By Genalyn Kabiling
The government has called on the remnants of the Maute terror group to surrender to authorities to avoid any more casualties and destruction in Marawi City.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the military has carried out “precision air strikes” at specific targets to flush out the lawless elements who continue to resist.
“We call on the remaining terrorists to surrender while there is an opportunity,” Abella said in a Palace press briefing.
He explained that the government’s call for surrender would help “lessen the damage on the ground definitely and so the civilians will be less affected.”
So far, Abella said 65 militants have been killed in the firefight while 20 soldiers and policemen have also been killed.
The rebel attack in Marawi also left 19 civilians dead, and thousands of families displaced from their homes.
Abella, during the “Mindanao Hour” update on the security situation, said the military air strikes have been judiciously used to prevent collateral damage in the area.
These air strikes, he added, have been employed at specific targets of resistance “to protect our troops and to hasten the clearing of the city of terrorist elements who continue to resist.”
Meantime, the Palace asserted that the President is sincere in offering to talk peace with the terror elements in Marawi City.
“He is very open to dialogue. His sincerity regarding the matter should not be questioned,” Abella said.
He said “backchannel” talks could be initiated to broker peace between the government and the militants. Abella however said he was unaware if emissaries have already been designated for these talks.
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