MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines is still conducting clearing operations in the outskirts of Butig in Lanao del Sur after local terrorist group Maute, captured the town last week, a military spokesman said Friday.
Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said troops are still clearing the town’s outskirts to ensure that terrorist groups like the Maute group will no longer recapture the area.
“As long as we are able to continue with our work without any interruption, we may soon be turning over the area to local government to allow for the peaceful return of residents,” Padilla said on ANC’s “Top Story.”
Padilla added that the military is yet to discuss plans on leaving some troops as well as a military outpost to help the local government in protecting Butig.
Asked whether the military will help in rehabilitating Butig, Padilla said they have no resources and manpower for the job since most of the necessary repairs are engineering-related.
“We need to secure the outskirts to guarantee that no return will be made and secure peace and order in the area,” he said.
Military forces on Thursday recaptured Butig's old town hall which served as the last stronghold of Maute terrorists after soldiers retook the madrasa, national high school and other structures.
At least 61 supposed terrorists were killed while 35 soldiers were wounded in the week-long firefight.
The group, which is said to be inspired by the Islamic state has been linked to the deadly Davao blast which killed 14 people and wounded more than 70.