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VS TERRORISM: JOINT PH-RUSSIAN MILITARY EXERCISES PROPOSED
 (Visiting Russian navy assures helping Philippine navy in the fight against terrorism and piracy)
[RELATED: Russian warships dock in Philippines on goodwill visit, look forward to joint drills]


JANUARY 3 -Russsian Navy personnel guard the Russian vessels Admiral Tributs and Boris Butoma, which are on a 5-day goodwil Visit to the Philippines from January 2–7, 2017.(Ali Vicoy) | mb.com.ph Russsian Navy personnel guard the Russian vessels Admiral Tributs and Boris Butoma, which are on a 5-day goodwil Visit to the Philippines from January 2–7, 2017.(Ali Vicoy) | mb.com.ph
 The deputy commander of the flotilla of Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet assured the Philippine Navy it will help combat terrorism and piracy through the holding of joint military exercises with its Philippine counterpart. In a press conference at Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila on Tuesday, January 3, Russian Navy Pacific Fleet Deputy Commander, Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, said with both Philippines and Russia dealing with issues of terrorism and piracy, it is ideal to hold joint exercises with the Philippine Navy. “To (ensure) the safety of the sea is the main task of every maritime and seamen (seafarer) and also our presence here in this region also happens to be the task of the safety of our government. And of course if the Philippine Navy needs our help we will do to help to make sure the region is safe for you and for us,” Mikhailov told reporters through an interpreter. READ MORE...RELATED,
Russian warships dock in Philippines on goodwill visit, look forward to joint drills...

ALSO:
Duterte visits Russian warship
[RELATED: Duterte hopes Russia will become Philippines' ally and protector]


JANUARY 6 -President Rodrigo Duterte is accompanied by a Russian Navy official as he checks the view from the bridge of Admiral Tributs, a Russian warship docked in Manila on Friday. Two Russian navy vessels are currently in Manila for a goodwill visit, as the Philippines aims to strengthen partnership with Russia. Rey Baniquet, Malacanang Photo
President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday visited a Russian warship docked here, as the Philippines sought to forge closer ties with Russia amid wavering relations with its traditional ally, the United States. Duterte boarded the Russian destroyer Admiral Tributs, one of two Russian warships currently docked in Manila, past noon and was welcomed with Russian navy officials and Ambassador Igor Khovaev. The visit of the Russian ships comes amid the weakening ties between the Philippines and US under Duterte, who has been angered by Washington’s criticisms on his war on drugs. READ MORE...RELATED,
Duterte hopes Russia will become Philippines' ally and protector...

ALSO:
Japanese ships in Subic for 3-day port visit
[RELATED: 2 Japanese warships joined 5 other American Navyships in Subic Bay]


JANUARY 4 -Japanese naval ships docked in Subic Bay. Photo from Philippine Navy
Japanese naval ships docked in Subic Bay, Olongapo, on Wednesday for a three-day port call before it heads home to Japan. The visit of the ships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Escort Division comes as Russian naval vessels are docked in Manila Bay for a five-day visit that started last Monday. READ: Russia eyes war games with US ally Philippines The ships of Escort Division Four, JS Inazuma (DDG-105) and JS Suzutsuki (DD-117), are led by Captain Atsushi Minami, the Philippine Navy said in a statement. The ships are in the country to replenish supply, conduct maintenance work, and for crew rest after conducting counter-piracy operations at the Gulf of Aden. READ MORE...RELATED,
2 Japanese warships joined 5 other American Navyships in Subic Bay...

ALSO: Armed men storm Cotabato jail; 158 inmates escape
[ALSO: Foreign follower of Ansar Al-Khilafa founder killed in Sarangani]


JANUARY 5 -AT least 100 heavily-armed men yesterday stormed the North Cotabato district jail in Barangay Amas, Kidapawan City, enabling 158 inmates to escape. The attack was well planned, according to jail officials who noted a power outage in the area before the attack. Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), or its breakaway group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), are suspected to be behind the 1 a.m. attack on the jail run by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. Shirlyn Macasarte, acting governor of North Cotabato, said her office had been tipped off about the plan of the BIFF to free its members as early as the second quarter of last year. “They were involved in murders and at the same time I think they have experience in bomb making so we watched them closely,” Macasarte told news channel ANC. The leader of the attackers, known by the alias Commander Derbie (or Commander Derby or Derbi), had links with the BIFF, Macasarte said. READ MORE...ALSO, Foreign follower of Ansar Al-Khilafa founder killed in Sarangani...

ALSO: Escaped inmates now armed, dangerous: PNP
[RELATED: ‘Bato’ vows better PNP in 2017]


JANUARY 6 -PNP CHIEF DE LA ROSA
PRISONERS who escaped during an attack on the North Cotabato District Jail in Kidapawan City Wednesday are now considered very dangerous as they have been given arms by the group of Commander Derby, a leader of a Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters who led the attack at the jail facility. As of yesterday, 139 of the 158 escapees remained at large. Senior Supt. Leonardo Suan, deputy regional director for operations of the Central Mindanao Police Regional Office, yesterday said intelligence information reaching the police showed the escapees first gathered in Sitio Nazareth, Barangay Amas, in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato where they were armed, and later splintered into several groups. The jail is also in Barangay Amas, inside the provincial capitol compound. READ MORE...RELATED, ‘Bato’ vows better PNP in 2017...

ALSO:
Acting North Cotabato governor wants jail warden out;
Freed  detainees were sons of BIFF founder [RELATED UPDATE: 2 more Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines members killed in Sarangani]


JANUARY 7 -Police and jail personnel patrol outside the walls of the North Cotabato District Jail in Kidapawan City after more than 100 armed men, believed to be members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, attacked the compound to free certain detainees. AP
NORTH COTABATO, Philippines -- The acting governor of North Cotabato has recommended the replacement of the provincial jail warden after more than 100 detainees escaped in a jailbreak this week. Shirlyn Macasarte-Villanueva, officer-in-charge of the provincial government, told Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno in a letter that there was apparent mismanagement of the provincial jail by its warden, Superintendent Peter Bongat, Jr. Macasarte-Villanueva, also chairperson of the inter-agency provincial peace and order council, said Bongat has to be replaced to pave the way for an impartial inquiry into the incident. Bongat said Thursday that he only had 21 guards for the 1,500 detainees in the provincial jail. READ MORE...RELATED 6PM UPDATE
2 more Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines members killed in Sarangani...


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Joint PH–Russian military exercises proposed

 Visiting Russian navy assures helping Philippine navy in the fight against terrorism and piracy


Russsian Navy personnel guard the Russian vessels Admiral Tributs and Boris Butoma, which are on a 5-day goodwil Visit to the Philippines from January 2–7, 2017.(Ali Vicoy) | mb.com.ph Russsian Navy personnel guard the Russian vessels Admiral Tributs and Boris Butoma, which are on a 5-day goodwil Visit to the Philippines from January 2–7, 2017.(Ali Vicoy) | mb.com.ph

MANILA, JANUARY 9, 2016 (PHILSTAR)  Published January 3, 2017, By Francis Wakefield - The deputy commander of the flotilla of Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet assured the Philippine Navy it will help combat terrorism and piracy through the holding of joint military exercises with its Philippine counterpart.

In a press conference at Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila on Tuesday, January 3, Russian Navy Pacific Fleet Deputy Commander, Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, said with both Philippines and Russia dealing with issues of terrorism and piracy, it is ideal to hold joint exercises with the Philippine Navy.

“To (ensure) the safety of the sea is the main task of every maritime and seamen (seafarer) and also our presence here in this region also happens to be the task of the safety of our government. And of course if the Philippine Navy needs our help we will do to help to make sure the region is safe for you and for us,” Mikhailov told reporters through an interpreter.

READ MORE...

“The most problem now is terrorism and piracy and our exercises which we will have with you, we will have the task to fight with this problem and we will show what we can do and we will see what you can show us.

“In the future maybe we can have military exercises so we can help you and share with you our knowledge to deal or solve the problem with piracy and terrorism.”


REUTERS HEADLINE: "Moscow seeks naval drills as Russian warships visit Manila" Philippine Navy band members play music to welcome the Russian Navy vessel Admiral Tributs, a large anti-submarine ship, as it docks at the south harbor port area in Metro Manila, Philippines, January 3, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Mikhailov also said Russia is also looking to improve the Philippines’ naval capabilities in the future by providing the necessary equipment.

“(The) Russian Navy can help with different equipment which we can demonstrate to you just maybe here or in the future in the sea during the military exercises and also in the exhibitions,” he said. “From our side we can help you in every way which you need.”

Mikhailov was joined in the press conference by Navy Commodore Francisco Gabudag Jr., commander of the Naval Engineering Brigade.

The press conference was held shortly after the welcome ceremonies for the Russian Navy’s large anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs and sea tanker Boris Butoma, which arrived at Pier 15 of the Manila South Harbor on Monday, January 2 and will stay in the country up to Saturday, January 7.

Navy Captain Lued Lincuna, naval public affairs director, said this is the third time a Russian Navy arrived in the Philippines; the last time happened in May 2016.

In January 2012, three Russian Navy ships, including the anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Panteleyev, arrived in the country for a three-day goodwill visit aimed at enhancing Philippine–Russian ties.

On Wednesday, January 4, the Russian Navy and Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev will speak at a press conference aboard the Russian Navy vessels from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Prior to that Lincuna said an open house of the Russian Navy vessels for civilians and the media will be conducted from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

On Thursday, January 5, a wreath laying ceremony will be held at the Rizal Monument in Luneta, to be followed by a Russian Marines capability demonstration.

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RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

Russian warships dock in Philippines on goodwill visit, look forward to joint drills Published time: 4 Jan, 2017 03:49 Edited time: 5 Jan, 2017 11:16


Russian navy vessel, Admiral Tributs, a large anti-submarine ship, is seen as it docks at the south harbor port area in metro Manila, Philippines January 3, 2017 © Romeo Ranoco / Reuters

The Philippine Navy has welcomed two Russian warships that docked in the Southeast Asian country coinciding with Manila’s expressed readiness to shift from relying on the US as its sole and dominant partner in the Western Pacific.

The Anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Tributs, along with the sea tanker Boris Butoma, anchored at Manila’s South Harbor on Tuesday for a week long goodwill visit.

The Russian marines are expected to discuss and share tactics to help combat terrorism and piracy in the region. Moscow is also eager to conduct joint military exercises with its Philippines counterparts in the future.

“We will show you what we can do, and we will see what you can do, and show us,” Russian Navy Pacific Fleet Deputy Commander, Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, told reporters through an interpreter at a press conference on Tuesday. “In the future maybe we can have military exercises so we can help you and share with you our knowledge to deal or solve the problem with piracy and terrorism.”

“We really hope that in a few years, the military exercises for example in your region, in the South China Sea, will (involve) for example, not only Russia-Philippines, but Russia, Philippines, China and maybe Malaysia together.”

Philippine Navy officials welcomed the Russian vessels as relationships between the Philippines and its long-term ally, the United States, have somewhat deteriorated in recent months.

“There will be courtesy calls, tour of historical places within Manila and nearby Cavite province, capability demonstration, goodwill games, wreath laying, shipboard tour and send-off ceremony among others,” Capt. Lued Lincuna, a spokesman for the Philippine Navy, said.

Lincuna also noted that this is the third time a contingent of the Russian Navy has visited the Philippines. But it is the first visit by Russian navy ships since Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office last June. Russian ships docked in the Philippines in May 2016 and in January 2012.

The Russian Navy’s visit comes a month after the Philippines Defense Secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, visited Russia to explore prospects for military-technical cooperation.

During the Philippines delegation visit to Russia in November to Russia, both countries expressed a willingness to finalize a Philippines-Russia Agreement on Defense Cooperation, after Manila indicated a strong shift in its foreign policy away from the US’s sphere of influence.

AMERICA HAS LOST - DUTERTE

During a trip to Beijing in October last year, Duterte stressed that he plans to forge closer ties with Russia and China.

“America has lost. I’ve realigned myself in your (Chinese) ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to [President Vladimir] Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way,” he said.

Duterte has meanwhile scaled back the number of Philippines troops taking part in joint exercises with the US in the region, and has called the Americans “fools and monkeys” for halting the planned sale of 26,000 rifles over concerns over human rights in the Philippines.

Last week, Lorenzana told reporters that Moscow is ready to provide Manila with a submarine and drones, in addition to other military hardware.

While turning down the Russian submarine offer, Lorenzana noted that the defense department is looking to purchase Russian made drones and sniper rifles.

Speaking at the press conference on Tuesday, Mikhailov noted that Russia can be instrumental at developing Philippines’ naval capabilities in the future.

“The Russian Navy can help with different equipment which we can demonstrate to you right here, or in the future in the sea during the military exercises, and also at exhibitions,” he said. “From our side we can help you in every way which you need.”

Reacting to the news of the Russian navy’s arrival in Manila, the US State Department said the “defense relationship between the United States and the Philippines remains very, very strong.”


TWEET: RT ✔ @RT_com Look at these monkeys, we wanted to buy firearms!': Duterte slams US for halting rifle sales http://on.rt.com/7tpz 2:39 AM - 3 Nov 2016 65 65 Retweets 82 82 likes

“I think I’d let the Philippine Government and the Russian Government speak to the degree of their bilateral defense relations and how that is taking shape,” John Kirby, a spokesperson for the State Department, said.
“Every nation-state has the right to pursue bilateral relations of its own choosing...what I can promise you is that it won’t affect how we view the importance of our bilateral relationship with the Philippines.”

Despite warming relations between the Philippines, China and Russia, Philippines new envoy to China said earlier that Manila has no intention of severing ties with its long time ally, but emphasized however, that his country has for too long been “one-sidedly imbalanced in favor of the US.”


ABS-CBN

Duterte visits Russian warship ABS-CBN News Posted at Jan 06 2017 03:53 PM | Updated as of Jan 06 2017 08:21 PM


President Rodrigo Duterte is accompanied by a Russian Navy official as he checks the view from the bridge of Admiral Tributs, a Russian warship docked in Manila on Friday. Two Russian navy vessels are currently in Manila for a goodwill visit, as the Philippines aims to strengthen partnership with Russia. Rey Baniquet, Malacanang Photo

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday visited a Russian warship docked here, as the Philippines sought to forge closer ties with Russia amid wavering relations with its traditional ally, the United States.

Duterte boarded the Russian destroyer Admiral Tributs, one of two Russian warships currently docked in Manila, past noon and was welcomed with Russian navy officials and Ambassador Igor Khovaev.

The visit of the Russian ships comes amid the weakening ties between the Philippines and US under Duterte, who has been angered by Washington’s criticisms on his war on drugs.

READ MORE...

“With this visit, Russia is putting flesh and steel to its pivot to Asia policy. This is the first time Russia has sent warships to the Philippines since the end of the Cold War so in historical terms, this is unprecedented,” political science professor Richard Heydarian told ABS-CBN News Channel.

The Russian navy visit, the first official navy-to-navy contact between the two countries, comes less than a month after Duterte sent his foreign and defense ministers to Moscow to discuss arms deals after a US senator said he would block the sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippines due to concern about a rising death toll in a war on drugs launched by Duterte.


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, walks with Russian Rear Adm. Eduard Mikhailov, Deputy Commander of Flotilla of Pacific Fleet of Russia, ...

In a news briefing last Wednesday, Khovaev said Russia is willing to help the Philippines enhance its military and cooperate for the advancement of the two countries’ mutual interests.

Khovaev also warned third parties from interfering with the bilateral relations of the Philippines and Russia, in what was seen as a warning to the US.

The ambassador downplayed comments that Manila is cozying up to Russia at Washington’s expense.

“I think it’s time to get rid of outdated clichés. It’s time to get rid of prejudices. As far I understand the Philippines, there is an objective need to diversify the range of circle of your foreign partners” Khovaev said.

“We are talking about diversification. It’s a not a choice between these partners and those ones. Diversification means reserving, keeping traditional old partners and getting new ones.”

Political science professor Clarita Carlos meanwhile welcomed the government’s move to “diversify” its relations.

“It simply means that we are really diversifying our relations with many other different countries although we've had relations with them since the 70s,” Carlos told ABS-CBN News Channel.

During the time of Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, the Philippines sought closer ties with the US as it dealt with Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.

Duterte has decided to set aside the Philippines’ maritime spat with China in exchange for economic gains. - with AFP, Reuters

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RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

Duterte hopes Russia will become Philippines' ally and protector Reuters
Posted at Jan 06 2017 06:30 PM | Updated as of Jan 06 2017 07:14 PM


Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte (4th L), accompanied by Philippines navy chief Vice-Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado (3rd L), listens to Russian navy officers (L) as they look at the torpedo tubes during the visit to the Russian anti-submarine navy ship Admiral Tributs in Manila on January 6, 2017. Ted Aljibe, AFP

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday that he hoped Moscow, a rival of the Philippines' traditional ally the United States, would become his country's ally and protector as he toured one of the two Russian warships on a four-day visit to Manila.

Duterte's remarks came a day after Russia's ambassador said his country was ready to supply the Philippines with sophisticated weapons and aims to become its close friend.

"We welcome our Russian friends. Anytime you want to dock here for anything, for play, for replenish supplies or maybe our ally to protect us," said Duterte while shaking the hands of Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, head of the Flotilla of the Russian Navy Pacific Fleet.


'Dock here anytime': Duterte visits Russian destroyer, wants Moscow to be ally

Duterte has thrown the future of Philippine-U.S. relations into question with angry outbursts against the United States, a former colonial power, and some scaling back of military ties while taking steps to improve relationships with China and Russia.

He is due to go to Moscow in April. The visit by the Russian warships was the first official navy-to-navy contact between the two countries.

Last month, Duterte sent his foreign and defense ministers to Moscow to discuss arms deals after a U.S. senator said he would block the sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippines due to concern about a rising death toll in a war on drugs launched by Duterte.

Mikhailov said on Tuesday Russia wanted to hold maritime exercises with the Philippines to help combat terrorism and piracy.


INQUIRER

Japanese ships in Subic for 3-day port visit By: Frances Mangosing - Reporter / @FMangosingINQ INQUIRER.net / 09:23 PM January 04, 2017


Japanese naval ships docked in Subic Bay. Photo from Philippine Navy

Japanese naval ships docked in Subic Bay, Olongapo, on Wednesday for a three-day port call before it heads home to Japan.

The visit of the ships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Escort Division comes as Russian naval vessels are docked in Manila Bay for a five-day visit that started last Monday.

READ: Russia eyes war games with US ally Philippines

The ships of Escort Division Four, JS Inazuma (DDG-105) and JS Suzutsuki (DD-117), are led by Captain Atsushi Minami, the Philippine Navy said in a statement.

The ships are in the country to replenish supply, conduct maintenance work, and for crew rest after conducting counter-piracy operations at the Gulf of Aden.

READ MORE...

The commander of JMSDF Escort Division is also expected to pay a courtesy call on the commander of the Naval Education Training and Command.

“The visiting Navy vessels will also hold a Passing Exercise with the Philippine Navy off the waters of Corregidor Island on Friday.

The Philippine Navy said the visit is seen to boost “the already strong relationship” with the JMSDF, as it also a chance for the two navies “to promote camaraderie and naval diplomacy.” TVJ

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RELATED FROM SUBICNEWSLINK BLOG

2 Japanese warships joined 5 other American Navyships in Subic Bay 1/04/2017 Japan, military/defense, Naval ships, Port of Subic, Port of Subic 2017, Russia, South China Sea, United States, USS port calls No comments


Two Japanese warships arrived in Subic Bay Wednesday (January 4) morning, joining five other U.S. navy ships docked in this Freeport since new year's day.

The Murasame-class destroyer JS Inazuma (DD-105) and Akizuki-class destroyer JS Suzutsuki (DD-117) of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) docked at the port of Subic for a three-day visit.

The ships are part of the Escort Division Four, commanded by Captain Atsushi Minami. JS Inazuma is commanded by Cdr. Soichiro Tashiro, while Cdr. Kentaro Nakayama commands the Suzutsuki.

This is the fourth port call of Japanese warships in Subic Bay. Japan's maritime force made its first goodwill visit to the Philippines after 15 years in early April last year with its submarine JS Oyashio (SS-511) and two destroyer ships, the JS Ariake (DD-109) and JS Setogiri (DD-156) docking in Subic Bay, followed by the visit of Hyūga-class helicopter destroyer, JS Ise in late April, 2016.


In the meantime, five U.S. ships docked and welcomed the new year here, to the delight of business establishments and residents in this former US Naval Base.

The USS Pecos, USNS Tippecanoe, USNS Cesar Chavez, USNS Impeccable and USNS Bowditch arrived without much fanfare nor announcement by the US Embassy in Manila.

In Manila, the Russian anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Tributs, along with the sea tanker Boris Butoma, anchored at South Harbor on Tuesday for a week long goodwill visit.

The Philippine Navy welcomed the two Russian warships, coinciding with Manila’s expressed readiness to shift from relying on the US as its sole and dominant partner in the Western Pacific.

The Russian marines are expected to discuss and share tactics to help combat terrorism and piracy in the region. Moscow is also eager to conduct joint military exercises with its Philippines counterparts in the future.

“There will be courtesy calls, tour of historical places within Manila and nearby Cavite province, capability demonstration, goodwill games, wreath laying, shipboard tour and send-off ceremony among others,” Capt. Lued Lincuna, a spokesman for the Philippine Navy, said.

Lincuna also noted that this is the third time a contingent of the Russian Navy has visited the Philippines. But it is the first visit by Russian navy ships since Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office last June. Russian ships docked in the Philippines in May 2016 and in January 2012. (SNL, with reports from Subic Bay News and RT.com)

PHOTOS:
[1] The Murasame-class destroyer JS Inazuma approaches the Alava pier of the Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales for a routine port call Wednesday (January 04) morning. Another Japanese warship, the JS Suzutsuki, an Akizuki-class destroyer also docked in this premier industrial port facing the West Philippine Sea for a 3-day port visit. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[2] Sailors aboard the US Navy supply ship USNS Cesar Chavez hoist an American flag as the JS Inazuma approaches the Alava pier of Subic Bay Freeport zone in Zambales for a routine port call Wednesday (January 04) morning. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

READ:
Subic Bay News: 5 US Ships Welcome New Year in Subic

https://www.rt.com/news/372611-russian-warships-visit-philippines/


MALAYA

Armed men storm Cotabato jail; 158 inmates escape By RAYMOND AFRICA January 05, 2017

AT least 100 heavily-armed men yesterday stormed the North Cotabato district jail in Barangay Amas, Kidapawan City, enabling 158 inmates to escape.

The attack was well planned, according to jail officials who noted a power outage in the area before the attack.

Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), or its breakaway group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), are suspected to be behind the 1 a.m. attack on the jail run by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

Shirlyn Macasarte, acting governor of North Cotabato, said her office had been tipped off about the plan of the BIFF to free its members as early as the second quarter of last year.

“They were involved in murders and at the same time I think they have experience in bomb making so we watched them closely,” Macasarte told news channel ANC.

The leader of the attackers, known by the alias Commander Derbie (or Commander Derby or Derbi), had links with the BIFF, Macasarte said.

READ MORE...

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces of the MILF denied it has any member bearing that name.


ABELLA

Six of those who escaped were killed in separate areas near the jail facility as they engaged government forces. Two surrendered to local authorities while six were captured.

A jail guard, Jail Officer 1 Excell Ray Vicedo, was killed in the firefight.

The detention facility houses 1,511 inmates who were being secured by only 21 guards at the time of the attack.

BJMP spokesman Chief Insp. Xavier Solda said the attack was the first time in any BJMP-run jail facility and the first time that a big number of prisoners escaped.

He said it was a “well-planned, well-organized” attack. “Imagine-in mo more than 100 armed men halos two hours na palitan ng putok,” he said.

He said the power outage was “most likely” part of the planning.

He said the armed men, whom they suspect to be either MILF or BIFF members, attacked at the back portion of the facility where cell numbers 6 and 7 were located. The back portion is a forested area with thick vegetation. He said most of those who escaped were housed at cell numbers 6 and 7.

Solda said the inmates escaped as the jail guards were preoccupied in defending the facility. The guards called for police forces to help them ward off the attackers but the responders arrived only after about two hours.

Prison warden Peter Bongat said of the attack: “It’s well planned. Escapees used blanket as their getaway... We have a manhunt operation.”

Jason Angkanan, detained at cell No. 6 of the North Cotabato District Jail (NCDJ), was recaptured in nearby Barangay Amas in Kidapawan City an hour after he escaped.

Angkanan was jailed for violation of illegal drugs laws.


Officials say the attack was carried out to free a number of Islamist rebels who were in the jail. IBTIMES ONLINE

Recalling what happened hours before the attack, Angkanan told investigators he noticed that their cell was not padlocked when he went to sleep at around 8 p.m. Tuesday. At around 1 a.m. Wednesday, he said he was roused from sleep by gunshots as some of the inmates were ordering them to get out of the facility, saying it will be burned by the attackers.

He said he followed other inmates in climbing a wooden ladder placed at the concrete fence to escape.

Angkanan was recaptured by barangay officials who were posted at Central Mindanao Institute and Research Center in Barangay Amas. He was turned over to 2nd Lt Ronnie Golidtem, of the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion.

Solda said while there were only 21 jail guards on duty the time the attack happened, they firmly stood their ground, thus repulsing the attackers.

“Mabuti na lang alerto ang personnel natin at hindi nila na overrun ang facility at na-protektahan nila ang mahigit isang libong inmates na naroon. Kaya lang may mga inmates during the firefight na nagsamantala na makatakas o makalabas sa facility,” Solda said.

He said government forces have cordoned off the area to prevent the other inmates from escaping. He said the whole of Region 12 has been placed on heightened alert status.

He said there were soldiers in the jail facility helping in the security after the NCDJ received intelligence information of the planned attack during the holidays, but the troops were pulled out days before the attack as they were deployed for some other mission.

He said some of the inmates only took advantage of the situation and were not actually part of the plan to escape.

The Armed Forces has deployed troops to help pursue the escaped inmates.

Maj. Gen. Rafael Valencia, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division based in Compostela Valley, said the AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command based in Davao City has also placed on standby helicopters in case they will be needed by the pursuing military and policemen. – With Jocelyn Montemayor, Victor Reyes and Reuters

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ALSO FROM PHILSTAR

Foreign follower of Ansar Al-Khilafa founder killed in Sarangani By John Unson (philstar.com) | Updated January 7, 2017 - 6:00pm 0 1 googleplus0 0



Police Regional Office 12 is based in General Santos City, South Cotabato. (PRO-12) SARANGANI, Philippines -- A foreigner identified with the slain leader of the Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines was killed in Maasim town in Sarangani on Saturday.

Supterintendent Romeo Galgo,Jr., spokesman of Regional Police Office 12, said the slain militant, initially identified only as Abu Naila, resisted arrest and was shot soldiers and police during a raid in Barangay Daliao in Maasim.

The operation that resulted in the death of Abu Naila was part of an effort to locate followers of Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, founder of the outlawed jihadist group operating in the fashion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, in seaside Sarangani towns.

Maguid, known to his contacts in the Middle East and Pakistan as Abu Shareefa Al-Filibini, was killed on Thursday in a shootout with personnel of PRO-12 and agents of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency at a beach resort in Kiamba town, also in Sarangani.

“Initial reports relayed to us by our operating personnel indicated that Abu Naila, a loyal follower of the slain leader of their group, was a foreigner. We’re still trying to establish his exact nationality,” Galgo said.

Abu Naila was a known henchman of Maguid, who established the Ansar Al-Khilafa group in Barangay Butril in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat in 2013.

Maguid and his followers built a camp in Barangay Butril with an ISIS flag in the center.

He and his men were driven away from Barangay Butril in late 2015 by Regional Police Office-12 and the 1st Marine Brigade in an operation where seven militants were killed, among them a nephew of a former congressional representative in Maguindanao province.

Police agents who cornered Maguid on Thursday attempted to subdue him while in Barangay Kitagas in Kiamba but he resisted and pulled out a gun, prompting them to shoot him.

Three of Maguid's companions immediately yielded to police when their leader was shot.

The arrested militants -- Matahata Dialawe, Arboleda Shahak, and Morhaban Veloso -- were brought to an undisclosed police camp. They are heavily guarded against any attempt by companions to spring them from detention.

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RELATED FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

2 more Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines members killed in Sarangani Published January 7, 2017 8:21pm



Police killed two suspected members of jihadist group Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines, including a foreign national, in Sarangani on Saturday morning.

Superintendent Romeo Galgo, spokesman of the Central Mindanao regional police, identified the suspects as Abu Naila and a certain Kadija, a female.

Galgo said the two suspects were killed in a follow-up operation in Barangay Daliao, Maasim town at around 11:45 a.m.

Police said in a report that Naila was a foreign national.

Galgo said that one of the suspects attempted to lob a grenade at the arresting policemen, which prompted the authorities to shoot them.

The killing of the two suspects came two days after the neutralization of the jihadist group's leader in Sarangani identified as Mohammad Jaafar Maguid alias Tokboy.

Maguid was killed by lawmen in Kiamba town, also in Sarangani.

Three other suspected members of the group were arrested during the operation. —ALG, GMA News


MALAYA

Escaped inmates now armed, dangerous: PNP By RAYMOND AFRICA January 06, 2017


PNP CHIEF DE LA ROSA

PRISONERS who escaped during an attack on the North Cotabato District Jail in Kidapawan City Wednesday are now considered very dangerous as they have been given arms by the group of Commander Derby, a leader of a Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters who led the attack at the jail facility.

As of yesterday, 139 of the 158 escapees remained at large.

Senior Supt. Leonardo Suan, deputy regional director for operations of the Central Mindanao Police Regional Office, yesterday said intelligence information reaching the police showed the escapees first gathered in Sitio Nazareth, Barangay Amas, in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato where they were armed, and later splintered into several groups.

The jail is also in Barangay Amas, inside the provincial capitol compound.

READ MORE...

Suan said the escaped prisoners are being pursued in areas surrounding Kidapawan City by the Cotabato Police Provincial Office, the PNP Special Action Force, the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion, and the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion.

Suan said Derby and his group were last sighted in Barangay Kadingilan in Kabacan town, North Cotabato.

Suan said intelligence reports also point to the group of Commander Derby because it is has the capability to launch such a massive attack. At least 100 armed men stormed the facility in the early hours of Wednesday.

Suan also said the group was to spring out two men.

“Sinasabi nila (police intelligence sources) si (Commander) Derby kasi siya lang ang may capacity ng ganoong karami ng armas, puro high-powered pa, sa pag-atake. Breakaway siya ng MILF, may kukunin sila dalawang magkapatid, nadamay na lang ang iba,” Suan said.

Supt. Romeo Galgo, Region 12 police spokesman, said 12 prisoners have been captured, five were killed, and two were confined in a hospital.

Chief Insp. Joyce Virey, spokesman of Cotabato Police Provincial Office, said the attackers planned on rescuing at least 10 prisoners who were members of the BIFF but the others escaped out of fear that the facility will be burned down.

Virey also said the captured prisoners were unarmed.

“Hindi naman sila nanlaban, wala naman tayong nakitang baril sa kanila, habang naglalakad ay nakita sila sa palibot. Yung iba naghihingalo na at dinala sa hospital at declared sila ng attending doctors na patay na… Naipit sa putukan habang tumatakas sa palitan ng putok ng rumespondeng pulis at sundalo,” Virey said.

She said most of the captured prisoners were booked for violation of anti-illegal drugs laws.

Virey said there was no shoot-to-kill order on the fugitives but pursuing teams will be forced to shoot them down when needed.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

‘Bato’ vows better PNP in 2017 BY ANTHONY VARGAS, TMT ON JANUARY 8, 2017 TOP STORIES

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa over the weekend said Filipinos can expect a better equipped police force this year.

Dela Rosa issued the statement during the traditional New Year’s Call of police officials in Camp Crame where he also urged the country’s 160,000 police personnel to live up to the expectations of the public.

“To all of you and to the Filipino people we serve, I assure you of a leadership that you will be proud of and a police force that will gallantly live up to the expectations of our countrymen,” the PNP chief said.

He also laid out the six-point agenda of the PNP leadership for 2017.

Dela Rosa said the PNP will continue focusing on the areas of administration, transformation, and operation.

He noted that Project Double Barrel Alpha, under which the massive campaign against illegal drugs is being implemented, will remain in force.

The PNP is in the forefront of the war against illegal drugs that was launched in July 2016 when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.

Dela Rosa said the PNP will enforce more drug tests in public and private institutions and stir drug awareness, especially among the youth, by launching information and education programs.

He added that police assistance will be more accessible as he encouraged the public to use the latest applications in mobile phones.

Dela Rosa also vowed faster delivery of police services such as the processing of firearms registration and licensing, issuance of police clearances, and processing of pension and other benefits for retirees.

He said the police will undertake all necessary steps to maintain order and peace in the streets and communities as he emphasized that discipline should prevail at all levels of the police force.

“While we do everything to maintain order and keep peace in our streets and communities, I will make sure that everything will be in order as well in the homefront. Discipline must prevail at all levels of the PNP organization,” Dela Rosa said.

Present during the PNP’s New Year’s Call were members of the command group and national directorial staff, commanders of national support units, regional directors, and special and personal staff.


PHILSTAR

Acting North Cotabato governor wants provincial jail warden out By John Unson (philstar.com) | Updated January 7, 2017 - 4:21pm 1 39 googleplus0 0


Police and jail personnel patrol outside the walls of the North Cotabato District Jail in Kidapawan City after more than 100 armed men, believed to be members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, attacked the compound to free certain detainees. AP

NORTH COTABATO, Philippines -- The acting governor of North Cotabato has recommended the replacement of the provincial jail warden after more than 100 detainees escaped in a jailbreak this week.

Shirlyn Macasarte-Villanueva, officer-in-charge of the provincial government, told Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno in a letter that there was apparent mismanagement of the provincial jail by its warden, Superintendent Peter Bongat, Jr. Macasarte-Villanueva, also chairperson of the inter-agency provincial peace and order council, said Bongat has to be replaced to pave the way for an impartial inquiry into the incident.

Bongat said Thursday that he only had 21 guards for the 1,500 detainees in the provincial jail.

READ MORE...

Provincial officials are planning to initiate an extensive evaluation of the conditions at the jail to determine measures to prevent another jailbreak. It was the third assault on the facility in about a decade.

Superintendent Joyce Birrey, spokesperson of the North Cotabato provincial police, on Saturday said 10 of the 158 inmates who escaped from the jail this week were killed by pursuing Army and police teams because they resisted arrest.

Birrey said 43 others were arrested and returned to the provincial jail in Kidapawan City with the help of local executives and barangay officials in nearby towns.

She said more than 20 of the captured escapees were found hiding in a rice farm in Kabacan town in North Cotabato by a combined team of police and soldiers led by Mayor Herlo Guzman.

Sources: Freed detainees were sons of BIFF founder

Sources from Army intelligence units told The STAR on Saturday that they are now validating information that three of those set free during the jail raid are nephews of the late Imam Ameril Ombra Kato, founder the the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

“Some of our informants are active members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” said an officer, who asked not to be identified owing to the risky nature of his undercover assignment.

The officer, who is a lieutenant colonel in the Philippine Army, said the three detainees, whose names he declined to disclose pending further validation, were detained in connection with their alleged involvement in deadly bomb attacks.

A provincial official, who requested anonymity for security reasons, said he has also been receiving information from constituents asserting that one of the three men is, in fact, a son of Kato.

“But we are still confirming this information from our friends in the local communities,” the source said.

The beleaguered Bongat, now subject of criticisms on Facebook and circulating text messages, earlier said the gunmen who attacked the jail were led by Commander Derby of the BIFF.

The BIFF has denied involvement in the attack.


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