Marawi mayor estimates 'total liberation' in 3 days

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 17 2017 05:45 PM | Updated as of Oct 17 2017 06:02 PM

Marawi City Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra on Tuesday estimated that the besieged city will be completely liberated from Islamic State-inspired terrorists in one to three days.

Gandamra said there are around 11 to 20 remaining terrorists in the city with more than 10 hostages.

"I think, one or two days or three days lang ay baka totally liberated na po, nakuha na po ang buong siyudad," Gandamra told radio DZMM.

"Kanina po, we were briefed by the military na meron pang mga natitirang [terrorists], siguro 11, 20 and correspondingly meron din more than 10 hostages na hawak nila," he added.

The mayor estimated that the rehabilitation of the city will take three years or more.

"Based po doon sa aming comprehensive rehabilitation plan, ang ating timeline is minimum of 3 years onwards. Maaaring ganun ho ang mangyari, depende sa availability of funds," he said.

Gandamra said they are still assessing the damage of the clashes on electricity and water availability in the city. He said no electrical towers were destroyed in the firefights.

President Duterte announced the liberation of Marawi on Tuesday, just a day after the killing of terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute in an encounter in the main battle area, along with 7 other terrorists. 

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the war against the remaining terrorists inside the battle area will continue even after the President's declaration. It added that soldiers are doing their best to rescue the other hostages held by the Maute members until now.

Nearly 1,000 people have been killed in the 5-month siege of Marawi. Tens of thousands of residents have also been displaced from their hometown, with some staying in evacuation centers for nearly half a year already.