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'WE HAVE FAILED': DUTERTE APOLOGIZES OVER BEHEADING OF GERMAN HOSTAGE
[RELATED: Communities helping ASG kidnappers – ARMM gov]
[RELATED(2): Gov't to leave 'no stone unturned' in fight vs terror]


FEBRUARY 28 -President Rodrigo Duterte. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC
PRESIDENT NOTES NO-RANSOM POLICY  President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday apologized to the government of Germany and expressed sympathies to its citizens after the beheading of German national Jurgen Gustav Kantner by the Abu Sayyaf. “I am very sorry that that a national of your country has been beheaded. I sympathize with the family, I commiserate with the German people. We tried. There’s a massive operation going on,” Duterte said in an interview with reporters in Malacañang. “I would like to say something to the family and to the government. We really tried our best. The military operation has been going on for some time already but we have failed. That has to be admitted. There’s nothing wrong with admitting a failure,” he added. READ MORE...RELATED,
Communities helping ASG kidnappers – ARMM gov... RELATED(2) Gov't to leave 'no stone unturned' in fight vs terror...

ALSO: Germany condemns beheading of Abu Sayyaf hostage
[RELATED: German hostage last words: ‘Now he kill me’]
RELATED(2): ‘We really tried our best’]


MARCH 1 -Jurgen Gustav Kantner. Agence France-Presse
Germany on Monday condemned the beheading of an elderly German captive by Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf militants who posted a video of the killing after a deadline for a P30 million ($600,000) ransom passed. READ: Duterte aide confirms Abu Sayyaf beheading of German hostage The video showed a machete-wielding militant behead Jurgen Kantner.The German had appealed for help twice in short video messages, saying he would be killed if ransom were not paid. Speaking during a news conference with his Italian counterpart, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the perpetrators must not be allowed to go unpunished. "Sadly, we have to assume that the news coming out of the Philippines is correct: that the kidnapped German citizen is no longer alive. Of course it is appalling to see how brutally and inhumanely a human life was treated. His murder is abhorrent. And it shows just what methods international terror is prepared to use... Of course the relevant German authorities will work with the Philippines to do everything we can to catch the perpetrators. Such a crime cannot go unpunished," Gabriel said in Rome. READ MORE..RELATED, German hostage last words: ‘Now he kill me’...RELATED(2) ‘We really tried our best’...

ALSO: Duterte brings back police into war on drugs
[RELATED: Bato - Relaunched war on drugs will still be bloody]


FEBRUARY 28 -
President Rodrigo Duterte orders the police officers facing various charges to be detailed in Basilan for two years during their presentation to the President in Malacañang on February 7, 2017. The President gave the errant police officers 15 days to decide whether to resign or accept their re-assignment in Basilan. Marcelino Pascua/Presidential Photo  Citing lack of manpower in the anti-narcotics operations, President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to tap policemen again in the war against illegal drugs as he stressed that only the qualified ones would be allowed to join the campaign. Duterte said he has ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa to “recruit young men” who are “imbued with the fervor of patriotism” to be members of task forces that would run after drug syndicates. “Every station should have one (task force) pero piling pili, yung walang kaso at walang history ng corruption (they will be selected thoroughly, they should have no cases and no history of corruption),” the president told reporters Tuesday in Malacañang. “I have to do it because kulang ako ng tao (I lack manpower),” he added. READ MORE...RELATED, Bato: Relaunched war on drugs will still be bloody...

ALSO: De Lima - Putting police back in war on drugs reckless, arrogant
[RELATED MILITARY INVOLVEMENT: Troops join 'renewed' war on drugs]


MARCH 1 -Sen. Leila de Lima arrives at a regional trial court for a brief personal appearance following her arrest on drug charges Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in suburban Paranaque city southeast of Manila, Philippines. De Lima was arrested Friday on drug charges but professed her innocence and vowed she would not be intimidated by a leader she called a "serial killer." AP/File
Detained Sen. Leila De Lima criticized the government’s decision to restart its “renewed” war on drugs, saying the problems that led to its suspension have not been addressed. De Lima described as “the height of arrogance” the government’s plan to lift the suspension of police operations against drug peddlers and traffickers without addressing the defects in in its anti-narcotics campaign. The senator, detained at the custodial center in Camp Crame on drug charges, said that the government should heed the advice of local and global experts against problems in its war on drugs program such as police corruption and lack of an accountability system meant to check police abuses. “It’d be the height of arrogance if our government would resume its most murderous war on drugs without correcting its defects, without getting rid of corrupt policemen, and without making them accountable for their crimes,” De Lima said. READ MORE...RELATED, MILITARY INVOLVEMENT Troops join 'renewed' war on drugs...

ALSO: Duterte to think 'a thousand times' before deciding on talks with Reds
[RELATED UPDATE March 5: Duterte open to talk peace with Reds anew]


FEBRUARY 28 -In this photo taken Nov. 23, 2016, members of the New People's Army communist rebels with face painted to conceal their identities, stand in formation during ceremonies before a news conference held at their guerrilla encampment tucked in the harsh wilderness. AP/File photo
President Rodrigo Duterte will think “a thousand times” before deciding on whether to resume the peace talks with communists, which were terminated last month after rebels launched successive attacks against security forces. “I will think about it. I will think a thousand times and consult with the Cabinet, including the left-leaning members of the Cabinet,” the president told reporters in an interview Tuesday in Malacañang. “We are a Cabinet. We are a working government. We can work well with each other were all right and it's best that we discuss it some time, not now, about how to go on about this problem on how to navigate again the stormy waters of our country,” he added. Duterte stressed that the government’s interest “must prevail” in any negotiation. READ MORE...RELATED UPDATE
Duterte open to talk peace with Reds anew...

ALSO:
NPA willing to meet Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on peace issues
[RELATED: Digong's new 'apo' -Why Sara Duterte’s newborn is nicknamed Stonefish]


FEBRUARY 28 -Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO) DAVAO CITY – The New People’s Army (NPA) in Southern Mindanao has declared it is willing to face Mayor Sara Duterte to talk about the prospects of peace – at least in President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown – and will even be willing to suspend its attacks on government troops during the talks with her. In a media statement, Rigoberto Sanchez, the spokesperson of the NPA’s regional operations command, said they would like to sit down with Mayor Duterte “(t)o pursue lasting peace and advance the welfare of the masses.” (The) NPA (is) open to hold talks with Sara Duterte,” Sanchez said, adding that the rebel group’s declaration was meant to reciprocate the mayor’s gesture of wanting to negotiate for peace. “The Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao reciprocates the gesture made by GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte by suspending for a few hours the NPA operations and ordering any NPA camp in NDF (National Democratic Front) territories in Davao City and nearby areas to host the talks with her at a mutually agreed time and date,” he said. READ MORE...RELATED, Digong's new 'apo' -Why Sara Duterte’s newborn is nicknamed Stonefish...


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‘We have failed': Duterte apologizes over beheading of German hostage


President Rodrigo Duterte. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

PRESIDENT NOTES NO-RANSOM POLICY

MANILA, MARCH 6, 2017
(INQUIRER)
By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales - Reporter / @YGonzalesINQINQUIRER.net / 05:54 PM February 28, 2017 - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday apologized to the government of Germany and expressed sympathies to its citizens after the beheading of German national Jurgen Gustav Kantner by the Abu Sayyaf.

“I am very sorry that that a national of your country has been beheaded. I sympathize with the family, I commiserate with the German people. We tried. There’s a massive operation going on,” Duterte said in an interview with reporters in Malacañang.

“I would like to say something to the family and to the government. We really tried our best. The military operation has been going on for some time already but we have failed. That has to be admitted. There’s nothing wrong with admitting a failure,” he added.

READ MORE...

READ: German hostage pleads for help

The Abu Sayyaf earlier threatened to kill the 70-year-old Kantner on the afternoon of Feb. 26 if they would not be paid a ransom of P30 million. Kantner was kidnapped in November last year while his yacht was cruising in waters off Sulu. His companion Sabine Merz was killed by the bandits.

READ: Dead German woman found in yacht

But Duterte noted that it’s a matter of policy “that we don’t surrender to the demands of paying ransom” as it will just encourage the bandits to commit more crimes.

“I would like to assure everybody that for as long as there is violence, the Republic of the Philippines will continue its military operations… I have been pleading with the nation to try to consider federalism. If we don’t, it will tear Midnanao apart,” the President added. JE

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Communities helping ASG kidnappers – ARMM gov BY JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL, TMT ON MARCH 4, 2017 TOP STORIES



SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujiv Hataman told Muslim leaders to stop pretending that the terror acts of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) are without the knowledge of their host communities.

Hataman aired the call as he condemned the ASG’s recent beheading of German hostage Juergen Kantner in Sulu as an act against the teachings of Islam and against the moral values of the Moro people.

The regional governor said this was the latest of a series of brutal, terrorist attacks meant to strike fear in the hearts of the people.

“Our condemnation against these acts have, time and again, fallen on deaf ears,” he said in exasperation.

He called on his fellow Moros to cooperate with law enforcers by giving the necessary information on the whereabouts of the terrorist group, following fighting in Sulu between the military and the terrorists that resulted in five ASG men killed on Thursday.

Hataman, who has jurisdiction over five provincial governors and two city mayors, urged local officials to assert their mandates and authorities to stop terrorist activities.

“We call on the local government units to assert their authority and to exert all efforts to clamp down on terrorist groups within their jurisdiction,” the ARMM regional governor said.

“We are counting on the local government units to assist and help the military and coordinate with each other. Our joint effort in maintaining peace and order is crucial in ensuring that the welfare and rights of the people are not compromised,” he added.

Hataman said the regional government was committed to support local governments with whatever means necessary to stop terror.

Kantner was reportedly held hostage by men loyal to Muammar Askali, also known as Abu Rami, an ASG commander in Sulu.

The German was kidnapped almost two months ago when he and his wife, Sabine Merz, were cruising in their yacht through an area controlled by the Abu Sayyaf. Merz was reportedly killed when she tried to fight back with a shotgun.

Hataman, who hails from Basilan province, another ASG lair, pointed out this was not the first act of terror committed by the ASG.

“This will not be the last if we continue to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the crimes of those who betray our faith and our people,” Hataman warned.

He appealed to all ARMM residents to join forces and stop the ASG brutalities.

“Let us work together to end this culture of fear and impunity in which the ASG thrives – a culture in which the next murderous act could be the death of our families, our friends, or ourselves,” Hataman warned.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Gov't to leave 'no stone unturned' in fight vs terror By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated March 5, 2017 - 3:41pm 2 18 googleplus0 0


German hostage Juergen Gustav Kantner holds a flag declaring ‘This is my last hour’ in a photo tweeted on Dec. 29, 2016 by user @TerrorEvents.

MANILA, Philippines — The government would leave no stone unturned in the fight against terrorism, Malacañang said Sunday, following the discovery of the body of the German kidnap victim beheaded by bandit group Abu Sayyaf last month.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the government is “resolved as ever” to address the threats posed by terrorism.

“President Duterte has declared time and again that terrorism is the twin scourge of narco-politics, and that this government will leave no stone unturned in squarely addressing the evils of extremism and plain banditry,” Abella said in a statement.

“Rest assured these mindless acts will not go unpunished,” he added.

Abella said the Philippine government is saddened by the beheading of Kantner, which he described as a “modern-day cruelty.”

“We reiterate our sincere sympathies to the family of Mr. Kantner, as well as to the rest of the German people for this modern-day cruelty,” he said.

Kantner was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu on Feb. 26, 2017, almost four months after he was kidnapped by the terrorist group. His remains were discovered Saturday night by the Marine Battalion Landing Team 3 in Sitio Talibang, Barangay Buanza in Indanan, Sulu.

About two dozen soldiers were hurt while 16 Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed, six were wounded and four others were captured during the government forces’ search and retrieval operations, the military said.

Duterte has apologized to Germany for the government’s failure to save the life of Kantner.

“I am very sorry that the hostage, a national of your country, has been beheaded. I sympathize with the family, I commiserate with the German people,” the president said last February 28.

“I would like to say something to the family and to the government that we really tried our best. We have been there, the military operation has been going on for some time already and but we have failed and so that has to be admitted,” the president added.

“There’s nothing wrong in admitting a failure but it’s a matter of policy that we do not surrender to the demands of paying ransom.”

Troops recover remains of Abu Sayyaf's German captive By Roel Pareño (philstar.com) | Updated March 5, 2017 - 10:47am 7 129 googleplus1 1


MARCH 5, 2017 -ZAMBOANGA CITY — Government troops recovered the remains of the Abu Sayyaf's German hostage Saturday afternoon, almost a week after he was beheaded in in the town of Indanan, Sulu, a ground military commander said Sunday. Col. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS), said pursuing troops recovered the remains of 70-year-old Juergen Gustav Kantner about 5:45 p.m. at Sitio Talibang, Barangay Buanza. “It’s positive it was the remains of the German hostage,” Sobejana said.


ABS-CBN

Germany condemns beheading of Abu Sayyaf hostage Reuters Posted at Feb 28 2017 07:23 PM


Jurgen Gustav Kantner. Agence France-Presse

Germany on Monday condemned the beheading of an elderly German captive by Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf militants who posted a video of the killing after a deadline for a P30 million ($600,000) ransom passed.

READ: Duterte aide confirms Abu Sayyaf beheading of German hostage

The video showed a machete-wielding militant behead Jurgen Kantner.

The German had appealed for help twice in short video messages, saying he would be killed if ransom were not paid.

Speaking during a news conference with his Italian counterpart, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the perpetrators must not be allowed to go unpunished.

"Sadly, we have to assume that the news coming out of the Philippines is correct: that the kidnapped German citizen is no longer alive. Of course it is appalling to see how brutally and inhumanely a human life was treated. His murder is abhorrent. And it shows just what methods international terror is prepared to use... Of course the relevant German authorities will work with the Philippines to do everything we can to catch the perpetrators. Such a crime cannot go unpunished," Gabriel said in Rome.

READ MORE...

Abu Sayyaf's activities in recent years have been mainly banditry, but the Philippines believes Islamic State has been in contact with members of the group's leadership with a view to gaining a foothold in Southeast Asia.

Abu Sayyaf, which means "bearer of the sword", has capitalized on decades of instability in the southern Philippines and generated tens of millions of dollars from piracy and ransom payments.

It uses the money to buy arms, high-powered boats and modern navigation equipment, allowing it to avoid detection and seize crew of slow-moving vessels with ease.

Kantner and his companion were taken captive in November while sailing on a 53-footer yacht near Sabah, eastern Malaysia, and brought to Jolo. His companion was shot dead when she tried to resist the militants.

Reports of Kantner's execution emerged on Sunday (February 26) evening, but the military only confirmed the killing on Monday, citing "reliable sources". It said it would continue to search for Kantner's remains in order to hand them over to his family.

Abu Sayyaf is currently holding 26 hostages - 13 Vietnamese, seven Filipinos, a Dutch national, a Japanese, two Indonesians and two Malaysians, the military says. Experts say the group is very unlikely to free any hostages without payment.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

German hostage last words: ‘Now he kill me’ By: Allan Nawal and Jeoffrey Maitem - @inquirerdotnetInquirer Mindanao / 07:32 PM February 27, 2017 Juergen Kantner in Abu Sayyaf video


German hostage Jurgen Kantner in Abu Sayyaf video

DAVAO CITY – German hostage Jurgen Kantner was silent as the Abu Sayyaf prepares to execute him.

In a one-minute and 43-second video leaked from a chat group, the 70-year old Kantner was initially on the ground, wearing black shirt and a pants and his hands tied to his back.

A bandit then helped him get up while talking in an uncertain dialect with his fellow bandits.

A man with a curved blade, similar to the ones used by sacadas, then emerged and suddenly grabbed Kantner, who only managed to utter: “Now he kill me.”

Kantner was seen in the video struggling for his life as the unidentified bandit slashed his throat back and forth while chants of “Allahu Akbar” fill the background.

The executioner, who wore a full head garb obscuring his face, then held the severed German’s head into the air as the chanting continued.

The executioner then placed the German’s head upside near Kantner’s neck before walking away.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza condemned the beheading of the German national as he confirmed the execution of the kidnap victim in Sulu.

“We grieve as we strongly condemn the barbaric beheading of yet another kidnap victim,” Dureza said in a statement.

“Up to the last moment, many sectors, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines exhausted all efforts to save his life. We all tried our best. But to no avail,” he added.

Dureza said terrorism has “no place in a country like ours and we as a people must confront violent extremism every time it rears its ugly head.”

“I was always in close contact with German authorities in our efforts. We condole with his family, friends and loved ones,” Dureza said.

Kantner and his wife Sabine Merz were sailing on Malaysian waters when they were kidnapped on November 5 last year. Merz was killed by the bandits.

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RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR

‘We really tried our best’ By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 1, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


“I would like to say something to the family and to the government, that we really tried our best. We have been there, the military operation has been going on for some time already, but we have failed, and so that has to be admitted,”President Duterte said. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte yesterday apologized to Germany for failing to rescue Juergen Gustav Kantner, saying the Philippine government had tried its best to rescue the German who was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf last Sunday.

“I would like to say something to the family and to the government, that we really tried our best. We have been there, the military operation has been going on for some time already, but we have failed, and so that has to be admitted,” Duterte said.

“I am very sorry that the hostage, a national of your country, has been beheaded. I sympathize with the family, I commiserate with the German people,” he told reporters in an interview at Malacañang.

Duterte stressed the government, through the military, exerted all efforts to prevent the beheading of Kantner without paying ransom.

READ MORE...

“I said we tried. There’s a massive operation going on and as I have just announced to you, we are beginning to use air assets,” he said.

“There’s nothing wrong in admitting a failure but it’s a matter of policy that we do not surrender to the demands of paying ransom,” he added.

Malacañang condemned the execution of Kantner and vowed to curb the threat of the Abu Sayyaf.

“The Palace condemns this despicable crime and the President has bound himself in principle that these groups (should be) neutralized,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

“We reiterate our deepest condolences to the German people and to the family of Mr. Kantner, and not only do we empathize but we sympathize with them. However, I’m sure the President’s commitment is to ensure that these things will be addressed and curtailed in the soonest possible manner,” he added.

Abella said Duterte was “deeply affected” by the beheading.

Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on the peace process, said officials had exhausted all efforts to save Kantner, 70, who was held by the Abu Sayyaf in Jolo for three months.

DUREZA - WE GRIEVE AND STRONGLY CONDEMN

“We grieve as we strongly condemn the barbaric beheading of yet another kidnap victim,” Dureza said in a statement.

“There must be a stop to this killing of the innocent and the helpless,” Dureza said as he made no mention of the ransom demand.

Kantner and his companion Sabine Merz were taken captive in November while sailing on a 53-foot yacht near Sabah, eastern Malaysia, and brought to Jolo. Merz was shot dead when she tried to resist the militants.

‘We were that close’

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) pledged in a separate statement to bring Kantner’s killers to justice and continue operations to free other hostages held by Abu Sayyaf.

The AFP has deployed thousands of troops in the Abu Sayyaf strongholds of Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Jolo islands, but despite air and ground offensives, the piracy and kidnappings of the group continue unabated.

The bandits are entrenched in local communities, complicating operations by a military wary of incurring civilian casualties.


Año

AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año said the troops were close to rescuing Kantner and other hostages were it not for the firefight that broke out with the Abu Sayyaf gunmen.

Año said the troops were working on an intelligence report that located Kantner and his captors in a remote village in Indanan, Sulu a day before the beheading.

Año said the German captive was immediately spirited out of the area by gunmen led by Abu Rami, while the rest of bandits led by Radulan Sahiron engaged government troops in a firefight.

“At the height of the fighting he (Kantner) was there,” he said.

“He was spirited out of Sahiron’s camp. You know in the forest it’s very easy to hide a person with six Abu Sayyaf. There’s no 100 percent success in (intelligence and operations) but we have been focusing on the large group of Sahiron,” Año said.

Año was responding to questions on how effective was the military intelligence set up against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu as it now appeared that the bandits were a step ahead in evading the military.

The Abu Sayyaf are currently holding more than 30 foreign and local hostages in Sulu and Basilan, including 13 Vietnamese, seven Filipinos, a Dutch national, a Japanese, two Indonesians and two Malaysians.

“We sympathize with the family of Mr. Kantner because unfortunately he was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf. But of course this would make our troops even more committed to pursue these perpetrators in order to bring them to justice,” Año said.

Col. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS), said troops are continuing the search to locate the remains of Kantner.

Local officials are coordinating with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the search, he said.

Reports of Kantner’s execution emerged on Sunday evening, but the AFP only confirmed the killing on Monday, a day after the deadline for the P30-million ransom had expired.

The Abu Sayyaf purportedly uploaded a video of Kantner’s beheading which was circulated on the internet by SITE Intelligence Group, a website that monitors the activities of jihadists around the world.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) appealed to the public not to circulate the gruesome video.

“We earnestly appeal to netizens, internet subscribers and mobile phone users to refrain from propagating the video clip of Mr. Kantner’s murder,” PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos said.

Carlos said reposting the video of Kantner’s brutal execution would bring more anguish to the victim’s relatives and friends.

“He rightfully deserves human dignity even in such gruesome death, while his family and friends deserve respect in this time of grief,” Carlos said. – Jaime Laude, Roel Pareño, Emmanuel Tupas


PHILSTAR

Duterte brings back police into war on drugs By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated February 28, 2017 - 7:58pm 8 16 googleplus0 0


President Rodrigo Duterte orders the police officers facing various charges to be detailed in Basilan for two years during their presentation to the President in Malacañang on February 7, 2017. The President gave the errant police officers 15 days to decide whether to resign or accept their re-assignment in Basilan. Marcelino Pascua/Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines — Citing lack of manpower in the anti-narcotics operations, President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to tap policemen again in the war against illegal drugs as he stressed that only the qualified ones would be allowed to join the campaign.

Duterte said he has ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa to “recruit young men” who are “imbued with the fervor of patriotism” to be members of task forces that would run after drug syndicates.

“Every station should have one (task force) pero piling pili, yung walang kaso at walang history ng corruption (they will be selected thoroughly, they should have no cases and no history of corruption),” the president told reporters Tuesday in Malacañang.

“I have to do it because kulang ako ng tao (I lack manpower),” he added.

READ MORE...

READ: Troops join 'renewed' war on drugs

Duterte noted that security forces are also addressing the threats posed by the New People’s Army and terrorist groups in Mindanao.

“So kailangan ko ng tao (I need manpower). I have to call back the police again to do the job most of the time in the fight against drugs,” the president said.

Asked if the anti-drug campaign Oplan Tokhang would be revived, Duterte replied: “I will leave it to the police to decide. If that’s the best way to do it, fine.”

Duterte said the anti-drug operations involving policemen and military would be supervised by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

“There should always be a PDEA (representative),” he said.

READ: Duterte: PNP to decide on resuming 'tokhang'

Duterte has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to suspend the Oplan Tokhang following the kidnapping and murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo in the hands of some policemen

Witnesses said Jee was kidnapped by members of the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group in Angeles, Pampanga on Oct. 18, 2016. The businessman was said to have been strangled to death inside Camp Crame. Jee’s body was cremated in a funeral parlor, his ashes flushed down a toilet, witnesses claimed.

After killing the businessman, the kidnappers demanded P5 million ransom from his wife.

Duterte has abolished the anti-drug units of PNP and has vowed to cleanse the police force of scalawags. The president admitted though that it might take time before the rogue policemen are replaced by decent ones.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Bato: Relaunched war on drugs will still be bloody By AJ Bolando (philstar.com) | Updated March 1, 2017 - 2:05pm 1 36 googleplus0 0


In this Sept. 5, 2016 photo, police inspect the site where alleged drug user Marcelo Salvador was shot dead by unidentified men in Las Pinas, south of Manila, Philippines. Drug dealers and drug addicts, were being shot by police or slain by unidentified gunmen in mysterious, gangland-style murders that were taking place at night. Salvador became a victim, the casualty of a vicious war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives as part of a campaign by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. AP Photo/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines — While he claims he does not want bloodshed, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa could not exclude the possibility of more deaths in a renewed campaign against illegal drugs.

At a press briefing at Camp Crame on Wednesday, Dela Rosa said that it is impossible to avoid bloodshed since drug lords will refuse to surrender.

“How I wish sana na we will achieve a drug free society without bloodshed but it is very impossible since it's going to be a war,” the PNP chief explained.

READ: Duterte brings back police into war on drugs

“Itong mga drug lords will not just leave drug trafficking business just like that. This is a billion peso industry. Hindi sila basta-basta uurong,” he added.

He reiterated an earlier statement that anti-narcotics efforts will be a “matter of action and counter action” with the life of cops are still the priority.

Dela Rosa insisted it would only be violent when the suspects resisted arrest and endangered the lives of the operatives. He maintained that no one wants a bloody war.

Yesterday, President Rodrigo Duterte created a task force and tapped again the police force to help Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and military on war on drugs.

READ: Dela Rosa hopes PNP can focus on drug war anew

Duterte was forced to bring back cops in their campaign due to lack of manpower after he suspended their operation in January following a kidnap-slay of a Korean national on the hands of anti-drug operatives.

The task force will be formed of “new blood” cops “imbued with the fervor of patriotism.” The nation’s top cop wants to iron out everything before they resume their operation

“We have to retool ourselves, we have to reassess our units, we have to regroup, we have to reevaluate everything para ‘pag launch natin we are prepared,” Dela Rosa said.

“Tayo naman ay determinado na tapusin itong gyera na ito,” he added.

Before the suspension, around 7,000 deaths were tallied since war on drugs launched in July which earned criticisms from local and international organizations. Human rights groups decrying the killings welcomed the pause in the bloody campaign to give way to a shift of the PNP's focus from drugs to internal cleansing. The pause, however, proved to be short lived.

Surveys on Filipinos' opinion on the war on drugs showed that while 84 percent approved of it, 71 percent also thought suspects should have been allowed to live. More Filipinos—at 85 percent—also fear being killed in a crossfire in the campaign.


PHILSTAR

De Lima: Putting police back in war on drugs reckless, arrogant By Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) | Updated March 1, 2017 - 2:22am 2 46 googleplus0 0


Sen. Leila de Lima arrives at a regional trial court for a brief personal appearance following her arrest on drug charges Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in suburban Paranaque city southeast of Manila, Philippines. De Lima was arrested Friday on drug charges but professed her innocence and vowed she would not be intimidated by a leader she called a "serial killer." AP/File

MANILA, Philippines — Detained Sen. Leila De Lima criticized the government’s decision to restart its “renewed” war on drugs, saying the problems that led to its suspension have not been addressed.

De Lima described as “the height of arrogance” the government’s plan to lift the suspension of police operations against drug peddlers and traffickers without addressing the defects in in its anti-narcotics campaign.

The senator, detained at the custodial center in Camp Crame on drug charges, said that the government should heed the advice of local and global experts against problems in its war on drugs program such as police corruption and lack of an accountability system meant to check police abuses.

“It’d be the height of arrogance if our government would resume its most murderous war on drugs without correcting its defects, without getting rid of corrupt policemen, and without making them accountable for their crimes,” De Lima said.

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“Like many of you know, the illegal drug abuse and trafficking present a persistent problem not only for the Philippines but also for other countries. We are against drug trade, but we should not allow innocent people summarily killed,” she added.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Tuesday that he was tapping the police again in his drug war because of lack of manpower.

The president bared that he had ordered PNP Director General Ronald Dela Rosa to recruit young men “imbued with the fervor of patriotism” to be members of police groups that would run after drug syndicates.

“Every station should have one (task force) pero piling pili, yung walang kaso at walang history ng corruption (they will be selected thoroughly, they should have no cases and no history of corruption),” he said.

“I have to do it because kulang ako ng tao (I lack manpower),” the chief executive admitted.

MILITARY INVOLVEMENT

This rebooted war on drugs by the government however will be different from its previous version because of the involvement of another element: the military.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines signed a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency making it the campaign’s “force provider.”

The military will aid PDEA in going after high-value targets and help the agency in activities such as counterintelligence, investigation and neutralization of persons involved in the drugs trade.

This move from the AFP came despite warnings from the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the United States would be forced to suspend its military aid should the military become part of the drug campaign.

De Lima said that allowing the PNP to resume its anti-drugs operations would be a “reckless” move on the part of authorities.

“It is reckless, to say the least, to allow the resumption of the anti-drug operations of the Philippine National Police which is more interested in the incentives given them than in investigating and preventing death-squad- style killings,” De Lima said.

She said that the government should discard its “Double Barrel Project” and come up with a better program that respects and protects human rights of individuals, including suspected drug offenders.

“The present war on drugs is a dismal failure because there were innocent individuals who were summarily killed, those who were apprehended were not accorded due process of the law, and only the poor were targeted,” she said.

De Lima also called on the government to have a look at the “Alternate Report” the Ateneo Human Rights Center submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

According to De Lima, the report underscored the defects in the government’s anti-drugs program which claimed thousands of lives including those of innocent individuals and children who are treated as mere “collateral damage” in its campaign.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Troops join 'renewed' war on drugs By Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) | Updated February 28, 2017 - 5:46pm 2 13 googleplus0 0


In this Sept. 5, 2016 photo, police inspect the site where alleged drug user Marcelo Salvador was shot dead by unidentified men in Las Pinas, south of Manila, Philippines. Drug dealers and drug addicts, were being shot by police or slain by unidentified gunmen in mysterious, gangland-style murders that were taking place at night. Salvador became a victim, the casualty of a vicious war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives as part of a campaign by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. AP/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will now be involved in the government’s “renewed” war on illegal drugs after it signed an agreement making it the campaign’s “force provider.”

In a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed between the AFP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the former would function as the force provider while the latter will act as the force employer as the government prepares to restart its campaign against illegal narcotics.

This move on the part of the military, however, could force the United States to suspend military aid to the Philippines, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

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The government’s campaign against illegal drugs was ended following embarrassing revelations that anti-drug policemen kidnapped and killed a Korean businessman inside Camp Crame, the national headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The government then announced that it was launching a different war, one against rogue members of the PNP, long perceived to be among the most corrupt Philippine agencies.

To effectively play this role, the AFP plans to expand the Joint Counterintelligence Task Force (JCTF) NOAH, a unit tasked to conduct drug-related counterintelligence operations.

The military said that NOAH would assist law enforcement agencies in identifying, investigating and neutralizing persons involved in the use, sale, manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs.

In addition to NOAH, the AFP will also establish regional task groups under the military’s unified commands to coordinate direct action, intelligence, legal support and community relations with PDEA’s regional offices, according to the MOA signed in Camp Aguinaldo on Tuesday.

Col. Edgard Arevalo, the military’s public affairs office chief, clarified that soldiers would be part only of high-value operations and arrests of high-value targets. He further explained that the military would not engage in operation “Tokhang,” referring to the house-to-house campaign of the PNP to convince drug users and dealers to stop their activities.

“Our forces and assets provided for each operation will not conduct ‘Tokhang,’” Arevalo said.

The military, however, clarified that PDEA would lead all anti-drug operations except in conflict-affected areas such as those plagued by insurgency, secessionism and terrorism.

The AFP and PDEA will also establish an Intelligence Fusion Center to apprehend big-time drug lords, suppress supply sources and control precursor and essential chemicals pursuant to Sec. 84 (m) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Arevalo said that the country’s military would extend legal support to PDEA in all stages of prosecution to ensure that those caught would be punished.

The military also plans to use its assets in assisting PDEA in counterintelligence build-up and investigation of government officials and groups linked to illegal drugs.

They also intend to launch training exchanges in intelligence and counterintelligence, drug enforcement and preventive education and community involvement.

Arrevalo said that the agreement clarified the military’s role in the government’s anti-drugs campaign.

“With this agreement, we can now push through with our new and bigger role in ending the illegal drugs scourge,” he said.


PHILSTAR

Duterte to think 'a thousand times' before deciding on talks with Reds By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated February 28, 2017 - 8:33pm 4 9 googleplus0 0


In this photo taken Nov. 23, 2016, members of the New People's Army communist rebels with face painted to conceal their identities, stand in formation during ceremonies before a news conference held at their guerrilla encampment tucked in the harsh wilderness. AP/File photo

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will think “a thousand times” before deciding on whether to resume the peace talks with communists, which were terminated last month after rebels launched successive attacks against security forces.

“I will think about it. I will think a thousand times and consult with the Cabinet, including the left-leaning members of the Cabinet,” the president told reporters in an interview Tuesday in Malacañang.

“We are a Cabinet. We are a working government. We can work well with each other were all right and it's best that we discuss it some time, not now, about how to go on about this problem on how to navigate again the stormy waters of our country,” he added.

Duterte stressed that the government’s interest “must prevail” in any negotiation.

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The president scrapped the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) after the communists insisted on their demand to release 400 rebels whom they claim to be political prisoners. The NDF represented the communist rebels in the peace talks.

Duterte opposed the demand, which he claimed, is similar to the grant of amnesty.

The communists then called off its unilateral ceasefire and launched offensives against government forces.

On February 4, Duterte announced that he is scrapping the peace talks and instructed the security forces to arrest the NDF consultants who participated in the negotiations. He has also labeled the NDF, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and their armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) as “terrorists.”

The following week, the CPP ordered the NPA to release the six soldiers and policemen they are holding captive as a “positive gesture” for the resumption of the peace negotiations. The group also expressed support for a bilateral ceasefire agreement.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE (UPDATE MARCH 5 SUNDAY)

Duterte open to talk peace with Reds anew Written by PNA Sunday, 05 March 2017 00:00


President Rodrigo Duterte. (AP)

President Rodrigo Duterte has raised the possibility of reopening peace negotiation with the communist rebels, but this time he wants “it to be sincere.”

In pursuit of lasting peace, Mr. Duterte said he is willing to talk once more with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDF).

“I’m open to talk to the rebels, just not the killers. I’m ready to talk and I’m ready to stop this war. I would prefer for us to not have war, but we need to talk from the heart,” he said in an interview.

The Chief Executive was in Cagayan de Oro City to visit the wake of two soldiers killed in fighting NPA rebels in Misamis Oriental earlier this week.

According to Mr. Duterte, communication and good intention are vital steps toward peace.

“I’m ready so long as we communicate well. I’m ready to resume the ceasefire again, but this time I want it to be sincere. Back then, there was a ceasefire but my soldiers were killed. I’m ready to resume the ceasefire again so long as it is working toward peace,” he said.

3 REQUESTS

The President added his plans for peace negotiations with the NPA would include three requests from the rebel group — the release of hostages, the halt to revolutionary taxes, as well as asking for favors.

“They have to release all policemen, Army, everyone from the government. They should release them all. Second, they should stop asking for revolutionary tax.Third, they should stop asking for things. They’re burning a lot of things now and we’ll never meet each other half way if that’s the case,” he stressed.

Mr. Duterte said he feels very deeply about the turmoil.

“It pains me to see Filipinos fighting against fellow Filipinos. I just want peace.”

He also said no one wins in a war. “For me, no one will win. If we Filipinos fight against fellow Filipinos, nobody wins. The nation, the Philippines loses.”

Mr. Duterte had jump-started the 30-year-old peace process, initially vowing to end over four decades of fighting.

The President had released captured rebel leaders and both sides had called separate ceasefires to pave the way for peace talks overseas.

But Mr. Duterte called off the peace talks after communist attacks left four soldiers dead in January.

Duterte has since called for the arrest of the rebel leaders he released as clashes between the 4,000-strong communist NPA and government forces have increased.
Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza, for his part, said he is awaiting instructions from the President on the possible resumption of peace talks.

He however, Mr. Duterte is not imposing any conditions for the talks to resume.

“These are what the President wishes,” Dureza said in an interview over state-run dzRB radio.

“Please make it very clear that those are not conditions because there should be no conditionality in peace negotiations. There should be no preconditions in the negotiating table,” he stressed.

The government withdrew from the peace talks last February 4, citing the killing of soldiers even when a ceasefire was in place.

NDF legal counsel Edre Olalia said Mr. Duterte’s pronouncement is a “welcome development.”

“It’s a positive sign. It’s something that everybody not only the negotiating panels from both sides must take advantage of, but also the people at large, the public,” he told CNN Philippines yesterday.

He also stressed the rebel group is always sincere in seeking peace with the government.

“If it’s a question of talking from the heart, then the sincerity has always been there on the part of our clients, the NDF panel,” he said.

According to him, the NDF has expressed willingness to release the “prisoners of war,” or soldiers held captive by the NPA rebels.

The communist insurgency in the country began in 1968 and is one of the longest running in the world. It has claimed an estimated 30,000 lives, according to the military.


INQUIRER

NPA willing to meet Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on peace issues By: Allan Nawal, Judy Quiros, Karlos Manlupig -@inquirerdotnetInquirer Mindanao / 08:16 PM February 28, 2017


Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

DAVAO CITY – The New People’s Army (NPA) in Southern Mindanao has declared it is willing to face Mayor Sara Duterte to talk about the prospects of peace – at least in President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown – and will even be willing to suspend its attacks on government troops during the talks with her.

In a media statement, Rigoberto Sanchez, the spokesperson of the NPA’s regional operations command, said they would like to sit down with Mayor Duterte “(t)o pursue lasting peace and advance the welfare of the masses.”

(The) NPA (is) open to hold talks with Sara Duterte,” Sanchez said, adding that the rebel group’s declaration was meant to reciprocate the mayor’s gesture of wanting to negotiate for peace.

“The Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao reciprocates the gesture made by GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte by suspending for a few hours the NPA operations and ordering any NPA camp in NDF (National Democratic Front) territories in Davao City and nearby areas to host the talks with her at a mutually agreed time and date,” he said.

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Sanchez said the NPA would be ready to discuss with Mayor Duterte “any matter that she would like to take up with the revolutionary movement, the duties and responsibilities of the people’s democratic government, the role of the NPA, the on-going all-out war of the AFP and the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.”

He also viewed the offer of talks as “auspicious” amid the series of clashes in Paquibato and Calinan districts about two weeks ago – which killed two soldiers and wounded over a dozen other government troops.

These clashes prompted the mayor to offer “a space of peace” to the NPA but added that she wanted to negotiate with the rebels as a group, and not as individuals.

SARA WILLING TO LISTEN

“I am willing to listen, if the NPA is willing to talk,” adding that she had a plan that could help bring peace, at least here.

“…(B)ut I want to listen first to what you have to say. My offer is limited by my authority over the area of my responsibility,” Mayor Duterte said in her message to the rebels.

Her offer of peace came in the wake of her father’s firm stand not to resume formal negotiations with the rebels yet.

“The revolutionary forces recognize Sara Duterte’s willingness to talk to the NPA as a group and not to individuals amid the growing public clamor to resume the suspended GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and achieve substantial gains in the peace process,” Sanchez said.

However, he said the NPA felt threatened when Mayor Duterte warned that she would leave all to the military if the NPA declined her offer of peace.

“Mayor Sara must know by now that the AFP is a corrupt, wily and mercenary organization that makes a mockery of the peace process and continuously sabotages her father’s and the NDFP’s efforts at peace every chance it gets,” Sanchez said.

Despite this, he said that the NPA has been looking forward to a meeting with the city executive to find common ground for the welfare of the people of Davao.

City Information Officer Jefry Tupas said Mayor Duterte had received the NPA’s response. “She is carefully looking into it and will come up with a statement in the coming days,” he said.

The military and the police said they were supporting the mayor’s desire to have peace with the rebels.

“That’s a welcome move, we welcome the development. We will be supporting the initiative of Mayor Inday Sara Duterte” Maj. Ezra Balagtey, the spokesperson of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command based here, said.

“There will be adjustments but we will obey” Balagtey added.

City police director, Senior Supt. Michael John Dubria, said the mayor’s move was “geared towards the good of the people and the city.”

“We are looking forward to a positive result,” Dubria said. SFM

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Digong's new 'apo' -Why Sara Duterte’s newborn is nicknamed Stonefish By: Allan Nawal - Correspondent / @inqmindanaoInquirer Mindanao / 07:58 AM March 03, 2017


DIGONG’S ‘APO’ Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio gives birth to President Duterte’s 10th grandchild via cesarean section. With them is Sara’s husband, lawyer Manases Carpio. —PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVAO CITY INFORMATION OFFICE
 

DAVAO CITY—Mayor Sara Duterte and her husband, lawyer Manases Carpio, named their third child Marko Digong, city information officer Jefry Tupas announced.

Nicknamed Stonefish, the baby was born via caesarian section at 12:56 p.m. on Thursday in an undisclosed hospital here.

READ: Sara Duterte gives birth to healthy boy

The baby weighed 2.42 kilograms and is healthy.

The mayor has two other children: Mikhaila Maria or Sharky, 8; and Mateo Lucas or Stingray, 4.

Mayor Duterte gave her children such nicknames as she loves the sea so much, says Tupas.

“She’s the mother ocean,” he added.

Duterte and her family were not disclosing the name of the hospital as they wanted to have privacy, Tupas said.

When the mayor’s pregnancy—through in vitro fertilization—was confirmed in July last year, she said she and her family were expecting triplets and that she was taking a three-week leave from work.

A few weeks later, she announced—and her doctor confirmed—the loss of two of the triplets she was carrying./rga

BACKSTORY: Expecting triplets, Sara Duterte loses two


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