The Armed Forces of the Philippines released a statement last night, May 23, clarifying the things that were posted about the situation in Marawi City.
Public Affairs Office Chief Marine Colonel Edgard A. Arevalo read the AFP’s statement, which refuted several “eyewitness account” spreading on social media about what has been happening in Marawi City, what terrorist group the Philippine troops are dealing with, and which places have been occupied by the terrorists.
“The situation in Marawi has stabilized,” Arevalo opened the statement. “Security forces are in full control of the situation.”
He also clarified that the AFP and Philippine National Police in Marawi are dealing with a local terrorist group and not ISIS members.
“The news being circulated by these terrorist groups and their sympathizers are spurious and are meant to spread lies and disinformation. It is propaganda to attract foreign terrorists’ support and recognition,” Arevalo said.
The AFP’s statement added that contrary to reported “eyewitness account,” the Amai Pakpak Hospital was not occupied and people were not held hostage in it. They also denied the claims that the Marawi City Hall was occupied.
“The sporadic firefights heard were harassment action by terrorist sympathizers that were conducted as diversionary tactics to divide the attention of the reinforcing AFP personnel. But even these are already in check,” Arevalo stated.
He said that AFP soldiers acted on information they received at 2pm on May 23 about the presence of local terrorists and their members the city and proceeded to Barangay Basak, Malutlut, Marawi City to conduct a law enforcement operation.
The soldier were fired upon, causing them to retaliate.
“Follow-up operations are on-going. We cannot reveal other details so as not to compromise operational security,” the statement said.
Arevalo assured that “follow on forces are underway.”
As a reminder to the public, he said: “Meanwhile, we fervently urge our people to refrain from posting in social media information that would tend exacerbate the situation. Especially of photos and videos on the movements of our troops and on terrorist propaganda circulating through social media.”
He ended the statement with a promise of more updates regarding the Marawi operations.