Mindanao Hour Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Jr.
|Mindanao Hour Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Jr.|
|Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang|
|21 June 2017|
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. The Joint Task Force Marawi updates on the rebellion in Marawi.
As of 12 noon of 20th of June 2017, civilians killed by terrorists 26; civilians recued by government troops, LGUs, CSO, is 1,645, or an increase of 8 from 1,637; terrorists killed 268 from 258, or an increase by 10; recovered firearms by government troops from terrorists now at 271 from 255, or an increase of 16; killed- in-action, government casualties, 66 or an increase of 1 from 65.
Significant developments, we have monitored increasing willful and intentional arson activities of the rebels in various areas of the city.
We’d like to give you an update on the donations. As of 20 June 2017, for the families of our soldiers killed-in-action, deposited to date is P508,500 from P224,000 yesterday.
The account name in Land Bank which is the only official designate depository bank is AFP Marawi Casualty. Let me repeat that AFP Marawi Casualty. And the account number is 00000552107128.
And for evacuees from Marawi. Account name: Marawi IDP. Please take note. Account number is 00000552107136.
Deposited to date is P187,500 from P21,000 yesterday.
Please be reminded that this is the only official depository account and please do not give especially financial donations to any other supposed solicitations.
Please take note that the only depository bank is Land Bank of the Philippines.
We now defer to General Padilla.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Lest you be worried, I’m wearing a battle dress uniform but it does not speak of any event or any kind of development.
It’s just that every Wednesday, all the members of the Armed Forces in General Headquarters are required to wear the uniform.
For my first item of the day, may I just send over a notice to the public that there has been an observable increase in scammers trying to raise money for our soldiers by way of benefit dinners, lunches or what have you.
So please do not believe them until you have verified because there’s only one legitimate account that receives donations for soldiers and for the affected civilians of Marawi and these were the two Land Bank accounts that were announced earlier with the corresponding amounts deposited to date.
So just as a warning to the public, again we would like to ask everybody to be on the lookout for these scammers and let your telcos know of the numbers they’re using so that they can be blocked and cannot go on with their nefarious activities.
Second, I’d like to give notice that as the President has promised, for the use of his presidential aircraft last night on our way back to Manila from Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. Those who were required by our medical professionals to be evacuated to Manila, used the presidential aircraft and other aircraft of the Air Force to be transported to Manila.
A fulfillment of his commitment to have the presidential plane used by the soldiers. And we’d like to pass on the thanks of our Armed Forces on behalf of the Chief of Staff and the wounded warriors that we brought to Manila for further treatment.
May I also give notice that the situation in Marawi continues to improve. There are areas that we have not covered before that we have already overcome at this moment and the process of clearing is what we are concentrating on in the succeeding days.
Yesterday, we reported approximately about 16 buildings that have been cleared. We are prioritizing the areas that are built up or heavily built up which means to say those that are constructed well and can withstand attacks and bombardments and potentially may have basement areas or hidden areas underneath that can protect them from any kind of assault from the air.
So these are the buildings that we are concentrating on, along with small structures that are continuously being cleared by other follow-on forces.
The Armed Forces is also carefully assessing the situation in the outlying areas in preparation for the rehabilitation.
No concrete estimate of the damage has yet been done because those who would do the estimates will still be put at risk if they do the estimate.
And I think you’re well aware of this because of news reports even at the Capitol where stray bullets and shrapnels are still falling.
So we ask any — beg for the indulgence of the members of the media who are staying there to please comply with the rules that we have set because of our desire for your own safety.
May I also give notice that JTG Ranao under General Rammie Rey is continuously conducting consultations with other members of the community to iron out their participation once the hostilities have ended and once we start embarking on the rehabilitation, reconstruction and rebuilding of Marawi.
This is all I have as a quick update. If there are any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
Tuesday Niu (DZBB): To General Padilla, sir. Sir, there are memos circulating from PNP na naglalaman ng parang possible threat in different parts of the country saying na may mga possible bomb attacks or bombings. Itong ganito po bang impormasyon nakarating na rin po o nasagap ng intelligence network po ng AFP?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ito pong kumakalat na balita na nakalagay po sa mga memo allegedly na ginawa po ng ating kapulisan, sinagot na po ito ng NCRPO doon sa unang memo na lumabas na may banta daw po.
And I think the appropriate measures have been taken. The clarification has also been made by General Albayalde.
As to the other memo, I think there’s no… There’s still… These are still unvalidated and unconfirmed information.
But appropriate warnings were only sent to monitor and ascertain the veracity of these reports. So that is currently ongoing.
But as we have been saying previously, threats remain. Lagi pong may banta na nanatili. Hindi po nawawala ‘yung mga banta. Maski saan po tayo may banta na nariyan. Banta sa mga hold-upper, kidnapper, mga nagnanakaw ng mga cellphones at ganon.
So mga banta po ‘yan na parte sa hinaharap natin sa pang-araw-araw.
Now the kind of threat that we face can be dealt with appropriately by the level of preparedness o ‘yung kahandaan ng bawat mamamayan.
Kaya ‘yung atin pong paulit-ulit na sinasabi at ipagpaumanhin niyo na po kung magiging para tayong sirang plaka dito is ‘yung konsepto ng shared responsibility sa security, na ang bawat mamamayan kabahagi po dapat sa seguridad.
Sa sarili niyang kakayahan, dapat binabantayan niya at nagigi siyang mapagmasid, nagiging alerto at mapanuri sa kanyang kapaligiran.
Kasi itong mga bantang ito maaari sa anumang oras ay maaaring maging aktibo. Kaya itong kahandaan natin para tugunan itong mga bantang ‘to, hindi lang po dapat nakasalalay sa poder ng Armed Forces o ng pulis.
So may kakayahan po tayo para tugunan ‘yan pero ang mas importante ‘yung biglaang impormasyon na makukuha ng pulis, ng Armed Forces at ng sinumang ahensya na itinalaga para harapin itong mga bantang ito.
So if the information is at hand even before the threat occurs, then we will have addressed it and the damage would have been prevented.
So that is the kind of shared responsibility and security that we are always requesting from the public because if the information is always available and an immediate reaction can be provided, the damage, the potential death that may ensue from any kind of these attacks will be prevented.
So ‘yun po ‘yung dapat naintindihan sana natin. At kung tayo ay magtutulungan, mas magiging mainam po ‘yung seguridad natin.
At nais ko lang pong ulitin ‘no, pagkatapos po na maresolba itong Marawi crisis, hindi po mawawala ang banta na haharapin natin.
Our actions during and after this crisis in Marawi and elsewhere will definitely define us as a nation and as an Armed Forces and that we must all work together to face these threats solidly as a nation.
We must band together to fight an evil force that is trying to scare and terrorize our land.
You see what’s happening all over the world. The threat is there. It’s present. But it depends on the nation and its citizens how they address that threat.
And tayo, karamihan po ng taga-Mindanao sanay na po sa mga kaguluhan eh. Kaya handa sila at hindi sila nagrereklamo ‘pag kinakailangan silang pumila nang matagal sa mga checkpoint at kinakailangan i-check dahil naiintindihan po nila.
Ngayon dito sa Kamaynilaan, pinangangalagaan po natin ’yung katahimikan dito at maigting po ang inilalagay nating seguridad.
Kaya dapat mas lalo pa nating paigtingin ‘yan sa pamamagitan ng pagkakaisa natin sa pagharap dito sa mga bantang ito.
Ms. Niu: Yes, sir. Follow up lang, sir. This morning meron pong report na there was an incident of harassment in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato. Allegedly armed men daw po na hinabol ng tropa natin tapos pumasok sila sa isang eskwelahan sa Barangay Malagakit. Has this something to do with the threat na umiikot ngayon po o nagsi-circulate? And malaman po namin kung kamusta na po ‘yung situation? Meron po bang mga na-hold na mga estudyante at guro na nandoon sa eskwelahan?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ito pong nangyari kanina sa Pigcawayan, diyan sa area po ng 6th Infantry Division ay na-address na. Ang huling ulat pong nakuha natin galing kay General Arnel dela Vega, ang Commander ng 6th Infantry Division kung saan ang mga pwersa ay naka-assign ay natugunan na.
Umatras na po ‘yung kalaban at nagsubok po sila kaninang madaling araw na lusubin ‘yung isa nating BPAT outpost, ‘yung tinatawag nating barangay augmentation team. So people’s augmentation team na nagbabantay, parang CAFGU outpost natin.
So alam naman nila na ang pinaka-mahinang mga outpost is ‘yung mga hindi po pinagkakaroonan ng mga regular na sundalo. So sinubukan nilang pasukin ito at hindi sila nagtagumpay dahil simula’t sapul na nagsimula po itong Marawi crisis eh handa na po lahat ng pwersa sa buong Mindanano na harapin kung anuman ‘yung mga bantang nangyayari.
Now, ito pong ginawa ng BIFF ay isang opportunistic activity. Nakita nila na may pagkakataon so ipinamalas nila ‘yung kanilang kakayahan na kaya nilang gawin ito pero sa mabuting palad, hindi nila matagumpay na nagawa ito.
Nagkataon po na ‘yung binabantayan ng BPAT ay isa ring eskwelahan nasa tabi. Pero sa mabuting palad, nangyari po ‘yung pag-atake bago pa man po makarating sa eskwelahan ‘yung mga estudyante, about five or six in the morning.
So there were really very… There were only a few civilians but unfortunately, in the withdrawal phase of the armed elements, of the armed group, they used some civilians to cover their withdrawal. Ginamit nilang human shield kaya medyo pigil po ‘yung mga pwersa na humabol.
So it’s already resolved actually. They have withdrawn from the area. They are no longer there. The school area is again safe. The patrol base is well-secured.
And the troops that have responded quickly to this incident are now on the pursuit mode. So we are just ascertaining if they have released around five civilians that they have held.
So once we get information regarding this, we will be more than glad to inform you. But there is no cause for alarm. It has been addressed.
Ms. Niu: Follow up. So, sir, meron silang five civilians sila na hawak, tama ba?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: For now, inaalam pa namin kung hindi pa pinakawalan ‘yun dahil may nakapagsabi po na ginagamit nila ‘yung lima para i-cover ‘yung kanilang pag atras.
Pero kanina, batid po natin, may nagsalita po sa hanay ng ano, ng BIFF na sinasabi nila, hindi nila sinasadyang kumuha ng hostage at hindi nila gagawin ‘yun. So harinawa at totoo ‘yung sinasabi niya na pinakawalan na nila.
Ms. Niu: Last, sir, on my part. ‘Yang pag-atake na po ‘yan ng BIFF, mayroon na po bang possible alliance ang BIFF sa Maute at sa ASG because we know for a fact ang ASG at Maute magkaalyansa na?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Sinabi na po natin noong araw na nagsasanib pwersa lahat ng mga local terrorist groups sa Maute.
Sinimulan ng Maute at kanilang hinimok lahat itong mga local terrorist groups na sumali sa kanila.
So sumali nga diyan ang ASG, kaya nga nandiyan si Hapilon. Sumali rin ang ibang miyembro ng BIFF. Kadalasan mga kamag-anak nung mga nandoon at iba pang grupo tulad ng AKP, Maguid group at what have you, at other armed elements.
That’s why the Maute group increased in numbers because of that attempt to unify these terrorist organizations who have pledged allegiance to the Daesh ISIS.
Ms. Niu: So can we say, sir, na itong BIFF attack ay possible spillover na diyan sa Marawi City?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi po. ‘Yung spillover kasi eh, parang itong baso, tingnan natin ‘pag nilagyan natin ng tubig at umaapaw, saan nanggagaling ‘yung tubig? Doon din sa loob ng baso.
Ito ba’y nanggaling doon sa loob ng Marawi? Hindi. Galing sa ibang lugar na noong araw pa eh patuloy na nang-ha-harass ng — naninira, nang-aatake ng mga outpost natin kasi nandiyan sila mga armado ‘to.
So palipat-lipat sila ng lugar diyan sa may kinaroroonan ng ating mga tropa dahil armado sila at hindi natin matukoy talaga kung saan sila namumugad.
Pero kung talagang matugunan natin ito at ma-neutralize natin sila lahat, hindi mawawala itong bantang ito.
Ms. Niu: Last na, sir. Diversionary attack?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi rin eh. In a certain sense siguro pero by and large, taking advantage lang sila.
They were taking advantage of the situation that we have a very slight — lightly defended outpost and that they think our forces are elsewhere in the province.
But that’s not the case. Our forces are spread all over. We may be facing many fronts, ibig sabihin madami tayong kinakaharap na kalaban pero maayos po nating na-i-assign ang lahat ng ating mga pwersa para harapin po itong mga iba’t-ibang banta.
At hindi po magtatagumpay itong mga grupong ‘to dahil patuloy tayong nakaalerto’t handang tugunan kung anuman ‘yung gagawin nila.
Ms. Niu: Thank you, sir.
Rose Novenario (Hataw): Hi, good morning, sir.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Good morning.
Ms. Novenario: Sir, ano po ‘yung papel ng Anti-Terror Council po sa laban ng gobyerno, lalo na ng AFP laban sa terorismo considering po na meron pong umiiral na Human Security Act or Anti-Terror Law? Dahil po parang based po doon sa sinubmit ni Sol Gen Calida sa Supreme Court, eh napakarami pa pong nag-e-exist na terror groups po sa Mindanao. Ano po ‘yung coordination o ano po ‘yung nailatag na programa ng AFP, DND, with the Anti-Terror Council?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ang Anti-Terrorism Council po ay isang policy-making body. Sila po ang nakikipag-ugnayan sa mga ibang ahensya ng gobyerno na nakatalaga upang pag-isipan at mag-rekomenda ng mga angkop na pamamaraan para harapin itong mga banta ng terorismo.
Sila rin po ‘yung nakikipag-ugnayan sa mga international organizations upang mapag-usapan at magkaroon ng anumang kasunduan para maging partnership para tugunan itong mga banta ng terorismo.
So ‘yung kanila pong mga ibinibigay na policies ay bumababa sa atin. So unang makakatanggap niyan ay ang Department of National Defense o ang National Security Adviser at ipamamahagi niya sa atin.
So itong mga ginagawa natin na pagtugon sa mga banta na hinaharap natin noong mga nakaraang mga taon, parte na diyan ‘yung pagkakaroon ng mga Task Force na pwedeng tumulong sa pulis at mga units na ifino-form natin as quick reaction teams or units to address any kind of terroristic activities that may be present.
So ‘yung pagbabantay ng mga gusali na kinakailangang bantayan dahil ito ‘yung mga pinanggagalingan ng serbisyo para sa tao, mga bagay na ganyan, parte po ‘yun doon sa mga naging polisiya na nanggaling po sa Anti-Terrorism Council.
Ms. Novenario: So tingin niyo naman po eh ano nagtatagumpay o may positive na mga nangyayari po doon sa kanilang mga recommendation based po dun sa assessment ng ground commanders po ng AFP?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ah yes. Sa Anti-Terrorism Council, ‘yung ating inire-rekomenda galing sa baba is parte lang ng kanilang mga maaaring pakinggan.
Pero by and large, ang kanila talagang pinagtutuunan ng pansin is ‘yung pang-mataas na polisiya na magbibigay ng daan para maayos nating magampanan ‘yung ginagawa sa baba.
So katulad nitong sinasabi niyo, ‘yung binabanggit niyo sa Human Security Act, ang Anti-Terrorism Council ay isa sa mga ahensya na nagsusulong ng mga amendments or pagbabago. Kasi nakikita nila na maaaring mahina ito para tugunan ‘yung mga hinaharap nating banta.
So they’re now closely working with other agencies, one of them the Department of National Defense. And we have given them our inputs for the amendments to the existing Human Security Act so we can make it stronger part of our laws to address this threat that we are currently facing and will still be facing in the coming years.
Ms. Novenario: Last na lang po. Pwede po kayong magbigay ng halimbawa kung ano po ‘yung ipinanukala niyong amendment doon sa Human Security Act?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Parte doon is… Hindi ko lang ho papangunahan pero babanggitin ko lang ho ‘yung iba.
‘Yung pagtatalaga ho ng pagkakaroon ng pagkakataon o kapangyarihan na harangin ‘yung mga nanghihimasok dito.
‘Pag meron tayong suspicion na maaaring itong indibidwal na ito na pumapasok galing sa ibang bansa ay maaaring kaugnay, pwede na nating harangin at hulihin at i-detain at hindi na po papasukin sa bansa.
Kasi marami na pong nakakapunta dito na may cover na gagawa daw ng kawang-gawa, pero hindi naman pala kawang-gawa, kundi kabaligtaran.
So ‘yung mga bagay na ‘yun ay mga parte ng aming rekomendasyon para mapalakas ito. At saka ‘yung pagkagawa ng ano — ‘yung pagkakaroon ng National ID System. Parte ‘yan ng Human Security Act. So kung isusulong natin ‘yung National ID System, dapat ang isa lang sa pinagkakatiwalaang identification card.
Ngayon, andami-daming pwedeng gamitin. So hindi siya naka-set sa law.
Pero ‘pag nagkaroon tayo ng National ID System, ‘yung inisyu (issue) lang ng National ID System at ng ibang ID ng ating mga established na mga ahensya ang siyang pagkakatiwalaan na tunay na nagbibigay ng identipikasyon sa isang tao.
Catherine Valente (The Manila Times): Good morning, sir. Sir, there are calls from senators to probe daw po ‘yung the alleged link ng Maute doon sa mga MILF which is in peace talk with the Philippine government. So what’s the Palace’s comment or the AFP’s comment on this?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I think ‘yung Office ng Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process is aware of these comments. We will defer to them for their comments.
On the part of the Armed Forces, we take the cue from our lead negotiators. But be that as it may, we are happy with the cooperation we are getting from our counterparts from the MILF especially during these recent weeks, when this Marawi incident flared up.
So maganda po, nandiyan po ang mekanismo. And the best person to ask if these are all working would be our panel there, Ms. Irene Santiago, who is leading our team in the peace negotiation.
So the mechanisms are working, that we can say, and we are happy that it is.
Ms. Valente: How about kay Secretary?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Likewise, Ms. Santiago would be the best person to be able to address this matter.
As also the General has said, we’re quite pleased with the relationship and the ongoing cooperation with our partners.
Ms. Valente: Kay Spox Padilla po. Sir, what is the AFP’s take on President’s statement yesterday that — on possible civil war in Mindanao? So do you think the situation in Mindanao, particularly in Marawi, will escalate to this and how will the military address this?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ang alam po namin ‘yung sa pagkasabi ng mahal na Pangulo, hindi niya naman sinabi na magkakaroon ng civil war.
Sinasabi na lang niya na ‘yung Armed Forces kayang tugunan kung may mga bantang ganito.
Dahil ho nagre-request ‘yung ibang mga kababayan natin na armasan sila para labanan ‘yung mga grupong nandiyan ngayon sa Marawi. Pero mahirap payagan po ‘yung ganun dahil maaaring mas makasira pa kaysa nakakatulong.
You have duly armed elements of the government. Ito po ‘yung Armed Forces, ‘yung pulis, at ibang security sector partners.
Kung lalabas pa po tayo sa pagkakataon na ‘yan, baka mas lalong gumulo. So hindi pa po natin pinapayagan. Kailangan nating suriin, pag-aralan nang mabuti bago po magkaroon ng anumang desisyon tungkol dito.
Iyon ‘yung ibig sabihin po ng mahal na Pangulo.
Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): For Spokesperson Abella. Sir, the President mentioned in Iligan yesterday that he will set aside 20 billion for Marawi. Is this confirmation that the Bangon Marawi fund has been doubled?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m not… What he did say that he would… It was an enlargement upon the same statement, yes? But the process itself about whether it’s going to be the same or another program, it wasn’t clear.
But definitely, he did say that he was setting aside that amount, P20 billion. Thank you.
Ms. Salaverria: But, sir, do you have any assessment if the scale of destruction in Marawi has been bigger than what we had anticipated? And could this have prompted the statement from the President to increase the — ?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, this may have been based on anecdotal — anecdotal reports. And although there’s not a numerical report, it’s based on observation.
Ms. Salaverria: To General Padilla. Sir, you mentioned that ‘yung mga terrorist groups they — nagsanib-pwersa na. Sir, the attack in North Cotabato, could this not be considered na parang attempt to create a new front in another province because they’ve been thwarted in Marawi?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I didn’t quite get the question.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, kasi you said the terrorist groups have banded together. So the attack in Cotabato, can this not be considered an attempt from them to establish a new front in another province because they’ve been thwarted in Marawi?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi. It’s too small an effort. It was just a harassment case. They were trying to harass a BPAT outpost. But in the process, they were surprised because we reacted quickly and the BPAT outpost was prepared for their coming. Kaya sila umatras kaagad. Kaya nga near resolution na ‘to eh.
So by and large, these harassments have been ongoing even before this Marawi incident. Remember, there are certain attempts at throwing an explosive in front of a camp or a police station or what have you.
‘Di ba nangyayari na ‘yan dati pa? Hindi naman ‘yan bago. They will keep harassing because they want to project that they are still in —existing. So it’s not something of the breadth or size of Marawi.
Pia Ranada (Rappler): Sir, were there any casualties in the North Cotabato attack?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: This morning?
Ms. Ranada: Yeah.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: There’s none. We have not received any reports. And the last one indicated there was none.
We’re just concerned about the use of the civilians as human shields that’s why we need to [have?] the distance.
Ms. Ranada: Sir, just to confirm, these five civilians were students? Tama po ba?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: No, they were just the civilians who were still in the area. So we’re not certain how many men, how many women. But as I mentioned earlier, the spokesman of the BIFF made mention that it is not their intention to get the hostages.
So hopefully, kaya nga sabi ko, harinawa, ini-release na nila ito ngayon.
Ms. Ranada: So none of the five are students?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: None, none.
Ms. Ranada: Okay. Tapos, sir, for Spokesperson Abella, the President mentioned yesterday that he would call… He would have a call with Indonesian President Joko Widodo today. May we know the topic of the conversation and if he will bring up the ISIS threat?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure they’ll be talking security matters, but we don’t have the details of the plans for that conversation.
Ms. Ranada: Sir, how about the time…?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I said we don’t have the details.
Ms. Ranada: Pero sir, today, for sure? It will happen today?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, there’s an intention to talk. Thank you.
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star): General, may we have updates on the trapped civilians in Marawi?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: As of the last report that we got from the LGU — you have to know, understand that it’s the LGU that we rely on for the numbers. We don’t have specific numbers of the civilians. Kasi sila ‘yung mas mga nakakakilala sa mga unaccounted nila.
So sabi nila, there are about still 500, more or less, who are still inside the areas where fighting is ongoing.
Mr. Romero: Including kids? Including children and…?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: As to minors, we’re not sure. These are general figures that comes from the local government and there is no differentiation if there are children — if these are children, women, elderly, or what have you.
And in that number, kasama na rin ‘yung potential hostages na hawak ng kalaban.
Mr. Romero: Okay. Usec. Abella, when will the President sign the “Bangon Marawi” EO?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It should be… Ah, we’ll have to… There’s no deadline set yet.
Mr. Romero: But do we already have detailed plans?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s being drawn up. It will have to… The actual detailed plans that you are asking for will actually have to be drawn up after things have been properly cleared. Thank you.
Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Good morning po, Sir Padilla. Sir, question lang po. Sa mga nakapilas na presscon, nabanggit niyo po na makikipag-ugnayan kayo sa Indonesian counterpart regarding po doon sa information na i-feed na 1,200 ISIS sa Pilipinas. Sir, may update po ba tayo doon, sir?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: May naging ugnayan na. Hindi lang ako privy kung ano ang naging usapan. Pero they sought — we sought clarification.
And until such time that I read that report, siguro, babalik na lang — ibabalik ko na lang sa iyo at ah… I will update you whatever it contained.
Ms. Coz: Natanong ko po ‘yun sir, kung nagbigay po tayo ng recommendation sa Pangulo about — or mga information details para sa gagawin niyang pakikipag-usap po kay Indonesian President today?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I’m sure the President will have received talking points. I’m just not sure what is in those talking points.
Ms. Coz: Sir, regarding naman po sa mga information na mga lugar sa Mindanao kung saan may mga namo-monitor po tayong sympathizers or supporters ng ISIS, meron po ba tayong particular information about doon?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes. Ah, there have been a lot even before the Marawi incident and they have been identified. Some of them are even part of the current rebellion ongoing and may also be part of the arrest orders already.
Ms. Coz: Pwede po ba nating ibigay ‘yung particular places in Mindanao kung saan…?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ang martial law ho nai-declare sa buong Mindanao kasi ho nandiyan ‘yung buong network, hindi lang isang particular na lugar.
May kamag-anak dito na kaparte at kasama nila, may kamag-anak doon. So nagki-crisscross na. So walang particular na lugar na mababanggit, although may mga lugar na may concentrations, at ‘yun na nga ‘yung pinangyayarihan ng kaguluhan ngayon.
Ms. Coz: Okay, sir. Last question. Update lang po doon sa Central Business District sa Marawi, sir, kung ano po ang situation ngayon doon?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Patuloy pa rin nating nakukuha ‘yung mga gusaling dating hawak nila. As I mentioned, the other day, we gave you a report that 16 buildings have been cleared and two more in progress. I’m not sure if those two are done today.
We have to be very careful because you have to understand the nature of the battlefield right now. Asymmetrical na siya, low-cost, high-impact ang kanilang sinusunod na prinsipyo. At ang kanilang ginagamit ay maski anong pwede nilang gamitin.
So gumagawa sila ng Molotovs, mga Molotov bombs, lalagyan ng gasolina, lalagyan ng mitsa, sisindihan, itatapon sa mga nasa babang mga tropa natin at ano pa man.
May LPG diyan, lalagay nila sa isang pintuan, lalagyan nila ng patibong na merong paputok, pagka pumutok, pati ‘yung LPG sasabog.
So mga ganung klaseng parte ngayon ang hinaharap kaya dapat dahan-dahan. Hindi natin pwedeng ilagay sa risk ang ating sundalo dahil lang sa pagki-clear nang mabilisan.
Hindi po. It doesn’t work that way. If you will read through the recent events that have been happening in the Middle East, some areas were cleared after six weeks, after three months, after seven months. It depends on the gra— on the size of the areas that are being cleared.
And it has to be painstakingly slow. Kasi, kailangan ingatan natin ‘yung sarili nating tao. Ingatan natin ‘yung maaaring naiwan doon na mga sibilyan para ‘yung mga magbubuwis ng buhay ay hindi ganap na mangyayari.
So, this is the kind of situation that these terrorists are trying to create. If you’ve seen pictures of Aleppo, you’ve seen pictures of Mosul, ‘yun ang gusto nilang gawin sa Marawi.
Kaya kagabi at mga gabi pang nakaraan, kung napansin niyo sa inyong mga field reporters, ang nire-report nila, napakadaming sunog. Sinusunog nila. Sila po ang nanununog. Sinasadya nilang sunugin ‘yun buong Marawi.
Unang una, ‘pag maliwanag at sunog ‘yung paligid, nakikita nila ‘yung sino ang mga nasa paligid. So nababantayan nila ‘yung paligid nila, courtesy of ‘yung mga sunog. Hindi nila kailangan ng flashlight. May malaki na silang bonfire, eh. ‘Yun ang gusto nilang gawin.
So, ang pinakamaliwanag po dito, these people are evil forces who are not up to something good because what they want is to destroy, to burn, to kill, and what have you. They don’t care who you are for as long as you are not with them. They will kill, kill, kill.
And many of them to keep alert are using drugs. Kasi sa tagal na ng panahon na nandiyan sila, palagay niyo sa sobrang puyat na — hindi, hindi na — hindi ba kayo nagtataka bakit parang napaka-alerto pa nila, napaka-Superman pa nila?
They are using so many ways to keep themselves alert and part of that is the use of illegal drugs.
And we’re sure about that because in the previous operations we have done against this group and others, there have been telltale signs. There have been proofs.
So, in this case, dito sa Marawi, kaunting pasensya lang po. Gusto po nating matapos ito sa madaling panahon pero maselan kasi kaya po kailangan mabagal.
Kris Jose (Remate): Sir, tama po ba na gumagamit din sila ng mga kabataan para labanan ang tropa ng pamahalaan?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: ‘Yan po ay tiyak. At nakita na po natin ‘yung mga proof nitong mga nakaraang mga taon.
Pictures na nakuha sa mga kampo nila na na-overrun na natin. May mga — maaaring mga anak nila ito, maaaring mga kamag-anak nila ito pero ang ano dito mga bata.
Menor de edad. Very innocent. Even as young as five or seven years old, we’ve seen pictures of them being — bearing arms. Now, whether they are being trained, we’re not sure…
Maybe pini-picturan lang parang photo ops or whatever. But definitely for those older, mga 10 years old, nagte-training sila eh.
So these are minors and in the rules of engagements that we have — we have to be very careful about facing these kinds of threat.
But when a soldier’s life is at risk, we will not hesitate.
Ms. Jose: So, sir, ito ‘yung dahilan kung bakit mabagal, I mean, pano ba ‘to — medyo careful kayo…
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Dahan-dahan.
Ms. Jose: Opo. Dahan-dahan kayo sa—?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yeah. Ang pinaka- primordial consideration is una, safety ng ating tropa dahil alam naman natin na madami ng patibong na nandiyan na sari’t-sari.
At isa pa ‘yung buhay ng mga sibilyan na maaaring nagtatago pa sa loob para hindi sila madamay nang husto at saka ‘yung hostages, of course.
Ms. Jose: Sir, sabi niyo ang BIFF umatake sila sa Cotabato para ipaalam sa atin na nandiya-diyan sila. Ano naman po ‘yung mensahe kaya ng Maute group sa gobyerno? Bakit hanggang ngayon nanggugulo pa rin sila, sir?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi ba nais nilang kubkubin ‘yung buong Marawi, gawin nilang sarili nilang lugar at ipatupad kung anong gusto nilang iiral na mga batas nila kung meron man silang gagawin.
So, by and large, it’s not just a statement, it’s already being — it’s already happening, it’s a rebellion in progress.
Hannah Sancho (Sonshine Radio): Hi, sir. Sir, can we get an update po kung gaano na po kadami ang nahuli doon sa kasama sa arrest order na inilabas ng DND?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Kahapon, kasama po namin ‘yung mga lawyers natin. Hiningi po natin ‘yung bilang pero hindi pa po natin nakukuha.
So we’ll get that figure back to you once we get the report of our lawyers.
Ms. Sancho: Sir, dito po sila sa Manila dadalhin ‘yung mga nahuli po or depende sa—?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: May ilan na, may mga… Marami nang nadala dito. May mga naiwan pa rin sa Mindanao.
Ms. Sancho: Thank you, sir.
Ian Cruz (GMA 7): Usec Abella, good morning, sir. Sir, doon sa column ni Kit Tatad ano. Binabanggit niya na may mga reports na na-ospital ang Pangulo sa Cardinal Santos. Gaano po ka-totoo ‘yun na nagkaroon siya ng mild stroke?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: You know, he stood up. He showed himself. Kit Tatad may just be creating fantasies, okay.
Mr. Cruz: Follow up, sir, sinasabi rin niya na mineeting (meeting) daw ni Secretary Evasco ang ilang mga miyembro ng Gabinete tungkol dito sa kalusugan ng Pangulo, totoo po ba?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Like I said, Kit Tatad must be sourcing something that nobody knows about, okay.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Just a warning ‘no and I would like to request the assistance of media on this matter.
Threat inflation is a reality na nangyayari ngayon kasi hina-hype natin ‘yung mga nakikita nating maaaring maging banta.
So sana iwasan po natin ‘yan kasi nagdudulot ito ng agam-agam sa isip ng ating mga kababayan.
Ang importante po dito tulad ng binanggit namin is ‘yung panatilihin lang natin na conscious tayo sa — dapat maging alerto at makipag-tulungan, that’s it.
Because as I was saying a while ago, threats will be there and we should be prepared for it. So if there are things that you need to clarify then we will clarify it. But let’s not inflate it unduly and overreact.
And just one last. When… We lost people in the battlefield in the ongoing fight. But also in our chaplaincy service, we lost our bishop, si Bishop Tumulak and I just like to request that the public be advised that his remains now lie in state in Camp Aguinaldo and will be brought to St. Therese.
So those who have known him and who may have worked with him may come pay their last respects because he will be interned tomorrow. I’m not sure… Yeah, tomorrow, Thursday.
So this is all and thank you very much.
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