Tuesday, June 6, 2017

AFP warns netizens to cease support on Maute’s terror campaign in social media

By Venus L. Garcia

ILIGAN CITY, June 6 (PIA) – “I called on netizens to avoid sharing in social media any posts that has to do with violence, terrorism or any malicious photos they notice while browsing their newsfeeds as these are all misinformation that only aggravate the problem that our country is facing right now,” underscored Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera, spokesperson of 1st Infantry Division, Philippine Army, as he urges public to be wiser in using social media.

He considered it misinformation to mislead the army in the conduct of its operations. “However, we stay watchful and analytical of their postings because we want to protect the people and control the spread. Social media is very effective and the materials they produced propagate negative imprints or even cause a stigma of making feel people afraid,” he added.

Lt. Col. Herrera added that Maute terrorist groups are fond in using social media. “This is their way of expressing their twisted views and beliefs. They use it as a medium to radicalize young individuals and is being utilized to recruit and get support from individuals in the country and in other nations," he said.

When asked to give a figure as to the number of Maute individuals revolting in in Marawi City, Lt. Col. Herrera revealed an approximate of 300 to 400 insurgent Mautes. “Reports are never true. They are not increasing in count, but they are burgeoning because we allow them through social media,” he remarked.

This is the reason why the Philippine Army established a social media team responsible to espouse in distributing information about the real situation in Marawi City. Lt. Col. Herrera is also encouraging collaborative support from partner stakeholders and netizens to heighten the stories of heroism of soldiers rather than promote the messaging about terrorism and violence.

“We need others to help us. Developing a critical mass who would advocate in pinning down the Maute groups’ terrorism campaign in the cyber world is the true power of social media,” underlined Lt. Col. Herrera.

He also pushed for the use of hashtags #UnitedMarawi #UnitedAgainstMaute so that people may have deep realization about terrorism and its adverse impacts in communities. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


News Feature: AFP thankful to Marawi locals for support, trust

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

ILIGAN CITY, June 6 (PIA) – Despite the risk they take when they go in the battlefield to fight against the terror brought by the Maute group in Marawi City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) still continue to safeguard the lives of the civilians affected by the armed conflict, and undertake strategies to ensure that civilians are all safe during rescue.

In an interview, Lt. Col. Joar Herrera, spokesperson of the 1st Infantry Division, Philippine Army expressed that the strong support, trust and confidence of the locals in Marawi City and citizens from different parts of the country have boosted the Army’s morale and commitment to do more as they continue to rescue trapped civilians in the areas still covered by the Maute terrorist group.

“Most of our personnel who are now in the battlefield rescuing civilians and protecting their lives against any harm that is caused by the terrorist group are not from Mindanao. Our men in the battlefield willingly accepted their roles as protector of the people no matter how hard it is fighting against terrorists. They also have families who care and love them,” said Herrera.

Lt. Col. Herrera shared that the moral support shown by the people they have helped in Marawi City is overwhelming and has inspired them more to continue serving others. “The fight against terrorism is not yet over and we will make sure this terrorist group will not succeed in any way they try to do,” he prompted.

Also, Major Abdulah Mocsana, Civil-Military Operations (CMO) officer of 103rd Brigade, 1st ID, Philippine Army, who is also a native of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur elaborated that he will do his best to serve the welfare of the civilians especially in this trying times, where many lives were lost and properties destroyed by the Maute group.

“I and my family are also victims of this terrorist group and I could not afford seeing my fellow Maranaos suffer the same. Despite our situation, as an army of the republic, I chose to gain more strength than be weakened because I know our people needs the AFP to save them,” Mocsana underlined.

Mocsana added that seeing people appreciating the works of the AFP is rewarding. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


News Feature: Illegal drugs fuel Maute elements in Marawi City, says army spokesperson

By Venus L. Garcia

ILIGAN CITY, June 6 (PIA) - The continuing misery and angst experienced by the trapped civilians in the battlefield in Marawi City for more than half a month now that was caused by the bandit groups has sighted a linkage between terrorism and illegal drug use of the Maute terrorists.

“We received reports from the grounds that these members of the Maute groups were using illegal drugs and remnants of paraphernalia were also found in some areas taken over by the Maute in Marawi City. This is an indication of the use of illegal drugs,” enunciated Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera, spokesperson of 1st Infantry Division, Philippine Army.

Some residents who opted to stay in Marawi wonder how the Maute members gained the verve to resist fatigue, fear and fiercely operates in the absence of empathy. "The days and nights of keeping awake and of becoming aggressive are beyond the normal nature of human being," said Jarik Malam (not his real name), one of the internally displaced persons.

Malam added that the skirmish, criminal and terroristic activities, and inhumane acts of the Maute have never escaped a connection in the shot of this illegal substance. "Obviously, it triggers a feeling of invincibility and no fear of killing or death. Hence, it can’t be avoided to infer that terrorist attackers were drugged at the time of the attacks or, even worse, a confirmation of an illegal drug trade funding terrorism in relation to the Philippine Marines’ recent recovery of P52 million cash, P27 million worth of checks from an abandoned machine gun post of Maute group," he added.

According to Lt. Col. Herrera, majority of Maute members are millenials. “The youths are the most vulnerable, they are the ones who are easily recruited. So we should help empower the young individuals by giving them opportunity for education and access to right information in order for them to be well aware and be not tricked by the deceiving tactics of terrorists,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine army is reminding everyone to be more vigilant and cautious. “We don’t want diversionary attacks. We should not allow them to relive the crooked ideology that advocates violence and terrorism. Our aim is of course to put an end on this crisis and provide relief to everyone affected,” said Lt. Col. Herrera. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


RDRRMC ensures strict inventory of donations coming in for IDPs in Marawi City

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

ILIGAN CITY, June 6 (PIA) – As the chair of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) in Region 10, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) regional director Liza Mazo stressed that they implement strict inventory of donations coming in for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Marawi City.

“Our humanitarian assistance is ongoing. We continuously send relief goods to affected areas of the armed conflict and we religiously account those donations coming in for the IDPs. This is to have a proper monitoring of the assistance extended by the different organizations and to ensure that affected civilians are able to get the aid,” highlighted Mazo.

Mazo further bared that donations coming in for the IDPs are composed of food and non-food items. “We validate the list of evacuees submitted to us from the different barangays and we see to it that the right people get the relief goods they need everyday while they are in the evacuation centers. We also provide relief for home-based evacuees, and we are working on a mechanism where they could get assistance from the government even if they’re not staying in the evacuation centers,” she added.

Also, OCD Region 11 regional director Jose Manuel Ochotorena, the deputy commander of the Joint Task Group – Emergency Preparedness and Response (JTG EPR) underscored that they have already established a functional task force that manages this particular crisis in Marawi City.

“Our command center here in Iligan City is the official area of the DRRMC where we receive any report, development of the Marawi crisis, and this is where we receive donations from other organizations for proper accounting, inventory, and positioning,” disclosed Ochotorena.

The command center has started its operation at the very start of the Marawi crisis on May 23, 2017. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


Butuanons are all set for the 2017 Independence Day celeb

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, June 6 (PIA) – As the city government here has prepared a short program on June 12, 2017, Butuanons are also set to commemorate this year’s Independence Day celebration at the Guingona Park, this city.

Butuan City mayor Ronnie Vicente Lagnada stressed that the annual observance of the Independence Day celebration is a must for all government employees as mandated under Republic Act No. 4166.

“With this guideline, the city government of Butuan has laid down a meaningful program commemorating the day that the Republic of the Philippines earned its freedom from the control of others, thereby establishing its sovereignty and exercising its full authority as free country,” Lagnada underlined.

Laganda added that for 2017, as aligned to the recently launched branding of ButuanOn: A City Ascending, a new level of freedom will be staged which will translate into economic, social, environmental and cultural empowerment. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


DOE to lead inter-agency effort to rehabilitate Marawi's energy facilities

BUTUAN CITY, June 6 - Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has created an inter-agency group to come up with options on rehabilitating Marawi City's energy facilities in the aftermath of damage inflicted by the Maute terrorist group that laid siege on the city last month.

Members of the group are the Department of Energy, National Power Corporation, Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation, National Electrification Administration and the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative.

As this developed, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Securing Energy Facilities (IATSEF) reported on Monday, June 5 that the power situation in Lanao del Sur province has yet to fully normalize as 15 municipalities are still without power and only 20 percent of Marawi City is energized.

The second district with 16 municipalities is fully energized according to the Task Force based on the report by LASURECO on the current power supply in its franchise area as of 9:00 am on June 5.

Power supply in the three towns of Lanao del Norte remains normal.

With regard to power generation, the National Power Corporation Mindanao Generation (NPC MinGen) reported that the Agus-Pulangi power plants are operating normally, with Marawi Lake elevation at 701.292 masl and Lake Lanao discharge at 160 cms.

The National Grid Corporation Transmission also reported normal operations in its transmission facilities. Mindanao State University, which is directly connected to the transmission lines, has been energized as of 12:34 pm last Saturday (3 June).

Meanwhile, the IATSEF has expanded its membership to include the Department of Finance, Philippine Information Agency and the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation.

The task of the group is to secure all energy facilities in the entire country.

The expanded membership of the IATSEF and the policies on resiliency are embodied in a draft Department Circular that will be scheduled for public consultation. (DOE/PIA-Caraga)


PNP Caraga implements 3Es safety measures

BUTUAN CITY, June 6 - Under the directive of the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald Dela Rosa, the Caraga police and its key stakeholders will be implementing traffic safety measures to create a safer road network across the region.

To attain the objective of preventing vehicular accidents, the Caraga police will be carrying out the 3Es of Traffic Safety: Engineering, Enforcement and Education.

The PNP in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will deal with the first E - the Engineering. It shall focus on looking out for opportunities for development and improvements considering that a properly signed, maintained, lighted and smartly designed roadways contributes to traffic safety. The public works authority will be applying immediate actions upon observance of any identified road obstructions.

The second E or Enforcement will be jointly conducted by the PNP, Land Transportation Office (LTO) and local traffic enforcers for the enforcement of traffic laws and road safety rules.  The conduct of traffic law enforcement will ensure that all motorists observe traffic rules. The community could contribute a great job by reporting abusive and dangerous drivers which will enable local police with prompt response.

The last E that stands for Education shall be implemented through information campaign, in quad media and safety leaflets distribution and community discussions. The Caraga police will be collaborating with the LTO and other Local Government Units for its widest implementation.

Police Regional Office Caraga regional director PCSupt Rolando Felix said that for the period covering from January to April 2017, a total of 711 vehicular accidents were recorded with 69 deaths and 372 Physical Injuries while the remaining 270 resulted in damage to property in the entire Caraga region. These incidents are the major contributor in the Total Crime Volume across the region.

“The 3E’s: Engineering, Enforcement and Education is expected to contribute in the prevention of vehicular accidents in the highways and decrease loss of life and damage to property,” Felix underscored who also urge the public to report to the nearest police stations any violations committed by law enforcers themselves. (PNP-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)