THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) clarified Tuesday, August 7, that Basilan province was placed under a state of calamity due to “cocolisap” infestation and not because of the intensified military operation following the blast in Lamitan City.
“The news report that ‘Basilan under state of calamity after military operations’ that came out of Rappler news online today by Richard Falcatan published 12:50 p.m. of August 6, 2018 and updated 1:02 p.m. August 6, 2018 (sic) is untrue,” AFP spokesperson Colonel Edgard Arevalo said.
The report published on Rapper stated that the Basilan Provincial Board declared the state of calamity on Monday, August 6, upon the recommendation of the peace and order council after the AFP launched massive operations in Mohammad Ajul town.
The Provincial Government of Basilan also said in its Facebook page that the Provincial Peace and Order Council has recommended the state of calamity declaration due to the ongoing manhunt operations in Mohammad Ajul, the continuing cocolisap infestation and rice shortage.
It said the council will decide whether to approve the recommendation during its regular session on August 8.
But Arevalo said the AFP coordinated with Basilan Governor Jim Hataman-Salliman and it was clarified that the declaration was due to “cocolisap” infestation and rice shortage in the province.
“He denies though that it is due to the military operations that followed post the Lamitan City blast,” he said.
“We demand that Rappler rectify their misleading news report and validate their story with Basilan Governor Jim Hataman-Salliman,” he added.
The AFP has launched intensified military operations in Basilan following the Lamitan blast on July 31 that killed 10 persons. (SunStar Philippines)