No US planned airstrike in Marawi, says Lorenzana
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday tagged as “fake news” the report about the United States government’s alleged plan to conduct airstrike in Marawi City, where government troops are battling out with Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorists under an extended martial rule.
During the House of Representatives’ committee deliberation on the Department of National Defense (DND) proposed P195.476-billion budget for 2018, Lorenzana was asked by Act Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio about the reported airstrike plan of Pentagon in Marawi City.
Lorenzana said the report about the US airstrike plan is “fake news.”
“I checked with the US Embassy. They have no idea what it’s all about. I checked with the Pentagon. The Pentagon said it’s not true. It’s a fake news,” Lorenzana said.
Tinio then slammed the DND’s failure of intelligence, thus, resulting in Maute’s siege of Marawi City despite getting a P100 million increase in intelligence funds in the approved 2017 budget.
Lorenzana denied there was failure of intelligence, noting that it would take some time for the department to reap the benefits of the increase in intelligence funds.
“We did not consider it a failure of intelligence… We cannot say that you spend the money and tomorrow, you get full intelligence. It takes time to develop intelligence. It would take some time, a couple of years, to really reap the benefits of the additional intelligence fund,” Lorenzana said.
Meanwhile, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas slammed the military’s attacks on Lumad schools under martial law in Mindanao, an accusation Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Eduardo Año vehemently denied.
“Wala sa palisiya ang mag-attack ng Lumad schools. Walang inattack na Lumad schools dahil kasama ang mga Lumad na pinoproteksyunan ng mga Armed Forces at Philippine National Police (It’s not in the policy to attack Lumad schools. There was no Lumad school that had been attacked because Lumad is one of those being protected by the Armed Forces and Philippine the National Police),” said Año, who is also the martial law implementor.
The DND has a proposed P195.476-billion budget in 2018, composed of P144.679 billion for the regular fund and P50.798 billion for pensions.
The proposed 2018 budget is eight percent more than the approved 2017 budget of P181.36 billion for the DND. JPV
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.