“Mindanao Hour” Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with PCO Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag and Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Restituto Padilla Jr.
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang
29 May 2017


PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  Good morning. We’d like to introduce this morning the Mindanao Hour.

Starting today, Monday, 29th of May 2017, the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson in cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, represented by General Restituto Padilla who’s also the official spokesperson of the AFP, in cooperation also with PCOO and we’ll be launching the Mindanao Hour.

Assisting me today will be Ms. — Atty. Marie Banaag.

Okay, this Mindanao Hour will be a daily authoritative update on what is happening on the ground in Marawi and relevant regions in Mindanao.

While traditional and new media continue a flood of information, Mindanao Hour will provide carefully vetted news from authoritative sources.

We will be joined on regular basis by the appropriate resource persons.

At this point, we’d like to begin by giving you a PowerPoint presentation on the situation in Mindanao.

Martial law in Mindanao.

Through Proclamation No. 216, President Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law on 23 May 2017 in Mindanao for 60 days on the grounds of invasion and rebellion.

Why Martial Law?

The Maute terrorist group has taken over a hospital in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, established several checkpoints within the City, burned down certain government and private facilities and inflicted casualties on the part of Government forces, and to the point started flying the flag of the Islamist State of Iraq and Syria in several areas, thereby openly attempting to remove from the allegiance to the Philippine Government this part of Mindanao and to deprive the Chief Executive of his powers and prerogatives to enforce the laws of the land and to maintain public order and safety in Mindanao, and this constitutes the crime of rebellion; and the recent attack shows the capability of the Maute group and other rebel groups to sow terror, cause death and damage to property not only in Lanao del Sur but also in other parts of Mindanao.

What is Maute?

The Maute Group is a local terrorist group led by the Maute brothers of Maranaw descent. They sow terror in Mindanao and had been involved in several violent attacks in Butig, Lanao del Sur and mass jailbreak in Marawi City. It has pledged allegiance [with] the ISIS.

And what is the ISIS?

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, started as a splinter group of the Al Qaeda. It aims to create an Islamic state called a caliphate across Iraq, Syria and beyond, claiming religious and political authority over Muslims worldwide.

ISIS actions have been characterized by extreme violence.

The legal basis to declare Martial Law:

Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution states that: “In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, President, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law.”

The Administrator. The Martial Law Administrator:

The Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is designated as the Administrator of Martial Law in Mindanao.

What can the public expect?

The declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao:

1) It does not suspend the operation of the Constitution

2) It does not supplement the functioning of the judicial and legislative assemblies.

3) It does not confer jurisdiction on military courts over civilian where civilian courts are able to function.

Also, any arrest, search and seizure where martial law is effective, including the filing of charges, shall comply with the Revised Rules of Court and applicable jurisprudence.

The rule of law and human rights should prevail in the place where martial law was declared and effective.

Rights of civilians in checkpoints:

Given the declaration of Martial Law, a number of checkpoints and road blocks in Mindanao are expected to be put up.

Advisory on checkpoints as follows:

-A checkpoint must be well-lighted, properly identified and manned by uniformed personnel. Upon approach, slow down, dim lights and turn on cabin lights.

-Never step out of the vehicle.

-Lock all doors. Only visual search is allowed.

-No need to submit to a physical or body search.

-You are not obliged to open the glove compartment, trunk or bags.

-Ordinary/routine questions may be asked. Be courteous but firm with your answers.

-Keep your driver’s license and car registration handy and within reach.

-Report violations immediately.

The situation in Marawi:

As of 6 p.m. on the 28 of May 2017:

Civilians killed by local terrorist groups – 19

Civilians rescued – 390

Enemy killed – 61, confirmed by body count – 42, confirmed by eye witnesses – 19

Recovered high-powered firearms – 37

Recovered low-powered firearms – 4

Situation also in Marawi:

As of 6 p.m. 28 May 2017:

Government’s casualties: killed in action – 15 AFP, 3 PNP; wounded in action – 61 AFP, 3 PNP.

What is the current focus of the operations?

1) The cleaning of Marawi of militants still in the area.

2) The rescue of trapped residents.

3) The recovery of civilian casualties and victims.

Of course, this is not in order priority but all of these are to be addressed.

Next, situation:

The AFP and PNP also belies reports of checkpoints being conducted by uniformed elements without badges or identifications. These reports if true, may be unauthorized armed elements and should be discreetly documented and reported. Checkpoints follow strict protocols and are strictly complied with.

Next, government interventions:

To date, a total of P1,172,725.00 worth of assistance has been provided to affected families in ARMM, all of which has been provided by the Department through DSWD-FO X and XII.

As of today, there have been 12,509 families or 59, 665 persons displaced in Regions X and ARMM. Of which, 1,018 families or 4,278 persons are still staying in 14 evacuation centers are staying outside the ECs with their relative or friends.

The DSWD Field Office Region 10 immediately placed a Disaster Operation Center in Iligan City on May 23 to augment the operation of the DSWD ARMM.

Next, the Department of Trade and Industry on May 25 enforced a price freeze on basic necessities and prime commodities in Mindanao after martial law was declared by the President.

The price freeze covers Regions 9, 10, 11, 12 and Caraga. The price freeze is implemented for a period of 60 days, as indicated in the declaration.

The National Power Corporation:

The NPC Mindanao Generation (NPC MinGen) declared that the operations of power plants in the Marawi City and Lanao area are normal.

As 10:20am, May 28, 2017, the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative or Lasureco reported that:

1) The 1st district of Lanao del Sur comprising 15 municipalities is 100% energized.

2) The 2nd district of Lanao del Sur comprising 16 municipalities is 100% energized.

3) Marawi City is 40% energized.

This ends the PowerPoint presentation. We’re going to be entertaining just a few questions. Spokesperson Padilla is here. It will, of course, be…


Pia Ranada (Rappler): Good morning. Sir, in Jolo the President mentioned that he would only end martial law at the say-so of the police and military. And then he mentioned that the Supreme Court and lawmakers would not know the situation on the ground. Some people have interpreted this as the President saying that he will ignore any Supreme Court ruling saying that he should suspend martial law. May we just get a clarification from the Palace? Is this what the President meant?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The President meant that those who really are truly in — truly aware of the situation are the military and the police. This is not meant to bypass the Supreme Court or the legislative.

It simply means to say that those who have true and accurate report — and true and accurate report — in which he will depend on will be the military and the Philippine National Police.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, does he not trust the Supreme Court to also have their own experience with the law and being given powers by the Constitution to rule on petitions, for example, on the factual basis of martial law?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: What the President is actually saying is that the one that has accurate information, regarding the activities on the ground, on the ground, are those that he have — he has already said he will trust. Thank you.

Celerina Monte (Manila Shimbun): Sir, with such statement from the President, does that mean that—

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Properly, by the way, the Sol Gen will be the one to answer this, all right. But anyway, having said that…

Ms. Monte: Does that mean that the Supreme Court and the Congress should rely only also from the report to be given by the police and the military?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, they should be in dialogue.

Ms. Monte: What do you mean they should be in dialogue?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: They should be in conversation and they can continue to make decisions and they can continue to make recommendations.

However, at the end of the day, the Sol Gen will be the one to give you a full answer to this matter. Thank you.

Ms. Monte: To General Padilla, may we know, sir, how many militants were still there in Marawi City and the civilians being trapped there? Do you have any estimate?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: We don’t have a complete number of trapped residents, as well as remaining militants. The situation has been very fluid. There have been reported…

We have initially received information of about 40 to 50 armed elements. But as you may have well known, the activities of the militants on the ground and these rebels have led to the freeing of over a 100 prisoners in the jail which they burned.

So quite a number of those prisoners may have joined ranks with them because some of them were imprisoned for joining the group.

We are also aware that there are sympathetic elements that may have been helping and may have also joined their ranks.

So as to this exact number of terrorists still remaining, exact figures at the moment are not available.

Ms. Monte: Sir, the problem has been there for, I think, seven days already. So do you have any assessment like how big is your accomplishment already or how far are we from stopping or fully giving solution to this problem?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: Although we do not have a timeline, but we’re seeking to end this as soon as possible. Our ground commanders have assured that the end is almost there.

So we hope to get clear results. We have complete control of the city, by the way, contrary to what is coming out in social media and other information, perhaps some fake news.

It is not true that half of the city is controlled by the rebels. Totally untrue. The Armed Forces and the Police and all armed — our forces are in complete control of the city, except for certain areas of the city where they continue to hold.

These are the subject of clearing operations that are continuously being conducted.

Reymund Tinaza (Bombo Radyo): Sir, good afternoon. Sir, kay General Padilla. Sir, how can we be assured knowing the Marawi City is a majority of Muslim population. How can we be sure that the initially Maute group members are not now — Lanao posing as civilians or ordinary Muslim in the area? And they just leave their guns in any house and they are fleeing and even also, even receiving DSWD provisions?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: First off, before I answer the question, let us not generalize Marawi as a place for Muslims who are sympathetic. There may be a few but not the residents of Marawi.

You know, Maranaos are very industrious, hardworking ‘no, and they have been keeping their city safe. And that’s why it is a very progressive area. That’s why it’s also the center of education.

Now, as to the answer to your question, yes it may happen. But that is the reason why we have posted quite a number of photos of known militants or known rebels who may be in the area, including some foreigners that are known to us.

So these photos hopefully will help identify if ever they make it to certain checkpoints. But be that as it may, any male individual or perhaps any suspicious character that is currently roaming in the city is always double-checked.

So if we have been able to rescue 390 residents so far, rest assured that these residents have not just been made to go. They have been subject to some examination of sort to ensure that they are not part of the group that has been waging war here and creating trouble. 

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, last point. Sir, aside from the allegiance of these Maute members to the ISIS, have we monitored whether they have received foreign funding for or it is just from the resources of the Maute brothers? I understand follow the money could help on how to determine the power and the capability of this Maute group?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: As to the links of foreign funding for the group, we don’t have any clear evidence and that was the subject of the investigation that was conducted right after the two foreign nationals that were reported to us, a Syrian and a Kuwaiti national. This was the subject of the investigation related to that.

And there were some findings but I’m not at liberty to discuss and reveal those, which involve some transfer of funds. But I’m not sure how much this is and how long this has been ongoing.

Mr. Tinaza: Thank you, sir, and the soldiers.

Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): General, sir, with the way things are going in Marawi, will the — at this point, sir, — will the AFP recommend the extension of martial law in Mindanao after 60 days?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: We’re just starting martial law. We’re just on the second week so I cannot, as of this moment, give you an assessment on the need for its extension.

What we are trying to do right now and it’s a commitment is to expedite what needs to be done in order to restore law and order and normalcy in the whole of Mindanao, particularly Marawi.

So as we get to that and as we accomplish our mission, we will be able to give you a fairer assessment on whether there is a need to extend it.

But be that as it may, the commitment remains that to do this as quick as possible, just like what the President said. And if we can finish this in one month, then so be it. We end martial law right there and then.

Ms. Gutierrez: But, sir, based on your initial assessment, will 60 days be enough to do everything?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: Well, hopefully. That is why we keep on calling for public cooperation because, you know, the secret to all this is to have the cooperation of the public.

If the full cooperation of our citizens in the whole of Mindanao is obtained, then we can expedite the process of securing Mindanao on a daily basis.

So as we get there, we will be able to give you a fairer picture. But again our call for people to cooperate should be 100 percent. We cannot have a few still errantly doing their ways.

So kung lahat tayo nagtutulungan, lahat tayo nagkakaisa dito, mas napapabilis po ‘yung proseso na ibalik sa normal ang buong ka-Mindanaoan.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, could you confirm several reports. Understandably, there have been many reports going around. Sir, could you confirm reports that all the airports in the country right now are now placed in the highest security alert? May mga ano ba tayo?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: Even before this emergency occurred, the airports, our seaports have been under strict security. And we have just kept that. It’s the same security posture.

We may just have added a few warm bodies to ensure that we are able to cover all aspects of security in the ports, airports and seaports included. But there has been no drastic change to that.

Ms. Gutierrez: So parang heightened alert lang, sir?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: Heightened alert lang.

Ms. Gutierrez: Okay, sir, kasi, also sir, can you confirm reports that an IED daw was apparently found inside a mall in Metro Manila yesterday. Maybe it’s connected—

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: We have not received any information of that sort and from the reports that we gathered last night, there was nothing that mentioned anything about it. So it must have been fake. 

Ms. Gutierrez: No information din, sir, about several Maute members being able to enter Metro Manila ganyan kasi — ?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: Wala pa rin. Wala pa rin.

Ted Tuvera (Daily Tribune): Good morning, General. General, how do we deal with the threats coming from the CPP in Mindanao as they have ordered the NPA to intensify their operations against the military?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: Well, the readiness posture of our units out in the field has not changed. Handa naman po kami kung ano man po ang mangyayari diyan, lalo na kung manggagaling sa mga lugar na kinaroroonan ng mga armadong elemento ng NPA.

At katunayan nitong mga nakaraang araw, may mga pangyayari na naganap. May mga panunubok ng pagsugod sa ilang kampo, may ilang attempted assassination ng ilang mga tauhan natin na bahagi naman ‘nong mga dati pang nangyayari.

Kaya ‘yung kahandaan nating tugunan kung ano man ang magiging armadong opensiba nitong mga grupong ito, handa naman po tayo. 

At ang nangingibabaw dito is ‘yung pangangalaga ng seguridad ng mga nasa bayan natin, mga kanayunan natin, at ‘yung mga nasa malalayong lugar.

So that is our primordial concern to protect our people and keep the security in all these areas.

Mr. Tuvera: Sir, are we also monitoring the operations from other groups such as the BIFF, sir?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: Oh yes, we are. The BIFF has been part of this incident in Marawi. They have been providing some sort of support and they in fact have tried to cause some diversionary activities in the areas where they are right now.

Mr. Tuvera: Thank you, sir.

Kristine Sabillo (Inquirer.net): Sir, in the President’s report to Congress, the primary basis for marital law is that the attack has deprived the Chief Executive of his powers to enforce the law in the area. How far are we from correcting this situation especially now that you said that we are in full control of the city? I mean what are the factors that we are waiting for to say that we can lift martial law?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: Yes, the restoration of law and order is one of the most important consideration, along with any remnants of resistance within the city.

In the absence of any more resistance, there is no reason to have our presence there but just to keep the security and we will transfer the control of the city to our civil authorities.

But we will work closely with them to ensure that the security of the city is not compromised. So those are the two most important elements that we see as non-contestable and non-negotiable.

Ms. Sabillo: Sir, but we are in full control of the city right now, so meaning we are–?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: We are in full control, meaning to say we can control who comes in and who comes out, who moves around and who doesn’t. And we’re trying to isolate all these pockets of resistance that have remained.

And in the aspect of the operations that we are conducting, it may seem that these are big activities but there was a need to do surgical airstrikes because of strategically in place enemy presence.

So we cannot do otherwise because if we do not employ combat power as we needed it and so it fit, we would prolong the clearing process and we would endanger more lives both civilian and military.

Ms. Sabillo: Sir, can you say how many percent are we done with the clearing process? Are you allowed to say that?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA: I am sorry I do not have those figures and I would hesitate to give you a figure right now.

Ms. Sabillo: Thank you.

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Good morning, sir. Sir, ano po ang recommendation ng AFP sa recent statements ng Pangulo, ine-encourage ang MNLF, MILF, and NPA forces to be soldiers and join in combating terrorism, sir?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA:  Iyan ay panawagan ng Pangulo, I think, na ginawa na niya noong araw pa na magkaisa na lang tayo, labanan natin ang — nang united ang mga naninira ng ating bansa.

Kasama na diyan ‘yung mga armadong elemento na ‘to. So we have been successfully a partner of the peace process in regard to the MNLF, and the CPLA. And in that peace process was an integration mechanism of former fighters of the MNLF and the CPLA into the Armed Forces.

If such a mechanism is employed for the benefit of the MILF once we are done with our talks, then so be it because these are all welcome developments that we have been doing with the two previous talks that we have had with the MNLF and the CPLA.

So hindi po ito bago, ito po lang ay pag-e-encourage sa ating mga kapatid na nasa kabilang panig na kausap natin na makisanib pwersa na po sa buong pamahalaan at makiisa po sa buong taong-bayan.

And truth to tell, karamihan po ng mga na-integrate sa atin ano, na mga MNLF fighters noong araw, mga bayani po natin sila, marami pong nagbuwis ng buhay para po ipagtanggol ang kanilang mga lugar at ang kanilang mga units at ang kanilang mga kasamahan.

And I can name a few ‘no, ‘yung isa doon ‘yung isang karpintero na tumutulong sa Mamasapano. Nagpapako ng bubong sa ibabaw, eh ini-snipe ng isang BIFF.

Muslim po ito, kapwa Muslim po at napatay. Bayani po natin ‘yan. At ang kanya pong hangarin sana’y makatulong doon sa kanyang mga kababayan, doon sa lugar ng Mamasapano pero winakasan ang kanyang buhay.

And so many others in Jolo, in Basilan, in Tawi-Tawi and other parts of Mindanao who were former MNLF fighters but who have shown their mettle as warriors and as true heroes of this country.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Also I’d like to add to that, the offer of PRRD came after Governor Nur Misuari wrote offering support.

So, you know, he sets an example of rising above self interest, to close ranks against a brutal foreign enemy, the ISIS, which is both anti-Islam and anti-Filipino, and thirdly, anti-humanity. So we appreciate that.

It all depends on between the AFP and with MN, to how to best operationalize the offer. Thank you.

Ms. Coz: Sir, hingi lang din po ng update kung meron pong mga lugar sa Mindanao naka-lockdown, particularly sa Lanao del Norte? Confirm lang po namin kung may naka-lockdown po sa area na to, sir?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA:  So far ‘yung terminong lockdown naman ay hindi naman talaga lockdown na wala nang makapasok, wala nang makalabas.

Ang ginagawa lang po kasi ng ating mga security forces ay sinisigurado lang na ang nakakapasok at nakakalabas is ‘yung mga law-abiding citizens natin at wala pong mahahalong mga masasamang elemento.

So kung kayo po ay law-abiding at nararapat lang po kayong magsagawa ng pag-travel sa ibang lugar, kung ito naman po ay may pruweba, at hindi naman po dapat kayo harangin, hindi po kayo haharangin.

Henry Uri (DZRH): General Padilla, is there any report of possible presence of any member of Maute in Metro Manila and in some parts of the country?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA:  As I’ve mentioned to one question earlier, there has been no concrete information that there are.

Mr. Uri: Usec. Banaag, can I ask you also a question? Iyon hong mga nasisirang mga property, of course, ‘yung iba may mga insurance, ano ho. Paano ‘yung mga ordinaryong mamamayan na nasira ang bahay, nasira ang tindahan, walang insurance, in the course of war, papaano po ito tutulungan ng gobyerno?

ASEC. BANAAG: Well, since may NDRRMC tayo, ia-assess po ng ating local government units, sa munisipyo muna kung kakayanin. And kung hindi kakayanin, since may calamity fund naman tayo, kung kakayanin. Pero kung hindi kakayanin, the provincial government and the national government may look into it kung papaano.

However, they cannot restore like you have a 24-million storey building and iisa lang ‘yan. But government will find a way to appropriate funds in order to help reconstruct lives after all these.

Mr. Uri: So ang malinaw po ay may aasahan silang tulong?

ASEC. BANAAG: That I supposed manggagaling ‘yan sa ating gobyerno kasi nakita naman natin na wala namang…. Hindi naman nila ginusto ang nangyari.

Mr. Uri: Paano ho ‘yung proseso? They have to coordinate with NDRRMC or papaano po?

ASEC. BANAAG: They have mechanisms sa DSWD. So the LGUs have mechanisms insofar as these are concerned. And the provincial local government units have mechanisms on how to go about with helping out ‘yung mga nadamay sa kaguluhang ito.

Ayee Macaraig (AFP): Good morning, Brigadier General Padilla.


Ms. Macaraig: Sir, you mentioned the surgical airstrikes. The local government is saying that there are 2,000 civilians trapped in Marawi due to the fighting. How is the military ensuring that they do not become victims because the local government is saying they are fearing for their lives, that they will be hit by the airstrikes? And do we have the military hardware for this? Because I recall the President saying he wanted to ask Russia for precision-guided bombs to ensure that, you know, civilians are not caught in the crossfire? Thank you.

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA:  Ayee, first off, yes we do have the expertise, we do have the people to man equipment and we have the equipment to do surgical airstrikes.

Please do not underestimate your soldiers. We have been into this fight longer than any country in this part of the world and in anywhere else. And we have and proven ourselves many times over.

Now, on the aspect of the safety guarantees that have been given to residents in the area, as I have pointed out in the — as we have pointed out in the report that was given to you in the PowerPoint, there over 390 persons who have been rescued and that is a priority of the military always, to lessen the collateral damage that means to say loss of innocent lives and damage to property.

In the aspect of determining what to hit and what not to hit, I already mentioned this in an earlier answer to one question, if there is the presence of the enemy in these certain areas and it is impeding movement of our armed elements to come in, we do consider eliminating that resistance in the least amount of force that can be applied.

So if it calls for a surgical airstrike of some sort, then we will try to make sure that we only aim for that particular point of resistance and nothing else.

And we are capable of doing that. And in fact, we have successfully been doing that. So if there are innocent lives I guess at this point I cannot answer you because we have not been able to inflict any harm on civilians.

And that is why we call on them to work with us, to cooperate with us because we initially want to get them out before we do strike.

Ms. Macaraig: Sorry, just another question, sir. Our team in Marawi has been getting reports, even interviewing witnesses and residents, who say that the Maute group, the militants have been asking people to say Muslim prayer allegedly and if they are not able to recite this, the people are killed. Have you received similar reports, can you confirm it?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA:  Yes, we received similar reports. I guess this was the same source of information that you are citing.

We cannot corroborate that because most of those that we can ask have already been killed.

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): Hi, sir. General Padilla, sir. Sir, sinasabi niyo kanina na ‘yung 390 civilians or residents ay nai-rescue na. Papano po ang ginagamit niyong pamamaraan para matukoy na hindi sila kasali doon sa Maute na hina-hunting natin? Ano ‘yung characteristics na tinitingnan sa bawat sibilyan na ini-inspekyson ninyo para masabi na hindi sila kasama sa mga terorista?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA:  May sinusunod naman po. Pero hindi ko ho mailahad dito ha, kasi malalaman ng kabilang panig. May sinusunod naman tayo doon proseso at itong prosesong na ito ay reliable naman.

Bukod sa sinusunod nating ‘yan, may iba pang pamamaraan. So I’ll leave at that without unduly revealing any of our procedures.

Ms. Niu: Follow up lang, sir.  Ilan pa po bang civilians ‘yung kailangan nating ilabas sa Marawi City para makapag-full military operations na po doon?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA:  Tulad ng sabi ko, nasa ilang bahagi na lang sila ng siyudad. So hindi namin ine-expect na maging malakihan pa ‘yung operasyon.

But be that as it may, we are ensuring and we would like to ensure that the civilian, the innocent civilians in the area are vacated.

So we are doing this through a door-to-door kind of effort, through messaging, through our civilian friends, through the local government who are actively supporting and helping our forces.

So kontrolado po ng local government ang kapitolyo, ang munisipyo. At wala pong nawala pong nawala sa kamay ng pamahalaan na pinagkukunan po ng pangangalaga ng buong siyudad. So ‘yan po ay gumagana at patuloy na gumagana.

Ms. Niu: Salamat po.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): General, good morning. Sir, ‘nong bago mag-deklara ng martial law ang Pangulo, target ng surgical operation si Isnilon Hapilon dahil sinabing nasa loob ng Marawi. Ano pong balita po sa kanya sa ngayon?

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA:  Sa ngayon, may impormasyon at naniniwala kami na nariyan pa siya at maaaring ito ang dahilan kaya ang pag-depensa sa mga ilang lugar ay nagiging matindi. So ‘yun lang po ang masasabi ko sa ngayon.

Mr. Ganibe: So, sir, hangga’t nandiyan siya, sir, talagang hindi nila–

AFP SPOKESPERSON PADILLA:  Nasa insteres po ng bayan, nasa interes po ng bawat mamamayan ng Marawi na makuha po siya.

Tina Panganiban-Perez (GMA): To anyone po. Sir, do we have any estimate of damages or losses from like trade, businesses, tourism, property, infrastructure, over the past few days na na-enforce na po ‘yung martial law?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We don’t have those statistics since it’s been physically impossible to enter the place. But as soon as we can, we will also supply the added information.

That was the last question. And we’d like to just reiterate the schedules:

The schedules for Mindanao Hour are M-W-F, Monday-Wednesday-Friday at 11 a.m.; and then Tuesdays-Thursdays we’ll have the regular press briefing but with short updates on Mindanao, okay; and Saturday-Sunday we’ll have Mindanao updates through Radyo ng Bayan.

Okay? So again, let me repeat: M-W-F, we’ll have the regular Mindanao Hour at 11 a.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays regular press briefing at 11 a.m. also, but will include short updates on Mindanao; and also Saturday-Sunday, also at 11 a.m. through Radyo ng Bayan. And we’ll be supplying the same things. I will be supplying the vetted information.

Anything else?

Maricel Halili (TV-5): Sir, sorry. Sir, I would just like to confirm if the President will push through or cancel his trip to Japan?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: There’s no official word as of this moment. But we’ll just… We can come out with that sometime tomorrow.

Ms. Halili: Sir, meron na po ba tayong name kung sino ‘yung possible na i-appoint as spokesperson in Marawi —  Maranao spokesperson?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: By the way, let me just clarify that, okay? That person will simply relay information that has been coming — that has been released from here and we’ll release it in Maranao. All right? Okay.

It’s basically from Maranao people, Maranao speaking populace, in other words some — yeah… There you go. All right.

Thank you very much. 

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