MANILA — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Gen. Eduardo Año, on Tuesday said there is no way for the lawless elements to escape or get reinforcements as the military prepares for the “one big battle” that will finally free Marawi City from the clutches of the remaining Maute Group terrorists.
“That’s our main goal (against the Maute Group terrorists) no way out, no way in, if they want to join, they want to go to heaven sabi nila, so we will give them the chance to go to heaven,” Año said.
This is an obvious reference to the AFP’s tight security in all entry and exit points in Marawi City where attempts to penetrate are harshly treated by the military.
The AFP chief cited as an example the Maute Group’s attempt to infiltrate in Marawi City via Lake Lanao last Monday which was foiled by government troops.
In the ensuing firefight, 10 Maute Group terrorists were killed as their boat was sunk while one firearm was also recovered.
“So gusto lang natin ipakita dito na anywhere they go (So what we want to show here is that anywhere they go), if they will attempt to reinforce or they will escape, we are ready to get them,” he added.
Año, however, declined to give an exact timeframe on when the operation for Marawi City’s liberation will start but stressed that the momentum, as proven by the recapture of the Marawi City Police Station and Grand Mosque, is definitely on the side of the government.
With this development, the AFP chief said the remaining Maute Group terrorists are now constricted in a small area measuring less than 500 square meters where they are expected to resist fiercely. (PNA)