fight kidnappers

By Edd K. Usman


Manila, Philippines – The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chaired by Prof. Nur Misuari has promised to go after kidnappers and other troublemakers on the island of Sulu, saying they will no longer tolerate un-Islamic activities. MNLF fighters loyal to Misuari still operate on the island, where the bandit group Abu Sayyaf often engage in abductions of people for ransom. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) also claimed they have presence in the province. Hadji Khaid Adjibon, chairman of the MNLF-Lupah Sug State Revolutionary Committee (LSSRC), announced recently the launching of a campaign against kidnappers and other lawless elements. This will also include what the MNLF said are groups being used by the government to sow chaos and instill fear among the Tausug people. Adjibon said the anti-kidnapping drive conforms with Misuari’s “principled instruction,” as he added the MNLF will abide with the ceasefire with the government even while going after criminals.

Group in raid on military detachment in Sulu not linked to MNLF

By Philippine Daily Inquirer


The September 25 attack on a military detachment in Sulu (Inquirer, 9/26/11) by a group of armed men is a very disturbing development in our quest for peace. It should be made clear that the group has never been connected with the Moro National Liberation Front and neither does the MNLF condone such actions. However, the attack should be considered as a call for the immediate implementation of the peace agreements between the MNLF and the Philippine government. Sadly, the implementation of the accords has dragged for more than 30 years. This could lead some disgruntled people of Mindanao to resort to violence. The MNLF respects the peace accords and will uphold the same as long as the parties abide by their provisions. The long delay in the negotiation will not create a favorable atmosphere for the peace accords. —V. EMMANUEL C. FONTANILLA, spokesman/legal counsel, Moro National Liberation Front, vecfnew@yahoo.com

PNP-ARMM sub-regional office opens

By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL


JOLO, Sulu: The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) recently opened a sub-regional post of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Police Regional Office (PRO) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) here in this capital town.

Dubbed as the BaSulTa (for Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces) PRO, the sub-regional office would cater to the needs of these three island-provinces of ARMM.

Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi are hundreds of kilometers away from the main PNP-ARMM regional office in Camp Salipada K. Pendatun in Parang, Maguindanao.

Gov. Abdusakur Tan of Sulu said that the new sub-regional office would hasten processing of official papers in the three provinces of ARMM.

“It is very hard for us to go to Maguindanao as [going there] needs a lot of money, time and effort to process some papers,” Tan noted.

The sub-regional police office, he said, would also help sustain peace and in Sulu.

It would give a big advantage to the local government and the people since at least 500 policemen were added to police forces in the area, DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo said during the opening of the office last week.

BaSulTa’s Sub-Regional Police post is now under the leadership of Police Chief Supt.Raul Basilio Boac and Police Senior Supt. Eric Vahn De la Rama.

Tan said that he was looking forward to 2012 and the establishment of a regional command center in Sulu by that year.

Gov. Sadikul Sahali of Tawi-Tawi, who was also present during opening ceremonies for the police sub-regional office, expressed his full support for the office.

Meanwhile, in his speech, Robredo was apologetic to the people of Jolo for the delay in the reconstruction and vowed that the DILG will shoulder all the costs to be incurred in the repair of the building of the Jolo Police Station.

He said the Jolo Municipality under incumbent Mayor Hussin Amin will not have to shell out anymore for such expenses in the reconstruction of the Jolo Police Station.

MILF holds dialogues in Sulu town

By Lawuran.com


October 9, 2011 - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) conducted community dialogue with some leaders from the municipalities of Talipao and Patikul, both in the island province of Sulu, last October 3. The venue of the meeting was in Jolo, the capital town.

The one-day dialogue, dubbed "Community Dialogue leading to peace and reconciliation" was led by Hassan Hatab, a political officer of the MILF based in Western Mindanao. Members of the Committee on Information of the MILF in the province played prominently in the dialogue.

Topics discussed during the dialogue included the current situation prevailing in the municipalities of Talipao and Patikul especially the spate of kidnapping and armed encounters between armed groups and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

There were 35 representatives coming from the municipalities of Talipao and Patikul who trooped to the town of Jolo to attend the meeting. One participant reported the activities of so-called Awliyah Team and Anak Ilo which suffered 32 killed in an encounter with the Philippine Marines last week in Talipao.

The participants requested also the MILF to send representative to give them the latest updates on the current GPH-MILF peace negotiations.

During the dialogue, the participants manifested their desire to join the MILF on its quest for the settlement of the Mindanao problem.

It was reported that they favor a substate for the Moros and described the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as useless puppet of the Manila government.

Kidnapping fears grip Sulu health workers

By Queenie Casimiro, ABS CBN News Zamboanga


SULU, Philippines - Health programs in Sulu are affected by a series of kidnappings in the province, the most recent of which was the abduction of a midwife from Indanan town.

Department of Health-ARMM Secretary Kadil Sinolinding said ever since Evangeline Taverisma was snatched by a group of armed men on August 3 this year, health workers and even doctors have refused to report to health centers and municipal hospitals.

"Most of the health workers are now in Jolo proper. So sino ang apektado, kung hindi ang mamamayan mismo," Sinolinding said.

Sinolinding added, "it's not that there are no doctors, there are just no takers."

The health official revealed that a hospital in Sulu is being manned by just one doctor.

Sinolinding cited the risk that health workers expose themselves to whenever they report to their stations located in conflict-stricken areas.

Taverisma was forcibly taken by her abductors while she was on her way to a health center in Indanan.

She was rescued by joint operatives of the police and military at Barangay Kuppung, Indanan dawn of October 6.

Sinolinding said Taverisma's rescue does not change their position. "Operations will not be back to normal especially in the towns of Indanan, Talipao and Patikul since there are still on going skirmishes in these areas."

However, the health official said they may need to visit the said municipalities. "There might already be an outbreak of some diseases."

He said the medical team would have to be swift in its movements and will need security.

Sinolinding said the last thing they want is for another health worker to be kidnapped.

Suspected Abu Sayyaf man falls in Sulu - police

By RSJ, GMA News


A suspected Abu Sayyaf bandit involved in a number of criminal activities including the kidnapping of three International Committee of the Red Cross members in 2009 fell into government hands in Sulu on Tuesday, the National Police said.

In a text message to reporters Wednesday, PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr. identified the suspected bandit as Adzhar Patta Mawalil (a.k.a. Ajang Nedz Mawalil), who is said to part of Abu Sayyaf group headed by Albader Parad.

Cruz said Mawalil was nabbed by government security forces at 5:41 p.m. Tuesday at Sitio Martinez, barangay San Raymundo in Jolo.

According to information from the police, Mawalil was involved in the Jan. 15, 2009 Jolo kidnapping of ICRC Zamboanga head Andreas Notter, a 38-year-old Swiss national; Water Habitat delegate Eugenio Vagni, 62, Italian; and ICRC engineer Mary Jean Lacaba, a Filipina.

Lacaba was released April 2, 2009; Notter was recovered 16 days later while Vagni was freed July 12.

Cruz said the subject is also allegedly involved in the beheading of seven laborers of BJ Mill in Silangkan, Parang, Sulu as well as other atrocities in the past.

As of posting time, Mawalil was still under the custody of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 9 undergoing debriefing procedures.

Jolo port undergoes rehabilitation

By AL JACINTO AND JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL


ZAMBOANGA CITY: Port officials said the conduct of a feasibility study on the rehabilitation and expansion of a vital sea port in the southern province of Sulu has begun.

Philippine Port Authority (PPA) officials headed by Engineer Jameson Lee recently met with Sulu Governor Sakur Tan to discuss the rehabilitation of the Port of Jolo in the capital town.

The port, located in the capital town of Jolo is one of the busiest ports in the South where boats coming from Zamboanga City dock every day.

It is also considered as a gateway to other ports in the province like in Siasi, Sulu and also to the Port of Bongao in Tawi-Tawi, and also the port of call of barter trade vessels that ply the Sulu and Sabah route for exchange of trade and commerce.

Lee said the consulting firm, Science and Vision, which undertook a similar project in the Port of Davao and Port of Zamboanga, will be commissioned to do the study.

“The initial phase of the port rehab would be to have a feasibility study of the port to maximize the potential of the facility based on the socio-economic profile of the province,” Lee said.

According to Engr. Malou Mamatad, head consultant of Science and Vision, “the study will have a time frame of approximately 6 months and will include tourism, international standards, local economic development, port management and other concerns.”

Tan, meanwhile, said the Port of Jolo will serve as gateway for economic development in Sulu once completed.

“The port will serve as a gateway for economic development in the province. To have an updated port facility especially in this part of the country is of great importance, a vital component of sustainable economic growth,” he said.

The rehabilitation of the Port of Jolo was made through the initiative of Gov. Tan and Rep. Tupay Loong of Sulu’s first district. The Sulu representative was also the former governor of the province.

The cited feasibility study has a budget cost of P4.3 million, covering four existing ports in Mindanao, Ulotanga in Zamboanga del Sur, Tukuran in Pagadian City, Katipunan in Zamboanga del, Norte, and Jolo in Sulu, according to Mamatad.

The port was last renovated in 2000 and had been extended by 78 meters.

Jolo port undergoes rehab

By The Mindano Examiner



SULU (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 2, 2011) – Philippine port officials said feasibility study on the rehabilitation and expansion of a vital sea port in the southern province of Sulu has began.

Philippine Port Authority (PPA) officials headed by Engineer Jameson Lee have recently met with Sulu Governor Sakur Tan to discuss the rehabilitation of the Port of Jolo in the capital town.

Lee said the consulting firm Science and Vision, which undertook a similar project in the Port of Davao and Port of Zamboanga, will be commissioned to make the study. “The initial phase of the port rehab would be to have a feasibility study of the port to maximize the potential of the facility based on the socio-economic profile of the province,” he said.

“The study will have a time frame of approximately six months and will include tourism, international standards, local economic development, port management, among others,” he added.

Tan said once completed, the Port of Jolo will serve as gateway for economic development in Sulu. “The port will serve as a gateway for economic development in the province. To have an updated port facility especially in this part of the country is of great importance, a vital component of sustainable economic growth,” he said.

He said the port was last renovated in 2000 and had been extended by 78 meters. The port is widely used by cargo and passenger ships in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner)

3 die in chopper crash

By ELENA L. ABEN


MANILA, Philippines — Three soldiers, including a captain, were killed when an aging Philippine Air Force (PAF) helicopter crashed in Sulu Saturday.

Based on information reaching Armed Forces headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, the UH-1H helicopter was on a resupply mission to the 6th Marine Battalion Landing Team, Camp Baladad in Sitio Tubig Magtuh, Barangay Panglayahan, Patikul.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) identified the fatalities as Capt. Omar Antepuesto, Staff Sgt. Maximo Orquina, and Airman First Class Rannie Solis.

The aircraft’s co-pilot, 1Lt. Junius Zulueta, survived with injuries.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) spokesman, said the helicopter took off shortly before 7 a.m. from Camp Bautista in Jolo for Camp Baladad.

It was on its second sortie at about 8:20 a.m. when the helicopter lost power just before landing. The pilots tried an emergency landing at Camp Baladad, but "the aircraft hit the ground hard and rolled down a hill," Cabangbang said.

Officials said the aircraft was a total wreck.

Cabangbang said Joint Task Force “Sulu” alerted MBLT6 to secure the crash site, while the bodies of the fatalities, as well as the wounded, were immediately airlifted to Camp Bautista.

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