Around 10 members of the Islamic State-linked Maute group have snuck into Marawi City to reinforce comrades battling state forces in the conflict zone, multiple sources told ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte has suspended the military offensive in Marawi, citing concerns over the safety of some 300 civilians being held by Islamic militants still holed up in some parts of the besieged city.
“We will finish it. We are not joking. Until the last terrorist is taken out, the war will continue. They have 300 hostages there and that is what is delaying (the operations),” the President said in his second State of the Nation Address.
“Sabi ko, huwag mo muna i-assault (I said, hold off the assault) if possible. We just have to wait it out,” he added.
The safety of the civilians, he pointed out, is the primary consideration of government forces.
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(Updated, 12:51 p.m.) President Rodrigo Duterte wants the extension of martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year, his spokesman said Tuesday.
Duterte, in a letter to Congress, said the “existing rebellion” in Mindanao would not end on July 22, the 60th day in the limit prescribed by the Constitution.
“Upon a thorough personal assessment of the current situation in Marawi City and other parts of Mindanao and taking into account the reports and recommendations of the Secretary of National Defense as martial law administrator, the chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as martial law implementor and the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), I have come to the conclusion that the existing rebellion in Mindanao which prompted me to issue Proclamation 216 on 23rd May 2017, will not be quelled completely by the 22nd July 2017 – the last day of 60-day period provided under Section 18 Article VII of the 1987 Constitution,” Duterte said in a message read by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella in a Palace briefing.
“For this reason and because public safety requires it, I call upon the Congress to extend until 31st December 2017 or for such a period of time as the Congress may determine the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao,” Duterte’s message added.
MANILA, Philippines — Washington has offered to send two surveillance aircraft to assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations against terrorists, the US ambassador said Tuesday.
US Ambassador Sung Kim said that two Cessna 208 planes will be turned over to the Philippine government in a couple of weeks.
Kim stressed that the US is deeply concerned about the security situation in Marawi City, where government forces have been fighting against local terror groups for more than eight weeks now.
“We have been providing a very important support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines in terms of information sharing, intelligence sharing, training, technical advice as well as equipment grants,” Kim said in an interview with ANC’s Headstart.
The US envoy also noted that American troops are present in Mindanao under the mutual defense treaty between the two countries.
Kim added that the US is committed to helping with the rehabilitation program for Marawi.
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday that he will not negotiate with militants aligned with the Islamic State group who are holding hostages in a besieged southern city, and that he has ordered troops to kill the gunmen even if they slaughter the hostages.
The tough-talking Duterte issued his strongest warning yet to the local and foreign militants, whose stunning siege of Marawi has dragged on for nearly two weeks. Troops have battled to regain control of most of the lakeside city, but the militants, who are believed to be holding a Catholic priest and many other hostages, continue to control pockets of territory.
At least 178 people have been killed in Marawi, the heartland of Islamic faith in the southern Philippines, since hundreds of gunmen waving Islamic State-style black flags rampaged across the city on May 23, burning some buildings and occupying others as they battled troops backed by airstrikes and artillery fire.
The dead include 120 militants, 20 civilians and 38 soldiers and policemen.
“I was asked if I could negotiate. I’m telling you now, you can kill all those you’re holding now, but I won’t talk to you,” Duterte said in a speech before peace talks advocates at an air base in the central city of Lapu-Lapu. “My order really is to shoot you and to shoot you dead.”
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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine News Agency (PNA) and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson have posted wrong photos to depict the military offensive in Marawi City.
In its May 27 report titled “Urban warfare a challenge for soldiers in Marawi,” the PNA used an uncaptioned photo of a soldier seemingly investigating a house while residents looked on.
Later reports noted the photo was not taken in Marawi City, but rather a cropped version of a photo of Vietnamese soldiers uploaded in Wikimedia Commons.
The photo has since been taken down from the PNA page.
On Monday, Uson shared an image of kneeling soldiers with the caption, “Let’s pray for our army. Panalangin din po natin ang mga pamilyang naiwan at nababahala sa kalagayan ng kanilang asawa at tatay.”
However, netizens quickly pointed out the image was not taken in the Philippines but in Honduras.
“Tell your followers and yourself that we have enough photos of our soldiers praying. No need to use Honduras police’s. Shame!” added the Twitter account.
The PNA yesterday apologized over the errors in the two articles.
RECOMMENDED READ FROM FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/31/1705328/oops-vietnam-photo-used-marawi-story