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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD TODAY

EDITORIAL: MOCKING THE U.N.


OCTOBER 26 -THE Palace last week praised the UN as a beacon of hope as the world celebrated United Nations Day, a gesture that seemed duplicitous, given the Aquino administration’s recent moves to dismiss or disregard the supranational body’s findings on its actions here at home. “Now, more than ever, the significance of United Nations cannot be overemphasized as governments continue to resort to the UN and its various agencies for the promotion of peace, health, and development,” a Palace spokesman said. The fulsome praise follows her colleague’s flippant dismissal earlier this month of a UN agency’s finding that the government violated international human rights law with its illegal, arbitrary and politically motivated detention of former President Gloria Arroyo. In that instance, another spokesman for President Benigno Aquino III, said the finding of the Working Committee on Arbitrary Detention under the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was “just a group expressing their own opinion.” Sadly, this was not the first time that President Aquino’s administration has pushed aside the UN. In September, the administration turned down a request by UN special rapporteurs to visit the country to look into reports of killings and human rights abuses committed against tribal communities or lumad in Mindanao. A human rights group based in the Philippines had asked the UN special rapporteurs to investigate the killing of lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Juvello Sinzo and lumad teacher Emerito Samarca in Surigao del Sur, but the UN envoys are not allowed to conduct an investigation without an invitation from the government. While thousands of lumad fled their ancestral homes in fear, this administration said it needed to undertake its own “internal processes” before any international bodies could get involved. “It is best to leave the investigation to relevant authorities in the Philippines,” a Foreign Affairs spokesman said to justify the government’s rejection of an independent UN probe. READ MORE...

ALSO Editorial: The truth hurts


NOVEMBER 4 -Smarting from criticism that the administration doesn’t care about what happens to working men and women, a presidential spokesman lashed out at the political opposition Saturday on the state-run Radyo ng Bayan. “They should never ever say that the government has no heart, that the government has no malasakit [compassion],” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said. “In the six years of our government, everything will be done to help those who are at the fringes of society,” he said. In particular, the President’s spokesman hit Senator Ferdinand Marcos and his cousin Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez for claiming that the Aquino administration does not want to support a bill in Congress to cut income tax rates—already the highest in Southeast Asia—because they don’t care about the suffering of Filipinos. Lacierda also slammed Romualdez for saying that the Aquino administration has no compassion for people who must suffer substandard public services while economic growth has slowed down because of government underspending. Lacierda said the Aquino administration had “invested” P75 billion on its Conditional Cash Transfer Program which gives a monthly dole to 4.4-million families, or over 20-million Filipinos. “You tell Martin Romualdez, isn’t that compassion?” he declared petulantly. Perhaps Lacierda would not have spoken so brashly had he seen the latest figures from the Social Weather Stations showing that more Filipinos were going hungry in the last quarter of 2015. The SWS survey, conducted from Sept. 2 to 5 among 1,200 adults nationwide, found that 15.7 percent of respondents, or an equivalent of about 3.5-million families, said they experienced “involuntary hunger” at least once in the past three months. The SWS said the latest hunger figure is three points up from the 12.7 percent (2.8-million families) recorded in the preceding quarter and the highest since December 2014’s 17.2 percent. By geographic area, hunger was most pronounced in Mindanao, where the figure rose by 7.4 points to 21.7 percent, which is an estimated 1.1-million families, in September. The figure is the highest in two years. READ MORE...

ALSO President's men: Gazmin, Abaya, Honrado


NOVEMBER 4 -President Benigno Simeon (BS) Cojuangco Aquino III bears full moral and command responsibility for the habitual shenanigans and colossal incompetence in two major cabinet departments—the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Department of National Defense. These key departments are proof positive that the Aquino administration is corrupt, incompetent and insensitive. Both the DoTC and the DND are headed by men who are very close to Aquino and his family—Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya, 49, and retired lieutenant general Voltaire Gazmin, 71. These two served as aides-de-camp and security officers of the late President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino and her family. You can say Abaya of Cavite and Gazmin of Tarlac are “members” of the Aquino-Cojuangco family. Gazmin was the godson of the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. when the then army lieutenant married his long-time sweetheart in 1969, a year after he graduated from the Philippine Military Academy. Gazmin also was the sympathetic jailer of Ninoy Aquino when the army surreptitiously hauled the opposition leader for solitary confinement in Laur, Nueva Ecija without Cory Aquino being told about it. She almost went crazy looking for Ninoy until Gazmin secretly told her about her husband’s whereabouts. When Cory became President, Gazmin headed the reorganized Presidential Security Group which saved her from no less than seven coup attempts, including the two bloodiest in history, in 1987 and 1989. As Defense secretary, Gazmin presides over the largest procurement program ever undertaken by the DND, a total of $1.6 billion in military upgrade in the past two years alone. In 2016, the Defense budget is the biggest ever—at P116 billion. There is danger that some of that money is falling into the wrong hands. Early this year, the Senate tried to investigate the anomalous procurement of 21 refurbished helicopters worth P1.2 billion. Some of the choppers were not functioning properly. Sensing the heat of a scandal, the DND canceled the deal. In 2013, Gazmin’s able executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council abruptly quit reportedly because he could not stand the procurement scandals at the DND. Gazmin’s biggest contribution to Aquino’s Matuwid na Daan program, however, is in having a hand in naming corrupt top officials at the Bureau of Immigration and the national penitentiary. Today, both the BI and the New Bilibid Prison have become centers of corruption. Gazmin also proved his mettle, or lack of it, in four major disasters—two man-made (the 20-day Zamboanga siege of 2013 in which the army burned down 10,000 houses, and the Mamasapano Massacre of January 2015 in which 44 elite police commandos were massacred in the heat of noon by bandits), and two natural—the Bohol earthquake and typhoon “Yolanda”, both in 2013. As the country’s defense and disaster prevention and relief czar, these four disasters showed Gazmin as a leader who is lethargic and far removed from reality. After these disasters, calls mounted for Gazmin’s retirement or resignation. Aquino would hear none of it. The President has also been deaf to mounting calls for the removal of Secretary Abaya. On paper, Jun Abaya has impeccable credentials—a great grandson of the first Philippine president, Philippine Science High School, engineering studies at the University of the Philippines, bachelor’s degree in math at Annapolis Naval Academy, Maryland, master in electrical engineering at Cornel 1989, law degree from Ateneo 2005, and congressman for three terms. He is a scientist with legal credentials. READ MORE...

ALSO Editorial: Jose Angel Honrado -No angel


NOVEMBER 6 -IN a way, Jose Angel Honrado’s role in the life of President Benigno Aquino III can be likened to that of an angel. When Mr. Aquino’s own mother was president, Honrado was her aide, ensuring that she was safe and protected at any time of day. When Mr. Aquino was himself campaigning for the presidency, Honrado oversaw the security of the campaign teams. It made sense that he should be rewarded for playing these all-important roles. He found himself becoming manager of the Manila airport, which by sheer coincidence is named after another Aquino. It was under Honrado’s watch that the airport was called unflattering names by foreign and local tourists alike. The facilities were not up to par and his response to the sorry state of washrooms, if we remember correctly, had something to do with toilet paper. Debris falling and hitting hapless passengers? Those were isolated incidents, we were told. Complaints about awful traffic on the runway, adding precious minutes, if not hours, to the time of journey? We grin and bear it. Good things will come, we are told. What they are and by when are left out. For a while, too, this administration’s response to the notoriety of having the world’s worst airport terminal was to hire the services of world-class architects and designers. This only showed us that they miss the point, entirely. But nothing could have prepared us for Mr. Honrado’s latest in his list of failures—the bullet-planting scheme at Naia that has attracted international attention for the Philippines again, and for all the wrong reasons. There have been too many stories of travelers being caught with bullets in their luggage, so that they could be detained and questioned—and ultimately extorted from. They always have the choice to pay up or spend the night in detention, crying about the injustice of it all. Either way, they have already missed their flight—imagine if it’s a job. Or a family event. READ MORE...

ALSO The Ransom: A billion-peso business


NOVEMBER 6 -The Abu Sayyaf has time and again mocked the intelligence capability of the military. The bandit group early this week released a video of four of its captives demanding P1 billion each for the release of two Canadians and a Norwegian kidnapped six weeks ago. The military up to now cannot confirm the whereabouts of Canadian tourists John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor, who were seized from yachts at a marina in Davao on Sept. 21.The Abu Sayyaf, meanwhile, has already released two videos showing proof of life and demanding a ransom of P1 billion each for the three foreigners. How the military could not trace the general location of the bandits and their hostages is perplexing, considering the long distance they traveled in shuttling their hostages from Davao in the easternmost part of Mindanao to Jolo island in the west. The military’s poor intelligence has emboldened the Abu Sayyaf to snatch more victims and turn the caper into a billion-peso business. The Abu Sayyaf is known to be holding three other foreigners—two Malaysians and a Dutch man. An Italian ex-priest, Rolando del Torchio, was also abducted from his pizza restaurant in the southern port city of Dipolog last month. The bandit group, as in the case of the two Canadians and the Norwegian, is expected to demand payment for the release of other hostages. The bandits are taking advantage of the military’s ineffective intelligence and are succeeding in their terroristic activities despite a massive manhunt purportedly being conducted by the Philippines and the US military. The Abu Sayyaf in October last year claimed it received P250 million in exchange for two German hostages they held captive for six months. The information on the payment of the large ransom seems credible. The Philippine government has publicly said it does not pay ransom for the release of hostages, but many believe that millions or billions of pesos have been paid for the release of the victims. Poor intelligence and the lack of effort to win the hearts of the Muslims in the south have made the Abu Sayyaf a billion-peso business venture. THE FULL EDITORIAL. READ 13 COMMENTS FROM READERS...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Mocking the UN

MANILA, NOVEMBER 9, 2015 (MANILA STANDARD) posted October 26, 2015 at 12:01 am - THE Palace last week praised the UN as a beacon of hope as the world celebrated United Nations Day, a gesture that seemed duplicitous, given the Aquino administration’s recent moves to dismiss or disregard the supranational body’s findings on its actions here at home.

“Now, more than ever, the significance of United Nations cannot be overemphasized as governments continue to resort to the UN and its various agencies for the promotion of peace, health, and development,” a Palace spokesman said. The fulsome praise follows her colleague’s flippant dismissal earlier this month of a UN agency’s finding that the government violated international human rights law with its illegal, arbitrary and politically motivated detention of former President Gloria Arroyo. In that instance, another spokesman for President Benigno Aquino III, said the finding of the Working Committee on Arbitrary Detention under the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was “just a group expressing their own opinion.”

Sadly, this was not the first time that President Aquino’s administration has pushed aside the UN.

In September, the administration turned down a request by UN special rapporteurs to visit the country to look into reports of killings and human rights abuses committed against tribal communities or lumad in Mindanao.

A human rights group based in the Philippines had asked the UN special rapporteurs to investigate the killing of lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Juvello Sinzo and lumad teacher Emerito Samarca in Surigao del Sur, but the UN envoys are not allowed to conduct an investigation without an invitation from the government.

While thousands of lumad fled their ancestral homes in fear, this administration said it needed to undertake its own “internal processes” before any international bodies could get involved.

“It is best to leave the investigation to relevant authorities in the Philippines,” a Foreign Affairs spokesman said to justify the government’s rejection of an independent UN probe.

READ MORE...

The disastrous consequence of the administration’s refusal to allow UN investigators into the country came home to roost last week, when a village leader led a mob of townsmen and some soldiers in destroying a school run by a private organization and named after an Italian priest who was killed for championing the rights of indigenous people.

Lawmakers from Bayan Muna said the Fr. Fausto Tentorio Memorial School in Kitaotao, Bukidnon, was destroyed by a mob led by the barangay chairman and aided by some soldiers.

The school, run by the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc., was named after Italian priest Fausto Tentorio of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions who was killed on church grounds in Arakan, North Cotabato in 2011 by members of the same paramilitary group accused of killing the three lumad leaders in September.

Given this government’s dismal failure to abide by international human rights conventions, its praise of the UN is a mockery of the principles for which it stands. Silence, not lies, would have been the more honest way for this government to mark UN Day.


The truth hurts posted November 04, 2015 at 12:01 am

Smarting from criticism that the administration doesn’t care about what happens to working men and women, a presidential spokesman lashed out at the political opposition Saturday on the state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

“They should never ever say that the government has no heart, that the government has no malasakit [compassion],” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

“In the six years of our government, everything will be done to help those who are at the fringes of society,” he said.

In particular, the President’s spokesman hit Senator Ferdinand Marcos and his cousin Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez for claiming that the Aquino administration does not want to support a bill in Congress to cut income tax rates—already the highest in Southeast Asia—because they don’t care about the suffering of Filipinos.

Lacierda also slammed Romualdez for saying that the Aquino administration has no compassion for people who must suffer substandard public services while economic growth has slowed down because of government underspending.

Lacierda said the Aquino administration had “invested” P75 billion on its Conditional Cash Transfer Program which gives a monthly dole to 4.4-million families, or over 20-million Filipinos.

“You tell Martin Romualdez, isn’t that compassion?” he declared petulantly.

Perhaps Lacierda would not have spoken so brashly had he seen the latest figures from the Social Weather Stations showing that more Filipinos were going hungry in the last quarter of 2015.

The SWS survey, conducted from Sept. 2 to 5 among 1,200 adults nationwide, found that 15.7 percent of respondents, or an equivalent of about 3.5-million families, said they experienced “involuntary hunger” at least once in the past three months.

The SWS said the latest hunger figure is three points up from the 12.7 percent (2.8-million families) recorded in the preceding quarter and the highest since December 2014’s 17.2 percent.

By geographic area, hunger was most pronounced in Mindanao, where the figure rose by 7.4 points to 21.7 percent, which is an estimated 1.1-million families, in September. The figure is the highest in two years.

READ MORE...

In Metro Manila, hunger was at 18.3 percent, or an estimated 553,000 families, which is the worst since the 22 percent recorded in September last year.

These dismal figures suggest that this administration has squandered its “investment” of P75 billion from the high taxes we pay on a dole program that does nothing but engender a culture of mendicancy and political patronage—in time for the 2016 elections.

Lacierda might also wish to consider that wages have failed to keep up with the rate at which the cost of basic goods and services has been rising.

Then there are the obvious and painful truths from which a flunky in the Palace might be insulated—the daily grind of commuting to work in trains that not only do not run on time, but are actually unsafe; a bureaucracy that is so unresponsive that it takes more than a year to deliver drivers licenses, license plates or voters IDs; and an international airport that is not only among the 10 worst in the world, but also where security personnel extort from travelers by planting bullets in their luggage.

As taxpayers who must suffer as the government carves out its pound of our flesh every payday to the tune of a full one-third of our salaries, in exchange for very little by way of efficient public services, we are eminently qualified to ask: “Where is the compassion there, Mr. Lacierda?”


Gazmin, Abaya, Honrado posted November 04, 2015 at 12:01 am by Tony Lopez

President Benigno Simeon (BS) Cojuangco Aquino III bears full moral and command responsibility for the habitual shenanigans and colossal incompetence in two major cabinet departments—the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Department of National Defense. These key departments are proof positive that the Aquino administration is corrupt, incompetent and insensitive.

Both the DoTC and the DND are headed by men who are very close to Aquino and his family—Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya, 49, and retired lieutenant general Voltaire Gazmin, 71. These two served as aides-de-camp and security officers of the late President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino and her family.

You can say Abaya of Cavite and Gazmin of Tarlac are “members” of the Aquino-Cojuangco family.

Gazmin was the godson of the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. when the then army lieutenant married his long-time sweetheart in 1969, a year after he graduated from the Philippine Military Academy. Gazmin also was the sympathetic jailer of Ninoy Aquino when the army surreptitiously hauled the opposition leader for solitary confinement in Laur, Nueva Ecija without Cory Aquino being told about it. She almost went crazy looking for Ninoy until Gazmin secretly told her about her husband’s whereabouts. When Cory became President, Gazmin headed the reorganized Presidential Security Group which saved her from no less than seven coup attempts, including the two bloodiest in history, in 1987 and 1989.

As Defense secretary, Gazmin presides over the largest procurement program ever undertaken by the DND, a total of $1.6 billion in military upgrade in the past two years alone. In 2016, the Defense budget is the biggest ever—at P116 billion. There is danger that some of that money is falling into the wrong hands. Early this year, the Senate tried to investigate the anomalous procurement of 21 refurbished helicopters worth P1.2 billion. Some of the choppers were not functioning properly. Sensing the heat of a scandal, the DND canceled the deal.

In 2013, Gazmin’s able executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council abruptly quit reportedly because he could not stand the procurement scandals at the DND.

Gazmin’s biggest contribution to Aquino’s Matuwid na Daan program, however, is in having a hand in naming corrupt top officials at the Bureau of Immigration and the national penitentiary. Today, both the BI and the New Bilibid Prison have become centers of corruption.

Gazmin also proved his mettle, or lack of it, in four major disasters—two man-made (the 20-day Zamboanga siege of 2013 in which the army burned down 10,000 houses, and the Mamasapano Massacre of January 2015 in which 44 elite police commandos were massacred in the heat of noon by bandits), and two natural—the Bohol earthquake and typhoon “Yolanda”, both in 2013. As the country’s defense and disaster prevention and relief czar, these four disasters showed Gazmin as a leader who is lethargic and far removed from reality.

After these disasters, calls mounted for Gazmin’s retirement or resignation. Aquino would hear none of it.

The President has also been deaf to mounting calls for the removal of Secretary Abaya. On paper, Jun Abaya has impeccable credentials—a great grandson of the first Philippine president, Philippine Science High School, engineering studies at the University of the Philippines, bachelor’s degree in math at Annapolis Naval Academy, Maryland, master in electrical engineering at Cornel 1989, law degree from Ateneo 2005, and congressman for three terms. He is a scientist with legal credentials.

READ MORE...

Still, under Abaya’s watch, the DoTC became the leading center of stupidity, incompetence and corruption. Under his watch, Manila’s horrendous traffic made the grade as the worst in the world.

The frequent breakdowns in the mass railway transit that rims the eastern corridor of Metro Manila along Edsa are due largely to incompetence and corruption. The DoTC had the incredible foresight to award MRT’s maintenance to an unknown company owned by relatives of some DoTC officials and henchmen of Liberal Party honchos.

On another front, another DoTC agency, the Land Transportation Office, had this brilliant idea to extort P400 from each of the owners of all motorized vehicles by requiring them to buy new plates which turned out to be inferior in quality to current and old but highly usable plates. The LTO also cannot produce car plates and driver’s licenses on time. The head of the old private supplier told me a few months before he died that DoTC people were demanding from him P500 million in spot cash in exchange for being allowed to negotiate the extension of his contract for car plates and driver’s licenses, “without firm guarantees.” The guy offered to pay half of the P500 million as down payment with the balance payable once he got the contract. No deal.

Management of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport is also under the DoTC. But the man President BS Aquino named as Naia general manager is another yellow general and “relative,” Jose Angel Honrado, also from Tarlac.

Under Honrado, a former air force general and a security officer for six years to President Cory Aquino, the Philippines’ principal gateway acquired two global distinctions—the worst airport in the world and the most dangerous airport in the world.

The “tanim-bala” (bullet planting) scandal wherein unsuspecting airline passengers are suddenly found in possession of bullets in their bags (thus subjecting them to extortion to avoid arrest and prosecution) has made headlines around the world and earned prominent coverage by the BBC and Time magazine. This scandal could damage Naia for a long time, if not forever.

Yet, President Aquino doesn’t think there is a scandal and finds no need to fire Honrado. Honrado is the epitome of the Peter Principle—a man rising to his level of incompetence—and corruption.

Gazmin, Abaya, Honrado. They were once close-in security men of the Aquinos before they rose to their present positions of power. They are the primary proofs why the so-called Matuwid na Daan (Straight Path) is a hollow slogan and a sham.

Ultimately, President BS Aquino must be held responsible for these men. He will, after all, sink with them. In the meantime, the pain and suffering are ours to bear.


EDITORIAL:

No angel posted November 05, 2015 at 12:01 am



IN a way, Jose Angel Honrado’s role in the life of President Benigno Aquino III can be likened to that of an angel. When Mr. Aquino’s own mother was president, Honrado was her aide, ensuring that she was safe and protected at any time of day.

When Mr. Aquino was himself campaigning for the presidency, Honrado oversaw the security of the campaign teams.

It made sense that he should be rewarded for playing these all-important roles. He found himself becoming manager of the Manila airport, which by sheer coincidence is named after another Aquino.


THE GENERAL: Jose Angel Honrado

It was under Honrado’s watch that the airport was called unflattering names by foreign and local tourists alike. The facilities were not up to par and his response to the sorry state of washrooms, if we remember correctly, had something to do with toilet paper. Debris falling and hitting hapless passengers? Those were isolated incidents, we were told.

Complaints about awful traffic on the runway, adding precious minutes, if not hours, to the time of journey? We grin and bear it. Good things will come, we are told. What they are and by when are left out.

For a while, too, this administration’s response to the notoriety of having the world’s worst airport terminal was to hire the services of world-class architects and designers. This only showed us that they miss the point, entirely.

But nothing could have prepared us for Mr. Honrado’s latest in his list of failures—the bullet-planting scheme at Naia that has attracted international attention for the Philippines again, and for all the wrong reasons.

There have been too many stories of travelers being caught with bullets in their luggage, so that they could be detained and questioned—and ultimately extorted from.

They always have the choice to pay up or spend the night in detention, crying about the injustice of it all. Either way, they have already missed their flight—imagine if it’s a job. Or a family event.

READ MORE...

The administration’s response to the scandal has been as typical as it has been infuriating. First it said it was an isolated incident. And then its supporters said it was part of a smear job against the administration’s presidential standard bearer, Manuel Roxas II. But when the BBC, Time magazine and even the United Nations weighed in on the matter, President Aquino was all of a sudden raring to investigate, even putting his trusted alter ego, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio “Not Fatal” Abaya, on top of the probe.

But anybody who knew Abaya and his misadventures would know that an investigation would be all for show if he’s going to be the one on top of it.

Dare he chastise a fellow incompetent?

In the meantime, Honrado, who bears full responsibility for this airport fiasco, has said he is not stepping down. And why should he? He enjoys the full trust of his ward, the President.

And damn all others—users of the airport and those who depend on them—whose protection he swore to oversee.

If Mr. Aquino were serious about addressing the problem and not just looking as though he were doing something about it, especially with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit happening this month, then he should do only one thing. Fire his Angel—no if, not buts.


A billion-peso business posted November 06, 2015 at 12:01 am



The Abu Sayyaf has time and again mocked the intelligence capability of the military. The bandit group early this week released a video of four of its captives demanding P1 billion each for the release of two Canadians and a Norwegian kidnapped six weeks ago.

The military up to now cannot confirm the whereabouts of Canadian tourists John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor, who were seized from yachts at a marina in Davao on Sept. 21.The Abu Sayyaf, meanwhile, has already released two videos showing proof of life and demanding a ransom of P1 billion each for the three foreigners.

How the military could not trace the general location of the bandits and their hostages is perplexing, considering the long distance they traveled in shuttling their hostages from Davao in the easternmost part of Mindanao to Jolo island in the west.

The military’s poor intelligence has emboldened the Abu Sayyaf to snatch more victims and turn the caper into a billion-peso business.

The Abu Sayyaf is known to be holding three other foreigners—two Malaysians and a Dutch man. An Italian ex-priest, Rolando del Torchio, was also abducted from his pizza restaurant in the southern port city of Dipolog last month. The bandit group, as in the case of the two Canadians and the Norwegian, is expected to demand payment for the release of other hostages.

The bandits are taking advantage of the military’s ineffective intelligence and are succeeding in their terroristic activities despite a massive manhunt purportedly being conducted by the Philippines and the US military. The Abu Sayyaf in October last year claimed it received P250 million in exchange for two German hostages they held captive for six months. The information on the payment of the large ransom seems credible.

The Philippine government has publicly said it does not pay ransom for the release of hostages, but many believe that millions or billions of pesos have been paid for the release of the victims. Poor intelligence and the lack of effort to win the hearts of the Muslims in the south have made the Abu Sayyaf a billion-peso business venture.

13 Comments
The Standard PH
Avatar
Maricar • 15 hours ago
It used to be that the Abu Sayyaf ransom demands amounted to just millions. Now these bandits are asking for a billion for each hostage. Would it be too far out to think that the generals assigned in Basilan are now asking for a bigger share of the take, so the Abus now upped the ante?
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ren fuentes Maricar • 10 hours ago
MATAGAL NG RUMOR YANG KASAMA ANG MILITAR SA HATIAN NG RANSOM. PANAHON PA YATA NI BIGOTE NG DUMAMI ANG KIDNAPPING NG ABUS AT NATISMIS NUON YUNG BATA NI ERAP NA KASAMA SA PARTIHAN. MALAKI TALAGA ANG POSIBILIDAD NA MAYROON KAHATI SA MILITAR DAHIL HINDI MAHULI ANG MGA ITO AT NAKAKALUSOT SA MGA TINATAWAG NA DRAGNET. NAALALA KO TULOY NUNG BIGLANG NAKATAKAS SI REGHIS ROMERO NA HOSTAGE DIN NG MASUKOL ANG MGA ABUS TAPOS NAKATAKAS ANG MGA ABUS NUNG MAKATAKAS SI ROMERO.
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Marcos Polo • 17 hours ago
Poor inteligence KA MO!!million ang pinag-uusapan dito,sa 30 years na nakadistino ang mga military natin sa mindanao,kahit hindi sila mag google,ang buong kabundukan ay kabisado na nila,at lalong-lalo na ang mga abu-sayyaf.kilalang-kilala nila ang mga ito.
BAKA ! BAKA LANG ,SILA PA NGA ANG NAG-ISKORT SA MGA ITO PARA HINDI MADETECT NG KASAMAHAN NILA! MILLION ANG PERANG PINAG-UUSAPAN DITO, ULTIMO BARYA-BARYA LANG KAPAGNATUNUGAN HINAHABOL NILA.SANA HINDI TOTOO ANG GANITO.
PAG CHINECK MO ANG MGA PAMUMUHAY NG ABU-SAYYAF ,ITATANONG MO SAAN NAPUNTA ANG MGA PERA NA NAKUHA NILA,MAGSASAKA PA RIN SILA .KANINONG MAPALAD NA KAMAY NAPUPUNTA ANG NAKUKUHA NILA?
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isalexus • 19 hours ago
Is this the same "military" who are suppose to go after China in the West Philippine sea issue?
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Julien_Boisfeuras isalexus • 16 hours ago
I certainly hope not.....but if there is a buck to be made by the generals/admirals, they'll be there.... but I doubt that it will be to confront the chinese, baka para presyohan yung mga reef at ma i salya like ammo and weapons to the ASG and NPA.
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WJGBalderama • 4 hours ago
Aquino's operatives at NAIA deals with loose, chump change. They ought to start discussing greater possibilities -- on partnership, for instance -- with Abu Sayyaf. There's a lot to be made in the kidnapping department, you know.
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Ruperto Santiago • 5 hours ago
Malamang malaki ang partihan between military and abu-sayyaf kaya bilyon na ang ransom. Sayang lang ang perang ginastos para sa military upgrading. Wala namang pakinabang. Mahiya kayo sa SAF44.
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Kutong Lupa • 11 hours ago
Poor military intelligence? baka military connivance meron.
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ernes2 • 12 hours ago
Simple lang 'yan. Bilyones ang Intelligence Fund ni BS kaya lang wala naman siyang intelligence. Nagtaka pa kayo.
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Albert De Pano • 12 hours ago
Military intelligence. Now there's an oxymoron!
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Ommm • 13 hours ago
Perplexing yes but believable no....

Perplexing the US military is involved and their tight lipped fashion down there. Note there is never any Americans taken hostage...that part of the game is forbidden.

The Americans WANT all the terrorists together down there. First it keeps them far away from the US and second its a great intelligence harvest for the CIA. The Philippines is perfect as people in general have little concept of the capabilities of modern drones, satellites so are oblivious to the "deal" going on and remain perplexed why our massive AFP can't weed 300 terrorists out of the hills of a small island.

American spy satellites in geocentric orbit have cameras giving a resolution of under one foot day and night. Drones even better and at high altitude are invisible to the eye. Todays drones work in swarms interlinked and can cover a vast area. Operators spot and "tag targets" and once tagged there is little chance of escaping surveillance of this array.

Consider the size of N. Korea which they watch like a hawk from space. If a mobile missile launcher moves they know about it. A rocket being fueled. Any modifications to sensitive structures and activity are noted.

After watching many U-Tube vids on the subject i find it hard to believe the Americans couldn't backtrack the tape and see that boat leaving Davao, track them to their current location and right now following them through the jungle.........
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william guerrero • 13 hours ago
Kidnapping is a real big business in the philippines...foreigners come to the philippines at your own risk...philippines is a FUCKED UP country......
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Victorino Villaflor • 16 hours ago
The military is now inutil in doing the job they should do. Their top people are busy accompanying PNoy and he other government officials or making money from their positions. Fattening their pockets are top priority and looking and rescuing these hostages can wait.
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