Total bounty on Hapilon's head now at P264.4
MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has offered a P10 million reward for the "neutralization" of Isnilon Hapilon, the known leader of the Islamic State in the Philippines, and P5 million each for brothers Abdullah and Omar Maute of the terror group known by their name, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Eduardo Año said Monday.
This as the military continued operations to quell the ISIS-linked Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups in Marawi City, where the fighting has entered its second week.
"The President is offering a P10 Million-reward money for the neutralization of Isnilon Hapilon who is believed to be leading the terrorist Maute-ISIS group in attacking Marawi City," Año said in a statement late Friday afternoon.
The government wants the terror leaders "dead or alive," said military Public Affairs Chief Colonel Edgard Arevalo.
"This reflects the resolve of the administration to get the terrorists dead or alive to finally end the conflict in Marawi City. We are positive that through our President's latest pronouncement, we will see the same support and assistance that our people and the local government have given us in our previous accomplishments in the Bohol incident," said Arevalo.
The amount is on top of the $5-million (nearly P247 million) bounty that the U.S. Government had placed on Hapilon's head, and a separate P7.4 million standing bounty earlier offered by the Philippine government.
Altogether, taking Hapilon now carries a P264.4 million reward.
The military said Hapilon, a senior leader of the bandit Abu Sayyaf group, "has an outstanding warrant of arrest for kidnapping with ransom and serious illegal detention." His group is known to kidnap foreigners and locals for ransom as among its sources of funding.
"The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) welcomes the pronouncement of President Duterte. We hope that this will bear significant accomplishments leading to the eventual arrest and neutralization of Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute Brothers," Año said.
Clashes between government troops and the terror groups started on May 23, as state forces attempted to arrest Hapilon. The terror leader is known to still remain in Marawi City.
Thousands have fled the conflict zone while at least 175 have died in the fighting.