From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 6): Members of terror groups send surrender feelers
Members of terrorist organizations have indicated their willingness to surrender to authorities, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Friday.
“We have received feelers that members of terrorist organizations will turn themselves over to the authorities,” Joint Task Force Ranao deputy commander Col. Romeo Brawner said in a Bangon Marawi media briefing at Malacanang Palace.
Brawner did not provide further details but he said the task force had already sought the help of local government units (LGUs) in the provinces of Lanao del Sur and del Norte.
“We have made arrangements with the LGU for them to help us in the processing, as well as in the provision of medical, financial and psychological support for the fighters,” he said.
He also attributed to the local executives and residents the task force’s efforts in recovering loose firearms, noting that these had “yielded significant gains”.
Brawner said a total of 295 high-powered and low-powered firearms have been turned over by LGU officials in Piagapo, Marantao, Masho, Maguing and Lumba-Bayabao.
“In line with this, we are encouraging the other municipalities and cities in Lanao Del Sur and Lanao Del Norte to join us in our campaign to get rid of loose firearms in our area. This will lead to a decrease in the incidents of ‘rido’ or clan wars, and also of criminality and terrorism,” he said.
The military official also appealed to local residents not to join the terrorist organizations nearly a year after the ISIS-inspired Maute groups seized Marawi City.
The attack had led to a five-month war between government troops and the ISIS-inspired terrorists, leaving more than 1,000 people dead and over PHP17 billion in property damage and opportunities lost.
“We are appealing to our Maranao brothers and sisters not to allow other interest groups to agitate them into doing illegal acts or joining terrorist organizations,” Brawner said.
According to the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), at least PHP75 billion will be needed to rebuild the war-torn Marawi City.
TFBM chairperson Eduardo Del Rosario said the rebuilding of Marawi’s most affected area is expected to commence in the first week of June this year and is poised to be completed in the last quarter of 2021.
Meanwhile, Brawner said a total of 1,835 families were able to visit their houses and properties for the past four days under the Kambalingan and Kambisita programs.
Kambilingan is the visit of residents in barangays outside of the most affected area (MAA) while Kambisita refers to 250-hectare MAA composed of 24 barangays. Marawi has a total of 92 barangays.