Mindanao Hour Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Jr.
Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace
07 July 2017


PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. The situation in Marawi continues to improve incrementally.

Yesterday, the Secretary of National Defense was in Marawi and held an inter-agency meeting along with Usec. Cuy of the DILG there to discuss matters with the NAPOLCOM.


Civilians hurt by terrorists remain the same;

Civilians rescued by government troops remain the same;

Terrorists killed, 353 — plus 2 from 351;

Recovered high-powered firearms from terrorists is now 426, or plus one; and

Government casualties killed-in-action, 87 — plus two from 85.

We’d like to make an update regarding the status of cash donations as of the 5th of July 2017:

In support of Marawi AFP casualties deposited in Landbank is now a total of [3,205,220.98].

Also, for the Marawi internally displaced persons, also deposited in Landbank, the amount now totals P760,927.21.

Cash on hand from Philippine Airlines is P11,785.

For other details, we will report it afterwards. We’d now defer to General — Brigadier General Padilla.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Good morning. As was mentioned a while ago, the Secretary of National Defense together with the Chief of Staff were in Marawi yesterday to do consultations with ground commanders as well as meet with DILG counterparts who are meeting with all the local government entities in the area preparatory to the activation of the measures that have been in the discussion of the Inter-Agency Task Force of Bangon Marawi.

Inter-Agency Task Force Bangon Marawi has originally met last Tuesday as was announced earlier and the meeting that was scheduled yesterday was postponed to today.

And up for discussion in today’s meeting will be the organization of the inter-agency task force working groups, alongside the cluster system and the role that each and every agency of government as well as of other sectors will be playing in the early recovery, the recovery and the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi City itself.

Our Chief of Staff is continuously reiterating the instructions that have been relayed earlier for the organization of our engineering units to be forward looking and to start working with potential counterparts, particularly in the early recovery of Marawi.

This week, I’m not too sure, but we may have already ground broke the resettlement area in the area of Marawi for the setting up of the initial tent city, which will be converted to a temporary resettlement.

And the request of local government as well as the evacuees is to be provided not just tents but primarily elevated habitation that could provide a more decent housing for the Muslim families.

And as of this morning, we were informed that based on the plans, there will be about 3,000 of these units that will be set up to act as the temporary shelter for our evacuees whose houses have been damaged during the conflict.

For those whose places of, or residence have not been damaged, once the cessation of hostilities has ended and the all-clear signal has been given, they will be assisted in returning back to their homes with the local government, the provincial government, and the military, as well as all agencies of government under the task force working hand-in-hand to start restoring back to normalcy the city of Marawi beginning with the basic services that need to be provided.

Among these basic services are the need for water, electricity, sanitation, and resumption of the economic life of the city through the provision of a temporary area for commercial establishments that could perform and deliver services and transact business.

We shall be providing you updates from the Inter-agency Task Force Bangon Marawi as soon as all of the plans that have been laid out for the early recovery will have been finalized. And this will be part and parcel of our weekly update in the weeks to come.

That is all from our end from the — before I end, from the side of our military operations, the defense — the offensive and the clearing operations has been progressing positively in all areas.

Although still, areas of the four remaining problematic barangays are there, the number of areas held by these terrorists are dwindling by the day and the more we get into the area of these problematic barangays, we are able to clear more of the remaining buildings that have been left.

And what we have been doing is to ensure that all the cleared buildings will all be occupied by government, police, and other security forces to avoid a repeat of previous occasions when potential enemy movement if they are able to get back to those areas. And we are ensuring that this does not happen again. Thank you.


Joseph Morong (GMA 7): Sir, sa operations lang muna ‘no. Any updates on the reports that one of the brothers have been killed and status of Isnilon Hapilon, sir?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Again, this is the same question I think that I have — we have been receiving in the previous weeks.

First, on the status of Isnilon Hapilon, the assumption of our ground commanders based on the lack of confirmation regarding his escape or flight from the area of Marawi is that he is still in the area.

So that having been said, our operations are focused on the possible area where he is believed to be still in hiding. I could not disclose that exact location.

As to the death of some of the Maute brothers, there is indication that one has died but until such time that the grave on where he was buried is located, we cannot categorically confirm. But for the others, we believe they are alive.

Mr. Morong: Sir, with regard to rehabilitation — for both you and Spokesperson Abella. Sir, may mga concerns on the ground, those private individuals whose houses have been ano —affected. Will they be compensated during the rehab phase?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know… I haven’t heard about compensation. However, the President has said that he will especially help those who cannot afford the rebuilding of their — of their structures.

Mr. Morong: So we can expect sir, some form of assistance if they wanna rebuild their own —?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: First, I think, very clearly, he’s referring to the engineering battalion ‘no?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, sir. Our engineers are there.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The engineers are there. So, it’s not so much money, but actual help in rebuilding their structures.

Mr. Morong: Okay, sir. Thank you.

Maricel Halili (TV 5): Hi, sir. Good morning. Sir, may we have an update as to how many houses or establishments are still needed to be cleared by the military in Marawi?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I don’t have the specific number, but the estimate a few days ago was there were still about a thousand more to be cleared. At the rate we’re going, perhaps this number has dwindled down to less than a thousand because we are able to clear, I think, a hundred or more each day.

Other areas or other facilities or buildings that were previously cleared need to be re-cleared again based on what I mentioned a few minutes ago.

So now, we are ensuring that once a building is cleared, this is guarded to ensure that it is not used as an area of safe haven again by fleeing enemy or hiding enemy in the area.

Ms. Halili: So, ‘yun lahat ng 2,000 houses, sir? Kailangan i-reclear?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: One thousand, one thousand buildings in the affected area. What we are talking about is the area of conflict, the main battle area. So, these are the areas of serious concern that we need to clear.

Because one, you cannot leave a building and just pass it over because once an — all sign — all-clear sign is given, and the buildings have not been cleared, there are presence of IEDs that have been left behind, unexploded ordnance, such as grenades or bombs that may have been left there that need to be attended to.

So these are matters that we feel responsible for and we would not want any civilians to get hurt. So these are things that we need to address before we guarantee that a building has been cleared.

Ms. Halili: Sir, given the condition now in Marawi, is there a need for the military to use bigger bombs or stronger bombs?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: That matter is operational in nature and it is a matter left to the discretion of the ground commander.

Ms. Halili: Thank you, sir.

Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): Hi, sir. Just a quick follow up to that. But can you confirm that the military in Marawi is planning to drop 500-pound — ganon ba ‘yun, sir — bombs, bigger bombs basically? And if so, ano po ba ‘yung impact — gaano kalaking impact ba ‘yung ganon kalaking bomb, sir?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: As was described in previous weeks, the amount of force applied to a specific target should be commensurate to the target that needs to be destroyed.

So, if it’s a small target, it’s a small ordnance. If it’s a big target, then it demands a bigger ordnance. So, the discretion of the ground commander here is what we respect regarding the targets that he needs to address.

There are buildings there that could not be easily destroyed because these are well-built areas and hence, he may need bigger ordnance.

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Hi, sir. Good morning po. Sir, ano po ang comment ng Malacanang at ng military sa suggestions na ilipat na lang po ‘yung commercial district? Instead of rebuilding it, i-relocate ‘yung commercial district ng Marawi City? Kasi mas magiging matagal at mas magiging more expensive po ‘yung gagastusin ng pamahalaan.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I cannot answer you yet, Rose because the interagency task force will need to meet on this. There are various suggestions, that’s correct. And even from our senators who recommend that we rebuild Marawi into a potentially Geneva-like tourist spot in the future, because it is situated beside a very beautiful lake.

Well, we agree with those because Marawi indeed is a beautiful area and the climate is well suited for the visit of tourists, the creation of universities, and vacation spots.

So in the rebuilding of Marawi back into a better, stronger, and more resilient community, those things will be factored. But it is too early to say how this can be done because the consultation is still ongoing.

Ms. Coz: Pero sir, given the damage dahil po ‘yung commercial district ‘yung pinakatinamaan


Ms. Coz: Sa gyera.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yeah, that is a consideration but…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, the other factor that needs to be discu — to be considered is the fact that they need to consult with the locals. Whatever they establish needs to be culturally sensitive. So, it’s not something that we can speculate on at this stage. 

Ms. Coz: Another question. Sir, nagsisimula na pong dumagsa ‘yun pong mga financial assistance, ano po, sir. Tanong lang po namin kung sino po ‘yung pangunahing responsible sa pag-disburse, accountability, and paano po natin masisigurado na mas — magiging sure na okay po ‘yung pag-dispense and hindi matagal ang proseso ng pagbibigay ng assistance sa mga affected residents?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Accountability and transparency has been a main consideration. Kaya katulad nung mga binuksan nating bank accounts sa amin sa military, transparent tayo dito at nag-create ng committee para ma-address ‘yung paano paggamit — gamitin ito.

So, ‘yung reporting din nito kung papano naipamahagi sa mga naiwang mahal sa buhay ng mga bayani natin, katulad din ng paggamit nung para sa mga naapekto — apektadong mga kapatid nating Maranao, ay ire-report po sa inyo — sa taumbayan.

‘Yung dito naman po sa mga pumapasok na mga support galing po sa mga ibang donor countries, ang nangangalaga po diyan ay ang ating national government agencies. Sino-sino po itong mga ito? Pangunahin diyan, kung foreign donor, will be DFA, and then DSWD and DOF. 

And there will be appropriate reports to be prepared by the NDRRMC and the Inter-Agency Task Force Bangon Marawi, as a report to the public and to the donor countries on how it was spent.

So it’s our obligation and we will do that.

Ms. Coz: May particular mechanism po ba tayong susundin para maiwasan ‘yung time consuming processes and delays sa delivery po ng vital assistance and supplies?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: ‘Yan na ‘yung mga bagay na pag-uusapan pa ng interagency Task Force Marawi, Bangon Marawi, para mapabilis.

So let’s… I would not want to preempt their announcements on this. Let’s wait for their work to be done.

Ms. Coz: Thank you po.

Kris Jose (Remate): Sir, may report po na ang ire-rekomenda po ni General Año kay Pangulo ay i-extend ang martial law sa Marawi dahil po sa rehabilitation. May idea na po ba kayo kung kailan isa-submit ‘yung recommendation sa Pangulo?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Unang-una, hindi ko pa po hawak ‘yung report. At ang alam ko, ginagawa pa ‘yung assessment.

So hindi pa rin po natin batid kung ito ay recommendation for the extension or for the lifting. So ayaw ko pong pangunahan ‘yan kaya hintayin na lang po natin hanggang matapos.

Ms. Jose: Sir, last na lang po. Ilan pa po ba ‘yung ine-expect nating mga civilians na ire-rescue natin? Kasi masyado na pong matagal ‘yung operations. Ilan pa po sila?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Based on the last estimate, mga around 300 — 200 to 300 pa daw ang maaring naiiwang residente sa loob ‘nong mga conflict areas.

Philip Tubeza (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning General. Sir, update lang po doon sa mga nag-se-spread ng propaganda online sa side ng mga Maute, meron na po ba tayong naaresto? And is it still a concern? Kasi sabi po ni Secretary Lorenzana ‘nong Monday, magiging — ire-restrict po ang access to Marawi once the rehabilitation starts? Thank you.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Tungkol doon sa ating effort na i-counter itong mga social media accounts na patuloy na tumutulong sa rebellion, ito’y ongoing pa rin.

At in fact kahapon, kami’y nakipag-ugnayan sa mga miyembro ng PNP cybercrime group upang paigtingin ang ating ginagawang effort.

And we’re coming up with appropriate measures to expedite that process.

In the process of monitoring and taking down of social media accounts that are proven to be supportive of terroristic activities, we need to work with the social media companies.

And we are working with them because we have direct contact with their regional offices. They have been very helpful, in fact, once a site has been proven or an account has been proven to be facilitating and supportive of terroristic activities, it is taken down immediately.

Mr. Tubeza: Ilan na po ang napasara natin o na-take down?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Sa account, sa huling talaan, kung — if I remember the figures right, there are about 54 or 64 ‘no, sites that have been taken down. About that much. And there are about 300 that are still being monitored as of now.

Because previously, we were monitoring only about less than a hundred, it grew to about 120 plus and now it’s about 300 that we’re monitoring.

So of the accounts that we’re monitoring, about almost 60 or 64 of that has been taken down. And this was with the cooperation of the social media companies and we’re doing it continuously.

Mr. Tubeza: These are Filipinos sir? Or meron din po bang based sa ibang—?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: We can’t be sure yet because some of the sites may be out of the country. Some of the sites, most of the sites could be in the Philippines.

And that is the effort they’re currently working on to locate.

Mr. Tubeza: Thank you sir.

Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Good morning sir. Sir, gaano pa po kalaki ‘yung pwersa ng mga kalaban natin sa Marawi? And based po sa inyong mga assessment, meron pa po bang indikasyon o may mga indikasyon po ba na kaya pa nilang, o may kakayahan pa sila na patagalin, pahabain ‘yung labanan sa mga susunod na linggo o buwan?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: ‘Yung huling estimate ng mga ground commanders na ibinigay sa atin, nasa mga 80, more or less ang natitirang pwersa ng kalaban doon sa mga naiiwang lugar.

Kakayahan na patagalin pa ito, hindi na ganon katagal siguro tulad ng kasing tagal ngayon na pang-ilang linggo na tayo.

Dahil sa ilang lugar, hindi na sila sumasagot ng tulad ‘nong naunang linggo, ngayon manaka-naka na lang.

Pero, may ibang lugar kasi na matindi pa rin silang lumaban.

So ibig sabihin, their stockpile of weapons could still be there and they still may have enough. So these are the areas that we are focusing on and addressing.

Rocky Ignacio (PTV 4): Thank you Brigadier General Restituto Padilla. Any statement po regarding, doon sa gusto ng mga tao na sana daw po ay mawakasan na talaga itong Marawi crisis?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: The Armed Forces, given the fact that it has not been announcing any deadlines, is working overtime to expedite the process of the liberation of Marawi.

Ginagawa po natin lahat ng ating makakaya upang matapos na itong gulong ito sa madaling panahon.

Pero, batid naman po niyo na hindi ganon kadali itong operasyon na ‘to.

At sa mga paliwanag natin ‘nong mga nakaraang linggo, itong environment na kinaroroonan ng bakbakang ito ay hindi biro.

Kaya kinakailangan maging maingat tayo sa paggalaw natin at ganon din sa pagpasok at paglabas sa mga gusaling iniiwan nila dahil sa mga patibong, mga IED, at maaaring presensya ng mga residente pang naiiwan sa loob.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We’d like to make two statements:

On the 2nd Quarter 2017 SWS Survey:

Satisfaction for President Duterte continues on an upward trend at 78 percent.

The survey result, 3 percent higher from March 2017’s 75 percent, is a clear indication of the growing confidence in the Chief Executive and his performance as the country’s leader.

The data collection concluded on June 23 to 26, a month after PRRD placed the whole island of Mindanao under martial law, and it shows tacit public support to the President’s action following the rebellion in Marawi.

This positive acknowledgement of the Filipino people further motivates the administration to work for the restoration of normalcy in Marawi and to start its rehabilitation as well as bring a comfortable life for all Filipinos, including Muslim Filipinos.

Regarding the earthquake in Jaro, Leyte:

Again, we stand with the people of Leyte. We condole with those who have lost their loved ones and we continue to stand with those who have loved ones who have been hurt.

The administration is deploying all available resources to rescue survivors and to return normalcy to the place.

We continue to call on the resilient spirit of the Filipino to close ranks against the vicissitudes confronting our people.

No matter what, we will rise again and we will rise into our destined greatness.

End of statement. Thank you.

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