From Malaya Business Insight (Aug 11): AFP seeks execs’ help in foiling Mautes escape
A TOP military official in Mindanao is seeking assistance from local government officials, warning of possible reinforcement of Maute Group forces from areas outside Marawi City and escape of about 50 to 70 Maute members holed up in a portion of the city.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, commander of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said local government officials should ensure their areas will not be used by the Maute as passage for reinforcement and escape.
He made the appeal during a dialogue with Lanao del Sur officials on Wednesday in Marawi City. He told the local officials the Maute Group, which has been battling government forces since May 23, is running out of ammunition and food, and the military is close to ending the conflict.
The fighting has so far resulted in the death of 548 Maute members, 125 soldiers and policemen, and 45 civilians. Officials said the Maute remnants are in the main battle area which is less than square kilometer. About 200 civilians remain trapped in the area.
“We are nearing the end of this prolonged battle with the penetration of our troops into the main battle area, but we beseech your consideration and assistance... we do not discount the possibility of reinforcement and retreat. This is where the key involvement of local government units comes in,” he said.
He asked the officials to guard their areas. “Do not allow these terrorists to use your towns as recruitment areas and safe passage,” he said.
Galvez even offered military assistance to help local officials defend their communities. “You can create your inner defense. If you need it, we can provide you with training and support for security if you request for it.”
Vice Mayor London Dagalangit of Lumbao-Bayabao town said they are establishing checkpoints, using their barangay peacekeeping action teams (BPATs). He gave the assurance motorboats along Lake Lanao will be monitored.
“We are preparing our constituents so that we will be able to make ourselves ready. We want our BPATs to be trained so that we can take appropriate actions when needed,” he said.
Other local officials also heeded the appeal of Galvez for help and agreed to meet regularly.