Malacañang has assured the public that there has been no spillover of the Marawi conflict to other areas following the attack of Islamist militants in North Cotabato.
Speaking to reporters, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said that raid by Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the village of Malagakit in North Cotabato was not related to the fighting in Marawi.
“It’s not connected so we cannot say it is a spillover. It is an opportunistic action coming from the BIFF group. So it’s not connected in that sense,” Abella said during a press conference on Thursday, June 22.
Abella issued the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte warned of a spillover of the conflict in Marawi to other parts of the country, which he emphasized was sufficient ground to impose martial law in Mindanao.
“Whether you like it or not, the sentiments of a spillover [are]there. And they are escaping in all directions in Davao,” Duterte told reporters in Cagayan de Oro City on Tuesday.
“So you have to keep watch and control the movement as yet. Just because the fighting has stopped in Marawi, it does not mean that we are already safe,” he added.
But the Palace official clarified Duterte was “just giving heads up that we need to be aware of circumstances in our environment.”
The military has reported that at least six BIFF members were killed in action while eight others were wounded during the clash in North Cotabato which lasted up to Wednesday evening.
Two members of the Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU), meanwhile, were killed in the attack.