The following is the media statement of Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo M. Año in the afternoon of October 16, 2017.
This day marks the triumph of good over evil. The day when the labor and sacrifices of your security forces — Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines, Policemen, and Coast Guard personnel — finally paid off.
Today, with the unwavering support of the government and its people, we have nipped the budding terrorism, stamped out the leaders of the Daesh-inspired terrorist group, and made an unequivocal statement — we will not allow terrorism to reign in Marawi City or elsewhere in the country!
I am confirming that the taunted “emir” of ISIS in the Philippines and Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and the last of the dreaded Maute Brothers Omarkhayam are both dead.
Hapilon and Omar were both neutralized at a dawn raid today while each was dashing for refuge from one building to the other as your AFP’s elite units storm what remains of the former terrorists’ strongholds.
The lifeless bodies of these terrorist leaders were recovered, physically, independently, and positively identified by various individuals including former Maute-ISIS hostages and surrenderers.
With the precise and timely execution of our final plan to crush the terrorist group, the relentless offensives have trimmed down enemy position to the last one of two hectares remaining prior the death of the Hapilon and Omar. The well-orchestrated attacks further demoralized the terrorists who were seen scampering in disarray.
Your troops braved the dangers posed by IEDs and “booby traps” lain in their avenues of advance in search for hostages to rescue.
Their selfless and valiant act led to the rescue from the terrorists of a 2-month old baby among the 20 hostages rescued over the weekend.
As at 16 October 2017, after 147 days of intense fighting, around 824 terrorists were killed; 837 firearms recovered; and 1771 hostages were rescued to include the said 20 hostages.
One hundred Sixty Two (162) of your government security forces were Killed-In-Action and a thousand others more were maimed or Wounded-in-Action in the bid to successfully liberate Marawi.
It will be a matter of days before it can finally be declared that Marawi has been liberated from the clutches of terrorists. From thereon, clearing operations can proceed to pave the way for the reconstruction and rebuilding in Marawi.
I am certain that the neutralization of Hapilon and Omar is the last straw that has broken the camel’s back.
The Marawi Crisis will be over–sooner than later. The resistance of–or what is left of it— the terrorists will crumble.
It’s a dead end. There is nowhere else to go for them.
Needless to say, the remaining terrorist should as well free their hostages and have their dignity intact by letting the non-combatants go.
I have high praises for the Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines, and even policemen and Coast Guard personnel whose unrelenting and unwavering patience, courage, and determination brought the campaign this far, at this stage of mission accomplishment.
I earnestly request all of us to continue to work—together– in this yet challenging phase of our rise as a people which is the reconstruction and rebuilding, not only of our houses and edifices but also our lives.
Magandang Hapon po. Wassalam!