Palace appeals for calm after Cotabato jail attack

Malacanang appealed on Wednesday for calm and sobriety after around 100 inmates escaped when more than 100 armed men attacked the North Cotabato District Jail in Barangay Amas, Kidapawan City.

"We assure our people that manhunt operations on the escapees are now underway," Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a press statement.

Abella said the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) units in Region 12 and nearby provinces are now on heightened alert.

He said authorities have yet to identify the armed group that attacked the Cotabato jail that also resulted to the death of Jail Officer 1 Excell Ray Vicedo.

"Some sources claim the group was headed by a certain Commander Derbi. However, General Almanzor, chief of staff of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has denied that they have any member bearing that name," Abella said.

Abella said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are now working closely to capture the escapees.

"Hence, we appeal for calm and sobriety," he said.

According to reports, the inmates took the opportunity to escape through the back portion of the facilities while the rest of the personnel were retaliating to hold their ground and to protect other inmates during a firefight that lasted for two hours.

Six of the escapees were killed during the operations while two surrendered to the authorities.

Source: Philippines News Agency