AFP will continue to frustrate Maute Group –Palace
By Jelly F. Musico
MANILA, Nov. 27 (PNA) – Malacanang said on Sunday the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will continue to frustrate the sinister objectives of the Maute Group which has long been professing allegiance to terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS.
Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar made this statement after 11 members of the Maute Group were killed while four soldiers were wounded in the ongoing dislodgement operations against the terror group in Butig, Lanao del Sur.
”The government will prevent the situation from escalating to other areas,” Andanar said.
An estimated 50 to 100 Maute Group members occupied an abandoned portion of Butig last Saturday morning, prompting the military to conduct immediate operations.
”The Maute Group has long been professing allegiance to ISIS, so the reported raising of the ISIS flag does not come as surprise. The group continues to court ISIS,” Andanar said.
He said most of the civilians living in the areas occupied by the Maute Group have already left while for those who have chosen to remain, “the local government unit is looking after them.”
Maute Group is allegedly behind the deadly bombing in Davao City last Sept. 2.
Meanwhile, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said President Rodrigo Duterte is fully aware of the challenges on the ground, “hence he is taking bold steps to deal with them.”
”The Maute situation is still a developing situation in Butig. It may be good for everyone to know that the ceasefire and ad hoc joint action group which are mechanisms of the Bangsamoro peace process are now operational to deal with the ground situation,” Dureza said.
Dureza said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces are now helping the government security forces in handling the developments.
”Even the provisions for the affected evacuees are being assisted by the MILF to support government’s efforts to assist those adversely affected by the ongoing stand-off in the area. Other efforts by other sectors are ongoing as we speak,” Dureza said. (PNA)