NPA ambush Army in Mati City

Armed men believed to be members of the New People’s Army ambushed a military vehicle along a national highway in the City of Mati Sunday morning, May 30. 

Initial report showed that the military’s KM450 vehicle was traversing the national highway around 8:40 in the morning when they were ambushed by about five NPA rebels positioned on top of the hill of Sitio Tagawisan, Barangay Badas. 

The rebels allegedly belong to WGF 18, SMRC while those ambushed were a squad from Alpha Company of the 66th Infantry Battalion led by Corporal Acieveda. 

The military personnel came from Brgy. Taguibo and were heading towards Banaybanay town when ambushed. 

The firefight lasted for ten minutes before the rebels withdrew. One Private Melendrez was hit at the back and was immediately rushed to the hospital for treatment. 

A team from the City of Mati LGU’s City Information Office tagged along with the pursuing police and military personnel at the top of the hill where the NPA rebels positioned. 

Footsteps from the rebels’ vantage point going towards the innermost area of the hill could be seen. Authorities also discovered a cleared area in the hill that could have been the rebels’ temporary camp prior to the ambush incident. 

The rebels are believed to have withdrawn towards Barangay Culian. 

Unconfirmed reports say that the NPA rebels could be preparing for the rescue of one of their high-ranking leaders who was recently captured in North Cotabato. The said NPA leader was said to be responsible for the 2015 attack in Mati Police station.

https://youtu.be/8hRc3JdZiTc

CONDEMNATION 

City of Mati Mayor Michelle Nakpil Rabat meanwhile condemned the latest atrocity by the lawless armed group. 

“Today’s incident along the national highway in Sitio Tagawisan, Barangay Badas is unfortunate and we condemn such atrocious act by lawless armed group. For almost two hours, traffic was halted along the main thoroughfare which serves as the only road for our farmers to bring their products to our markets. For two hours, many livelihood were affected. This brings to light the fact that armed struggle is not the way to bring peace and development to our city, to our people,” Rabat said in a released statement Sunday. 

“I want to assure all Matinians that the City of Mati LGU is doing its best to counter the possible adverse effects this incident may bring to our city’s economy. Rest assured that the police and the military, with the support of the local government, are doing their best to prevent similar incident from happening again.We appeal to the public to remain calm and vigilant. Daghang salamat ug amping kamong tanan,” the mayor added. 

Traffic along the national highway was halted for almost two hours affecting hundreds of travelers and traders. It resumed around 10:25 Sunday morning.

Law enforcement agencies urged to improve coordination efforts after PNP-PDEA shootout

Bong Go says his heart bleeds for those who lost their lives

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go urged law enforcement agencies, particularly the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, to improve inter-agency coordination after a recent encounter between the operatives and personnel of the two agencies resulted in the death of four people.

“Importante po dito ang koordinasyon dahil puro naman ‘yan magkakakilala. So dapat ang close coordination between law enforcement agencies ay paigtingin pa po,” Go said during his monitoring visit of the Malasakit Center in Region 1 Medical Center in Dagupan City, Pangasinan on Friday, February 26.

He said that if a law is needed to institutionalize better coordination between PNP and PDEA, he is willing to support such measure to prevent similar unfortunate incidents from happening in the future.

“Kung kailangan ng batas, I am willing to support. ‘Wag lang po mangyari ang mga ganitong aksidente,” he said.

The Senator lamented the violent incident, saying that drug criminals are now mocking law enforcers over it. He added that his heart and President Rodrigo Duterte’s “bleed” for the killed law enforcers.

“Tumatawa po ang mga durugista na ito. Hindi po ang PDEA o law enforcer ang dapat nakabulagta doon. Ang dapat pong nakabulagta doon, ‘yung mga drug dealer,” Go said.

“Kung sila po ang nakabulagta doon sa sahig, ako mismo ang papalakpak ‘pag drug lord at drug dealer ang nakabulagta doon. Pero pag pulis o PDEA ang nakabulagta, nagdurugo ang puso namin ni Pangulong Duterte,” he added.

Go shared that President Duterte has already ordered the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation to take charge of the investigation.

“Inatasan na po ni Pangulong Duterte ang NBI na mag-imbestiga at lumabas ang katotohanan at para malaman ng publiko ang katotohanan, malaman ng pamilya ng mga biktima ng unfortunate incident na ‘yun ang katotohanan,” Go said.

“Kailangan natin malaman ang katotohanan para ‘di na po mangyaring muli ang napakasakit na unfortunate incident na ito na napakasakit pong isipin na puro pa law enforcement agencies ang nagbabarilan,” he added.

The PNP and PDEA have also both sent their representatives to a joint investigation by a board inquiry to find out why PDEA agents and police officers engaged in a gunfight near a mall in Quezon City Wednesday night. The agencies also promised that those found responsible for the incident will be prosecuted.

Two police personnel, a PDEA agent and a PDEA informer were killed in the shootout, while an officer and three PDEA agents were wounded.

PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas and PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva have described the incident as “the saddest day in the history of drug law enforcement.”

Go then asked the public to wait for the results of the investigations. “Hintayin po natin ang resulta dahil ito po ay unfortunate na incident.”

“Hindi natin inakala na mangyayari at ‘di natin inaasahan na mangyayari dahil ito po ay dalawang law enforcement agencies na lumalaban sa droga,” he added.

Meanwhile, Go continues to express his support for law enforcers. “Kami po ni Pangulo, full support kami sa pulis, full support kami sa PDEA. Kapag nagkakaso sila in line of duty, susuportahan namin sila. Ayoko na po magbigay ng komento. Hintayin na po natin (ang resulta ng imbestigasyon).”

PDEA arrests 2 suspected ecstasy dealers

Two individuals suspected of involvement in the illegal trade of ecstasy pills were arrested by elements of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 11 in a drug operation Thursday evening, February 4.

The suspects were identified as Christian Cajoles Sulla and Kenneth Cajoles.

In a “controlled delivery” operation, authorities raided El Rio Vista Village, Phase 4, Anturium St. BLK 4, LOT 10, Bacaca Road, Barangay 19-B in Davao City around six in the evening.

A controlled delivery occurs when a consignment of illicit drugs is detected, usually concealed in some other goods, in circumstances making it possible for those goods to go forward under the control and surveillance of law enforcement officers.

Recovered from the scene were the following:

1. Two (2) packs containing 394 pink ecstacy tablet has a total value of Php669,800.00

2. One (1) pack containing 100 light brown suspected ecstacy tablet with total value of 170,000.00

3. Two (2) sachets containing ketamine weighing MOL 1 gram

4. one (1) transparent plastic sachet containing unidentified brown substance weighing MOL 0.5 gram.,

5. One (1) sachet that contains 25 pcs of suspected LSD Lysergic Acid Diethylamide,

6. One (1) sachet containing one (1) dark brown cube suspected to be marijuana hashish weighing MOL 1 gram

7. Two (2) cigarette looking pipe

8. Two (2) identification card of Christian Sulla.

9. One (1) unit Toyota hi lux with plate number LAI 7304

10. One (1) unit iphone 11 cellular phone

11. One (1) brown sling bag containing brown wallet

12. One (1) BPI Debit card with card number 5363470066146593

13. One (1) philippine postal corporation registry of notice card form 1525n

14. One(1) metrobank receipt with account 9284-000

The two arrested suspects are now facing violations of Section 4 and 26 in rel. to section 4 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Existing health protocols, travel restrictions may be further strengthened as new COVID-19 strain confirmed in nearby Sabah

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said that existing health protocols and travel restrictions due to the pandemic may be further strengthened as Malaysia has identified a new COVID-19 strain from samples in neighboring Sabah state.

“Baka lalo pa nating paigtingin, istriktuhan pa ang entry, lalo na’t ngayon lang ito lumabas ‘yung sa Sabah,” Go said during a radio interview on Saturday, December 26.

“Baka pag-usapan po ng ating Pangulo with IATF and more than twenty medical experts, ipapatawag at papakinggan ng Pangulo. Itong mga experts ang nakakaalam at makakatulong sa (pag-address sa ) new strain na ito,” he added.

Go mentioned that Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan has already consulted with the IATF on how best to handle the emerging situation due to the proximity of Sulu province to Sabah.

“Ngayon ay nananawagan si Governor Tan sa IATF na tulungan sila sa anong gagawin matapos mabalitaan na may new strain sa Sabah, dahil 29 hours via boat lang po ang Sulu at marami ang pumapasok d’yan sa likod,” explained Go.

“So, maging istrikto pa tayo at bantayan ang coastal areas dahil ‘di natin makakaya na magkaroon pa ng ganitong kaso. Nahihirapan na nga tayo, panibagong health protocols na naman ang gagawin kung sakaling totoo itong new strain,” he added.

Meanwhile, pursuant to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Resolution No. 90, Go explained during the interview that even transiting passengers from the U.K. are subjected to travel restrictions and stringent quarantine protocols.

“Ito po, pursuant to the IATF reso, nag-decide po ang Pangulo na magkaroon ng travel ban from U.K. including Filipinos. [This applies] to travellers who visited U.K. or [are] merely passing through U.K.,” said Go.

“Ibig sabihin, kahit dumaan ka lang doon, istrikto na ang quarantine protocols na gagawin kapag nakadaan ka sa U.K,” he further explained.

Go also said that the country should better prepare for the emergence of new COVID-19 strains given that it is a new disease.

“Bago po itong sakit na COVID-19. Habang may napapabalitang new strain, panibagong pag-aaral na naman ng health experts, ‘di lang dito sa ating bansa,” Go said.

“One step at a time tayo, mabuti nang handa tayo, pinag-aaralan po ang lahat. Uunahin po natin ang kapakanan ng bawat Pilipino sa magiging desisyon,” he added.

Earlier, Go confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte is cutting short his Christmas break in Davao City to meet with concerned government officials to discuss measures to address the new COVID-19 strain.

The new strain has caused a surge of new infections in the United Kingdom, prompting countries to shut their borders to the UK. Meanwhile, countries like Singapore, Israel, Hong Kong, Australia, Denmark, Italy, Gibraltar, and the Netherlands have already reported their first cases of the new strain.

The Philippines, on the other hand, has already imposed a temporary travel ban of flights from the United Kingdom since December 24 until the end of the year. However, outgoing flights are still allowed, following current exit protocols.

Go has also urged the public to strictly abide by necessary health protocols as they celebrate the holidays.

“Kasama natin ang ating pamilya, pero wala munang parties dahil delikado pa po habang wala pa pong vaccine, no time to celebrate, ‘wag muna tayong mag-celebrate, ang importante kasama natin ang pamilya sa isang bahay,” Go said, reminding everyone to wear masks and face shields, observe social distancing, and avoid unessential travels.

“Patuloy lang po tayong magdasal at magmalasakit sa kapwa. Alagaan natin ang ating kalusugan at panatilihing ligtas ang ating komunidad — iyan ang pinaka-importanteng mapapamahagi natin ngayong Pasko at pagpasok ng bagong taon,” he added.

PRRD to ‘cut short’ Christmas break to address concerns over new COVID-19 strain

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Friday, December 25, has confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte is cutting short his Christmas break in Davao City to meet with concerned government officials to discuss measures to address the new COVID-19 strain.

According to Go, Duterte will be flying back to Manila to meet the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Saturday.

“Biglaan ang patawag ng meeting with IATF and infectious disease experts tomorrow si PRRD to discuss [the] new strain,” Go said, stressing, “very much concerned kami ni Pangulo.”

“[Sa] Manila po, sa Malacañang. Cut short muna namin ang Christmas break,” he added as he emphasized, “para sa amin ni Pangulo, walang tulog ang serbisyo.”

In a phone interview, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told Palace reporters that the President and concerned government officials will also discuss what will happen to the travel ban imposed on travelers from the United Kingdom, and if a new travel ban needs to be imposed on travelers coming from other countries where the new COVID-19 strain has been confirmed.

“[Pag-uusapan] kung ano mangyayari sa travel ban na na-impose na sa mga galing ng Inglatera, kung kinakailangan ba ng travel ban kung saan nakapasok na ang bagong strain ng COVID-19,” Roque said, adding that the reimposition of an enhanced community quarantine in the country is unlikely.

“Hindi naman po siguro dahil pinapangalagaan na natin na ‘yung mga mamamayan ay magkaroon ng hanapbuhay,” he said.

The new COVID-19 strain has caused a surge of new infections in the United Kingdom, prompting countries to shut their borders to the UK. Meanwhile, countries like Singapore, Israel, Hong Kong, Australia, Denmark, Italy, Gibraltar, and the Netherlands have already reported their first cases of the new strain.

The Philippines, on the other hand, has already imposed a temporary travel ban of flights from the United Kingdom since December 24 until the end of the year. However, outgoing flights are still allowed, following current exit protocols.

Meanwhile, Go continued to urge the public to strictly abide by necessary health protocols as they celebrate the holidays.

“Kasama natin ang ating pamilya, pero wala munang parties dahil delikado pa po habang wala pa pong vaccine, no time to celebrate, ‘wag muna tayong mag-celebrate, ang importante kasama natin ang pamilya sa isang bahay,” Go said, reminding everyone to wear masks and face shields, observe social distancing, and avoid unessential travels.

“Patuloy lang po tayong magdasal at magmalasakit sa kapwa. Alagaan natin ang ating kalusugan at panatilihing ligtas ang ating komunidad — iyan ang pinaka-importanteng mapapamahagi natin ngayong Pasko,” he added.

He reiterated that the government will prioritize the poor and vulnerable sectors, as well as frontliners, in gaining access to COVID-19 vaccines once a safe and effective vaccine is approved and made available to the public.

“Kami ni Pangulong Duterte, uunahin namin ang lahat ng mahihirap, uunahin namin ang lahat ng frontliners at vulnerable para makabalik sila sa kanilang normal na pamumuhay,” he said.

“At dapat libre para sa mahihirap at accessible ito sa lahat, lalo na po yung mga kababayan natin na wala pong choice but to go out and work,” he added.

Meanwhile, Go also told the media that the President is scheduled to sign the General Appropriations Act of 2021 on December 28.

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