From CNN Philippines (Feb 19): AFP steps up operations vs. terror groups; says 'strategic victory' aimed in four months
AFP Chief Gen. Eduardo Año.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) aims at a strategic victory over terror groups in Mindanao in four months time.
AFP Chief General Eduardo Año explains strategic victory does not mean that they will be able to neutralize up to the last member of the terror groups.
He says they aim to keep the momentum on their side until the terror groups lose their will to fight.
Año says in the past two months, there have been good developments with the all-out war against the Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups.
They started organizational changes – placing competent officers in focused areas.
Año says they have intensified operations against the group of Isnilon Hapilon, the leader of the so-called Islamic State in Mindanao, and the Maute brothers that operate in Lanao del Sur.
They even allocated additional budget for these operations.
Año said: "Two months, and we still have four months to go. But kung kaya natin in less than six months... Hindi naman kinakailangan na maubos silang lahat e, yung tinatawag nating strategic victory. Yung the momentum is on our side and they will lose their will to fight and eventually some of them will lie low, some of them will surrender. And we will convince even more the communities to support our operating troops." [Translation: We said two months, and we still have four months to go. But we can do this in less than six months... We do not necessarily need to get rid of all of them, what we need is a strategic victory. The momentum is on our side and they will lose their will to fight, and eventually some of them will lie low, some of them will surrender. And we will convince even more the communities to support our operating troops.]
Maute behind intelligence officers' deaths
AFP chief General Eduardo Año confirms the group of terrorist Otto Maute was behind the death of two intelligence officers in Marawi City on Thursday.
Initial report says the officers from the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces identified as Major Jerico Mangalus and one Corporal Libot were aboard an SUV when they were ambushed by armed men.
Año says Mangalus' remains will be flown to Villamor Airbase on Sunday and President Duterte may pay his respect to the slain officer.
Ano said, "So part of our Haribon Four Operation actually is the group that hit the group of Maj. Mangalus. And it's one of the Maute brothers, the Otto Maute. Ang group ni Otto Maute ang naencounter nila [The encounter was with the group of Otto Maute]."