Press Briefing

Mindanao Hour Briefing by Directer V Omar Alexander Romero, Presidential Communications Operations Office with Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Jr., Spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima, Deputy Administrator for Administration of the Office of the Civil Defense

Event Mindanao Hour Briefing
Location Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace

OPENING STATEMENTS:

DIR. ROMERO: Good morning. Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

We’d like to give you the updates on Marawi. Today is 25 August 2017. This is day 95. As of 7 p.m. of yesterday, 24 August:

Enemies killed, we have 596, increase of one;

Civilians killed, we have no change at — still at 45;

Firearms recovered, we have three more, it is now at 659;

No changes in civilians rescued, we have 1,728;

As for the buildings cleared, we have a total of 22, of which nine were cleared yesterday;

For unexploded ordnance, we have 17;

Improvised explosive devices recovered, we have eight; and

Killed-in-action, we have 129.

As for the status of cash donations, as of 14:55 hours, 24 August 2017:

For the
Marawi AFP casualties, the total donations amount to P35,686,423.23;

And for the balance of the donations for the Marawi IDPs, this is now at P943,945.21.

So, that’s the latest update we have on Marawi. We’d like to read a statement on the Philippines’ performance in the Southeast Asian Games.

Congratulations to all the Filipino athletes who played in yesterday’s events in the Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia.

The Philippines now has 15 gold, 18 silver, and 31 bronze medals, as of August 25, this morning at 1 a.m.

Our gold medals are courtesy of Boxing Middleweight — 75 kilograms event from Eumir Marcial; Boxing Lightweight — 81 kilograms event from Marvin John Tupas; and Lawn Bowls-Men’s Four event from Curte Robert Guarin, Emmanuel Portacio, Leoncio Carreon Jr., and Ronald Lising; Philippine Men’s Ice Hockey Team and another from Trenten Anthony Beram for the Athletics Men’s 400 meters.

Mario Fernandez got a silver medal for Boxing Men’s Bantamweight — at 56 kilograms event; Marisa Boronda, Nancy Toyco, Nenita Tabiano, and Sharon Hauters of the Lawn Bowls – Women’s Four event; and Yvonne Alyssa Dalida and Jemyca Aribado of the Squash Women’s Jumbo Doubles won the silver medals, respectively.

Finally, for the bronze medals, we have — we congratulate Lois Kaye Go for the Golf Women’s Individual Stroke Play; Amparo Teresa Acuña for Shooting Women’s 50-meter Rifle Prone; Ian Clark Bautista and Charly Suarez each won a bronze medal for Boxing Men’s Flyweight — 52 kilograms event and Light Welterweight — 64 kilograms event.

Next, we congratulate Janry Ubas for Men’s Athletics Long Jump; Warren Kiamco and Dennis Orcollo for Billiards & Snooker Pool 9 Ball Doubles; David William Pelino and Robert Andrew Garcia for Squash Men’s Jumbo Doubles. Finally, for Bowling Tenpin Team of Five, and for the Women’s Karate Kumite Team.

So, let us watch the games and continue cheering for Team Pilipinas. That’s the update for SEA Games. Maybe we can turn over to General Padilla.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Good morning once again, and we are very happy to note the good news that was relayed a while ago by Asec. Omar.

And as our Team Pilipinas at the Southeast Asian Games are making good on the delivering of a lot of medals, this week has also been very well for our troops over in Marawi.

And I’m happy to relay to you that besides the report that we have earlier conveyed regarding updates on our statistics, significant developments for the week have also been very positive.

And, let’s start with our road to normalcy over in the city, for the — with the successful normalization of MSU community activities and the opening of classes last 22 [August].

Despite a — an attempt to derail that process, our troops — combined forces of police and Armed Forces members over in Marantao — were able to quell an attack and inflicted one dead recovered body from the enemy who attempted to do that, as well as the recovery of various IEDs.

So the ceremonies on the 22nd of August over in MSU proceeded very well and it was a very successful opening, with a lot of excited members of the community of MSU taking part.

We transported a total of about 800 “Balik Eskwela” students from nearby Iligan back to their community.

On the other aspect, which is our road to the liberation of Marawi City, there were two very important operational achievements our troops were able to achieve over the last few days during this week.

One was the retaking of the Marawi City Police Station, a significant development, a symbol of authority over in the city. And it was located in a strategic point. And the retaking of this installation was part of our priorities.

The second is the retaking of Marawi City Grand Mosque or the Islamic Center, an operation that allowed us to reach at this stage but it took almost a month before this was achieved and I shall elaborate on that in a little while. The clearing is still ongoing.

And another one is the continued containment of the main battle area to half a square kilometer grid up to the moment, as we continue to clear other parts of the city and press on to the inner sanctum of the enemy.

Now, on the retaking of the Grand Mosque or the Islamic Center, you may have questions that I have started receiving last night, as well as our men on the ground.

The operations to retake the Grand Mosque started almost a month ago.

We did not conduct a frontal attack because we wanted to preserve the Grand Mosque, owing to the promise of our Commander-in-Chief, the President, and our Chief of Staff, who strongly provided guidance not to destroy any place of worship even if international protocols would allow us to do that.

And hence, a very elaborate plan was prepared by our troops on the ground, led by General Pamonag of Joint Task Force Trident, under the supervision of Joint Task Force Marawi’s General Galvez and General Bautista.

So for almost a month, we took over or tried to get all the facilities around the Grand Mosque in an envelopmental approach. It was not a frontal attack, but an envelopmental approach that targeted all nearby installations around the Grand Mosque so that we can constrict it.

So early yesterday morning, that assault on the Grand Mosque was conducted. We met resistance in the surrounding areas over that less than a month of time, until we got to that point when we were able to assault the Grand Mosque.

And in our entry to the Grand Mosque, there was resistance offered by the enemy who were holding the area, while the main forces of the enemy was retreating. We incurred three wounded in the process.

Unfortunately, we did not find any hostages in the facility. But right now, we’re still clearing the facility of unexploded ordnance and IEDs that we found to be in abundance in the building itself.

So we have not completed that and we are doing so up to the present. So ito pong prosesong ito ay isang bagay na, tulad ng aking nabanggit, inabot halos ng isang buwan.

At hindi po natin direktang inatake ang Grand Mosque, kung hindi inikutan po natin ito ng paunti-unti at inabot nga po ito ng halos isang buwan.

Kaya nung isang araw, dakong madaling araw ng Thursday ng umaga, pasado na hating gabi, nagsimula po tayong pumasok diyan at nagkaroon po ng resistance ‘yung kalaban kaya tatlo po ‘yung nasugatan.

At ngayon po, sa ating ginagawang operasyon sa loob ng Grand Mosque, kini-clear po natin ito at inaayos po natin ito sa paghahanap ng mga IED at mga iba’t ibang mga bombang hindi pumutok na maaaring ginamit ng kabalan. Kaya’t ito’y paunti-unti pang ginagawa hanggang sa kasalukuyan at hindi pa po ganap na nalilibre.

So, antabayanan po natin ‘yang development na ‘yan.

Isa rin po sa isa pang aming nais ipabalita sa inyo ay kahapon, maayos pong nakabisita sa pangatlong pagkakataon ang ating mahal na Pangulo sa loob mismo ng Marawi City at tsaka sa main battle area.

Ito po ay pagnanais ng ating Commander-in-Chief na makapiling ang mga tropang direktang nakikipaglaban sa mga kalaban natin.

Kaya’t nung alas kwatro hanggang bago mag ala-sais, naisagawa po ng ating mahal na Pangulo ‘yang pagbisita na ‘yan, at siya po ay nagpaabot ng kanyang pasasalamat sa ating mga kasamahan at ganun din, nag-abot po ng ilang tulong at pampa-high morale na mga bagay tulad ng relo at iba pang mga grocery items na kinakailangan po nila.

So, sa tuwa naman po ng ating mga tropa, ang ating pong — bilang ganti sa pagbisita na ‘yan at pagbibigay ng malasakit ng ating mahal na Pangulo ay ang kanilang dedikasyon at pangako sa mahal na Pangulo na tapusin itong laban na ‘to sa madaling panahon, nang sa ganun, maibalik na natin ang Marawi sa ating mga kapatid na Maranao.

At kami po ay committed sa pagbangon ng Marawi na hindi po tayo aalis diyan, kung hindi tutulungan natin bumangon at mas maging malakas pa ang Marawi City.

So ‘yun po ang aming nais ipabatid sa lahat sa umagang ito. At bago po ako magtapos, nais ko lang pong basahin ang isang press statement tungkol po sa pagkamatay ng isang sundalo na galing po sa Marawi, isa pong myembro ng ating 53rd IB na napatay po habang siya’y pauwi.

At ito pong press statement na ito ay nanggaling sa Western Mindanao Command, at hindi ko lang po batid kung nakuha niyo, pero amin pong nais ipabalita ito dahil madami pong nagtatanong, at isa pa, ‘yung mga damdamin ng nasaktan ay sa kasalukuyan, mataas pa ang kanilang emosyon at nais naming ipahiwatig ang aming suporta na hindi dapat padaos-daos po ang pagtrato dito, kung hindi gawin dapat sa mahinahong paraan.

And if you will permit, the statement from the Western Mindanao Command, and I quote:

“A joint investigation is being conducted right now pertaining to the circumstances that brought about the death of Private First Class Rodillo Bartolome yesterday afternoon at a junction in Monte Alegre, Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur.”

Yesterday afternoon meant Wednesday afternoon.

“Prior to the incident, Private First Class Bartolome, who was assigned with 53rd Infantry Battalion, was permitted to go on an overnight task by his immediate superior purposely to visit his family in Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur. He was deployed in Marawi last May, after his unit was sent there to help quell the crisis.

While we are in mourning for the death of one of our Marawi heroes, we call for prayers and sobriety as we seek for immediate resolution to this case.

We would like to solicit everyone’s understanding, if we cannot — that we cannot divulge more information at the moment since this is a sensitive matter still under investigation, and we wish to give due consideration to the family’s privacy.

The entire Western Mindanao Command grieves with the family of Private First Class Bartolome and will extend maximum assistance to his widow and his children.

End of statement. Maraming salamat po.

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

On August 18, the Task Force sub-committees and support groups convened an all-agencies meeting to discuss updates and ways forward on the rehabilitation and recovery initiatives in Marawi City and other affected localities.

On the same day, Task Force Bangon Marawi Executive Director Undersecretary Cesar Yano, including the members of the sub-committees, visited 21 evacuation centers in Iligan City to continuously consult the IDPs on their needs, which may help in the development of the comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery plan for Marawi City.

Also, a regular Task Force Bangon Marawi sub-committee meeting will be held to make sure that proper coordinations are being done on the ground.

On other rehabilitation and recovery initiatives, a Maranao Leaders’ Forum on Rehabilitation was organized by TESDA.

The leaders expressed their eagerness to return to their homes, given that there are no longer lawless elements in a large part of Marawi City.

However, Task Force Bangon Marawi Executive Director Undersecretary Yano explained that giving an “all clear” declaration is not just about the presence or lack thereof of lawless elements.

The AFP needs to clear out the area of IEDs and other threats to ensure the safety of all the IDPs and responding teams on the ground.

Meanwhile, as mentioned by General Padilla earlier, the Mindanao State University Main Campus formally opened classes for Academic Year 2017-2018. A send-off ceremony was conducted with MSU officials in Iligan City.

MSU also organized a back-to-school program in partnership with the Young Moro Professionals’ Network entitled, “Sumamba Tano sa Pantao Amare,” translated as “Let us earn our education” or “Let us be enlightened at the rolling hills.” Students, faculty and staff, local government officials, task force members, community leaders, and the media participated in the activity.

National Youth Commission Chairperson Aiza Seguerra attended the activity and serenaded the attendees.

NYC, in cooperation with the Office of Civil Defense, the Department of National Defense, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the DSWD shall hold a concert tour for the children and the youth in evacuation centers in Iligan City and other towns in Lanao del Sur. This is part of the ongoing psychosocial interventions for our IDPs.

That is all I have for the updates. Thank you very much.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning. For Spox Padilla. Sir, were you able to arrest or kill any of the enemy forces during the retaking of the Grand Mosque?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I don’t believe there was any recovery of any bodies. There was resistance and we were able to quell the resistance. And in the process, as I mentioned, katulad ng nabanggit ko, may tatlong nasugatan doon sa proseso ng pagpasok sa Grand Mosque.

Pero wala po kaming nakuhang ulat — kung may napatay man, nakuha ito. So antabayanan natin. ‘Pag natapos ‘yung clearing, malaman natin siguro ‘yang kumpletong report.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, what’s the strategic significance of the retaking of the Grand Mosque?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Well, the Grand Mosque is central — is located in the central area of Marawi. It is the most significant landmark because it being the biggest mosque in the area.

There are a lot of mosques everywhere. In every block there, I think there is one. But the Grand Mosque is the biggest and is symbolic of the Islamic nature of the city itself because of its prominence.

So having it under the hands of government provides us the impetus to symbolically say that nakuha na natin ‘yung sentro mismo ng bayan.

Ganon din ‘yung Marawi City Police Station, kasi ito’y place of authority. So hindi nila nakuha ang provincial capitol, hindi nila nakuha ang city. Kaya ang city munisipyo… kaya ang… isa lang na symbol of power doon or authority or place of authority is ‘yung sa police.

So nung nakuha na natin ito, isa itong magandang development na talagang napaka-importante sa ating ginagawang operasyon.

Ms. Salaverria: Last na. Sir, how about for the… what does this mean for the enemy forces? Have they been crippled since they’ve lost control of this area?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Well, the enemies’ world is getting smaller. Definitely, they used the Grand Mosque as a safe haven previously.

And if you will recall, we made statements before that we would not target the mosque in the area.

So that our concept and the Chief of Staff’s idea on the matter is we will need the Grand Mosque to rally and to enlighten our citizens in Maranao, our kababayans.

Kasi they need to have a place to come to, to uplift their spirits. And if you have places of worship destroyed, mababawasan ‘yun. Kaya’t sabi — ang kabilin-bilinan ng ating mahal na Chief of Staff, General Año, is “let us not go down to the level of the terrorist.”

Because if you will recall, in Mosul, the terrorist or the Daesh blew up the Grand Mosque there. And it’s a very historical place. We’re not going to do that, and we needed this to have something for our Maranao brothers and sisters to go to after everything is done.

So ‘yun ang ginawa natin. That’s why in the concept of operations na aking ibinahagi kanina, inabot ng halos isang buwan itong operasyon na ‘to dahil unti-unti nating pinaligiran.

At kung maalala ninyo, ‘yung mga simula ng laban na ‘to, noong Mayo pa lang at Hunyo, ang ginawa ng kalaban diyan ay namalagi sila sa Grand Mosque, ginamit pa nila nga ‘yung parapet diyan para observer… observation tower at tsaka initially as a sniper nest.

Pero nung ating pinupuntirya ito, hindi na nila nagamit. At ang ginawa nila, sinunog nila ‘yung karamihan ng paligid. Kaya kung mapapansin niyo, sa mga lumalabas na larawan, karamihan ng mga gusali sa paligid nito ay halos abo na dahil sinusunog nila. Dahil gusto nga nilang bantayan ‘yung mga papasok.

So ito ‘yung significance nito. Ito ‘yung sentro ng pananampalataya ng ating mga kababayan diyan. Kaya’t maganda na hindi ito nasira dahil ibabalik natin ito sa ating mga kapatid na Muslim, tutulungan natin itong isaayos, at nang sa ganon, meron na pagkukunan ng lakas ng loob ang kanilang… ang ating mga kapatid diyan dahil sa kanilang pananampalataya.

Ms. Salaverria: Thank you.

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): Good morning, sirs. To General Padilla or Asec. Purisima, sir. Sir, ‘yung latest natin doon sa donations, especially for the IDPs, is 943,000-plus. Tanong ko lang po kung ano po ba ang plano niyo sa pera na ito? Kasi parang… sa nakikita namin, sa araw-araw na interviews sa mga IDPs sa evacuation center, ang sinasabi nila, kailangan nila ng pera ngayon. Kung dati-rati, every other day daw po ang rasyon sa kanila ng mga goods, ngayon ay once a week na lang. So iipunin lang ba natin ito? Or papaano po natin ipamamahagi sa kanila? At how much for each families? Meron na po ba tayong ganon na data?

 BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Tuesday, maraming salamat sa katanungan mo. Pero meron na pong naibigay na instruction ang ating Chief of Staff, si General Año, tungkol sa pera dahil kami po ang namamahala nito. Sa account po namin pumapasok, at kami po ang accountable.

So for purposes of transparency kaya natin nilalagay ‘yan. Pero ang kanyang huling kabilin-bilinan po sa atin ay i-turnover na po ito sa ating mga local government units.

Ina-ascertain lang, at gagawin natin ito through Western Mindanao Command, through the unit of the command of General Galvez and General Bautista.

So sila na po ang bahala kung paano nila gagamitin ito para makatulong sa nakakarami nating mga kababayan na nasa evacuation center.

So pag turnover po nito, sila na po ang gagamit at kung saan man ito kinakailangan. Kasi kung ipag — kung ibabahagi natin ito o idi-distribute natin ito sa bawat pamilya, baka sampung piso na lang bawat tao, so magiging useless.

So ibabahagi natin ito sa mga namamahala ng evacuation center at kung ano man ‘yung priority nila na kailangan, maaari nilang gastusin doon.

Ms. Niu: May date na sir? When will this be…

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ang kanyang huling kabilin-bilinan is as soon as possible, inaayos lang po ‘yung transfer documents, at gagawin po natin ito through Western Mindanao Command.

Ms. Niu: Okay, sir. Isa pa po. ‘Yung sa Grand Mosque na sinasabi niyo, sir. ‘Yun ‘yung dating pinamumugaran nung mga Maute-ISIS. Saan na po kaya sila lumipat ngayon? Nakatakas na ba sila? Mayroon bang tunnel ‘yang Grand Mosque na ‘yan na posibleng pinagdaanan nila para makalayo?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Sa initial na pagsusuri sa Grand Mosque, wala pong tunnel. May mga sewerage outlets pero sa tingin po ng ating mga nakapasok na, mahirap gamitin ‘yung mga sewerage outlets dahil ito’y laging puno ng tubig at hindi basta-basta maaaring daanan.

So ang aming pakiwari ay dahil sa dami nga ng mosque dito sa lugar na natitira pa, may ilan pa diyan, maaaring doon sila pumunta. So sinisikap nating alamin ‘yan, at doon nakatuon ngayon ang operasyon natin.

Ms. Niu: Thank you po.

Maricel Halili (TV 5): Hi, sir. Good morning. General Padilla, how — following po the retaking of the Grand Mosque, how far are we from ending the military operations in Marawi?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I am… I’d like to beg your indulgence but we don’t set any deadlines anymore, as we have been saying all along.

We’re doing our best to end this crisis as soon as possible, and that’s an assurance that even our troops on the ground yesterday made to the President.

But as I mentioned also repeatedly in the past, these are delicate operations that we need to do slowly.

The cases of unexploded ordnance, IEDs in every room, in every corner, are matters that put our troops in danger every minute of the day.

Like what I have mentioned the other Monday, in the clearing of a building, we lost three of our soldiers, two of them had their legs amputated. So it was because they stepped on an IED.

So this is a matter that we don’t take lightly. We want our troops to be safe. So they can take as much time as they need to clear it as carefully as possible.

So… but having said that, it has lessened the main battle area. The main battle area has lessened to about one-half square grid — kilometer grid. Mabilis na rin itong matatapos. Hindi lang natin masabi kung eksakto kailan.

Ms. Halili: Pero when it comes po doon sa forces ng terrorist, how is it?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: The previous estimate we made was about 50 to 60, ‘di ba? Add or deduct a little more. We don’t have the exact figures, but the current estimate is they are still at about 40-plus or less.

And number of hostages, we still believe there are still about 30 of them in the last report. So we will seek to rescue the hostages and we will do our best to quell the remaining resistance.

Ms. Halili: Sir, last na lang po. Doon sa visit ni Presidente kahapon, there was a picture showing na he was holding a rifle and firing. Pwede po bang pakikwento sa’min, what’s the story behind the photo?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Okay. Based on the feedback of our troops on the ground, the President wanted to be at the frontline. So he went to the main battle area. And he visited some of our soldiers who were manning a sniper nest.

And in the sniper nest, he tried out and fired on enemy positions in the main battle area. So that is what we got from… as a feedback. So whether there was a target hit, they did not say.

But you know the President. Since he was a mayor, he is a gun collector. He has a lot of firearms in his collection, among them, many sniper rifles, and so he knows what he’s doing.

So he just wanted to perhaps show our troops that he was one with them every step of the way.

Ms. Halili: Thank you, sir.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Hi, General. Good morning. Sir, doon sa nangyari doon sa Grand Mosque, dahil sinasabi niyo na one month ‘yung naging operation doon. Ito ‘yung naging window kaya — kung meron mang ginamit man na haven ‘yun nung mga terorista, may naging window sila para makatakas doon sa area?

 BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Maari, Dexter, dahil sa ang hindi natin pwedeng diretsong atakihin kasi ‘yung mosque dahil ‘pag ginawa natin ‘yun baka masira natin.

So ang ginawa ng ating mga tropa doon ay unti-unti nilang pinaligiran ito, kaya inabot ng matagal na panahon.

So hindi naman basta-basta pagpasok mo diyan ay maaari mo nang paligiran kaagad dahil naging matigas pa rin ‘yung kalaban sa pag-usad natin sa paligid nung mosque.

Tulad nga nung binanggit ko kanina. Noong mga unang linggo ng bakbakan, binantayan talaga nila itong mga lugar na ito.

Kaya nga kada gabi, sinusunog nila ‘yung mga ibang bahagi sa paligid para makita nila kung may lumalapit o wala.

So ‘yun ‘yung naging bahagi ng ating operasyon na unti-unti nating pinasok, napaligiran, at nung napaligiran na natin, tsaka natin siya in-assault.

Pero not using weapons that can perhaps destroy the building. We did it in a very painstaking way and it had to be an assault on the ground using just the right firepower to quell enemy resistance.

That’s why in the process, nasugatan pa rin ‘yung tatlo sa mga kasamahan natin.

Mr. Ganibe: Kasi may mga nababanggit na natakasan ang —

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi nalalayong mangyari na naka-retreat sila, nakatakas sila. So ‘yung maaring lumaban nung pumapasok tayo ay ‘yung nagho-hold lang sa pwersa natin para hindi sila mahabol.

So meron na silang paghahanda syempre. Alam na nila ‘yan eh na isa ‘yan sa mga papasukin at nag-iisip naman itong mga kalaban na ‘to kaya nandiyan pa sila hanggang ngayon.

So meron silang pagkukubkuban na lugar ‘pag sila’y umatras at ‘yun na ngayon ‘yung pinagtutuunan natin ng pansin.

Mr. Ganibe: Okay sir. On other matters. ‘Yung may ano ba, may program or may — Meron bang hakbang na ginagawa ang pamunuan ng AFP para doon sa mga sundalo na nagkaroon ng tragic na experience doon sa —

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ibig mong sabihin combat stress?

Mr. Ganibe: Yes, combat stress.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Okay, ang insidente ng combat stress sa ating hanay ay hindi ganun kalakihan, tulad ng iniisip ng marami. Napakababa po.

Isa, ito’y aming nakikita na dahil sa matinding suporta ng publiko mataas — napaka-taas po ng morale ng ating kasundaluhan. Determinado sila na talagang tapusin na ang bakban na ‘to at manatili doon na tapusin ito.

Kaya nga po, nung minsan nabanggit natin na mahigit 300 sa mga dating nasugatan ay kusang loob na nag-boluntaryo na bumalik at makipaglaban uli.

So ito’y indikasyon na nasa tamang isip sila. Hindi sila natitinag ng ano mang klaseng battlefield stress na na-experience na nila. So stable na stable.

Mr. Ganibe: Natanong ko ‘yun General kasi may mga reports na lumalabas na si PFC Bartolome ay nakaranas ng ganun nung pag-uwi niya.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Tinanong din namin ‘yan kaya ngayon nagsasagawa ng combine of investigation dahil ang mismong kanyang mga kasamahan ay nagsabi na nung siya’y umalis o nagpaalam na umuwi muna, wala naman pong nakita sa kanya na ano mang senyales na siya ay meron na-ekspiryensyang battlefield stress.

So ‘yun po ang pinagbabatayan namin kaya’t kinakailangan makita natin ito mabuti. Baka may na-violate na mga procedural lapses ang ating kapulisan or kung hindi man, ‘yung tao natin. Kaya kinakailangan malaman natin.

At bagama’t mataas ang emosyon ng ibang mga kasamahan niya, pati ng mga ibang kasamahan natin sa Armed Forces dahil sa pangyayaring ito, ang Armed Forces niyo po ay isang professional organization.

So kontrolado po natin ang ating mga tauhan at ang pangako lang natin ay maibigay ang tamang proseso para maimbestigahan ng maayos ito. At ganun din naman ang ine-expect namin sa ating mga kasamahan sa pulis.

 Mr. Ganibe: Sir, meron na ba kayong initial doon sa circumstances nung pagkakapatay sa kanya?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi pa kumpleto, Dexter, at unofficial pa kasi ‘yun eh kaya hindi ko mailalabas.

Although, meron nang initial report ang pulis, hindi ko pa ito nababasa.

 Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Kay Asec. Toby. Sir, humanitarian groups are saying — aid groups are saying na humanitarian crisis in Marawi. Ano po ang masasabi po ninyo? Do we share the same sentiment, sir?

ASEC. PURISIMA: We do not think it’s a humanitarian crisis because we’re addressing the situation that’s happening.

We know what’s happening on the ground and we’re addressing all the needs of our IDPs, whether they be in our evacuation centers or home-based ‘no.

Alam naman natin ‘yan in any prolonged situation such as this, and this is very delicate. These are very delicate situation.

Natural, maraming iindaing mga pangangailangan ang ating mga IDPs at ina-address natin ‘yun. Parating nandoon ang ating task force on the ground. Parati tayong may opisyal on the ground. Parati tayong may mga representatives on the ground to go around.

And as I’ve been saying, nagsisimula na tayo sa post-conflict needs assessment natin at kasama ito, dahil itong post-conflict needs assessment natin ang bubuo ng comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery program.

Kung wala tayong ginagawa on the ground, maaring sabihin na may krisis. Pero, I differ on that because I know that we’re doing everything we can on the ground.

This is an inter-agency effort. Hindi lamang ito Office of Civil Defense, hindi lamang ito DND or DSWD or AFP. Lahat ito ng mga ahensya na kasama sa Task Force Bangon Marawi, 23 agencies and growing.

In fact, just yesterday, there was a meeting of the sub-committee on resource mobilization. Ina-identify na ‘yung priority needs, ‘yung priority areas na kailangan pondohan.

So dahil alam natin na meorn tayong mga kailangan pondohan, ‘yun ‘yung mga inuuna natin, para coordinated ‘yung efforts.

So makakaasa ho ang ating mga kababayan na hindi natin pinapabayaan ang sitwasyon sa ground and this is not a humanitarian crisis.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, gusto ko lang din pong makuha ‘yung reaksyon ninyo doon sa plano ng Department of Agriculture na ipamigay sa mga evacuees sa Marawi ‘yung mga manok na galing po sa Luzon. I just want to get your reaction considering may results na po ‘yung testing and it shows na pwede pong mapasa sa tao ‘yung strain ng bird flu. So tuloy pa rin po ba itong plano na ito, sir?

ASEC. PURISIMA: First, I don’t have any information on that plan. I’m not privy on the details of that.

Pero ‘pag… kung nasa plano ‘yan, syempre pag-aaralan ‘yan ng Task Force kung nararapat ba ‘yan dahil napag-usapan na ng mga ahensya na lahat ng interventions na gagawin para sa Marawi for rehabilitation and recovery and kasama na dito ‘yung continuing response, idadaan sa Task Force. Lahat ng donations, dadaan sa Task Force, lahat ng intervention, dadaan sa Task Force.

So kung meron mang proposal o kung may plano na magkaroon ng ganyang klaseng distribution, dadaan ito sa Task Force dahil ang Task Force naman, merong presence sa Iligan, may presence sa evacuation centers, at may presence sa Marawi mismo. So walang mangyayari doon na hindi dadaan sa Task Force.

Ms. Gutierrez: But would you take that into consideration? ‘Yung risk involved in giving those chickens to the evacuees?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Of course. Of course, we will take that into consideration. And I’m very sure that the Department of Health is on point to this and they’re studying this.

Ms. Gutierrez: Wala pa po bang feedback from the evacuees themselves kung gusto nila itong plano na ito?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Wala pong —

Ms. Gutierrez: To eat those chicken ‘no.

ASEC. PURISIMA: Wala hong impormasyon diyan. Ngunit syempre, pag-aaralan natin ‘to. Dahil syempre kailangan ‘yung welfare ng ating mga evacuees, ating mga IDPs ang nakasalalay dito ‘no.

At syempre hindi tayo gagawa ng isang plano o isang programa na makakasakit lamang sa ating mga IDPs.

Ms. Gutierrez: Thank you, sir.

JP Bencito (Manila Standard): Hi, General Padilla. Sir, good morning. Sir, may idea na ba tayo kung nasaan na ‘yung location nila Hapilon, Maute brothers, and other leaders nitong rebellion na ito?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: How I wish I can tell you. Pero wala po sa aking ‘yung detalye na ‘yan. Although alam natin na nandoon pa sila sa loob. So ‘yun lang muna.

Mr. Bencito: Then sir, doon po kay Private First Class Bartolome. Sir, confirmed ba ‘yung reports na he was shot 11 times and was planted by a — planted a gun in his foot?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Just like I answered Dexter a while ago, at tsaka ‘yung isa pang tanong tungkol diyan. Hindi pa namin nakukuha ‘yung official report. So kami namin ay umaasa sa —

Dahil very professional nga tayo sa mga bagay na ito, inaasahan natin na ang ating mga kasamahan sa police na siyang nagsasagawa ng imbestigasyon mula sa PRO 9 ay gagantihan din ‘yung ating pagiging professional sa maayos na pag-iimbestiga.

Kasi isa ‘yung joint effort na ito ngayon. So antayin natin muna ‘yun para makuha natin ‘yung opisyal na salaysay.

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Kahit sino po sa panel. 95th day na po ng Marawi crisis. Well-accounted na po ba natin lahat po ng mga affected civilians? Meaning to say, kung ilan pa po ‘yung natira sa loob ng battle area? Kasi in connection to that question po kasi, sabi ni General Padilla nasa half-square kilometer na lang po ‘yun pong hindi pa natin nababawi. So habang lumalapit po ‘yung mga tropa ng militar sa mga terorista, parang hindi tumataas ‘yung bilang ng casualties. Hindi naman natin dinadasal na sana tumaas pero 45 pa rin po until now. Wala po bang nare-recover na mga casualties?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: May… Recently ‘no. Amin pang ina-authenticate kung ‘yung nakuha daw na anim pa na cadaver kamakailan ay totoo. So kung ma-validate natin ito, ito’y karagdagang bilang doon sa mga hawak na natin ngayon na datos.

But ang ating — Umaasa kasi tayo sa local government sa accounting ng mga civilians dahil sila ang nakakakilala sa kanilang mga consituents.

Kaya nung simula’t sapul pa lang noong nagsimula ang bakbakan, ang talaan po ng unaccounted na civilians na umabot sa halos 2,000 initially at ngayon ay nananatili na lang sa mahigit siguro 200. Ang pakikipagtulungan ng local government ang pinakamahalaga dito.

So makikipag-ugnayan tayo sa kanila sa patuloy ng pangyayaring ito para ma-account natin ‘yung hindi pa na-a-account na mga civilians.

Meron pa kasing mga hindi nakukuha eh na mga katawan na nasa mga punerarya ngayon na hindi pa nakikilala at hindi pa napupuntahan ng mga kamag-anak, at hanggang sa ngayon ay unclaimed.

So in the management of the dead and the missing, ‘yun po ‘yung mga bagay na naka-pending pa sa kasalukuyan.

At ang namamahala po diyan ay ang Bureau of Fire at ‘yung local government.

Ms. Coz: Sir, ‘yung 200 na unaccounted, nasa kamay ng mga kalaban?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Combined. They may be residents who have not been able to escape, mga residente na hindi nakaalis, na-trap sa loob at ‘yung ilan ay mga maaaring hostages sa kamay ng kalaban.

Ms. Coz: And then ‘yung six po na last na na-recover is because of the terrorists themselves? Ano po ba ang dahilan ng pagkamatay?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA:  Inaalam pa. Kaya nga binanggit ko na kinakailangan i-validate pa ito at kung saan nakuha.

Hindi pa rin natin batid kasi kung paano sila namatay dahil kadalasan ang mga nakukuhang labi ay nasa advance state of decomposition na.

Kaya ‘yung pag-iimbestiga na gagawin ng NBI at tsaka SOCO ay nagiging mas mahirap.

 

— END —

 

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