The Daily Manila Shimbun


Military may bomb mosques where Maute terrorists are hiding: AFP

June 5, 2017

The Philippine military may use force, including bombs, if the Islamic State-linked Maute Terror Group members would continue to hide inside the mosques. This as President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated that his government would not negotiate with the terrorists as he ordered the military to make sure that the militants would be killed. "It's too late to be talking about peace. Many of our soldiers as well as policemen have already been killed. I will not talk to you," he said Sunday night in Cebu. Duterte said he would rather see the terrorists dead than detain them because there could be attempt by their other comrades to rescue them. "I will not spare your life," he said, adding that he and the military would not allow the ISIS to establish a caliphate in Mindanao. There were reports the Maute remnants have been taking refuge in some of the mosques in Marawi City, which they started occupying on May 23. Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., military spokesman, said the order of Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff General Eduardo Ano is to avoid bombing of mosques. This was the reason why the military continued to call for the terrorists to surrender, he said. However, in an interview after the "Mindanao Hour," pressed on the possibility of going after terrorists hiding inside the mosques, Padilla said under the law, there was a provision that allows using of force against suspects hiding inside a place of worship. "There are provisions that will allow for us to take action against them," he said, adding that if there were armed men hiding in a hospital or places of worship, and they continue to stay there, "there's a provision internationally that they could be dealt with force." Government security forces have continued to pursue Maute militants in Marawi. Padilla said if the government troopers could not catch alive Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, the alleged anointed ISIS leader in the country, they would go after him even if it would mean his death. Hapilon is believed to be inside Marawi and being protected by his men. (Celerina Monte/DMS)