MANILA--- Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday said efforts are now ongoing to determine the exact number of civilian casualties in Marawi City as fighting with the Maute Group terrorists reached its eighth-week.
He issued this statement amid reports claiming that around 2,000 civilians have been killed since fighting started in May 23.
"These are unverified reports. Operations are still ongoing and the proper authorities are still assessing, consolidating, and verifying data from Marawi City," Lorenzana stressed.
Military figures showed that the number of civilians killed in the fighting has been placed at 39, while 89 government troops were slain and 379 for the Maute Group terrorists.
"For now, we once again call on the people to be more cautious and discerning. Do not accept any information as fact," the DND chief added.
He also urged the public to avoid sharing unverified data and figures, and stop the proliferation of fake news that only cause undue alarm, panic, and confusion.
"Such information is not only detrimental to our ongoing operations. It also hurts our economy and our international image as a nation," Lorenzana stressed.
Source: Philippine News Agency