MANILA - The remaining Maute terrorists in the main battle area of Marawi City have been cornered in one building and are no longer holding any hostages, the military said Sunday.
In a press conference, Colonel Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Joint Task Group Ranao, said those who are left in the building are wives of the terrorists who chose to fight with their husbands.
"We believe wala na pong hostages... The latest number of hostages we rescued is 20... We believe that those who are inside that building have chosen to stay with their husbands," he said.
"We gave them all the chances to surrender. We gave them all the chances to come out and in fact, some of them did. May mga lumabas pong asawa ng Maute kasama ng hostages," he added.
Brawner said the wives of the terrorists who chose to surrender to the authorities will be treated as non-combatants and will undergo psychosocial debriefing.
He said there are at most 30 terrorists remaining in Marawi as of yesterday but they still cannot confirm how many of them were killed in today's ongoing firefight.
Brawner said the death of Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute left a "leadership vacuum" in the group.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared the liberation of Marawi last week following the deaths of Hapilon and Maute.
"Our government forces will do everything to finish the firefight today. It's either mapatay nila ang lahat ng Maute ISIS... or it's either ma-capture natin or mag-surrender sila," he stressed.