By Genalyn Kabiling
Around 90 percent of Marawi City had been cleared of the Maute terror group due to intensified military operations while eight rebels have surrendered to authorities, a military spokesman said on Wednesday.
Military offensives are now directed at remaining 10 percent of the city heavily guarded by the extremists, according to Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla.
“Some of our fighting forces, estimate that they will reach about 90 percent completely cleared and a little bit more than 10 percent more to go,” Padilla said in a Palace press briefing.
“However, that 10 percent is most likely going to be the area that will be heavily guarded and defended by these armed men if they are protecting any individual of high value,” he said.
Padilla said eight militants holed up in Marawi City have surrendered to the military. “And these individuals have been talked to and debriefed and have provided very, very valuable intelligence,” he added.
So far, 89 militants have been killed in the firefight while government casualties reached 21. At least 91 firearms have been recovered from the rebels.
Padilla said the military is confident there has been no collateral damage, particularly on lives of innocent people, during the air strikes on enemy targets. “On property meron, pero on lives wala,” he said.
He assured the military abides by all established rules and protocols amid the Marawi conflict, and will use military power only as needed. “Our rules of engagements have not changed. We put priority on civilian lives and private property,” he said.