Malacañan welcomed the move of the Ulamas and all local chief executives of Lanao del Sur to condemn violent extremism following the signing of the fatwa at the recent Regional Ulama Conference.
“This supports the declaration of war against the ISIS-inspired Maute terror group of all 41 Mayors in Lanao del Sur through a manifesto signed on the 12 of August 2017,” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said during the regular Mindanao Hour press briefing on Friday, August 18.
“The 40 towns and one city of the province shall strengthen the civilian security plan of barangays mobilizing religious leaders with the said declaration,” he added.
“We assure the affected population and sectors that their needs shall be addressed in keeping with the fundamental principle of Civil Defense and Disaster Management on inclusivity, engaging the whole of Filipino society,” Abella stressed.
According to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig.Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., the fatwas from the MILF and the ARMM Grand Mufti and the Darul Ifta are “very critical ingredients in our program to fight and prevent the spread of violent extremism and radicalism.”
Padilla meanwhile said the military will assist in securing the scheduled resumption of classes at the Mindanao State University (MSU) next week, August 22.
“We will be facilitating and providing transportation for 800 balik-eskwela students of MSU from the current areas they are now in in Iligan and vicinity back to MSU itself,” Padilla said.
Similarly, Brig. Gen. Padilla lauded the heroic efforts of the workers at the Amai Pakpak Medical Center during the siege in continuing its operations to assist the injured, including wounded military personnel.
He said the military is also grateful for the DOH for its provision and facilitation of more than 17,000 vaccines for flu and pneumonia to soldiers who are engaged in the main battle area worth more than 100 million.
“We are very grateful because it has increased the resiliency and ability to fight infection of our soldiers who are in the battlefield,” Padilla said.
Citing the assessment of the Western Mindanao Command, Padilla said the main battle area has been reduced to just over half a kilometer grid square.
“The world of the enemy is getting smaller,” Padilla said, adding that enemies remain at about 50 to 60 while hostages are estimated at more than 30.
PHL condoles with victims of Barcelona attack
In the same briefing, meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Abella conveyed the country’s condolences to the victims of a terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain.
“Our hearts and prayers go to the families and loved ones of the innocent victims who perished and those who got injured in Barcelona,” Abella said.
“We are one with the peace-loving people of the international community in condemning this latest attack in Spain on Thursday that left at least 13 people dead and injured more than 100 others,” he said.
“The DFA, through our Philippine Embassy in Madrid and Honorary Consulate in Barcelona, is closely monitoring the situation and has been in touch with the authorities and leaders of the Filipino community,” he added.
2019 Southeast Asian Games in RP
Abella meanwhile confirmed that the government has agreed to host the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2019.
“We ask all concerned agencies to give their full support and cooperation in preparing the country’s hosting of the biennial event.
Together, let us show to the world our Filipino bayanihan spirit,” he said.
Relatedly, Abella noted the strong showing by Filipino athletes at the formal opening of the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia.
“We wish our athletes good luck. Incidentally, they have begun bringing honor to the country with three medals as of yesterday: a silver and two bronze medals,”
“We congratulate the Philippine team for Sepak Takraw for winning the first silver medal from this season’s Southeast Asian Games. We also extend our congratulations to our archers for the two bronze medals,” he said.###PND