Military officials managed to cross last Sunday two bridges in Marawi City that have been occupied and held by members of the Maute-Islamic State (IS) Group, highlighting the importance of the two bridges in the heart of the city.
Maj. Gen. Rolando Bautista, commander of the Joint Task Force Marawi, and Maj. Gen. Danilo Pamonag, commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Force Trident, together crossed the Bayabao Bridge and Masui Bridge for the first time after the two bridges were recaptured from the terrorists.
The symbolic crossing, which underscored the importance of the two bridges, happened at around 10 a.m. last Sunday as the military pushed on with its assault in the hope of completely clearing Marawi City from the terrorists by the end of October.
Brig. Gen. Melquiades Ordiales, commander of the Joint Task Group Tiger, met the two military officials at the end of Masui Bridge.
Both the Bayabao and Masui Bridges have been held by the Maute-IS Group since the Marawi siege on May 23.
Bautista said the recapture of the two bridges were a significant progress in the efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to neutralize the terrorists, rescue the hostages and regain control of the whole city.
“The terrorists are becoming desperate as our soldiers and police are closing in on their defensive positions. We are continuing our appeal to the terrorists to release their hostages and for them to surrender to the government,” Bautista added.
The terrorists, the military said, were still holding around 40 hostages as they fight it out with soldiers within an area of 10 hectares.
Last Sunday, military officials reported that 151 soldiers and policemen have been killed since May, while at least 694 terrorists have also been neutralized.
During his fifth visit to Marawi on Thursday last week, President Duterte declared “the end of the combat operation is just around the corner”.
He said that once the firefight is over, the task of rehabilitation will proceed in full blast.