MANILA — Senators lauded the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for eliminating top terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute in Marawi City on Monday.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a former Navy officer, described the death of both Hapilon and Maute as a “decisive victory” which he said honored soldiers both fallen and living.
“I commend the AFP for neutralizing the Maute leaders — Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute. Hopefully, this also signifies the end of the major hostilities of the siege,” Trillanes said in a statement.
Trillanes, meanwhile, said that it is now time to go all out in the rebuilding of Marawi City “to start the healing process for all those affected by the war.”
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, for his part, said the death of both terrorist leaders means that the violence is Marawi is “almost over.”
Angara, like Trillanes, said the task of rebuilding Marawi City now becomes the next urgent responsibility going forward.
“We must do whatever it takes for the people of Marawi to safely return to their city the soonest possible time and for vital infrastructure to be restored. Only then can we bring justice to a city and its people whose hearts will bear the scars of grief for a long time,” he said.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian descibed building Marawi back as “the next battle” that needed to be faced.
“Once peace and order is restored in the city, the government can finally begin in earnest the next battle: the fight to build Marawi back better than it ever was before,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian said although the government has begun preparing for it, efforts to jump start Marawi’s economy must be doubled.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri also expressed his high respect for the forces who fought well and those sacrificed their lives.
With major terrorists eliminated, Zubiri said that rehabilitation, resettlement and development activities can go “full blast.”
Zubiri, meanwhile, vowed to support projects for the reign of peace, stability and development in the areas impacted by the Marawi conflict.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, in a press conference in Camp Aguinaldo, confirmed the death of top terrorist leaders on Monday morning.
Lorenzana said the bodies of the two terrorist leaders would be subject to DNA test, noting that these two have bounties on their heads from foreign countries.
Government troops are currently chasing a foreign terrorist who is fighting on the side of the Maute group in the city. (PNA)