MANILA - It's just a matter of days before the siege of Marawi City ends, according to the military, as operations focus on the rescue of the remaining 45 to 50 hostages held by the Maute terrorists.
In a press conference Monday, Major General Carlito Galvez Jr. of the Wesmincom presented four more hostages rescued by the military, the latest since Fr. Chito Suganob's rescue last week.
"Maganda 'yung ating operational push considering all the strategic areas have been recovered already. It will not anymore take a month. It will take days na lang siguro at the very least," he said.
Galvez said Maute terrorists are now confined in an area that puts them at a disadvantage. However, he said the military still has to be wary of the improvised explosive devices planted by the enemy.
Among the recent significant developments in Marawi is the recovery of the Raya Madaya Bridge, better known as Masiu Bridge, and the Bayabao Bridge.
Masiu Bridge, located within the vicinity of Agus River and Lanao Lake, is a historical site, according to Zia Alonto Adiong of the Lanao Del Sur crisis management committee.
"That is where the Dansalan Declaration was signed," said Adiong, referring to a document that was signed by the Datus of Lanao in 1935 to assert their the Filipino Moros' independence from the US.
Adiong said with the latest developments, he is optimistic that Marawi will be liberated soon. What comes next, however, is the daunting task of rehabilitation of the city.
The crisis in Marawi City has left more than 800 dead, among them nearly 700 terrorists and over 150 government forces. It has also displaced more than 200,000 Marawi residents and thousands more from nearby towns.