• Anti-terrorist Davao Task Force head faces dismissal

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    CITING command responsibility, the commander of Task Force Davao, whose basic function is to counter terrorism, would be removed from his post in connection with Friday’s night market bombing in Davao City that killed 14 people and injured 67 others, a military official announced on Monday.

    Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año, Philippine Army commander, disclosed that coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) and the Army’s 10th Infantry Division (ID) has been undertaken for the dismissal of Col. Henry Robinson Jr. as task force chief.

    The task force is under the 10th ID whose operational area is under the commander of the Eastmincom.

    Año said Robinson’s sacking would be effected based not solely on a request of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte but on the overall incident that happened in Davao.

    “Of course there were 14 people dead and 67 wounded, so somebody is responsible for that. In military parlance, we call it command responsibility.

    The Army official said there would be names to be submitted for Robinson’s replacement and Mayor Duterte would have a say on the matter since the new Task Force Davao commander would be serving the city.

    Meanwhile, Año said Islamic State-inspired groups are among those being eyed as responsible for the night-market bombing although he clarified that there is still no presence of international terrorist group in the country.

    “Local terrorist groups are being looked into as possible suspects. But there is still no IS here in the Philippines. These local terrorist groups only want to be recognized as part of the IS but, again, there is no full-bodied IS presence here,” Ano said.

    The military official said while the local terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group remains the primary suspect in the Friday bombing, it is knotty to pinpoint a particular group because the Abu Sayyaf has a tactical alliance with the Maute group, Ansarul Khilafah in the Philippines or AKP and other small extremist organizations.

    The Maute group recently staged a daring jailbreak in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, freeing 23 detainees.

    “They have a tactical alliance and working relationship. They are sharing each other’s bombs and men,” Año said.

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