Press Briefing

Mindanao Hour Briefing by Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Jr. Spokesperson, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Romina Marasigan Chief and Spokesperson Public Affairs Office, Office of Civil Defense

Event Mindanao Hour
Location Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace

OPENING STATEMENTS:

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Good morning, everyone. Malacañang Press Corps and thank you for being with us during this regular Mindanao update.

At the very start, may I just provide you the latest from Marawi. As of 7:00 PM, 17 September 2017. The statistics that we got for enemies killed remain the same at 673 and civilians killed at 47.

Firearms recovered from the area, mostly high-powered firearms are at 699 or increase of 2.

Unexploded ordnance recovered and safely dealt with – 2 for the last 24 hours

IED recovered and safely dealt with – 1

For civilians rescued – 1,730

Buildings cleared as of the last 24 hours, there was 7; and the day previous to that, there were 28.

Killed on the enemies — on the government’s side remains at 149.

For the status of cash donations, as of last Friday, the last — the close of banking hours, 15 September 2017:

Marawi AFP casualty donations increased to P80,849,998.23.

Those for Marawi IDPs are at P993,340.21

These are the latest figures that we got and what we have for you today.

May I just make mention that as far as the buildings cleared is concerned, you noticed that we are tending to slow down because as the enemies’ area of movement becomes lesser and smaller, the ability to clear many more buildings becomes doubly difficult because of the number of IEDs that are left. And at the same time, the complexity of the battlefield because the enemies are already very close at hand.

In fact, the street-to-street fighting is ongoing as of this moment, and our forces are focused and determined to push the envelope so that soon we can say that Marawi is totally liberated.

These are all I have for you today. For the information of everyone, there will be a press event later this afternoon at Camp Aguinaldo at 1:30.

And I would highly recommend that you get information from the Defense Press Corps or the Office of the Director of Public Affairs Service of the Department of National Defense.

So at this moment, may I turn over the floor to our very able spokeswoman for Joint Task Force Marawi for the rehabilitation efforts.

And if you will allow, I will request to be excused, we will have to rush to Camp Aguinaldo for a very important event.

Rocky Ignacio (PTV 4): Wait lang, General Padilla.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: But I will give you…

Ms. Ignacio: Can we get your… Can we ask Malacañang Press Corps to ask some questions before you leave?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Okay, okay, before I turn over the floor to Ms. Romina.

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:

Joseph Morong (GMA): Sir, ‘yun pong ano niyo, number of civilians rescued, increased by how many ‘to? ‘Yung 1,730?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: The previous number we had the last few days was at 1,728.

Mr. Morong: So you have two?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: There were two additional.

Mr. Morong: Who are these people, sir?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: I neither confirm nor deny that there were positive developments lately. And that will be the subject of the press event this afternoon.

Mr. Morong: Okay, that’s like… Sir, si Father Chito na-rescue na officially?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Again, I’m not at liberty to reveal information as of the moment.

Kris Jose (Remate): Sir, follow up lang dun sa report na may mga Maute members na nag-express ng willingness to surrender to the government?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, there were unofficial and raw information that came to the attention of Joint Task Force Marawi that indicated the desire of some armed elements of the Maute group to lay down their arms and surrender.

The information is currently part of those that are being verified by the Joint Task Force and subject to validation.

Ms. Jose: May figures po ba tayo kung ilan?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Wala pa po. Tulad ng nabanggit ko, ito’y bagay na kinakailangan pang siyasatin nang mabuti para malaman po kung nanggagaling nga ito sa tunay na mga miyembro ng grupong ito.

Ms. Jose: Thank you.

Maricel Halili (TV-5): Sir, I just would like to confirm if Father Chito will be presented to the President this afternoon?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Again, I am not at liberty to share this kind of information at the moment and it would be best to reserve your questions until the 1:30 press event.

Ms. Halili: Pero mag-a-attend po ba, sir, si Presidente doon sa 1:30 event?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: I am not sure if it will be that high an event. But definitely, it will be run by the Department of National Defense.

Mr. Morong: ‘Yung dalawang rescue na hostages, how would you say — how would you describe the rescue? Is this very significant? Is this very important, as far as the operations is concerned, such that this can — we can probably say that we’re really nearing the end of this crisis?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Joseph, I’m sorry. I cannot share whatever information I do know at the moment. But be that as it may, every life in the area who are supposed to be rescued are important.

Even if there is one remaining hostages or one remaining hostage, or two, or three, or what have you, each life is critical and is very important. And the troops have this in their primary consideration during operation.

Mr. Morong: How many more do we have there?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: The number of hostages per the last report, based on Joint Task Force Marawi’s estimate…

Again, these are estimates, these are not exact figures and given to us. Hostages are believed to be still at about 40 to 60.

And the enemy’s strength per the last validation seemed to have increased from 60 to 80.

Mr. Morong: Why?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Because of news and information that indicated that perhaps some of the hostages previously held have been forced to join the ranks.

Mr. Morong: Sir, ano lang. How do we know na ganon ‘yung trend?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: May I reserve that for this afternoon? As part of those that may be asked.

Mr. Morong: Sir, how were they able to survive the almost more than three months?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Again, in previous weeks… Tulad nung mga nabanggit natin noong mga nakaraang linggo, ‘yung kapabalidad at kapasidad nilang maiwang buhay sa matagal na panahon ay isa sa mga parte na pinaghandaan nila.

At kinakailangang maintindihan po ng lahat na ‘yung lugar na kanilang kinubkob ay commercial business district. So ang ibig sabihin po nito, nariyan po ‘yung mga supermarket, nariyan po ‘yung mga gasolinahan, nariyan po ‘yung mga imbakan ng mga main supply ng siyudad ng Marawi.

So may mga grocery stocks po diyan, may mga public market places, may mga dry goods store at iba pa na pagkukunan ng maaaring gamitin para manatili sila nang pangmatagalan.

Pati mga water refilling stations ay nariyan. So kung tubig ang pag-uusapan at pagkain, maaaring unlimited ito dahil ito’y commercial business district.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Hi, General. Sir, follow up lang. Kailan nga na-rescue ‘yung dalawa? Na-rescue or nakatakas?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Again, hindi ko pa po maaari pang i-share itong impormasyon na ‘to. Maganda pong i-reserba natin ‘yang mga katanungan na ‘yan sa gaganaping press event ngayong hapon.

Mr. Ganibe: Pero, General, do we have figures coming from them kaugnay dun sa mga naiwan pa nilang kasamahan? Kung anong sitwasyon nila? May mga nabanggit na po ba sila — nitong dalawa?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Tulad po ng aking nabanggit, parte po ‘yan ng maaari niyong tanungin sa gaganaping event ngayong hapon.

At ito lang po ang aking maidadagdag ano. Karamihan po sa atin, lalo na po sa mga kaibigan sa media at saka sa mga kababayan natin, maaaring isang balita lamang itong mga lumabas na ito. Pero sa sundalo pong nagtatrabaho sa kaguluhan diyan sa Marawi, buhay ho ang pinag-uusapan. Buhay ng sundalo, buhay ng hostage.

Kaya ipagpaumanhin niyo na po kung may mga panahon na ayaw naming magbigay ng impormasyon maski na kami’y pinipilit niyo at pitpitin niyo na lahat ng daliri ko o daliri ng aming kasamahan, sa pagbibiro lamang ‘no, hindi po maibibigay ‘yan dahil ang pinangangalagahan ho ay ang kapakanan at safety nung mga hostages na ating sinisikap na ma-rescue.

So sa karamihan po ng ating mga kaibigan sa media, ang pagpupumilit po na ‘yan ay napaka — naiinitindihan naman po namin. At napakahalaga sa inyo na makapagbalita nang tama kaya sinisikap niyo na i-validate ito.

Kaya patuloy kaming humihingi ng paumanhin dahil maski gustuhin po naman na ibigay ito at hindi pa ho nararapat, kinakailangan po nating isipin ‘yung rason na nanggagaling po sa side ng ating military. Kasi nga po, buhay po ng tao ang nakasalalay at hindi lamang po balita.

Sana po naintindihan niyo.

Mr. Ganibe: Yes, we understand that, sir. But as of this time, may mga larawan na po na kumakalat sa social media nitong isang white-haired and long-bearded man together with the Mr. Alonto at the airport of CDO.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Batid din po namin ito at hindi po namin kung saan — batid namin kung… Hindi namin alam kung saan nanggaling ito. Pero may mga pagkakataon po noong nakaraang mga buwan na may ganitong larawang lumabas din.

So maaaring hinatak po ito o ginamit lang ‘yung mga dati pong lumalabas at maaaring hindi po ito ‘yung most current.

Q: Sir, kinonfirm (confirm) na po ni Secretary Jess Dureza kahapon.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Sa aking pagkakaalam po, ang nabanggit pong pahayag ni Secretary Dureza ay unofficial at for confirmation.

Kaya siya po ay nagbigay ng pasabi na kinakailangan pong antayin ang ating mga pwersa sa ground upang kumpirmahin ito nang tuluyan.

So sa kasalukuyan po, tulad ng aking nabanggit hindi ko — I’m not at liberty pa po to discuss this at the moment.

So kung akin pong ipakikiusap sa inyo, maaari pong ireserba niyo itong mga katanungan na ‘to sa gaganaping event mamayang hapon.

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Hi, sir. Good afternoon. Sir, ‘yung mga hostages po na pinilit na maging combatant ng Maute, how do you treat them po kung gusto nilang sumuko? Kahapon nag-release ng statement ang AFP Chief of Staff na makipag-communicate if they want to surrender. So paano po ‘yon?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Tama, Rose ‘no. Kaya nga po sa aking kasagutan sa isang katanungan kanina tungkol sa mga bagay na ito, kinakailangan nating suriin mabuti kung saan nanggagaling itong balita.

At kung matutukoy natin na merong mang — ngang kumpirmasyon na ito’y galing sa grupo ng mga armado diyan, maging mga original na members ng Maute o ‘yung mga napilitang sumanib sa kanila, sila po ay tatratuhin nang maayos.

Remember, your Armed Forces in the area operating right now and all our members in the entire archipelago are steep in human rights and international humanitarian laws.

We know the rules of engagement. We know the rules of war. And if there’s a white flag flying out there for an individual o isang tao man lang na nagnanais sumuko, rerespetuhin po ang karapatan niya at siya po ay tatratuhin nang maayos.

Ms. Coz: Mapa-terorista or ‘yung hostage po na ginagamit —

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Maging terorista o hostage na napilitang sumanib sa kanila.

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): Sir, in the case na walang prior paabiso doon sa mga nag-o-operate na sundalo natin, siyempre under duress daw po sila, pinuwersa na pahawakan ng armas para maging kaanib ng Maute. Pero ang paglusob po ng sundalo natin, hindi naman sinasabi kung kailan. Papaano natin mare-recognize na sila pala eh ‘yung bihag na pinuwersa lang humawak ng armas?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Ang pinakabasehan po natin, ‘pag meron po tayong kaharap na may dalang armas at nagpaputok papunta sa ating lugar, ‘yan po ay sign of hostility at may karapatan po ang ating kasundaluhan na idepensa ang kanilang sarili or to neutralize the targets.

Pero sa pagkakataon na may puting bandera na sakaling iwinawagayway, iba na pong usapan ‘yun. Kaya sa mga ganung pagkakataon, may pagtigil ng putukan para magbigay daan sa pagberipika dito sa mga nagpapakita ng puting bandera.

Ms. Niu: Thank you, sir.

Llanesca Panti (Manila Times): Sir, good morning po. Sir, follow up ko lang ‘yung query ko kahapon. Would this somehow delay of confirmation of the release of the hostages will be the policy from now on? Kasi may remaining pa. Kasi we are also getting confused because —

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: No, no. There’s no…

Ms. Panti: An official is making an announcement and yet it is subject to confirmation. So ano ‘yung magiging policy, sir, in announcing the release of the hostages?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: The operations on the ground take precedence and the desire of the commander to keep and withhold information is based on their judgment of whatever conditions are on the ground at the moment.

So sa ganitong pagkakataon, kung meron pong nakikita na maaaring kaganapan na maglalagay sa alanganin ng buhay ng sundalo at ng buhay ng hostages, ‘yung commander po sa baba ang siyang magsasabi.

Kaya sa ganitong pagkakataon po, nanggaling po ang abiso na huwag muna pong magpalabas ng anong klaseng impormasyon dahil may kasalukuyang ginagawang operasyon para masagip o matulungan kung sa mga nalalabing mga hostages.

So ‘yung desisyon po na ‘yun ay isang bagay na pinag-aaralan, sinusuring mabuti, at dinedesisyunan nang maayos bago po ito ipasa.

Kaya nga po kanina, ang akin pong sinasabi ay kailangan maintindihan po ng ating mamamayan, ng ating mga kasamahan sa media, itong pagkakataon na mga sinasabi ko.

Kasi ito po ay nangangahulugan na maaaring may mamatay o may mga buhay na mailalagay sa peligro.

So ‘yung polisya na tinatanong niyo, ‘yan po ay dependent sa conditions sa battlefield at ‘yung kanilang kinakailangang gampanang misyon.

Isa pa pong pagpapahambing ano. Itong kamakailan, alam ko batid niyo at sinusundan niyo ang mga kaganapan sa buong mundo. Ang ibang bansa ay may banta rin galing sa mga terorista tulad ng nangyayari sa United Kingdom.

Karapatan po ng gobyerno na ilagay ang kanilang security forces sa isang level o angkat na kapasidad upang makatugon sa mga banta kanilang hinaharap.

So ganun din po sa atin. Ganun din po ang ire-recommend ng ground commander.

Kung may malaking banta na maglalagay sa alanganin ng ilang mga buhay diyan sa lugar niya, irerekomenda po niya na ‘wag munang magsabi ng anumang bagay hangga’t hindi po siya nakakatiyak na ang kanyang ninanais na gampanan ay maayos niyang magagawa.

Maraming salamat. I’ll turn over the floor now to Romina for the most important developments in the rehabilitation, reconstruction and rebuilding of Marawi.

MARASIGAN: All right. Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps. Here are the updates on the activities of Task Force Bangon Marawi.

Relief operations are still ongoing through the Office of Civil Defense, our Social Welfare and Development Department and the Philippine Army in Iligan City.

The relief operations that we do on ground are not only for those in evacuation centers, but as well as the home-based IDPs.

Task Force Bangon Marawi Executive Director Undersecretary Cesar Yano has inspected the Social Welfare and Development warehouse in Initao, Misamis Oriental.

This is to ensure that we have enough and adequate supply of food packs for our IDPs.

And aside from relief distribution, we still do our psychosocial intervention. This is done in partnership of the Task Force with Mindanao State University, Marawi Sultanate League, Pantar local government unit, and the Marawi Council of Ulama.

And they are conducting a moral, recovery and psychosocial intervention, not only for our evacuees in evacuation centers, and as well as for the home-based IDPs.

On business and livelihood, 145 IDPs have already undergone skills training on cake making, massage therapy and carpentry. 946 IDPs were provided with seeds for those who would like to venture in agricultural business.

In fact, they were several families already who have displayed their crops in this Diyandi Fiesta Park which will be conducting this display of crops for 45 days, allowing them to jumpstart their business and probably have a few profit for their own families.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has expressed its willingness to assist our IDPs through livelihood programs.

Undersecretary Yano has spearheaded a meeting with them and hopefully we will be able to have a better picture of what assistance they will be giving through these livelihood programs.

With regard to the construction of transitional shelter, it is still ongoing. But while it is ongoing, we have the International Organization for Migration has inaugurated alternative dwelling spaces.

These dwelling spaces were given to 137 families to decongest our evacuation centers, particularly in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte.

Our Task Force sub-committees and support groups shall continue to coordinate our efforts on ground and will be actually having an update to be given to our Chairperson of the Task Force Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

We will have a meeting on Wednesday to ensure that our initiatives are still attuned to our objectives and we are keeping track of the conclusion of our hopefully soon, our post-conflict needs assessment so to just to ensure that we will be having now our comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery plan for those affected of the Marawi conflict in Marawi City and the affected communities.

That is all for Task Force Bangon Marawi.

Ms. Ignacio: So, ma’am, magiging busy ang Task Force Bangon Marawi with NDRRMC. Pero, papaano ‘yun kasi may mga calamities, may mga kailangan pa rin bigyan ng pansin ng NDRRMC. So papaanong gagawin natin doon?

MARASIGAN: Actually, while the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council takes the lead in providing assistance for those affected on any calamity.

Ito pong Task Force Bangon Marawi which is actually iba-iba naman po na mga agencies na miyembro din, meron na po tayong specific po na ‘no mga opisina na magbibigay tugon doon sa pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan na naaapektuhan ng Marawi conflict, pati na rin po ‘yung mga kasama nito na mga komunidad.

Meron na rin po tayo na mga opisina na talagang pinatukuyan na natin na magbibigay ng ayuda sa ating mga kababayan.

At this point kasi, hindi pa natin masyado nakikita siguro ‘yung picture ng rehabilitation and recovery while the conflict is still ongoing.

What the government is ensuring na habang hindi pa natatapos ‘yung conflict doon mismo sa ‘no kalagitnaan at ilang barangay pa na natitira doon sa Marawi City, may initial na po tayo na assessment na ginawa.

Meron na po tayo inuna na na mga aktibidades na para masiguro natin ‘no, kahit papaano, hindi man tapos ang conflict, meron na tayong siguradong tulong at may makikita na ‘no na rehabilitation na makikita ‘yung ating mga kababayan on ground.

Mr. Ganibe: Hi ma’am, good morning.

MARASIGAN: Hi.

Mr. Ganibe: Sinasabi niyo 137 families ‘yung inalis na doon sa Balo-i evacuation centers. Saan po sila dinala po ulit?

MARASIGAN: All right, ‘yung ating alternative dwelling centers kasi — shelters — inilipat lang din sila ng iba…

Meron kasing evacuation center natin, so nakasentro ‘yun sa Balo-i.Nearby lang din naman ‘yung ating pinipili na mga alternative dwelling spaces. Ito ayaw lang natin na naka-concentrate sila.

Kasi if you’ve been to Marawi City, if you’ve been to Iligan ‘no, para doon sa ating mga evacuees, you would see talagang overflowing ‘no.

Ang dami nating mga evacuees na nasa evacuation centers, much more pa nga ‘yung nasa home-based.

So ang ginagawa natin, para hindi masyado silang siksikan, dahil nakikita natin nagkakaroon na rin tayo ng reports ng pagkakasakit ‘no.

So ang ginawa natin, through the help of the International Organization for Migration, meron tayong alternative spaces. Iba pa ito doon sa ating transitional shelter na ginagawa.

Mr. Ganibe: Itong alternative dwelling places, mga tent po ito? Or isang area na… Papaano po ‘yun?

MARASIGAN: Actually, parang makeshift houses siya.

Mr. Ganibe: Makeshift houses?

MARASIGAN: Oo, makeshift houses siya. Para rin siyang parang katulad ng itsura ng ating transitional shelters.

But, of course, ‘yung transitional shelters natin mas pang-matagalan ang ginawa natin para dito.

Pero ‘yung mga alter… Itong alternatives na ‘to, ito lang ‘yung initially ma-decongest natin. For initial ano lang ‘to — initiative ‘no ng ating Task Force through the help of IOM.

Mr. Ganibe: Thank you.

MARASIGAN: Okay. Thank you.

— END —

 

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