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Duterte puts up huge bounties for local ISIS leaders chief, General Eduardo Año. In 2006, the government offered P11 million bounty for Hapilon’s capture. And this is on top of the $5 million bounty the United States also offered for Hapilon. Hapilon and the brothers Maute led the May 23 siege of Marawi that had killed at least 22 civilians and left dozens of casualties on the military side. And fighting still continue between security forces and ISIS fighters. Clashes were so fierce that the military launched air strikes to support ground troops, but 11 soldiers had been killed after a wayward bomb dropped from an air force plane hit a group of infantrymen. Continue on page 3

DA VAO CIT Y – The P hilippine militar y announced DAV CITY Philippine military that P odr igo D uter te has offer ed P20 Prr esident R Rodr odrigo Duter uterte offered million bounties for the heads of leaders of the local ISIS gr oup battling secur ity for ces in the war group security forces war-tor n city of M ar awi in the M uslim pr ovince of Lanao torn Mar arawi Muslim pro del S ur Sur ur.. It said Duterte offered P10 million for the head of Isnilon Hapilon, chieftain of the notorious Abu Sayyaf group and emir of the local ISIS; and P5 million each for brothers Abdullah and Omar Maute, the leaders of the Maute group. “The President is offering P10 million reward money for the neutralization of Isnilon Hapilon, who is believed to be leading the terrorist Maute-ISIS group in attacking Marawi City,” said Philippine military

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ISIS Desecrates Cathedral

Screen pictures from an ISIS propaganda video show desecration of church.

M

A R A W I CITY – An ISIS propaganda video has recently surfaced on social media that showed its fighters desecrating the Saint Mary’s

Cathedral in Marawi City in the southern Philippine province of Lanao del Sur. The clip, believed to have been taken during the first week of the ISIS siege of Marawi, showed

militants stomping and smashing statues of the Virgin Mary and other saints, including a huge statue of Jesus Christ nailed on the wooden cross. Continue on page 2

‘Middle East money’ funds ISIS terrorism in Philippines COTABATO CITY – Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said local ISIS fighters have received funding from the Middle East and use this to finance their violent activities in the restive southern region of Mindanao. He said the fund went directly to Isnilon Hapilon, chieftain of the Abu Sayyaf and leader of the ISIS group in the country. Hapilon and members of the Maute group comprise the local ISIS with other allied jihadist movements.

ARMM

Lorenzana did not say whether the funding came from the Islamic State or other militant groups or from individuals. “They have a lot of money to spend around, they are buying royalties,” Lorenzana said. “How could a Yakan Ispilon bring his troops Yakan to a Maranao area, a contrary or a whatever, there is only one reason there, he has a lot of money to distribute and buy these.” Lorenzana was referring to an ethnic tribe in Basilan province where Hapilon

Eastern Mindanao

belongs. Marawi is largely a Maranao tribe. He also said that security forces had killed at least 120 militants, including foreigners – two from Saudi Arabia, two from Malaysia, two from Indonesia, a Yemeni and another from Chechnya – in Marawi where ISIS fighters occupied the city on May 23. He said the foreign militants sneaked through the southern Philippines. Troops rreco eco ver P76 million ecov Just last week, troops fighting local

Western Mindanao

ISIS in war-ravaged city also recovered over P76 million in cash and cheques from a house the militant group used in attacking security forces, officials said. Officials also presented the P52.2 million cash and about P23.7 million worth of cheques in a news conference here. Marines were clearing the house when they discovered the money, including an automatic rifle. Continue on page 5

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ISIS Desecrates Cathedral Continued fr om page1 from They also tore and burn pages of the holy Bible and photographs of Pope Francis at the Cathedral’s altar. Militants also destroyed and burned the Credence Table, Tabernacle, the Ambo and Presider’s Chair while chanting “Allahu Akbar” or “God is Great” before retreating away from the church. They also abducted its priest Father Chito Suganob along with other church workers. The video lasted about 1 minute and 45 seconds and also appeared on the ISIS website. Governor Mujiv Hataman, of the Muslim autonomous region, condemned the desecration of the cathderal and branded the attack as inhumane, unacceptable and un-Islamic. "This is inhumane and unacceptable - their acts mirror that of the Khawarij and their belief betrays those of our faith. These terrorists are nothing but hypocrites who undermine the true essence of Islam. They are un-Islamic," he said. Hataman said the acts of the Maute Group, the Abu Sayyaf, and their ilk show that they are unfortunate reincarnations of the Khawarij -- "they who recite the Quran, but the words do not pass beyond their throats, and who leave the religion as an ar-

row leaves its target and do not return as the arrow does not return to its bow. They are the worst of the creation," he said. He said the militants were immature and reckless, and quoting the Qu'ran and Hadith in perverse ways that fit their equally perverse cause. "These infidels who represent the Khawarij of our time must be condemned and shunned away from the Muslim ummah, for they are unworthy of the promises of Allah and the pleasures of jannah (paradise)." "The Prophet himself (peace be upon him) did not come to deprive those who did not follow him. Instead, he upheld their dignity and honor, and reminded us to treat others fairly regardless of faith, status, or ancestry. When the Christians of Narjan arrived in Medina during the time of the Prophet, they were not shunned away nor were they humiliated. Instead, they were allowed to pray in the mosques where Muslims also prayed. They were given a place to stay near the home of the prophet, and Muslims themselves helped the Christians pitch their tent," Hataman said. He said covenants of the Prophet with Christians from various places show kindness and compassion towards Christians, offering them

protection and aid. "The Prophet forbids desecration of churches, much more destroying them. Instead, he said that his horsemen and armies will protect Christians, as well as their churches and other places Christians deem sacred," he said, adding, "it is our responsibility as Muslims to denounce the actions of the members of the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf, and all other local groups whose actions are a disservice to Islam - a faith that promotes compassion, kindness and peace. Let us not allow these terrorists to hijack and destroy Islam. We cannot and must not tolerate them, and we must make sure that they are brought to justice." Sporadic clashes also continue in Marawi and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said more than 2,400 civilians are still stranded and trapped in the fighting, although over 3,700 people had been safely rescued, according Hataman. He said over 235,000 people were affected by the violence and that some 130,000 have been assisted served by social workers in different evacuation areas in Iligan and Marawi cities, and in the towns of Baloi, Bubong, Pantar and Saguiaran, all in Lanao del Sur, including housebased civilians. Humanitarian assistance

continues, he said. But at least 5 dozen people were also reported missing and 22 had been killed since the clashes began on May 23 when armed militants occupied the city in an effort to establish a “wilayah” or province of the Islamic State in the restive region. Hataman said more than 22,000 students and over 2,000 teachers were also affected by the fighting which is now on its third week. Donations While the number of evacuees continues to increase, donations from various individuals and organizations are also pouring in to help ease the plight of those displaced by the hostilities, according to Hataman. “Hanggat may IDPs, patuloy and pagbibigay natin ng relief goods,” he said. Hataman said while the regional government continues to call for donations, it has also earmarked some P100 million in relief assistance to families adversely affected by the crisis. Myrna Jo Henry, a spokeswoman for the ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency and Action Response Team (HEART ), said that most of the donations come from private individuals, small organizations and government offices from all over Mindanao and the rest of the country. “These dona-

tions are distributed by the ARMM-HEART to internally displaced persons who are staying either at homes of relatives or in designated evacuation centers,” she said, adding, even ARMM employees have also been active in raising funds and donations since the crisis broke out. She said they have distributed a total of 20,000 bottles of water and 10,000 relief packs to evacuees in Iligan City during the early days of the crisis. So far, she said a total of 26,082 families or 130,410 people have been provided with food and non-food items. A 20-year old student in Cotabato City, Amino Sahabuddin, also launched a donation drive with his classmates and urged their professors to do the same. He said even small donations will make a big difference for those affected by the fighting. “We cannot help them all, but at least we could help some of those who are affected by the war. Kahit ‘yung isang araw na maitawid mo ang gutom ng (isang evacuee) ay malaking bagay na,” Sahabuddin said. He now collects small amounts of money and gathers food packs and used clothing for the refugees and delivers all these to the operation center of the ARMM HEART. Just recently, security forces rescued over 200 ci-

vilians trapped in the wartorn city, but one villager was shot dead by a sniper while running to his freedom, according to Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, adding troops continue to brave the dangerous streets on Marawi to rescue the civilians. Petinglay said troops continue battling militants and were searching house-to-house for jihadists and civilians. Brigadier General Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of military forces fighting the militants, also renewed appeals to the public and urged citizens to help authorities fight terrorism. “We call on our people to stand and unite against terrorism. The fight against terrorism is not the sole duty of the security sector but the responsibility of everyone,” he said. The militar y said troops had killed at least 160 militants, but only recovered 42 bodies of jihadists, including 98 assorted weapons, from an automatic rifle to machine guns, left behind by the ISIS fighters, mostly members of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups. But over 3 dozen soldiers also perished in the violence with dozens more injured in fierce urban and close-quarter clashes. (Mindanao Examiner)


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Resorts World Manila attacker was a Filipino casino gambler, not ISIS: Police MANILA – Police denied ISIS claims on deadly attack Resorts World Hotel in Manila and said it already identified the lone gunman as a Filipino, who barged in a casino and torched gambling tables and eventually killed himself following a brief clash with security guards. Oscar Albayalde, chief of police of the National Capital Region, said identified the attacker as Jessie Carlos, who was a former employee of the Department of Finance. The 42-year old Carlos was fired from his job for misdeclaring his assets. Albayalde, quoting an initial police report, said the man was a casino gambler and heavily indebted. “He has a bank account with an outstanding debt of four million pesos, and several other non-bank related debt. He sold his Ford Ranger (truck) due to financial constraints,” he said, adding, the attack was not an act of terrorism. It was unknown

whether he had any affiliation with a rebel or jihadist group, or what pushed him to commit such a daring attack on the casino. The attacker was previously thought to be a foreigner after witnesses claimed Carlos spoke in English, but a cabbie, who dropped Carlos at the hotel, told police that the man spoke fluently in Tagalog. The police made the announcement after the Islamic State has for the second time claimed responsibility for the casino attack and even identified the lone gunman by his nom de guerre as Abul Al-Kahir al-Arkhabili. It said the daring attack was carried out by one of its jihadists who later shot himself in the head in one of the hotel rooms after setting fire gambling tables and carpets that suffocated the victims. The Islamic State, in a statement released through its Amaq News Agency, said: “With God’s help, our brother Abul Khayr alArkhabili managed to hide

with his machine gun among a group of Christians, who fight Islam, inside a Resorts World resort in Manila, Philippines, where he opened fire on them, killing and injuring about 100 of them, until he, eventually, died as a martyr.” The recent attack sent heavily-armed policemen to the hotel, but failed to capture the gunman, who moved from one floor to another while setting everything on fire and virtually trapping many people. Among those who died were 22 guests and the rest hotel employees. Stephen Reilly, the Chief Operating Officer of Resorts World Manila, identified the guests as Caccam Catherine Cervantes, P Ling Hung Lee, Pacita Guillermo Comquilla, Pomenciano Vargas Jr., Susan Abulencia, Lai Wei Chung, Jaime Gaboy Jr., Ariel Abrogar, Lai Yu Cheeh, Cliff Reyniera, Rolando Pena Sison, Eluterio Reyes, Antonina Yuzon Allanigue, Shiela Malicse, Carmelita Taylo

Duterte puts up huge bounties for local ISIS leaders

Continued fr om page 1 from The air strikes and artillery that pounded the city have turned Marawi into a virtual Alepo, a city in Syria now in ruins due to fighting between government and rebel forces. And there is no sign the fighting in Marawi is subsiding

with Duterte telling the ISIS fighters that he will not negotiate with them even if they kill all their civilian hostages. Jihadists are still holding at least 240 hostages, according to Catholic priest Fr. Chito Suganob, himself a hostage who ear-

lier appealed – in an ISIS propaganda video – to Duterte to immediately withdraw all security forces in Marawi and Lanao del Sur, a demand set by the militants who threated to execute the captives. (Mindanao Examiner)

Dela Cruz, Mielle Oliveros, Pamela Silvestre, Elizabeth Gonzales, and two others remain unknown. The employees were also named as Hazel Yangco, Jellah Ramos, Melvin Herrera, Arvi Gavino, BJ Pagsibigan, Rojie Uy, Jessica Alindogan, Merylle Gwen Ala, Lea Grace Mozo, Loudette Santos, Kay Nuguerra and two more who are still unidentified. Reilly said there was only one gunman and that hotel security shot and wounded the attacker. Both the Philippines police chief Ronald dela Rosa and Albayalde previously said the ISIS claim of responsibility for the attack was a mere propaganda. Television news pictures showed the attacker brandishing an automatic rifle and wearing a black bonnet and a jacket and carrying a back pack. It was unknown how the man managed to sneak the weapon into the

casino. The attack coincided with heavy fighting between military and ISIS forces in Marawi City in southern Philippines. It was unknown whether the hotel attack was connected to the siege in Marawi. The SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S. terrorism monitor, said an Islamic State-linked Filipino operative who provides daily updates on the ongoing clashes in Marawi, claimed that “lone wolf soldiers” of the Islamic State group were responsible for the attack at Resorts World Manila. An English message by the operative was distributed across several pro-IS Telegram chat groups, SITE said. According to SITE, he wrote: “The lone wolf soldiers of Khilafah attack the heart of Kufar the city of Manila in Resort World.” President Rodrigo Duterte sent thousands of soldiers, backed by military

planes and tanks, to Marawi City to end the siege by about 500 local ISIS fighters. The military said troops had killed at least 160 militants, however, only recovered 42 bodies of jihadists, including 98 assorted weapons, from an automatic rifle to machine guns, left behind by the ISIS fighters, mostly members of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups. But 38 soldiers also perished in the violence with dozens more injured in fierce urban and close-quarter clashes. Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao region to crush the rebellion in Marawi which started on May 23, but fighting between troops and jihadists were also reported in the provinces of Basilan and Sulu and communist rebels take advantage of the violence by launching attacks on military and government targets elsewhere in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)

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Police interrogates father of local ISIS leaders arrested in Davao City

WANTED: LOCAL TERRORISTS

Cayamora Maute – who is arrested June 6, 2017 in Davao City – and one of his wives and two sons appear on this wanted terrorists poster. DAVAO CITY – Local police continue to investigate the arrested patriarch of the Maute family, whose members are leaders of the local ISIS group battling troops in the war-torn city of Marawi in southern Philippines. A member of the rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Cayamora Maute, the father of ISIS leaders Omar and Abdullah Maute, was arrested last week at a checkpoint in Toril district together with one of his wives Kongan Alfonso Balawag and daughter Norhana Balawag Maute, their driver Aljon Salazar Ismael and another man, Benzarali Tingao. A pistol and an improvised explosive, including some P360,000 in cash were also seized from Maute in their rented van while attempting to enter Davao. The patriarch was also carrying several identification cards with different names, according to Army Brigadier General Gilbert Gapay, of the

Eastern Mindanao Command during a news briefing at the headquarters of the local police force. Gapay said soldiers and policemen manning the checkpoint became suspicious of the group when they spotted a pile of clothes inside the van and inspected the vehicle until they found the gun and the improvised explosive. He said further investigation revealed that Maute is included in the wanted Maute terrorist poster displayed at the checkpoint. "The searching troops were in doubt that something is being concealed under the pile of clothes inside a van that prompted them to conduct a thorough search and found the pistol and improvised explosive device and eventually led to the arrest of the suspect and the others. He was also identified on photo gallery posted at the checkpoint," Gapay said. But police said what

were recovered from the vehicle was a grenade and a pistol. Both were found in a compartment behind the front seat. The elder Maute denied knowledge of the gun or the grenade and said he is sick. He said he had not seen his two sons in recent months and was not aware of the violence involving the Maute brothers. The driver, whose family runs a fleet of passenger vans, also denied ownership of the gun and grenade. Gapay said the arrest of the elder Maute was a big blow to the local ISIS still holed out in Marawi. He said the arrest of the elder Maute was a big blow to the local ISIS still holed out in Marawi. “This is a big blow to the Maute Group, the arrest is a manifestation that they cannot run away from the long arm of the law. We appreciate the vigilance and alertness of cooperation of the public of our troops that

ARMM working on recovery and rehabilitation plan for Marawi City LANAO DE L SUR – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has proposed a three-phase recovery and rehabilitation plan for Marawi City and this would have to be finalized in close coordination with the city and provincial governments of Lanao del Sur province. The implementation of the said plan will begin as soon as the conflict in the city is over. Dubbed ‘Unified Plan for Marawi City’, the recovery and rehabilitation initiative will be linked to the existing plans of neighboring municipalities. The plan will be administered under the joint leadership of the ARMM’s Regional Planning and Development Office and the Marawi City government, and will employ the “Build-Better-Now” approach for better planning and urban design. “The plan shall build on previous efforts on disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation, and response,” noted an initial draft of the proposal. The final output will be culture-sensitive given the context of Marawi as an Islamic city, and will consider issues on land tenure and land use. Conflict resolution processes will also be embedded in the said plan.

“As we continue to deliver relief to those affected by this crisis, we also need to plan and to prepare to build the future that the people of Marawi are holding on to,” ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman said. “Marawi is home to our brothers and sisters in the Bangsamoro, and it is our responsibility to make sure that it continues to be home for our people. We cannot let terror drive us away from the places we have built for ourselves and our family.” Experts from the World Bank will assist in the formulation of the said plan. Appropriate planning tools and mechanisms shall be used in the development of the said plan, which will run in three phases. These are Early Recovery and Reconstruction (3-12 months), Medium-term Reconstruction (1-6 years); and Long-term Rehabilitation and Development (6 years and beyond). Prior to the plan’s implementation, a series of area assessments will be undertaken to determine the extent of damage the crisis has caused on lives and properties. The next step is an inventory of existing resources that can be mobilized to hasten rehabilitation and recovery. This

involves the availability of local manpower, experts, as well as institutions that can assist government efforts. The existing area development plans of Marawi City and those of communities adversely affected by the crisis would be reviewed. While the process would welcome inputs from external experts and partners, a significant part of the output would be generated through participatory planning, using tools such as focused group discussions and workshops with local communities and resource persons. A matrix of sectoral needs, based on estimated damage and losses, would be formulated to come up with the recovery and rehabilitation objectives. The sectors that would be covered are productive services (agriculture, industry commerce and tourism); social (housing, education, cultural heritage, and health), infrastructure (electricity, water and sanitation, transport, flood control and drainage, and telecommunications), and cross-cultural (local government, social protection, financial sector and disaster risk reduction and management). (Bureau of Public Information)

led to their apprehension,” Gapay said. It was unknown how the group of Maute was able to escape the military operation in Marawi after the ISIS fighters occupied the city on May 23. Other reports said the elder Maute was on his way to hospital for a medical checkup for an unknown illness when arrested at the checkpoint. The mayor of Davao city, Sarah Carpio, commended the capture of Maute and urged the public to continue supporting the authorities.

"We commend Lt. Col. Nestor Mondia and his team for the apprehension of Mr. Cayamora Maute at the military checkpoint in Toril. We commend the entire Task Force Davao team for always being alert, for their hard work, and for their unquestionable dedication to keep Davao City and the Dabawenyos safe from terrorists like the Maute brothers." "The apprehension of the patriarch of the notorious Mautes is crucial in the government's efforts to end

the reign of terror experienced in Marawi and the entire Mindanao these days," she said, adding, "This is an important development in our collective fight to reclaim peace and defeat lawlessness and terrorism, and all that threatens our freedom and future. To the Dabawenyos, let us support our soldiers and our police. Let us always support our government." (With reports from Malou Cablinda and Rhoderick Beñez.)(With reports from Malou Cablinda and Rhoderick Beñez.)

Prices of basic commodities in ARMM steady COTABATO CITY – Prices of prime commodities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) remain stable, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said. “Hindi totoo ang kumakalat na balita na umabot na sa limang libong piso ang presyo ng isang sakong bigas,stable ang presyo ng bilihin,” said DTIARMM Secretary Anwar Malang as he clarified issues on the alleged increases in prices of goods in Lanao del Sur. “We are reminding our retailers to comply with the set price ceiling,” he said. A price freeze of commodities was automatically enforced in Mindanao after President Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law for 60 days on May 23 following clashes between the government troops and terror groups in Marawi City. Under Republic Act 7581, or the Price Act, price freeze on basic necessities shall be automatically implemented in areas under a state of calamity. The measure covers basic goods

including canned sardines, processed milk, bottled water, locally manufactured instant noodles, coffee, detergent soap, bread, candles, salt, rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh pork, fresh beef, fresh poultry meat, fresh and dried fish and other marine products, fresh egg, fresh milk, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, root crops and sugar. Sec. Malang said his office is conducting weekly price monitoring not only in Lanao del Sur but in other provinces of the ARMM as well. “We are intensifying the monitoring to check if business establishments are complying with the price freeze order,” he said. Because of the recent crisis in Marawi City, the department has organized and deployed two special price monitoring teams in Lanao del Sur, he said. The monitoring covers the municipalities of Buadipuso Buntong, Ditsaan-Ramain, Poona Bayabao, Tamparan, Malabang, Ganassi, Marantao and Watu Balindong. Sec. Malang said re-

ports on the field indicated price increases of only up to 10% in the municipalities of Marantao and DitsaanRamain. “The minimal increases in prices (of basic goods) in those areas (Marantao and DitsaanRamain) are justifiable on account of transportation costs incurred in the hauling of goods from suppliers in Iligan City,” he said. Supply of basic commodities in Lanao del Sur comes from the cities of Iligan in Lanao del Norte, Cagayan de Oro in Misamis Oriental, and Pagadian in Zamboanga del Sur. Penalties for those who violate the price freeze include a fine ranging from P5,000 to P1,000,000 and/or imprisonment from one to 10 years. Price control of basic necessities remains while Martial Law is in effect. Billboards on the price ceiling of basic goods, price freeze advisories, and other relevant information will be posted all over the region through the DTI-ARMM’s provincial offices. (Bureau of Public Information)

‘Middle East money’ funds ISIS terrorism in Philippines Continued fr om page 1 from “Marine forces doing house to house clearing against the terrorists recovered the amount and under constant fire, a team extricated the area to surrender the millions to the headquarters of Task Force Marawi.” “The recovered money will be for safekeeping of proper authorities until appropriate investigation is conducted and proper identification of owner is established. This act is a manifestation for keeping the highest standard of discipline, valor and commitment in safeguarding Marawi and defending the community from terror elements,” said Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command. It was unknown whether the money were looted by militants from a bank in Marawi or ISIS funds, but an investigation was immediately launched to determine the origin of the huge amount of cash. Brigadier General Rolando Joselito Bautista, the task force commander,

Recovered money worth P53.2 million in Marawi City. (Mindanao Examiner Photo – Rhoderick Beñez) praised the soldiers for their honesty and bravery. “We are proud of our soldiers in the field. Their commendable actions in caring for our people bespeak of the best practices in the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he said.

Jihadists occupied Marawi on May 23 and dozens of people had been killed in the fighting that displaced over 200,000 civilians now in evacuation centers here and other parts of Lanao del Sur. (Rhoderick Beñez)


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June 12-18, 2017

Islamic State Planned Marawi Siege by Rohan Gunaratna OVER THE past two weeks, the East Asia division of the so-called Islamic State (IS) has held parts of the southern Philippine city of Marawi. Different IS-linked groups came together to meticulously plan the city’s siege. The division wanted territorial control to win recognition from IS leaders in the Middle East. The Philippines government has yet to fully retake the city, despite declaring martial law in the south on May 23 and deploying planes, combat helicopters and ground troops. Militants still hold about a tenth of Marawi. The ranking leaders of IS engaged in planning the attack against Marawi. These included Isnilon Hapilon, the leader of IS Philippines (pictured above); Humam Abdul Najib, the founder and leader of Khilafah Islamiyah Mindanao; and Abdullah Maute, the leader of Islamic State Lanao, who oversaw the entire operation. Maute’s brother, Omar, was killed in battle in Marawi but another sibling, Madie Maute, was involved in the planning phase. IS planned to control Marawi during the Muslim month of Ramadan. But the plan was disrupted when the Philippine government received intelligence that Isnilon was recuperating in Marawi. When a combined army

and police team launched an operation to capture or kill Isnilon, about 100 IS operatives including foreign fighters took up positions to control the city. Through the lake, mountains, and by road, some 200 to 300 fighters arrived in Marawi in the following days. Plotting and executing the siege When Islamic State declared a caliphate in Syria and Iraq in late June 2014, one of the first people in Southeast Asia to pledge allegiance to its leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, was Isnilon, the former deputy leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). “We pledge to obey him on anything which our hearts desire or not and to value him more than anyone else. We will not take any leader other than him unless we see in him any obvious act of disbelief that could be questioned by Allah in the hereafter,” Isnilon said in declaring his loyalty to IS the following month. Sixteen groups including Islamic State Lanao (ISL), Ansar Khilafah Mindanao (AKM), the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), ASG Basilan and a faction of ASG Sulu also joined IS. With the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) stepping up operations in Basilan, Isnilon moved with nearly one hundred fighters

from the Sulu archipelago to mainland Mindanao in late 2016. He combined forces with ISL, led by the Maute brothers in Lanao del Sur. After Isnilon was wounded in an airstrike in Sitio Basudan, Butig on Jan. 25, 2017, he relocated to Marawi together with the ISL rank-and-file. Protected by his own team of IS fighters, including foreigners, Isnilon lived in a residential and commercial area of Marawi between the campus of Mindanao State University and the police headquarters in the city’s center. When the combined military-police team approached the apartment in Marawi city at 1:45 p.m. May 23 to arrest Isnilon, heavy fighting broke out in Barangay Basak Malutlut. As two dozen heavily armed men – who had previously served with ASG – fought fiercely, foreign and local IS fighters hiding in the neighborhood joined the gun battle. As it expanded into a deadly rampage, IS fighters attempted to take control of the city by taking up positions strategically. Replacing the Philippines national flag with its iconic black flag, IS fighters armed with heavy weapons and homemade bombs began the siege. IS placed snipers on top of buildings and at checkpoints along key roads, and

commandeered vehicles. IS used megaphones to urge a shocked public to join the “Dawlah,” a reference to the “Islamic State.” An IS attack in Mosul, Iraq, in June 2014 provided IS Philippines with a template for the siege of Marawi. But contrary to IS expectations, there was no local Maranao support for IS. Except for a handful of political figures opposed to the leaders of Marawi, the people of Marawi rejected the IS message. The IS strategy was to shock the city by attacking centers of government. IS attacked the Marawi police station in the downtown area and set fire to it. After attacking the city jail, IS freed 107 prisoners, including IS fighters. The militants also attacked areas near the 103rd Brigade, based at Camp Ranao in Marawi city, but the military prevailed. After desecrating and burning both the Mary Help of Christians Cathedral and the Bishop’s House in Marawi, IS fighters abducted Vicar General Teresito “Chito” Suganob, and took others hostage. After taking an injured IS fighter to the Amai Pakpak Hospital, IS killed Senior Inspector of Police Freddie Manuel Solar. In addition to torching several homes, IS set fire to the Ninoy Aquino School and Dansalan College. To

spread terror and create a human shield, IS claimed to have taken nearly 250 hostages and to have killed government officers and Christians. Soon, the entire population started to move out on foot and vehicles. Power and communication lines were shut down. The mass exodus transformed Marawi into a ghost town. Although the number of fatalities and casualties was placed at 200, a larger number died, many of them civilians. Islamic hear tland heartland Marawi City, the capital of Lanao del Sur province, has 220,000 people, 99 percent of them Muslim. Hundreds of mosques and madrassas ring Lake Lanao, which sits in a green bowl circled by distant mountains. Considered the Islamic capital of the Philippines, Marawi is like the rest of Mindanao, where Christians and Muslims coexist. The IS interpretation of Islam was challenged by a traditional Islam that characterized Marawi for centuries. The stoning, amputations, flagellations or other Islamic punishments are against the laws of the Philippines. IS will stay in Marawi and fight until Ramadan is over. IS will also hold hostages elsewhere and as human shields in Marawi, demanding the withdrawal of government troops.

Although IS ideology had no appeal to Marawi Muslims, large-scale destruction can make them vulnerable to the IS belief system. While it was essential for the government to have declared martial law, it is also important to be very soft on the population.President Rodrigo Duterte cut short a trip to Russia late last month and vowed to crush the militants in Marawi, saying: “Anyone now holding a gun, confronting government with violence, my orders are spare no one, let us solve the problems of Mindanao once and for all. If I think you should die, you will die. If you fight us, you will die. If there’s an open defiance, you will die, and if it means many people dying, so be it. That’s how it is.” He added: “I made a projection, not a prediction, that one of these days the hardest thing to deal with would be the arrival of ISIS. The government must put an end to this. I cannot gamble with ISIS because they are everywhere.” (First published on Benar News. Rohan Gunaratna is professor of Security Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at the Nanyang Technology University and head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research in Singapore.)


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June 12-18, 2017

Chinese investors to pour over $1B in Visayas CEBU CITY - A group of Chinese investors is set to pour in $1.38 billion worth of investments in the Visayas. Kai Yiao Sheng, chairman of the Anhui Shengyun Environment-Protection Group Co., Ltd., said this is their response to the initiative of “One Belt and One Road” and the revival of the Maritime Silk Road of the Chinese government under President Xi Jinping. According to the Philippine News Agency, Xi has described this initiative as a “bridge for peace, a road to prosperity, a way to boost inclusive growth and balanced development and to promote equality”. In a statement read by Sheng, he said that among the projects that they intend to do include ecological projects for the people’s livelihood such as waste to energy power plants, biomass to energy power plants, urban sewage treatment projects and urban waste landfill treatment and rehabilitation projects, urban and rural water environment rehabilitation projects, ecological and cultural projects for tourism and the social housing projects for the police officers and military as well as for the low income people in certain cities. Of the total amount,

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$550 million will be used for the municipal waste renewable energy power plants, which will be built in the Visayas; $100 million to be used in biomass renewable energy power plants; $110 million for the establishment of the waste water treatment plant; $220 million for the municipal sewage treatment plant; $100 million for the improvement of four existing landfills to reduce soil contamination and for soil remediation; and $300 million for the construction of roads, bridges, landscaping, utilities improvement, and other public facilities investment such as socialized housing. “In spite of the challenging times happening in the Philippines, we are still very confident about the Philippines because of the brilliant, courageous, and justice leadership of President Duterte,” Sheng said. The group intends to implement its investment plans this month and in July while they will start to bring in the funds by August. Jonji Gonzales, chief of staff of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, said Sec. Michael Dino has earlier met with the group during Duterte’s State Visit to BeijinG. Prior to their announce-

ment of their plans to invest here in the Visayas, the Chinese delegation visited Cebu on November 29 and December 4 last year. They also signed a Framework Agreement with their Philippine counterparts. Also in December 2016, a Chinese technical delegation visited Cebu. Last April 26 to 30, the company has completed the incorporation of their joint venture company in Cebu. A capital of $200,000 was paid up and deposited in a bank in Cebu City. The joint venture company was named Sinophile Shengyun Management Inc. The group also met with Duterte during his visit to Cebu recently to inform him of the developments here. Meanwhile, the group donated P5 million to the victims of Marawi City as a way to show their sympathy amid the ongoing conflict in the area. Gonzales said the donation was coursed through the Sacred Heart School for Boys Batch ’85, where Dino is a member. Sheng said they leave the discretion on what to do with the donation to the recipients. (Carmel Loise Matus)

Smoking ban also covers foreigners CEBU - The smoking ban as provided for in an executive order signed by President Rodrigo Duterte covers not only Filipinos, but also foreigners staying in the country, the Department of Health said. It said foreigners could also be arrested if they smoke anywhere else except in designated smoking areas (DSA) as provided for in Executive Order No. 26 or the AntiSmoking Law. Hotels

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where foreign tourists stay are required to put up respective DSAs and it must be 10 meters away from the doorways and exits of every hotel. Foreigners cannot just smoke in their hotel rooms and that they and hotel owners can be held liable for violation of Executive Order No. 26. Penalties for violators include no less than P500 nor more than P1,000 for the first offense; not less than P2,000 but not more

than P5,000 for the second offense; and not less than P5,000 but not more than P10,000 for the third offense. Higher penalties were imposed to stores or establishments selling cigarettes to minors from 13 to 17 years old. Violators will be meted a fine of P100,000 and imprisonment for one year for the first offense and P200,000 fine and two year imprisonment for the second offense.

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Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper June 12-18, 2017  

June 12-18, 2017

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