The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is hopeful that Marawi City will finally be liberated on Monday (June 12), which is also the 119th Independence Day of the Republic.
“Rest assured, our soldiers are doing their part, they’re doing their best and are continuing on with this effort on the ground to facilitate the liberation of Marawi hopefully by Monday,” Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson said in a press briefing in Malacañang on Friday.
According to Padilla, AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año has made an announcement hoping that by Monday, Philippine flags will be freely waved in every corner of Marawi.
“And we’re working feverishly to do that to ensure we are able to do, to a big extent, what was announced by the Chief of Staff,” he said.
He said the AFP Chief of Staff is looking forward to more cleared areas in the next few days and is optimistic that our momentum and our phase is at the right manner.
“His guidance to our ground commanders to put the primordial concern of having our forces execute military operations to ensure that lives are saved through expeditious military action,” he said.
Padilla said government troops are working overtime to facilitate the liberation of Marawi “at the quickest time that we can.”
Asked on the basis of the assessment, the AFP official said there was an offensive launched on Friday morning against enemy positions.
“So this continues up to this moment and we are confident our troops are gaining important headway inside these areas. And as I have mentioned the other day, definitely proving that the world of the terrorists inside the city is growing smaller by the day,” he said.
Padilla also noted that the volume of fire coming from the enemy has decreased and enemy activity in areas where so much has been monitored has dwindled, and sniper fire has been very selective.
He said the end game is to have Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers arrested “if we can arrest them.” “But if we cannot, then to neutralize them, because I guess they will always fight it to the end,” he said.
“So the liberation of Marawi will only be when every armed element in the city is gone,” the AFP official explained.
According to Padilla, there are still three villages being held by the Maute.
On the reconstruction, rehabilitation and rebuilding of Marawi City, Padilla said it will not only entail military action but a large part of it will be led by civilian leaders in the area.
“And hence, what we have been saying all along, that the problems to all these armed conflicts or these threats will require a holistic solution,” he said.
“So apart from that, the trauma that the community has gone into is one part, so we will need health workers not only from the DOH but from other organizations that can send interventions to rebuild the lives and the — overcome the trauma, particularly on women, children, and the innocent,” he added.
Padilla also assured that the government will help Marawi rebuild at the soonest time possible.
“Ang amin pong ipinaaabot na abiso sa lahat ng ating mga kababayan sa Marawi eh hindi po namin iiwanan ang Marawi na basta na lang ganyan,” he said.
“Kung may nanghimasok, nanira, nanunog at pumatay, ay hindi na po natin papayagan pong muling mangyari ito at tutulungan po naming bumangon ang Marawi sa mabilis na panahon. At kasama diyan ang garantiya na pag iniwan natin ito, mas magiging matibay ang Marawi,” he added.
For his part, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the House Appropriations committee is starting to draw up the comprehensive plan.
During the briefing, Abella also announced that as of June 8, 8 p.m., there are now 1,599 civilians rescued and 146 firearms recovered. (PND/PNA