Lorenzana: Hapilon still in Marawi

MANILA-- Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said latest intelligence reports has indicated that Isnilon Hapilon, one of the leaders of the Marawi rebellion and the designated amir of the Islamic State (IS) for Southeast Asia, is still in Marawi City.

According to our latest info, he (Hapilon) is still inside Marawi. In fact, there is an information we got this morning that he's hiding in one of the mosques there in Marawi, he told reporters during the Mindanao Hour press briefing in MalacaAang.

The Defense chief said the information they got was corroborated by people watching his arrival in Basilan.

There were three fighters from Marawi that arrived in Basilan more than a week ago, but Isnilon was not one of them. So we still believe that he is still in Marawi, Lorenzana said.

He added that intel reports from Basilan could be deemed authentic since these do not come from the military but directly from civilians who find Hapilon a very lucrative target.

You know, ka-tribo din nila. Because Hapilon is very lucrative target din 'yan. The Basilan people there, the Yakans, know that there is a five million (dollar) price on the head of Hapilon. And it's very tempting for them also to give us accurate report on his whereabouts so that they will also, maybe, get some of the money, Lorenzana said.

In the meantime, the designated head of the newly-created Task Force Bangon Marawi said even as the military continues to clear Marawi City of the remaining terrorists, preparations for the eventual rehabilitation of Marawi City are already underway.

According to him, part of preparations included instituting strict controls on people getting inside Marawi through setting up of checkpoints.

We don't want a lot of people there roaming around in Marawi while the shooting is still going on. And later on when the rehabilitation starts, we will also control people going in so that only those with legitimate -- 'yung may mga gagawin lang sa loob ang nandoon sa loob, Lorenzana said.

Source: Philippines News Agency