TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao

Carmela Fonbuena, Michael Bueza

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TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao


(UPDATED) Clashes erupt in Marawi City Tuesday afternoon, May 23. At the end of the day, President Rodrigo Duterte declares martial law in all of Mindanao.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Residents of Marawi City were jolted by loud explosions Tuesday afternoon, May 23, when clashes erupted between the military and local terrorist groups.

The situation worsened as fires broke out, power was cut, and clashes continued. At the end of the night, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in all of Mindanao

The military said it is running after “high value targets” who are contained in the military’s area of operations in the vicinity of Barangay Malutlut, a commercial and residential area between the Mindanao State University and the city center. 

Incidents in the vicinity of the city center are supposedly perpetrated by sympathizers of the terrorists the military is hunting down.

Here’s a timeline of events that happened since Tuesday. The military said they are deploying more troops to control the situation on the ground. 

Tuesday, May 23

2 pm The military launches a surgical strike in Barangay Basak Malutlut against “high value targets” belonging to the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Maute Group after receiving reports from the community about the presence of up to 15 suspicious armed men in the village.

Clashes erupt while the troops were approaching the target area.

Residents take to social media to report loud explosions and the presence of soldiers and suspected Maute members on the streets. 

5 pm Maute members reportedly occupy Amai Pakpak Medical Center, a public hospital in Marawi City.

6 pm Residents report on social media that Marawi City Jail is under siege. Fire breaks out at the facility early evening on Tuesday. (READ: 3 fires break out in Marawi as clashes rage)

7 pm The military confirms that at least 5 soldiers were wounded as pursuit operations continue.

8 pm The police confirm one cop was killed in clashes with the Maute Group. (READ: Slain cop ‘came to love the people of Marawi’)

8 pm onwards. Two other fires break out in Dansalan College and Saint Mary’s Church. 

10:30 pm The military tells Rappler that pursuit operations continue against the high value targets. Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera, spokesman of the 1st Infantry Division, says the targets are contained in the military’s area of operations. He says that the fires were perpetrated by sympathizers.

11:30 pm From Russia, President Rodrigo Duterte declares martial law in the whole of Mindanao. The country’s top security and military officials are with him in his state visit to Russia. (LOOK: Duterte proclamation declaring martial law in Mindanao)

Not long after, Malacañang announce Duterte is cutting short his Russia trip and is flying back home immediately.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says they need the power to control the movement of threat groups, conduct searches, and make arrests.

Evening Russian President Vladimir Putin extends his condolences to President Duterte over the Marawi attack during their last-minute bilateral meeting before Duterte’s return to Manila.

Back in the Philippines, ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman condemns the Maute Group for sowing terror in Marawi City.

Wednesday, May 24

Past midnight Davao City is placed on “lockdown” following the Marawi clash. Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of President Duterte, advises residents to stay inside their homes, and urges visitors to cancel their trips to Davao unless these are very important.

Later on Wednesday, ABS-CBN reports that Duterte-Carpio downgraded the alert to a “hold and secure situation.”

1 am Rappler reports that Abu Sayyaf senior leader Isnilon Hapilon was the target of the military operation in Marawi City, as confirmed by Defense Secretary Lorenzana.

9 am In a TV interview, Marawi City Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra appeals to the government to uphold human rights of innocent civilians in Mindanao during martial law.

The Commission on Human Rights issues a similar plea the same day. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issue a similar call the next day.

Late morning In an interview with radio dZBB, Bishop Edwin dela Peña of the Prelature of Marawi reveals that a priest, a college professor, and at least 3 others have been taken hostage by the Maute group.

Afternoon The Philippine National Police (PNP) urges the public to be careful about sharing unverified information on social media, and limit posts to “what they know and what they see.”

Meanwhile, AFP Public Affairs Office chief Colonel Edgard Arevalo says they have yet to be given clear specific orders on how to go about martial law. At this point, the PNP is also still “crafting the guidelines” for the implementation of martial law.

The next day, it is reported that the Department of National Defense has issued a memorandum dated May 24 to the AFP and to all DND bureaus and offices reiterating to uphold the rule of law and human rights in Mindanao.

3 pm The military clears the Amai Pakpak Medical Center of Maute presence. 78 civilians were held captive here.

4 pm In an interview with Rappler, Social Welfare Undersecretary Hope Hervilla calls on displaced Marawi residents to remain calm, heed the warnings of authorities, and organize themselves. (READ: Groups call for donations for crisis-hit Marawi)

Around 4:45 pm President Duterte arrives in Manila. In a speech, he explains that he declared martial law in Mindanao because of the threat of the terrorist group Islamic State or ISIS.

Duterte also eyes the expansion of martial law to the Visayas and Luzon if the threat of ISIS persists.

He also announces the designation of AFP chief General Eduardo Año as martial law administrator. Año is supposed to become the secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) this week, but Duterte extends his tour of duty to 6 more months after the Marawi clash.

9:50 pm Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III receives a certified copy of Proclamation No. 216 from Malacañang.

Evening The DILG confirms that two jailbreaks have taken place in Marawi during the clash, resulting in 107 inmates being freed.

Meanwhile, the AFP reports that at least 5 soldiers have been killed and 31 others wounded in clashes with local terrorist groups in Marawi.

Thursday, May 25

Morning Fire and loud explosions rock Marawi on the 3rd day of the clash. (IN PHOTOS: Explosions, fire, trapped residents on Day 3 of Marawi siege)

(WATCH: In Marawi, the exodus continues)

The majority leaders of both Senate and the House say that Congress is “unlikely” to revoke the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

It is also reported that President Duterte will meet with top PNP officials in Davao City to discuss the implementation of martial law.

Afternoon An army official says a spillover of the Maute Group to the Visayas is “unlikely” since the terrorists have no bases nor sympathizers in the Visayas.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II tells critics of Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao to challenge it before the Supreme Court.

Former Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada suggests that President Duterte declare an all-out war against the terrorists.

9:55 pm Senate President Pimentel and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez separately receive the President’s report on the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Evening The AFP reports that at least 6 soldiers have been killed on Thursday, bringing the casualty among government forces to 11 soldiers and 2 policemen since May 23. Another 7 soldiers are injured.

On the side of the Maute Group, 31 members have been killed since military operations began.

It is also reported that terrorist groups have harassed the military camp in Marawi City on Thursday. – Rappler.com

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Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.