The successful liberation of Marawi City from the hands of the Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorist group five years ago highlights the government’s commitment to suppress terrorism, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.
“The Marawi incident showed the firm resolve of the government against terrorism. It was the turning point in a sense that since then we have seen the downward trend in frequency and intensity of terror activities perpetrated by local terrorist groups,” AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said.
The fifth anniversary was commemorated yesterday starting with a wreath-laying ceremony led by Presidential Adviser for Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. at the Marawi Pylon at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.
“The AFP shares the honor and glory of saluting all our heroes who helped liberate the City of Marawi from the clutches of terrorism, five years ago,” Aguilar said.
He said the service and sacrifice made by these heroes will serve as a legacy that will live on forever in the hearts and minds of the Filipino people.
“We owe it to the valiant and courageous men and women in uniform who fought the Maute terrorist group so that we could still fly freely the Philippine Flag over Marawi City,” he said.
“The crisis may have been over, but we have never left Marawi. Our soldiers are still actively participating in peace and development efforts to ensure that this unfortunate event in our history will never happen again,” Aguilar added.
Aguilar said the fight against terrorist threats is not the sole responsibility of the government or the security sector but of every citizen of the republic.
“We must continue to strengthen the whole-of-nation approach toward preventing and countering violent extremism. Let us motivate our people, especially the youth, to be advocates of peace in their communities,” he said.
The Marawi siege started on May 23, 2017.
An estimated 847 terrorists and 168 military and other security personnel were killed in the five-month-long battle.
The fighting was declared over on Oct. 23, 2017, after authorities confirmed the death of Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS emir in Southeast Asia Isnilon Hapilon and Maute Group co-founder Omar Maute.