Mindanao Hour Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr.
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang
09 June 2017

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: This morning, we just like to give an update, based as of 8 pm last night, 8th of June 2017.

The latest report, compiled report is about — of civilians rescued is 1,599, last… the day before, it was 1,561, so that’s about an increase of 38 new civilians rescued.

Also, recovered firearms is 146 sum total as compared to 138 the other day, which means eight new weapons, firearms recovered.

Regarding significant developments also as of 8th June, 8 pm, 8th of June, yesterday:

  1. Troops continue to gain more foothold in the inner areas of the city;
  2. Enemy resistance is dwindling by the day;
  1. Clearing areas by sector is progressing positively;
  1. Compounding development remains to be the use of civilians as human shields and madrasahs and mosques as defensible lairs and as staging areas; and
  1. Additional compounding development is the discovery of tunnels that are possibly part of a network which may have been utilized by the enemy.

Government intervention: As of June 7, 2017, a total 45,109 families or 215,434 persons have been displaced in Regions VII, X, XII, ARMM and NIR.

Of which, 3,822 families or 18,473 persons are currently staying in 33 evacuation centers and 41,287 families or 196,961 persons are staying with either their relatives or friends.

As of June 5, a total of ₱45,316,760 worth of augmentation assistance, that means food and non-food items, have been provided by the DSWD to its Response Centers and Field Offices responding to the conflict in Marawi City.

The DSWD Field Office Region X immediately placed a Disaster Operation Center in Iligan on May 23 to augment the operation of DSWD ARMM.

We’d now like to defer to Brigadier General Resty Padilla for further reports and detailed explanations of certain items.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Thank you very much, Secretary. Good morning everyone.

I’d like to relay the continuing guidance of the Chief of Staff to our men and women in the field.

The Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año, as of yesterday, reiterated his continuing guidance to put premium on innocent lives and to continue to exert efforts to rescue anyone that may be still inside the city or the areas held by the enemy; to respect civilian properties during clearing operations; and complete discipline among our men in uniform conducting all these military activities in the area.

He is looking forward to more cleared areas in the next few days and is optimistic that our momentum and our phase is at the right manner.

His guidance to our ground commanders to put the primordial concern of having our forces execute military operations to ensure that lives are saved through expeditious military action.

These are the developments that we have on the military front and as you may have well known, the Commander-in-Chief was unable to reach our troops yesterday because of the weather.

But be that as it may, the Chief of Staff joined the Secretary of National Defense and other government officials like the NSA and Secretary Dureza in visiting the troops and were briefed accordingly on the positive developments at the front.

Generals Rolando Bautista and Carlito Galvez are leaving our troops in the area and are optimistic that we can be able to gain more foothold into these areas that are still held by the enemy.

May we also continue to appeal to our citizens for their prayers for our troops who continue to remain in the battle field.

And our profound thanks to all the members of the civil society, private organizations, and other organizations who continue to provide much needed relief and assistance, not only for our civilian evacuees and IDPs but also for the assistance and the inspiration they have been providing to our soldiers in the field.

Rest assured, our soldiers are doing their part, they’re doing their best and are continuing on with this effort on the ground to facilitate the liberation of Marawi hopefully by Monday.

This is all we have for now and if there are any questions—

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Before that, I’d just like to make some additional announcements.

Based on the list of names submitted of those who are in one way or another linked to the rebellion in Marawi in Mindanao, Secretary Paulyn Ubial is not in that list, all right?

The other two lists, the Arrest Order No. 1 and Arrest Order No. 2, her name is not in any way there and so whatever accusations regarding her being linked to Maute or ISIS is baseless.

Thank you.


Hannah Sancho (SMNI): General Padilla, good morning. Sir there were reports yesterday sir na nakalabas na po ng Marawi City si Isnilon Hapilon. Any information po sir or confirmation po sa ulat na ito?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Tungkol doon sa bagay ng balitang ‘yan, tama, kumakalat po ‘yan. I think nanggaling po sa isang tweet ng isang kasamahan niyo sa media na nagsasabing napulot daw nila ito.

Chineck (check) ito natin at ang announcement ni Major General Rolando Bautista, ang Task Force Marawi head natin, ay hindi po. Hindi po ito napapatibayan, hindi po ito totoo at naniniwala sila na nandoon pa.

Ms. Sancho: Sir, na-mention po sa report ni Usec. Abella, ‘yung the discovery ‘nong tunnels. Possible po ba na kung hindi man si Hapilon, ‘yung other members of Maute po kaya dumaan doon sa mga tunnels na ‘yun to exit or Marawi or—?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi pa namin alam kung ano ang extent ‘nong tunnel network na ‘yun but old folks in Marawi said that those were already tunnels that existed before because of previous conflicts.

If you remember, historically there was a siege of Marawi a long time ago. I think in the ‘70s, 1972 if I’m not mistaken. And that siege may have prompted some of the people in Marawi to plan routes of their escape if ever there are any more of this in the future.

So this could have comprised that series of tunnels. But a lot of them have been — where caches of arms and ammunitions have been found and could have been also areas where people can take safe haven in the event that bad elements come into their houses or in their area.

Ms. Sancho: Sir ‘yung tunnels po sir, follow up ko lang po. Sa ilalim po ‘to ng mga bahay sir ng mga residente?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Sa ilalim ng mga bahay at tsaka ilang mga buildings.

Ms. Sancho: Na-discover na po lahat or possible na mas marami pa po?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: It was discovered in the process of the clearing operations and the search for firearms, explosives, and the clearing of potential traps or booby traps for — that can hurt civilians when they come back.

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning, Spokesperson Padilla. Sir, you mentioned that you’re hoping to facilitate the liberation of Marawi by Monday. Sir, what’s the basis of this assessment?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: The Chief of Staff made an announcement na hoping that by Monday, we can freely wave our flags in every corner of Marawi. And we’re working feverishly to do that to ensure we are able to do, to a big extent what was announced by the Chief of Staff.

And in fact, early this morning, there was a launch, an offensive against enemy positions that you may have been monitoring.

So this continues up to this moment and we are confident our troops are gaining important headway inside these areas. And as I have mentioned the other day, definitely proving that the world of the terrorists inside the city is growing smaller by the day.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, if you can just tell us what are the indications that you saw that this siege may be over soon? 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Some indications that I am at liberty to say is the volume of fire coming from the enemy side, they are not as much as [it] was before. There are areas where so much enemy activity was monitored but now seems to have dwindled and sniper fire has been very selective, to name a few.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, there are also reports of politicians supporting the extremist members of the Maute. Based on the information you have, what’s the highest rank of these politicians supporting them? And what is the extent of the — 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I don’t have that information except to say that one recently arrested former politician was I think the basis for that report.

Ms. Salaverria: But any other politicians you have monitored? 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: None at the moment that I know of.

Ms. Salaverria: Thank you. 

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): Hi sir, General Padilla sir. Sir, these past few days, mayroon na pong mga nakumpiska na mga armas, bala na tingin namin eh high-powered ‘yung mga nakuha. At may nakalagay pa doon na parang coming from our government arsenal ‘yung ano. Mayroon na ba kayong ginagawang aksyon para silipin kung papaano napunta sa Maute ‘yung ganito kalalaking uri ng armas natin at kung may dapat na managot dito? 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Kahapon nga po, sa pagbisita ng ating Kalihim ng Tanggulang Pambansa at administrador ng martial law sa Marawi, naipakita sa mga kasamahan niyo doon ‘yung mga kalib— ‘yung mga matataas na kalibre ng baril na nakumpiska nila sa kanilang patuloy na pagsisiyasat at pagki-clear.

Tama ang binanggit mo na hindi ito ordinaryong kalibre at napakalakas nito. So itong kanilang ginawang pagplano at nakita niyo sa mga video na lumabas, ‘yung una nung isang araw at ‘yung sumunod kahapon o kamakailan, na matindi ang kanilang pagplano.

At mariin doon sa kanilang pagpaplano na talagang balak nilang hawakan at kontrolin ‘yung buong kabuuan ng Marawi.

So itong napigilan natin na mga planong ito ay maaaring nagdulot ng mas malawak na kasiraan sa Marawi at mas marami pang buhay na maaaring namatay.

And in the course of time, while they are preparing for that, they may have built up this cache of arms.

How? They have supporters, they have sources of funds, they can buy firearms in the black market, they can course this through the porous borders of the south or those that they have already in their possession that they have accumulated over time.

So this and all is partly telling and must be the subject of further inquiry so that we can find out the root of how they were able to do that.

Ms. Niu: Thank you sir. Sir, Secretary Abella, sir. On the part of the government sir, ‘yung ating local government, ano po ang aksyon na pwede nating gawin sa kanila kasi parang wala silang nalalaman na nagkaroon na pala ng ganito karaming armas doon sa lugar nila. 


Ms. Niu: Ano po ang pwedeng gawin ng ating pamahalaan sa mga LGUs and local chief executives concerned doon sa area? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The obvious thing is for the DILG to be working closely with the Armed Forces. So it’s basically po parang, in a sense, inter-agency efforts.

Ms. Niu: Okay. Thank you. 

Julius Disamburun (PTV 4): Thank you. To General Padilla sir, may online question po tayo. How many more barangays more to eradicate all of them? Ito pong terroristang grupo po natin? May online question lang po. 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: How many barangays are still held by the enemy, is that it? 

Mr. Disamburun: Opo. 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: The last report of our ground commanders, there are about three that they reported. I’m just not at liberty to talk about the names of those barangays at the moment. Perhaps it was mentioned sometime during a briefing before. But those three barangays are the areas where they have holed up. ‘Yun po. Sa tatlong barangay na – wala na, wala na. ‘Yun lang po. Sa may general area ng Banggolo.

Mr. Disamburun: Okay. Thank you sir.  

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Hi sir, good morning. Sir, regarding sa arrest orders, ‘yun pong listahan ng mga pangalan. Sir, how did you get the information po ng mga kailangan po na arestuhin ng otoridad? Kasi I believe there were reports po nang i-release ang unang arrest order, may mga kapangalan lang po doon, may mga bata pa nga raw pong na-involve sir? 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ang arrest orders po na ibinibigay sa amin ay nanggagaling po sa administrador ng martial law, sa Tanggapan po ng Kalihim ng Tanggulang Pambansa at ‘yan po ay ini-issue para sa kaalaman ng lahat. So hindi ko po masasagot ‘yung tanong niyo at maaari ay itanong natin sa kanila kung paano ito nakuha.

Pero karamihan sa mga pangalan, sa aming pagkakaalam, ay base na rin sa mga dating impormasyon na in existence na nagpapatunay at nagtuturo ng pagtulong ng mga indibidwal na ito o pagsali nila sa mga naganap na pangyayari previously. 

Ms. Coz: So sir ‘yung primary reason po kaya ini-release ito sa public is to help in —? 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes. Part of that is to get the assistance of the public just in case they may have any knowledge of the whereabouts of these individuals and at the same time, personally know them, in some cases, then they can assist government and our forces.

Ace Romero (Philippine Star): General Padilla, you mentioned ‘yung waving ng flag come Monday. ‘Yun ang objective niyo di ba? 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I-commemorate po ‘yung ating Araw ng Kalayaan sa buong Marawi ang napakinggan ko at nakuha kong guidance na naibanggit ng ating Chief of Staff kahapon. 

Mr. Romero: So clarify ko lang, hindi pa ‘yun liberation ng Marawi? 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Well yes, that will be the liberation of Marawi. If we are able to successfully accomplish our mission by that day, then that would be the liberation of Marawi in effect. 

Mr. Romero: So pagkatapos ba no’n, ’yung lifting na ng martial law o hindi pa? 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: ‘Yung desisyon po sa pag lift ng martial law ay hindi po sa amin sa ngayon. ‘Yun po eh — ‘yang desisyon po na ‘yan ay kailangan pang i-assess dahil ang kabuuan po ng Mindanao ang dapat tingnan, hindi lang po ‘yung sa Marawi itself.

May network po ito eh at they run the whole breadth of Mindanao from the southern tip, which is the Sulu archipelago up to the other areas. 

Mr. Romero: So you still maintain the view that once Marawi is cleared from the Maute, hindi pa immediately ili-lift ‘yung martial law? Same, ‘yun pa rin ‘yung inyong position? 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I would suppose so because there are follow on actions that needs to be done in order to guarantee the whole security of Mindanao.

The talk of the — the discussions and the talk that has been ongoing these past few days, particularly during the visit of the Secretary yesterday was already primarily for the — after the battle phase, which is reconstruction, rehabilitation and rebuilding of Marawi.

So we have already cued our forces who can help reconstruct, rebuild and rehab and these are our engineers. Ang amin pong ipinaaabot na abiso sa lahat ng ating mga kababayan sa Marawi eh hindi po namin iiwanan ang Marawi na basta na lang ganyan.

Kung may nanghimasok, nanira, nanunog at pumatay, ay hindi na po natin papayagan pong muling mangyari ito at tutulungan po naming bumangon ang Marawi sa mabilis na panahon.

At kasama diyan ang garantiya na pag iniwan natin ito, mas magiging matibay ang Marawi.

Tulad ng nangyari sa Bohol na nakita natin na nagtutulungan ang komunidad at lahat ng ating mga kababayan, ‘yan ang ninanais natin makita sa Marawi sa muling pagbangon nito – mas maging malakas, mas maging matibay, mas maging resilient na community laban sa terrorismo at tsaka sa mga banta ng mga rebelyon tulad ng nangyari. 

Mr. Romero: Meron ba kayong general idea kung gaano katagal from the lifting or from the clearing of Marawi until ‘yung lifting nung martial law, gaano katagal kaya ‘yung — 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Alexis, in truth, hindi ko masabi ‘yan dahil hindi ko hawak lahat ng information at datos ng security situation sa Mindanao. ‘Yan ay maaring ibigay natin siguro sa ating mga ground commanders na ramdam nila at alam nila ‘yung breadth and width ng problema sa Mindanao at sila ang mas mainam na sumagot nito dahil sila ang authority.

At nais ko palang ibanggit, ano. Once we go to the reconstruction, rehabilitation, and rebuilding phase for Marawi, this is not going to entail military action alone, based on the participation of our engineers.

This is in large part going to be led by our civilian leaders in the area. And hence, what we have been saying all along, that the problems to all these armed conflicts or these threats will require a holistic solution.

So after the military action will come the holistic solution where we must partner altogether as one nation — the whole of government, all agencies that can facilitate the delivery of services, and the civil-society organizations whose advocacy it is to help these communities.

So apart from that, the trauma that the community has gone into is one part, so we will need health workers not only from the DOH but from other organizations that can send interventions to rebuild the lives and the — overcome the trauma, particularly on women, children, and the innocent. 

Mr. Romero: Thank you, General. 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Thank you.

Philip Tubeza (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Hi, good morning ho, sir. 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, Philip?

Mr. Tubeza: Sir, pwede pong makahingi ng update sa Board of Inquiry doon sa friendly fire incident natin? Nabanggit po kasi ni General Ano na tatapusin po this week ‘yun? 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ah, yes. Nanggaling na po dun ‘yung mga miyembro ng Board of Inquiry. At sumingit po sila samantala sa pag-imbestiga dahil napuntahan po nila ‘yung mga na wounded doon sa insidente na ‘yun.

At ang aking nakuha pong impormasyon po diyan ay nakausap na po nila, na-interview na nila, nakuha na nila ‘yung mga panig ng mga indibidwal na ito.  

At ganun din po, sinimulan na rin nila ang pag-i-inquire doon sa ibang major services katulad ng sa Air Force, at tsaka dun sa mga ibang units na naging involved. So they were pulled —

Aside from the wounded who were available for interview in the hospitals, once we got certification from the doctors that they could be queried, we’re also working on pulling out certain members of the units that were involved in that and have them brought to the rear, so that they can be interviewed and their views taken.

So ‘yun po ang ongoing ngayon. At sinisikap ng Board of Inquiry na pinamumunuan ni General Raffy Valencia na matapos nga ito sa madaling panahon. 

Mr. Tubeza: Thank you sir.

Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): Spokesperson Abella po. What exactly sir can you clarify what the President meant in his speech a few days ago where he seemed to have called out Maranaos for allowing foreign terrorists in their communities?

Because the statement has received some backlash online from Maranaos taking offense in it, na parang sinisisi pa daw po sila. What did the President exactly mean by that, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Taken in context… Okay, we’ll have to ano, we’ll have to get the — we’ll have to get the transcript and then I’ll refer to that. We don’t have the exact…

Ms. Andolong: But sir, General Padilla, do you think it might have been related doon sa lagi niyo pong sinasabi na sympathizers who are enabling ‘yung terror activities in Marawi? 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: We’re not even sure if the sympathizers are from the community or from outside. So I cannot say and I cannot blame anyone, you know. At this point of time, blaming is the least part that we must do.

What we have in mind is to move forward. To rebuild and to — when we rebuild, we build stronger. That’s the point that I was emphasizing on a while ago. That’s why all hands must be on the pole. So that when we put up the pole, it will not fall again.

Ms. Andolong: You said it’s not the time to blame. But then, let me quote what the President said. He said, “Galit talaga ako diyan sa kanila sa Marawi. Kasi ‘yang mga Maranao, pinayagan ‘yung mga tao, pinapasok doon at manggulo.” Is he — is he blaming the Maranaos in Marawi? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I doubt it is — if it’s a blanket blame. But I, you know, I’m sure that what he’s referring to — I would assume that what he’s referring to are basically the sympathizers — the actual sympathizers who would be that. But it’s not a blanket blame. 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ina, may just add to that? If this battle that has raged on and caused by these terrorists and rebels has become an asymmetrical warfare of sorts.

So itong nangyayaring labanan na ‘to, ang solusyon dito kasi, hindi lang ‘yung armed solution.

We’re providing the armed solution right now to quell the force that is in existent that becomes a threat to anyone — innocents or government or armed, whatsoever.

Once that threat is quelled and taken cared of, we will have to make way for interventions that will rebuild, reconstruct, and make things stronger from a perspective that will come not only from the Armed Forces but from all perspectives, peaceful and whatnot.

So what may have inflamed the President’s feeling is itong mga nanghimasok naman dito ay — although sinasabi nga eh karamihan na taga-labas, may mga iba din na taga-diyan sa loob.

So why did they want to destroy their own lovely city, their own peaceful city is perhaps one of the sources of that emotional comment of the President.

He is from Mindanao and you must understand how he must communicate strongly for action in Mindanao.

So that’s why as I mentioned, we need to rebuild stronger after this. And every Maranao, I guess, understands and realizes that. And everyone I guess is willing to contribute, beginning from the local leaders down to the members of the families who have been affected. 

Ms. Andolong: Last. Sir, are there plans for the President to visit? Mare-reschedule po ba ‘yung dapat kahapon? So will it be before or after white flags are raised? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, basically, I know that the plan was set to have gone yesterday. 

However… Yeah, apparently due to weather, it was called out. However, I’m sure that he has plans. But it may be after the Manila events. 

Ms. Niu: Sir, assurance lang sa mga taga-Metro Manila. Meron kasing mga nababahala dahil nandito na po sa Metro Manila nakakulong itong si Cayamora Maute at ‘yung iba niyang mga kasamahan. Ano po ang assurance na hindi mangyayari sa Metro Manila ‘yung nangyayari ngayon sa Marawi City?

Dahil alam po natin na diyan po sa Camp Bagong Diwa, diyan po nakakulong ang ilang mga ASG, MILF, MNLF na baka raw mag-trigger o mag-inspire sa kanila na magkaisa at gumawa ng hindi magandang aksyon diyan sa loob ng Camp Bicutan.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Huwag po tayong mag-overreact sa mga bagay na ito. ‘Yung decision na ilipat ‘yung mga high-value prisoners na ito ay may basehan. At mas mainam po kasi ang seguridad dito sa Maynila kaysa sa lugar kung saan may deklarasyon ng martial law.

At ‘yung paglipat nila, hopefully ay matulungan din natin ‘yung mga pwersa na nasa Mindanao na maka-focus sa ginagawa nilang trabaho, kaysa magbantay sila.

Dito sa atin sa Kamaynilaan, meron naman tayong mga institusyon. Angkop naman po, nakalatag naman po, nandito ang ating security posture na nagiging mas mainam sa araw-araw.

We have the NCRPO itself located in the same area. We have the JTF-NCR assisting the NCRPO, and all other agencies that are continuously monitoring and ensuring that the National Capital Region is safe.

So what I would want to convey to the public is trust your security forces to do their job, and let us not overreact.

Ms. Niu: Thank you, sir. Last on my part, sir. Patanong lang po ito. Clarification lang daw po…

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Tuesday, dagdag ko lang ano. In addition to that, the repeated… the repeated call that we make. You know, we strengthen the security of every community if each and every citizen is a participant. So we again go back to that. We can only be stronger if we all participate in that security posture.

Ms. Niu: Thank you, sir. Last, sir, patanong po. Clarification lang daw po. Target po natin na makapag-wagayway tayo ng bandila sa Marawi on Monday. Kahit daw po ba ito ay wala pang kasiguruhan na nahuli na o mahuhuli o kaya’y na-neutralize na si Ispilon Hapilon or ‘yung Maute brothers? 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: ‘Yung atin pong tinitignan kasi is ‘yung mga lugar lang na nakubkob ng mga kalaban. Nananatili sila, at hindi na po ganun kalakihan ito. ‘Yung greater part ng Marawi pati na ‘yung government centers, nananatili ‘yan, at hindi ‘yan nasakop ng sinumang armadong grupo noong nakaraang mga araw.  

So the capitol remain in the hands of our local government, as well as the municipal hall where the Mayor was staying. 

Those facilities, those buildings were never in the hands of the enemy, as you saw in the video that they wanted to do.

So that’s what they wanted to do. Gusto nilang kunin ‘yun, kubkubin ‘yun at ipakita na sa kanila ‘yung kontrol ng lugar, hindi naman nila nagawa.

So kaya nga sila, ‘nong simula, kung inyong naaalala, ang unang mga naglabasan sa social media na mga picture, tinauhan nila ‘yung mga kanto at mga kalye at hindi niyo lang nakita doon na hinihimok nila ‘yung mga tao na sumanib sa pwersa nila.

Pero ‘yung karamihan ng mga Maranao, nanatili sa bahay nila, hindi po sumali. So in fairness to the Maranaos who took a stand may have just been seen as not having taken action earlier because of their fear.

But the truth is they never joined their ranks. Kaya nga hindi nakuha itong mga munisipyo at itong mga, ang kapitolyo.

So ‘nong hindi nila nakuha, hindi nila nahimok ‘yung mga karamihan ng tao sa mga pinuntahan nilang lugar, doon sila nagsimula na manakot.

Kaya sinimulan nila ‘yung panununog, kinuha nila ‘yung ospital, sinindihan nila ‘yung mga eskwelahan at ang iba pang mga institusyon katulad ng mga simbahan.

Ms. Niu: Thank you sir. 

Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Sir, i-clarify ko lang General. So whether or not we will be able to liberate Marawi by Monday, we will still raise the Philippine flag there as part of the Independence Day celebration, sir. Tama ba?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Well, definitely we should. We should. And this is not only symbolic that we have maintained control over the area, even from the very start. But also symbolic of having the sentiments of our people in the area gravitate for a common, unified stand against these bandits.Ms. Gutierrez: But the target pa rin po sir is to liberate it by Monday?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes. As I have been mentioning, as we have been saying all along these past few days, our troops are working and working overtime to facilitate the liberation of Marawi at the quickest time that we can.

Ms. Gutierrez: Kay Sir Abella. Sir, General Padilla has been talking about reconstruction, rehabilitation, but is there a comprehensive plan already by the national government?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s being drawn up, I was able to talk with Congressman Karlo Nograles the other day and he’s the head of the Appropriations Committee, they’re starting to draw up plans. Okay. That’s as far as I can say at this stage.

Ms. Gutierrez: So may budget sir tayo doon?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, it’s being drawn up, being drawn up.

Ms. Gutierrez: Pero sir, if ever sir, once the fighting is finished in Marawi, ano po ‘yung magiging priority po natin sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, it will have to be, it will depend upon the actual joint committee that will be handling the reconstruction.

But of course the clearing and then the re-establishment. Meron pong ano… unang una ‘yung clearing, and then the rebuilding will follow afterwards. But it has to be comprehensive and of course, it will be have to be cultural-sensitive, culture sensitive.

Ms. Gutierrez: When you say culturally sensitive, ano pong ibig niyong sabihin sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We have to take cognizance of the fact that this is an Islamic city, okay. And so, you know, for example we have to take cognizance that the rebuilding for example. It has to be along the lines of, along the lines of that which is respectful of their beliefs.

Ms. Gutierrez: Will we encourage the residents sir to return immediately to their houses after the city has been—?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: If it is considered safe, yes.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Once the place is safe, the signal will be given for the safe return of residents.

Argyll Geducos (Manila Bulletin): To Spokesperson Abella. Sir, good morning po. Sir, with all these events happening especially after the claim of the Indonesian Defense Minister, how are the ASEAN neighbors helping to address or how are they addressing the attempt of the ISIS to establish a caliphate here in Asia?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know, it’s still a joint concern, especially Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

The talks have been… the talks have been under the, under the purview of the DFA and I think also with the security ‘no, security. So it is a joint concern and they’re addressing that. Thank you.

Mr. Geducos: Thank you sir.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: They’re — we’re all making — we’re all initiating efforts to clarify that and I guess we received word also from the Indonesians that they will help us because even the Minister has said that he may have been misquoted so that’s where I can leave it but on the part of the Philippines, we are making — taking steps to strengthen our boarders and the like.

And along this line, it came out that we may need, and this is a call to our legislators: we may need to relook our Human Security Act.

Baka kailangan itong palakasin pa. At para maging mas matibay at resilient ang ating bansa laban sa mga teroristang nanloloob sa atin.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, spokesperson Padilla.


Ms. Salaverria: Clarify ko lang. Sir, when you say ‘liberate Marawi,’ does this mean that Hapilon and the Maute brothers should have been arrested or not necessarily?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA:  The end game is to have them arrested, if we can arrest them. But if we cannot, then to neutralize them, because I guess they will always fight it to the end.

So the liberation of Marawi will only be when every armed element in the city is gone.

Ms. Salaverria: Gone?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes. That means to say neutralized, targeted, or cleared.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, what changes are you looking to incorporate into the Human Security Act?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Right now, I made mention of that because we need to relook at it because in the debates that came out during the deliberation. May mga points po na hindi naisama, kasi tinanggal po. So we need to relook it.

And I don’t have the exact provisions yet at this point. So if you wish, we can do that as another topic later on.

Ms. Salaverria: For Spokesperson Abella. Sir, nine Filipinos have been sentenced to death for the Sabah attacks. What’s the government going to do about this? Are we planning to appeal for leniency?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Right now, the DFA is exhausting all efforts to aid those Filipinos sentenced to death in the Lahad Datu attack in 2013.

So basically, it’s in the hands of the DFA at this stage.

Ms. Salaverria: Thank you.

Ms. Sancho: Sir, reaction po dun sa Global Peace Index report. Number 2 po ‘yung Philippines sa least peaceful nation in the Asia Pacific Region in 2017 due to President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs and criminality. Reaction po doon sir? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yeah, basically, we don’t know where that person is really coming from because if you based it on the reports ‘no, if you based it on the actual [what do you call it?] —- based on what we know from local polls.

For example, what we know from local polls is that 75 percent of Filipinos are happy with the Duterte administration performance; 62 percent were satisfied with the Duterte administration fighting crime; 64 percent on fighting terrorism; and more importantly, 76 percent were happy on the Duterte’s administration helping the poor.

Even a previous polls NCR study showed that [18-10?] people feel safer specifically because of war on drugs.

So we’re not entirely sure where the GPI, Global Peace Index analysts who ha — who apparently is supposed to be a local is really coming from. Maybe there’s a politically slant somewhere. 

But based on results, based on results, based on survey results, the net satisfaction of Filipino people is quite high.

Ms. Sancho: Thank you sir. 


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