By Francis Wakefield
General Eduardo Año, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff said that government forces will make one final push to break the Maute Group’s line and finally clear Marawi City of the terrorists.
Año made the remark in an interview at the launch of former President Fidel V. Ramos’s newest book “Make Change Work” in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Monday afternoon.
Año said that AFP field commanders on the ground have reported that government troops were able to clear another set of 50 buildings and managed to kill eight Maute terrorists over the weekend.
However, two more solders were added to the casualty list.
Año also said that as far as the troops are concerned, the area where troops and the
Maute Group are currently fighting is getting smaller by the day.
“Slowly, kumukunti na lang iyung building na hawak nila. We were able to secure one tall building the other day, malaking factor iyon,” Año said.
“Less than one square kilometer iyung area na pinaglalabanan natin but we cannot neglect or bypass buildings. It’s fatal and dangerous to our soldiers and to the trapped civilians,” he added.
Año, at the same, said that he has already submitted his martial law recommendation for assessment to the Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana.
“We cannot disclose our recommendation because on our part it’s only the military aspect. The President will have to look at other aspects and factors, even political, and whatever the decision of the President, the AFP will support it,” Año said.
Año reiterated that they are not setting any specific timeline on when they will rid Marawi City of Maute terrorists in order not to put any pressure on troops in the area.
“Tini-take advantage ng kalaban iyun tapos napipressure yung tropa natin, unnecessarily tumataas din yung casualty natin,” Año said.
“We’ll do it properly, deliberately and orderly, ensuring that we’ll be able to clear all buildings that will not compromise our civilians and our soldiers. But as far as our pacing, we are on schedule,” he said.
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