Regional Updates (09/28/20)

Abu Sayyaf leader’s right-hand man arrested in Zamboanga City

THE RIGHT-HAND man of the local terrorist group Abu Sayyaf’s leader was arrested Sunday in Zamboanga City, the police reported. Police chief Lt. Gen. Camilo P. Cascolan, in a briefing Monday, said Hashim Saripada, assistant of Abu Sayyaf leader Mundi Sawadjaan, was caught following monitoring of his movements from the island province of Sulu, the group’s known stronghold. Mr. Saripada plays a key role in planning and operations as well as a trained bomb-maker. The police chief said they see the Abu Sayyaf’s terror activities now significantly hampered. “This will be a very big blow on him (Sawadjaan)… Most of his planned activities will no longer push through, and he knows that he is being monitored by all intelligence and anti-terrorism units,” Mr. Cascolan said. He added that local government leaders and community members are closely working with security forces by providing leads and other information. The Abu Sayyaf, which first became notorious for kidnap-for-ranson activities, pledged allegiance to the extremist Islamic State and has since been involved in terror activities such as bombings. The latest was carried out on August 24 by two women suicide bombers in Sulu’s capital Jolo, leaving 14 fatalities including soldiers, police, and civilians. Another 75 were wounded. — MSJ

Mati City fish port gets regional council nod, but 5-ha reclamation must meet requirements

THE PROPOSED fish port project in Mati City has been endorsed by the Davao Regional Development Council, but the reclamation component must pass requirements to ensure the protection of Pujada Bay where it will be located. The council, in a statement, said the endorsement was approved during the quarterly meeting held September 16, and will be submitted to the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) “subject to the submission of all required documents.” Pujada Bay was declared a marine protected area in 1994, and was validated earlier this year by the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Association as part of its list. Any reclamation activity in the bay must pass conditions under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) law. The council also cited requirements by the Philippine Reclamation Authority. Local officials met with the PFDA in July to discuss the possible funding of the port’s construction, estimated to cost P150-million.

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