Press Briefing

Bangon Marawi Press Briefing by Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Major General Restituto Padilla, Jr.; Office of Civil Defense Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima; and Philippine Information Agency Director-General Harold Clavite

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

OPENING STATEMENTS: 

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

The Office of Mayor Majul Gandamra and the city government of Marawi has been leading and facilitating a series of activities that helped our affected communities and brought them back to their respective barangays.

On October 29th, the city government of Marawi facilitated the first Kambalingan or homecoming. And it’s going to be a continuous set of activities in the next couple of days. Another set of homecoming will be facilitated by the city government of Marawi and all stakeholders on the ground.

Before we start today’s press briefing, I’d like to give you a brief video on Kambalingan.

Maraming salamat. And we have new updates for you today. We have AFP Spokesperson Major General Restituto Padilla Jr. and Spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi, Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, let us all give a warm welcome to Major General Padilla and Asec. Toby Purisima.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Thank you very much, sir.

Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps. Good morning, all kababayans monitoring this Mindanao Hour.

For our updates for today. I’d like to first start off with the security situation in Mindanao, the implementation of martial law and our ongoing focused military operations in various parts of Mindanao.

In the 6th ID AOR, the resumption of focused military operations was… began last 14 November, the early morning of 14 November when most news already reported that we had early morning airstrikes and artillery bombardment of certain held areas by groups of BIFF personalities.

The target of the focused military operation that was resumed on that date were the groups Toraype and Bungos.

And as of now, we are still continuing these focused military operations as our proactive measure to address whatever threats these groups pose on the areas of Maguindanao and Cotabato.

In the BASULTA AOR, the recent abduction of six locals indicate a… indicate that the ASG in the area is already facing dark needs and hence, are targeting so many local individuals that have not been in their list previously.

We assume that these are perhaps part of their ploy to perhaps take out some of our focused military operations in certain parts of Sulu and divert our attention.

We are addressing the rescue for the six locals. Some of our troops have been diverted.

But we will not lose focus on the main objective of our continuing operations in the island of Sulu, which is to degrade and address the threat that is still posed by the remaining groups of the ASG in that island.

The Joint Task Force Sulu under Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana as well as the 6th Infantry Division under Major General Arnel Dela Vega are all proactively engaging all of the respective assigned targets in order for us to comply with our continuing objective of continuously addressing and providing for a more secure environment for the island of Mindanao.

All of these are under the direction of the Commander of Western Mindanao, Lieutenant General Charlie Galvez based in Zamboanga.

In other parts of Mindanao, the implementation of martial law continues with the maintenance of checkpoints in key areas to address any possible movements of private armed groups, armed elements, lawless individuals, and other threats to the security and peace that we have.

For the security situation in other parts of the country, the recent arrest of three ASG members here in Metro Manila and have been presented now by the Philippine National Police indicate the combined government’s effort of proactively addressing whatever threats there are of terrorists who may want to destroy the peace.

And we will continuously work together, united in the objective of ensuring that our cities remain safe for the rest of the year, not only for the period that we have been given for the implemantation of martial law but always 24/7.

We would also like to pass on our thanks to the following officials who visited our troops and our local residents in the areas of Marawi.

Yesterday, we were fortunate to have the visits of Mayor Sara of Davao and Mayor Lani of Taguig, who visited our IDPs in Marawi, as well as [inaudible] with some of our soldiers who were safeguarding the city.

Also, VP Robredo also came to visit and also mingled with our soldiers in the area.

On the Marawi situation, the last firefight that we have recorded was on the 5th of November. This was when we reported nine Maute members killed in the last stronghold that they had in the main battle area, where nine Maute members were reportedly killed.

This has been the last. And that is why recently, there has been an announcement that we no longer sense or monitor any sign of life in the last main battle areas.

But the clearing will continue. As of yesterday, up to today, 16 more unexploded ordnance were found and addressed by our combined teams of explosive ordnance disposal experts.

And we will continue to do this until we are fully convinced that all the IEDs, all the traps, all the unexploded ordnance that may remain in the area have been found and addressed.

This is to preclude any kind of hazard that may be faced by our civilians once we have opened up the area for the return.

On other clearing operations, we would like to add that we recovered two more high-powered firearms in the lake area, where we recovered 30 high-powered firearms recently.

And our road to normalcy, as we do this clearing and security operations, is bearing fruit. As you may have known, we have opened nine barangays for the return of our residents there following the protocol that was established by the local government.

We are also working on the clearing of 10 more barangays next week and we will turn this over to the local government and to Joint Task Force Bangon Marawi.

Once we have done our part, there are 36 more that will need to be cleared, 24 barangays of which are located in the main battle area that we have not opened up for the return of residents.

Out of the 96 or total 96 barangays of the city, 41 were unaffected and the 36 that we have yet to clear will be the subject of continuing clearing operations until such time that we are convinced that this can be opened safely to returning residents.

The road to normalcy is on its way and we are very fortunate that our engagements with the local government as well as with the interagency task force is bearing very good fruits.

These are all I have for you but before I end, the Armed Forces leadership would like to publicly announce its congratulations to one of our top army shooters who won the first gold medal for the Armed Forces team that is now competing in Singapore at the ASEAN Rifle Meet.

The name is Staff Sergeant Angelo Bonagua, who won the gold medal for the carbine category, defeating marksmen. He was competing with… coming from the Armed Forces of Indonesia and Malaysia.

These are all I have and thank you very much.

ASEC. PURISIMA: Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps. Here are the updates from your Task Force Bangon Marawi.

In its first regional interagency meeting after the issuance of Administrative Order No. 9, and this was held on 09 November 2017, Task Force Bangon Marawi discussed with its sub-committees the updates and the issues to be addressed in the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi City and other affected localities.

Task Force Bangon Marawi chairperson, Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, chaired the meeting at the Task Force field office in Iligan City.

He presented the organizational structure of the Task Force based on Administrative Order No. 9.

Updates on the part of the housing, reconstruction, business and livelihood, health and social services sub-committees, as well as the information management and strategic communication support group, were presented by the concerned agency leads and members.

Further, ways forward to fast-track the implementation of plans and strengthen the ongoing programs, activities and projects of the various task force member agencies as well as local government units concerned were also presented.

The security sector, together with the Marawi City LGU, met on 11 November to discuss the security protocols and mechanisms on the issuance of legal passes with the list of passengers as well as concerns on security of the IDPs during the Kambalingan.

Entry and mobility of individuals and groups in Marawi City are continuously being monitored and checked by the security sector.

The 7th Maranao Leaders’ Forum was conducted by TESDA in partnership with Mindanao Development Authority and the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Overseas Filipino Workers and Muslim Concerns last 12 November.

The consultation focused on the presentation of the proposed conceptual framework on the Marawi rebuilding plan, which was crafted based from the previous consultations with Maranao leaders.

Maranao traditional and religious leaders attended the forum and provided inputs as well.

The post-conflict needs assessment in the remaining barangays in Marawi City shall commence soon given the AFP’s recent declaration of additional cleared barangays.

The task force target deployment to continue with the damage and losses assessment is on 27 November and in fact, our PCNA teams will arrive on November 24. They will have a security briefing on November 26 and they will be deployed in the next 23 barangays on November 27.

On the other hand, while waiting for the completion of the PCNA and the Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan or the CRRP, short-term interventions will continue in support of the early recovery needs of the affected population.

Task Force Bangon Marawi shall continue to address the needs and concerns of the IDPs as well as the returning residents in Marawi City.

For inquiries and concerns related to the IDP return or Kambalingan in Marawi City, shown are the hotline numbers.

Also, the contact numbers of the Task Force field office are as shown.

With the conclusion of the Philippines’ Chairmanship and hosting of the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, various world leaders have committed to assist in the rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery of Marawi City and other affected areas.

Aside from the 1.5 billion yen pledged from Japan for the maritime safety and reconstruction of Marawi, the Japanese government also committed to donate rice to the affected population.

The government of Australia, which initially provided assistance through funding relief items, announced the delivery of relief supplies amounting to 1.5 million Australian dollars.

China has pledged an additional 1.15 billion pesos in grants aside from the initial 47 heavy equipment previously donated to the DPWH.

The United States also pledged 14.3 million US dollars to address humanitarian concerns in the rehabilitation of Marawi City.

The city government of Davao, through Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, as well as the city government of Taguig, through Mayor Lani Cayetano, provided assistance to the city government of Marawi in the amount of P5 million each, or a total amount of P10 million. This assistance was given directly to the LGU of Marawi City.

That’s all for the updates.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: This just came in, fresh from our updates from Marawi. The updates, by the way, are provided by the Joint Task Force Marawi under the leadership of Brig. Gen., soon to be Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo, and Col. Romeo Brawner, who is the deputy of Joint Task Force Marawi.

They indicated that they have also recovered a number of high-powered firearms in a recent operation that they did.

And recovered were two M16 machine guns; three M16 rifles, and two M203 grenade launchers that were reported by sources from the area — civilian sources who have been helping our troops to address armed groups supporting the local terrorist groups.

This was buried in… somewhere in Barangay Torogan in Maguing, Lanao del Sur.

And this was successfully conducted when we deployed two platoons coming from the 65th Infantry Battalion.

And this kind of operations will continue until we address and [unclear] the proliferation of loose firearms that are in the area that may be source of potential threats.

May I also include that in the report, the conduct of psychosocial interventions continues up to this day.

And most of those that are being addressed are the vulnerable, particularly children.

In a recent engagement with the Peace Build Foundation, we were able to conduct, so many sessions for children in Barangay Bubong evacuation center in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur.

These activities will continue and we see this as beneficial, particularly to the vulnerable, who are the children and women and elderly. Thank you.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Tina Mendez (Philippine Star): Good morning, sir. General Padilla, barely one month before the December 31 deadline for the implementation of martial law, how is your assessment of the situation right now?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: The situation continues to normalize for the area of Marawi.

We have left enough forces to safeguard its security and to expedite its return to normalcy as well as the return of IDPs or civilians to their residence.

As I mentioned, of the 96 barangays, 41 were relatively unaffected during the conflict. That’s why it was opened for the return of these residents.

Of the affected, nine have been cleared for return and 10 more for next week. And of the remaining 36, 24 of which are in the MBA area, we will work on this continuously.

So, at the rate we are progressing, we are positive that we will be able to at least hand over the majority of the affected areas to those residents who would wish to come back.

But we will have to work closely with the local government kasi sila naman po ‘yung may final say diyan dahil may ginawa na po tayong patakaran na kinakailangan masuri at ma-check muna ang pagkatao nung mga nagsasabing tiga-doon para nang sa ganun, sigurado tayo na sila’y talagang taga-Marawi mismo.

Bukod dito, sa kabuuan ng Mindanao, ang pagpapatuloy po ng martial law ay nakakatulong at ito po ‘yung ating mga sinusunod na mga patakaran lalo na sa pagsasagawa ng checkpoint, pagchi-check ng mga maaaring pagsuspetsahan nating tumutulong sa network nitong mga terrorista.

Ang atin pong ina-address particularly ay ‘yung aking nabanggit na kaninang — ako’y nagbigay ng update, ‘yung lugar po ng Maguindanao at Cotabato na kung saan may mga pwersa po ang BIFF sa ilalim ni Tuoraype at tsaka ni Bungus.

Ganun din po ang BASULTA area — Basilan, Sulu at Tawi-Tawi.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, do we see the lifting of martial law by year-end, sir?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: We’re working towards that. We’re hoping to be able to address and normalize everything by the end of the year because that was the deadline given to us.

But be that as it may, the network of the local terrorist groups still continue and this is the subject of our efforts.

So if we are able to address that by the whole of month — the remaining days of November as well as the whole month of December, then we will report that to you and give justification for the lifting of martial law.

If not, we will have to request an extension to be able to address the remaining threats in area.

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): To Asec. Toby, sir. Sir, by now po, may mga natitira pa ba na mga IDPs sa mga evacuation centers sa Iligan or Cagayan de Oro and other parts o naipauwi na po ba sila?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Mayroon pa. Mayroon pa tayong —

Ms. Niu: Do we have figures, sir?

ASEC. PURISIMA: — IDPs on — sa evacuation centers at pati ‘yung home-based, ‘no. Our figures are still the same. We’re using the figure of 77,000 families and 353,000 individuals, ‘no.

Ito ay both home-based at nasa evacuation centers at lahat ‘to ay patuloy nating binibigyan ng relief interventions through DSWD.

Ms. Niu: Okay, thank you. General Padilla, sir.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, Ma’am?

Ms. Niu: ‘Yung mga operations, sir, sa ibang lugar aside from Marawi sa ngayon BIFF and ASG, ‘yan po ba ‘yung rason kung bakit hindi pa natin mairekumenda na mai-lift na ‘yung martial law?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Bahagi po ‘yan ng mga bagay na aming tinutugunan lalo na sa pagkakaroon ng martial law.

‘Yung pangunahin is ‘yung network at ‘yung mga naiiwang banta na nanggagaling sa malalaking grupo na may kakayahan na maglunsad ng malakihang — magkaroon ng malakihang pwersa at maglunsad ng malakihang pagsalakay.

So, ‘yun ‘yung mga tinutugunan natin.

Ms. Niu: ‘Yung nabanggit niyo po kanina wala na kayong nakikitang senyales na may buhay pa na mga Maute sa main battle area.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Mismo sa Marawi po.

Ms. Niu: Opo sa mismong sa Marawi. ‘Yung huli po ba ‘yun na ‘yung nakuha nating lahat? All accounted for na po ‘yung hinahanap nating mga Maute?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: ‘Yung mga personalidad po na tinarget natin, sa amin pong pagkakaalam, ay nakuha na natin at ito po ‘yung kahuli-hulihang naging kaganapan diyan na may bakabakan ay noong asingko ng Nobyembre na kung saan siyam ang napatay nating mga Maute na ayaw magsisuko.

So kasama na rin po diyan sa ating paniniwala ‘yung labi ng isang kinikilalang Malaysian bomber na si Baku.

Ms. Niu: Okay, ‘yung mga bodies po nila na-recovered po ba?
MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: 
Recovered po lahat ‘yun. At ang atin pong forensic teams na nasa lugar ay nagsagawa po ng kanilang pag-record at profile ‘nung mga labi na ito at nasa sa atin po ang kanilang mga DNA sample at patuloy po nating inaatay ‘yung magiging resulta nito.

Ms. Niu: Thank you po.

Pia Gutierrez: (ABS-CBN): Hi sir, good morning. Sir, can we get your reaction on the recent report of the Amnesty International —

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Amnesty International, yes.

Ms. Gutierrez: — that the military is being accused of human rights abuses particularly looting, illegal detention and maltreatment of escaping Marawi residents, sir?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: At the outset, permit me to inform everybody that the Amnesty International relayed to us a request for comment earlier while they were doing the report.

But we informed them that this needs to be relayed officially through our government and we requested them to convey this to the Department of Foreign Affairs or the Permanent Mission we have in New York or the United Nations, where AI, I think, is based.

Up to this time, we have not received it yet and perhaps it is still in the loop.

But we have told them that we are committed to International — respecting international humanitarian law and respecting human rights.

And even the Chief-of-Staff has reiterated his strict instructions that and I quote General Leonardo Guerrero when he gave his guidance to all our troops that he will not tolerate nor condone misdeeds of our soldiers to include violations of IHL and human rights.

We will investigate and discipline those found guilty of violating policies and regulations, which includes IHL and HR.

So that’s part of his instruction and even the former Chief-of-Staff, General Año, at the very beginning of the conflict in Marawi, has made it part of his strict instructions to abide by all that we have been taught to respect, which is the rules of conflict, including IHL and human rights.

Now, the Amnesty International report is something that we will answer once we get it officially.

Be that as it may, our Chief-of-Staff has also mentioned and I quote him that “Our actions in the Marawi conflict were guided by the Rules of Conflict, which provides for the necessity and proportionality in the use of force.”

That is what the Chief-of-Staff has mentioned. Because as part of the AI, we understand that they also questioned the manner by which we employed bombings to address threats in the area.

May I just highlight that the Armed Forces addressed so many challenges in the main battle area during the conflict. And may I highlight that there were 1,780 civilians who were rescued by our efforts.

And the proportionality by which we used force was in consideration of all the challenges that we faced which is one, the safety of civilians who may be trapped in the area. That’s primordial.

The rescue of the civilians who were held hostage, second; and only third is the safety of our own troops who were in the main battle area addressing these armed groups.

So, parang minumulto po ata tayo. Mayroong lumalabas. [laugher]

So, nais ko lang pong ipaalala sa lahat na karamihan po ng inilahad at iilabas ng report na ito ay sa kasalukayan ay allegations.

At nakita naman po ninyo ang commitment o focus ng ating kasundaluhan pati ng ating Armed Forces upang itaguyod lahat ng karapatang pantao sa lugar na ‘yun at sa kabuuan ng Mindanao habang tinutupad natin ‘yung implementasyon ng martial law.

Bukod po dito, paulit-ulit po nating sinasabi na ang atin pong mga tauhan ay matagal nap o na binabad na  respetuhin at sundin ang lahat ng mga alituntunin, lalo na sa international humanitarian law at tsaka sa laws of conflict.

Kung meron man po tayong mga naging insidente diyan, masasabi po natin na ito’y mga isolated incidents.

‘Yung sa issue ng looting, sinagot na po natin ‘yan ng matagal na, madami na po tayong naibigay na pahayag at siguro po hindi ko na po babanggitin pa ‘yun dahil maaaring ganap na sapat na ‘yun.

‘Yung sa issue naman ng respeto sa mga nahuli na maaaring pinagsusupetsahan na kalaban, tulad po ng nabanggit natin nung lumabas ‘yung isang video na inilabas ng isang network na nakuha sa loob ng battlefield.

‘Yun po ay kuha mismo ng ating sundalo na maaaring lumabas sa social media, at nakikita naman po natin dun na marami rin po sa mga kasundaluhan na naging parte ng video na ‘yun ang siyang pumipigil at siyang nagpapaalala sa kanilang mga kasamahan.

Kaya nga po naialis ng maayos ‘yung indibidwal na naarestong ‘yun doon sa lugar kung saan siya ay maaaring nababatukan o nasisipa ng mga ibang sundalo.

And emotions were high, ‘yung mga emosyon po ng ating kasundaluhan nun, sa mga pagkakataong ‘yun, tandaan po natin, 165, ‘no — 166 na po ang mga kasundaluhang nagbuwis ng buhay dahil may isa po tayong sugatan na pumanaw kamakailan.

So 166 po na buhay ang siyang naisakripisyo natin upang maisalba po natin ang Marawi sa kamay ng mga teroristang ito.

At tulad ng aking nabanggit, ang ating pong talagang pinagpuntiryahan ng lahat ng ating effort, lahat ng ating makakaya ay ma-rescue lahat ng hostages.

At sa bilang na aming nahahawakan sa kasalukuyan, hindi po biro ‘yung 1,780 na na-rescueng (rescue) mga civilian dahil ‘yan po ‘yung talagang naging pangunahing misyon ng atin pong mga kasundaluhan na gawin.

So I’ll — I think, I’ll leave it at that. The report, as I’ve mentioned, will have to be coursed through the official channels before we can do an official reply.

But our commitment to the respect of human rights and the abidance by international humanitarian law cannot be overemphasized by the accomplishments of our troops in the Marawi siege.
Ms. Gutierrez:
 Sir, can we just get updates dun sa mga imbestigasyon na isinagawa ng military, because this is not the first time that these issues have been brought up —

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yes. 
Ms. Gutierrez: 
 and you said that there have been investigations. So ano na pong updates doon?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: ‘Yung sa looting po, ‘yung sa isang sun — opisyal at limang sundalo, nagpapatuloy po ‘yan, kay hindi ho masiyadong kumplikado ito dahil hindi naman po pera at hindi naman po alahas ‘yung nakita. Kung hindi mga appliances at hindi pa po natin batid ‘yung naging resulta nito, at hihingin ko po kung meron man.

‘Yung sa issue naman po ng ibang mga abuses, allegations po ito eh, nag-aantay po kami ng pormal na ihain na reklamo na maaaring may basehan.

So sa aming hanay, wala po kaming nakikita at wala pong nare-report ang ating mga leaders.

Kung ano man po ito, if these are allegations, they will remain to be allegations unless there are concrete and formal reports that come our way and we will act on it. 
Ms. Gutierrez: 
So tama, sir, wala pa pong civilian na nagka-come forward para mag-file ng formal complaint sa military?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Wala pa po kaming nakukuhang formal complaint.

So that’s why in the initial months of the battle, I think, in the second month, there was a group that came out that said, I think, they were alluding to sexual insinuations of rape.

Then we asked them, “Where’s the complaint? Sino po ‘yung mga tao na sinasabi niyo na nagsabi nito?” Wala naman pong naibigay.

Ready po kaming aksyunan kaagad ‘yan, kung saka-sakaling may ilalatag na pormal na — at ihahain na pormal na complaint.

Hindi po kami tumatakas sa aming responsibilidad, accountable po tayo, ganun din po ang bawat sundalo.

At tulad nga po ng aking nabasa dito sa pahayag ng ating Chief-of-Staff, si General Año — ah, si General Guerrero, at mismo ‘yung mga pahayag po ni General Año noong nakaraang mga buwan, pare-pareho po ‘yan, consistent po.

Pati na po ‘yung binigay na commitment ni General Guerrero ngayon. At kung aking uulitin ay hindi po naiiba dun sa mga dati nating pahayag.

So he says that, “We will not tolerate nor condone any misdeeds and we will act on it.” 
Ms. Gutierrez:
 Pero, sir, these are very disturbing allegations on human rights violations. Bakit po — I’m sure the military could have made their own effort po na lapitan…?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, we did. Yeah. Yes, we did. We did. These are disturbing. Any reports of human rights violations are disturbing and they’re very serious.

So we take them with focus and seriousness as well. Kaya nga nung nag — lumabas po itong sexual insinuations ng mga unang buwan ng bakbakan, inaksyunan po natin ‘yan at inalam po natin kung sino-sno ito, dahil hindi naman din po namin alam kung sino eh.

So kami’y nag-conduct ng investigation dahil walang maibigay na pangalan, dahil hindi rin po naisabi sa amin kung ano ang itsura nung tao at pati ‘yung patches hindi naman nai-describe.

So nagbigay po kami ng isang malawakang abiso. We issued out an advisory to all our commanders, to remind all our troops of their obligations pertaining to the rules of conflict, respect for human rights, and international humanitarian law.

And that’s what we have been doing consistently. Patuloy po itong mga ating binibigay na paalala sa ating mga units tungkol po sa mga bagay na ito.

At sa kasalukuyan, wala naman po tayong nakuhang mga iba pang formal na complaint.

‘Yung sa video na lumabas, I think, na-address na rin natin ‘yan at patuloy naging investigation para ma-identify kung sinu-sino po ‘yung mga ilan na ‘yun. 
Ms. Gutierrez: 
Last question na lang, sir. The report also brought up ‘yung widespread devastation because of military airstrikes —

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yes.
Ms. Gutierrez:  
— and you’ve already answered that the used of airstrikes is very necessary in the operations. Pero sir, follow up question lang, if the AFP already said in August that there were only 40 Maute fighters remaining back then, why were widespread aerial airstrikes necessary during that time?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Well, the information that we had at that time was based on what we had.

So as we have clearly explained in previous press conferences, naipahayag natin na naging laganap ang aming pagkaunawa sa bilang ng mga kinalaban natin diyan nung nakakuha tayo ng mga impormasyon na nakapagbigay-tibay dun sa mga bilang na lumabas ngayon.

So ito’y mga nakuha natin na mga USB, telepono, mga digital cameras, mga photos na nakuha natin, na nagturo sa pagkakaroon ng isang malaganap at malawakang hakbang upang magkaroon ng ganitong kaguluhan sa Marawi.

So we were able to ascertain and validate that there were bigger numbers of enemy in the area because of all this information that we were able to obtain. 
Ms. Gutierrez:  
Salamat, sir.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Thank you.

Shiela Frias (IBC): Sir, good morning, General Padilla.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yes?

Ms. Frias: Sir, going back lang doon sa clearing operations. I understand that the troops move carefully and slowly dahil po dun sa mga traps and bombs na meron pa dun sa area. But at least, do you have a target as to when to clear these remain — the 36 barangays that you mentioned?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Nagpapatuloy po ‘yung clearing, at ‘yung atin naman pong mga tao na involved diyan ay dinagdagan na rin natin.

There were some of them who were pulled out because they needed to perform duties during the ASEAN Summit.

So nagsisibalikan na po uli sila doon at habang ginagawa po natin ito, mas lumalawak pa ‘yung pag-clear.

So sinisigurado lang natin na bawat sulok, bawat lugar ay ganap na clear sa ano mang patibong, ano mang IED o ano mang mga hindi sumabog na bomba.

Ms. Frias: Sir, target po, meron po ba? At least by the end of the…

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi po tayo nagbibigay ng target sa kasalukuyan eh, dahil ‘yung iba pong building diyan may mga basements at may mga malalalim na mga lagusan.

So hindi po namin basta-basta pinapasok hanggang hindi po natin ganap na na-clear ito. So ‘yun po ‘yung mga nagiging challenges.

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): For Asec. Purisima. Sir, ‘yung mga recently pledged aid grants from foreign countries, will this be subjected to the same review that you’ve conducted on earlier pledges, to determine if they have conditions that will, you know, allow them to interfere in our affairs because as part of the President’s new policy?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Yes, kasama ‘yan because the Task Force will be the clearing house for all these donations.

So we will make sure that once these pledges or these donations are officially communicated or facilitated to us directly to the Task Force or perhaps through the DFA, that we will do proper action on these proper [inaudible] to make sure na tata — kung paano tatanggapin itong mga donations na ‘to.

Because some of them are in the form of grants, some of them are in the form — or in-kind donations, so to say. So depende ‘yan and the Task Force is prepared, Finance and Resource Mobilization Support Group will be in charge of this.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, pati ‘yung in-kind? I mean…

ASEC. PURISIMA: Yes, pati in-kind. Like previously, ‘yung China, ‘di ba, the Chinese government donated 47 heavy equipment ‘no.

So this was also cleared through the Task Force and is now with the DPWH because we emphasized this is a whole of government effort ‘no.

So whatever donations are communicated through specific agencies, there is a standing directive on the part of the Task Force, that they should be cleared first with the Task Force.

So kahit dumeretso ‘yung certain government, certain organization, or certain private sector group, dumeretso sila sa isang agency or sa isang local government unit, sasabihin dapat ‘yan sa Task Force because the Task Force is the accountable agencies, the accountable organization.

And we want to make sure that we know everything that comes in para properly accounted ito at masasabi natin sa taong bayan na dito napunta ‘yung mga binigay ng ating mga kaibigan.  

Alvin Baltazar (Radyo Pilipinas): Magandang umaga kay General Padilla.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Magandang umaga, Alvin.

Mr. Baltazar: Sir, with those allegations against the military, sir, naniniwala ba kayo na target pa rin kayo ng black propaganda? At kung saka-sakali man, kanino kaya nanggagaling ito, sir?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Maraming salamat at tinanong ninyo ito. Yes, ramdam po namin na may effort po siguro na ginagawa upang ma-discredit po ‘yung ating Hukbong Sandatahan.

Pero ‘yung ating Armed Forces naman ho ay nananatiling hindi matitinag po sa position na ito na maayos po kaming tumupad sa aming tungkulin sa paglutas sa suliraning hinarap natin sa Marawi.

At itong panatag na kalooban na ito ay bunga nung dedikasyon, nung focus at nakita niyo ang sakripisyo ng bawat sundalo na nanggaling po sa Marawi.

Kaya nga po kami nagpapasalamat dahil batid ito ng taong bayan. Kinikilala ho itong mga efforts at mga sakripisyong ito at lalo na po ‘yung ating mga kababayan diyan sa Marawi.

Noong una, pinaghinalaan po tayo, pero ngayon, buo po ang loob namin na ang lahat ng ating mga kapatid na mga Maranao ay ganap na naiintindihan itong mga ginawa po nating hakbang.

Mr. Baltazar: Sir, kanino kaya nanggagaling ‘yung black propaganda?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi ko po masabi kasi wala po tayong basehan pa. Pero sana naman po, kung ito man ay nanggagaling sa ating mga ilang mga kababayan na hindi natutuwa sa ating paggalaw na ito, sana naman po respetuhin nila ‘yung memorya at ‘yung sakripisyo ng mga nagbuwis ng buhay.

Mr. Baltazar: maraming salamat, General Padilla.

ASEC. PURISIMA: I’d just like to add a few more activities for the coming week ‘no.

So subject to the results of today’s mapping conducted by the LGU of Marawi City, we’re targeting the return, Kambalingan of our IDPs in approximately eight barangays beginning tomorrow ‘no.

So tomorrow we’re targeting three barangays. On Sunday, November 19, three barangays, and on Monday, November 20, two barangays ‘no.

So a total of eight so far, subject to the mapping conducted by the LGU of Marawi today ‘no.

And also on Monday, November 20, there will be an all-agencies meeting of the Task Force in Camp Aguinaldo. It will be presided by the Chairperson, Secretary Del Rosario.

And on November 22, there will be a stakeholders’ consultation in Iligan together with local leaders, with the Ulama, and with the other stakeholders.

So that’s… That will be the activities of the Task Force this coming week.

Chona Yu (Radyo Inquirer):  Sir, kay Asec. Purisima. Sir, quick follow-up lang po dun kay Leila. Meron na bang foreign aid na ni-reject ang Task Force because of setting some conditions?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Officially, ang alam ko wala pang official pronouncement on the rejection ‘no. But let us be clear that the Task Force is aware of the policy pronouncements of our President and we will follow those policy pronouncements.

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Dun lang po sa target IDPs sa 8 barangays na makabalik, ilang residente po ‘yun?

ASEC. PURISIMA: We have no figures yet because the barangays — it depends on the mapping, so i-a-identify pa lang natin kung ano ‘tong mga barangays na ‘to.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: May I just add that another guidance from the current Chief-of-Staff, General Rey Leonardo Guerrero is to ensure that we are able to establish and observe the rule of law in all the areas that we hold.

Kasi ‘yun naman po talaga ang pakay ng ating pagkakaroon ng martial law, ibalik po ang rule of law sa lahat ng lugar na ito.

At ‘yan din po ‘yung mga bagay na ating sinisikap na magawa lalo na po sa mga lugar na naging magulo na.

 —END—

source: PCOO-PND (Presidential News Desk)

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