US Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday praised the Philippines for its successes in battling Islamic State supporters, as he began an Asian trip aimed at reaffirming American support for regional allies.
The military reopened 9 barangays that were least affected by fighting, but set an October 25 or 26 timeline for allowing people back in to other parts of the city, mainly because of two things: every corner must be cleared of any explosive material; and basic services like water and power must at least be present.
The five-month long battle for Marawi City is finally over.
Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said combat operations had been terminated, after troops prevailed in the last stand against gunmen who clung on inside several buildings in the heart of Marawi. As the meetings opened, the head of the Brunei delegation expressed condolences for the loss of lives in Marawi but congratulated the Philippines for being able to liberate the city.
"There's just one building and they're inside", Col Romeo Brawner told a news conference.
Padilla said the troops tried to convince the remaining rebels to surrender, but they refused.
"Our government forces will try to do everything to finish the firefight today".
The military said the conflict has so far killed 961 extremists and 165 soldiers and policemen.
Lorenzana said there would be other military operations and six battalions of troops would remain in Marawi.
21 de octubre de 2017, 11:51Manila, Oct 21 (Prensa Latina) After the liberation of the Philippine city of Marawi, its inhabitants must still wait to return to it because the military cleared areas with explosives left by terrorists linked to ISIS or Islamic State. They ransacked banks and shops, including gun stores, looted houses and smashed statues in a Roman Catholic cathedral, according to the military.
Defense ministers from Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Russian Federation are also scheduled to attend the two-day Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) event. The two governments have deployed surveillance aircraft and drones to help Filipino troops rout the Marawi militants.
Duterte last week traveled to Marawi to declare it had been "liberated", a day after the Southeast Asian leader for IS, Isnilon Hapilon, was shot dead there.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and security analysts said the militants were trying to establish a Southeast Asian caliphate in Marawi. The duo plotted and led the attack on Marawi.