Unit Commander Billy Villareal said that the Maute group uses th Lake Lanao to escape and also to transport their supplies to other Maute members.
"For several days ginamit yung lake na exit. Meron din mga nag-aattempt na mag-escape some several bancas from Maute group. Nag-attempt na mag-reprovision ng bala saka magdagdag ng tao sa loob (ng war zone, majority naman sa loob naaaksyunan natin lahat," said Villareal.
[Translation: For several days, the lake has been used as an exit. There were attempts to escape using several small boats from the Maute group. Attempts to re-provision ammunition and add more fighters inside (the war zone). We were able to act on majority of the reports.]
The lake has over 35,000 hectares of surface covered which makes their patrol a challenge and also the reason why the government deployed its naval task force.
The Naval Unit sank a boat carrying terrorists attempting to escape the battlefield.
They also captured two other boats carrying Maute rebels.
"Meron mga reports at saka may mga encounter yung tropa sa lake. 'Yun nga pinagbabawal na namin na yung mga ordinary bangka suspected na kaagad kasi camouflaging ang kalaban eh nag-iisip sila kung paano makaisa sa gobyerno," he said.
[Translation: There were reports and there were encounters with troops on the lake. We've already prevented small civilian boats from setting sail on the lake because they are immediately suspected of being Maute militants. The enemies are camouflaging as civilians, trying to pull a fast one on the government.]
The military troops are also conducting clearing operations in nearby coastal towns to Lake Lanao to assure that the militants are trapped. There were also reports stating that some militants swim in the lake to escape from arrest.
The military had taken down three Maute members and wounded one during their encounter on Friday morning. The injured terrorist member was given treatment for his wounds before turning him over to the police.
Despite all of these, the government troops will not take any offensive from the Maute gorup in respect to Eid'l Fitr on June 25.
On recent statements, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief-Of-Staff General Eduardo Año said that the terrorists are scattered in the entire Philippines and mostly are Indonesians. He also warned that their number could rise dramatically in the coming months.
"As we counted, about 20 Indonesians and the rest iba-iba. May Malaysians, may Saudi, may mga Yemen," he said.
Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, martial law spokesperson for Eastern Mindanao, said in a press briefing that these foreign terrorists have been identified by the authorities. Most are from Indonesia and Malaysia while some are from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
"Sa Mosul ngayon, maganda rin yung allied forces dun. In fact, they are forecasting in six months, matalo nila yung ISIS doon. So we expect na yung mga madidisplace doon, pupunta ng Asia. And because of the Marawi crisis, parang magnet itong Pilipinas. Yun yung babantayan natin," he said.