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.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Family not seized by rebels -- Military

TACURONG CITY, Philippines – (UPDATE) A family of four earlier believed to have been seized by renegade Moro rebels “are now safe,” a military official said.

"They are now safe in their homes in Barangay Marquez," Colonel Julieto Ando, regional Army spokesperson, said quoting a military report from the 601st Infantry Brigade.

Ando earlier said Roy Martin, 45, sitio leader of the village of Marquez, in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat; his wife Shiela, 39; his two children aged six and eight; and a relative identified as Jun Bello, 30, were taken by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels after they stormed an agricultural village in the province.

He said about 80 heavily armed Moro rebels stormed the village of Marquez at about 12 noon Friday in what the military said was a "foraging mission." The rebels used the civilians as human shields against pursuing police and military elements, he added.

But Ando later clarified that the victims had been abandoned by the rebels, who apparently told the Martin family not to worry as they were just passing by.

Other residents thought the family of Martin was taken by the rebels.

A witness told military investigators that the rebels passed through the village of Panuntungan en route to the village of Chua, also in Esperanza town.

Quoting witnesses, the military said the rebels fired their guns and took rice and food stuff from the villagers who also fled after seeing heavily armed rebels.

The civilians were apparently told by the rebels not to report to military or police authorities

Ando identified the attackers as followers of renegade Moro rebel leader Ombra Kato, who carries a P15 million reward for his arrest for assaulting villages in North Cotabato in July.

Government forces from the Army's 601st Infantry Brigade and Sultan Kudarat police have been sent to track down the rebels who fled toward the Liguasan marshland.

Eid Kabalu, MILF civil military chief, said he had yet to confirm the report.
He said though that the rebels could have been provoked thus clashes erupted.

In Alamada, several villagers have fled their homes before New Year's Eve due to the presence of MILF forces in the village of Dado.

When they returned home on January 1, they found their work animals gone and hogs were strafed with automatic rifles.

Alamada Mayor Ernesto Concepcion said the rebels also took food stuff and agricultural products of the farmers.

Ando said pursuit operations were ongoing against the rebels.(Edwin Fernandez)

No comments: