Government reports 95 percent of power restored in conflict-stricken city
MARAWI CITY - A large mixed contingent of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) arrived here Saturday morning, bolstering government strength in its battle against the terrorist Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups.
Among those deployed were Philippine Marines, who arrived by the truckloads.
On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte visit troops in Iligan City as they were set to deploy to neighboring Marawi, telling them to "fight for the country."
“This is is a time for victory. We will not lose it. How can we lose it ? We have everything. Wala kayong problema. I will take care of you,” Duterte told soldiers the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade in Iligan City.
A fresh round of firefights have prompted more residents to leave the city on Saturday, many fleeing to neighboring Iligan. This morning, civilians were seen leaving their villages, bringing along just what they could: jugs of water, backpacks.
In Manila, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the government has secured the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative (LASURECO) compound, and that power in nearly all of Marawi City has been restored.
In a statement, Abella said LASURECO and the National Electrification Administration have reported that "95 percent of electricity service has been restored" in the conflict-stricken area.
"This development should allay fears stirred by alarmist and untrue reports of LASURECO coming under attack," Abella said.
He appealed on the public and the media to avoid releasing unconfirmed reports.
"Given the gravity of the situation in Marawi City, we urge the public to remain calm and not to spread unverified or incomplete news items, even as we urge media practitioners not to report such items that can easily be misinterpreted or sensationalized," he said.
Military operations against local terrorists entered its fifth day on Saturday with remnants of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups believed to still lurk around Marawi City. The situation has prompted Duterte to place Mindanao under martial law.
At least 31 suspected terrorists have been killed in clashes since Tuesday, six of whom were fighters from Malaysia and Indonesia, Armed Forces spokesperson Restituto Padilla earlier said.
The government side has meanwhile suffered 13 deaths, including 11 soldiers and two policemen. Government has yet to release a confirmed count on civilian deaths as of this posting, but nine hostages were known to have been slain by the Maute group on Tuesday.