The Daily Manila Shimbun


Palace asks Maute remnants to surrender

May 30, 2017

Malacanang urged on Tuesday remnants of the Islamic State-linked Maute Terror Group to surrender to lessen the casualties, including civilians. "We call on the remaining terrorists to surrender while there is an opportunity," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a press briefing. If the terrorists would give up, the damage on the ground would be lessened, "civilians will be less affected," he said. President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he was ready to talk with the Maute members. Abella said Duterte has "opened the doors" by expressing his willingness to dialogue with the militants. "As we can very well see the way he has run his Cabinet, it’s from left to right, right to left, top to bottom, in other words, he’s very, very open to dialogue. His sincerity regarding the matter should not be questioned," Abella said. The Maute militants could always "find a way" through "back channel" if they are ready to talk with the President despite the ongoing military offensive operations against them in Marawi, he said. Asked on the government's policy not to negotiate with the terrorists, Abella said, "Not to negotiate with terrorists? Definitely." As of May 29, over a hundred of people, including civilians, have died in the clashes between the government troops and Maute since the problem in Marawi started on May 23. Of those killed, 19 were civilians, 20 government troopers, and 65 Maute members, Abella said. (Celerina Monte/DMS)