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Frustrated general walks out of meeting with Iligan City execs

August 20, 2008 4:25pm

MANILA, Philippines - A dialogue between military officials and local executives of Iligan City turned emotional Wednesday after Brig. Gen. Mark Antonio Supnet walked out of the room in frustration to accusations that his unit, the 104th Brigade of the Philippine Army, was slow in responding to the attack by Moro rebels last Monday.

Supnet, his voice shaky, said his men deserved to be thanked rather than being accused of not protecting the city from rampaging Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels.

"I was expecting na sasabihin niyo sa amin thank you 104th Brigade for protecting Iligan City. I was not expecting na sasabihan niyo ang military ay hindi nag pro-protect (I was expecting that you’ll say to us ‘thank you 104th Brigade for protecting Iligan City’. I was not expecting that you’ll say that the military is not protecting you),” he said.

Supnet added that he will take full responsibility for what happened in Lanao del Norte but stressed that his troops should not be blamed for being slow in protecting the communities.

“I’m accepting the responsibility of what happened here in Lanao pero wag niyong idamay yung aking kasundaluhan na kami nag pro-protect (but don’t accuse my soldiers of being remiss with their duties to protect the community),” he said.

Supnet later returned to the room and apologized to Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, who was presiding the meeting. He said he left the room because he did not want his men to see him in tears.

Also during the meeting, Iligan City councilors blamed the current government for allowing the MILF, the largest secessionist group in the country, to return to the camps seized by the military in the all-out war in 2000.

Teodoro said that although President Arroyo is yet to declare an all-out war against the MILF, the military has been ordered to go after the rebel units that attacked North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte recently. - GMANews.TV
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