Mindanao Hour Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Omar Alexander Romero Director V, PCOO and Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Jr.
|Mindanao Hour Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Omar Alexander Romero Director V, PCOO and Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Jr.|
|Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang|
|16 June 2017|
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning, press. This morning, the updates will be read by Director Omar Romero.
DIRECTOR ROMERO: Thank you sir. Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Updates on the situation in Marawi as of 6 p.m. of 15 June 2017:
For the enemy killed, the number has increased to 225. As far as the recovered firearms is concerned, we already have 208. Government casualties as of the latest update has risen to 59.
Significant updates for the situation in Marawi: There is recovery and control of strategic vantage points by advancing troops. So this would be the high buildings and the key structures in the built up area.
As far as government intervention is concerned, [next please] as of 15 June, 6 p.m., there are a total of 63,430 families or 309,412 persons displaced.
We also have, as of the latest update, a total of P98,830,063.20 worth of assistance which have been provided to the affected families. Okay. Thank you sir.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you. Further developments
On the arrest of the Maute bomber:
Maute bomber Mohammad Noaim Maute, alias Abu Jadid, who is in the Arrest Order issued by the Department of National Defense, has been arrested in Cagayan de Oro as of yesterday morning.
This, we consider a positive development in our campaign to end rebellion in Marawi to flush out evil forces and to bring peace to the island of Mindanao.
For the rest of the updates, we’d like to defer to Brigadier General Padilla.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Good morning Malacañang Press Corps. Just to reiterate the newly-formed Joint Task Group Maranao or Ranao under Brigadier General Ranny Ray has continued to reach out to all stakeholders of Marawi, principally local leaders, the informal leaders such as sultans, the religious leaders such as ulamas and imams, and others in the community in preparation for the rehabilitation, recovery, and reconstruction and rebuilding phase.
This consultation will continue on until the preparation for — once we get to the end of hostilities is achieved and will make way and pave the way for the entry of an assessment team to conduct a survey of the damage and the requirements that will be needed to rebuild and reconstruct Marawi again.
So these are the significant develops that I could share and we continue to reach out to all our kababayans in Marawi, particularly all the Maranaos who are outside, in Iligan, in Marawi itself, and in other areas.
And we’d like to assure them that we are one with them in our efforts to liberate Marawi at the soonest time possible.
For the tactical updates, I believe this was given already by our personnel in Marawi yesterday and there have been no addition to that.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
Maricel Halili (TV 5): Hi sir, good morning.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Good morning, Maricel.
Ms. Halili: Good morning sir. General Padilla.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Good morning.
Ms. Halili: Sir, may we have your comment about the statement of former Congressman Teddy Casiño because it seems that they went to Lanao del Sur yesterday and apparently mukhang binlock (block) daw sila ng ilang military personnel sa papuntang provincial capitol when they’re about to give relief goods? What happened to that sir?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Let us not put or point fingers at our troops for blocking them. We did not block them. Actually, they were part of a convoy who were supposed to deliver relief goods and may not have coordinated with the local government.
The roadblock that they’re saying is the checkpoint that is in between Iligan and Marawi and we have not been allowing anyone else other than local government and other officials to come in to Marawi because of the conflict that is ongoing.
We have also requested all those who have been giving relief goods to channel the relief goods through the local government who can then distribute it in the evacuation centers, without them going into the danger zone.
As you may have heard, there was an incident involving a media man yesterday right at the very heart of the capitol, where a stray grazed his neck.
So we don’t want anyone getting hit any of these stray bullets if they go to Marawi itself. So in the interest of safety, we have been working closely with local government and its social welfare arm and health arm to provide the services needed by the evacuees without necessarily having other people from the outside exposed to danger.
Ms. Halili: Kasi sir, Representative Casiño’s claiming that he coordinated with the local government. So mukhang wala pong nangyari.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: But the local government did not coordinate with the military and the military would not have recommended it to push through. They would have been advised just to give it to those providing relief in Iligan and will be transported to Marawi itself.
In any case, whatever assistance there are coming from the private sector, from concerned individuals, you did not personally deliver them by yourself because you will unnecessarily put yourselves in the danger areas.
Your being good Samaritans is well-acknowledged and your help will definitely get where it is intended and that is guaranteed.
Ms. Halili: Thank you sir.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Thank you.
Kris Jose (Remate): Sir, na-verify na po ba ninyo ‘yung report na may 300 armed men daw po ‘yung nakalusot sa Lanao del Norte and may mga members po ng Maute ang nasa Iligan City?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Sa unang katanungan mo, ang sagot diyan
mahirap hindi mapansin ‘yung 300. Kung merong 300 na sinasabi niyo, mapapansin kaagad ‘yan at maaaksyunan kaagad.
Kaya kaka-check lang po natin sa ating mga tauhan doon. Wala po silang ganyang balita doon at maaaring ‘yan ay parte ng disimpormasyon na ikinakalat ng naiipit ng kalaban.
‘Yung sa pangalawang tanong mo. Kung may miyembro na ng Maute na nasa Iligan, hindi po natin dine-deny na maaaring merong iilan na nakalusot sa patuloy na pag-alis ng ilang mga evacuees sa Marawi papunta sa ibang karatig lugar tulad ng Iligan at Cagayan de Oro.
So itong mga individual na ‘to, maaaring nakalusot at hindi sila naproseso at nakita na maaaring naging miyembro.
Kaya nga po ang ating pong pakikipagtulungan sa local government pati na po sa ating mga security sector partners diyan ay pinaigting na natin.
So there is a heightened security measure that is employed or enforced now in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro to check and to watch closely any possible movements of suspicious persons so that communities remain safe.
And this is where we continue our call on the public particularly our citizens in these areas to be partners of increasing the security posture by being vigilant, alert, and watchful of their surroundings, and get to authorities’ attention whoever they see as suspicious-looking characters or whatever items that are left unnecessarily in any place.
Ms. Jose: So sir wala pong reason para po maalarma ‘yung mga residente ng Iligan?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Wala po. May angkop po tayong inilatag na security para po sa mga lugar na ‘yan at patuloy pong sinasagawa ‘yan.
Kaya po ang ating pong abiso lang po sa lahat, lalo na po sa ating mga mamamayan sa Cagayan de Oro at tsaka sa Iligan ay ipagpaumanhin niyo na po ‘yung pagkaantala niyo po sa mga checkpoint kasi humahaba po talaga dahil sa mga ginagawang pag-check sa mga sasakyan at sa mga tao, at maaaring maantala kayo sa inyong galaw dahil po dito.
Ms. Jose: Thank you po.
Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): General Padilla sir.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes?
Ms. Andolong: If you’re saying that some of them may have travelled already to Iligan and CDO, what other measures then are you doing to make sure that they do not head elsewhere or go beyond those provinces?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: That’s why we have coordinated with local government and other security partners to heighten their security posture. And the call for the public to be part of that security posture is very important.
As we have been reiterating so many times, the populace has to understand that providing security in every part of the Philippines is a shared responsibility among the populace, the military, and the police. And other security partners for that matter.
So that’s how we are proactively engaging this. So… threats will always be there, whatever they may be. And the gravity of that threat is the one that we are guarding against and hence, preparation is key.
Ms. Andolong: Sir, the Supreme Court is expected to come out with this decision on whether or not martial law is valid by July 5. Can you describe to us how military operations will be without Martial Law? I mean, it may still continue, but how will it — how will pag-declare, for instance, na hindi siya valid, how will it affect military operations against ISIS or Maute groups?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: We’re not preempting the decision of the Supreme Court. But military operations will continue, and we will work within the parameters provided by law.
Right now, things are working to our advantage because we don’t have to line up to get search warrants or arrest warrants. And that’s a very important consideration.
Among others, that’s the only key advantage that we will have. And that’s a very important advantage because in the whole of Mindanao, if suspicious people or persons are seen to be aiding the rebellion, then necessary actions can be taken immediately.
Ms. Andolong: In relation to that sir, how will it specifically affect ‘yung efforts to go after those in the two arrest orders issued?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: If you don’t have martial law, then you cannot just arrest them if they don’t have standing warrants. But right now, even if they don’t even have warrants of arrests or standing warrants, you can arrest them and just file in the Court — file the necessary cases in the court three days after.
Ms. Andolong: Sir, ano na po status nung pag-aresto ng mga nasa listahan? I mean, how many have we arrested out of… I’m not sure how many…
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I don’t have the exact number, I’ll have to ask our lawyers. But the cases are progress — they have been filed, as we have been provided three days. So even before the three days is over, nai-file na ‘yung mga kaso. And this will be a go.
Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning. To General Padilla.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Good morning, Leila.
Ms. Salaverria: Regarding Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, what’s your fear with the possible presence of the extremists there? Ang concern ba natin is that they are just using it to hide, or that they might attempt another takeover like in Marawi?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Safe to say, I can tell you, they don’t have the capacity to do what they did in Marawi anymore. Their capabilities have been significantly degraded, and they have specifically targeted Marawi to sow terror, wreak havoc, possibly kidnap people, destroy homes, schools, what have you. And that’s what exactly they did. That’s exactly what they did.
So any kind of action of that extent will not happen in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. And we are taking up proactive measures to ensure that even an attempt to sow some confusion o sow terror in these areas by small actions will be prevented.
That is why there is an arrest one after the other that is being made.
And again, I would like to emphasize, even if I sound like a broken record, that every citizen should be part and should be responsible for watching over their surroundings and cooperating with government in that matter.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, regarding the situation in Marawi. We’re getting assistance from the United States. Are we considering asking for help from other foreign allies?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: As has been announced previously, we are open for any assistance from other countries. However, the emergency we are facing is immediate.
And if we do expect from these countries who are offering help, it may take some time. So potentially, whatever assistance may be offered may be for future events that we may face and not for this one.
Ms. Salaverria: On our part, sir, we won’t take action to request from them? Other foreign allies?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Not unless we really need to. Under the circumstances we are facing right now, I think we have adequate requirements already covered.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir last na lang —
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: But I’d just like to add, this is part and parcel of the capability buildup and modernization of the Armed Forces. And many equipment that may be required such as those in the technical assistance field is part of that that we have lined up for acquisition.
If we are able to expedite this acquisition and put up all these capabilities and make it useable for our troops, then it won’t be necessary for us to ask for any kind of assistance.
That is why we always call upon Congress and our other legislators to help enable their Armed Forces, as the President has been commanding everyone to facilitate the enabling of the Armed Forces to face all these threats.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, last na lang. Baka you have an update, sir. Do you know what has happened to the reports of the policemen that have been unaccounted for in Marawi?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I unfortunately do not have the complete picture of the unaccounted policeman except for the successful rescue of those that came out the other day.
They were debriefed and it… they don’t have — they did not provide information on the whereabouts of others. So we’re only specific to these few policemen who came to the aid of some Christians who were with them. So that’s something that was very positive from Marawi during that day.
Tuesday Niu (DZBB): To General Padilla, sir. Sir, kailan po ‘yung huling pagkakataon na nagpatawag si Pangulong Duterte ng meeting with our security officials at humingi ng briefing dito sa nangyayari po sa Marawi?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Kung hindi ho ako nagkakamali, noong nakaraang linggo, nagkaroon na po ng pag-briefing para kay Presidente bago siya tumulak papuntang Mindanao at nagsagawa ng kanyang pagbisita sa ating mga tropa.
So ‘yun po ‘yung kahuli-hulihang pormal na command conference matapos nung siya’y nakabalik galing sa Russia.
Ngayon naman po, maski hindi po siya nagkaroon ng command conference sa lahat ng ating mga tauhan sa Armed Forces tsaka sa pulis, patuloy po siyang nagbibigay ng guidance sa Chief of Staff at kay Secretary. So may telepono naman po tayo. May mga secured facilities naman po tayo na kung saan maaari niyang matawagan at makausap ang ating mga senior leaders. So patuloy po ito.
Ms. Niu: Opo. ‘Yung ngayong sitwasyon sir, hindi pa natin siya naa-update? May balak ba kayo na i-update na siya?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Araw-araw po, nabbibigay po sa kanya ‘yung update. Lalo na ngayon na may mga kaganapan po sa Marawi. Ito po’y sinusumite sa kanyang special staff na nagco-collect nito tapos bini-brief po siya araw-araw.
Ms. Niu: Opo. Sir, ‘yung… Nag-e-employ pa po ba tayo ng air strikes sa Marawi?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Hangga’t kinakailangan ay hindi natin tatanggalin ‘yan sa mga available resources na pwedeng gamitin ng ground commander.
Tandaan po natin, ang hinaharap po natin dito ay inilalagay sa peligroso ang buhay ng sundalo. Kaya anumang hakbang na pwede nating gawin para maiwasan ang pagkawala ng isa mang sundalo natin ay gagawin natin.
Ms. Niu: Ginagamit na rin po ba sir ‘yung SF-260 ulit after nung friendly fire and after you submitted the result of the investigation?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Naitanong po sa akin ito kahapon, pero wala pa pa hong kasagutang nakukuha. So hindi ko pa po batid kung ibinalik na po siya ulit sa area. Ang alam ko po kahapon, may nangyaring air strike pero hindi po sila na-employ.
Ms. Niu: Thank you, sir.
Philip Tubeza (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning, General.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, Philip.
Mr. Tubeza: Sir, kamusta na po ‘yung… may update po ba dun sa 53 million — 52 million na na-recover natin sa Marawi?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Wala pa kaming nakukuhang report pero ‘yung mga pera na ‘yan ay nasa safekeeping pa rin ng Task Force Marawi. Nakatago pa rin po doon sa headquarters.
Mr. Tubeza: Hindi pa po natin nate-trace sir kung saan po nanggaling?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi pa rin. May sinasabi silang may nagmamay-ari ng pera na mag-asawa pero yumao na pareho at sinasabi ay ‘yung nagmamay-ari ngayon ay ‘yung mga anak.
Pero hangggang sa kasalukuyan, wala pa po kaming nakukuhang ulat na lumabas na ‘yung mga anak para makausap.
Mr. Tubeza: May links po ba sila sa Maute group?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ayokong pangunahan ‘yung imbestigasyon so hindi ko muna masasagot ‘yan.
Ms. Andolong: Sir, there are reports saying that PNP officials in Pampanga are saying or referring to intel reports na meron daw pong Maute in Pampanga. Is that right? Can you confirm this, sir?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I don’t have… I don’t have that information at hand right now. Let me check and I’ll get back to you later.
Dharel Placido (ABS-CBN News Online): Hi, sir, good morning. Can we get an update po on your estimated number of trapped civilians and what measures are we taking to ensure na hindi po sila magugutom? May mga measures po ba tayong tine-take for that?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Regarding the number of trapped civilians, we rely on the local government for the estimate and per their estimate, there are about less than a thousand, about 600 more or less na naiiwan pa doon sa loob.
Regarding providing provisions for them, there are attempts and we are helping in those attempts, but without compromising the safety of the humanitarians from the local government who are wanting to do that. So… and many of these attempts have been unsuccessful.
So there are efforts to reach the residents who are still trapped via text messaging and via loud speakers to forewarn them or give them advices on how to go about doing a safe escape.
And as you have seen in the last few days, there have been successful instances where we were able to recover trapped residences.
We hope to have more of those kinds of incidents as we make and pursue these attempts of providing information for those inside.
Mr. Placido: Thank you sir.
Ms. Salaverria: For Spokesperson Abella. Sir, does the President have plans on — of meeting his Cabinet today?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Not today. But as far as I know, he’s already in Davao. But he’s — just to assure you, he’s all right.
Ms. Salaverria: Sec, you said he’s not meeting them today. Do you know when he plans to gather them?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: There’s a planned… I don’t have the exact date but not — No details but there’s a planned Cabinet meeting for next week. It’s not yet definite.
Ms. Salaverria: But will it be in Davao or in Manila?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It can be either way.
Q: [off mic]
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Hindi naman… It’s about Sunday, okay? Happy Father’s Day. They have something really nice here but let’s just say have a Happy Father’s Day and don’t forget your Dads, okay? Have a great day. Thank you.
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