Martial law lifting eyed; mopping up begins
DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Monday the military will announce the termination of hostilities once government forces have ensured there are no more terrorists left in Marawi City and once they have cleared all structures of bombs and other traps.
“After the fighting stops, we will refocus our efforts on the challenging task of rebuilding and rehabilitating Marawi,” he said.
Lorenzana, as martial law administrator, said he would discuss the possible lifting of military rule with President Rodrigo Duterte, who imposed it on Mindanao after Maute group terrorists overran Marawi on May 23.
In the House, Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said martial law in Mindanao should now be lifted following the killing of terrorist leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon in Marawi City as confirmed by the Armed Forces.
“The death of Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon was proof that the Armed Forces succeeded in its fight against terrorism in Marawi,” Alejano said as he commended Lorenzana, Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año and the military officers and troops who put an end to the crisis in Marawi.
“To those who went ahead, my snappy salute. You will forever be remembered. You did not die in vain,” Alejano said.
He added: “In view of recent event, I hope that the lifting of martial law in the whole of Mindanao be considered sooner than later, as also promised by the President.”
He said the government must now focus on the rebuilding and rehabilitation of Marawi at the soonest possible time.
A task force to oversee the rehabilitation of Marawi City on Monday sent out five teams to assess the damage to 24 barangays in the war-torn city.
In a statement, Task Force Bangon Marawi spokesperson Kristoffer James Purisima said the Office of Civil Defense will lead the post-conflict needs assessment teams comprised of 145 members in total.
Purisima said the teams left the National Emergency Operations Center in Iligan City Monday morning to assess the damage and losses incurred due to the ongoing conflict.
Each team was assigned to assess a number of barangays declared cleared by the Armed Forces, referred to as Zones 0 to 12.
Before the field deployment, security briefings, and reorientation were conducted at the operations center on Oct. 14 and 15.
The teams are expected to complete their field deployment, including data analysis, consolidation, and report development on Oct. 27.