Troops, residents in Marawi get free texts, calls for 15 days

MANILA-- Troops battling the terrorist Maute Group in Marawi City got a much-needed boost in morale after telecommunications company, Globe, announced it is providing 15 days of free texts to all networks and free calls to Globe and TM subscribers in the locality, starting Thursday afternoon.

"Communication is of extreme importance in any instance of disaster, be it natural or man-made. As a telecommunication company with the purpose of treating people right, Globe fully supports the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and DICT (Department of Information and Communication Technology) who are experiencing these challenges by reconnecting them with their families and helping make the situation a little easier to bear," Globe president and chief executive officer Ernest Cu said.

He said the free services for their Globe and TM pre-paid subscribers in Marawi City will allow residents and soldiers to communicate with their loved ones even if they do not have pre-paid load.

The ceremonial switching of service took place at the AFP Cyber Center in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Cu said they are amenable to extending their free service if needed.

AFP deputy chief-of-staff for communications, electronics and information systems, Maj. Gen. Jose Tanjuan Jr., lauded Globe's gesture as this will afford troopers an open line of communication with their loved ones.

"We would like to thank the DICT and Globe Telecom for affording us this avenue for our embattled in Marawi to maintain communication lines with their families and loved ones during this critical time as they defend the Republic against lawless elements," he said.

On the fourth week of the conflict, which began May 23, a total of 258 Maute Group terrorists have been killed, along with 65 troops and police officers, and 26 civilians.

AFP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, earlier said that a total of 16 buildings, formerly occupied by the lawless elements, have been retaken in the past few days.

He however declined to comment on how many buildings need to be retaken to ensure the total elimination of the Maute elements in Marawi City.

"Enemy resistance continues to wane and the enemy-held areas continue to diminish as government security forces press their advance... Troops continue to get deeper into once enemy-held positions," Padilla said.

Fighting as of this posting was confined to four barangays.

Padila said the use of snipers, improvised explosive devices, and rocket-propelled grenades were slowing down the military's clearing operations.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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