By Genalyn Kabiling
All would be well if Filipinos could unite and cooperate with government forces pursuing the lawless armed rebels in Marawi City, according to a Palace official.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella called for public vigilance and cooperation amid reports that members of the Maute terror group have embedded in the population.
“Government troops proceed with their sustained precision operations in pursuit of the Maute group who have embedded themselves among innocent citizens,” he said. “We call on our patriotic civilians to remain vigilant and cooperate with the military,” he said.
Abella also asked the public to pray for the “peaceful and swift operations to clear the city of violent extremists (VE), an end to this rebellion and its spread to other areas of Mindanao.”
“Let us pray for unity among Filipinos. All will be well,” he added.
President Duterte recently placed Mindanao under martial law to put a stop the Maute group’s plan to turn Mindanao into an Islamic State province.
The Maute group laid a siege on Marawi City last week, torching buildings, taking hostages, freeing prisoners, and raising the black ISIS flag. Thousands of families have been displaced from their homes due to the clashes between troops and the terror suspects
In his report to Congress, the President explained that martial law proclamation and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus were needed until the rebellion is quelled. He warned that lawless armed groups are being supported by foreign-based terrorists and illegal drug money.
“Considering the network and alliance-building activities among terrorist groups, local criminals, and lawless armed men, the siege of Marawi City is a vital cog in attaining their long-standing goal: absolute control over the entirety of Mindanao,” the report read.
“These circumstances demand swift and decisive action to ensure the safety and security of the Filipino people and preserve our national integrity,” it added.
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