The Daily Manila Shimbun


Palace declares conclusion of Marawi fighting

October 23, 2017

Malacanang announced on Monday that after 154 days, the war in Marawi City is finished.

"The fighting in Marawi has ended," said Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella in a statement.

The declaration came after almost 1,000 terrorists belonging to Maute, a Islamic State-inspired terror group, were killed.

The Islamic militants started occupying the war-torn city on May 23, when President Rodrigo Duterte was on his visit to Russia, prompting him to cut short his trip.

While in Moscow, Duterte placed the entire Mindanao under martial law, which still holds up to now.

"We have successfully concluded what has been, so far, the most serious threat of violent extremism and radicalism in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia. The defeat of the Daesh-inspired Maute Group likewise underscores our singleness of purpose in the global war against terrorism," Abella said.

Three of the leaders of the terror group were killed last week by the pursuing government troops. They were Isnilon Hapilon, Omar Maute and Mahmud Ahmad, a Malaysian national and believed to be one of the financiers of the group.

With the liberation of Marawi, Abella said the government's focus now shifts to the enormous and challenging task of rebuilding, reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Islamic City.

"The damage to Marawi’s infrastructure and private properties and the displacement of thousands of residents require the government’s unified and comprehensive effort; thus, we call on all our citizens to come together to move our country forward towards a peaceful, prosperous and secure future," he said.

According to Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima, deputy administrator for administration of the Office of Civil Defense, they still have to get a clearance from the military to conduct the post-conflict needs assessment of the battle zone in Marawi.

"So we're just coordinating with our AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), with our Armed Forces to know when we can enter other areas in Marawi," he said in a press briefing in Malacanang.

He said several international organizations and foreign governments have actually and promised to extend assistance to Marawi.

As far as the European Union is concerned, he said he did not know if there was any offer of help.

But if there will be European countries which will pledge support for the rehabilitation in Marawi, he said, "the Task Force would have to make a decision on that in light of the pronouncement of our President."

Duterte has said an offer of assistance from EU should be declined, particularly if there are conditions.

Duterte has hit EU for the criticisms on his administration's campaign against illegal drugs.

Abella also hailed the government troops for liberating Marawi.

"We commend government troops, including the fallen, for their courage, gallantry, and sacrifice. A snappy salute to all of you," he said.

Over a hundred soldiers perished during the five-month Marawi crisis. Celerina Monte/DMS