After a 5-month siege with Daesh-inspired Maute-Isis Group in Marawi City, the Philippine government on Monday declared liberation from terrorism and has terminated Combat Operations in the city.

On May 23, the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared Martial Law in the Island of Mindanao where Marawi City is situated.

In the history of warfare in the Philippines, the Marawi siege has been the bloodiest and longest combat of the government against terrorists. The death toll has reached to 1,131 – 919 terrorists and 165 uniformed men.

1,780 hostages were rescued from the Maute-ISIS Group.

Salute to government troops

The Malacanang Palace salutes the government troops for their “courage, gallantry, and sacrifice” during the 154 days of siege. Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the siege in Marawi has been the country’s most serious threat of violent extremism and radicalism.

U.S Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday commended the Philippine military for liberating Marawi city from the terrorists. The Secretary has flown to the Philippines to attend a meeting with the Southeast Asian defense ministers held at Clark, Pampanga.

Mattis reaffirmed the support of America to regional allies by saying that “the U.S remains unambiguously committed to supporting ASEAN.”

Rebuilding, reconstruction, and rehabilitation

After the termination of combat operations in Marawi, the government will concentrate on rebuilding, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of the city. Defense Secretary Lorenzana said that the government needs a budget of 10 billion pesos for the rehabilitation of Marawi.

Martial law in Mindanao

Following the announcement of the termination of combat operations in Marawi City, the House leaders said that Martial Law in Mindanao which had been extended until December 31 must not be lifted yet.

Representatives of the House agreed that in order to secure the restoration of peace and order in the city, the martial law must be kept.

Chief of Philippine National Police Ronald Dela Rosa on Monday said that he will not recommend the lifting of the Martial Law to the President.

He justified by saying that the declaration is are imperative in the recovery and rehabilitation of the city.

On the other hand, Bayan Muna party-list representative, Carlos Isagani Zarate recommends lifting the Martial Law declaration. He further said that the law must not be used to stomp on the rights of the civilians especially the indigenous people in the outskirts of Mindanao.

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