The angry slashes of furious firepower does not wane from both sides, even as the military brass say the endgame of the Battle of Marawi is near.
Field commanders of the security forces battling the holdout terrorist elements of the Maute Group, who have held security forces in a stalemate since May 23, say the enemy is constricted within just one barangay, their fighters boxed and backed into one mosque.
However, the bandits are holding on to civilian hostages, and the military is being careful not to visit unnecessary harm on non-combatants.
On Monday, one soldier who is close to getting married lost his life while in the middle of an assault operation, felled by a sniper’s bullet.
According to Col. Romeo Brawner, Deputy Commander of Joint Task Group Ranao, the enemy continues to manifest “intense resistance against our assaults. They resort to punching holes and passages between walls of adjoining houses to evade the advance of our troops.”
The other service branches of the government, meanwhile, have initiated plans to mobilize for the anticipated end of hostilities and embark on the beginnings of the rehabilitation and rebuilding phase to restore the Islamic City of Marawi, currently rendered in utter ruin, its edifices wracked by bombs and explosive booby traps.
The national government has initially set aside the amount of PhP47 billion, and the provincial government P113 million, for the reconstruction.
Authorities want to do the right thing by Marawi, because any flubbed effort or backslide in the developmental work might spark discontent and bring back the scourge of dissident forces all over again.