Press Briefing

Mindanao Hour Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Jr. Spokesperson, Armed Forces of the Philippines

Event Mindanao Hour
Location Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace

OPENING STATEMENTS:

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. Before we give updates on Bangon Marawi, we would like to congratulate Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla on his new assignment as Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, OJ5 of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Sir?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Thank you, sir. First off, thank you very much, sir and to all the members of the — your staff who are present here, together with the Malacañang Press Corps.

I can only guarantee giving my all for the job that I’ll hand. And I still was told by the Chief of Staff that I will perform being the spokesman for the Armed Forces and martial law in Mindanao.

So you will still see me every now and then. Thank you.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: [Hold on.]

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Thank you very much, sir. May I provide you the update for today.

As of 7 p.m. of 7 September, the statistics that we have here are as follows:

There have been 653 enemies killed.

Those killed by the terrorists from the civilian sector, as well as those rescued remains the same at 45 and 1,728, respectively.

Recovered firearms have increased to 679.

Government casualties, or those killed-in-action, remain at 145, thank God.

Buildings that have been cleared recently number about 14.

For the status of cash donations, as of 1 p.m. yesterday, those that were donated to men of the Armed Forces under Land Bank account no. 552107128, remains at P38,124,273.23. While those that were donated for our Marawi IDPs stands at P989,215.21.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: [Thank you.] On the Task Force Bangon Marawi.

On September 2nd and 3rd, TFBM Executive Director Usec. Cesar Yano conducted a forum and dialogue with the IDPs in all the evacuation centers in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte.

Engineers, health workers and other technical experts joined the dialogue to monitor the services provided in the evacuation centers, especially the provision of water and electricity.

As part of the ongoing psychosocial services for the IDPs, the second leg of the Bangon Marawi Concert for the IDPs was held on September 6 at the Marawi City Provincial Capitol and Saguiaran Evacuation Center, Lanao del Sur.

Local singers from Marawi City, military mascots, and singers from the entertainment industry performed during the concert.

While relief distribution and other interventions are going on, Human Recovery Needs Assessment has been concluded as part of the Post Conflict Needs Assessment.

The findings and analyses [are] being finalized prior to its presentation in the TFBM Executive Committee.

Lastly, as promised by Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Chair Eduardo Del Rosario, the construction of temporary shelters in the 9-hectare Transitional Shelter Site provided by the Marawi City Government will start today.

The team in charge has arrived in Marawi City yesterday to facilitate the necessary coordination for the start of the construction today.

End of statement from Usec. Toby Purisima.

[Sir, you have any…]

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: [Yes, sir.] Other developments that I wish to share with you are as follows:

First off, I have — we have received information that our Local Crisis Committee in Marawi, together with our Task Force Group Ranao under General Rey, are working doubly hard to ensure the safety of some specific roadways that have figured in some incidents, particularly yesterday, when a member of a government agency was hit by a stray bullet.

Hence, the gate where — the gate of MSU where this incident occurred has been closed and traffic along that thoroughfare has been rerouted to safer areas as a result of this development.

Task Force Group Ranao has beefed up its forces in the area, especially around MSU, and will provide additional men to ensure the safety of our motorists and our residents in those particular areas that figured in the incident yesterday.

Also suspended near that area is a private school. So no classes will be held in that private school near the gate in view of this development until such time that we can guarantee or ensure that no incident of this nature will happen again.

However, classes and normalcy still remains inside the Marawi State University community — or Mindanao State University community — MSU community, and will continue because they are well secured in that area.

Other developments that I wish to share — we got word from the commander on the ground, Lieutenant General Galvez, and as you have been hearing the last few days, they have reason to believe that only one of the Maute brothers remains in the fight, and this is Omar.

The rest are believed to have been killed. But just the same, we need to, with finality and certainty, recover their bodies and subject them to DNA testing before a categorical statement can be issued.

But information on the ground, along with those revelations from hostages who have gone out of the area, and other information available to the troops point to this development.

The enemy now is still confined to an area that has been reduced to about 20 hectares.

So 20 hectares of land area is where the enemy has been circulating around, and still continuing their fight.

Fighting has been very fierce. It has been at close quarter battle in the area. But our forces are determined and are focused to seek to end this rebellion as soon as possible. But the challenges still do remain with the following.

The proliferation of IEDs in the area, other booby traps that have been laid along the way of the troops, the existence of a few snipers, and the existence of a few armed elements in specific areas that are in the vicinity or the peripheral areas of these areas that they still hold.

No traffic has been monitored, however, in the lake areas and the entryways and access to the battle area.

We will continue to guard, particularly this avenues of approaches, to guarantee what the Chief of Staff has recently said as a place that should be no way in and no way out.

On another development, recent successes in Jolo, Sulu have been announced to media recently. And I’d just like to summarize this.

In view of martial law, not only in Marawi are our operations ongoing. They are also ongoing in other areas such as Basilan, with Joint Task Force Basilan; Joint Task Force Sulu, under General Sobejana; and Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, to prevent the abduction of mariners along the main sea routes, as well as kidnapping incidents.

 

And some of the most significant developments that have been noted, besides the good combat score the other day where five members of the ASG were killed, is another development only recently, with the arrest of a man known as Milham Saham, 24 years old, who is from Barangay Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu.

According to Commander Joint Task Force Sulu, Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, this person, Sahaman, is a member of the ASG under Radullan Sahiron, and has worked closely with other sub-leaders such as Hairulla Asbang and Alhabsy Misaya.

He was arrested with the following: the existence of Improved Explosive Devices such as ammonium nitrate, fuel oils, detonating cords, electrical wires, and electrical tape. So we may have preempted an attempt to lay down IEDs in the Sulu town areas, municipal areas, and other main supply routes.

So this person is under the custody of the 45th IB at their headquarters and is undergoing debriefing.

These are all I have for now, because the other areas of Mindanao remain under current state.

Existence of checkpoints will be still employed and enforced to ensure that no armed elements will be able to penetrate or get to the main battle areas of Central Mindanao, particularly Marawi.

That is all, sir. Thank you.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Maricel Halili (TV 5): Hi, sir. Good morning. [Hello?] Sir, good morning.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Good morning.

Ms. Halili: Sir, I’m just curious, how far is MSU from the main battle area? Because if the enemies are already confined in one area, what are the possible sources of the stray bullet?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: You know, various firearms are existing within the main battle area. The MSU, by the way, remains unscathed because it was not part of the attack that was made by the terrorists or the rebels earlier on in the last few months.

However, there have been a lot of cases of stray bullets getting in that direction, even if it is a number of kilometers away. I think it’s about two, if I’m not mistaken, or more.

So the different calibers of firearms in the area may have been the cause or sources of all these stray bullets. It cannot be farfetched also that there may be some elements who are sympathetic of the group, who have arms with them, who may have made it close to these areas and may have attempted to shoot at vehicles or innocent persons who are in the area.

That is why, after the assessment of Joint Task Force Group Ranao, as well as the Local Crisis Committee of Marawi, it was decided to close these roadways until such time that we are sure no such incident will happen again.

Ms. Halili: And sir, what’s our reminder to the people in MSU?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: MSU is still secured by some of our forces. There are forces that are detailed there to conduct checkpoints and to ensure that no groups will be able to penetrate from a safe distance.

So the advice to the MSU community is to keep away from that side of the compound. That is why we needed to close a private school near the area, and the need to reroute traffic.

So the advisory — they are all aware of the incidents yesterday and have been advised to keep away from that particular side of the compound. But other areas of the MSU compound remain normal.

Ms. Halili: Thank you, sir.

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): Sir, clarification lang. Kanina, sabi niyo si Omar na lang ang natitira sa mga Maute brothers. The others are dead already. ‘Yung sa kaso po ni Hapilon, ano ang — papaano ninyo masasabi na hanggang ngayon, buhay pa siya? Ano ‘yung mga indicators na nasabi na nandoon pa siya sa lugar?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Tuesday, bukod kay Omar, totoo na si Hapilon ay kasama doon sa mga buhay pa, kasama pa dito sa bakbakan.

May mga nakuha kaming salaysay sa mga nanggaling sa loob na mga hostages na nakatakas noong mga nakaraang linggo, na nagpapatibay na siya ay naroroon pa.

Bagama’t may mga lumalabas na mga bali-balita na siya daw ay nakita o maaaring nakatakas na at nasa labas na ng Marawi. Pero hindi po totoo ‘yan.

Kasi, ‘pag oras na ginawa po niya ‘yan, tinalikuran niya po ‘yung mga kasamahan niya na nasa loob ng Marawi na patuloy pang nakikipag-bakbakan.

At magiging sampal po sa kaniya ‘yan at hindi na po siya kikilalaning isa sa mga lider ng grupo. So malayo pong mangyari, kaya’t naniniwala po kami na nariyan pa rin, kasama na po ‘yung mga kasamahan niya.

Madami na pong mga sugatan sa kanila’t hindi namin alam kung mga pumanaw na ito. Pero karamihan po diyan ay nagsusumikap na protektahan po itong dalawang lider na ito.

Kaya nagiging maigting at mapusok ang mga naging labanan nitong mga nakaraang araw. Kasi habang tayo po ay palapit nang palapit sa mga lugar na kinaka — kinaroroonan nila, sisikapin pa rin nila talagang ipagtanggol itong mga lider nila.

Dahil isa pa, ang tumatayong parang emir nila diyan ay itong si Hapilon.

Ms. Niu: Yes, sir. Sa tantsa po ng ating mga sundalo sa ground, ilan pa po ba sila doon sa loob ng Marawi?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Unang una, talagang sa paulit-ulit naming pinapaliwanag, hindi po talaga natin batid ‘yung eksaktong bilang.

Pero sa mga naging bakbakan nitong mga nakaraang linggo, ang paniniwala po ng ating mga tropa batay sa mga naging feedback ng ating mga gumagalaw na puwersa diyan ay humigit kumulang nasa kwarenta hanggang singkwenta pa sila na patuloy na nakikipag-bakbakan.

So ‘yan po ay bilang na estimate lamang. Kaya hindi po eksakto ito.

Sa panig naman po ng mga bihag, ang huling ulat po na nakuha natin ay maaaring may 20 to 30 pa na mga bihag na hawak nila.

Ms. Niu: Thank you, sir.

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning, sir. Sir, according to reports, the administration is planning to seek a supplemental budget to… to give additional funds to the AFP for the fighting in Marawi. Do we have a rough estimate of how much you would need for Marawi?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I don’t have the figures exactly, but as each day passes, that is true, the cash register clicks ‘no. So sa patuloy… sa araw-araw na nagiging bakbakan diyan, talagang nagiging magastos para sa ating pamahalaan.

Kaya minarapat ng ating gobyerno na palitan o bigyan ng karagdagang pondo ang AFP para makuha natin ang ating mga kinakailangan para ipagpatuloy ‘tong labanan na ‘to.

Noong huling estimate na ibinigay ng ating Kalihim ng Tanggulang Pambansa, ang kanya pong binigay na bilang ay estimate lamang, na nasa humigit-kumulang tatlong bilyon na ‘yung nagagastos natin dito.

So ito po’y tatlong bilyon, ‘yung binigay niya. You may refer to that statement of the Secretary and those were based on the earlier reports of estimates on the ground of how much we have spent.

Now, on the amount that will be provided by government, I understa — I don’t have the exact figure again ‘no. But I understand that the intent is to replenish our much-needed requirements.

So sa bawat araw na tumatagal, siyempre kinakailangan nating magdala pa ng karagdagang bala, karagdagang mga ordnance na ginagamit natin dito.

Kasama na diyan ang tinatawag nating FOL o fuel, oil, and lubricants na para tumakbo ang ating mga armored vehicles, mga sasakyan, at iba pang gamit.

Ms. Salaverria: So… so generally, for additional ammunition and—?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Opo. ‘Yan ay para sa karagdagang bala, mga ordnance, mga gasolina para sa mga tangke, sa mga iba pang gamit nating para mag-transport, at iba pa pong kagamitan.

Kasi ‘yung mga pagkain at iba pang supply, tulad ng gamot, meron po tayo. Angkop po ang ating mga supply. At kasama na diyan ‘yung mga patuloy na nanggagaling po sa ating mga kababayan na kanilang dino-donate. Kaya’t diretso po ‘yang pumupunta sa ating mga tropa tsaka sa mga ospital na kanilang kinaroroonan.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, how about the personnel? Are the soldiers enough? I mean, are we not stretched thin because we’re also taking care of the situation in—?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA:  No. The array of forces on the ground are adequate, and we rely on the assessment and the recommendations of the ground commanders.

The ground commander that is directly involved in this fight at the moment is our forces from many of our task groups.

And they are the ones who are recommending what number of forces they need. And they have enough forces there to continue with this battle.

Kung meron man silang pangangailangan, ipinagbibigay-alam po nila ‘yan sa ating hepe, kay Chief of Staff, through General Galvez, ang kanilang commander diyan. At ‘yan po ay kaagarang binibigyan po ng lunas.

Pero sa kasalukuyan, hindi pa po kinakailangan dahil angkop pa po ‘yung mga pwersa.

Ms. Salaverria: Thank you.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Sir, for clarification lang. Ilan lahat ‘yung Maute brothers na tumatayong leader ng Maute group?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Sa aming pagkakaalam, mga pitong magkakapatid ‘yan. Lahat po ay involved sa grupo. At sa akin nga pong nasabi kanina, ang paniniwala po ng ating mga tropa sa baba ay nag-iisa na lang ‘yung tumatayong nagdidirekta diyan ng bakbakan. At ‘yung iba ay napatay na.

Mr. Ganibe: The rest ‘yung… ‘yung the rest, ‘yung six?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, yes, yes.

Mr. Ganibe: Wala na pong sightings na buhay sila?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Wala na po.

Mr. Ganibe: General, clarification lang doon sa figures natin. Natanong ko na rin ito before, ‘yung sa mga housing… ‘yung mga houses na cleared —

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, yes.

Mr. Ganibe: May total run… may total running number ba tayo ng houses na cleared? Kasi parang lumalabas na every other day, 14. May mga… parang may impression kasi na baka mamaya ‘yung na-clear noong nakaraang araw, baka na… nakuha ulit ng kalaban kaya kailangang i-clear, kaya paiba-iba ‘yung numbers?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Kanina, sa huling binigay na datos ni General Galvez sa akin, sa kanilang pag-update ng figures, nasa less than 400 na lang ‘yung kanilang kinakailangang i-clear.

Kung sinabi nating “buildings to be cleared,” ‘no, sama-sama na diyan ang malalaking gusali, multi-story buildings. Kasama na rin diyan ang maliliit na mga gusali — maaaring bungalow na bahay, two-story na bahay, at mga iba pang installation na nakatayo pa rin doon sa loob.

So it is not a particular description of the kind of installation of facility or building. So when we say “buildings,” it pertains to both one-story facilities or houses and commercial-type buildings that are existing in the area.

‘Yung lugar na kinaroroonan ng kalaban sa kasalukuyan, nandiyan po ‘yung natitirang pinakamatibay na mga gusali. ‘Yung mataas na building na… na kanilang patuloy na ginagamit noon.

Meron pa sa isang lugar diyan na four-story building kung hindi ako nagkakamali, nariyan pa rin po ‘yun sa loob. So ‘yun po ‘yung mga bahagi ng mga gusali na kinakailangan pang i-clear.

At noong mga nakaraang linggo, sa pag-advance natin, mabilis po nating pinapasok kasi ‘yung lugar. Ang nagki-clear ng mga iniiwanang building ay ‘yung mga sumusunod na tinatawag nating, “follow-on forces.”

So sila po ang naatasan na mag-clear. Kasama na po diyan ‘yung mga eksperto sa mga bomba na maghahanap po ng mga IED, mga hindi pumutok na mga ordnance, at iba pa pong mga bagay na makikita nila na maaaring makasakit sa ating mga kasamahan at sa mga sibilyan.

So those are the things that they do on a continuing basis. And recently, I heard that pagkatapos ng isang pasada, pinapasadahan pa po ng isang beses para lang makasigurado. At ‘pag nakuha na, ito po’y binabantayan na ng mga rear forces para hindi po mabalikan ng kalaban.

Mr. Ganibe: If I remember it right, nung mga naunang buwan ng briefing, more than 2,000 houses ang kailangang i-clear, so ibig sabihin na more than 1,000—

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Tama. Tama po. So doon sa mga nauna pong mga figures, mahigit po sa dalawang libo itong mga buildings na ‘to. And we’ve been progressing so fast in the last… I think on the second month, we were able to clear 48, 50 houses expeditiously.

Pero ngayon, dahil malapitan na ang labanan, at maingat tayo na pumapasok, ang naki-clear na lang natin ay pito, wala pa ngang sampu kung minsan. Pero kahapon, mabilis po tayong nakapag-clear ng mahigit sa sampu. So maayos naman po nating naipatutupad ito.

Ang kahirapan dito kasi, kailangan maintindihan niyo ‘no. Pagpasok mo sa isang gusali, hindi mo ganap na masasabing cleared na ‘yan dahil madaming kwarto, madaming lagusan, at karamihan po ng kanilang pinagpupugaran ay mga gusali na may mga foundation, may mga basement.

At ‘yung inyong naririnig kung meron bang tunnel sa ilalim nitong mga gusali o mga building na ‘to, totoo po ‘yun.

There are some buildings and some facilities that have tunnels which becomes a network or a labyrinth of sorts that they use for escaping, for hiding, for surviving through the bombing runs that are being conducted.

Kaya kung nagtatanong po ang karamihan, bakit matibay po sila at patuloy pa silang nabubuhay, eh binomba na po at halos sira na po ‘yung buong Marawi.

Eh kasi po, malalim po ‘yung mga pundasyon ng mga bahay diyan at may mga paghahanda po diyan na may mga bomb shelters.

So… tapos ‘pag may narinig silang eroplano, takbuhan na po ‘yan, parang mga daga. Magtatago po sa mga sulok-sulok ng… ilalim ng mga bahay, ng gusali na ‘to.

Mr. Ganibe: Sir, last na lang sa aking part. May nabanggit kasi si Pangulo noong nakaraan, nung pumunta siya sa TESDA at binanggit niya… ay, or before pa, bago siya pumunta doon. Last week or the other week. Na ipapadala ‘yung mga bomb experts from Davao. Dumating ba sila sa Marawi, sir?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: May mga karagdagan pong tinatawag nating EOD experts na tumutulong sa atin na… meron na — may mga pwersa na po kasi tayo diyan na mga galing po sa EOD units natin. “EOD” stands for “Explosive Ordnance and Detonation.” Okay?

So sila po ‘yung maghahanap ng mga hindi pumutok na bomba, naghahanap ng mga patibong na mga IED, at sila po ang magde-defuse o magdi-disarm. Kung hindi nila magawa ‘yan, papasabugin nila ‘yan doon sa lugar.

So may mga eksperto po tayo sa military, may mga eksperto po tayo sa pulis. So ang dumagdag pong mga pwersa, galing po sa mga pulis. Nagdagdag po ang kapulisan para tumulong.

Pero hindi naman po natin pwedeng hatakin lahat ng mga pulis sa iba’t ibang lugar dahil kinakailangan din sila sa mga lugar na ‘yun.

Ms. Niu: General Padilla. Sir, kahapon lumabas ‘yung ulat na allegedly, may tangkang — seeking for a negotiation itong si dating Marawi City Mayor Omar Solitario. ‘Yung text message po niya kay Secretary Dureza. Kailan po ‘yun na-receive? Is this the reason po kung bakit kinancel (cancel) ‘yung unang pinagbigyan sana na ano niya, temporary pass?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Unang una po, nais kong ipabatid sa lahat na itong si Solitario ay dapat hindi tinatratong seryoso. Kasi ito po’y supporter na matagal na ng mga bandido diyan sa loob ng Marawi.

At dapat nga po ituloy ‘yung pag-aresto sa kanya dahil isa po siya sa mga nag-instigate ng mga nangyayari ngayon diyan.

So the Chief of Staff, in fact, conveys this message and just give me a second just to get this statement.

So officially, the Armed Forces has expressed its position. And the Chief of Staff conveys that we stand by the policy of no negotiation with whatever terrorist groups there are, particularly in this case.

So whatever this guy is saying is not true. That’s what the Chief of Staff said. And he said, “Malapit na po nating matapos ang crisis doon. And we will neutralize all remaining armed members of this Maute group inside Marawi.

Any negotiation will just prolong the conflict and resurrect these enemies, which is the same case that has happened in previous incidents.

Huwag na tayong magpaloko dito sa taong ito na si Solitario kasi ang ginagawa niya lang ay gusto niyang isalba ‘yung kanyang sariling leeg or he wants to save his neck. And he’s looking for ways to provide himself the ability to escape liabilities for the crimes that he has committed. So he’s trying to play it up.

How could he say that the Maute-ISIS group is not the problem? Sinasabi niya kasi hindi ‘yun ang problema eh. That would be an insult to the Armed Forces and our heroes. There are 145 lives who have been sacrificed, who have given their all.

And a lot of our wounded who are… remain in the hospital. This is only on the part of the Armed Forces.

Isa pa diyan, we must hold him accountable also for the lives of the civilians who have been lost in the area.

So let us not allow ourselves to be duped, give your Armed Forces and your police the chance to finish the problem there because this is like a cancer cell. Para po itong kanser.

Kung hindi po natin makuha ang kaisa-isang natitirang elemento diyan, parang kanser po ito na maaaring mabuhay pa at magpatuloy.

Kaya kinakailangan, parang sa pagtrato ng kanser. Bawat cell na naiiwan diyan ay kinakailangang mabigay… mabigyan natin ng lunas.

Kaya hindi po tayo bibitaw dito. Tatapusin po natin ito sa tamang paraan.

Ms. Niu: Thank you, sir.

Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Hi, sir. Sir, i-clear ko lang po. ‘Yung supplemental budget that we are expecting from government. Is that to specifically fund the requirements for Marawi?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, greatly in part. Because we have been provided a budget for the year for our regular and normal operations.

But Marawi is like a crisis that has come out… that will be provided for by our contingencies. And in order to prepare for any other contingencies, we need to replenish our funds.

So we went beyond our contingencies already. So we need to replenish them and keep our stocks of much-needed armaments, ammunition, equipment, maintenance items, so that in the event of any crisis, we’ll still be able to sustain whatever requirements we need.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, tanong ko lang. Magkano po ‘yung supplemental budget? And how long will that budget fund the requirements of the AFP for Marawi in the event na tumagal pa po itong krisis na ito?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: ‘Yung immediate requirements po kasi ‘yung pangpalit lang doon sa nagastos para makabili po tayo at makakuha tayo.

Dahil alam niyo ‘yung proseso ng procurement sa atin matagal eh, kaya mabuti na may mga alyado tayong bansa na tumutulong, na nagbibigay po sa atin ng kinakailangan natin pero hindi po dumadaan sa matagal na proseso na ‘yun dahil may mga kasunduan tayo.

It’s like a government-to-government arrangement that allows us to get much-needed requirements but in a very, very short period of time, which is allowable under our laws and in their laws.

Ngayon, ‘yung sa amount, hindi ko batid kasi nag-a-adjust ho eh. Nagbigay po ng amount.

Ang huli po naming nalaman, mahigit 1 point — mahigit isang bilyon ‘yung unang hiningi para po mapunuan ‘yung nawala na sa atin na mga… naubos nang kagamitan at may kasunod pa ‘yun na hindi ko pa po batid na halaga.

Kukunin ko po ‘yun at ibibigay ko sa inyo.

Ms. Gutierrez: Pero just to be clear sir, ‘yung tatlong bilyon na nagastos na natin, contingency fund po ‘yun ng AFP?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Combined. MOOE, contingency fund, at tsaka ‘yung regular budgets natin.

Ms. Gutierrez: Okay. Sir, last na lang. What about ‘yung funding for our other operations? Kumusta naman sir?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Patuloy pa naman kasi hindi naman natin ginagalaw ‘yung mga normal na operasyon sa ibang lugar:

Guarding our territorial areas, our sovereignty; we have forces deployed in the West Philippine Sea; we have forces deployed all over Mindanao to address the local communist movement in the Eastern Mindanao side; the other local terrorist groups in Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and Jolo, and other parts of Maguindanao, Cotabato, and other parts of the Philippines.

So meron tayong mga puwersa sa Luzon, sa Kabisayaan, sa Southern Luzon, Palawan. Lahat po ‘yan ay suportado ng regular budget pa rin.

Ms. Gutierrez: Thank you sir.

Hannah Sancho (Sonshine Radio): May nireport po yesterday sir na nahuli na Singaporean national na nais pumunta ng Marawi para rumesbak ano, tumulong doon sa ISIS, sa Marawi crisis. Meron po… Ano pong efforts na ginagawa natin sir? May mga — Baka hindi natin alam nakakalusot po sa Immigration na mga foreign fighters po. May mga reports po ba tayong natatanggap na ganun, sir? And ano po ‘yung ginagawa natin hakbang? ‘Yung sinabi niyo before na palakasin ‘yung Bureau of Immigration. Ano na pong nangyari doon sir?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I think there are effo — We have provided our inputs for the strengthening of some of our laws at tsaka ‘yung borders natin.

So kasama sa border strengthening natin na dapat palakasin natin ‘yung mga Bureau of Immigration posts. ‘Yung regular na normal na pasukan na kung saan pinoproseso ‘yung pagpasok na mga banyaga at nung mga iba nating mga kababayan.

We’ve voiced out our concerns and it has reached the BID, for one, also the DILG for some. And this inter-agency effort is continuing. But there are some that needs to be coursed through some legislation, amendment of some laws and the like.

And the Department of National Defense has communicated will all these agencies, other departments to effect this. So madami kasi ‘yun eh. Kaya hindi po natin ma-[unclear].

So may kanya-kanyang effort po sa BID, may kanya-kanyang effort po sa local government, at tsaka sa iba pang mga agencies.

Ms. Sancho: Pero wala po tayong natatanggap po na ulat sir na ‘yung mga foreign fighters na nakakarating pa po ng Marawi para tumulong?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Wala naman. We get information but we need to validate them. And per validation, we are not aware of any successful entry of foreigners in the area.

But katulad nga ng sabi ni General Año ‘no noong two weeks ago ‘no, ang atin pong polisiya ngayon na pinatutupad ng ating mga tropa diyan ay “no way in, no way out.”

So talagang matindi ang pagbabantay.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: A bit of good news.

On the rescue of the two Indonesian hostages:

We welcome the news that our troops have rescued two Indonesian hostages from the hands of the ASG after an encounter in Sulu yesterday.

Our operations against the members of the ASG remain focused and intense, especially as they continue their acts of violence and terrorism.

On the Senate investigation of teenage suspect slays:

We are one with the public in condemning the suspicious deaths of Carl Angelo Arnaiz and [Reynaldo] de Guzman.

The Executive, through the Philippine National Police, will cooperate with the Senate investigation and any other investigations called for.

Rogue cops, if and when allegations are proven true, have no place in an institution like the Philippine National Police (PNP) and we need everyone’s full support and cooperation as we continue to cleanse its ranks.

Regarding the efforts to implicate Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte:

We thank the Blue Ribbon Committee for giving Vice Mayor Duterte and Atty. Carpio the chance to debunk baseless allegations.

While nearly all senators showed respect for truth and reason, we caution against a particular one, who made baseless claims of purported bank accounts and body markings and then prodded witnesses to disprove his claims instead of presenting validating proofs.

His tactics had been foisted on public and media time and again. And the only way to stop this is to demand proof from anyone making baseless claims.

Regarding Asec. Mocha performing in a casino:

The law is clear and Secretary Andanar has discussed with Asec. Uson why we must discourage her from performing in casinos.

Though we understand that she may have to fulfill a certain contract, however, she is certainly free to continue to perform in other venues not restricted for government officials and personnel.

Rightly or wrongly, casinos tend to convey extravagance and questionable ethical practices in the public mind.

Hence, those in government must avoid being seen in such places.

Regarding immunity for the Marcoses:

It is good that these concerns are being raised, that this is precisely what the President made public, the overtures of the Marcos family and has asked Congress to deliberate the matter and to come up with legislation giving authority and guidelines.

This measure will ensure that negotiations abide by the law and advance the national interest and the demands of justice.

One major issue our esteemed lawmakers shall have to deliberate is whether it’s better to continue current efforts to regain what rightfully belongs to government now going on for 31 years or to negotiate a settlement that would obtain billions of pesos for the nation’s use now.

The President has apparently left that decision to our legislators and the government will proceed only after Congress enacts a measure authorizing negotiations and setting parameters on the conduct of peace, on the conduct of talks and the eventual disposition of recovered assets.

Regarding Makabayan bolting that coalition:

We do hope the Makabayan bloc will stay with the administration and the House majority.

However, if they do decide to go, we wish them well and we hope that they will remain open to working together with others on issues of shared interest.

End of statement.

Ms. Salaverria: Good morning sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes, ma’am? 

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, has the President received an invitation to the commemoration of the 100th birthday of Ferdinand Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: If you’re asking whether he received an invitation, I’m not aware of that. However, he will be in Davao.

Ms. Salaverria: On Monday?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: On Monday. As far as I know.

Ms. Salaverria: So he’s not expected to show up?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Unless he bilocates.

Ms. Salaverria: Thank you.

Ms. Sancho: Sir, just to clarify. Sino po si “particular one?”

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We don’t need to clarify anything.

Ms. Sancho: Pero sir, ‘yung regarding po doon sa Marcos. Sakali pong i-invite, possible po na pumunta si Pangulo sa Monday po? Or para kasi issue din doon sa negotiation mas maganda na hindi na lang pumunta ‘yung Pangulo?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I cannot speculate on your question. However, as far as I know, he will not be in Manila.

JP Bencito (Manila Standard): Sir, the Commission on Elections announced the filing of candidacies for barangay elections starting today. Sir, can we just get a clear position of the Palace in case on the filing of elections… filing of candidacy of election.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Regarding the what?

Mr. Bencito: Filing of candicacies.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We will have to clarify that with the Office of the President. We will get back to you.

Mr. Bencito: Then sir on Trillanes lang. Sir, there was an issue, ‘yun ngang sa tattoo. Sir, could the Vice Mayor could have easily debunked the allegations by Senator Trillanes by possibly showing his back tattoo?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: All we can say is he chose not to expose his body, right?

Mr. Bencito: Thank you sir.

Mr. Ganibe: Hi, Usec. Good afternoon. Usec, alam naman natin si Pangulo ‘pag… minsan ‘pag… madalas ‘pag gumagawa ng desisyon ay hinihingi ‘yung opinyon o rekomendasyon ng kanyang mga opisyal. Kung kayo po ay matatanong, would you recommend kung pupunta siya, dadalo sa commemoration ng birthday ni dating Pangulong Marcos?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Wala po siyang natatanong sa akin.

Mr. Ganibe: Kung sakali sir na mag — opinyon.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Saka na po. Saka nap o.

Mr. Ganibe: What would be your recommendation?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Me? I would always go — being the spokesperson, I would always go by his decision.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, ano po ‘yung mga naging konsiderasyon ni President Duterte in declaring as a holiday in Ilocos Norte ‘yung birthday ni former President Marcos considering that this is a very polarizing and sensitive issue?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know, this is a one-off event in consideration that it is centennial. It’s the 100th birthday. So it’s a one-off, just a one-off tradition.

Llanesca Panti (Manila Times): Sir, good morning po.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes ma’am.

Ms. Panti: About the teenage slays recently.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Opo.

Ms. Panti: The President said that two killings don’t make a policy.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think he said one. Ah okay two, two.

Ms. Panti: No, two. He said two, Kian and Carl. With the discovery of the remains of De Guzman and other teenagers being found dead in other parts of the country. How would the Palace describe our current situation? Is this a crisis? Is this — Do we blame the rogue cops? How do we — If this is not a policy, how do we describe it?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It needs to be investigated to actually determine what seems to be behind these events. It needs to be investigated.

Of course, it’s a deep concern. Like we said earlier, any death, any violent, even just one single violent death is a call for concern, especially with the younger ones.

As we all know, the President is very concerned and deeply protective of the next generation.

Ms. Panti: So sir, how would… Is this a crisis in the PNP or not?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t know if you call it a crisis. But of course it’s a deep concern.

You know, if you consider it a crisis, it’s something like pestilence, you know. These are huge droughts. Those are crisis. But this is of growing concern.

Ms. Sancho: Sir, patanong po sir. Ano pong pwedeng mensahe ng Palasyo doon sa mga magulang po na may mga anak na 14 years old or mga menor de edad na natatakot po ano dahil doon sa ilang mga kabataan na biglang nawawala at nababalitaan na lang nilang tinapon sa ilog o nasa funeral parlor. Number 1, ito ‘yung ipinangako ni Pangulong Duterte nung panahon ng kampanya that ‘yung mga menor de edad, they can walk sa streets na very safe. So ano pong mensahe ng Palasyo sa kanila?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Masasabi po siguro natin is that as far as we can, we try to maintain more solid family relationships to be more careful in terms of the children’s activities.

And again, as we reminded, to keep them away, to make sure that they are kept away from questionable activities, to warn them again and again, not to even to be physically near, not to entertain suspicious activities or even companions. To be careful.

Ms. Sancho: Thank you, sir.

— END —

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