The military entered on fourth day on Friday to clear Marawi City of the ISIS-inspired Maute terrorists, and in a press briefing in Davao City, Armed Forces and martial law spokesperson Brig. General Restituto “Resty” Padilla bared that they are continuing in their “surgical air strikes with pin-point accuracy” to neuralize the remaining terrorists holding out in the city.
He said that as of midnight Thursday following three days of fighting 31 Maute terrorists were killed, some of whom he confirmed to be foreign terrorists such as “Malaysians, Indonesians and others I could not remember.”
He recalled that in the past military anti-terrorist actions years back there were “Singaporeans” killed and about six foreign terrorists were already killed then in Mindanao.
He said that he is still verifying the total number of Maute terrorists including foreign terrorists fighting in Marawi City but the first number reported was 50 terrorists securing Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon before the military’s law enforcement operation began Tuesday.
“That number changed as we are still validating at the moment,” he said.
Five high-powered firearms were accordingly retrieved from slain terrorists.
For the government side, Padilla bared a total of 11 soldiers, 2 police personnel “one of whom was beheaded”, and 39 wounded. There were also 16 residents caught on the crossfire Thursday who were rescued by the military.
Padilla also allayed fears of “people living in the past” on the current type of martial law that the military will be implementing, saying that it would be “under new bases” and they will “clearly go by the guidelines” in upholding the rule of the law and norms of human rights.
The general said that they already have initial guidelines issued by the Dept. of National Defense specifically stating that “we abide by the rule of law and norms of human rights while our rules of engagement remain the same except those provided by martial law and by the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.”
Padilla told reporters that full implementing guidelines for the martial law in Mindanao is still being formulated and it falls under the responsibility of the martial law administrator, AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Ano.
The military is taking note on worries of people specifically on the establishment of checkpoints and the curfews in some areas of Mindanao, Padilla said, adding “law-abiding citizens need not worry… and we will enforce the law uniformly.”
“But for those who would violently confront the government, we will be very strict and very harsh on them,” the martial law spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Maranao author Norodin Alonto Lucman posted anew on his Facebook early Friday: “There is fierce fighting in many parts of the city commencing. Malimomo, Bagolo, Gadungan, Basak and Marinaut are possible areas of armed conflict. House to house fighting is anticipated. Some areas of the city are on fire. Many bodies lay rotting in the streets… Choppers are in the air pinpointing rebel held areas. Thousands of evacuees are caught in a bind…”
Lucman, who chose to stay in his city since the start of hostilities, reminded all that killing in the month of Ramadan is “a grave violation of the tenets of Jihad and Islam.” (mindanaosunchronicle.com/Cha Monforte)