MANILA, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government sticks to its policy of no negotiating with extemists allied with the Islamic State (IS) that overran Marawi City in the southern Philippines in May, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.
Ernesto Abella said the talks initiated by Muslim religious leaders last Sunday to negotiate for the release of about 150 hostages in the besieged city in the spirit of Islamic holiday Eid-al-Fitr were not sanctioned by the government, the military and the political leaders.
"The government policy is not to negotiate with terrorists. Any demands made inside, therefore, hold no basis," Abella told a news conference at the Malacanang presidential palace.
He stressed the need to punish the extremists who have wreaked havoc to the Philippines' only Islamic City and forced more than 200,000 residents to flee to avoid being caught in the crossfire.
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