19 June 2017

President Duterte to Filipinos: Remain vigilant as gov’t restores public order in Mindanao
Butuan City — President Rodrigo Duterte urged Filipinos to remain vigilant amid terror attacks in Mindanao.

“As fellow Mindanaoans, I ask for your continued vigilance as we express essential measure for the safety of our people and for the restoration of public order in communities affected by terrorism,” President Duterte said in his speech during the 50th founding anniversary of the Agusan del Norte province held at University of Cabadbaran.

The President underscored that the crisis in Marawi City is an ongoing battle of every citizen who wants prosperity and asked the public’s cooperation in the fight against all forms of corruption and criminality.
“Do not allow other people, other tribes, with the foreign or radical extremists. Don’t let them enter… so that there won’t be any trouble. Assume a neutral stance,” President Duterte said.
He mentioned that there must be “no fighting” between the tribes, saying: “we can all just live together peacefully, nobody’s fighting against you.”
“Together, we will work relentlessly in overcoming these obstacles on our way to become a more inclusive and progressive society,” the President added.
President Duterte also reminded the public to avoid terrorism and everyone to report any suspicious incidents to the policemen and military troops, while encouraging everyone that martial law during his administration is different this time.
“Basta iwasan (or huwag) ninyong papapasukin ang terrorismo, ireport niyo kaagad sa pulis kasi wala na akong pakialam sa pagpapatakbo ng pulis. Sa kanila na yan. Yung nakaranas ng martial law noong panahon ni Marcos, ano talaga ‘yun. Ang akin, basta martial law, maniwala lang kayo, maglalakwatsa kayo at walang bawal,” he said.###PND

Government forces seize shabu, firearms in Marawi City, gear towards city’s rehab
Government forces recovered illegal drugs as well as cache of high-powered firearms over the weekend in Marawi City, a Palace official said on Monday, June 19.

During the regular Mindanao Hour press briefing in Malacañang, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said eleven kilos of suspected metamphetamine hydrochloride also known as shabu was recovered by troops after a brief firefight with Maute militants at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The confiscation of the illegal substance is one of the significant developments by the Joint Task Force Marawi in the ongoing clearing operations in besieged city.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla Jr., who joined Abella at the press briefing, said soldiers also seized more than 20 high-powered firearms last Saturday in Marawi City.

“So you may not be aware of the nature of the confiscated firearms. These are among the firearms that have been confiscated and they are not ordinary firearms at all but high-powered firearms that can fire from afar, hit targets and destroy them,” Padilla said.

“This is indicative of the length of planning that went to this operation of these rebels, when they were able to get this number of firearms and bring it to the area of operations over a period of time,” he added.

Other war materials that have been confiscated are improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other explosives.

According to Abella, the AFP is prepared to embark on other key tasks such as rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi City once it is cleared of the terrorists.

“It has already prepared the Combat Engineering Brigades [from] the Army and the Navy for immediate deployment as soon as the clearing operations are [completed],” he said of AFP’s preparations.

In the meantime, however, he said the focus remains on combat, intelligence, and civil military operations.

The government troops have so far rescued 1,637 civilians, recovered 250 firearms and killed 257 terrorists, Abella reported adding that the Maute’s resistance “continues to wane”.

At least 62 soldiers have been killed while thousands of people have been displaced since the siege started last month.

In response to people expressing desire to help families of troops killed-in-action and internally displaced persons, the government set up two separate bank accounts under Landbank where concerned people could deposit money.

For families of slain soldiers, they can deposit money to AFP Marawi Casualty with account number 00000552107128.

For evacuees from Marawi City, people can send money to Marawi IDP with account number 00000552107136.

Band together in fight vs terrorism

Meanwhile, Padilla reiterated his call to the public to support the government in fighting terrorism describing the enemy as “a different breed.”

He said the presence of foreign fighters in Mindanao is part of a continuing concern because they bring something different than from that of home-grown terrorists.

“But if we do not work as a nation and band together to fight it, the threat might increase,” he said.

He added that if Filipinos work together as one nation, it will be harder for the extremists to rule and the government could easily root them out. ###PND