Mindanao Hour Statements of Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella
Radyo ng Bayan
24 June 2017

On the Support Our Troops Campaign:

The Government has provided enough assistance to the families of our fallen soldiers.

The Support Our Troops Campaign is an initiative of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to boost the morale of our soldiers in the battlefield by showing that fellow Filipinos rally behind Filipino soldiers in fighting the terrorist rebels in Marawi.

On the death of Mahmud bin Ahmad: 

The military is validating the intelligence report that Mahmud bin Ahmad, a Malaysian national who helped finance the rebellion in Marawi, died from wounds he sustained during the early days of the Marawi rebellion.

We have been told that the military has information of the spot where he was buried and government troops are now trying to locate it and recover the remains.  Once done, only then can we make an official confirmation.

On the P10-million found in the house of Mayor Omar Solitario Ali:

Former Marawi City Mayor Omar Solitario Ali is one of the local government officials named by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as allegedly involved in the drug trade.  His name is likewise included in the arrest order of the Department of National Defense (DND) in connection with the Marawi rebellion. 

This development will hopefully bring to bear the realities existing in the area about the close relation between the illegal drug trade and this ongoing rebellion.

On the entry of 89 foreign terrorists in the Philippines:

Authorities are still validating the report that 89 suspected foreign fighters are in Mindanao.  They might have entered the Philippines via the backdoor where the point of entry is Mindanao via Indonesia or Malaysia.

This is the purpose why we are making a collective effort against terrorism and violent extremism through a trilateral cooperation with Indonesia and Malaysia.

We have agreed to work together to jointly develop and implement counter-terrorism measures and strategies to prevent future terrorist attacks in the region.

On the recent NPA attacks in Mindanao:

Several recent serious offensives in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country allegedly committed by the CPP-NPA-NDFP forces further fueled the public’s doubts on whether it is still worthwhile to continue the peace negotiations with them.

We are disturbed by the recent NPA attacks considering that their leaders in Europe issued a statement condemning the incident in Marawi, even offering to refrain from undertaking offensive operations in Mindanao to enable our government forces to deal with focus on the rebellion still happening.

These NPA attacks disrupt the conducive and enabling environment indispensable in peace making and peace building.

In the meantime, we will await further validation of these recent incidents and will undertake corresponding and appropriate steps to deal decisively with the situation.

On the IBP-Lanao’s claim of martial law abuses:

The President, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, and the Department of National Defense Secretary, who is the Mindanao administrator for martial law, do not encourage or tolerate abuses by the military or the police in Mindanao or elsewhere.

We will investigate and if evidence warrants, prosecute and punish all those who committed abuses, especially sexual violence against women.

We do note that the recent report of the Commission on Human Rights that found no evidence of abuse of martial law in Mindanao. Should there be, proper complaints must be properly filed.

In the meantime, unless based on fact and evidence, we ask critics and advocates to be more considerate in their judgment of the efforts and context of our soldiers’ challenges and be more supportive of their efforts to protect the Filipino way of life.