FILE PHOTO: AFP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) does not deny the possibility that some Maute-ISIS terrorist group members were able to escape Marawi City and have gone to Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro.
According to reports, some Maute members may have blended in with the evacuees during the first weeks of the clashes.
However, the military is confident that these individuals can no longer launch attacks or sow great havoc in other places.
“Safe to say, I can tell you, they don’t have the capacity to do what they have done in Marawi anymore,” AFP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, said in a press briefing.
“Their capabilities have significantly degraded and they have specifically targeted Marawi to sow terror,” he added.
Meanwhile, the military has launched proactive security measures and has been coordinating with local government units.
The military also calls on the public to remain alert and vigilant against suspicious-looking persons and things to prevent enemies from carrying out their evil plans.
Meanwhile, the military also reminds those who are planning to distribute assistance and relief efforts to the residents of Marawi city to coordinate with the local government units before going to the conflict area.
This is after reports that the military allegedly prevented some left-leaning lawmakers from conducting their humanitarian assistance in Marawi City.
“We don’t want anyone getting hit by any of these stray bullets if they go to Marawi itself. So in the interest of safety, we have been working closely with local government and its social welfare arm and health arm to provide the services needed by the evacuees, without necessarily having other people from the outside expose to danger,” explained Padilla. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue