Maute militanst tries all methods to strengthen their defenses

Stray bullets have increased in the core war zone of Marawi City. This indicates that the local terrorist ISIS-inspired Maute are strengthening their defenses against unceasing attacks from the government.

Media network's aerial footage from a drone taken earlier this month, shows some militants were unloading large pieces of wood and galvanized iron sheets from a black truck to protect themselves from further attacks of the authorities.

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In a footage taken last month by news reporter, shows suspected members of the militant group running from one building to another to avoid aerial bombings from the government's aircrafts.

"More buildings are being cleared, dumadami ang mga firearms na ating nare-recover," Joint Task Force Marawi spokesman Jo-Ar Herrera said.

"And even 'yung mga IEDs (improvised explosive devices) na mga bomba na nakikita sa bawat daanan, bawat building, it's a matter of time, matatapos natin ito," the spokesman added.

He noted that the Maute members are trying to fortify their defense more now, given that only few of them are remaining.

"Even in the Capitol, nararamdaman natin ngayong intense fire fight, kaya sinasabi natin sa mga tao rito and also the media to...pumunta sa isang ligtas na lugar," Herrera said.

Over the weekend, government troops have already cleared another 50 buildings in Marawi City that were previously under the control of the terrorist group.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año is positive that in just a matter of time before the entire city will be recovered from the Maute's.

"Slowly kumokonti na lang yung building na hawak nila, we are able to secure one tall building yesterday. Malaking factor 'yun so we'll have one final push to really break their line and finally clear the whole area of Marawi," he said.

"Less than one square kilometer 'yung area na pinaglalabanan natin but we cannot neglect or bypass any building," he said. "It's fatal and dangerous to our soldiers and to the trapped civilians."

Unfortunately, two more soldiers were killed over the weekend, summing up to 97 fatalities from the side of the government since May 23. Currently, statistics shows that 411 militants and 45 civilians were also killed as July 16.

The military is refusing to impose a deadline on when will they clear all of Marawi City from the terrorists. Giving such deadlines will only cause more unnecessary pressure to their men who have been risking their lives since day one.

"Hindi tayo specific sa timeline kasi unang-una kapag naglagay tayo ng timeline, tini-take advantage ng kalaban 'yun tapos napi-pressure yung tropa natin. Unnecessarily tumataas din yung casualty namin," he said.

"I cannot, no, I do not see the SONA as the deadline or timeline.  Sabi ko nga we will do it the military way, in accordance to our doctrines," he answered when asked if the conflict will end before President Rodrigo Duterte's second SONA on July 24.

Source: GMA