The battle for the war-torn city of Marawi has finally reached its conclusion, according to Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday.
“After 154 days of siege in Marawi with Daesh-inspired Maute-ISIS group, after a week the commander-in-chief declared the liberation of Marawi City, we now announce the termination of combat operations in Marawi City,” Lorenzana told reporters.
“The Philippine security forces, aided by its government and the massive support of the Filipino people, have nipped the budding infrastructure and defeated terorrism in the Philippines,” a part of his statement said.
This announcement came during the meeting of Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) Defense ministers.
On October 17, President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi City free.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby declare Marawi City liberated from the terrorists’ influence that marks the beginning of rehabilitation,” the President said during his visit in Marawi then.
On the same day, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) started rehabilitation operations, as other government agencies continue to discuss the funding and different aspects of rehabilitation which include not only the restoration of infrastructures and livelihood, building of shelters or transitional homes but also psychological assessments and therapies of the citizens.
Ever since the successful military operation that ended the lives of the Maute fighters’ two top leaders – Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon – on October 16, consecutive developments with the military in the upper hand came.
Lorenzana previously said, “The implication of this is that the end of the Marawi incident is near and we may announce the termination of hostilities in a couple of days.”
Senators, solons, and several groups lauded the military’s efforts and emphasized that rehabilitation and restoration remain to be the top priority for the city, which Duterte supported.
The battle that started on May 23 has finally ended on its 154th day, prompted the President to declare Martial Law in Mindanao. Over 800 terrorists were killed in battle.