Press Releases

2 more ASG killed as troops intensify rescue effort in Sulu

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Photo: Slightly wounded soldier / by: Gen R Hero

Camp Bautista, Sulu, Sep 28, 2016- Two Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members were killed while three more were wounded in two separate but connected successive encounters between Army troops and ASG in Panamao, Sulu early morning Wednesday.

A soldier, name withheld, was also slightly wounded by shrapnels and currently recuperating at Camp Bautista Hospital in Jolo. The first encounter transpired at 07:20am between an estimated 30 ASG and Bravo Company of 35th Infantry Battalion in Brgy Pugad Manaul, Panamao, Sulu where the two said ASG were killed and one soldier was wounded.

Troops recovered one body count while the other was carried by the ASG as seen by pursuing troops and revealed by civilians.

The second encounter occured at 9:05am between the same group of ASG against troops of Bravo Company, 10th Infantry Battalion in an adjacent Sitio in Brgy Pugad Manaul, Panamao, Sulu resulting to three ASG wounded as witnessed by pursuing troops.

The said ASG engaged by troops are reportedly holding some Malaysian and Indonesian hostages.

The wounded soldier was airlifted to Camp Bautista Station Hospital for treatment while the ASG member was brought to Sulu Provincial Police Office for processing and proper disposition so that the cadaver can be claimed by relatives for proper burial in accordance with their tradition.

This is the second successive day that troops engaged the ASG in Sulu. Yesterday the notorious Muktadil brothers of the ASG, Nixon and Brown were killed in an operation by troops in Sulu. Brig. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, Commander of Joint Task Force Sulu attributed the successive engagements to positive cooperation of local residents.

“Our troops will continue to pursue the terrorists until we deal a crippling blow to their ranks and leadership and rescue the remaining hostages”, Brig. Gen. Dela Vega concluded.

Salute to all our troops in Sulu!

Released by:Information Suport Team, JTF Sulu
#SupportOurTroops #SulongSulu #TropangSulu

1 more Indonesian released

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Camp Bautista, Sulu, Sep 22, 2016-Another Indonesian kidnap victim was released in Sulu Thursday morning as troops continue intensified rescue efforts.

The released hostage identified thru his passport is 30 year-old Herman Bin Manggak. He is the sixth Indonesian freed from ASG captivity since President Duterte assumed office and ordered an intensified rescue effort.

Herman was officially turned over to military custody at 12nn by Sulu LGU and immediately taken to Camp Bautista hospital in Jolo for check-up and processing. Talking to interpreters, he asked for food and relayed how government troops nearly rescued him three times as they engaged the ASG in fierce gunbattles.

“The release of the victim is the result of relentless focused military operations combined with efforts of different sectors particularly LGU of Sulu and other stakeholders” Brig.Gen.Arnel Dela Vega, commander of Joint Taskforce Sulu said.

Several kidnap victims were successively rescued or released after the intensified rescue efforts and arrival of more troops in Sulu.

It may be recalled that Martina Yee who was kidnapped by armed men in Sirawai was rescued yesterday in Indanan Sulu by elements of 35th Infantry Battalion, only two days after her captivity; the fastest and successful rescue operation conducted on a kidnap victim by armed men before she can be further turned over to the ASG.

The swift rescue of Yee was attributed by authorities to a well-coordinated effort by AFP and PNP with the help of civilian populace from Sirawai to Sibuco and Zamboanga City to Sulu who informed and alerted troops on the presence of armed men.

Gen.Ricardo Visaya, the AFP Chief, commended troops for the success.

“Let me commend all the troops for a well-coordinated and incessant two-day rescue operation that led to the successful rescue of Martina Lyn Yee who was kidnapped in Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte on 19 Sep 2016.

As your Chief of Staff, I am truly proud of this accomplishment, noting that this is the first time first time that we were able to intercept an eventual turn-over of a kidnap victim to the ASG due to our prompt action with the support from the PNP and local residents.

Your dedication in this accomplishment will be in the annals of the AFP’s history. Congratulations and keep up the good work!” Gen.Visaya said.


POC:Col Rodrigo Gregorio / 09175595622 / Released by: Information Support Tm, JTF Sulu


Sirawai kidnap victim rescued in Sulu

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Camp Bautista, Sulu, Sep 21, 2016-Troops of 35th Infantry Battalion, 501st Infantry Brigade of Joint Task Force Sulu rescued 60 year-old kidnap victim Martina Lyn Yee from Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) 7am Wednesday in a pier in Tanjung, Brgy Kajatian, Indanan Sulu.

Martina Lyn Yee, a resident of Sirawai, Zamboanga Del Norte, owner of a gas station was kidnapped by six armed men 3pm Monday in Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte. Reports indicated that the group fled heading towards Zamboanga City passing Municipality of Sibucu aboard triple engine watercraft.

The successful rescue operation was a result of continuous collaboration with different units of the AFP and PNP with the help of civilian populace from Sirawai to Sibuco and Zamboanga City to Sulu who informed and alerted troops on the presence of armed men.

A strike and rescue operation was initiated by troops of 35IB. Sensing that they would be outnumbered, the armed men holding Martina Yee hastily fled and resulted to the successful rescue of the victim.

Several victims have been rescued or released since the order of Pres Duterte to intensify rescue efforts.

Brig. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, Commander of JTF Sulu said “the successful rescue is a template of enhanced collaboration of all govt agencies concerned with the help of local residents”.

“We hope to see more collaboration from different stakeholders in the coming days to destroy the ASG and rescue the remaining hostages.” Brig. Gen. Dela Vega added.

Col. Jose Faustino of 501st Brigade said “the relentless focused military operation will continue until we finally deal a crippling blow to the ASG and free the people of Sulu from these terrorists”.

Martina Yee has undergone medical check-up at Camp Bautista Hospital where she was immediately given food. She said she has not eaten since Monday evening. She will be brought to Zamboanga City anytime today.

POC:Col Rodrigo Gregorio / 09175595622 / Released by: Information Support Tm, JTFS


AFP chief Gen. Visaya is now a four-star general

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A member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1983, Visaya is the 48th chief of staff of the AFP. Prior to his appointment, he was the commander of the Southern Luzon Command based in Quezon.

Visaya, a member of Philippine Military Academy “Matikas” Class of 1983 formally receives his fourth star today during the donning of ranks ceremony led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana at Camp Aguinaldo.

The promotion of Visaya to the second-highest rank of four-star general came exactly a week after he assumed the post of AFP chief.

The highest rank given in the Philippine military is that of “five-star general.” The President and commander in chief receives an honorary rank of five-star general making him the first rank holder in the military.

EMC is Set for PiliPinas ’16

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NSFA, Panacan, Davao City –
 The Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) is already set to help ensure the conduct of safe and secure election on May 9, 2016.

In close coordination with the COMELEC and in partnership with the Philippine National Police, EMC will be overseeing Regions 11 and 13, parts of Region 12 and Region 10.

On several occasions, inter-agency meetings were conducted between the AFP, PNP and the COMELEC to fine tune election security plans and preparations that will create an environment allowing the people in the mentioned regions to cast their votes.

Aside from the synchronized troop deployment between the EMC forces and PNP, the readiness requirement includes the activation of Election Monitoring Action Centers and Quick Reaction Teams at all levels.

Facilities and equipment were also readied for utilization if the COMELEC so requires.