Mindanao Hour Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. and Ana Margarita Hontiveros Agriprenuership Adviser Office of the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship
|Mindanao Hour Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. and Ana Margarita Hontiveros Agriprenuership Adviser Office of the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship|
|Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang|
|07 June 2017|
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. For today, we have for our resource speakers: the Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla and the Adviser for Agripreneurship from the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Ms. Ana Margarita Hontiveros-Malvar.
Before we hand you over to them, I just like to give an update regarding the happenings in Marawi.
Civilians rescued, as of 6 p.m., 6th of June 2017, 1,545; enemy killed 134; recovered firearms 115. All other figures remain as is.
As of 6 p.m. also yesterday, there are certain significant developments:
Also, a combined figure coming from DSWD and NDRRMC. As of June 5, a total of ₱45,316,760 worth of augmentation assistance, food and non-food items, have been provided by the DSWD to its Response Centers and Field Offices responding to the conflict.
Also, as of June 5, there have been 46,096 families or 227,808 persons affected by the armed conflict in Marawi.
Of which, 3,631 families or 17,716 persons are still staying in 32 evacuation centers, and 42,465 families or 210,092 persons are staying outside the evacuation centers.
To give further input coming from initiatives to rehabilitate Marawi, we like to now to defer to Ms. Ginggay Hontiveros.
I’m here on behalf of Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion who is also concurrently our founding chairman of Go Negosyo and also the ASEAN Business Advisory Council Chair.
So I’d like to speak to you for a few minutes about relief operations program that the private sector has been undertaking.
This is called Kapatid for Marawi. It’s one of the largest aggrupation of private sector organizations involved in augmenting government efforts with regards to reaching out and helping IDPs in — coming from Marawi City.
So this is really a united response to, you know, help support and provide some measure of aid and comfort to our brothers and sisters
who are displaced by the fighting that’s been ongoing.
So the Kapatid for Marawi, is a program, it’s an on ground program that has been started about a week ago. This is supported by Philippine conglomerates, the alliance of business chambers, and all the entrepreneurs who are under our Kapatid network.
We’ve actually been undertaking relief operations over the past few days in the areas of Iligan and some of the border towns to Marawi City, specifically Pantar and Saguiaran.
We’ve actually also extended some help to our AFP troops in Camp Ranao in Marawi City.
Aside from the relief operations, which we have been undertaking and which we look forward to sustaining in the coming weeks depending on how soon military operations can help to clear the area, I’d also like to mention that we are also actively engaged in partnerships with local stakeholders.
We’ve been coordinating with the offices of the different mayors in the area, as well as getting a lot of logistical assistance from the AFP, specifically the 4thInfantry Division Brigade.
At the same time, we’re also looking forward to providing aid, augmenting what DOH and DSWD are doing on the ground by providing a medical caravan where we hope to deliver some basic medical services to families and displaced persons who are still in evacuation centers, either the big ones or the smaller ones which are based in schools ‘no, scattered across the area around Marawi City.
More importantly, which I had mentioned earlier to Secretary Abella and which the Kapatid network is working towards will really be to, you know, help government and the communities in Marawi in rebuilding efforts once the fighting has stopped.
I wanted to mention this because we’ve been involved as well with other initiatives or programs on the ground specifically in Sulu.
Most of you might have heard of the Negosyo Para sa Kapayapaan sa Sulu, which is an initiative started by the Kapatid network and led by PA Joey Concepcion where private sector is assisting in development programs in the province which is also part of ARMM.
So we started that program sometime in December 2016. We launched it in Malacañang together with President Duterte, Secretary Jess Dureza, Secretary Piñol, Secretary Mon Lopez ‘no, and of course the local leadership of Sulu led by Provincial Governor Toto Tan.
So just very briefly, the Kapatid for Marawi effort is really part of this integrated, consolidated effort by private sector to help out in the situation.
We are very concerned about the welfare and well-being of civilians in the areas and we will continue to assist government, you know, in our efforts to reach out and help.
I’d like to mention some of the, you know — with your permission — I’d like to mention some of the companies who’ve been instrumental in the Kapatid for Marawi relief operations.
So the conglomerates involved here will be companies such as: LBC, Philippine Airlines, RFM, CDO Foodsphere, Century Canning, The Federation of Chinese Chambers, SL Agritech, Land Rover Club, Asia Brewery, and then, we also have SM Foundation.
At the same time, this is being supported by the Alliance for Prosperity, which is a calling together of the different business chambers all over the country.
So it’s really a coming together ‘no to respond to — to help our kababayans ‘no down south. We here in Manila simply cannot, you know, sit, you know, sit by and just let this thing happen without getting involved in the ground.
We currently have our own coordinators who are working with local stakeholders to ensure efficient and safe passage of supplies, items which are really needed by the families who’ve been displaced by the fighting.
So we’ve so far delivered about 16 tons of relief items to various areas so it’s about 194,000 individual pieces of various things like food packs, canned goods, much needed water especially in areas where their water supply now has been contaminated ‘no and they have no access to potable drinking water, medicines, hygiene kits.
We’ve been sending a lot of rice also, sleepers, you know, and various other items about 194,000 individual pieces. And as mentioned earlier, we’ve been trying to cover as many of the evacuation areas including the border towns surrounding Marawi City.
I also need to, you know, really extend our thanks to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, through Brigadier General Padilla and, of course, the 4th Army Infantry Division Brigade, who’ve been instrumental in helping to secure safe passage for the supplies and items needed by the displaced families.
We are also working closely with PCCI local chambers in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan headed by Mr. Efren Uy as well as some of the NGOs which are led by the women leaders in ARMM, specifically Asec. Shalimar Candao, who is part of the NGO [inaudible].
We are also in close coordination with Mayor Muti of Saguiaran because he has one of the largest number of evacuees in the area considering that his town is a border town, it’s just like you cross and in 10 minutes, you are already in Marawi City.
We also have some volunteers on the ground: Joseph del Castillo, [Jas Nito?] and also another volunteer, Dr. Tiger Garrido, who has been helping us out.
So on the whole, Kapatid for Marawi, we you know, we plan to continue and sustain relief operations to the area and to augment this with help in terms of medical services and then we also look forward to assisting the government in rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts down the road as well as initiating Go Negosyo programs for economic development to help rebuild the economy of Marawi City and the province of Lanao del Sur as a whole. So that’s my update for today, Secretary Abella.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you. We’d like now to refer to — you may… If you have a few questions now, we can but before we do that, we’d like to defer to General Padilla.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Sir, for the significant developments as was pointed out a while ago, the most important development there was the rescue of 92 more civilians who were trapped inside the city of Marawi.
Another is the recovery of cash, cold cash, from a structure that we have been fighting against because of the existence of a machine gun nest and a sniper position.
So all of this, particularly the recovery of the cash is clearly — it clearly debunks the continuing and maliciously spreading news that the troops are entering houses to take advantage and to loot.
On the contrary, that clearly indicates that our troops are well-disciplined and are doing their jobs to clear Marawi of all potential existence of booby traps, IEDs that may have been left behind by many of these armed elements that have been going from house to house.
Now, as to the owner or the actual existence of this cash, this is yet to be determined and an investigation will be forthcoming. We have asked for the assistance of the banking sector, the Department of Finance and the Central Bank to get down to the root of why there is cash in there and where it was taken from or withdrawn and where it could be possibly used. So we cannot share any data as of the moment because of that investigation.
Another aspect is on the issue of continuing airstrikes. We appeal to the people of Marawi, to those who have continuously given their word and their request for us to stop it.
I have to pass this along because our troops clearly need to judiciously use force because of a stiffer kind of resistance from the inner enclaves of the city.
We feel the pain, we feel the hurt of every member or every citizen or every resident of Marawi. But let us remember that we did not start this from happening. It was the armed group, the Maute Daesh ISIS, it’s armed group that entered your city to wreak havoc on it.
And last night, you saw the reason why we have been saying all along that there was a bigger plan. There was indeed a bigger plan and it was sought — it was supposed to wreak more havoc.
This information came from the many materials and documents that we recovered from the area and that we continue to study and analyze.
The Chief of Staff, General Año, who himself is a very competent intelligence officer, has mentioned that many of these documents will prove many of those that have been asked us many days prior.
So we have known about these plans already and these are the proof that there was indeed planning that was going on to destroy and wreak havoc and spread terror in the city of Marawi.
So thank God we have been able to prevent that from happening on a bigger scale and we really are working to liberate Marawi quicker as the days go on.
We do not want this to drag on and we would like to bring back Marawi to its previous state as a peaceful, energy cen — it’s an economic center and a people — where people converge.
May I also appeal to our social media users and our netizens. There are videos circulating around regarding certain — the armed elements destroying a church.
We have requested that this be pulled out because it may fan hatred, it may fan hate and it is intended by these militants to induce other Christian elements to fight against these armed elements or to sow hatred among Christians and Muslim.
Please do not spread this. Let us not buy in into the plan of these terror groups to inflame the feelings of our other religions. This is not a religious war, this is a terror attack on the city of Marawi and we must be clear about it.
Right before us, in the last few days were clear examples of compassion, of help between Christians and Muslims, of assistance coming from all sectors. And we are very happy that these are coming out to debunk all these claims and attempts to make this a religious war.
Many of our Muslim brothers are helping their Christian friends and many Christian friends are now helping their Muslim brothers in the same way that all these help have been coming along.
These are the good stories and may we request the media to highlight more of these in order to prevent the attempts of this terrorist group to make this a religious war of sort which is not.
May I also convey that the Armed Forces is determined to continue on with its current operations so that we can take care of the armed elements that continue to remain in the city and hopefully liberate Marawi at the soonest time possible.
That is all I have for now and we are open for your questions.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Hannah Sancho (Sonshine Radio): Hi, sir, good morning. Sir, regarding po doon sa ginagawang clearing operations ng ating security forces po sa Marawi. Before po na isapubliko ‘yung cash, nagkaroon po ba ng pagkakataon na ’yung mga soldiers natin, may nakuha din pong cash doon sa iba pang mga bahay na napuntahan nila? Kasi parang kultura ng mga Muslim na hindi maglagay ng pera sa bangko, inilalagay nila sa bahay nila. Sakaling may cash po silang na-recover po, may mga paraan po ba na ‘yung may-ari nung pera lumapit sa — ano ba ‘yung process natin, sir, para ma-claim nila ‘yung pera nila ulit?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ang clearing operation po natin ay ginagawa po natin jointly. So ang takbo po natin dito, once we are in areas where there are armed resistance, the Armed Forces takes care of the armed resistance.
And by protocol, the follow-on forces are the ones clearing the areas. So many of these are being cleared by the police and our follow-on forces that are supporting our troops in the frontline. Our troops, their focus is to deal with the armed elements primarily.
So in the clearing operations by sector that do fall in our hands, wala pong kinukuha ang ating mga kasamahan diyan. Ang kanilang pakay ay siguraduhin na walang naiiwang mga patibong o anumang mga bagay na makakasakit sa mga civilians ‘pag sakaling ibinukas na po natin ang siyudad sa pagbabalik ng mga civilians. That’s the primary reason that we need to clear every house.
Ms. Sancho: Okay, thank you, sir.
Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): For Spokesperson Padilla. Sir, it’s been two weeks since the President declared martial law. Sir, in your assessment, was it really necessary for this declaration for you to accomplish what you had accomplished in Marawi? What have you done that you couldn’t have done without this declaration?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: The question has been repeatedly asked and I think it has been answered also repeatedly.
And may I just convey that we are facing here an armed group that has wanted to take over Marawi, the whole of Marawi.
This armed group does not only exist in Marawi itself but it is supported by other groups in other areas of Mindanao. So this is an extensive network that must be dealt with and, perhaps, that is the main reason why we say it needs to be the whole of Mindanao.
On other aspects, yes, I think the Secretary has answered that already previously. Are there ways by which we could have done this without Martial Law? Yes, there are. But then writ of the… The suspension of the privilege of the writ would not be there. And that would not expedite the arrest of certain personalities that have been supporting this rebellion.
In the context of normal times, pipila po tayo sa korte upang humingi ng arrest warrant at upang humingi ng search warrant. Dito po sa konteksto ng martial law, hindi na po kailangang gawin ‘yan. Pwede na pong agad-agarang mangyari, at gawin, at ipatupad.
So ‘yun po ang nagpapabilis. Kaya in a certain sense, having Martial Law facilitates the troops from — and our law enforcement officers in dealing with these kinds of radicals and extremists.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, ‘dun sa video of the — of Hapilon planning the takeover of Marawi. I’d just like to confirm, has this been shown to the President? And was this instrumental in his decision to put Mindanao under martial law?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: All the materials that have been recovered are known by the President and he is briefed regularly about this.
Ms. Salaverria: But, sir, was this shown to him before he declared martial law?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: This was not part of the material prior to martial law. It was a part of the documents and materials recovered in the course of fighting.
Ms. Salaverria: Thank you.
Celerina del Mundo-Monte (Manila Shimbun): Good morning, sir. Sir, you have mentioned that the government did not start this war in Mindanao. So may we know or is it safe to assume that if only these people, these residents in Marawi could have been vigilant about what’s happening around them and they told the authorities about what has been happening, this thing could not have happened?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Maraming salamat sa tanong na ‘yan. And yes, indeed. The community could have played a big part.
That is why in previous statements that we have made, we mentioned about the concept of shared security or shared responsibility in dealing with the security posture of communities.
Ito po ay tulungan. Ang pagkakaroon po nang maayos na seguridad sa bawat komunidad at siyudad natin ay isang teamwork effort.
Una, ng ating lokal na pamahalaan; ng ating mga kasamahan at mga kababayan sa kanilang mga kani-kanilang lugar; at ng ating security sector, so meaning to say the police and the military.
So it needs to be a community effort, and it’s a shared responsibility because we have limited number of police, we have limited number of soldiers, and they cannot guard every corner, every portion of the community on a 24/7 basis.
But if every member of the community participates by being very vigilant, by watching over their areas, and reporting suspicious persons, other materials that are left behind, or things that they perceive as a threat to their community, then the aspect of a quicker reaction to deal with these problems happens and occurs.
So ang konsepto po siguro ay maihahambing natin sa isang komunidad na nakikita natin na puno ng mga CCTV.
Kung ang bawat miyembro ng komunidad ay parang mata at telepono na automatically nagrereport ng mga maaaring maging banta sa kanilang kinaroroonan, mas napapabilis po ‘yung reaksyon ng ating mga pulis at sundalo para nang sa ganon, hindi po lumalaki ‘yung problema.
So this is the kind of security posture that we would like to request the community to have. Please bear in mind always that concept of shared responsibility for the security of our land.
If we have this in mind and we practice this, then our security posture in every portion of our archipelago will be strengthened tremendously.
Ms. Del Mundo-Monte: So, sir, can we say that the local government should be partly blamed because they have not reacted that early?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Well, there is no blaming here. It’s… We don’t blame anyone.
In fact, we mentioned that we did come up — come out — we did have information about the presence of armed groups.
And local government was a partner. We created a joint task force made up of police, made up of local personalities and our military to effect an arrest.
But we were not in possession of information that there was a bigger group in the area. So these were revelations that came slowly.
And that is why maski na po si Chief of Staff na nagsabi na walang perfect intelligence. Maraming impormasyon nakakalap natin, and kung paano natin gagamitin ito, ‘yun ang nakakatulong.
So at the moment or at that time when we had those initial information, we immediately acted. At ‘yung aksyon na ‘yun ang nag-trigger na nagsilbing revelation na meron palang mas malaking grupo pala dito na hindi pa natin nakita or hindi natin nakuha ‘yung impormasyon.
Ms. Del Mundo-Monte: So, sir, this should serve as a warning to other areas in Mindanao wherein some family members have these very close ties even if their other relatives are engaged with illegal activities?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Kaya nga nabanggit ko na lagi nating dapat itanim sa isipan natin na ‘yung pagbabantay sa mga lugar natin ay isang shared responsibility. Dapat sama-sama tayo.
So kung meron kayong nararamdaman o nakikita na palagay niyo maglalagay sa alanganin sa inyong mga kanya-kanyang lugar, ngayon pa lang po dapat eh shine-share niyo na ‘yung information na ‘yan para na-a-assess at napapag-aaralan ng ating mga authorities para matulungan kayo.
Ms. Del Mundo-Monte: Sir, last question from me. Do you have… Since this war is already on its third week, do you have any estimate as to how much na ‘yung na-spend ng military or ng government with this war?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: The expenses related to this military campaign has not been summed up yet.
Hindi pa natin ginagawa ‘yun ‘no. Siguro pagkatapos na. Kasi ang pinagtutuunan natin ng pansin ngayon ‘yung military activities sa frontlines para ma-accomplish natin ‘yung sinabi nating mission natin sa simula’t sapol, ‘nong simula nung bakbakan na ‘to which is to clear and liberate Marawi.
Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Hi, General, good morning. Sir, balikan ko lang ‘yung binabanggit niyo kanina kaugnay doon sa social media ‘yung mga ipinapakalat ng Maute. Gaano po kaseryoso ‘yung magiging epekto nito?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Alam niyo po ang isa po sa pinakamalaking pinagkukunan ng karamihan ng ating mga mamamayan ng balita ngayon lalo na po ‘yung mga may smartphone, social media na.
Kumpara sa ibang bahagi ng mundo, increasingly growing ‘yung ating mga netizens sa Pilipinas. Kaya nagiging malaking parte ng ating information campaign o sa pinagkukunan ng balita ‘yung paggamit ng social media at ng mga smartphones.
Ngayon, itong nangyayari ngayon na ipinalalaganap o ipinalalabas na mga maling balita at disimpormasyon, nakakaapekto ‘yan sa isipan ng mga tao.
So kung ang akala nila ay ito ay totoo at ito ang kanilang paniniwalaan, then the disinformation will grow and make it worse.
So that is why we continue to appeal and to request netizens to be responsible members of the Net.
To use and only be discerning of information that they know true — to be true, and not to spread whatever it is that they think and they feel are mere propaganda and mere fake news.
Mr. Ganibe: So hindi lang armas ang ginagamit ngayon ng teroristang grupo?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Tama po at ang mas mahirap po dito at ang pinakamalaking laban na dapat ay kaparte lahat ay ‘yung ginagawa po nating kampanya para linisin ang Net at ang social media ng mga iresponsableng tao na gumagamit nito.
Mr. Ganibe: Natanong ko po ‘yun, follow-up ko po kay Spokesman Abella. Sir, meron po tayong communications group. Ano po ang nagiging role ngayon ng ating mga officials sa communications group para ma-counter itong mga ganitong pagpapakalat ng propaganda ng terrorist group.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, at this stage… Coming from the OPS side, coming from the OPS side, what we’re trying — what we are doing is managing the messaging.
Not… When I say “manage,” I don’t mean to say we put a spin ‘no. I’m just saying that we try to get as much as possible, we try to come up with responsible and carefully vetted news.
So… And we are also beginning to… Well, at this stage… At this stage, we are also beginning to develop our social media arm, okay.
So but again and again, we just want to put across that coming from OPS, what we are aiming for is not so much spin but accuracy. We want to make sure that what you get is, for example, like this, we don’t just come out with any unvetted news, for example.
Everything we share with you is really coming — has been carefully vetted by AFP.
Mr. Ganibe: Kasi kung may… Sa Middle East kasi, sir, mayroong isang company that came up with the Ramadan video showing ‘yung effect nito doon sa mga kapwa nila Muslim. Hindi ba ano ang government could send a message also sa ating mga kababayan? Kasi napakaliit lang ng grupo ng Maute but ‘yung message nila sa social media ay napakalakas na lahat naaapektuhan at nakukuha nila ‘yung gusto nilang i-create na hatred sa population.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: So you’re question is?
Mr. Ganibe: Ano na po ang hakbang na gingagawa ng government bukod doon sa armed na ginagawa ng ating AFP, ano naman po ang…?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Coming from our side po, we are actually developing a — we’re developing from our own side. But you also have to understand that, you know, these are really apples and oranges, if you’re beginning to compare.
But basically, this armed — these extremist groups have been — have actually used social media to — their use of social media to an optimum effect ‘no.
Mr. Ganibe: Kasi we have… Sa communications group, we have officials na may mga blog, na maraming sinusu — maraming followers, maraming following. Bakit why, why… Bakit hindi natin kayang i-convince ang ating — ang mga followers nung ating mga public officials?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We just have to… We just have to wait for the process to unfold properly, okay?
Mr. Ganibe: Tapos, sir, napakabilis ng ginagawa ng mga terroristic group, hindi natin napipigilan ‘yung pag-spread nila ng kanilang hatred campaign.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Again, social media is something that has to be properly managed.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Dexter, bilang dagdag na kasagutan lang doon sa tanong ni Dexter kanina. Kaya nga po ang panawagan ay sa ating mga gumagamit ng social media kasi ang sikreto po dito is ‘yung pagiging viral ng balita.
Kaya kung kayo’y isang responsableng blogger o responsableng taga-gamit ng Net, at tulad ng aking nabanggit, alam niyo na hindi ito totoong balita at wala itong pinagbabasehan, at agad-agaran pinuputol niyo na po doon, hindi na po ‘yan manganganak, hindi na po ‘yan hahaba.
At madi-discourage itong mga grupong ito dahil hindi nila nakikita ‘yung viral trend na tumataas. Nandoon po ‘yung sikreto kaya nasa sa atin ‘yan bilang isang bansa.
Kung kayo po ay… Alam ko mahilig po kayong sumunod ngayon sa mga balita at nakikita niyo po ang mga larawan at mga video na nanggagaling po sa lugar ng Marawi. Nakikita niyo po na napakalaki na po na mga naging — na-damage na lugar.
At kamakailan, may lumabas din sa ibang network ng nangyayari po sa Gitnang Silangan.
Ang tanong po natin ay ‘yun po ba ang gustong mangyari ng ating mga residente dito, ng ating mga mamamayan? Alam ko po ang kasagutan, “ayaw”, “hindi”. Iyan po ang kasagutan doon. Kaya ayaw din namin mangyari ‘yan dahil mahal natin ang bayan natin, mahal natin ang lugar natin.
Kaya nga po bilang isang Pilipino, bilang isang bansang Pilipino, we must collectively condemn. We must collectively work against the evil efforts of all these armed groups that is trying to destroy this country.
If you love your country, if you love your community, if you love every member of your family and friends you have from whatever religion there are, you should be part of that collective effort working against evil forces who are now attacking our communities.
And that is where the secret lies in putting a stop to this viral effect that is now taking place. Be responsible. If you love your country, your family, your community, you should be a responsible user of social media.
You should know when to put a period when there is already an attempt to influence you to spread something. Let us be very clear about that.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay, after Ms. Hontiveros we’ll just have one last question, okay?
Ms. Hontiveros: Okay, yeah. I just wanted to augment to your question, sir, ‘no. Again, terrorism kasi is really based on hatred, so that’s really what they want to incite.
So I think, you know, as people who love the Philippines, you know, as citizens of this country, as people who are responsible as well for our own families, our own communities, our own constituents, it’s really our personal responsibility to put a stop to the spread of such hatred.
So I think, whether you are government, whether you are military, whether you are in the private sector, whether you are in the media, regardless of your occupation or political inclinations, I think it’s really, you know, a responsibility on our end to put a stop to hatred.
We can choose not to be part of that cycle, by simply, you know, just simple things of condemning it openly or simply not spreading false information or not spreading such videos, which actually help to incite hatred.
I mean, I work in Muslim-Mindanao area. I go to Sulu quite often and we are… You know, we have relationships also with a lot of our Muslim brothers. And, even, you know, on their end, they also condemn such acts, and they are also part of this country.
So I think, we need to really exert our own, you know, individual efforts and be responsible about the kind of information that we spread.
We will only help fan the flames of terrorism if we help to incite hatred by being part of that cycle.
So, you know, coming… I’m an ordinary citizen of this country, just, you know, trying to help out. But it’s also partly my responsibility to speak out also against such violence and hatred, and we can all do the same thing.
I don’t think you want that kind of violence to spread, you know, endlessly beyond the borders of where it is right now. You don’t want to plunge our country into chaos.
So it is our responsibility, that’s something that we jointly share with the government, with the military, and all organizations who are involved in, you know, helping to reestablish peace in Mindanao.
Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): For General Padilla. Sir, yesterday President Duterte told troops in North Cotabato to tapusin na daw ‘yung war with the Maute. I believe over the weekend he said, hopefully daw dapat yesterday natapos na, and you mentioned that operations are still ongoing. How long do you see this still continuing?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Like the previous statements that you have heard about the assessment on the ground, we put the decision on the hands of our ground commanders because our ground commanders have a clear and complete appreciation of the complexity of the battlefield. So it is up to them to tell us, not us, from who are here in the safe zones.
Now, we can’t say right now because of the resistance that they are facing, but what they do know and what they do announce is that their world, the enemy’s or the terrorist’s world is continuously growing smaller and smaller by the day.
And as this grows smaller, we are getting more stiffer — stiffer resistance because they’re trying to defend a key personality or a key sector that they are holding and they do not want to submit to surrender.
So the eventual outcome would be very clear if they continue to resist like that, but we are trying our best, we are doing our best, we are laying down the lives of our warriors and our heroes, just to be able to expedite the liberation of Marawi as quickly as we can.
Ms. Andolong: Offensives, sir, are still ongoing, clearing operations. But could efforts to start the normalization of the city already start? I mean, I think… Is it true that today one of the hospitals, ‘yung Amai Pakpak…
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yeah, Amai Pakpak sa emergency, yes…
Ms. Andolong: Could be opened today and is that a sign that maybe some sort of normalization is starting?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes. I understand, Ina, that we are working closely with local government that in cleared areas they can come in to start the slow process of rehabilitation, reconstruction.
But primarily, we are aiming to restore normalcy by bringing the services back. So, health fields are part of the services that must come from government.
And in Amai Pakpak, many of the areas of the hospitals have been destroyed, but the operating room and the emergency section, I think, is immediately usable.
That is why an announcement was made, na pwede nang gamitin ‘yung emergency room at saka ‘yung isang area doon. Pero hindi ‘yung kabuuan ng buong hospital dahil nasira at sinunog.
Ms. Andolong: So doon sa cleared area, sir, what kind of reconstruction could begin as you mentioned?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I am not aware of how this effort will push through but based on the initial information that we were able to receive, there will be discussions between our commanders to a certain — whether the areas they have cleared can sufficiently be taken over by local government.
So let’s wait for that development, and from here at my end, I cannot make the decision because they do need to make the decision.
Ms. Andolong: For Ms. Hontiveros, Ma’am.
Ms. Andolong: Apart from relief yesterday si Secretary Briones talked about six big companies that have offered to help in the repair of a damaged property or schools…
Ms. Andolong: Do you any information on that, I mean, offers to rebuild damaged properties and also, sir, or ma’am, if you data on, ‘yung damage to property na caused by the fighting?
At the same time, with regards to your question about, you know, companies who are, you know, willing to come in and help at this stage, there’s actually a massive effort really coming in from the private sector from different groups ‘no.
So we’re talking about, you know, big and small organizations who are already willing to help. So it’s possible that some private companies have approached Secretary Briones, DepEd, specific for their interventions to help rebuild classroom, which is I think fantastic.
At the same time, in terms of the Kapatid efforts, which is led by PA Joey Concepcion, we’re really concentrating right now on the delivery of basic food and water items, which are much needed.
And then to be followed by a medical caravan. And then, of course, because we are involved specifically in economic development programs, as part of rebuilding communities that have been devastated by either conflict or, you know, or our, you know, subject of extreme poverty, then we will come in really for economic development programs.
And we have a very wide network of companies also involved heavily in development, construction, et cetera. So definitely we will be asking help from this Kapatids to come in and assist as well in the rebuilding.
I think it’s important, you know, regardless of the efforts which are emanating from different sectors, I think it’s important firstly that these are integrated, consolidated, and are not redundant so that we do not see a waste of time, effort, resources and a people when we start helping to rebuild the communities of Marawi City.
Kris Jose (Remate): Sir. Sir, from time to time nagbibigay kayo ng update tungkol doon sa operations, sa mga na-rescue. Sir, wala kaming naririnig na update tungkol naman doon sa mga na-hostage ng Maute group?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Kasi wala kaming update na nakukuha kaya hindi namin maibigay. Kaya kami hindi nag-i-include.
Ang sabi nga ni Secretary Abella kanina, sinisikap natin na maging accurate at maging makatotohanan lagi ang ibinibigay natin. Kaya sinisikap natin na kung ano ang binibigay tama ito.
So that is where the vetting lies. So whatever information we get and convey to you, goes through that process. So if we don’t get any update of any sort, then we don’t have any reason to give you anything because we don’t have anything ourselves.
But, we are — we are trying to work with other sectors to locate and to effect on a rescue.
Ms. Jose: Sir, na-establish na po ba ‘yung bahay na nakuhanan ng pera kung kanino po ‘yun?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Sino ang nagmamay-ari?
Ms. Jose: Opo.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Tulad ng aking nabanggit kanina, hangang sa kasalukuyan hindi po natin alam and it is the subject of the investigation that is ongoing.
Ms. Jose: Sir, doon sa continuing operations niyo po, nabanggit niyo na 10 to 15 percent na po ‘yung — 10 to 15 percent nakukopkop po ng Maute group. As of this moment, sir, ilang percent na po ‘yun and ‘yung sa inyo po?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Actually, iniwasan narin naming magbigay ng percentage, dahil ang ground commander sa area, noong isang araw ay nabanggit na mas maaaring higit o mas maaaring mas maliit pa.
So hintayin na lang natin at hinihintay—inaantabayanan din namin ‘yung kabuuan ng report ng ating ground commanders tungkol sa assessment sa ground.
Pero ang kanilang ibinibigay na prognosis ay ‘yung kaninang sinabi ko na lumiit na at kumokonti na ‘yung hawak nilang lugar.
At kung kayo po ay may mga kasamahan na nanggagaling po mismo sa Marawi, mapapansin niyo rin na makanaka na lang ang mga putukan, hindi na ganoon kasing dagsa noong tulad ng mga nakaraang araw.
Indikasyon na kinokonserba nila ‘yung kanilang hawak ngayon at nauubos na. So ‘yun po ang nangyayari ngayon.
Ms. Jose: Thank you, sir.