AS President Rodrigo Duterte previously indicated, the Marawi crisis will not be over before his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24.
In yesterday’s Mindanao Hour in Malacanang, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesperson Restituto Padilla Jr. said the government would need 10 to 15 more days to regain control of buildings in Marawi City occupied by the Maute terrorists.
Padilla said about 600 buildings are still to be cleared in Marawi City, with the military clearing an average of 40 to 50 buildings a day so far.
“Yeah, so we are right into the 10 to 15 days of the President. But the 10 to 15 days is beyond the SONA, by the way, so don’t expect it to be before the SONA,” Padilla said.
On Wednesday, Duterte said he needed 15 more days to solve the Marawi crisis, a self-imposed deadline which may go beyond the 60-day limit of his martial law in Mindanao, which expires on July 22.
But Padilla was mum whether the military would recommend the extension of martial law given the situation in Marawi City. He would only say that the assessment right now is nearing conclusion and will be given to the Chief of Staff who will then do his vetting on the recommendation which will be eventually handed to the Secretary of National Defense for submission to the Commander-in-Chief
“The Secretary is the administrator of martial law and will necessarily have to have his inputs into the document,” the military spokesman said.
Duterte, who earlier said that he will not lift martial law before his second SONA , said he will wait for the military’s recommendation whether to extend the declaration or not.
As of 7 p.m. on July 14, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said 392 terrorists have been killed while 93 government forces have died in the battle. Abella added that 45 civilians died in the clash that started on May 23 after Islamic State-inspired members of the Maute Group attacked Marawi City in a bid to establish a caliphate there.