Lanao del Sur mayors sign manifesto declaring war vs. Maute

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Updated to include excerpts from the manifesto and a statement from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Marawi (CNN Philippines, August 12) — All 41 mayors of Lanao del Sur signed a manifesto declaring war against the ISIS-inspired Maute terror group.

"We, the local chief executive of the province of Lanao del Sur, after having sworn to unite, do hereby officially and openly declare total war against the extremist Maute ISIS Group including their followers and sympathizers," the manifesto read.

On Saturday, Lanao Del Sur Crisis Management Committee spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong said local government units are considering members and sympathizers of the Maute group as "enemies of the Maranao people."

He said the province's 40 towns and one city will strengthen the civilian security plan of barangays. This includes mobilizing religious leaders to issue a fatwa or ruling declaring terrorism as haram or a forbidden act.

"We will engage the Maute on all fronts. Mobilizing all sectors, stakeholders to combine our efforts to counter the spread of false teachings, radicalization of our youth and threat of terrorism," Adiong said.

 

The manifesto said the declaration of war is "anchored on the belief that once Marawi City is cleared of these terrorists, the... more difficult and long fight towards the total elimination of these terrorists would [just have] to begin."

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source on Monday, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said the support of local leaders was a significant development in stemming the growth of extremism in the south.

"After this battle is concluded... it is now a very challenging task of ensuring that the capacity of these terrorists to recruit vulnerable children, women, and others will stop," said Padilla.

"If we are get the support of local government-all the mayors, the local executives, and the religious leaders particularly-we will be able to address that aspect of the fight."

The manifesto was issued during a consultative meeting held in Iligan City on August 4. It was hosted by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority administrator Guiling Mamondiong, Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Abulkhayer Alonto, and Presidential adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers Abdullah Mamao.

The statement also expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, the declaration and extension of martial law in Mindanao, the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and federalism.

The terror crisis in Marawi began May 23 following clashes between the Maute group and government forces. It prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law throughout the island region of Mindanao.

Military rule stays in Mindanao until end of this year after Congress, voting jointly, granted Duterte's request for an extension to quell the rebellion.

CNN Philippines' Camille Abadicio, Rex Remitio, Eimor P. Santos, and Regine Cabato contributed to this report.