MARAWI CITY, PHILIPPINES (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby declare Marawi City liberated from the terrorist influence that marks the beginning of rehabilitation.”
This was the statement he made on his 7th visit to Marawi City Tuesday, October 17. Marawi City have been under siege for more than five months by the local armed groups whose leaders pledged allegiance to the international terrorist network Islamic State (ISIS).
The Armed Forces of the Philippines have been fighting the terrorists to remove them from the city. However, AFP Spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said the conflict in Marawi still ongoing. “It will not stop until armed elements surrender. They no longer have complete control of the city.”
“There are still a few more that are left, and a few more hostages that are still in the war zone area. The declaration of the President hopefully gives way to the entry and start of rehabilitation, reconstruction, and rebuilding of Marawi.”
The rebuilding of Marawi “needs to have the go signal of the President that’s why the declaration has been made.” Padilla said, “but the fight for the remaining armed members that are still in the area continues and based on the ground commanders’ testaments.”
Yesterday, government troops killed Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, the top leaders of the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf Group, behind the siege and rescued 17 hostages.
More than a thousand people were killed in the conflict and more bodies are expected to be retrieved as they clear the area.
The US and Australia, both treaty allies, provided support by flying surveillance planes to locate the enemies.
Pres. Duterte vows to rebuild Marawi City. He has instructed Congress to allocated funds for Marawi’s rebuilding in the 2018 budget.