Butig: The birthplace of the Mautes

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 13 2017 01:47 PM | Updated as of Aug 14 2017 11:12 AM

Before there was Marawi, there was Butig.

A small town hall surrounded by a basketball court, a wet market and a plaza comprise Butig's town center. Butig is a sixth-class municipality with a population of 17,000. This town in Lanao Del Sur belongs to the 10 poorest municipalities in the country. This is where the Maute brothers grew up and spent their childhood.

It is also where the Mautes first made their name.

The terrorist group led by the Maute brothers, who by then had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), first attacked the town in February 2016, leaving 3 soldiers and around 20 terrorists killed. The military regained control of the group's camp and declared victory over the terrorists.

In November 2016, the Maute Group attacked the town again, and held it for 3 days, during which, they raised the black ISIS flag in the town hall. All 17,000 residents evacuated to neighboring towns, but the military again repulsed the invasion.

These 2 major battles left the town in shambles, the schools and mosques destroyed, and families displaced. What did not destroy the Maute Group only made them stronger. They went into hiding and resurfaced only in May 2017 this time to take Marawi City.

The 2-storey home of the Maute family in Butig, with its shell completely damaged, is left with its concrete facade standing. This is where Cayamora and Farhanna raised the Maute brothers. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

The Maute brothers Omar and Abdul were raised in Butig by a fairly well-to do family who could afford a concrete home. The house's location just beside the town hall allude to the family's influence in the local scene. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

The main town hall in the center of Butig has fixed mortars ready in the front lawn. This town hall was attacked by the Maute terrorist group in November 2016. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

A Philippine Marine stands at a doorway just below a ledge which still shows damage from the fighting. The town sustained enormous damage when the Maute Group laid siege to it for 6 days in November 2016. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

The Philippine flag now flies on the flag pole at the Butig town hall where the Maute group once raised the black ISIS flag. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Residents walk along the road guarded by members of the Philippine Army as fighting in Marawi City, across the Lanao Lake, rages. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

A Muslim student looks from inside a classroom where wooden boards cover some of the parts damaged from previous fighting. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Residents walk back to their homes under military guard as the threat of the fighting in Marawi spilling looms. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

A lone Philippine Army soldier stands guard in the field. Government soldiers keep watch, despite the silence and seeming false sense of security, to ward off any attack. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Army personnel occupy what was once the Maute camp just a few miles off the town proper of Butig. When the camp fell in December 2016, government troops thought they were seeing the end of the Maute Group. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Signs saying ISIS is 'Haram' (forbidden by Islamic law) are written on places around town. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

This main "masjid" or mosque in Butig was used by the Maute terrorist group as their refuge during the last siege. Residents regard the damage to the "masjid" as a testament to the destructive effect of terrorism that their own brothers brought to the community. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Stories from locals and the evidence on the wall are a testament to the war that befell Butig. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

A girl walks home from school through an empty market that was once bustling with trade in and out of the town. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

A girl peers inside a small wooden structure that is a local madrassa, a school for the study of Islam. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Teachers mingle with their students at the end of class. Education was on and off for the most part of the last school year punctuated by the fighting. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Teachers walk home from school, 1 of 2 public schools, which remain standing after the war. Local authorities try to continue with education despite the disruption even as facilities have not been completely restored. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

A soldier patrols the school's campus that still shows traces of fighting from the last siege of Butig by the Maute terrorist group. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Inside the elementary school, a student walks past a blackboard beside bullet holes left by the fighting in Butig. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Children play inside a classroom oblivious to the soldier and the damage wrought by past fightings that has rendered it useless. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Scars of the war that Butig has undergone are written on the walls of its public elementary school. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Children walk home from school in the town of Butig, the same town where the Maute brothers were born and where they spent their childhood. The attack on Butig is a stark reminder of the effects of war on both the town and its people. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Watch "Di Ka Pasisiil," an ABS-CBN documentary on the Marawi siege on Sunday, 3:30pm on ABS-CBN.