From Malaya Business Insight (Sep 25): Surrender, release captives, AFP tells Maute anew
AN Army general leading the campaign to rid Marawi City of the Maute Group yesterday told the remnants of the terrorist group to release their hostages and surrender.
Maj. Gen. Rolando Bautista, commander of the military’s Joint Task Force Marawi, reiterated the military’s appeal as government forces continue to regain ground from the Maute which attacked the city on May 23.
“The terrorists are now becoming desperate as our soldiers and police are closing in on their defensive positions,” said Bautista.
The military has said 40 to 60 Maute men in the city, holding around 45 to 50 hostages.
“We are continuing our appeal to the terrorists to release their hostages and for them to surrender,” Bautista said.
Bautista made the call after he and Maj. Gen. Danilo Pamonag, head of the Joint Special Operations Task Force Trident, crossed two bridges that troops have re-captured from the Maute.
Masui Bridge which was retaken after skirmishes last Friday while Bayabao Bridge was recovered earlier this month.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP public affairs office, said the Maute members would end up dead if they would not surrender. He said the Maute could forget escaping because “we’re guarding the escape route.”
The fighting has so far left 694 Maute members dead, and 151 soldiers and policemen, and 47 civilians.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Lanao del Sur drug trade matrix made public by President Duterte last Friday showed the ties between illegal drugs and terrorist activities.
“Local politicians in Mindanao adversely affected by the government’s campaign against illegal drugs have financed the Daesh-inspired Maute Group, whose attempt to undermine our sovereignty resulted in the rebellion in Marawi. It is therefore imperative that we destroy the drug apparatus not only to protect the Filipino family and the youth of the country but also to secure our communities,” he said.
The matrix named some local government officials from the Visayas and Mindanao, as well as their alleged partners in the illegal drugs trade, who supposedly financed the Maute attack on Marawi. Duterte said the matrix is the product of two to three months work of the intelligence community.
The list includes the name Parojinog, supposedly referring to Ozamiz City mayor Reynaldo Paojinog who was killed along with his wife, brother, sister and 11 others in a police raid in Ozamiz on July 30.
Duterte said he was considering giving a copy of his latest drug matrix to priests and bishops who, while frowning on some aspects of the war against drugs, can talk to some alleged drug personalities who are parish members.
Last year, the President also released a “narco-list” containing the names of hundreds of names of local politicians, judges, and policemen, another list involving the drugs trade at the National Bilibid Prison that identified Sen. Leila de Lima as among those involved in the illegal operations.