MANILA, June 28 — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday said it is striving to end the clashes in Marawi City as soon as possible.
“Sinisikap natin na matapos ito sa pinakamadaling panahon. Kasi ‘yun nga, hindi maganda na nagtatagal ‘yung mga ganitong labanan,” AFP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said during the regular Mindanao Hour press briefing at Malacañan Palace.
The AFP official made this statement when asked by newsmen if the fighting in Marawi City will be finished before President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his second State of the Nation Address on July 24.
Padilla noted that evacuees are hoping they can already return to their normal lives.
“Unang una, naiinip na po ang ating mga kapatid na Maranao na nariyan po sa mga evacuation centers. Ninanais din nila na magbalik sa normal ang kanilang buhay,” he said.
He added that the military is working on expediting clearing operations but noted the sensitive environment in Marawi.
“Kaya’t ang ating pagtuon ng pansin ay bilisan talaga itong pag-clear. Pero maselan kasi ang combat environment natin. Mahirap. At ang kahirapan diyan ay, una, dahil sa presensya ng mga naiipit pa nating mga sibilyang kapatid na nasa loob na maaaring maipit sa bakbakan. So dapat pangalagaan natin ‘yan,” he said.
Padilla also cited that the terror group continues to hold hostages and there are still explosives and traps in the area.
“Kinakailangan po talagang dahan-dahan kini-clear ang mga buildings,” he said.
During the same briefing, Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag gave an update on the situation in Marawi noting that as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 27, there are 1,711 civilians rescued, while 71 government troops were killed-in-action and 27 civilians were killed by terrorists.
Banaag said terrorists killed stood at 299 and firearms recovered were 358. (PND/PNA)