BUTIG, Lanao del Sur - Military forces have flushed out members of the Maute group and have regained control of this town, but scars of the six-day firefight remain visible as homes and establishments were left with gaping holes from tank and gunfire.
"The town is deserted and the Maute is withdrawing towards the mountain," military spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla earlier said.
"They have been decimated. The capability to sustain and get back to the fight is no longer there," Padilla added.
Schools and mosques in town were not spared from the skirmish as members of the rebel group holed up in these supposed safe zones, and planted booby traps in different parts of the town center.
Though government troops have already regained control of the town, members of the Armed Forces continue to scour the area for improvised explosive devices.
At least 61 terrorists have been killed while 35 soldiers have been injured, the latest report from the Armed Forces said.
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hataman has been urging the national government to station military troops in Butig, Lanao del Sur to prevent Maute Group fighters from coming back.
"Recommendation namin dapat magkaroon na ng station ang Armed Forces doon mismo sa Butig. Para di na sila makabalik doon," Hataman said.
(We have recommended that an Armed Forces station should be established in Butig to prevent the rebels from re-occupying the town.)