- The start of military pullout does not signal the end of fighting in Marawi City
- Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the enemy force has greatly diminished, but the military will continue to be alert
- More or less 10 local terrorists plus two foreign fighters are still holed up in Marawi City
The Palace said despite the start of the pullout of some military units, the fighting between government forces and Maute stragglers in Marawi City continues.
“The start of the military pullout in Marawi does not signal the end of fighting between our troops and Maute terrorist-stragglers,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement on Saturday, October 21.
As per the Sun Star, the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Battalion was the first unit to be pulled out from the besieged city after President Rodrigo Duterte declared that the city has been liberated from the clutches of terrorists on October 17.
“While enemy force has greatly diminished, we will continue to be alert and assure the residents of the city that we will not compromise its security with the presence of some units of the Armed Forces,” Abella said.
“We cannot afford to drop our guard for possible threats coming from the remaining network of the Daesh-inspired terrorist group still operating as we begin the challenging task of rebuilding, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi,” he added.
The Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Battalion will be replaced by a unit of the Joint Task Group Ranao under Brigadier General Ramil Rey.
According to the latest estimates by the military, more or less 10 local terrorists plus two foreign fighters are still holed up in Marawi City.