Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Timely military action preempted capture of entire Marawi City — Palace

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 14): Timely military action preempted capture of entire Marawi City — Palace

Timely action by the government and the military prevented what might have been a worse situation in Marawi City, Malacañang said Tuesday.

At a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella stressed that the prompt military action on initial information gathered on the ground has preempted the Maute group’s terror plot to capture the entire city of Marawi.

“There were details regarding the Marawi plot, yes. And that is exactly why they took advantage -- they started to take action,” he said.

“So you know, and we need to understand also that the perception that it was… Well, we need to also take note of the fact that the early action of the military and the government has actually preempted their plans to be able to capture the city. So we need to accredit that,” Abella said.

The Palace official likewise defended the government from criticisms that there was a failure of information on the side of the military, pointing out that the full details of the plot was only uncovered later through the video captured by security forces during the fighting.

“They knew that there were activities on the ground and, you know, I can only say that so far. They knew that there were activities that were being -- that there were abnormal activities,” he said.

“So let’s give them credit, let’s give credit to the military and understand that they were actually acting purposively and decisively and actually preempted -- I think the keyword is ‘preempted’ -- okay? So I think it’s not a question of being failure or what -- from their point of view… From our point of view, we were able to stop something that could have been much, much bigger,” Abella said.

In the meantime, Abella said that the government will not stop until the terrorist threat in the whole of Mindanao is fully addressed.

“Well, tuluy-tuloy po ang laban. We will not stop until it’s finished. And not only Marawi, but also the threats -- terrorist threats, should be completely addressed in the entire island of Mindanao,” he said.

He also clarified that the June 12 liberation of Marawi City was just a working deadline set by the military and not by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“It was a working deadline set by the military and the President is set -- his intentions are really to complete the work. But it must be complete and total work. In other words, it’s not just the Marawi situation that has to be addressed, it must be the terrorist threat in the entire Mindanao and in the Philippines,” Abella said.

Meanwhile, he also assured that the government will respond decisively on any new attacks that are reportedly being planned by ISIS during Ramadan.

“Well, (we will respond) with concern and with continued decisiveness,” Abella said.

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