Month: June 2017

After the series of arrests of alleged members of Maute terrorist group including the parents of Maute brothers who led the attacks in Marawi City, hopeless terrorist members have chosen to abandon their firearms and blend in with civilian evacuees who are escaping from ground zero.

Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, spokesperson of Joint Task Force Marawi said: “As their bailiwick native land, the terrorists are knowledgeable of the terrain here in Marawi City. They are also using that advantage to slip out of the area to escape. But the authorities assure that the combined strength of the security forces and other government agencies, these terrorists have nowhere to hide.”

IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) are causing the clearing operations to take one sure step at a time, according to Brig. Gen. Ramiro Manuel A Rey, commander of Task Force Ranao.

“The Maute terrorists are pushed back in a corner due to the AFP’s continuous effort. But they are using IEDs to block the government troops. They are also using hostages as human shields and slaves from gaining grounds. Hostages were even forced to place LPG tanks with fuel as IEDs against the AFP troops. The cause of the fire eruptions inside ground zero was caused by LPG tanks strapped with fuel and is detonated as troops continue to gain ground,” Brig. Gen. Rey said.

According to Lt. Col. Herrera, the number of enemies that are currently being engaged dwindled to a little over a hundred. “According to the information we are getting from the ground troops operating in the area, there are more or less 100 members of Maute terrorist group left after the 1 month battle here in Marawi,” he said.

As of today, June 21, 2017, the AFP counted a total of 268 Maute terrorists killed and 271 recovered firearms. On the government side, 56 are killed in action and 461 are wounded.

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The Mindanao Peace Weavers (MPW) group of non-government organizations held its “KAMBABID-BABID” 70-delegation peace and solidarity mission at the Joint Task Force Marawi headquarters in Marawi City on June 20, 2017.

Since 2003, the MPW has been conducting peace-building initiatives by engaging the government, security sector, and the other peace stakeholders for meaningful participation of civil society on matters of peace, security and development.

The group led by peace advocates from the religious sector, women leaders, educators, civil society organizations and humanitarian volunteers from Manila and the Visayas offered words of wisdom through prayers, support and sympathy.

“As peace advocates, the situation in Marawi breaks our hearts as we continue to monitor how the prolonged engagement with the Maute group is taking a heavy toll on the number of the fallen in the unfolding days. Our hearts also bleed for the innocent children, women, and elderly who have fled, bled, died or still continue to be trapped in the city for more than three weeks now,” said Gus Miclat, executive director of Initiatives for International Dialogue and secretary general of MPW.

“Violent extremism is a scourge that we need to fully address as a nation. Let the continuing saga of Marawi being torn apart serve as a reminder that have to do our part in the fight against violent and terroristic acts. We appreciate that the government offered the Independence Day commemoration as a tribute to our fallen soldiers and policemen. We hope to offer the same recognition to the civilians who have died in the siege. We would like to accord them the respect they deserve,” Miclat said.

The mission is part of MPW’s “Duyog Ramadhan,” which for many years has been part of a tradition among non-Moro peace advocates in promoting interfaith and cultural understanding and dialogue during the Ramadhan season.

The delegation was composed of 70 peace advocates from other provinces of Mindanao, Metro Manila and the Visayas including Lanao civil-society organizations, Ranao Rescue Team, and Saving Lives Movement.

Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, Commander of Joint Task Force Marawi said: “We appreciate the Mindanao Peace Weavers’ initiatives in being one with the Armed Forces’ advocacy in promoting peace and unity among Filipinos in Mindanao. If every Filipino would embrace the ideals of peace loving and God-fearing attitude of MPW delegates, we are well on our way to a united and prosperous nation.”

Lt. Col. Jo-ar Hererra (left), spokesperson of Task Force Marawi receives a symbolic flag of Mindanao Peace Weavers “Kambabid-babid” solidarity and peace mission from Gus Miclat, MPW secretary general at JTF Marawi headquarters on June 20, 2017. (Photo: JTF Marawi)
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Joint Task Force Marawi, Camp Ranao, Marawi City, June 20, 2017 – Ang mga sundalo mula sa Joint Task Force Marawi ay nagsasagawa ng repacking of goods mula sa iba’t-ibang hanay ng pribado at publikong sector bilang tulong sa mga evacuees mula sa Marawi City.

Sa loob ng dalawampu’t-pitong araw ng kaguluhan sa Marawi, libo libong mga sibilyan na naapektuhan ang lumikas sa mga evacuation centers. Dahil dito, marami ang nagbibigay-tulong katulad ng pagkain, damit, gamot at tubig para sa mga apektado ng mga kaguluhan.

Ang mga tulong ay nagmula hindi lamang sa Mindanao kundi sa iba bahagi ng Pilipinas sa Luzon at Visayas. “Hindi na mabilang ang mga nagpapadala at nagpapahiwatig na nais nilang maging bahagi sa pagbibigay-tulong para sa ating mga sundalo at iba pang sibilyan na naapektuhan ng labanan,” sabi ni Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, commander ng Joint Task Force Marawi.

“Sa ngalan ng inyong Armed Forces at kapulisan, kami ay taos pusong nagpapasalamat sa lahat ng tumulong sa mga naging biktima ng pangyayaring ito. Ang mga pagnanais ng ating mga kababayan sa buong bansa ay nagpapakita ng pagkakaisa ng sambayanan na iwaksi ang mga kaguluhang dulot ng mga terorista,” sabi ni Brig. Gen. Bautista.

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Camp Ranao, Marawi City, June 19, 2017 – A total of 11 packs of high grade Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu) weighing 11 kilograms were recovered by government troops in the conflict area of Marawi City on June 18, 6:00pm, in the continuing combat clearing operations.

The estimated street value of the recovered high grade shabu is between P110M to P250M.

The Alpha Company led by 1Lt. Emerson Tapang of the Philippine Army’s 49th Infantry Battalion recovered the illegal drugs along with four high powered firearms after figuring out in a firefight.

Soldiers spotted men in black emerging from a cluster of houses that prompted troops to maneuver. The terrorists put up a fight but fled while carrying items taken from one of the houses.

Numerous sachets of shabu were also recently recovered by troops in the fighting positions of Maute/ASG terrorist group since the first and second week of their attack in Marawi.

Troops in the frontline say they are facing drug crazed individuals who are evidently high on illegal drugs.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, commander of Western Mindanao Command said “the recent recovery is the largest illegal drug haul so far”.

“This strengtens our findings that these terrorists are using illegal drugs which according to Muslim religious leaders is “Haram,” a term used for being forbidden in Islamic law. These Maute and ASG terrorists are not Muslims. They have violated every tenets of the teachings in the Holy Quran,” Lt. Gen. Galvez said.

Aside from using and peddling illegal drugs, Maute and ASG terrorists are also using Mosques as sniper positions, logistics hub and safe havens for the command and control of their core group.

Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, Commander of 1st Infantry Division slammed the terrorists for their continued use of Mosques as battle positions and the use of drugs.

“We condemn the acts of the Maute/ASG in using Mosques as battle positions as we deplore their use of illegal drugs that is equally evil as both are Un-Islamic,” Brig. Gen. Bautista said.

The illegal drugs were turned over to Joint Task Group Haribon and will be further turned over to appropriate government agency for proper disposition.

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Father’s Day Message

Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista
Commander, Joint Task Force Marawi

Every third Sunday of June marks a day when we recognize one of the most important persons in our life. We are reminded to honor our fathers, who have tremendously contributed to what we have become today.

This day also marks our fatherhood and the bonding we have with our children and family, who are the very reason why we strive to live. We serve because we love our country. We live because we love our family.

Let me borrow the words of Walter Schirra: “You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.”

As your Division Commander, I symbolically raise you as my children and lead you in fulfilling our mandate as public servants and land protectors. There is no greater hurt that may be inflicted to a father’s heart than seeing his children die and perish in the battlefield.

My heart goes with our fellow-soldiers who gave their ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of peace here Marawi City. My heart goes with their loved ones, who are grieving, who are now just left with memories of our heroes.

Fathers are like soldiers who are protectors of their children. Fathers are not only providers for their families. They are also most importantly teachers, influencers and protectors.

As we do our best to protect our families, we also exert our best efforts in fulfilling our duties to protect our land. On Father’s Day, we cannot be there with our children because of our call of duty. We cannot be with our children today because we are serving the people and we are protecting the land.

Let us appreciate our fathers and let us appreciate ourselves as fathers to our children. As fathers and soldiers, let us all continue to be caring, strong, compassionate, and honest.

Let us be the best gift our children and our families ever had. And in maintaining peace, let us also be the best gift our nation will have.

Mabuhay ang mga Ama ng Tahanan! Mabuhay ang mga Sundalo!

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Camp Ranao, Marawo City, June 10, 2017 – The matriarch of the notorious Maute brothers, Onita Romato Maute a.k.a. Farhana, was apprehended at a safe house in Barangay Kormatan, Masiu, Lanao Del Sur at around 8:00pm on Friday, June 9.

Cayamora Maute, the patriarch of the Maute brothers, was recently arrested in a checkpoint in Davao City.

Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, Philippine Armys 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division spokesman said: “The apprehension of Farhana and Cayamora Maute is a big blow to the enemy. Farhana is allegedly the heart of Maute’s organization. She facilitates the administration, logistics operations, finance, psychological support, and international network of the enemy.”

The Philippine national Police under Joint Task Force Marawi arrested Farhana and 15 others (4 male, 10 female, and 1 toddler) in a raid. Two of the apprehended males are wounded.

Identified with Farhana were brothers Mohammad Ali a.k.a. Onyok and Aliya, nephews of Cayamora Maute including Maute sisters Hiba, Hapsa and Hamida Maute and daugthers of Farhana. Other arrested individuals are yet to be unidentified. The toddler will be turned over to the Social Welfare Department for custody and proper care.

Firearms were recovered in the safehouse of Farhana including an M14 rifle, 4 rifle grenades, and 2 improvised RPG ammunition.

Several high profile personalities who are reportedly financiers and planners are subject of arrest warrants.

Former Marawi mayor Fahad “Pre” Salic, who is being implicated in the rebellion, was also arrested in Malabang town, Lanao del Sur.

Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, Commander of Joint Task Force Marawi said: “Your government troops will not stop in pursuing those who are involved in the rebellion in Marawi City that resulted to destruction of properties and distress to our fellow Filipinos.”

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In the midst of ongoing clashes between government forces and Maute terrorist group in Marawi City, a virtual war in Social Media networks is being waged by propaganda accounts belonging to the jihadists and their supporters.

Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division spokesman said the social media unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has uncovered 63 Facebook accounts linked to the Islamist militants who attacked and seized parts of Marawi City on May 23, 2017.

“These 63 jihadist accounts, using fake personalities to hide their real identification, are spreading malicious information and misinformation that affect the information landscape and the mindset of Filipinos,” Herrera said.

These accounts that are being used for online propaganda and spreading radical ideologies have been using Facebook to spread lies and gather support from Social Media network users, according to Herrera.

“The Armed Forces has already undertaken the necessary measures to request Facebook.com to take down these fake accounts,” Herrera said.

“When asked about the military’s request, Facebook told AFP it would remove accounts that promoted terrorism. We want to provide a service where people feel safe. That’s why we have community standards that explain what you can and cannot do on our service,” a Facebook statement said published on Inquirer.net.

“Our community standards do not allow groups or people that engage in terrorist activity, or posts that express support for terrorism. Fake accounts are also prohibited,” Facebook statement said.

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Mga Sundalo sa Marawi, Inuuna ang Kaligtasan ng Sibilyan
(June 8, 2017)

Pagkalipas ng dalawang linggo, patuloy pa ring tinutugis ng mga tropa ng pamahalaan ang mga natitirang pwersa ng mga terorista sa lungsod ng Marawi.

Sa gitna ng mga bakbakan, karamihan sa mahigit na 200-libong residente sa lungsod na naipit sa kaguluhan ay nakalikas na. Ngunit marami pa ring sibilyang nanatili na dapat na mailigtas.

Ayon sa opisyal na tala ng Pamahalaan, halos isang libo’t kalahating sibilyan ang nailigtas ng mga sundalo nang magsimula ang kaguluhan sa Marawi noong May 23.

Sa pagtupad ng kanilang sinumpaang tungkulin, sinusuong ng mga sundalo ang anumang panganib upang makapalingkod sa mga mamamayan. Sa pagsasagawa ng mga military operations, inuuna ng mga sundalo ang kaligtasan ng mga sibiliyan ayon kay LtCol. Jo-ar Herrera, tagapagsalita ng 1st Infantry Division ng Philippine Army.

Sinabi ni Herrera na nag-iingat ang mga sundalo upang masiguro ang kaligtasan ng mga sibilyan sa gitna ng mga kaguluhan.

Patuloy ang clearing operations ng mga sundalo sa lungsod ng Marawi.

Sinabi ni Herrera na maliit na bahagi na lamang ng Marawi ang kinakailangang magasagawa ng military operation.

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Camp Ranao, Marawi City, June 6, 2017 – Troops confronting the Daesh-inspired Maute/Abu Sayaff Group in house-to-house battle recovered voluminous cash amounting to P52,200,000 at a house in Barangay Saduc Proper, Marawi City at around 11:30AM on Monday, June 5.

After neutralizing a sniper position in the area that fired at an adjacent side of the Scout Rangers, a Philippine Marine platoon led by 1Lt. Frederick Savellano of 37th Marine Corps, Marine Battalion Landing Team 7 was conducting clearing operations recovered the cash along with stale cheques worth P23,776,386.71 and an M16 firearm.

Marine forces, which are currently conducting house-to-house clearing against the terrorists, recovered the amount under constant fire, a team extricated the area and brought the cash and cheques to the headquarters of Task Force Marawi.

Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, Commander of Task Force Marawi said the recovered money will be for safekeeping of proper authorities until appropriate investigation is conducted and proper identification of owner is established.

“This act is a manifestation for keeping the highest standard of discipline, valor and commitment in safeguarding Marawi and defending the community from terror elements,” Brig. Gen. Bautista said.

Brig. Gen. Bautista commended the troops for their act of honesty as he pointed out the destruction done by the terrorists.

“We are proud of our soldiers in the field. Their commendable actions in caring for our people bespeak of the best practices in the AFP,” Brig. Gen. Bautista said.

“We condemn the propaganda of Maute/ASG and their sympathizers in peddling twisted data and disinformation to advocate violence and evil acts. We also condemn the Maute/ASG and their sympathizers for looting houses, burning school buildings and houses and destroying various properties in Marawi particularly desecrating houses of worship such as mosques and church,” Brig. Gen. Bautista said.

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