DAVAO CITY, Philippines—As the entire nation is set to celebrate the 119th Independence day on June 12, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has set it as deadline to liberate the besieged Marawi City from the ISIS-linked Maute group.
During the “Mindanao Hour” news briefing in Malacañang on Friday, Army Spokesperson Restituto Padilla, General Eduardo Ano, the chief of staff, announced that on Monday, the country’s national flag will be hoisted in “every corner of Marawi” to signify the united stand against the Islamic State-linked terrorists.
“Rest assured, our soldiers are doing their part, they’re doing their best and are continuing on with this effort on the ground to facilitate the liberation of Marawi hopefully by Monday,” Padilla said.
“Definitely, we should [raise Philippine flags in Marawi City on Independence Day]. And this is not only symbolic that we have maintained control over the area, even from the very start, but also symbolic of having the sentiments of the people in the area gravitate toward a common unified stand against these bandits,” he added.
Padilla said that AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año gave the instructions to wave Philippine flags in several parts of the city.
“We’re working feverishly to do that to ensure we are able to do, to a big extent, what was announced by the chief of staff,” he said.
It can be recalled that the government forces had missed the June 2 deadline to overrun the militants in Marawi City.
Now on its 18th day, at least 202 people have been killed with 134 militants, 38 government troops, and 30 civilians.
The incident displaced around 200,000 people as the AFP is fighting against the local terrorist group to regain control of the country’s only Islamic City.
“The end game is to have them arrested, if we can,” Padilla said. “But if we cannot, then [we will] neutralize them.” (davaotoday.com)AFP, Ano, DND, duterte, Independence Day, ISIS, Marawi, Marawi Crisis, Maute, Padilla, philippines, Terrorism