MALACAÑANG on Wednesday said the government is validating reports about the emergence of a new armed group in Mindanao called Meranaw Victims Movement (MVM).
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the government would not allow anyone to resort to armed violence just to correct injustices in Marawi City.
Abella said problems continually hounding the strife-torn southern city would only be resolved through peaceful dialogues.
"The government, through the military, is still verifying the veracity of the video posted online on the existence of a new armed group called Meranaw Victims Movement," Abella said.
"The government does not tolerate the formation of armed groups to seek redress for grievances of citizens. Also, demands from the government are better made through dialogues and consultation with various stakeholders," he added.
On May 23, Islamic State-affiliated Maute wreaked havoc in Marawi City in an attempt to create a territory for the Southeast Asia terrorists.
The government forces are still engaged in a battle with the Islamist fighters, whose numbers reportedly rose from 60 to 80.
In a statement posted on Facebook, MVM said its emergence stemmed from the armed struggle in Marawi City that left hundreds of people killed and thousands of people displaced.
"The movement is dedicated to help in fighting for the rights of the Bangsa Meranaw whose dignity was trampled upon because of this crisis," the new group said.
The group was demanding Maute militants "to leave Marawi City at once and free their hostages, Muslims, and Christians, alike."
It also called on the national government to allow displaced families to return to their homes in Marawi, stop carrying out air strikes, and end alleged state forces' abuses, among others.
MVM likewise appealed to local officials to ensure transparent spending of money allocated for Marawi rehabilitation program.
It warned that it would be compelled to fight Maute fighters if the group's demands fall on deaf ears.
The group noted that Jihad would become its "legitimate recourse."
"To our [IS]/Maute group kinsfolk, if you would not heed our call, we would be compelled to face you because by then, you no longer care for the welfare of the people and you did not only fail to realize but have violated the essence of Jihad in Islam," MVM said.
"To the government, this will be the last time that we will ask in relation to previous demands of various sectors of the Meranaw society," it added. (SunStar Philippines)