The Daily Manila Shimbun


Foreign expats in Mindanao urged to tell authorities of whereabouts to avoid suspicion  they are with terrorists: military

May 31, 2017

The Philippine government urged on Wednesday foreign expats in Mindanao to inform authorities of their location to prevent any suspicion they are helping terrorists in the region. In the "Mindanao Hour" press briefing in Malacanang, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman, said the military would not recommend foreigners leaving southern Philippines amid the declaration of martial law in the region following the Maute Group attack in Marawi City. "We will not recommend their pullout. In fact, we will recommend that they continue with their business and we will guarantee them protection," he said. Padilla added, "the only thing that we can request of all these expats is to let us know their whereabouts, so that suspicion is taken out of the picture. So if we know what they're doing as legitimate and there's no reason to suspect, then they can go about their business freely." Padilla could not give any estimate how many foreigners are in Mindanao. During a meeting on Tuesday of the Philippine government officials, led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano with members of the diplomatic corps, one of the concerns raised was the safety of foreigners in Mindanao. The Department of Foreign Affairs and the AFP have offered direct lines to different embassies if they need assistance for their nationals in southern Philippines. According to the military, some terrorists killed in Marawi were allegedly foreigners. Padilla said during the previous operations conducted in Mindanao, there were eight identified foreigners who have been helping the terrorist groups. The number even increased to 12, but five or six have been neutralized, he said. "So there may be replacements for all these people who have been lost. And in earlier operations, as I mentioned, there is proof: recovery of passports, materials, pictures, and the like. But for this particular incident in Marawi, we hope to find out more as soon as we go through these documents that have been recovered," he said. (Celerina Monte/DMS)