Officials deny presence of Maute Group from Marawi in Sarangani town

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GENERAL SANTOS CITY, May 31 — Police and hospital authorities in the coastal town of Glan in Sarangani Province denied Wednesday a published news report that wounded terror group members from Marawi City had sought treatment at a government-run hospital in the area.

Dr. Eden Rose Malanao, chief of the Glan Municipal Hospital, debunked a report published online on May 29 by The Manila Times that armed suspected terror group members earlier barged into the facility and demanded immediate treatment for their wounded comrades.

The Manila Times report said the “fully armed” suspects also “threatened doctors and (hospital) employees not to report their presence to the authorities or they will be mercilessly killed.”

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“That never happened,” Malanao said in a statement issued through the Sarangani Information Office on Wednesday.

She acknowledged that there were some people who came to the hospital on Monday, May 29, but they were “gays selling cosmetics” and not armed terror group members.

Citing an “intelligence report” she received at 10 a.m. last Monday, the official said that men aboard a Starex van en route to Malapatan were allegedly looking for the nearest hospital, which is located in Glan.

Malapatan is the last municipality to pass through before reaching Glan if taking the route via this city.

“I immediately alerted the hospital’s watchmen and (ordered) gates to be closed, A vehicle arrived 15 minutes after, not a Starex, but an Innova,” she said.

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She said a gay man then approached her and introduced himself as member of Feel Care Company who would like to conduct make-up demo.

But when asked for identification, the gay man went back straight to the vehicle supposedly to get an identification card but eventually left for unknown reasons, she said.

Malanao said she immediately alerted the Glan municipal police station about the incident and the vehicle was later intercepted in Barangay Ilaya, about a kilometer away from the town center.

Senior Police Officer Alexander Jugarap said the group, which was composed of four gays and a male driver from Davao City, was eventually released after yielding negative of any illegal item or link to terror groups.

The black Toyota Innova with license plate YDY 756 was also cleared, he said.

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“Only cosmetics were inside the vehicle and they supposedly wanted to offer them as promo items to the hospital’s nurses,” Jugarap said.

Insp. Danilo Abayata, acting deputy chief of the Glan police station, said there were no confirmed reports on the presence of terror group members from Marawi in their area.

He admitted that their office had received some prior “false information.”

Abayata said they are continually monitoring parts of the municipality, especially the coastal areas, as part of their intensified security operations.

He said they have established additional checkpoints and activated Barangay Intelligence Networks composed of local volunteers.(PNA)#DEFENDREPUBLIC

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