The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday assured that government forces continue to apply commensurate military power on existing threats and pockets of resistance in Marawi, including the use of airstrike.
In a press briefing in Malacañang on Friday, June 2, Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the AFP is determined to clear Marawi of armed elements.
“Even if they want to keep this fight up to the end of this month, or this week, or whatever, we are determined to take care of all these forces that have brought and disturbed the peace, brought violence and disturbed the peace to the peace-loving community of Marawi,” Padilla said.
“The current focus of operation of our military forces remains to be the clearing of Marawi from armed elements that have still holed up in the area; the continued rescue operations for trapped residents; the continued recovery of civilian victims and potential casualties who have been victimized from atrocities from the armed elements; and the continued assistance that we can provide to the LGUs, the NGOs, CSOs who are conducting white helmet or relief operations,” he said.
“Continued efforts also are being exerted in our collaboration and coordination with other concerned agencies to ascertain the status of victims whose families continue to ask for assistance on their whereabouts, as well as those of the hostages that are known to us,” he added.
Padilla also called on the terrorists to surrender to the government or face the consequences.
“Kami po ay nanawagan na sana this armed bandits will come to their senses, surrender or face the dire consequences of military action and that means sure death,” he said.
In the same briefing, Government of the Philippines Peace Implementing Panel chairperson Irene Morada Santiago said that the peace corridor has been set up by a composite team of the AFP, PNP, and MILF.
The peace corridor is a safe and secure corridor for women, men, and children fleeing the crisis in Marawi, as well as a reliable space for humanitarian assistance to pass through.
Santiago said there are more than 300 trained members of the joint peace and security teams that are being deployed throughout the length of the corridor and will be augmented as the need arises.
Santiago also said the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) is finalizing the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which is expected to be submitted to Congress by President Rodrigo Duterte in the middle of June.
Santiago said that the BTC is currently holding plenary sessions in Davao to finalize the draft law.
Meanwhile, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Police Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde said that NCR remains terrorist-free.
“Generally, Metro Manila, we enjoy peace and order ‘no. Maganda ‘yung prevailing peace and order dito sa Metro Manila… We have not monitored any threat on terrorism dito sa Metro Manila,” Albayalde said.
He however said the PNP, especially the NCRPO, remains on full alert status.
“While wala naman tayong namomonitor na threat ‘no, hindi naman din talaga tayo pwede mag-relax ‘no. Our intelligence community is in constant monitoring of the possible na mga threat groups who could be possibly here in Metro Manila, although wala tayong namomonitor na ganon,” he said.
In the same briefing, meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella noted that initial findings on the Resorts World incident indicate that it is not connected to a terrorist activity or in the Marawi crisis.
“All indications point to a criminal act by an apparently emotionally disturbed individual. Although the perpetrator gave warning shots, there apparently was no indication that he wanted to harm or shoot anyone,” Abella said.
“The situation in Marawi is no longer considered a law enforcement situation but a matter of national security. And this includes taking care of the process with the MI, MN, pursuing the peace talks with CNN, which will be addressed with undistracted force the AFP, PNP elements should they refuse to pursue the talks; and also, fourthly pursuing development of Mindanao,” Abella said. ###PND