Malacañang urges remaining terrorists in Marawi to take 'road to peace'
MANILA, Philippines – A day after the deaths of terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, Malacañang called on remaining terrorists in Marawi City to take the "road to peace" as government troops neared "total victory" in the months-long war.
"With terrorist leaders gone, we call on all fighers to cease further resistance and violence and return to the road of peace," Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a news briefing on Tuesday, October 17.
Abella said the government was not alone in making the appeal.
"This is also the call of our Muslim leaders; our imams; ARMM, MILF, and MNLF chiefs; and the leaders of Muslim nations and this is the plea of your famiy friends and communities. Let us restore peace and rebuild our land," Abella said.
Malacañang also recognized the latest victories of the military in Marawi, saying that government forces were "nearing total victory" in the war-torn city.
"We commend our forces for their battle field advances now nearing total victory. Hundreds of hostages were saved with no vioations of rights and religion," said Abella.
Malacañang assured the public that the government would boost its fight against terrorist groups in Mindanao with the goal of stopping international terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS) from spreading its ideology.
"We will intensify offensives across Mindanao to counter further attacks and to wipe out IS cells seeking to exploit people's grievances for evil," said Abella.
During the Palace briefing, military spokesman Major General Restituto Padilla referred to the 20 to 30 remaining terrorists in Marawi as "stragglers." This number includes 6 to 8 foreign nationals, including Malaysian Mahmud Ahmad, who reportedly financed the fighting in Marawi City.
The terrorists held some 20 hostages, Padilla added. – Rappler.com