Updated: May 24, 2016 at 8:00pm
As the troops of Joint Task Force Zampelan headed by Brigadier General Rolly Bautista continue to zero-in on Maute members in Marawi City since yesterday afternoon, Government forces were able to take hold of the different areas that were reportedly held by some Maute members since last night.
At three in the afternoon today, the Amai Pakpak Hospital where Maute members accordingly occupied and held captive some seventy-eight civilians (8 patients, 49 construction workers, and 21 hospital staff) was already declared cleared of Maute presence.
Yesterday afternoon, members of Maute allegedly came to the hospital and shot dead one policeman and a security guard before they entered the hospital premises.
According to sources, the militants were bringing along with them two wounded members and sought medical care from the hospital staff upon their arrival. On the process, they also held captive all 78 civilians in the hospital.
In other areas, the Dansalan College in which one of the school buildings was burned last night, was also declared cleared of the Maute threat as of this afternoon after soldiers were able to rescue forty-two teachers of said school who were trapped.
Unfortunately, while in the course of these rescue operations, five soldiers were killed and 31 were wounded while making sure that civilians be brought to safety.
Also, one policeman who was driving a police vehicle was killed yesterday afternoon by the militants.
As of six pm tonight, there were thirteen Maute members who were killed (two cadavers recovered) and an M16 rifle was recovered by the government forces.
Soldiers were also able to recover a number of Improvised Explosive Devices’ components from a safehouse that was previously occupied by the terrorist group.
Earlier this morning, hundreds of residents from Marawi were seen fleeing from the City towards Iligan City, with combined AFP and PNP personnel facilitating their safe and speedy passage.
Likewise, safety procedures like check points/inspections were conducted along routes to ensure that no terrorist elements can mix up with Internally Displaced Persons.
As of this report, soldiers and policemen are still in the area acting on information provided by concerned residents.
“Terrorism problem is something we all have to battle together as one humanity which is strongly against it,” says Lieutenant General Carlito G Galvez, Jr, Commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
“Many people in Marawi and in other areas are denying the presence of a looming terrorism threat in their communities. Sadly, we even received reports that there were even politicians supporting the group in some way.”
“These threat is something that needs to be eliminated and completely destroyed because if left to thrive, it will soon poison our communities and take our freedom and our precious lives away from us.”
“We are therefore calling on all citizens not only those in Marawi but also in other areas of Mindanao to join us in the fight. We have to make noise and disallow these terrorist to destroy our communities. Let us all make a strong stance against this menace before it gets us,” adds Lieutenant General Galvez.
“We would like to pay tribute to our soldiers who perished and made the ultimate sacrifice while delivering their duty to the nation. I am saddened by this loss, but their story will forever be etched in the pages of history. They will be known as heroes who defended Marawi from the claws of terrorism.”