The 60-day Martial Law in Mindanao that President Rodrigo Duterte declared on May 23 may be extended.
But Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said they need a couple more weeks to determine whether they would recommend an extension of the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao.
He made this statement during the sidelines of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council meeting at the AFP Commissioned Officers’ Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Tuesday.
“We will know in a couple of weeks time, after that we will make our recommendations (as) we are still studying the situation in Marawi, Lanao Del Sur and the rest of Mindanao,” Lorenzana said in Filipino.
The Supreme Court, voting 11-3-1, upheld President Duterte’s declaration on Tuesday, July 4.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed Mindanao under Martial Law in wake of the Maute Group attacks in Marawi City last May 23.
Under the 1987 Constitution, Martial Law declaration in the Philippines is only good for two months unless extended by Congress.
Lorenzana also refused to comment on whether fighting in Marawi City before Duterte’s first State-of-the-Nation-Address (SONA) this coming July 24.
“We would like that to happen but we are leaving it to the ground commanders to do their pace, we are not micromanaging the events there, ” the DND chief stressed.
As of Monday, Maute Group terrorists killed in the seven-week long fighting has reached the 337 mark with government forces sustained 85 dead and 44 civilians executed.
Civilians rescued by military troops in Marawi City are now placed at 1,717 with weapons captured at 410. (Priam F. Nepomuceno/Gilbert Villaruz & Jayvee H. Castro (OJTs)/PNA)
AFP lauds SC ruling
The entire military is thankful for the Supreme Court (SC)’s decision which ruled in favor of President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration to place the entire Mindanao region under Martial Law in wake of the Marawi siege.
“The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is very glad and expresses its appreciation to the SC for the favorable ruling which is supportive of Martial Law in Mindanao. The AFP takes this as a vote of confidence that we are doing what is right and what is necessary for the restoration of the rule of law, peace and order in the whole island,” said AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año on Tuesday.
Martial Law in Mindanao was declared by Duterte, nighttime of May 23, the very day the Maute Group attacked Marawi City.
“We remain committed to our mandate to protect our people and the integrity and sovereignty of our country,” he said.
And while admitting that the mission is not yet over, the AFP chief assured the public that the entire military is focused and determined to carry on the fight till peace and order in Mindanao is fully restored and the liberation of Marawi from terrorists is achieved at the soonest time possible.
Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, for his part, said he is happy with the SC decision regarding Martial Law in Mindanao.
With this ruling, he said they can take the necessary steps to do their job.
“Personally, I’m happy that the Supreme Court find… it has legal basis so that we can continue our job properly until the end of martial law which is up to July 23, 2017,” Lorenzana said. (PNA)
The Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists holed up in Marawi City will now have to trade bullets with “Rambos” from the United States Army Special Forces.
The Special Forces has become synonymous with John Rambo, the fictional retired Special Forces operative played in the blockbuster film series Rambo by Sylvester Stalone. A Vietnam War veteran, Rambo is skilled in many aspects of survival, weaponry, hand-to-hand combat and guerrilla warfare
The US embassy in Manila said the Special Forces are now supporting Filipino soldiers in the ongoing fierce combat with the terrorists who attacked and occupied parts of the capital city of Lanao del Sur in Mindanao on May 22.
After 21 days of fierce firefights with the terrorists linked to the Islamic State (IS), more than 100 of the militants are holding fort in buildings with civilian hostages as human shields.
Tens of thousands of residents have fled the city since fighting began. About 2,000 people are trapped in the war zones.
The Rambos are expected to see more action today, Sunday, June 11, in the firefights in the heart of Marawi that military vowed to be terrorist-free by Monday, when the country celebrates Independence Day..
The military reported that 138 terrorists have been killed since fighting began, with the government losing 58 soldiers. The civilian death toll is at least 20 people killed.
On Friday, the military suffered its biggest single-day loss with 13 soldiers killed and about 40 Marines wounded in the street-to-street, house-to-house gun battles that lasted more than 14 hours, media reports said.
The military was expected to launch today its biggest and final assault against the terrorists entrenched in bomb-proof tunnels and large buildings fortified by high-powered armaments like anti-tank weapons.
About ten percent of the predominantly Muslim city is still under the control of the terrorists, the military said.
The US embassy on Friday said American forces were providing assistance to the Filipino troops. The embassy did not detail the kind of assistance extended,
“At the request of the government of the Philippines, US special operations forces are assisting the with ongoing operations in Marawi,” the embassy said in a statement.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is hopeful that Marawi City will finally be liberated on Monday (June 12), which is also the 119th Independence Day of the Republic.
“Rest assured, our soldiers are doing their part, they’re doing their best and are continuing on with this effort on the ground to facilitate the liberation of Marawi hopefully by Monday,” Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson said in a press briefing in Malacañang on Friday.
According to Padilla, AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año has made an announcement hoping that by Monday, Philippine flags will be freely waved in every corner of Marawi.
“And we’re working feverishly to do that to ensure we are able to do, to a big extent, what was announced by the Chief of Staff,” he said.
He said the AFP Chief of Staff is looking forward to more cleared areas in the next few days and is optimistic that our momentum and our phase is at the right manner.
“His guidance to our ground commanders to put the primordial concern of having our forces execute military operations to ensure that lives are saved through expeditious military action,” he said.
Padilla said government troops are working overtime to facilitate the liberation of Marawi “at the quickest time that we can.”
Asked on the basis of the assessment, the AFP official said there was an offensive launched on Friday morning against enemy positions.
“So this continues up to this moment and we are confident our troops are gaining important headway inside these areas. And as I have mentioned the other day, definitely proving that the world of the terrorists inside the city is growing smaller by the day,” he said.
Padilla also noted that the volume of fire coming from the enemy has decreased and enemy activity in areas where so much has been monitored has dwindled, and sniper fire has been very selective.
He said the end game is to have Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers arrested “if we can arrest them.” “But if we cannot, then to neutralize them, because I guess they will always fight it to the end,” he said.
“So the liberation of Marawi will only be when every armed element in the city is gone,” the AFP official explained.
According to Padilla, there are still three villages being held by the Maute.
On the reconstruction, rehabilitation and rebuilding of Marawi City, Padilla said it will not only entail military action but a large part of it will be led by civilian leaders in the area.
“And hence, what we have been saying all along, that the problems to all these armed conflicts or these threats will require a holistic solution,” he said.
“So apart from that, the trauma that the community has gone into is one part, so we will need health workers not only from the DOH but from other organizations that can send interventions to rebuild the lives and the — overcome the trauma, particularly on women, children, and the innocent,” he added.
Padilla also assured that the government will help Marawi rebuild at the soonest time possible.
“Ang amin pong ipinaaabot na abiso sa lahat ng ating mga kababayan sa Marawi eh hindi po namin iiwanan ang Marawi na basta na lang ganyan,” he said.
“Kung may nanghimasok, nanira, nanunog at pumatay, ay hindi na po natin papayagan pong muling mangyari ito at tutulungan po naming bumangon ang Marawi sa mabilis na panahon. At kasama diyan ang garantiya na pag iniwan natin ito, mas magiging matibay ang Marawi,” he added.
For his part, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the House Appropriations committee is starting to draw up the comprehensive plan.
During the briefing, Abella also announced that as of June 8, 8 p.m., there are now 1,599 civilians rescued and 146 firearms recovered. (PND/PNA
The informant or informants that could provide information leading to the capture, dead or alive, of Isnilon Hapilon could end up as rich bounty hunters with the prize on the head of the Philippines’ Most Wanted terrorist now raised to a whopping P267.5 million.
President Rodrigo Duterte has placed an additional reward of P10 million on Hapilon’s head to further balloon the bounty earlier offered by the United States and Philippine authorities.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a standing prize of $5 million (roughly P250 million) on Hapilon; the Philippine government, before President Duterte, had offered P7.5 million.
President Duterte has placed a total reward of P20 million for the capture, dead or alive, of terrorists Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers.
Hapilon’s head is worth P10 million and P5 million each for the Maute brothers, Abdullah and Omar, said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año on Monday, June 5.
Hapilon is the leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Southeast Asian cell of the Islamic State of Iran and Iraq (ISIS). The Abu Sayyaf, declared as an international terrorist group by the US and the European Union, has gained worldwide notoriety for its kidnapping and beheading of foreign hostages.
The Maute brothers are the founders of the Maute Group that is also linked to the Middle East-based ISIS, today considered as the most violent terrorist group.
Hapilon and the Maute brothers and their groups were behind the surprise attack and and occupation of Marawi City on May 22.
The attack prompted President Duterte to declare Martial Law in Mindanao.
The military on May 23 using land troops and air power started engaging the marauders in firefights that led to mass exodus of residents avoiding being caught in the crossfire of the battle.
Fierce fighting is on its 15th day as of today June 6, as government troops ferret out remaining terrorists holed out in buildings.
Military said only about 30 percent of the capital city of Lanao del Sur in western Mindanao is under control of the Moro militants.
The military said 120 terrorists have been killed since the fighting started. The government suffered 38 dead casualties. Nineteen civilians were killed either caught in the crossfire or shot dead by the militants.
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