“BRAVO Zulu to the AFP!” Malacañang declared yesterday as Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar hailed the Armed Forces of the Philippines following the confirmation that terrorist leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon were killed in Marawi City.
“Bravo Zulu to the AFP,” Andanar said in a statement to reporters.
“We look forward to raising Marawi from the ashes of conflict and building in a new era where people from the farthest reaches of this Republic can share in the boon of progress,” he added.
Andanar also said the developments in Marawi City would show that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is determined to end the crisis.
“This clear victory against terrorism proves the Duterte administration’s resoluteness in delivering on its promise of peace and prosperity to the people of Mindanao,” he said.
“Despite the criticisms of his detractors, President Duterte pushed on an unrelenting campaign to take back Marawi City through all means at his disposal. We have a President who demonstrates day in and day out that he will spare nothing, not even himself, for the good of our people,” he added.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier confirmed that Maute and Hapilon were killed in an operation early Monday.
While the two leaders were killed, he added that government troops are still hunting down alleged Maute financier Dr. Mahmoud Ahmad.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that an initial report from AFP ground commanders in Marawi mentioned that both Maute and Hapilon were neutralized while government troops were conducting an operation to retake the remaining stronghold of the terrorists in the city.
“Our operating units have already recovered their bodies... Mopping up operations are now underway. Details of the operation will be released by the AFP as soon as permissible,” Abella said.
He added that the termination of hostilities would be announced once government troops neutralize or capture the remaining terrorists holed up in Marawi and once they clear all structures of improvised explosive devices and other traps.
“Once the fighting stops and the clearing operations end, we will put our efforts and energies on the challenging task of rebuilding and rehabilitating Marawi,” Abella said.