Abu Sayyaf threatens to execute 2 German captives Oct. 17 if ransom undeliveredBy Julie Alipala | Inquirer Mindanao 8:33 pm | Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—The Sulu-based faction of the Abu Sayyaf, which has been holding German nationals, Dr. Stefan Viktor Okonek and Henrite Dielen, announced on Thursday they would execute the two captives on October 17 if their demands for a cash ransom were not met.
Speaking to reporters here via phone, Abu Rami, who claimed to be the spokesperson of Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron, said they would behead the Germans on Oct. 17 if the P250 million in cash that they had demanded were not delivered.
The Abu Sayyaf snatched the two German nationals off Palawan in April.
Earlier, the same faction threatened to behead Okonek and Dielen on October 10 but Rami said the first date was only a “warning.”
“Today, we are going to tell you about the ultimatum – that after October 17, 2014, Friday at 3 p.m., you will not see any of them alive,” he said.
He said the Abu Sayyaf would make the beheading public.
“It will be seen by the public to show we are not playing games. We do not toy with Sharia Al Islamiya (Islamic law),” Rami added.
Rami said the Abu Sayyaf decided to behead the victims after it failed to get the attention of either the German or the Philippine government.
He also hinted that it was a show of defiance on the recent order of President Aquino to have the Abu Sayyaf exterminated.
“A lot of soldiers had died here,” Rami added.
He said if any of the hostages were harmed due to the on-going military operation in Sulu, the Abu Sayyaf should not be blamed.
Rami said the Abu Sayyaf would not harm any of the hostages before Oct. 17 but added that the “bullet does not select its target.”
Police say Abu Sayyaf now kidnapping just about anybody
Abu Sayyaf rebel arrested in Basilan
Alleged Abu Sayyaf financier arrested in Parañaque
Saudi Arabia: 2 million in Mecca for start of hajjAssociated Press 6:14 pm | Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
MECCA — An estimated 2 million Muslims are streaming into a sprawling tent city near Mecca for the start of the annual Islamic hajj pilgrimage. Saudi Arabia says there are 1.4 million visitors to the kingdom for the hajj.
The pilgrims are heading on Thursday to Mina, about five kilometers (three miles) from Mecca, where they will spend the night in prayer and supplication.
The hajj, a central pillar of Islam, lasts about five days.
Missing from this year’s hajj are pilgrims from the countries hardest-hit by the Ebola virus.
Saudi Arabia banned hajj and work visas this year for people from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea as a precaution to avoid the spread of Ebola during hajj, which sees massive crowds of people from around the world gather in Mecca.
Filipino Muslims urged to abort Mecca trip due to MERS virus
MERS virus won’t stop Filipino Muslims from Mecca pilgrimage
Hajj pilgrims urged to avoid hugs, kisses to prevent MERS-CoV spread
Philippine Army recognizes its Golan peacekeepersBy Bong Lozada | INQUIRER.net 5:20 pm | Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
MANILA, Philippines—From the Chief Executive to the Chief of Staff, this time it’s the Army Chief who would give them the recognition.
After paying a visit to President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang and General Gregorio Pio Catapang, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin in Camp Aguinaldo, the 7th Philippine Contingent to the Golan Heights returned to their major service, the Philippine Army, in Fort Bonifacio.
Lieutenant General Hernando Iriberri, Commanding General Philippine Army, on Thursday awarded the 360 men, all of whom are from the Philippine Army, in attendance with the “Sagisag ng Ulirang Kawal” medal.
Lieutenant Colonel Noel Detoyato, Philippine Army Spokesman, said the medal was to honor the United Nations peacekeepers in Golan Heights who have served both the UN and the Philippines in their 10-month tour of duty in the disputed area.
Syria and Israel both lay claim to Golan Heights.
“The ‘Sagisag ng Ulirang Kawal’ is a medal given to soldiers for extraordinary accomplishments in the field related to peace building and community services,” Detoyato said.
Leading the Peacekeepers in their recognition at the Army General Headquarters in Taguig was Colonel Ezra Enriquez, 7th PCGH Commander.
Also in attendance was Colonel Roberto Ancan, Philippine Peacekeeping Operations Commander.
Enriquez, who was also Chief of Staff of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, defied the orders of Lieutenant General Iqbal Singh Singha, Undof Force Commander, to lay down their arms for the safe return of the Fijian Peacekeepers and went on with the “Greatest Escape” that Captain Nilo Ramones and his men in Position 68 initiated.
Will China resort to force in dispersing HK protesters?By Matikas Santos | INQUIRER.net 4:14 pm | Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
MANILA, Philippines—Will the pro-democracy demonstrators—after several days of defiance of Hong Kong and Chinese governments’ call for them to go back home—be violently dispersed just like what Beijing did in the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre?
Former Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Rafael Alunan said during a protest rally in front of the Chinese Consular Office in Makati that they have monitored reports in social media from netizens in Hong Kong of movement from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China.
He fears that the movement could be in preparation for a violent crackdown against the thousands of protesters in Hong Kong, among them Filipinos, who support the pro-democracy rally that began September 28, 2014.
“China should desist from using force to break-up the massive protest that way it did to violently crush pro-democracy student protesters in Beijing in 1989, globally known as the ‘Tiananmen Square Massacre’,” Alunan said during the rally Thursday.
“I earnestly hope Beijing won’t do a reprise in Hong Kong but with the way the Chinese government is behaving in recent times, it’s really hard to tell how far it would go to maintain control and prevent the spreading protest from reaching the mainland,” he said
The Tiananmen Square Massacre took place on June on 1989 in Beijing after several weeks of sit-in protest from as much as a million university students calling for reforms in the Communist government including freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and stamping out of corruption.
Martial law was eventually declared and the military was brought in to use force in dispersing the protesters resulting in casualties. A photograph of a lone protester standing in front of a column of tanks was taken during the Tiananmen Square incident and became an icon of the protest movement.
Since September 28, thousands of rallyists in Hong Kong have occupied major highways near government offices forcing them to close.
The protest, dubbed as the “Umbrella Revolution,” stems from China’s decision to choose can run as Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) in the 2017 elections.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), however, said that it does not see the possibility of a violent crackdown from China.
“As far as we are concerned, we have not monitored any [movement from the PLA] of that sort, there are no indications that it will lead to [a violent dispersal],” DFA spokesman Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said in a briefing.
Jose confirmed that there were Filipinos in Hong Kong who have joined in the demonstrations and admitted that there was nothing they could other than urge them repeatedly to not join.
“These are individual initiatives and it’s not the government policy. We are not commenting on what is happening in Hong Kong so as not to be misconstrued as interfering in the internal affairs of Hong Kong,” Jose said.
“It is humanly impossible to stop the Filipinos there from doing what they want to do,” he said.
China warns of ‘chaos’ if Hong Kong protests persist
No images of Hong Kong protests in China’s media
‘Yellow’ is color of protest in Hong KongBy Matikas Santos | INQUIRER.net 3:15 pm | Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
MANILA, Philippines – Twenty-nine years after the Philippines staged a peaceful “people power revolution” to bring down a dictatorship, similar protests have been held around the world since.
The latest to be hit by the “yellow bug” is Hong Kong where anti-China protesters have posted images of yellow ribbons, the symbol of the Filipinos’ four-day bloodless uprising in February 1986, on Facebook, pinned them on shirts or tied them around street posts and barricades.
“I think the color yellow is so identified with the Philippine 1986 revolution, maybe they were advised by some of the Filipinos there that yellow might be a good [color to symbolize their movement,” said Akbayan Representative Walden Bello who led a rally Thursday in front of the Chinese Consular Office in Makati.
The late Corazon “Cory” Aquino led the peaceful revolt that ended the 20-year rule of then President Ferdinand Marcos and catapulted her to the presidency. Yellow was Aquino’s color inspired by the song “Tie A Yellow Ribbon”, which at that time was being played for the homecoming of husband and then Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., Marcos’ arch nemesis, from the US.
Following the senator’s assassination on the tarmac of the former Manila International Airport on Aug. 21, 1983, Mrs. Aquino became the symbol of the resistance until Marcos’ ouster.
Aside from the yellow ribbons, yellow and black umbrellas are also being carried by Hong Kong protesters for defense against tear gas and pepper spray that authorities may use to disperse them. The protesters have also used these umbrellas as protection from the rain and the sun as they occupied major highways near government buildings — hence, the “Umbrella Revolution”.
“We urge overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong to listen to what the citizens of Hong Kong have to say and to engage in dialogues with them because as citizens of a democratic country like the Philippines, they can give a lot of advice to citizens of Hong Kong,” Bello said.
The protests stemmed from China’s decision to choose the candidates that can run for Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the 2017 elections.
There are more than 195,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong according to December 2012 figures of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, majority of them, around 176,000, are temporary status while there are 13,000 permanent and 5,000 irregular Filipinos.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has advised Filipinos there to refrain from joining the protests or going to areas where there are demonstrations for their safety.
China warns of ‘chaos’ if Hong Kong protests persist
Filipinos join HK protests