DAVAO CITY, Philippines—“We call on the remaining terrorists to surrender while there is an opportunity.”
This was the statement issued by Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla on Tuesday as he called on the remaining terrorists of the Islamic State-linked Maute group to surrender to the military authorities.
Padilla said that non-compliance of the Maute group would mean an eventual death for the terrorists as the AFP continuously conducting clearing operations in the besieged Marawi City.
“For the terrorists, not surrendering will mean their sure death,” Padilla said. “We aired this message in the hope of ending this soon and reducing any more loss of lives and property.”
“We will come out victorious! We stand by the people of Marawi whose interests and safety we are protecting,” he added.
As of May 29, government forces so far have killed 65 Maute group terrorists during the eighth-day clearing operations. On the side of the government, 17 soldiers and three police officers were killed while 69 soldiers were wounded and three law enforcement personnel.
The AFP spokesperson said at least 560 civilians have been rescued by the authorities. “(The AFP remains focused in) clearing of Marawi of militants still in the area. Rescue of trapped residents and recovery of civilian casualties, victims (are ongoing),” Padilla said.
On Monday, the AFP spokesperson also belied the reports that Maute group was in control half of Marawi City.
“It is not true that half of the city is controlled by the rebels. Totally untrue. The Armed Forces and the Police… our forces are in complete control of the city, except for certain areas of the city where they continue to hold,” Padilla said during Monday’s “Mindanao Hour” press briefing.
“We are in full control, meaning to say we can control who comes in and who comes out, who moves around and who doesn’t,” he said.
Marawi City, known as the Islamic capital of the Philippines, became an instant battleground as skirmishes erupted after government security forces attempted to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, a known ally of the group and ISIS leader on May 23. (davaotoday.com)