DFA says Oplan Exodus ‘100% Filipino’

MANILA — The Oplan Exodus, the operation that targeted top international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, was “100 percent Filipino,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday.

“In our discussions with US authorities we have obtained that the plan and execution were 100 percent Filipino,” DFA Undersecretary for Policy Honorable Evan Garcia said at a Senate hearing

The role of the United States has been questioned in the botched operation to capture the international terrorist, tagged as the Osama bin Laden of Southeast Asia.

Marwan, who was reportedly killed in the operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, has a $5 million for the bounty on his head.

The operation, executed by members of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force, resulted in the deaths of 44 SAF men.

He did not clarify, however, if it was the US who provided intelligence information on Marwan.

“We (respectfully) defer to our colleagues for operational details,” Garcia said.

Under the Mutual Defense Board and Security and Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) between the Philippines and the United States, military exchange of intelligence information is allowed but US forces are restricted to combat activities.

Reports surfaced that Americans were spotted in the area of operation at that time.

“All counterterrorism exercises undertaken in Philippine territory require consent and approval through the PH-US MDB-SEB,” Garcia said.

The bilateral activities between the two countries have helped to reduce, for instance, the size of terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, Garcia noted.