MANILA—With government forces clashing with Maute Group members in Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur, the Department of National Defense (DND) has called on all Filipinos to be security conscious and vigilant at all times.
“In light of what is happening in Marawi City, we call on our fellow Filipinos in Mindanao to be security conscious at all times and remain vigilant in your day to day activities. Rest assured that the situation in Marawi City is already contained. With the deployment of additional forces, it is only a matter of time before we take all these evil doers down. Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is on his way back from Russia with the President to personally oversee the situation,” DND public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong said in a statement Wednesday.
He added the imposition of martial law in Mindanao is a necessary step in order for government security forces to stop the threat that these terrorists pose, who are mostly not originally from Marawi City.
“As part of our operations, additional troops will be deployed to Marawi City to augment the forces already there,” Andolong stressed.
“The President’s verbal declaration is valid, and as such Martial Law has been in effect since 10 p.m. last night. We emphasize, however, that Martial Law does not suspend the Constitution but authorizes the Armed Forces of the Philippines to take over law enforcement operations from the Philippine National Police, and conduct arrests and searches in accordance with the rule of law and human rights,” he added.
Andolong also appealed to the public to help our troops on the ground and counter the misinformation campaign from terrorist supporters by being very selective and responsible in sharing critical information on new media and other platforms.
He added that it is better to report any suspicious activities in your areas directly to the proper authorities.
“What is happening in the city of Marawi and Mindanao is another challenge that we can overcome together. We must stand united against a common enemy- terrorists and the fear they want to sow among the innocent,” the DND official concluded.
The clash between Maute Group members started 2 p.m. Tuesday at Barangay Basak, Malutlut when government security forces learned of the presence of Abu Sayyaf Isnilon Hapilon, who allied with the Maute Group, and his cohorts.
Hapilon was reported severely wounded in the series of military operations in Lanao Del Sur early this January.
The former is reportedly the representative of the ISIS terror group in the Philippines.
Two soldiers were killed along with a police officer while 12 others were wounded in the ongoing fighting as of this posting.