The Daily Manila Shimbun


(Update) At least seven gov’t forces killed, military reports some areas cleared

May 24, 2017

At least seven government forces, including two police officers, were killed as security forces continued to battle the Maute Group to clear Marawi City of the armed men. Lt Col Edgard Arevalo, Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs chief, said late Wednesday 13 Maute Group members were killed. “We have already cleared the Amai Pakpak Hospital, the Marawi City Hall and the Mindanao State University,” said Arevalo. Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa said two officers were the deputy chief of police in Marawi City and of another town. “The power and cellphone signal is intermittent that is why we are not getting reports but the city is not totally cleared,” said Dela Rosa Arevalo said: "I don't yet have specific information on the number of areas need to cleared.” Quoting Major General Carlito Galvez, head of the Western Mindanao Command, Arevalo said a conservative estimate is that the military “will be needing two to three days before they would clear the area.” Arevalo said the Maute Group is “more than 50 but less than 80.” The military has poured around 2,000 soldiers into Marawi City, according to a government official even as the military admitted it is facing challenges in recovering control of the installations occupied by 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. Arevalo said the situation in Marawi City is “under control”. But he said “the challenge to us here is how we can recover the installations that they have reportedly occupied and they have snipers deployed in the area that is why we have to be very careful. “That is why the forces that we deployed there are the special units because we… need to recover these areas,” he added. Arevalo did not say what these installations are. In a statement, Department of National Defense (DND) Public Affairs Service Chief Dir. Arsenio Andolong said as part of the military operation, additional forces were deployed to augment government forces in Marawi. “With the deployment of additional forces, it is only a matter of time before we take all these evil doers down,” he said. Arevalo said the additional troops come from different parts of the country.” We have been mobilizing them since last night, so even as we speak the deployment is continues,” he said. Andolong emphasized the importance of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao which was announced by President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night. “The imposition of martial law in Mindanao is a necessary step in order for government security forces to stop the threats that these terrorists pose, who are mostly not originally from Marawi,” he said. “The president’s verbal declaration is valid, and as such martial law has been in effect since 10 pm last night. We emphasize, however, that martial law does not suspend the Constitution but authorizes the Armed Forces of the Philippines to take over law enforcement operations from the Philippine National Police, and conduct arrests and searches in accordance with the rule of law and human rights,” he added. Andolong called on the public to cooperate with the security forces of the government on its fight against the local terrorist group. “Lastly, we appeal to the public to help our troops on the ground and counter the misinformation campaign from terrorist supporters by being very selective and responsible in sharing critical information on new media and other platforms. It is better to report any suspicious activities in your areas directly to the proper authorities,” he said. “What is happening in the city of Marawi and Mindanao is another challenge that we can overcome together. We must stand united against a common enemy- terrorists and the fear they want to sow among the innocent,” he added. (Robina Asido/DMS)