Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Extremist terrorists seize control of Marawi City, Philippines

As the broken bodies of children are recovered in a savage bomb attacks in Manchester and Bangkok, a car bomb in Syria, across the ocean the Maute Group waged a full out assault on the city of Marawi in the Philippines. Flames and gunfire occupied the streets as homes, businesses, and schools suffered arson and destruction by the group. After releasing prisoners en masse, attackers set ablaze the jails. Their havoc included burning down

 The black flag of the group rose above the city early this morning. Pledging allegiance to Daesh (ISIL), they seek to create a stronghold. Horrified residents reached out on social media with real time distress and messages. President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in effect on the island of Mindanao.

seav. Released under the GFDL.

The President returns from his trip to Russia, originally slated to end on May 25. He was to meet with President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. This trip was to usher in a new level of working together for trade and other enterprises for the two nations.  Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano,  revealed his change in plans in wake of the fighting in Mindanao.

MOSCOW -- President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Cayetano, who was recently appointed as chief of the Department of Foreign Affairs, said that Russian government officials understood the situation and the need for Duterte to fly back to Manila as soon as possible to oversee government operations against fighters of the Maute Group, a local terrorist organization allying itself with the so-called IS. - PhilStar
Constant unrest moved President Duterte to warn of Martial Law in the past. Increasingly bold attacks culminated in this offensive on Tuesday. The order now is in effect across the entire island.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella issued the statement on his behalf as follows:

 In order to suppress lawless violence and rebellion and for public safety, it is necessary to declare Martial Law in the entire island of Mindanao, including Sulu, Jolo and Tawi-Tawi for a period of 60 days.
The government is in full control of the situation and is fully aware that the Maute/Isis and similar groups have the capability, though limited, to disturb the peace; these have shown no hesitation in causing havoc, taking innocent lives and destroying property.
- Republic of the Philippines, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Malacanang, Manila

 These events happen two weeks after the U.S. Embassy issued its travel warning to U.S. citizens regarding Puerto Princesa, and in general, areas of Palawan Province, Philippines . For those with loved ones in-country, I provide the contact information for the U. S. Embassy, Manila.

U.S. Citizen Emergencies During Office Hours
+63 (02) 301-2246

U.S. Citizen Emergencies After Hours
+63 (02) 301-2000


Military forces face this action within the same month as their completion of Balikatan 2017. This year's special emphasis training on counter terrorism and humanitarian response is expected to be implemented in this situation. This year saw the U.S. infuse $400, 000 USD into "emergency readiness equipment and aid" to the nation.  This annual training hones the skills of both nation's forces.

By Cpl. Anthony Ward Jr - https://www.dvidshub.net/image/392424, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39244485

The Republic of Philippines is also currently in negotiation with the Ukraine regarding weapons systems, military controls, and increased cooperation in technology. This same month, the government announced it would no longer be relying on the European Union for these concerns. This week saw meetings going forward toward new policy

The potential for the military and technical cooperation between Kyiv and Manila has been discussed during the talks with Secretary for National Defense of the Philippines Delfin Lorenzana during a working visit of First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleh Hladkovsky to the Philippines, as well as meetings with the country’s top military leadership, the press service of state-run foreign trade enterprise SpetsTechnoExport reported. - KyivPost

It is unknown if the recent tack in course that sees closer ties to the enemies of terrorists in the vein of Daesh (ISIL) was, in any way, a catalyst toward the increase in violent actions. The increased pressure on these radical terrorist groups has seen violence before now. The next 60 days will set the stage for what comes next, as the expiry of the Martial Law order is set to expire or be renewed.


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