The Daily Manila Shimbun


Over 2,000 troops deployed to Marawi: Dureza

May 24, 2017

COTABATO CITY – Thousands of Filipino elite troops were deployed Wednesday in Marawi City to flush out the Maute Group. Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza said about 1,000 soldiers were sent early Wednesday to Marawi to augment 1,000 soldiers sent late Tuesday. Dureza defended President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao citing the government will not wait the violence to spread. “This declaration is not normal. Expect that there will be more presence of the military in the area. It’s not only directed at the Maute terror group but all private armed groups as well to those all groups that will fight against the government,” Dureza said. Dureza explained the president’s purpose was to contain the violence in Marawi. “Are we going to wait for other incidents in Mindanao similar to Marawi before our President will make any action? The declaration will provide protection for the whole Mindanao,” Dureza said. Abu Misri Mama, spokesperson for the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, said by phone they have forces in Lanao del Sur and sre willing to help the Maute terror group fight back government troops in Marawi City. “The military rule declaration is a poison for Mindanao but no problem because we have guns too,” Mama said when asked to comment about the 60-day martial law implemented all over Mindanao. “The Maute group are not our friends, not enemies but we can help them,” he added. The BIFF is a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. MILF chief negotiator Mohaqher Iqbal said they are confident the martial law declaration will not affect their negotiations. “We have a ceasefire and unless it’s violated, it will not affect the peace talks. The problem is just contained with Maute group in Marawi City,” Iqbal said. “All our ground troops movement will be coordinated with our counterparts in the government,” he added. Jerome Succor Aba, national chairperson of Suara Bangsamoro, said martial law would only worsen the heightening peace instability in Marawi City. Aba said martial law will only justify intensified military operations in Marawi City. “We fear for the lives of the civilians who might get caught in the crossfire. We fear for the effects of war to the civilian population,” said Aba. “Our utmost concern is the lives and livelihoods of the civilians, if the Duterte administration should choose to pursue with urban militarization and aerial bombings. War in this context is unnecessary and solves nothing,” Aba said. DMS