Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

FBI to train cops, troops in counterterrorism

By Ed General

JOLO, Sulu -- Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrived here to train policemen and soldiers in counterterrorism, the provincial police director of Sulu said Wednesday.

But Senior Superintendent Julasirim Kasim did not say how many FBI agents are here or when they arrived.

However, he did say the participants of the training are policemen and soldiers involved in intelligence gathering.

"The 35 members of the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and PNP [Philippine National Police] will be trained on intelligence gathering and investigation and other matters, including counterintelligence," Kasim said.

He said the training will run for six months and will be held at the headquarters of the 3rd Marine Brigade in Barangay (village) Busbus here.

The United States government considers Sulu as one of the areas of concern in the global fight against terror because of the supposed link between the homegrown Abu Sayyaf group and the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Southeast Asian arm of the Al Qaeda.

A number of JI leaders, including suspected Bali bombers Omar Patek and Dulmatin, have reportedly been hiding in Sulu and are being protected by Abu Sayyaf gunmen.

For the past six years or so, US military forces have also trained Filipino soldiers on counterterrorism tactics here.

Aside from training their Filipino counterparts, US forces are also implementing civic projects aimed at winning the hearts of the locals and reducing support for the Abu Sayyaf and their JI allies.

Father Bossi is Back to Zamboanga

By Julie Alipala

PAYAO, Zamboanga Sibugay, Philippines -- Italian missionary Giancarlo Bossi, who was abducted and subsequently freed by unidentified armed men last year, quietly arrived in Zamboanga City on Tuesday.

But it was not immediately clear if Bossi would return to this town and resume his missionary work.

Claretian Father Angel Calvo, a close friend of Bossi, confirmed the Italian priest's arrival at the convent of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (Pime) in Zamboanga City on Tuesday.

But Calvo said he could not give further details about Bossi's return and instead suggested that the Philippine Daily Inquirer contact the Pime leadership.

The Inquirer repeatedly tried but failed to reach Father Gianni Sandalo, Bossi's regional superior.

Bossi's Pime colleague, Father Sebastiano D' Ambra, confirmed Calvo's information.

"I suggest you get more information from Father Sandalo," he said.

When news of Bossi's arrival in Zamboanga City reached his former parishioners here, they immediately celebrated.

Residents of this town have long waited for the return of the priest, who is popularly known here as "Father Giant."

Bossi's simplicity according to his parishioners was the main reason he captured the hearts of the people of Payao, including children.

During his release, Bossi repeatedly assured the people of Payao that he would return one day and live among them again.

Father Roberto Brillantes, the priest who replaced Bossi at the San Pablo Parish, said he was informed that the Italian missionary would be coming here this week.

He said Bossi was expected to attend the fiesta of Bayog town before coming here.

But Brillantes said contrary to expectations, Bossi would not be staying long.

"It will just be a short visit to retrieve his personal items, the longest could be a day or two," he said.

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