DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Malacanang on Monday said the focus of the government security forces in clearing the besieged Marawi City remains on combat, intelligence and civil military operations.
During Monday’s “Mindanao Hour,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella gave a recent update of the actions undertaken by the Joint Task force Marawi.
One of the significant developments, according to Abella, was the successful recovery of 11 kilos of suspected Metamphetamine Hydrochloride or “Shabu” contained inside 11 packs. The illegal drug was recovered following a brief clash between the soldiers against the Maute members on June 18 in Marawi City.
“Troops have recovered sachets of shabu and paraphernalia at formerly Maute-Daesh/ISIS occupied positions in many instances during the clearing operations,” Abella said.
He said that government troops continue to mount recovery and control of strategic vantage points. “Enemy resistance continues to wane and enemy held areas continue to diminish as government security forces press its advance,” Abella said.
The Palace spokesperson also said that while government troops continue to get deeper into once enemy held positions, it “continuously engaged in a dialogue with key sectors and local and religious leaders of Marawi in preparation for the rebuilding and rehabilitation phase.”
Abella said that at present, clearing operations continue to yield positive results, saying that out of 96 villages “only portions of four barangays remain as problematic areas and where focused military operations in urban terrain is ongoing.”
But Abella also noted that government troops faced several constraints and limitations such as “the continued use of snipers, IEDs and RPGs from remaining vantage point positions still remain to be a challenge.”
“Terrorists use of non-combatant civilians as shields and situating themselves in mosques,” he added. “Task Force Ranao that has just been activated is in full swing in ensuring that efforts to save lives of innocent non-combatant civilians remain a primary specific task to be complied with.”
To date, 26 civilians were killed by the local terrorist group while 1, 637 civiians were rescued by the government troops, local government units, among others.
The government troops recovered 250 firearms; killed 257 terrorists, and government casualties killed in action stood at 62.
“The focus of military operations remains to be the continued clearing of Marawi of remaining armed terrorist that continue to pose pockets of resistance to the advancing troops,” Abella said. (davaotoday.com)