MANILA— The adage “loose lips, sink ships” is still true even in this time of the Internet.
This was stressed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo as he appealed to the public not to post sensitive and unverified information that might imperil military units currently engaged in clearing operations against Maute Group members in Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur as this could imperil the lives of these brave men.
In the same vein, the military official also urged the public to refrain from posting in the social media suspicious information or possible terrorist propaganda as this could help spread disinformation in the ongoing government campaign against the lawless group.
“We fervently urge our people to refrain from posting in social media information that would tend to exacerbate the situation. Especially photos and videos on the movement of our troops and on terrorists propaganda circulating through social media,” Arevalo stressed.
He also assured the public that the government remains atop and in control of the situation.
“We will continue to provide updates as often as possible with due regard to the security of our operating forces and the conduct of the operations itself,” he added.
As this develops, AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla on Monday said that military forces have full control of Marawi City.
“We are in full control, meaning to say we can control who comes in and who comes out, who moves around and who doesn’t. And we’re trying to isolate all these pockets of resistance that have remained,” he said.
As of this posting, Maute Group members killed in the ongoing operation are placed at 61 with 42 being confirmed through body count and another 19 by eye witness reports.
Government losses as of Sunday night are placed at 15 troopers killed along with three Philippine National Police (PNP) operatives.
Reported wounded as of this posting are 61 soldiers along with three policemen.
Fighting started when government security forces tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, a known ally of the group and ISIS leader, last May 23.
Number of civilians executed by the Maute Group are placed at 19, while those rescued are placed at 390, said Padilla.
Captured firearms are placed at 41 with 37 being high-powered ones and four low-powered.
“Clearing of Marawi City of militants and rescue of trapped civilians and recovery of civilian casualties and victims are the current focus of the ongoing operations,” he added.