July 10, 2017 – Mindanao Hour Press Briefing by PCOO Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag with Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr.
|Mindanao Hour Press Briefing by PCOO Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag with Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr.|
|Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace|
|10 July 2017|
ASEC. BANAAG: Magandang umaga Rocky, magandang umaga, General Padilla, and magandang umaga sa Malacañang Press Corps. Sa ating mga kababayan na Ilocano, naimbag nga agsapa kadakayo amin.
Here are the latest updates on the Joint Task Force Marawi on Day 49 as of 6 p.m. yesterday, July 9, 2017.
The number hasn’t changed for civilians killed by terrorists – 39
And we have the number of civilians rescued by government troops, LGUs and CSOs is at 1,723, an additional of one civilian.
And the number of terrorists killed at 379, that is an additional of 26 terrorists killed.
The number of recovered high-powered firearms from terrorists is at 451 or an additional of 25 high-powered firearms.
And as to government casualties we have it at 89.
We’d like to reiterate our previous announcements that:
(1) Government’s policy not to negotiate with terrorists remains.
(2) The AFP reiterates its call to all our citizens to practice the concept of “Shared Responsibility in Security” by being vigilant, alert and conscious of their immediate environs wherever they are and to report to authorities suspicious persons or items left unattended immediately.
Here are some developments:
We have the continuing significant development in the ongoing organization of the Interagency Task Force Bangon Marawi or the IATF Bangon Marawi is responsible to prepare and undertake the comprehensive plan for the early recovery and rehabilitation of the city.
The AFP with its JTG or Joint Task Group Ranao will lead the SRR cluster or the search, rescue, retrieval and rehabilitation operations.
And lastly, if we work together, we can secure and keep our communities safe from all threats.
Thank you so much.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Thank you very much, Asec. On the part of the Armed Forces, may I just relay that the offensive operations are positively ongoing. We continue to gain headway in our operations on the ground.
Troop morale is high primarily because of the continuing public support that they are experiencing.
And as a result of that, our troops are continuously forward-looking, hoping and looking forward to resolve this issue or this incident in Marawi at the soonest time possible.
The Joint Task Group Ranao under Brigadier General Rey continues to make progress also in their wide consultation with local government, provincial government and the national agencies of government that are now leaning forward to embark on the early recovery of Marawi.
The early recovery stage is going to occur even while hostilities are ongoing. And this early recovery stage will pave the way for the preparation of the ground for the temporary resettlement area while Bangon Marawi is capacitating itself and organizing itself to embark on the full recovery at the end of hostilities.
So hindi po magsisimula ang ating gagawing pagtulong sa Marawi at hindi po natin — hihintayin pa na matapos ang bakbakan, at sisimulan lang po ito sa pamamagitan ng paglulungsad nitong paghahanda ng tinatawag na temporary resettlement area.
So initially, itong temporary resettlement area na medyo malayo naman po sa labanan ay safe naman po upang simulan at nagkaroon na po ng groundbreaking diyan kamakailan, informally.
They will prepare the ground for the creation of this temporary resettlement area and initially it will be a tent type dwelling for many of our residents of Marawi whose houses have been affected.
After which, we hope to pave the way to create a single detached cottage for each and every member of the community whose houses have been destroyed during the fighting as their temporary resettlement.
So, hoping to make that as a six months to one year transition dwelling for many of the residents until such time that the areas that they used to live will have been reconstructed and rehabilitated.
Primary attention and focus for the rehabilitation, of course, will go to the basic services, initially.
And what are these? The restoration of power, the restoration of water, the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation, and restoration of health services, and also educational services.
So in line with the restoration of education, the DepEd has already closely worked with some of our engineers and some consultants and are leaning forward by putting in their materials that will be used for the repair and the rehabilitation of the schools in Marawi, in Iligan — in nearby Iligan.
And they are also working with other contractors to make sure that as soon as the coast is clear and the signal is given, many of these materials that will be used for the reconstruction and repair of the schools in Marawi will be among the first items that will comprise the convoy for the full recovery efforts.
So ‘yan po ‘yung mga priority na napag-usapan kamakailan.
The Bangon Marawi Inter-Agency Task Force continues to meet also and they will be meeting again this week to lay the groundwork for the planning and the scheduling of all the work that will be needed once the go-signal is done and for the early recovery stage which is the preparation of the resettlement — temporary resettlement area.
May I also announce, that we continuously get disturbing narratives from escapees that children as well as hostages are being employed in the firefight.
And disturbing as it is, our troops are doing their best to avoid any casualty among these children that are being employed. But if in the event that they are armed and they bear arms and are involved in the fighting, there’s nothing much that we can do. Similarly, with the hostages who are being forced.
Our efforts on the ground are also focused at rescuing civilians who are still trapped. And there are still quite a number, especially elderly that are monitored to still be in the area and we will seek to rescue them.
In line with Bangon Marawi, the AFP is finalizing the preparation for deployment of our Army engineers supported by the Navy and Air Force Engineering Units of the Armed Forces.
Our soldier engineers are well-experienced to undertake projects in conflict areas because they have been involved in nationwide infrastructure projects, especially during conflict events, like in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
They were part of the government’s commitment and the AFP’s commitment in helping our Muslim brothers immediately following these conflicts.
They have also undertaken many projects, such as mosques, school buildings, covered courts, multi-purpose centers for the community, farm-to-market roads, health centers, et cetera, et cetera.
There will be a more detailed report on this by Joint Task Force Marawi during their presscon today. And I would request that you inform your desk to closely follow this as they make the report regarding the preparation and readiness of our engineering units to undertake the rehabilitation and recovery of Marawi in the days to come.
May I also inform the public that issues regarding soldiers taking liberties at properties that are left behind in houses are just mere insinuation.
And I would like to debunk that again by a good news that we got that recently some of our troops recovered some important documents and items owned by a particular resident in one of the houses we cleared.
This comprises high value appliances, documents and cash and jewelries, if I’m not mistaken, owned by a certain resident which was subsequently turned over to the owner.
The owner was located and the items were turned over to the owner duly covered by a receipt.
So this is just an indication that we would like to pass on to the public that we respect the rights of our citizens regarding their ownership in the houses that we are clearing.
And currently, efforts are being undertaken that in areas that we have cleared, buildings, houses, et cetera, that we cannot guard, we have worked — and are continuously working with local government — if possible to have this padlocked to secure the premise of the residence or the building properly by locking it up and ensuring that no one else gains access to it, if we cannot guard it ourselves.
In other areas, we will guard it if we have the manpower available. But in the other areas na hindi pwede, sisiguraduhin po natin na naipa-padlock ito nang sa ganon wala pong nakakapasok.
Kasi noong mga unang linggo, nakahuli po ang ating tropa at tsaka mga pulis ng mga nanghihimasok na mga taong labas.
And ‘yun po ‘yung mga nagnanakaw, bukod doon sa mga terorista na pumapasok sa loob na ginagamit nila ‘yung mga gamit sa loob ng bahay.
So sa atin pong parte, oras na na-clear natin ang mga gusaling ito at hindi natin mabantayan, kasama po ang local government, ipa-padlock po natin para hindi na po mapasukan ng iba.
That is what I have for now and should you have any questions…
By the way, I’d like to pass on the appreciation of the Armed Forces to the MILF for issuing a fatwa last week against the Maute and the practice of extremism and radicalism currently in Marawi.
This is all and thank you very much.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
Maricel Halili (TV-5): Hi, sir. Good morning. Sir, may we have your views regarding the statement of House Speaker Alvarez saying that baka better if we’ll extend the martial law for another five years?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Maricel, I cannot give you a categorical answer because the assessment for the extension of martial law is still being undertaken and we have not finished this yet.
So let us wait for the assessment and the inputs from the ground if there is a need for us to extend the period of martial law, which by law is specified at 60 days.
So if we need a longer period, other than that, the assessment will provide that.
Ms. Halili: But so far, sir, kailangan ba ng another five years to at least clear the problem of terrorism specifically in Mindanao?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Tulad nga ng sabi ko, hindi ko alam kung ano ang pinagbabatayan ni Speaker.
Maaaring may impormasyon siya na hindi namin hawak at kami naman ang pinagbabatayan namin is ‘yung mga threats na hinaharap natin ngayon.
And the period is something that will be subjective. So that is part and parcel of the assessment that we are making.
So that when before 60 days comes, we will have a very good basis for recommending whether to extend it or not to the President.
Ms. Halili: Sir, how soon are we going to expect the recommendation coming from the AFP?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: It’s already being done and in a few days it will be submitted to the Secretary for his consideration because he is the administrator of martial law. And that recommendation will make its way up to the Commander-in-Chief who will be provided an advance copy.
JP Bencito (Manila Standard): Hi, General Padilla. Good morning. Sir, last week you mentioned about 80 terrorists still lurking in Marawi City? Sir, how far or ano po kaya ‘yung possibility na these 80 terrorists can still provoke tensions further that will convince the military to recommend the extension of martial law?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Inside Marawi, ground commanders estimate that there are about 80 to 100 still remaining in the areas that we are addressing right now.
But before, at the very beginning of the conflict, there were others who may have made their way out of the city because initially the first week, we did not have a foolproof containment of the area and many of these have escaped, still pose a threat to some of the nearby areas.
And that is why we have instituted appropriate security measures to guard against the threat that may come from these individuals.
They are not groups anymore. They are just individuals or small groups, but still the threat that they pose is clear and present.
And that is why, it is good to hear that in the last few weeks, especially with the capture of a young bomber, Abu Jadid, if I’m not mistaken in Cagayan de Oro, as well as the recent search that was conducted and the arrest of a number of women who were staying in this house in Cagayan de Oro, the threat that may be posed particularly for the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro have been addressed through those arrests and the confiscation of materials that can be used for IEDs in the houses that were searched by our joint elements from Cagayan de Oro under General Benjamin Madrigal and the police chief there.
So these are part and parcel of the proactive security measures that are in place in all the cities of Mindanao and in other areas outside of Mindanao that need to be continuously followed through with renewed effort.
And the renewed effort is the encouragement of every member of the community to be part and parcel of the security posture of the whole archipelago.
‘Yun ‘yung sinasabi kanina po ni Asec Marie na dapat ang bawat mamamayan, dapat nagiging kabahagi ng tinatawag na konsepto ng shared responsibilities and security, na ang bawat mamamayan sa kanilang kinaroroonan, nagiging vigilant, nagiging alert, nagiging mapagbantay para sa ganon walang pwedeng mangyari biglaan at maa-address natin ito kaagad.
Katulad niyo, kung sakaling pag-uwi niyo ngayong araw sa inyong mga komunidad, dapat ipinapalaganap natin itong konsepto na ‘to kasi lahat tayo nagtutulungan.
Ang bilang po ng sundalo at pulis ay hindi kasing-dami ng buong mamayang Pilipino. Kaya kung ang mamayang Pilipino ay nagkakaisa at nagtutulungan mas maiging-maigi ‘yung ating security posture.
Mr. Bencito: So, sir, ‘yung 80 to 100 na ‘yun, ‘yung individual persons, individual people outside of Marawi, do they still pose a threat?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, I think I answered that. They do pose a threat that’s why we have proactive security measures that are in place.
And we still need to arrest the rest of the names or the persons that are included in the arrest order issued by the Department of National Defense, the administrator of martial law.
Mr. Bencito: Sir, last na lang po. ‘Yung 80 to 100 natin does this include ‘yung sinabi niyo kanina na children that are being employed?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Opo, kasama po diyan, kabahagi diyan.
Mr. Bencito: Sir, on another topic po sana. Sir, will the—
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: And the presence of probably foreign terrorist still in the area, that’s the 80 to 100.
Mr. Bencito: Sir, on another topic po. Will the military recommend not to allow residents of Marawi to go back in the Marawi area? Meron na bang ganong klaseng usapan?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Do you mean us recommending for them not to go back?
Mr. Benicto: Yes, sir.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: For the time being, we are closing the doors of Marawi for the return of civilians because there’s still a conflict ongoing.
So it’s logical to ask for that ban because it poses a danger to them. But after the conflict has ceased at maliwanag na pwede na pong bumalik, uunti-untiin po natin ‘yung pagbabalik ng ating mga kababayan sa kanilang dapat tirahan.
Pero tulad nga po ng sinabi natin kanina, ‘yung titirahan po nila ay maaaring wala na, nawasak na ng pangyayari ngayong nakaraang mga linggo.
So tutulungan po ng gobyerno na ibangon uli sila sa pamamagitan ng pagtulong sa pag-construct ng kanilang mga titirhan muli. So habang nag-aantay sila doon, nasa temporary resettlement area muna sila.
Pia Ranada (Rappler): Hi, sir. Sir, can we just get more of an idea of how the idea is AFP is coming up with its recommendation? For example, sir, who are you consulting aside from the ground commanders in Marawi?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Regarding the extension of martial law?
Ms. Ranada: Oo, ‘yung recommendation, sir. How are you exactly drafting it or coming up with it?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Well, the security sector comprises not only the military but also the police. And hence all the players involve inside need to be consulted.
On the part of the Armed Forces, our primary basis is whether we have accomplished the operational objectives that have been given to us at the very beginning of martial law.
Ms. Ranada: Sir, are you also consulting with the local government?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: For operational, hindi masyado. But we do consider any inputs that they have.
Ms. Ranada: Pero, sir, walang initiative to consult them if they offer, that’s what you — ?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Meron din, meron din, meron din naman.
Ms. Ranada: This is for Asec. Banaag. This is about martial law naman po so it’s still Mindanao Hour concern. Ma’am, we just like to confirm if the President will be meeting with lawmakers on martial law this week, is that true?
ASEC. BANAAG: That we’re not really sure of yet.
Ms. Ranada: Ma’am, would you know if this meeting, whether or not it will push through, was it requested by the lawmakers or was it an initiative of the President?
ASEC. BANAAG: Perhaps you can ask that tomorrow during the press briefing.
Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): Good morning, General Padilla. I understand ‘nong Friday some security officials again met with the ground commanders. Can you tell us what they discussed? I believe nasabi daw po ni Secretary Lorenzana that matata— Posibleng matapos na raw in just a week. Is that an instruction that he maybe gave to ground commanders para matupad po ‘yun?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I’m not sure if the Secretary mentioned that because even before this, he already admitted that there were three occasions that he was quoted as giving deadlines, but unfortunately those deadlines have not been met because of the complexity of the battle area.
I don’t think he will have done that. The ground commanders have been provided the guidance to finish this as soon as they can.
But it does not set a specific date.
Ms. Andolong: But in that same presscon, sir, na binabanggit ninyo, although he did say na tatlong beses siya “nakuryente”, ‘yun ‘yung term na ginamit niya. He said that he wants it finished naman daw before SONA, so—
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, yes. The Secretary has expressed his desire to have this concluded immediately and if possible within the week. But it was just an expression of what he wants personally.
But as official guidance, he has given the ground commanders the leeway.
Our ground commanders are doing all their best. I can assure you that. And our ground commanders from the Joint Task Force Marawi headquarters, down to the people fighting on the ground, only have one common objective, which is to finish this fight as soon as possible.
Ms. Andolong: Sir, doon sa binanggit po ninyo na early recovery stage. Just a clarification, does that only pertain to efforts to start building the temporary shelters? And kasama na rin po ba doon ‘yung damage assessment? Does this mean that we are able to send people inside to start assessing how much damage to infra has been made?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: The early recovery primarily covers the preparation of the temporary resettlement area for now, for now.
And there are discussions to perhaps expand that to other areas, but this will be dependent on the discussions at Bangon Marawi.
So the inter-agency task force is currently doing their homework, so that when the go-signal is provided, they can lean forward to execute the plan of full recovery and rehabilitation.
For the early recovery stage for the moment, it is just the preparation of the temporary resettlement, because once the coast is clear, they will provide the go- signal to move evacuees out of the evacuation centers into their temporary shelters so that they can have a decent place to stay with a bit of privacy for their families and start rebuilding from there.
Ms. Andolong: So sir, wala pa rin tayong… Hindi pa natin nauumpisahan ‘yung damage assessment?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: ‘Yung damage assessment, meron pang… May kaunti pong nasimulan. Pero hindi po ito ‘yung full damage assessment na gagawin.
Ms. Andolong: Is it safe to say, sir, though that damage is primarily just focused on the business district? Kasi parang… I mean, some… ‘Pag pinapanood sa TV or ‘pag nakikita ‘yung footage, it would give some an impression that the entire Marawi. Gaano kalaki po ba? At least a general assessment on — ‘yung properties?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi ko hawak, Ina, ‘yung initial assessment na nagsasabi kung ilang porsyento ng siyudad ng Marawi ang apektado at kinakailangang i — tulungang i-rehabilitate.
Kasi hindi pa rin nakakapasok ‘yung mga competent authorities at tsaka ‘yung mga eksperto natin na siyang magsasagawa nung assessment.
May mga assessment na ginawa dun sa peripheral areas, maaari. At hindi ito ‘yung full assessment na kinakailangan. So I’m sorry, I cannot answer that for the moment.
Ms. Andolong: Last na po. And… ‘Yung P20 billion, sir. Is that an amount that will remain as is? Whether or not, let’s say, the damage assessment may require less?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Do you mean the commitment of government for the reconstruction of Marawi?
Ms. Andolong: Yes, the P20 billion.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, I think that is the commitment of government for the recovery of Marawi. But as to how much will be entailed or will that be enough, I am not the expert who can answer that.
Ms. Andolong: Thank you, sir.
Ace Romero (Philippine Star): General, i-press lang kita dun sa five-year extension.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes.
Mr. Romero: So you’re saying you’re not yet sure if you have — regarding your stand on that matter?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, the Armed Forces… Actually, five years may be too long for the moment.
The Armed Forces, before it makes its recommendation to the Commander-in-Chief must have enough basis — an intelligent basis — to make whatever recommendations there is for the extension or the lifting.
Now, as I was saying, we are sticking to some mission profiles that we were provided at the very beginning of martial law. ‘Yun ‘yung operational considerations na sinasabi ko.
Karamihan ng ating ginagawang assessment ay — malaking bahagi diyan, dependent kung nagawa na ba natin ‘yung mga operational objectives na ‘yun.
So doon po tayo umiikot ngayon sa ating assessment bukod sa mga ibang konsiderasyon. So kung anuman po ang lalabas doon sa pag-aaral at assessment na ginagawa natin, batay po sa mga sinabi nating references at iba pa pong kinakailangang i-konsiderang inputs, ‘yun po ang magiging batayan.
Ngayon, ‘yung haba ng panahon kung gaano katagal natin dapat i-extend ang martial law ay magiging parte na rin nung assessment na ‘yun.
Pero tulad nga po ng nabanggit ko, sa panig ng Armed Forces, ang mga katanungan diyan ay mag-e-evolve — magre-revolve dun sa operational considerations na ibinigay sa atin nung nagsimula po tayo ng martial law.
Mr. Romero: Paki-elaborate nga, General, kung bakit too long ‘yung five years?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Una, katulad ng sabi ko, hindi ko alam kung ano ‘yung nagiging batayan ng ating Speaker kasi isang political decision ang martial law eh.
Magre-rekomenda lang ang ating Department of National Defense or ang Armed Forces, pero ang eventual decision ay kinakailangang manggaling sa political leadership na merong mas malawak na pinag-iisipang o pinagbabatayan ng kanilang desisyon.
Sa atin, tulad ng nabanggit ko, karamihan sa ating pinagbabatayan at gagamiting assessment parameters ay operational in nature.
Kung ito ay ang misyon na ibinigay sa Armed Forces noong nagsimula ang martial law, tatanungin natin ang ating sarili, “Ganap na ba nating natupad itong mga ibinigay na misyon sa atin?”
Kung aming… Kung ang aming magiging kasagutan ay hindi pa natin natutupad, ang rekomendasyon, paano natin ito matutupad? Hanggang kailan natin ito matutupad? At dun lalabas ‘yung sagot na, “Sige po, ituloy natin ito, at ituloy natin ito sa ganitong kahabang panahon.”
Mr. Romero: Kasi sinabi ninyo ‘di ba, you’re gaining ground…
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, yes, yes.
Mr. Romero: Nananalo kayo against the Maute group… And then…
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Sa baba, sa ground, ngayon. Sa giyera na ongoing.
Mr. Romero: 80 na lang…
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Pero huwag nating… Huwag nating i-limit ‘yung ating pag-iisip sa lugar lamang ng Marawi. Tandaan natin, ‘yung istruktura na nagbibigay ng buhay dito sa nangyayaring rebelyon na ‘to ay hindi lamang nasa Marawi.
Itong Marawi lamang ang ginamit nilang lugar para atakihin. Pero nung kanilang pinaghahandaan ito, ang kanilang istruktura at kanilang network ay laganap sa buong Mindanao.
In fact, kamakailan, noong isang araw, nagkaroon po ng sagupaan diyan sa lugar ng Jolo, na kung saan may isa tayong namatay at 15 mga tropa na nasugatan. At ang nakabangga natin ay kasama rin sa — bahagi rin ng ASG network na ‘yun.
So ‘yun ‘yung mga konsidersayon na kailangan nating isipin. So ‘yun ‘yung mga bagay na papasok doon sa assessment na ginagawa.
Mr. Romero: Okay, related to that, General. May proposal sa Luzon na magbigay ng ID sa mga Muslim.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Magbigay ng?
Mr. Romero: ID.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Mabuti tinanong mo ‘yan.
Mr. Romero: Ano po ang stand ng AFP dito?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Sinagot na rin po namin ito. Nagpaabot po kami ng aming komento dito na discriminatory ‘pag ikaw ay pumipili na ang hihingan mo lamang ng ID ay isang sector lamang ng lipunan.
Kaya’t ang aming iminungkahi, when we start checking identification of individuals, it should not be aimed at certain sectors of our society but it must be applicable to everyone.
Because everyone can be — an ordinary — may look like an ordinary civilian, but they may not be who they say they are. So it’s good and it is logical to always check on the identities of everyone in your line that you are about to check.
So, ‘yun po ang amin. So ayaw namin. Kaya nga po bilang pakikiusap sa lahat ng ating mamamayan, maging ma-ano po tayo — maging balanse po tayo.
Hindi po lahat ng ating kapatid na Muslim ay bahagi nitong rebelyon. Iilan lang po ‘yan. Tulad ng sinabi natin noong nagsimula ang kaguluhan, this was not a fight between religions. Hindi po ito religious war.
Kung hindi po ito’y isang bakbakan laban po sa masasamang pwersa na nagdala ng kaguluhan sa Marawi. Period. ‘Yan lang po. Wala pong involvement ang religious war dito.
Kaya nga po ‘yung paghihimok o pagnanais at attempt nitong teroristang grupong ito na hamunin o gawing parang religious war at himukin ‘yung mga maaaring magdepensa sa ibang mga relihiyon, we… Sinabihan na po natin ang lahat na huwag po nating papabayaan na magkaroon ng ganong klaseng tema itong laban na ‘to.
Itong laban po na ito ay laban lamang sa isang grupo na nagtangkang magrebelde at magtayo ng kanilang lugar diyan at ginagamit nilang cover ay ‘yung kanilang paniniwala na mali.
Mr. Romero: Okay, so sabi niyo na discriminatory. Pero are you open to the idea of coming up with a system na para sa lahat?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes.
Mr. Romero: ‘Yung ID na ganon?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: We are a strong proponent of the national ID system.
Mr. Romero: Okay.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: And if that can be pushed, and I think Congress is pushing it, that would be some of the best measures that we can take.
Mr. Romero: Asec. Banaag, does the Malacañang share the view of the AFP with regard to the Muslim ID proposal?
ASEC. BANAAG: Perhaps Secretary Abella would answer for that tomorrow.
Mr. Romero: Thank you.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ace, it does not… You mentioned Muslim ID system. No, it’s not a Muslim ID system.
Mr. Romero: Proposal, proposal.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: It’s a national ID system.
Mr. Romero: Hindi, ‘yung kanina.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Pero ‘yung sinusuportahan natin is the creation of a national ID system.
Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Good morning, General. Sir, what’s the AFP’s recommendation in dealing with the civilians or mga civilian hostages and children being employed to fight by the Maute group? For example, if they specifically pose a threat to the lives of the soldier, is the AFP recommending them to engage, for example, sir?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: When our soldiers’ lives are at risk, they take appropriate measures to defend themselves and that is allowable even by the Geneva Convention. So there’s no question about that.
But every time we have an opportunity to rescue a child or an individual who is being forced into the fight, we will do that.
And there have been many occasions in the past that we have done so. In… ‘Yung mga kaganapan po natin na nakalaban natin ang mga ibang armadong grupo sa loob ng ating bansa, pangalanan ko na, ‘yung NPA. Dati, may mga dati silang bata na mga inemploy.
Sa mga bakbakan, ‘pag may nasugatan, at nakita mong bata ‘yan, hindi ho — tutulungan kaagad-agad ‘yan. At hindi po kami nagmamadaling barilin ang batang tumatakbo maski may dalang armas.
Kung kakayanin natin idi-disable lang, pero hindi siya papatayin.
Ms. Gutierrez: Do you have a number, sir, kung ilan pa po ang mga hostage ng…
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Sorry, I don’t have the exact numbers and the figures.
Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, ano ‘yung age ng mga bata, sir?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Teenagers. Karamihan teenagers, oo.
Q: Yes. I would like to just… You mentioned about you still have 80 to 100 terrorists. And among them, you have foreigners.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes.
Q: So I would like to know, how many foreigners so far we found involved in this crisis? And I would like to know about why the ISIS chose the Philippines to raise their flag?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: The numbers I gave — 80 to 100 — includes foreign terrorists, that’s correct.
And at the very beginning of this conflict, we gave a number of about 30 to 40 foreign terrorists who are involved in Marawi.
When we say “involved in Marawi,” they are there, fighting alongside the local terrorist groups.
Now, as to the selection of why, this is part of the historical growth of the local terrorist group.
We have various terrorist groups in the area and these terrorist groups combined together to form and express their full allegiance to the Daesh or ISIS.
Once they started forming that, there were conditions that were required of them. And among the conditions that were required of them is to set up shop or occupy a territory that they can administer. And that was exactly what they wanted to do in Marawi. So that was it.
Now, because of the notoriety that they gained or the news that came out in international press and their linkage that they tried to establish with the Daesh, this narrative started growing and becoming significant, such that when the ISIS at its height or the Daesh in the Middle East was still very strong, they considered this group in the Philippines as someone — as an entity that they acknowledge.
Not yet fully working with, but now, they are trying to establish that. But I doubt it if they can do that because we are addressing this issue.
And also, like the news that you heard yesterday, the Iraq government has declared Mosul as taken even with small pockets of resistance still remaining. But it significantly indicates that Daesh’ days are numbered.
Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Hi, sir. Good morning. Sir, regarding lang po dun sa hostages na mga bata na ginagamit po ng Maute. Meron din po kasing lumabas na report na mayroong Maute child-warrior na na-interview and ginamit din silang mag-stockpile. Hindi po ba confusing na — o baka naman original member na ito ng Maute group at hindi mga hostages ng teroristang grupo?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Tulad ng binanggit ko noon, Rose, ‘di ba nailahad na rin natin na sa mga dati nating naging bakbakan, nakakuha tayo ng ebidensya na pictures, videos, at materyales na nagsasabi na talagang nagte-train sila ng kabataan.
So itong mga minors na ito ay maaaring kamag-anak nila o mismong anak nung mga ibang miyembro ng grupong ito. Dito sa Marawi, may mga indikasyon at may mga nakikita na ganitong pangyayari. ‘Yun ang ating inirereport.
At maaaring ang mga nakasama diyan ay bukod dun sa mga na-train na dati sa ibang lugar, maaaring isinama rin diyan ‘yung ilan. So ‘yung ating pinagbabasehan.
Pero hindi natin masasabi kung maaaring ang ibang hostages na mga minors ay pinupwersa rin nila.
Ms. Coz: Regarding naman po dun sa martial law. Sir, kasama po ba sa recommendation ninyo kasi nabanggit niyo po kanina na ibabatay sa recommendation niyo po ‘yung na-accomplish ng military and police under operational procedures. Pwede niyo po ba kaming bigyan kung ano po ‘yung mga major accomplishments ng military under martial law sa loob ng pitong linggo?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Unang-una, doon sa ibinigay na arrest orders, nakapag-aresto na tayo ng 60-plus na mga indibidwal na kabahagi doon sa arrest order.
Kasama na rin ang ilang mga indibidwal na ang pangalan ay hindi nakikita diyan pero maliwanag na sumuporta doon sa rebelyon. ‘Yan ang iba.
Pangalawa, napagtuunan natin ng pansin itong rebelyon na nangyari sa Marawi at nakapaglagay tayo ng mga puwersa at hindi na natin ito napayagang lumaki pa.
So parte ‘yan ng ating accomplishment. At pag-kontrol sa iba’t-ibang mga lugar ng buong Mindanao na maaaring magpadala ng tulong sa mga grupong ito na hindi natutuloy dahil napaigting natin ‘yung security measures na inilatag natin.
Ganon din ‘yung mga ibang inilatag nating pagbabantay sa mga malalaking siyudad natin tulad ng Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Davao, Zamboanga, Cotabato, at iba pa.
At itong mga inilatag nating security measure ay bahagi ng kooperasyon at ginagawa nating tulungan sa lahat ng miyembro ng security sector.
So overall, napapangalagaan natin ‘yung security ng buong isla ng Mindanao at lahat ng buong Pilipinas.
So ito’y isa sa mga accomplishment na magiging bahagi doon sa ating sinasabing nakatulong ang martial law.
Ms. Coz: Thank you po.
Ms. Ranada: Sir, the operational objective, does this also include the capture or the neutralization of Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Well, ultimately the objective is for that, for us to be able to do that.
Ms. Ranada: So, sir, until such time that they are neutralized or captured, you would not recommend that martial law be lifted?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Not necessarily.
Ms. Ranada: So it might be possible that you could ask for it to be lifted even if they haven’t been neutralized yet?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, yes.
Ms. Ranada: So as long as the clashes are over, would that mean, sir, fighting over, meaning no more terrorist in Marawi, is that correct?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Well, it will be dependent on the initial operational guidance that we got.
As I was mentioning, we need to be very clear whether we have accomplished that or not.
And what is going to be a primordial consideration is whether we have reestablished the rule of law as well as peace and security in most parts of Mindanao.
Ms. Ranada: Thank you, sir.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: By the way in addition to that, we do understand that even the majority of Mindanao favors martial law.
But even if public perception is alongside that area, we still have to make our thorough assessment and it’s not just about perception. It’s actually about the facts on the ground.
Argyll Geducos (Manila Bulletin): Sir, good morning po. Sir, reaksyon niyo lang po doon sa report po na lumabas citing a former government official saying na understatement daw po ‘yung civilian death toll ng AFP, when pwede daw — it could have breached around 2,000 civilian casualties since May 23?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Come again, underestimate ‘yung?
Mr. Geducos: Understatement daw po.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Understated lang ‘yung civilian casualties?
Mr. Geducos:: Yes po. Ang sabi po dito is: “The civilian death toll in Marawi since May 23 could have breached 2,000.” Reaction lang po, sir.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: And do you the source?
Mr. Geducos: No sir, anonymous po.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Anonymous. Okay. So many accusations can be hurled and that’s why there’s a call for us to be very judicious about what we believe in, to be very discerning.
Kaya madaming pwedeng mag-akusa. Ngayon, isa rin sa sinasabi natin hindi kami nagdadagdag ng casualties hangga’t hindi namin sigurado.
Kaya nga ‘yung 39, maingat kami na nagdadagdag hangga’t hindi namin alam kung sino talaga ito at kasi maaaring maging sinumang nakuha mong cadaver eh mga dating terorista na nakipag-laban.
So hangga’t hindi kami nagkakaroon ng mainam ng pruweba, tsaka lang kami nagdadagdag.
Mr. Geducos: Thank you, sir
Ms. Halili: Sir, quick question lang. I understand po over the weekend may lumabas uli na mga photos of alleged terrorists na kumuha uli ng selfie in Marawi. Identified na po ba kung sinu-sino ‘tong mga ‘to?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Well, those are materials that were recovered by our troops. Mga iniwanang cellphone, USB, electronic devices na na-recover ‘nong sinuri itong mga ito.
So maaaring mga kinuha ‘yan noong mga unang mga linggo pa, ‘nong medyo nakakangiti pa sila. Pero ewan ko ngayon kung nakakangiti pa sila.
Ms. Halili: So possible na ‘yung iba sa kanila, sir, kasama doon sa casualties?
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Maaari, maaari.
Ms. Halili: Okay, thank you, sir.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Thank you very much. Ay, meron palang dagdag na report.
ASEC. BANAAG: Yes, we still have the status of cash donations before we end.
As of 10 a.m. of today, July 10, 2017. For the AFP Marawi casualties, at 3,223,490.98 pesos.
And for the Marawi Internally Displaced Persons, at 765,727.21.
On top of that is that received from Philippine Airlines Foundation last Friday in check at two million pesos.
And, of course, for contact persons for those — for those donations it would be flashed — it’s flash on the screens.
Thank you so much.
BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: May I also make an announcement, in the absence of the Presidential Spokesman Secretary Abella, I have been requested to make an announcement because there will be a slight change in the schedule of the Mindanao update or the Mindanao Hour.
We will be doing the Mindanao Hour every Monday and Friday only. And we shall be issuing statements in between.
So the statements will be provided to you on a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. And there will be reports on Mondays and Fridays.
For Fridays, we wish to devote this to the Inter-Agency Task Force Bangon Marawi.
So as they make their way and concretize their plans, as we transition to early recovery, recovery rehabilitation, you need to hear more about the efforts of the Inter-Agency Bangon Marawi.
So that is why we will try to slowly phase in Inter-Agency Task Force Bangon Marawi for these reports as well as other issues.
ASEC. BANAAG: Happy Birthday, Director Dennis Ting!
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