MARAWI CITY- Clashes here are expected to end “very soon,” Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy said Wednesday.
Cuy, who was briefed by Joint Task Force Marawi on the current situation on the ground, said there is no fixed date as to when fighting in the city will end but noted that it is just a matter of days.
"Walang fix date, but I feel it's very soon, days na lang yan," Cuy said. "Concern din kasi ng security forces yung hostages, otherwise, madali yan, hindi tatagal ng ganito yan."
The military on Wednesday continued to pound portions of Marawi City with smoke bombs seen being thrown from a known Maute position. Two OV10 aircraft made 8 bombing runs on a known Maute position at around 7 a.m.
As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, government placed the death toll in Marawi City at 397, including 299 terror suspects, 71 government troops and 27 civilians.
A photo obtained by ABS-CBN shows for the first time the destruction of Marawi's popular Islamic Center with Maute members still standing around the area.
In another photo, destruction is also seen at Sen. Ahmad Alonto Street, which is also at the heart of the commercial area near the Islamic Center.
ABS-CBN also obtained pictures of Maute members who were killed in the fighting. They were found in Barangay Lilod, one of the remaining barangays where Maute presence is still seen.
Pictures showed 3 Maute members dead and scattered in different locations outside a concrete house. Two of the cadavers are still intact while the other one only has its skull and bones.
Cuy also assessed the area to see what kind of assistance should be prioritized when clashes end.
He said people who have lost their homes will be allowed to stay in a temporary shelter as the government prepares loans for those who wish to avail.
"Pagkatapos ng labanan dito, may mga wala nang babalikang bahay, ito yung ilalagay sa mga temporary shelter, pero yung may mga mauuwian, they can go back pero pagkain yun ang kailangan nila" he said.
Tens of thousands were forced to flee Marawi and seek shelter at evacuation centers due to ongoing clashes between state forces and Maute extremists.
Cuy said, for now, there is no cash assistance from government for the repair and rehabilitation of houses and buildings that were damaged by airstrikes and ground assaults, but loans are being prepared for those who wish to avail.
"Wala eh (non-loans assistance). But I understand merong moratorium sa payment ng loans sa mga affected borrowers," he said.