CAMP GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City - On 25 July 2017 a total of 60 suspicious persons were held for questioning in Zamboanga Del Sur and Zamboanga City for covert acts tending to reinforce the Maute-ISIS terrorists fighting government forces in Marawi.

At 10:15PM of said date, 33 persons were accosted in a military checkpoint in Ipil, Zamboanga Del Sur; while 27 others were seized from a house in Guiwan, Zamboanga City.

When asked, they claimed that they were members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and that they were headed to Camp Jabalnur in Lanao del Sur for a purported training prior integration to the regular force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The Group arrested in Guiwan averred that they were part of the group arrested in Ipil.

Since there were no prior coordinations for or information about such movements, a quick verification was made with the MNLF. The Front denied neither links with the group nor the existence of any such training.

Confiscated from the possessions of said 60 individuals were fresh military and police uniforms.

They were flown by a Philippine Air Force plane to Manila for further questioning and custody in an appropriate facility while charges are being prepared for violation of the Revised Penal Code relating to the crime of Rebellion.

"This recent spate of arrests in three locations reflect the state of vigilance, level of security, and degree of coordinations between agencies of government and allied organizations.

"These two instances of arrest, and of the other group who knowingly misrepresented themselves to be soldiers and policemen on their way to Marawi City, should allay the fears of our people of the likelihood of the rebellion in Marawi spilling over to their places because the military and the police are doing their level bests to contain it.

"With Martial Law in force in entire Mindanao, we can validly restrict and effect arrests of suspicious persons and unscrupulous groups whose actions bear with the rebellion.

"I commend our troops on the ground for their alertness that frustrated the movement of these suspicious persons. They have just prevented these individuals from potentially compounding the operational challenges in Marawi should they succeded in sneaking into the City.

"I offer similar recognition to the local government and the local residents of Zamboanga for their vigilance and active involvement in reporting their observations in their neighborhood," says LTGEN Carlito Galvez, Jr., the Commander of Western Mindanao Command.

"These arrests should send a very strong signal to anyone, and to everyone who; or to any groups, fronts, or organizations that will support the Maute-ISIS fighters. Even to supporters and sympathizers; to people of evil intentions and sordid plan.

Your Armed Forces of the Philippines will counter Rebellion with strong hand.

We will apply the might of the military and take drastic legal actions to anyone or any organization who will harbor, abet, collaborate, or-- directly or indirectly, wittingly or unwittingly --aid or participate in the Rebellion in Marawi or commit rebellion elsewhere.

Your AFP-- bestowed with the abiding support and cooperation by our people and local government --will crush any unscrupulous attempts that would tend to support Rebellion by the Maute-ISIS Group.

"The grant of the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao by Congress proves to be well placed, as these arrests show. But while at it, the AFP continues to commit to enforce the Matial Law in accord with law and within the limits and bounds of what the Constitution and other pertinent laws provide.

"We thank the people for their cooperation even as we implore them to bear some of the inconveniences of checkpoints, curfews, and similar other security measures in place. Those may be a bitter pill to swallow; but are necessary to quell the Rebellion in Marawi," declares the AFP Chief of Staff, General Eduardo Año.