MARAWI CITY, Philippines — The Philippine military has forcefully asked Facebook Philippines to take down at least 63 accounts that the former claimed were being operated by supporters and sympathizers of the Maute group.
Lieutenant Colonel Jo-ar Herrera, the spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division, claimed these Facebook accounts — which were mostly dummy accounts — post or share false information that affected their military operation.
“We would like also to appeal to Facebook Philippines for an investigation …and undertake necessary measures to investigate the 63 Facebook accounts that are being utilized by the Maute and their sympathizers because these 63 accounts are spreading malicious and misleading information and disinformation that affect the information landscape and the mindset of people,” Lt. Cl. Jo-ar Herrera said to the reporters.
Herrera added that the coordination with Facebook and the Philippine government agencies such as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to combat such false information was being conducted by the military’s central command in Manila.
Herrera said so far, Facebook has not yet responded to the Philippine military’s request.
He added that while the military agency was conducting a war against the spread of malicious rumors and fake news on social media regarding the crisis in Marawi City, it also continued to focus on at least three other concerns.
The Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division spokesperson said amongst them was “the clearing of Marawi of terrorists and armed elements still in the area.”
Herrera claimed that they are also focused on the rescue of hundreds of trapped civilians as well as civil society organizations in the conduct of relief operations.
On Friday, June 9, Herrera said the military showered bombs anew on the remaining strongholds of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups, which were the villages of Lilod, Marinaut and Bangolo. Herrera said that the air strikes and the ground operations had provided the military more headway against the Maute Groups such as the retaking of some vital installations.
When asked about the remaining number of the terrorists holed in some areas in Marawi, Herrera said there were still around 200-230 gunmen remaining, including the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups top leaders, Isnilon Hapilon and Abdullah and Omar Maute.