Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Update in Mantangule Island, Balabac Incident as of 191400H

Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

LTC Yuri Pesigan the ground component commander of the fleet-marine operations team reports the recovery of 7 dead bodies and a total of 6 firearms and a bladed weapon (2 garand rifles, and M14 rifle, and an M79 grenade launcher, 2 cal. 45 pistols and a kris) from the marauders. Two were captured in the running gunbattle that is still ongoing. A wounded Marine grazed by bullet in the face near his eye has been airlifted to a hospital in Rio Tuba in southern tip of mainland Palawan. LCol Pesigan and Commander Alberto Cruz of Naval Task Group 41.5, and the members of the local PNP, with orders coming from Commodore Orwen Cortez, the Commander Naval Forces West, endeavor to get all the MNLF members before sundown to prevent their possible escape or for dissolving with the civilians/evacuees.

Update in Mantangule Island, Balabac Incident as of 191000H

Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

Reports sent to Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez, Navy Flag Officer In-Command by Commodore Orwen Cortez, Commander, Naval Forces West indicate that the fleet-marine operations led by the ground component commander Marine Lieutenant Colonel Yuri Pesigan was constrained to attack the MNLF group of Abdullah Abdurajak that is holed in the mosque they occupied in Sitio Marabon, Mantangule, Balabac, Palawan.

The enemy failed to surrender before sundown per ultimatum given by LTC Pesigan to Haji Sukarno Jamal, the emissary of the surrender filler. The Navy SEAL and Marine Teams under the orders of Commo Cortez launched a surgical assault on the MNLF group midnight of 18 August 09.

Sporadic firefighting that started 7am, 19 August 2009 ongoing. Two dead with firearms (one dead body already recovered) and two men captured from the marauders. Navy ships of Naval Task Group 41.5 under Commander Alberto Cruz are now patrolling the seas to pre-empt the enemy from escaping.

VADM Golez: “We will pursue the operation until its rapid conclusion and restore the rule of law in the island. We will get these marauders and kidnappers who are now shooting it out with our fleet-marine personnel.”

Updates in Balabac Standoff

Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

Four platoons of Marines from Marine Battalion Landing Team-8 and teams of Navy Seals have landed in Brgy. Mantangule in batches. The first 2 platoons and teams from NAVSOG landed in the island as of 2200H Monday 17 August and occupied the location near the MILF group 12 noon today 18 August.

Two more platoons set foot this morning and took their respective positions relative to the enemy. Fire support base was put up. The commander on the ground and Battalion Commander of MBLT-8 Major Yuri Pesigan gave the ultimatum for the MNLF group to lay down their arms before sunset. The notice sent by Pesigan at 1500H was received by Hadji Sukarno Jamal—emissary for the surrender initiated by “Pa Guro’s” group.

As of this time 1830H, the group of “Pa Guro” has not yet surrendered although there were no reported hostilities since.

Should the group refuse to give up, we will be constrained to enforce the law as last resort. Until then, we will allow the peaceful resolution of the standoff thru negotiation between the emissary and the commander on the ground.

Balabac Incident

Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

Philippine Navy patrol vessels and gunboats are now patrolling the seas off Balabac Island in Palawan to prevent the MNLFs from escaping.

Teams from Naval Special Operations Group (SEALs), platoons of Marines from MBLT 8, and PNP personnel deploy to counteract the group led by the group by Pa Guro that reportedly occupied a mosque at Marabon Island Balabac Saturday, 14 August 2009 terrorizing the people to flee their homes.

We will not allow lawless elements to sow panic and cause havoc to helpless civilians and law enforcement action directed against the group of Pa Guro who reportedly extorts money from the residents in the island defines the role of the navy in projecting naval power from the ship to the shore to strike against lawless elements preying on civilians.

Philippine Navy has to dislodge and stop Pa Guro’s group now dugged-in the island anticipating confrontation with government forces.

2 Air Force UH-1H choppers fired by bandits

Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

Around 1003H, today 16 August 2009, two (2) Air Force UH-1H choppers that carried on board BGEN Rustico Guerrero, the Commanding General of 1st Marine Brigade leading the combat operations and law enforcement actions in Basilan, and four (4) companions were fired upon from the ground by unidentified armed men at the vicinity of Barangay Limbo Upas, Albarka, Basilan.

The pilots, BGEN Guerrero, and Mr Leo Alcamoso were unscatched, Jorge Bandola, Egay Luciano and Louie Iglesia—TV journalist, cameraman from National Broadcasting Network 4 photographers from the Office of the press secretary, respectively sustained superficial splinter wounds. The helis had to make doctrinal landing in Lamitan City as a matter of precaution before proceeding back to Edwin Andrews Airforce Base in Zamboanga. The chopper incurred torn transmission oil line due to bullet hit. BGEN Guerrero’s group was at Sitio Kurellem, Silangkum, Tipo-Tipo, Basilan for the ceremonial flag raising ceremony in the erstwhile Abu Sayyaf Group stronghold and turnover the sitio back to its residents thru Mayor of Tipo-Tipo. It will be recalled that ASGs seized and occupy the sitio and drove away the local residents. It took 23 lives-2young officers and 21 soldiers—to wrest control of and liberate the sitio from the crutches of the bandit ASGs. We will unrelentlessly conduct combat operations to decimate the terrorists, end their sowing of terror.