Press Briefing

Bangon Marawi Press Briefing by Director General Harold Clavite Philippine Information Agency with Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Jr. Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima Deputy Administrator for Administration Office of Civil Defense

Event Bangon Marawi Press Briefing
Location Malacañang Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building

OPENING STATEMENTS:

DIR. GEN. CLAVITE: Thank you, Rocky. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Maayong buntag, MPC.

Yesterday, President Duterte signed Administrative Order No. 9, shifting Task Force Bangon Marawi’s focus into rebuilding and developing the now liberated city.

In this light, the focus of this briefing as well shifts into matters of Marawi alone.

With this promise, we turn over a new leaf from the Mindanao Hour into the Bangon Marawi press briefing, which we will do every Friday.

We make these changes with this in mind as our efforts progress, the more transparent we need to be and accountable to for the information we divulge to the public.

It is paramount to maintain efficient communication here and on the ground.

There is indeed progress in Marawi, primarily on the rehabilitation front.

Our internally displaced brothers and sisters have begun to return home, happy to see their community come together again. Hopeful despite having to restart their lives from scratch.

These developments give us hope and it may be a call for us to unite more than ever, if only for the cause of restoring Marawi back to its former glory.

Today, I will join the spokespersons of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. With us today, Major General Restituto Padilla; and the spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi, Assistant Secretary Toby Purisima.

My principal, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar and myself represent the information management and strategic communication support group in the Task Force Bangon Marawi.

So with this, we’d like to begin with our resource persons. I’d like to call Major General Padilla.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Thank you very much, Howie. I sit before you again to brief you on the security situation in the city of Marawi, which has still remaining pockets of enemy presence and continues to be a dangerous place.

That is why the place that we have sealed off and prevented from being entered into by civilian residents remains to be closed.

The main battle area, where most of the very heavy fighting occurred in the last few weeks of — prior to the liberation and the cessation of combat operation still harbors a number of stragglers.

As you may have noted in the last few days, there have been a series of engagements that have occurred between our forces who continue to perform clearing operations.

Ang mga nangyari po nitong mga nakaraang araw ay isang pagpapatibay na ang lugar na patuloy naming hindi pinapayagan balikan ng ating mga kababayan sa loob ng Marawi ay nananatiling malaki ang banta at marami ang maaaring makasakit pa sa kanila dahil naririto pa ho ang mga ilang stragglers na tinatawag natin.

Ito po ‘yung mga remnants o mga naiiwang pwersa ng kalaban na nagsisitago at ayaw magsilabas doon sa kanilang kinalalagyan hanggang sa kasalukuyan.

Kaya nga po nung ilang araw na nakaraan, ang una po nagi nating insidente dito ay sa clearing operations na isinagawa ng ating mga tropa na nagmula sa unit po ng mga Scout Rangers. May lima po na nasugatan noong sila po ay nagki-clear ng mga IED.

Ito naman po ay sinundan din ng kanilang pagkadiskubre sa isang nagtatangkang tumakas na isang Maute straggler na sa kanyang pagtakas ay may armas pa at dala-dalang gamit at nanlaban kaya po nakapatay tayo ng isa diyan.

Sinundan po ito ng pangatlong insidente na dalawa sa ating mga kasamahan ay nasugatan sa naging matinding bakbakan sa pagitan ng mga ilan pang grupo na tumatakas. At dalawa ang ating na-neutralize sa proseso na ‘yun.

So the process of clearing, ito pong ginagawa nating operation na ito ay patuloy pa rin.

Hindi po tayo lulubay, hindi po tayo bibitiw hangga’t ang bawat gusali na pinag-iwanan nila ay siguradong libre na po sa mga presensya ng mga kalabang patuloy na nagtatago.

We also pass on our congratulations and our appreciation to the very vigilant, very alert and very cooperative members of the Marawi BPATS, the Barangay Peace Assistance Teams, who have been responsible for arresting a foreign national who was trying to elude arrest and escape from the area.

This foreign national, an Indonesian, who bore in his possession a wrong or a false passport of another Indonesian national, and whose name has been revealed to the public lately, is now under the custody of the Philippine National Police – CIDG.

Cases will be filed against him for his participation and information coming from his narratives will continuously be validated before we believe every word he says.

So this is so far what we have. Again, our forces remain on the alert, remain vigilant and will continue to perform the clearing operations until such time that we can guarantee that this place, the last parts where the battle has raged in the last few weeks, is already free from every single terrorist. Thank you.

DIR. GEN. CLAVITE: Thank you, General Padilla. I’d like to turn over to Assistant Secretary Toby Purisima.

ASEC. PURISIMA: Thank you, DG. Ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, good morning.

Here are the updates from your Task Force Bangon Marawi:

To highlight the transition from military operations to rehabilitation and recovery, Administrative Order No. 3 has been amended.

Hence, under Administrative Order No. 9 dated 27 October 2017, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council or HUDCC, will be taking over the chairpersonship of the Task Force.

The Secretary of National Defense has been designated as vice chairperson of the Task Force, together with the Secretary of Public Works and Highways.

The DND will join the DILG in attending to the security and peace and order situation in Marawi City.

HUDCC, in line with its mandate, shall focus on the building of communities, not just of houses.

It shall ensure that basic services are available to the returning population and that commercial activity, business and livelihood will be up and running to facilitate the building of a better Marawi City.

The local government unit of Marawi City will be assisted by the newly-created Task Force Bangon Marawi field operations office in handling the implementation of the rehabilitation and recovery projects.

This will ensure the prioritization of the needs and requirements of our displaced kababayans.

The new officials of the Task Force are as follows:

The HUDCC chair, Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, will serve as Task Force chair;

NDRRMC Executive Director and Civil Defense Administrator, Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad is the new Executive Director of the Task Force;

HUDCC Assistant Secretary Avelino Tolentino III will be head of the Task Force Bangon Marawi Secretariat;

HUDCC Assistant Secretary Felix Castro will head the Task Force Bangon Marawi field office as manager;

Regional Director Raynildo S. Aniñon of the OCD-ARMM will be the executive officer of the Task Force Bangon Marawi field office;

And the field office will also be co-managed by the local government unit of Marawi City.

Now, allow me to relay the statement of Task Force Bangon Marawi chair, Secretary Eduardo del Rosario.

“I humbly accept the enormous challenge entrusted by the President of rebuilding Marawi. We will not only rebuild the physical structures but also rebuild the dreams of Marawi residents for a better future and a more progressive and secure Marawi.”

Moving on to the PCNA. Based on initial findings of the Post-Conflict Needs Assessment Damages and Loses Assessment (DALA), damages observed were on agricultural commodities and stocks.

Losses on income were observed due to abandonment of business and properties. Looting incidents were noticed in some structures as well as houses.

The return of IDPs in nine identified barangays in Marawi City will be completed tomorrow, November 4.

To ascertain that returning IDPs are legitimate Marawi City residents, identification cards are being issued by the respective barangays based on the roles of census and voters’ registration.

As previously mentioned, utilities such as water and electricity, and health services are already accessible in the identified barangays.

Rolling stores and markets will be established to provide basic needs. Means of transportation within the areas will also be made available to provide mobility.

On October 29, the residents of Basak Malutlut began to return. To date, a total of 2,252 IDPs have already returned home.

Cash assistance amounting to P5,000 and relief goods, consisting of rice and food packs good for 17 days, as well as hygiene kits and kitchen kits were distributed by the DSWD and Marawi City LGU to the returning Barangay Basak Malutlut residents.

DPWH-Region X and DPWH-ARMM, with the help of the Office of Civil Defense, provided vehicles for the transportation of our IDPs returning to specific Marawi City barangays.

The International Organization for Migration also provided 20 vans and 2,000 packs of food and water.

House cleaning in other barangays is ongoing. The house cleaning at Marawi Poblacion and East Basak was conducted along with the People’s Day activity at Barangay Basak Malutlut.

On October 31, a house cleaning was conducted at Luksa Datu and Barrio Green and completion of the return of 2,380 IDPs to Marawi Poblacion and 1,060 IDPs to East Basak.

The house cleaning activities for Tampilong and Matampay, as well as the completion of the return of 572 IDPs in Luksa Datu, and 707 IDPs in Barrio Green was conducted on November 1.

The house cleaning of Barangay Saber and the IDP return to Tampilong and Matampay was completed yesterday, November 2.

Today, November 3, and tomorrow, November 4, the house cleaning and returns of the IDPs in Pangao Saduk and Saber begins.

That’s all for my updates. And we have a video, showing to you the return of our IDPs.

[Video plays]

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:

Rocky Ignacio (PTV): So, sir, ‘yun po ‘yung mga IDPs. Sir, sa total po ng Marawi, ilan po ‘yung IDPs na ine-expect natin lahat na babalik talaga?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Total? Not just sa nine barangays?

Ms. Ignacio: Yes.

ASEC. PURISIMA: The LGU is still verifying that information ‘no, because, in fact, they are issuing IDs to make sure that only the legitimate residents of those communities will be able to return.

DIR. GEN. CLAVITE: Yeah. Thank you, Rocky. Before we entertain questions, I’d like to make a message and make an announcement for upcoming activities in Marawi.

The STRATCOMM, Strategic Communications Subcommittee of Task Force Bangon Marawi, which is headed by PCOO and PIA is organizing a Mashwara.

Mashwara is a Maranao term for community gathering.

We work with several member agencies of Task Force Bangon Marawi and the local government units of Marawi City and Lanao del Sur for these activities that are taking place on Sunday and Monday, November 5th and 6th.

We will do the Mashwara Bangong Ranao Information and Serbisyo Caravan.

The event will feature a series of IDPs, including a people-planning workshop, a puppet show by the PIA. Workshops and performances from volunteer local artists.

We are targeting four major evacuation centers for this event and we are preparing subsequent caravans in the following weeks of November and December.

We will continue to disseminate the latest updates from our on the ground teams through social media — our social media accounts.

We are now on Facebook, if you can search Bangong Marawi PH, as well as on Twitter for updates and information from the ground.

We hope you can help us in this critical endeavor of sharing our information from these platforms to your own spheres of influence.

For all our social media platforms, we use #BangonMarawi and #BangonRanao.

So to reiterate, the rebirth of Marawi would only be realized through our unselfish and consolidated efforts in every area of rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Tayo nang umuwi sa maunlad at mapayapang Marawi.

Maraming salamat po.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Asec. Purisima, sir may total na po ba tayo kung ilan lahat ‘yung mga IDP na nakabalik na or makakabalik, including itong pangwalo at pangsiyam na barangay hanggang bukas?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Dun sa nine barangays ang total diyan ay around 6,462 residents ‘no.

Although that is still subject to verification as I said, and napaka-importante nito dahil kasama nito ‘yung whole of community effort ‘no, dahil para siguraduhin na ‘yung lehitimong residente ang makakabalik doon at para safe sila.

At tandaan natin, safety parati ‘yung concern natin kaya kailangan natin mag-implement ng ganitong measures. At ang local government units naman, the cities and specifically the barangays are very much involved here. So alam nila ‘yun komunidad na binabalikan nila.

Mr. Ganibe: So residents — individuals po ito, not families?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Yes.

Mr. Ganibe: Pwedeng isa kay ano, kay General Padilla? Sir —

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yes.

Mr. Ganibe: Nakasuhan na, na-inquest na ‘yung Indonesian na nahuli na kasama dun sa…?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yeah. Nasa pangangalaga… [Excuse me]. Nasa custody na po siya ng PNP-CIDG at ang pagdulog ng kaso laban sa kanya ay isasagawa po ng ating kapulisan.

Ang sa amin lang po dito ay kung ano man po ang impormasyon na nailhad niya doon sa initial na kanyang naging salaysay ay patuloy nating pinag-aaralan at tinitingnan kung ito’y may basihan at kung maaaring pagkatiwalaan.

So ‘yan ay bagay na gagamitin natin upang ma-check uli ‘yung mga rebelasyon na kanyang inilabas.

Mr. Ganibe: So far, sir, may update na po ba tayo, coordination with the Indonesian authorities kung may mga kaso din siya? Baka ma… Kasi baka mamaya may mga mas malalaki siyang kaso sa kanila na kakailanganing…?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Batid namin na kanya ring inilahad na siya ay naging sangkot sa pagbobomba mismo sa Indonesia. So maaaring ‘yan ang mga kasong kanyang hinaharap sa kanyang sariling bansa.

Pero dahil siya ay may kaso sa atin, so dapat litisin natin siya dito sa ating sariling poder. At dito siya mananagot sa kanyang mga ginawang krimen.

So bukod dito, ‘yung kanyang sinasabi na may naiiwan pa na ilan diyan sa loob ng Marawi ay isang bagay din na nakuha rin natin sa ilang mga dating naging bihag ng Maute at… Maute group ‘no.

At ang kanyang sinasabi ngayon ay doon sa mga ilang gusali, sa ilalim nitong mga gusaling ito, kung saan merong mga basement o mga tunnel, may naiiwan pa.

So ‘yun kasi ang ginagawa nating clearing ngayon, ‘yun ang pinupuntirya ng ating mga nagki-clear ng mga gusaling ito.

Hindi basta-basta pwedeng pasukin ito dahil sa mga patibong, mga IED na nakalatag, at dahan-dahan nating ginagawa, at nais nating maiwasan ‘yung nangyari nung kamakailan na lima sa ating mga sundalo ay nasaktan.

Sa awa ng Diyos, wala po tayong naging casualty nitong mga nakaraang araw at hari nawa, manatiling ganyan.

Mr. Ganibe: Sir, kung sakali mang hilingin ng Indonesian authorities na malitis din siya dun sa mga kaso niya sa kanila, papaano po natin gagawin ‘yun?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Siguro po ang DOJ natin ang siyang sasagot ng mga bagay na ‘yan at kanilang titingnan kung maaari siyang i-extradite. Pero sa ngayon eh mabigat po ang kasong kanyang hinaharap dito sa atin.

Mr. Ganibe: Thank you, sir.

Rose Novenario (Hataw): Hi, sir. Follow up lang po dun kay Dexter. Sir, may record po kasi sa Camp Crame na natatakasan po sila nung mga high-risk detainees like Fathur Rahman al-Ghozi ng Jemaah Islamiyah noong 2003 at noong early ’90s po ni Alfredo de Leon ng Red Scorpion Group. Ano po ‘yung assurance ng publiko na hindi po mauulit ito sa kaso po ng Indonesian terrorist na ito?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi ko po masasagot ‘yan dahil hindi po ako miyembro ng kapulisan. Pero batid po namin na lahat na po ng kinakailangang gawin na pagpapatibay ng seguridad lalo na sa mga piitan na kinalalagyan ng mga foreign nationals na ito, lalo na at ito ay isang terorista, ay pinatibay na ng ating mga kapulisan.

So, hari nawa na hindi na mangyari ‘yung mga nangyari noong araw kung hindi, mananagot po ‘yung mga responsible individuals and offices na siyang nangangalaga sa kanyang katayuan.

Ms. Novenario: Sir, anong terror group po ang kinabibilangan nitong Indon terrorist na ‘to? Jemaah Islamiyah? Dar al-Islam?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: No, no, no. Itong foreign national na ito ay kabilang ng Daesh, ng ISIS. At siya ay nagparito sa ating bansa nang sila ay nakatanggap ng imbitisasyon kay Isnilon Hapilon ayon sa kanyang salaysay.

At ang original na kanilang pakay ay bombahin ang mga himpilan ng mga militar sa Mindanao. At dahil nangyari nga at pumutok nga itong Marawi, naantala ‘yung kanilang planong ‘yan at sila ay nag-focus dito sa naging seige ng Marawi.

Ms. Novenario: Okay, thank you po.

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Hi, good morning po sirs. Kay Asec. Purisma po. Stats lang po sir, nine barangays na po ‘yung cleared at unti-unting bumabalik ‘yung IDPs. “Yung total number of barangays na affected ng Marawi crisis ay?

ASEC. PURISIMA: 96 ang barangays ng Marawi at out of that 96, unti-unti na natin kino-coordinate sa local government unit ‘yung pagbalik ng ating mga IDPs ‘no.

And an additional statistics perhaps is 49 out of the 96 ay na-assess na in terms of the post-conflict. ‘Yung DALA, ‘yung Damages and Losses Assessment.

Forty-nine na ‘yan ang na-assess at inaantay na lang natin ‘yung clearance from AFP to go into the other barangays at ito ‘yung mga apektado kasama sa main battle area na tinatawag.

Ms. Coz: Sir, ilan po doon ‘yung kailangan pang i-clear ng military?

ASEC. PURISIMA: I don’t have that specific information.

Ms. Coz: Kay General Padilla?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: By and large, karamihan ng, o kabuuan ng Marawi ay na-clear na. Ang hindi lang natin pinapayagan pang pasukin ay ‘yung kung saan nagkaroon ng kaganapan ng mga bakbakan na napakatindi nitong mga nakaraang buwan.

So kung naaalala niyo po ‘yung mapa ng buong Marawi, mga lugar po na nasa kanan nung ilog na kung saan ang pagtawid ng tulay ay manggagaling doon sa may kapitolyo o sa Camp Ranao area side.

‘Yung lugar po sa kaliwa niyan, o ‘yung pagtawid ng ilog, ay hindi pa po pinapayagan. Patuloy pa pong sinasagawa ang clearing operation natin diyan. Pati na ‘yung mga lugar na kung saan nagkaroon ng maigting na bakbakan nitong mga nakaraang linggo. Lalo na ‘yun, ‘yung lugar na ‘yun.

Ms. Coz: ‘Yung estimation niyo po, sir, kung ilang barangays po ‘yun?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Initially, ang pinaka-matinding bakbakan ay nangyari sa mga 16 barangays na dun sa may loob ng parang business district.

At sa aking pagkaalam, ‘yung mga lugar na ‘yun ay nananatili pa ring off-limits.

So nakita naman po ninyo ang naging pangyayari nitong mga nakaraang araw. Mataas pa rin ang banta. Nariyan pa rin ‘yung mga risk ng sa kinaroroonan ng mga nagtatagong kalaban na ayaw lumabas.

So hindi natin pinahihintulutan ang mga residente dahil ito ay para sa kanilang kapakanan na rin.

Ms. Coz: Sir, hindi na po malaking banta ‘yung mga stragglers na natitira?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Malaking banta pa rin sila. Tulad nga po ng nakumpiska dito sa isang foreign national na nahuli ng ating BPATS. Sa kanyang pag-aari ay naroon ang isang granada.

May materyales na maaaring gumawa ng IED, may baril siyang dala na may isang magazine na dala.

So all of these items can inflict harm on innocent civilians just in case one of these terrorists forces his way through a certain community or what have you.

Ms. Coz: Paano po ‘yung treatment natin sa kanila, sir? Ano po ba ‘to, kailangan pa rin pong gamitan ng matinding pwersa ng militar or…

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi naman po.

Ms. Coz: Wala naman na po silang hawak na hostages, ‘di po ba?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Sa aming pagkakaalam po, wala na pong hostages, wala na pong kumplikasyon sa area, kaya ginagawa natin itong clearing.

Ang matindi lang dito na ating hinaharap ay ‘yung kinalalagyan nila ay pinalilibutan pa rin ng mga patibong, mga IEDs, and the like.

So we have to be very careful. Kaya nga iniiwasan natin na magkaroon pa tayo ng mga battle casualties.

Now, in the process of the clearing, itong ginagawa natin ngayon, nag-sagawa ulit tayo ng isang matiniding public broadcast effort.

Nakatuon ang ating mga loud speaker sa kinaroroonan or possible areas na pinagtataguan nila. And we have continuously blared our messages to all these individuals and asking them.

Hinihimok natin sila, pinakikiusapan na sila ay mapayapang sumuko na lamang para ng sa ganun, maayos nating matutugunan ‘yung ‘pag-clear ng lugar na ito.

Hindi katulad nung mga nangyari nung mga nakaraang araw na may dala silang armas, nanlaban pa sila, kaya wala po tayong magagawa kung hindi ma-neutralize (neutralize) itong mga elementong ito.

Ms. Coz: Sir, saka, sir, pwede po ba tayong magbigay ng timeline? Kasi depende po sa mga natitirang threat, ‘yung pagsisimula nung clearing operations po ng militar, ‘di po ba?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, tulad ng dati, ayaw nating magbigay ng timeline dahil hindi natin alam kung gaano katindi pa rin ‘yung ating hinaharap na challenges dito.

Pero, rest assured na ginagawa po natin ang ating abot-makakaya. Lahat po ng ating mga tropa ay nakatuon ang pansin dito sa pagsasagawa ng mga clearing operation na ‘to.

So the sooner we complete this, the better for the community, the better for everybody.

But again, in order to avoid further casualties on our part, we have to do this very deliberately, very carefully.

Ms. Coz: Thank you, sir. Kay Asec. Purisima po ulit. ‘Yung next batch po ng barangays na pupwede pong makabalik na ‘yung mga IDPs kasi nabanggit po ni General Padilla, nasa less than 20 pa po ‘yung talagang meron pong malaking banta pa. So kailan po natin i-e-expect ‘yung next batch ng barangays na makabalik naman po ‘yung mga IDPs?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Well, that would be very soon ‘no. But we will be taking the cue from the local government of Marawi and we’re gonna give our support as we did here in the nine barangays ‘no.

Kasi sila talaga ‘yung nakakaalam dun sa area, sila ‘yung nakakaalam dun sa citizens, dun sa constituents nila ‘no, para siguraduhing ready nang bumalik ‘yung mga constituents nila.

So susuportahan natin ‘yun. At maya’t-maya naman ‘yung announcements natin. As soon as meron na tayong info on that, ipapaalam na natin.

Ms. Coz: And then nabanggit niyo po kasi kanina, nagsagawa na po kami ng — kayo ng damage assessment and loss — income losses. Magkano po, sir? Pwedeng makuha ‘yung figure?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Hindi pa tayo nagre-release ng actual figures ‘no, because when we release the figures, gusto natin total na ‘to. Meaning, we will wait for the results of the assessment doon sa remaining barangays.

Kasi ganun naman ang methodology ng PCNA natin. Wala tayong partial results na nilalabas para hindi ma-distort ‘yung data natin at para ‘yung pag-appreciate ng data naman, on the part of the public, will be total and comprehensive na.

So, patuloy ‘yung pagre-review ng results, patuloy ‘yung ‘pag-e-evaluate at ilalabas na natin ‘yan once kumpleto na ‘yung assessment natin.

Peng Aliño (Radyo Pilipinas Davao): Yeah, good morning. General Padilla, regarding the media who are covering the area, are they really allowed to… ‘yun, parang andun sila sa mga areas na, like yesterday, may mga stragglers pa sila na — after they give an info to the military on the presence of some stragglers in the area.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Do you mean to say ‘yung mga media na nagko-cover? May… madami na po tayong lugar na na-open sa coverage ng media. Lalo na po ‘yung mga parte ng main battle area na sa pagtawid ng ilog, na pinayagan natin ang media na maggawa ng kanilang mga reports.

Ito ay, unang-una, upang ipakita ‘yung extent ng damage na nangyari dun sa naging bakbakan na ito.

Pero may ibang lugar diyan na patuloy pa ring bawal kasi risky pa rin sa bawat papasok diyan kung saka-sakaling may lumabas, may tumakas, at ito ay maging banta sa kanila at wala tayong angkop na pwersa upang tulungan sila.

We don’t want to… we don’t want that to happen and we wish to avoid that. So there are certain areas that we keep restricted for the moment.

Pero ‘yung ibang lugar, open na rin. At katulad nga nung Indonesian, nahuli po siya sa karatig na barangay. Hindi na dun sa may mismong main battle area, so patakas na ito. Kaya ganun pa rin. The risks are still there.

Ms. Aliño: Just one follow-up. Regarding the stragglers, do we have the numbers of how many…?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Wala kaming eksaktong numero. We don’t have the exact numbers. But based on the revelations of this last foreign national that was captured, he mentioned about 36.

But we are still validating that number because there are about three buildings here that seem to house them. And that’s on the process of being checked.

So kung ano man ‘yung mga nasa ilalim ng mga gusaling ito, siguro malalaman natin later on.

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): Hi, sir. To General Padilla. Sir, nai-declare na ni Presidente ‘yung liberation ng Marawi.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, yes.

Ms. Niu: Although nasagot na kahapon ni acting Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, but then mayroon pa… 36 are too many pa rin, sir. At… delikado pa rin. Hindi ba napaaga ‘yung announcement ng liberation?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi, Tuesday, hindi ‘no. kasi ‘yung declaration ng liberation ay noong punto na wala na ‘tong bearing.

‘Yung mga naiiwan diyan na stragglers, they are leader-less, they have no direction, they are merely fighting for survival. So they have no impact on the overall security of the place.

The reason why we are trying to restrict that area is to ensure that not one of these terrorists may be able to escape because one terrorist who is able to escape has the potential of inflicting harm on many nationals — on many of our nationals.

Halimbawa nito, kamakailan nakita niyo po ‘yung nangyari sa New York, sa lower Manhattan. Isang tao lang po ‘yun. ‘Yan ‘yung tinatawag na “lone wolf” kind of attack.

Noong isang araw lang, kahapon, sinundan ito ng isang pangyayari na naman sa Denver, Colorado.

So lahat ito, sa Estados Unidos. So ganun din ‘yung mga nangyari nung nakaraang mga buwan at taon sa ibang lugar sa Europa. Many of these involved only one individual.

And that is why we are taking all the pains. Kaya kami nag-iingat na walang makakatakas na isa diyan dahil ganito kalaki ang maaaring gawin na kasamaan o pinsala nito kung saka-sakaling makatakas at maghihiganti ito sa ibang lugar.

Ms. Niu: And speaking of lone wolf attacks, sabi niyo nga, isa lang tao na ‘yan. Pero mayroong report these past few days coming from PNP, sir, na ‘di umano, meron silang na-monitor na mga Maute na nasa Taguig na. So meron ba kayong monitoring dito o anong ginagawa?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi po ‘to surprising dahil nung simula pa lang po ng Marawi siege, sinabi na natin na ‘yung mga pamilya ng Maute, hindi naman po lahat masasama ‘yan.

Meron pong ilan sa kanila naka-parte dito sa naging rebellion, pero marami rin po na maaaring kapangalan, lehitimo ang kanilang ginagawang source ng kabuhayan at nasasangkot lang sila dahil ang apelyido nila ay Maute.

So we need to verify and cross-check all of these data. But the threat that was mentioned from the police… that is the reason why we remain proactive in monitoring.

Ms. Niu: Yes, sir. Parang ang sinasabi kasi dun sa nakuha nilang info, hindi ‘yung plain relatives lang ng Maute, but may plano daw na magpasabog gamit ‘yung mga ice cream vendor, candy, taho, ‘yung mga ganun, sa maraming tao nila gagawin.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Kaya nga po ‘yung aming panawagan na paulit-ulit nitong mga nakaraang linggo ay kailangan namin maging katuwang, maging partner ang bawat mamamayang Pilipino.

This was the concept of shared responsibility and security that we have been pushing, which means to say na ang bawat Pilipino sa bawat dako na kanyang kinaroroonan, sa buong kapuluan, ay kinakailangang makipagtulungan sa ating otoridad.

‘Yan ay sa pamamagitan ng pananatiling nagiging alerto, nagiging vigilant, nagiging mapagmasid sa kanilang kapaligiran.

Kaya tulad ng sinabi mo, Tuesday, kung may nakikita sila na may nagtitinda ng ice cream pero kahina-hinala ang galaw at hindi sang-ayon dun sa ordinaryong nagtitinda ng ice cream, then dapat i-report na kaagad nila ‘yan.

Deo de Guzman (RMN-DZXL): Good morning, sir. For General Padilla, sir.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, yes.

Mr. de Guzman: Yes, sir. ‘Yun pong sinabi niyo na clearing operations ongoing doon sa main battle area sa Marawi City, meron na po ba tayong bilang or na nakukuha pang mga bangkay ng civilian doon sa lugar?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: ‘Yung lugar na pinagkasagawaan ng ating clearing operation ay so far wala namang nakukuha ng cadavers kasi naka-concentrate kami sa ilang buildings.

Hindi pa namin ganap na nakuha ‘yung mga ibang buildings na na-declare nang maaaring cleared ‘no.

Ang paghahanap sa bangkay ay hindi lang nasa aming poder, kundi pinagbibigyan daan din namin ang Bureau of Fire na siyang nagsasagawa talaga nito, pati na ‘yung mga members ng law enforcement agencies at saka local government.

So we have to hear from them as well if they have retrieved any cadavers since the cessation of combat operations.

Mr. de Guzman: Sir, since hinihintay niyo pa po, do you expect the number of civilians who died in the Marawi siege to shoot up?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Well, potentially, not really shoot up, but potentially, we may be able to recover a number of cadavers. Kasi doon sa talaan ng local government, may ilan pa ring unaccounted.

Hindi ko lang po batid kung anong eksaktong bilang ng unaccounted sa kanilang talaan, pero this will be the subject of the search in the areas that we need to clear.

Mr. de Guzman: Last question from my side, sir. Meron pong last na ipinakita ang — doon sa Marawi na na-recover na mga looted items.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yes.

Mr. de Guzman: Mga appliances and meron pong cash monies and mga jewelries. Meron pa po ba tayong additional na ipe-present na makikita, na supposedly na mga looted items?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Nais ko pong linawin. ‘Yung huling ipinakita sa atin during a press con noong isang araw ng ating ating Joint Task Force Lanao, at nandun si Colonel Brawner, ‘yun po ay mga na-recover ng ating sundalo sa isang building na kanilang kinlear (clear) matapos na nagkaroon ng bakbakan at nakubkob nila ‘yung lugar at na-neutralize nila ‘yung kanilang mga kalaban.

So it was contained in a bag, or two or three bags, there was about 300,000 pesos in cash and gold jewelries na nandun sa nilagyan na ‘yun.

‘Yun po ay mga nakuha ng mga rebelde, mga Maute, mga terorista, na sinubukan nilang itakas kasi gagamitin nila ‘yan sa kanilang susunod na mga operasyon o pag-sustena sa kanilang presensya kung saan man sila magtatago.

So these were not taken by soldiers, these were taken by terrorists. At ipinakita ito upang ipagbigay alam sa lahat na ang ating mga sundalo ay hindi nagsasagawa ng ganitong klaseng gawain.

Ngayon, ‘yung nireportnatin na isang opisyal at limang kasundaluan, ito po ‘yung mga kaganapan na na-check natin noong mga unang buwan o pangalawang buwan ng bakbakan diyan sa Marawi.

Ito po ay hindi pera at hindi rin po ‘to mga alahas, kundi mga appliances, kung hindi ako nagkakamali.

So may I just clarify that the investigation is still ongoing and we will not tolerate if all these individuals are found guilty.

So dun naman sa aspeto po na lumalabas ngayon, may mga nagpapalabas po kasi na nililitratuhan nila ang ating mga sundalo na paalis na ho ng Marawi at lulan sa kanilang mga sasakyan ay mga appliances.

Hindi po ‘yun looted items. Ito po ‘yung mga kagamitan ng mga rear echelons natin kasi nung pumunta po tayo diyan, dala po natin lahat ng ating kagamitan.

Tandaan po natin, may nagluluto po para sa ating mga sundalo na lumalaban sa harap. Pagkatapos po ng labanan, sila po’y magpapalitan, magpapahinga naman po ‘yung ilang kasundaluhan.

So ‘yung rear support echelons natin, may dala pong lutuan ‘yan, may dalang refrigerator, may freezer, na gamit po ng unit. ‘Yan po ‘yung mga field kitchens na sinasabi natin.

Dala-dala rin po nila ang kanilang mga cot beds, dala rin po nila ang kanilang mga sariling electric fan habang nandun sila sa kanilang headquarters.

So these are not looted items but possessions of the unit who have been detailed to the area. And now that they are returning back to their stations, of course they need to bring them back. They are possessed by these units.

So kung gustong checkin (check) po ng ating mga kababayan ito, ‘yan po ay may mga label, o may mga sticker na nakalagay “government property” at nasa property books po ng ating mga units ‘yan.

So sana po huwag pong paniwalaan ng ating mga kababayan ang mga kasinungalingang ini-ispread (spread) ng ating ibang mga kababayan na malisyoso ang pag-iisip.

Tandaan po natin, napakalaki ng sakripisyo ng ating kasundaluhan and ayaw naman natin pong maisantabi lang ito dahil sa mga ilang kwento na tayo’y nagnanakaw sa loob.

Kung meron man po, tulad ng aming nabanggit, malalaman natin at may patibay po ang mga ating kababayan, idulog lang po sa amin ito at buong — kusang loob po nating iimbestigahan at paparusahan kung sino man ito.

Mr. de Guzman: Sir, one short lang po. Ano pong gagawin doon sa mga jewelries and cash po na na-recover?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Itinurn (turn) over po namin sa local government. Lahat po ng nakuha ng ating kasundaluhan, pagka bigay po ito sa joint task force headquarters, binigay po natin ito sa mga local government officials na ating kasama at sila po ang maghahanap kung sino-sino ang nagmamay-ari nito.

At ganun din po doon sa mga nakuha na milyon-milyong piso noong mga unang linggo ng grupo ni Lt. Savellano, isang bayani natin na subsequently after that incident, namatay po.

So ‘yan po ay accounted lahat, nkalista, at kung ano man po ang na-recover na iba pang bagay na hindi naipakita sa media, nandoon po sa mga libro ‘yan at itinurn-over po natin ‘yan sa ating mga local government executives.

Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): For General Padilla, sir. Just to be clear, can actual construction begin or kay Asec. Toby pala pwede, with stragglers still in some barangays? I mean, I know that the post assessment review, the assessment is ongoing now but can actual construction begin with stragglers in the area?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Well, in truth it has started already. Sa totoo lang, nagsimula na ito sa temporary relocation areas sa may labas ng mismong main battle area.

Ms. Andolong: In the main area sir? Not in the…

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: So sa main battle area, hangga’t hindi po tayo — Kasi ho may na-clear na na mga lugar eh.

Tandaan po natin, napakalaki ng Marawi City, 96 baranggays ‘to. Ang pinag-uusapan lang po natin dito na hindi pa po pinapasok ay — at hindi pa natin pinahihintulutan ay maaring 16 or less barangays na lang.

All the rest of the barangays are in the process of getting the clearance for the return of residents. Dahan-dahan po ito. So pagkatapos po nung sinasabi na post conflict needs assessment, may clean up na isasagawa. At ‘yung clean up na ‘yun ang magbibigay daan sa pagbabalik ng mga residente.

Pero ‘yung pagbabalik ng residente ay may proseso rin na sinusunod ng local government. That is the identity check. Kinakailangan malaman kung lehitimong residente sila doon bago sila pabayaang bumalik.

Sa aming parte, matapos na naming m- clear at mai-certify na wala ng banta o hazards na andun sa lugar, ipagbibigay alam po natin ito sa local government at sila po ang magle-lay down ng proseso upang magsagawa ng pagbabalik ng residente. At kami ay tutulong lamang sa pagbibigay ng seguridad.

Ms. Andolong: So pwede sir for those already cleared?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Pwedeng pwede po —

Ms. Andolong: if they are near the areas?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Basta hindi po adjacent o malapit doon sa area na nanatiling kinaroroonan pa ng maaring pinagtataguan ng stragglers.

Ms. Andolong: Okay. And lastly, sir about the stragglers pa rin. How would you say are they surviving? I mean, they have been there for so long. Would you say that there are still residents who may be helping them?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: No, definitely, there are no residents helping these stragglers. Tulad ng sabi ko, they are leaderless. They are directionless, they are merely fighting for survival and maybe they want to escape that’s why they are hiding it out, hoping for an opportunity to be able to get out.

Once they find an opportunity, like what these few people, few stragglers did in the last few days, we can guarantee you that our security forces are around, they are guarding the place. And that’s why we are using every opportunity to encourage them to surrender.

Lahat po ng pagkakataon na nasasaaming poder na kaya naming gawin para himukin sila na magsi-suko ng mapayapa ay ginagawa natin.

—END—

Resource