DAVAO CITY—An official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines warned the public on Wednesday against scammers who raised money by conducting dinners, lunches and other similar activities to raise funds for the soldiers in the besieged Marawi City.
“May I just send over a notice to the public that there has been an observable increase in scammers trying to raise money for our soldiers by way of benefit dinners, lunches or what have you,” AFP spokesperson Restituto Padilla said during Wednesday’s “Mindanao Hour.”
Padilla said the public should verify first the information they received as he noted that AFP has opened bank accounts in order to received donations from the public.
“So please do not believe them until you have verified because there’s only one legitimate account that receives donations for soldiers and for the affected civilians of Marawi and these were the two Land Bank accounts that were announced earlier with the corresponding amounts deposited to date,” he said.
The AFP spokesperson requested the public to report the number of scammers to the telecommunications companies “so that they can be blocked and cannot go on with their nefarious activities.”
Padilla also gave a recent update on the Marawi crisis, saying that government troops were able to gain foothold in areas that were not recovered by the government before.
“The situation in Marawi continues to improve. There are areas that we have not covered before that we have already overcome at this moment and the process of clearing is what we are concentrating on in the succeeding days,” he said.
Approximately about 16 buildings that have been cleared, according to Padilla.
“We are prioritizing the areas that are built up or heavily built up which means to say those that are constructed well and can withstand attacks and bombardments and potentially may have basement areas or hidden areas underneath that can protect them from any kind of assault from the air,” he said.
Padilla added: “(S)o these are the buildings that we are concentrating on, along with small structures that are continuously being cleared by other follow-on forces. The Armed Forces is also carefully assessing the situation in the outlying areas in preparation for the rehabilitation.”
He also urged the members of the media covering the Marawi crisis at the Capitol to comply the rules set by the AFP to avoid any untoward incident.
“No concrete estimate of the damage has yet been done because those who would do the estimates will still be put at risk if they do the estimate. And I think you’re well aware of this because of news reports even at the Capitol where stray bullets and shrapnels are still falling,” Padilla said.
“So we ask any — beg for the indulgence of the members of the media who are staying there to please comply with the rules that we have set because of our desire for your own safety,” he added.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokersperson Ernesto Abella said that as of 12 noon of June 20, there were 26 civilians killed by terrorists, civilians rescued by government troops stood at 1,645, or an increase of 8 from 1,637.
Abella added that the number of terrorists killed is at 268 from 258, or an increase by 10; recovered firearms by government troops from terrorists now at 271 from 255, or an increase of 16; killed- in-action, government casualties, 66 or an increase of 1 from 65. (davaotoday.com)