By Nitz Arancon
THE Maute Group is still holding Fr. Teresito “Chito” Soganub and 14 others hostage in Marawi City, Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman confirmed in a press conference recently.
Hataman’s confirmation corroborates the findings of Armm’s Regional Crisis Management Committee.
In a press conference, Hataman, however, could not give specifics as to the condition of the 15 hostages.
“At this point in time mahirap naman mag-speculate kung kumusta siya (Soganub) dahil hindi naman nakikipag usap sa akin yung Abu Sayyaf at Maute. Dahil ang turing nila sa amin bahagi kami ng gobyerno at kalaban nila,” Hataman said.
The Armm governor added the Maute and Abu Sayyaf have not asked for ransom in exchange for the freedom of the 15 hostages.
Hataman went to Lanao del Sur to assist in the humanitarian efforts for the victims of the Maute attack in Marawi City last week. The visit, Hataman said, enabled the Provincial Crisis Management Committee and the Armm Crisis Management Committee to work in close coordination to avoid redundancy with their efforts.
Hataman said if the Maute and Abu Sayyaf were true Muslims they would release the hostages unharmed and stop their terroristic activities.
“Ang panawagan ko sa Maute at Abu Sayyaf nga kung tunay na Muslim sila at Islam na tunay ang ipinaglalaban nila dapat hindi nila ginawa ‘to. Dapat kung ano ang basic principle ng Islam itong lahat ng ginawa nila ay kabaliktaran,” said Hataman.
Hataman added the Maute and Abu Sayyaf should respect the holy month of Ramadan which started over the weekend.