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Bishop says poverty also led to Marawi conflict

By LESLIE ANN G. AQUINO, With a report from Francis T. Wakefield

Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Peña has blamed the conflict in Mindanao for the poverty in the region.

This was what Dela Peña stated during an interview with the church-run Radyo Veritas.

Dela Peña said apart from poverty, he also cited malnutrition and education as an issue for the people of Marawi.

“Even the founder of the Community SantEgidio said the mother of all poverty is war,” said Dela Peña.

It was last May 23 when the Maute terrorist group attacked Marawi City, a conflict that has so far led to 158 deaths on the soldiers’ side while 774 Maute bandits have been neutralized.

Also an issue is the continuing recruitment of young fighters by the terror group, something that concerns their people.

“On our part, we have been exerting efforts to counter their recruitment activities,” said dela Pena.

Meantime, the commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) expressed confidence that the remaining area where the Daesh-Inspired Maute Group still has control could be retaken before Oct. 15.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez made the remark as the conflict in war-torn Marawi entered its 140th Day.

Galvez said the sector of Task Group Vector of both the Marines and the Joint Special Operations Group (JSOG) under Colonel Corleto Vinluan have been cleared of Maute terrorists.

He added the remaining sector still to be cleared of the enemy is that of Task Group Musang under Brig. Gen. Glenn Paje and that it is expected to be cleared not later than Oct. 15.