Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the military supports all efforts to peacefully end the fighting between government forces and the Islamic State-inspired militants.
AP/Bullit Marquez, file
AFP open to truce with Maute group
Lino De La Cruz, Roel Pareño, Michael Punongbayan, Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - December 2, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - If there was a peaceful way to end the violence, such as President Duterte’s floating the idea of talking peace with the extremist Maute group, the military would be more than willing to stop fighting and killing fellow Filipinos.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the military supports all efforts to peacefully end the fighting between government forces and the Islamic State-inspired militants.

“It is difficult to fight fellow Filipinos. As much as possible we are avoiding armed conflicts with our fellow countrymen, it is for the good and welfare of all. We share the same sentiment of our good President,” Padilla said.

Duterte said earlier this week that he would “befriend” the Maute group to avoid more trouble, a statement which presidential communications assistant secretary Kristian Ablan described as “trying to exhaust all means in order to attain peace and order.” 

Duterte also declared that he does not want “to wage a war against Filipinos,” which is why he is calling on the militants to not “force (his) hand to do it.”

Padilla said talking to the Maute group to achieve peace would mean the group’s giving up arms and surrendering to the government.

“In our case, in the interest of justice and of those who are affected by all this violence, for as long as these elements, to whom the message was addressed, lay down their firearms or the instruments of violence come out asking that they be given a second chance at life, then we will assist by all means because these are Filipinos,” he said.

Padilla said some of the Maute members may have been misled and the AFP is willing to redirect their lives for more productive endeavors.

“But if they have arrest warrants or have been involved in certain violent activities and have been sentenced in court, then they must answer for their crimes in accordance with the rules of justice,” he stressed.

This developed as government forces took full control of Butig town in Lanao del Sur, ending six days of fighting with the Maute group.

The military stepped up its offensive after the weekend, pounding the rebels holed up in the old municipal hall with artillery and bombs dropped from aircraft.

The military said 35 soldiers were wounded and 61 rebels were killed in the operation.

“The troops have already cleared Poblacion Butig 100 percent,” Padilla said.

Padilla added the troops are under orders to chase down the Maute group.

The troops were also tasked to clear the town of any booby traps and IEDs that could have been planted by the rebels in several buildings and houses. 

MAUTE GROUP PRESIDENT DUTERTE RESTITUTO PADILLA
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with