ISLAMIC State-inspired forces are planning to infiltrate other municipalities in Mindanao in a bid to “replicate” the siege Marawi City, newly appointed Philippine Army commanding general Maj. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista said Thursday.
Bautista, who led ground operations against Maute terrorists before being appointed to the Army top post, cited reports that the pro-ISIS Maute group wants to replicate in other municipalities what they did to Marawi, as part of diversionary tactics.
He said it would be necessary to implement military rule in Mindanao as the rehabilitation efforts continue.
“Martial law is a big help. Our operation does not stop when we liberate downtown Marawi,” he said.
Bautista likewise said that they are still verifying reports that the so-called ‘emir’ of Islamic State forces in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon and other top leaders of the rebellion were dead.
He said the Marawi crisis would be over by the time of the 31st Asean Summit in November.
Bautista, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Sandiwa Class of 1985, was commander of the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Marawi before his appointment as Army chief.
He had also served as commander of the Presidential Security Group early into Duterte’s tenure.
The Senate finance committee, meanwhile, alloted P10 billion under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund for 2018 for the recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation Marawi City.
Finance committee chairperson Senator Loren Legarda said this during her sponsorship speech on the proposed P3.767-trillion 2018 budget.
She said the Senate stood “firm” in its position that the budget for the rehabilitation of the war-torn city should be increased. She said the P10-billion allocation is on top of the P5 billion given this year from the Contingent Fund and funds of different government agencies.
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