Jun 12, 2017

13 more Philippine marines dead, US forces join fight

1 comment

 

US special forces are helping the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to end a siege of the southern town of Marawi by militants allied to Islamic State, a US embassy spokesperson in Manila says.

 

The seizure of Marawi on May 23 by hundreds of fighters who have sworn allegiance to Islamic State, including dozens from neighbouring countries and the Middle East, has fuelled concern that the ultra-radical group is gaining a foothold in South-East Asia.

 

"At the request of the government of the Philippines, US special operations forces are assisting the AFP with ongoing operations in Marawi that help AFP commanders on the ground in their fight against Maute and ASG militants," the spokesperson said.

 

ASG stands for the Abu Sayyaf militant group.

 

The US spokesperson gave no details of the US involvement.

 

At least 200 militants are holed up in a corner of the town with an estimated 500 to 1,000 civilians trapped there.

 

Philippine military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera confirmed the US special forces would be assisting local troops to end the siege, but only to provide technical support.

 

"They are not fighting. They are just providing technical support," Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera said.

Until now there had been no confirmation that the Philippines had sought US assistance in the battle for Marawi City on the island of Mindanao, which is in its third week.

 

Thousands of Marawi's 200,000 inhabitants fled the city after Islamic State-linked militants executed civilians, while the nation battled a deadly casino attack last week labelled as a 'terrorist' act by a top Philippine lawmaker.

 

About 40 foreigners have fought alongside the Philippine militants, most of them from Indonesia and Malaysia, though some came from the Middle East.

 

The seizure of Marawi has alarmed South-East Asian nations which fear Islamic State — facing setbacks in Syria and Iraq — is establishing a stronghold on the Philippine island that could threaten the whole region.

It's unclear how many people remain trapped in Marawi as government troops battle Muslim militants led by the so-called "Maute" group. AP: Aaron Favila

 

Death toll rises

The Philippines military suffered its biggest one-day loss since 10 troops were killed in a friendly-fire incident on June 1.

 

Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera announced there had been 13 Philippine marines killed in the battle, a setback in the government's quest to retake the city.

 

He said the marines were conducting clearing operations died after an "intense" house-to-house firefight during which they encountered improvised explosive devices and were attacked by rocket-propelled grenades.

 

The deaths take the number of security force members killed to 58, with 20 civilians and more than a hundred rebel fighters also killed in the Marawi battles.

 

He said the Philippines military are validating reports that two brothers leading the Maute Islamist militant group were killed.

 

"We are still validating those reports but there are strong indications," he said.

 

Mosques, civilians remain priority

Some are being held as human shields, while others are hiding in their homes with no access to running water, electricity or food.

 

The military said it was making headway in the town but was proceeding carefully so as not to destroy mosques where some of the militants had taken up positions.

 

"We give premium to the mosques, because this is very symbolic to our Muslim brothers," Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera said.

 

The Philippines is majority Christian, but Mindanao has a significant population of Muslims and Marawi City is overwhelmingly Muslim.

 

The Philippine military has said the aim was to end the siege by Monday, the Philippines' independence day.

 

"As long as we sustain the fight, as long as we are able to destroy the elements of the local terrorist group we can reach that," he said of the June 12 target.

The little-known Maute group has been a fierce enemy of a military with superior firepower and greater troop strength.

The Philippine military said 13 marines have been killed in fierce fighting with Muslim militants. AP: Aaron Favila

 

Strained relationship for allies

A US P3 Orion surveillance plane was seen flying over the town on Friday (local time), but there has been no evidence that the United States has put troops on the ground there.

 

The assistance comes after months of strain between the two long-time allies that was stoked by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's hostility towards Washington and his pledges to throw US troops out of the country.

 

Washington deployed special forces soldiers to Mindanao in 2002 to train and advise Philippine units fighting ASG militants in a programme that once involved 1,200 Americans.

 

It was discontinued in 2015 but a small presence remained for logistics and technical support.

Thousands of Marawi residents fled after Muslim militants sieged the city in southern Philippines.

AP: Bullit Marquez

 

The United States and the Philippines have been allies for decades.

 

Their relationship provided Washington with a strategic foothold in Asia, and offered Manila a shield against China's assertiveness in the region.

 

But Mr Duterte has openly scorned the alliance, seeing it as an obstacle to a rapprochement with China, and has repeatedly lambasted Washington for treating his country as a lackey.

 

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-10/us-forces-join-philippine-troops-to-end-marawi-city-siege/8607506

 

Jun 12, 2017

ISIS and Kim Jong Un-the two major scourges of this present world.

New Posts
  • SPF STATEMENT ON AWARE’S FACEBOOK POST CRITICISING SPF’S CRIME PREVENTION POSTER We refer to comments made by AWARE on Police crime prevention posters, warning against outrage of modesty. These posters are displayed on the public transport network. These posters are part of crime prevention visuals that the Police have produced in collaboration with the National Crime Prevention Council and Singapore Polytechnic’s Media, Arts & Design School. Other crimes such as shop theft and dishonest misappropriation of property are also featured in these visuals. These visuals target potential perpetrators, and specifically highlight the punishments for committing the criminal acts, in order to send a strong deterrent message. AWARE has criticised the posters, on the basis that they focus on the punishment, and do not refer to the harm suffered by the victim. AWARE does not seem to have understood the purpose of the posters. The posters are designed to warn would-be offenders, who are unable to exercise self discipline or control themselves, regardless of their knowledge of the harm that their act will cause to the victim. The visuals were designed to influence their behaviour, by telling them what punishment they will face. AWARE’s suggestion, on the other hand, is unlikely to have the intended deterrent effect on such offenders. The Police fully acknowledge that outrage of modesty victims suffer from trauma and other consequences. Indeed, and for this reason, the objective of these visuals is to prevent such harmful actions in the first place, by driving home the point that outrage of modesty is an egregious offence with serious penalties. Hence, our crime prevention messages are carefully curated, based on our understanding of the profile of offenders. It is unfortunate that AWARE has chosen to make these public judgements against the Police without any attempt to contact us to understand our perspective, despite having worked with us in the past to enhance support to victims of sexual offences. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10159102575364408&id=56706929407
  • Facebook user Gerard Ong has joined the chorus of criticism against the DPM with a critique that has garnered over 400 reactions and more than 300 shares on social media. A lengthy Facebook post criticising Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat over his dismal performance in Parliament last week is trending online. DPM Heng, who is expected to succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and become Singapore’s fourth head of government after the next election, is widely considered the head of the ruling People’s Action Party’s (PAP) fourth-generation (4G) slate of leaders. Last week, he introduced a motion in Parliament to get Workers’ Party (WP) politicians Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim to recuse themselves from the financial matters of their Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC). Instead of scoring a win for his party, Mr Heng fumbled. Multiple parties who were present in the House and those who watched the proceedings online noted that Mr Heng struggled to defend his motion when confronted with the WP’s position that they will be appealing the High Court decision in the apex court. A visibly flustered Mr Heng eventually called for an abrupt time-out in the middle of the proceedings. His hour-long speech introducing his motion was also called “rambling” and his closing remarks were considered “garbled” by those who were in the gallery. Prime Ministe Lee Hsien Loong was also seen looking exasperated as he coached Mr Heng on what to say. Facebook user Gerard Ong has joined the chorus of criticism against the DPM with a critique that has garnered over 400 reactions and more than 300 shares on social media. In a post published last Thursday (7 Nov), Mr Ong noted that this is not the first time Mr Heng has faced a roadblock during a parliamentary clash with WP chairman Sylvia Lim: “In March 2018, it was the trial balloon saga where Heng Swee Keat (HSK) asked Sylvia Lim to apologise and withdraw her allegation on the timing of the GST hike. Now he is asking her and Low Thia Khiang to recuse themselves from the town council’s financial matters. “Being a legal practitioner, Sylvia knew the motion was not legally binding and refused to do so. Besides if she did, it would clearly indicate to some degree that they were dishonest and untruthful in safeguarding public funds that were entrusted to them. “In both incidents HSK went head-on into two roadblocks when it was totally unnecessary for him to do so. Under parliamentary rules he did not breach any rules. But HSK should have known that Sylvia was not going to budge as she knew where she stood by the rules of the house as well. “What HSK must understand is when one apologises it really means one has done wrong. If Sylvia feels that she has done no wrong and has not profited from it why should she make statements or carry out actions to indicate her wrong doing? “In this case the courts have decided but the ruling will only be absolute when the appeal is heard and the final ruling given. This is called due process of law which in essence prohibits the government from taking any action against its citizens or agents of the government until a final verdict is delivered by the apex court.” Asserting that Mr Heng has shown once again that “he is still an amateur at the game,” Mr Ong wondered why he chose this course of action and speculated about whether Mr Heng was trying to prove himself to his party members. Pointing out that neither the current PM or the immediate past PM were very good examples of strong leaders, the netizen asserted that one who is high-handed is not necessarily a good leader: “HSK has again shown his hand that he is still an amateur at the game. I fail to understand why he adopted this latest course of action. I wonder who was his audience? Was it the Prime Minister, the cabinet and fellow PAP MPs? Was he trying to show them that as heir to the PAP throne, he is indeed a worthy successor to LHL? “What he should realise is LHL and GCT are not very good examples of strong and decisive PMs. The only reason GCT survived was because LKY was Senior Minister and Minister Mentor from 1990 to 2011, he provided the backbone to these two PMs. “Well we know why LHL became PM and how he has performed. But at least LHL has pretty decent oratorical skills and is articulate. “HSK must now realise that being high-handed does not mean you are a good leader. Look at what people are saying on the internet of his recent spat with Sylvia. A good leader knows when to open up and when to take decisive action.” Opining that Mr Heng, who also serves as Finance Minister, may be good with numbers but may not be a good leader for the people, Mr Ong added: “Good leaders always take calculated risks and aim to win. Poor leaders always stumble because they have not thought through their intended decisions and its ramifications. HSK is in essence a numbers man but not a good leader of people. “Richard Hu who was Finance Minister from 1985 to 2001 was a classic example of a behind the scenes numbers man. Although he was eloquent, he was not a leader in the true sense of the word. “Goh Keng Swee was a brilliant economist and blue-skies man but was inept as a public speaker. They were in reality good planners and visionary political leaders. Men like them knew they were never good PM material.” Calling Mr Heng an “uninspiring leader who is unable to galvanise his followers,” Mr Ong said that the DPM’s “lack of presence” and poor communication skills worry him given the geo-political situation in the region: “HSK from his recent showings is an uninspiring leader who is unable to galvanise his followers. He lacks presence and his communicative skills are below par. This worries me as the world has become a dangerous place. “The geopolitical situation in the Asia Pacific has become less stable. The rise of China and its military prowess is a cause of worry as China knows that whatever we may say or do, we are still in the American camp. “The wheels are still churning up north as well. If you have watched recent political developments you will see alliances being struck between old enemies. As yet we still do not know who will succeed Mahathir. “In Indonesia, Joko Widodo has appointed his political rival, Prabowo Subianto as his Defence Minister as well as others who were against the President in the hustings. These developments could affect the immediate political relationship over areas such as airspace management, defence arrangements, border controls and the like. “At a time like this we need a decisive leader who is smart at navigating and taking on the challenges which will surely come our way. A leader who is also compassionate and one who puts his country, his people and party (in that order) before himself. “In this day and age of electronic media broadcasts and TV, a leader must have excellent communicative skills. This is definitely a veto quality in my books. “Why Singapore did well from 1965 onwards was because we had LKY and a very able cabinet in our formative years. When LKY spoke, you can’t help but listen. Not only was he bright but he was street- smart and competent as well. His cabinet comprised able and selfless men who were up to the job. “They knew how the game was played. In the past there was no internet and social media in existence, so we all pulled the oars together. But those days are gone. Singaporeans are better educated, and more vocal. We are better informed and more exposed to the world at large. “Many of us have become “critical lovers” of Singapore. Our political leaders must remember that when we criticise our leaders it does not mean we are disloyal to our country or ungrateful for what the PAP has done for Singapore.” Pointing out that the times have changed and the people want more of a say in how the country is run, Mr Ong said that it may be good for Singapore in the long-term to elect an capable opposition in Parliament so that the ruling party will also rely on capable and decisive leaders: “But times have changed, the world has changed and our leaders must go with the change. Being high-handed in governance is passé We all want to have a better say in how our country is run. “In the next election, if members of the opposition are voted in, they will also be held accountable for their words and deeds. Perhaps it may be good for us in the long run to have a capable opposition in parliament as it will make for a better PAP with capable and decisive leaders who will understand that a one-party state is a thing of the past!” http://theindependent.sg/hsk-is-an-uninspiring-leader-who-is-still-an-amateur-at-the-game-criticism-against-dpm-heng-trends-online/

2019 © All Rights Reserved | PROLIFIC SKINS

No part of this website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the site administrator, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials.

Commercial use and distribution of the contents of the website is not allowed without express and prior written consent of the site administrator. All other logos, products, services and company names mentioned in the PROLIFIC SKINS website are trademarks of their respective owners and subject to their own copyright laws, foreign or domestic.

For clarifications on any other sharing-related concerns, please use the contact form provided on this site.