SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: The Philippine Marines dismissed as pure lies the warning by Maute terrorists that it will initiate vengeance on civilians over the death of 13 Marine combatants in Marawi City.
Major Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, Marines commandant, branded the rumor as terrorist propaganda.
Salamat advised the conflict-stricken residents in Marawi City and the rest of the Maranao tribe in Lanao del Sur to ignore the information.
“The Marines are not like that. These men are committed to serve the Muslims, Christians and Lumads everywhere in the country. For them, death in the line of duty is part of military service and love for the nation,” Salamat pointed out.
The evacuees told The Manila Times they are sure the warning was spread by the Dawlah Islamiya or the Maute terrorist group whose leaders, Omar and Abdullah Maute, are both known for their style and psychological warfare using text messages and social media for propaganda campaigns.
The Marines lost 13 battle-tested men, among them 1Lt. Frederick Sevillano, company commander of Marine Battalion Landing 7, who recovered P52 million cash and checks, including firearms from a house where some Maute bandits holed up during the siege.
Meanwhile, Vice Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr, a senior member of the Lanao del Sur provincial peace and order council, called on the mayors to help allay undue apprehensions triggered by rumors purporting that government forces are out to retaliate on civilians.
Adiong said Maranaos should also disregard text messages obviously intended to destroy the image of local government units and state security forces who are doing everything to restore law and order in Marawi City.
JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL