Celebrating Independence day in Marawi. PH Flag raised as bombers attacked terrorists. 150 militants, 60 troops and 25 civilians killed.

independence challenged

PICS mb.com and Malacanang

PICS mb.com and Malacanang

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The independence day of the Philippines was a rare event on the occasion of its 119th anniversary. It was a solemn ceremony on Monday, but it wasn’t really a celebration.

It was more of a ritual the circumstances were grave. The bombing of the areas held by the terrorists continued even during the ceremony and after. This independence day, parts of Marawi were under occupation by the Islamic State and their associates.

The IS assault was on the minority Christian population who were the main target. The terrorists utilized human shields both willingly and by force. The original forecast for ridding the city of the ultras was Monday but it passed without success.

A cathedral was burned down and Christians abducted by members of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Group. Hence, regaining control of Marawi would entail more time than originally estimated.

Therefore, three OV-10 attack planes zoomed in attack mode while the troops, rescue workers and officials recited the National Anthem.

The raising of the Filipino flag was more or less symbolic while the Maute groups controlled some areas.

The final argument

Adiong used the final argument “To our Muslim brothers there, we want to tell them to stop their meaningless fight because we are all Muslims.

The Vice Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr., addressed a gathering to mark the occasion. His appeal was more that of a Muslim than a government official and it was a plea.

The plea was on behalf of his Maranao brothers and sisters to the terrorists of the Islamic State. It was a fervent appeal to the Islamists to create circumstances to allow them to return home. This would facilitate praying for the holy month from their homes.

The irony of this appeal is that the citizens of Marawi are predominately Muslims. In fact, Marawi is an important center of Islamic culture and learning.

Still, the siege continues.

The plea also asked the Maranao people to have patience and remain united. This was the only way to reclaim their city and homes.

The final appeal would be to Allah which the Maranaons should make, he said. It was Allah alone that could help them in this hour of crisis. It was sad that Muslims around the world were fasting and praying in a united manner.

It is unfortunate that we are away from our families and homes, Adiong lamented.

The first attack caused the 200,000 residents to flee the city but there are thousands still stuck up.

However,the National flag was raised simultaneously at 8 AM in all 39 towns of Lanao del Sur province.

Nearly 150 militants have perished in the fighting in the last three weeks. In addition, more than 25 civilians died; this figure is contested by many sources.

Moreover, the death toll for soldiers stood at sixty while more than 200 suffered injuries.

Total Chaos

The city of Marawi remains badly battered and a monumental reconstruction effort will be required . Most of the business establishments remained shuttered on Monday. In spite of government assurances, employees do not go to work.
The major reason appears to be that most workers abandoned Marawi as soon as fighting broke out.
The sound of automatic gunfire punctuated the drone of fighter jets throughout the day.

The AFP is engaged in the uphill task of dislodging the Maute who are well entrenched in some pockets. Only a few pockets still exist in the commercial centers of Marawi.

The terrorists are entrenched in larger buildings that are more difficult to clear. Therefore, the soldiers are having to resort to combat at close quarters. This is the reason for higher casualties among the government troops and police.

Ismilon Hapilon continues to hide in one of three villages in the central commercial district. He recently joined Islamic State and heads their setup in South East Asia.

The fighting is likely to become bloodier since search operations are from house to house.

The Maranao leaders sought a meeting with the President since they want to divulge vital information with him.

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Umrao Singh
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017