Mindanao remains generally peaceful amid the extended martial law implementation and other security measures in place, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assured yesterday as governments of the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada issued travel warnings against the southern third of the Philippines.
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., Armed Forces spokesman, said: “By and large, Mindanao remains peaceful because of the enforcement of martial law and our strong security measures that are in place.”
PADILLA DID NOT DISPUTE
Padilla highlighted that government troops have successfully curbed the movement of lawless elements with the establishment of checkpoints. “There were so many checkpoints that have been established. We have controlled the movement of suspicious people from getting to different places because they may not be up to anything good,” he said.
The United Kingdom recently advised its citizens against traveling to western and central Mindanao due to terror activity and fighting between the military and the Maute group.
The government of Australia also prohibited travel to the same region, citing the “very high threat of kidnapping, terrorist attack, violent crime and violent clashes between armed groups.”
The Canadian government cited the “serious threat of terrorist attacks and kidnapping” in preventing its citizens from traveling to Mindanao, excluding Davao City.
For more than two months now, government troops are still trying to flush out the remaining Maute terror suspects from Marawi City in the province of Lanao del Sur.
HOUSING FOR EVACUEES
Meanwhile, the government has found a huge property for temporary housing of the families displaced by the Marawi conflict but has yet to identify the number of recipients.
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said authorities are still consulting with local officials to determine the beneficiaries of the housing project.
“At present, Task Force Bangon Marawi is still identifying the number of housing recipients,” Abella said.
“Consultation with affected barangays is ongoing at the National Emergency Operations Center in Iligan to determine and reconcile figures on affected and possible recipients of government services,” he said.