Category: News & Updates

Joint Task Force Marawi, 21 July 2017 – Two pieces of improvised explosive devices (IED) were discovered by government troops while clearing operations were being conducted in Marawi City.

The IEDs were placed inside a house near a parked government troops van along Marohom Street, Barangay Saduc, Marawi City at around 4:45PM on July 20, 2017.

Initial investigations show that the house where the IEDs were found “might have been used by the Maute terrorist group in assembling IEDs,” said Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, Spokesperson of Joint task Force Marawi.

“There is also presence of other IED materials such as handheld radios and wires,” Lt. Col. Herrera said.

The discovered IEDs were turned over to a tactical unit for proper disposition.

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Joint Task Force Marawi, 20 July 2017 – In an intimate manner without the usual formalities and festive atmosphere, President Rodrigo Duterte personally checked on our troops in the battle stricken Marawi City.

After numerous attempts in recent days, the Commander-in-Chief finally set foot in Marawi City on July 20, 2017 to personally assess the actual situation on the ground and provide inspiration to our troops.

“It is like a father checking on his sons and daughters who selflessly offer themselves to restore peace in Marawi City,” said Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, Commander of Joint Task Force Marawi.

While the President delivered his message inside Camp Ranao to inspire our troops, exploding bombs, rockets, and gunfire are heard in the background. The President expressed his all-out support and gratitude to the troops who are at the forefront in the government’s campaign against rebellion.

“Fight for our country, I’ll fight for your rights. I urge you to continue to fight for your country and always remember that I will fight for your rights,” President Duterte said in his emotional message. He mentioned about how devastated he has been every night while reading the daily updates about our troops in Marawi.

The President emphasized that it is his intention to visit the troops while the fighting is still on-going, to make the soldiers and policemen feel that he is one with them and he is giving his full support to all of uniformed forces: “I grieve every time i learn that soldiers die everyday in Marawi.”

“I have to be here to visit you. Your life is not less important than mine. All of our lives are equally important. We are here to die for our country,” President Duterte said.

“I say a little prayer for those who have fallen. I grieve for all the deaths, both civilians and soldiers, especially that I was the one who made you come here,” President Duterte said.

Received by JTF Marawi Commander, Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, President Duterte was accompanied by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Office of the Presidential Adviser for Military Affairs Arthur Tabaquero, AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año and Army Chief Lieutenant General Glorioso Miranda.

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The Department of National Defense has submitted to the Office of the President its recommendation on July 13 whether or not to extend Martial Law in Marawi and the whole of Mindanao.

This was confirmed by Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana today, 16 July 2017, six days ahead of the 60-day Martial Law period per Proclamation No. 216, which ends on 22 June 2017.

“We have submitted our position on Martial Law in Mindanao to the President,” the Defense Chief said.

Secretary Lorenzana, however, did not give additional details so as not to pre-empt the President.

“We will have to wait for the President’s final decision on the matter. What I submitted to him was my recommendation from the security sector as Administrator of Martial Law in Mindanao after consulting with the CSAFP Gen Año. The President has a lot more to consider,” he said, including the inputs from the DILG/PNP, other government agencies and the people of Mindanao. “I fully trust the President’s judgment on this whether he considers my recommendations or not,” Secretary Lorenzana added.

Secretary Lorenzana, who was also designated as Chairperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi to rebuild and rehabilitate Marawi, acknowledges that the work ahead after the fighting is even more daunting considering the extent of damage wrought into the city.

“While we have already begun laying the foundation for the reconstruction, recovery, and rehabilitation of Marawi City through community engagement, coordination with various agencies and making post disaster assessments, we earnestly look forward to the end of fighting because we want our Maranao brothers and sisters who have left their homes to go back, reconstitute their interrupted lives and partner with us on how we can best rebuild Marawi into a better and more beautiful city,” Secretary Lorenzana said.

“There is still a lot of work to do but I am very confident that together, as one nation, we can all help Marawi rise up from the ashes of conflict and be a better place,” Secretary Lorenzana added.

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To show encouragement for our government troops, #SupportOurTroops walls are placed at several locations in Marawi City. Civilian stakeholders from various government and non-government sectors have taken the opportunity to express their support to our troops on the ground.

Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, Commander of Task Force Marawi said: “We deeply express our gratitude to all individuals, groups, and organizations who have been showing overwhelming support to our troops who are relentlessly exerting efforts and determination in our goal to wipe out terrorist elements in the city of Marawi.”

“With your support, your troops are greatly strengthened and motivated in our shared responsibility of pursuing of peace and development,” Brig. Gen. Bautista said.

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Camp Ranao, Marawi City, July 4, 2017 – Enemy strong points fall one by one while government troops gradually take over terrorist held structures. Government forces have successfully overran and taken control of Dansalan College, another Maute-Abu Sayyaf Group strongpoint on ground zero main battle area in Marawi yesterday, July 3, 2017.

Dansalan College is host to some high-rise structures that serve as machine gun nest and snipers’ vantage position of terrorist elements. As troops wrest control of the school, they recovered a Cal .50 heavy machinegun and 14 other high-powered firearms.

This brings to 410 the total number of firearms recovered by operating troops in the clearing operations to neutralize terrorists and criminal elements in Marawi City.

A cadaver of a foreign looking individual was also recovered by troops. It is believed that it is one of the reported foreign fighters from Singapore. A total of 11 suspected foreign fighters have been reportedly killed so far.

Dansalan College is one of the establishments taken and partially burned by Maute/ASG terrorist when they attacked the city on May 23, 2017.

This is the same school where the Maute brothers had their earlier education. The acts of destruction landed them in the most notorious and abhorred alumni list.

Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautisa, Commander of Joint Task Force Marawi said: “It will just be a matter of time when our soldiers will fully liberate Marawi from terrorists and criminal gangs who brought mayhem to this city. We owe this to our Maranao brothers and sisters. Our soldiers fully know what is at stake and we will strive together to neutralize these criminals in order to bring peace and normalcy in Marawi.”

As government forces continue to gain ground and foothold on enemy strongholds, a daily stream of civilians are being rescued while battle rages on. Government forces together with civilian counterparts have rescued a total of 1,717 trapped civilians as of this date.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Commander of Western Mindanao Command emphasized that the clearing operations put utmost consideration on the safety of trapped civilians.

“Our soldiers together with our civilian counterparts will do everything in their power to locate more trapped civilians and device steps to rescue as many as possible,” Lt. Gen Galvez said.

According to Lt. Galvez, about 300 to 500 civilians are still trapped in the conflict area from the original estimate of 2,000 to 2,500 in the early days.

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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his message to the Filipino troops who are battling the Maute group and other local terrorist groups in Mindanao.

In his message at the Study Room in Malacañan Palace on July 3, 2017, the Commander-in-Chief commends the soldiers on the ground and assures them that government will provide for the needs of all the wounded soldiers and their bereaved families.

#ComfortableLifeForAll #DuterteOneYearInOffice

Message of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
July 4, 2017

I am commending our troops of the Republic of the Philippines on the ground for your relentless efforts and determination in our goal to retake the city of Marawi from the Maute group and other local terrorist groups.

I enjoin the operating troops to carry on until our objective of wiping out these enemies of the state and the people has been achieved. I urge you to remain steadfast and alert as Martial Law in Mindanao will remain in effect to counter the persistence threat of terrorism and insurgency.

The people in Marawi will also need your assistance as they rebuild their lives and homes once military operations come to a conclusion. By fulfilling this, we must not let our guards down against the emergence of terrorism and banditry of the area.

Let us also honor and remember our fallen comrades. May their courage and bravery remind us the sacrifices asked of us as we go about the task a building peaceful nation.

Government assures all the wounded and all the bravery families that they needs attended to. The nation will never neglect the heroes of the republic. Let us all continue strive to build a stable, orderly and progressive society. Continue to work to make our shared dream a genuine lasting peace and reality. Continue to serve our country and the Filipinos. My salute goes to all of you there.

Maraming salamat at mabuhay kayong lahat. Hindi ko kayo kalimutan at hindi ko kayo pababayaan.

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CNN Philippines: Camille Abadicio reports: “When thinking about fighting, we often forget that a war recognizes no race, no social class and no gender. In Marawi, amongst those also fighting relentlessly are women. In this report, our Camille Abadicio pays tribute to these women risking their lives to regain the war-torn city.”

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