Thursday, 14 August 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Saturday, August 9, 2014

Bureau of Immigration tightens control on Filipinos leaving for conflict zones in Middle East, says Palace

Immigration officials have tightened measures on Filipinos going to conflict areas in Middle East following reports that some Muslim Filipinos are joining Islamic militants in their fight in Syria and Iraq.

The Bureau of Immigration has stepped up its alert level in handling Filipinos going to those locations, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan Saturday.

"The Bureau of Immigration is on alert when it comes to those who are supposedly either going to Iraq, to Syria, or to other transit points kasi ayaw din naman po nating madamay sila," Valte told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan in an interview.

The palace will ask the DFA to validate the reports of Filipinos aiding Islamic militants in their fight in the Middle East, according to Valte.

While the DFA has a role, Valte said it should be the immigration bureau who handles the issue because it handles entry and exit of people.

It was reported that Philippine authorities are on alert following an increase in the number of Filipinos going to Iraq and Syria to train and fight with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

According to security officials, Syria has grown to be an attractive destination for foreign fighters and has already lured Muslim Filipinos.

Asians joining the fight in the Middle East is an emerging trend, according to them.

Filipinos joining the conflict in Syria and Iraq pose a serious danger to the country's national security because of the possibility that upon returning home, they will use their experience to apply what they learned from the ISIL terrorist group, security officials said.

The military is already facing the Abu Sayyaf threat and Filipinos leaving to fight in the Middle East poses real internal security problem in the future, they said. PND (as)

Failure of Bangsamoro peace pact not an option, says Palace

Malacanang said it is putting its sight in having a successful Bangsamoro juridical entity during the President's term and is currently working hard to achieve it.

In a radio interview on Saturday, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte was asked if failure is not an option on the part of government with regards to Mindanao peace, she said the Palace isn't entertaining skepticism and it's eyeing for success.

"If you ask us, failure should not be on the horizon kasi hindi naman ito para sa amin. This is not for the President personally but it’s for our brothers and sisters in the Bangsamoro," Valte told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan in an interview.

"Itutuloy natin ang pagtulak para nito. Kasi alam mo naman ang Pangulo, ‘pag sinabi niyang gusto niyang gawin, talagang he will put his weight on it, as the phrase goes."

Peace panels working on the agreed version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) clarified that they are making “good progress” in their work and have already completed over 70 percent of the draft bill. They said they are tackling the “hard issues” left.

The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace panels expressed disappointment over news reports that came out this week implying near collapse of the discussion on the BBL.

The BBL was supposed to have been submitted to Congress on May 5 but the MILF objected to the result of revisions and comments made by the MalacaƱang review team.

The government said the proposed revisions were meant to ensure that the draft bill would pass congressional scrutiny and that it would not violate the Constitution.

The Palace listed the BBL as among the priority measures it has sent to Congress for deliberation.

President Aquino made an assurance in his previous public statements that he would ensure the conduct of a fair and democratic election in the Bangsamoro in 2016. PND (as)