AFP asks netizens to help fight propaganda sowing religious hatred

The military on Wednesday, June 7, appealed to the users of social media to refrain from sharing videos that could fan religious hatred as government forces continue to battle extremists in Marawi City.

“May I also appeal to our social media users and our netizens. There are videos circulating around regarding certain — the armed elements destroying a church,” Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said during the Mindanao Hour press briefing in Malacañang.

“We have requested that this be pulled out because it may fan hatred, it may fan hate and it is intended by these militants to induce other Christian elements to fight against these armed elements or to sow hatred among Christians and Muslims,” he added.

Padilla asked the public not to be swayed by the plan of the terror groups to inflame religious hatred that could eventually result to sectarian division.

“This is not a religious war, this is a terror attack on the city of Marawi and we must be clear about it,” Padilla said.

With regard to the more than P52 million recovered in Marawi City, Padilla said an investigation is underway to determine the owner of the money through the help of the banking sector and government regulators.

The military official also responded to pleas from the people in Marawi to halt the ongoing air strikes, noting that aerial bombardment is necessary to counter the stiff resistance of armed groups still occupying a segment of the city.

“We feel the pain, we feel the hurt of every member or every citizen or every resident of Marawi,” Padilla said.

“But let us remember that we did not start this from happening. It was the armed group, the Maute Daesh ISIS, it’s armed group that entered your city to wreak havoc on it,” he said.

Padilla however assured that the AFP is working on liberating Marawi from terrorists.

“The Armed Forces is determined to continue on with its current operations so that we can take care of the armed elements that continue to remain in the city and hopefully liberate Marawi at the soonest time possible,” Padilla said.

Also during the same press briefing, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the total number of civilians rescued as of 6 p.m. Tuesday was 1,545. The military also neutralized 134 enemies and recovered 115 firearms.

A total of P45,316,760 worth of augmentation assistance, food and non-food items have been provided by the DSWD to its Response Centers and Field Offices responding to the conflict, Abella said.

There are 46,096 families or 227,808 persons affected by the armed conflict in Marawi.

In the same briefing, Adviser for Agripreneurship from the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Ana Margarita Hontiveros – Malvar said the private sector has stepped in to help the government in the ongoing relief operations, with the country’s top companies and organizations uniting to extend assistance.

The private sector-led effort is called Kapatid for Marawi, and it is one of the largest aggrupation of private sector organizations involved in augmenting government efforts to reach out to displaced families from Marawi City.###PND