The Daily Manila Shimbun


Military targets to “liberate” Marawi on June 12, Independence Day

June 9, 2017

The Philippine military is eyeing to "liberate" and fly the Philippine flag in conflict-torn Marawi City on June 12, the country's Independence Day, the military spokesman said on Friday. In the "Mindanao Hour" press briefing, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Ano made an announcement hoping that by Monday, "we can freely wave our flags 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," Padilla said, citing government troops continue with their offensive operations against the Islamic State-inspired Maute Terror Group. He reiterated the "world of the terrorists inside the city is growing smaller by the day," citing the volume of fire coming from the enemy side was not that much as before. "There are areas where so much enemy activity was monitored but now seems to have dwindled and sniper fire has been very selective, to name a few," Padilla said. He said if the military could successfully accomplish its mission to arrest or neutralize the Maute militants, including their leader Isnilon Hapilon, the anointed ISIS leader in the country, and the Maute brothers, by Monday, "then that would be the liberation of Marawi in effect. "The end game is to have them 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. So the liberation of Marawi will only be when every armed element in the city is gone," he said. But whether the military could liberate or not Marawi by Monday, Philippine flag would still be flown on that day, he said. Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the government is now prepararing a comprehensive reconstruction and rehabilitation plan for Marawi. Rebuilding Marawi would be "culture-sensitive," considering that it is a Islamic city, he said. Meanwhile, with the threat of ISIS to establish caliphate in some southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, Padilla urged Congress to amend the Human Security Act. "It came out that we may need, and this is a call to our legislators: we may need to relook our Human Security Act. We may need to further strengthen it so that out country will be stronger and more resilient in fighting the terrorists," he said. (Celerina Monte/DMS)