MANILA, Oct 16 (Mabuhay) – The government can expect more Maute-ISIS fighters to surrender to security forces in Marawi City following the deaths of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and Maute group leader Omar Maute early Monday.
“Kung totoo talaga yung information, we are expecting (surrenderers) from their ranks. Expect na natin ‘yun at talagang mag-weaken ang positions nila sa main battle area,” Marawi Crisis Management Committee head Zia Alonto Adiong said.
Adiong, during the interview, said he has yet to receive confirmation from the military on the killings of Hapilon and Maute.
Later in the day, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed the deaths of Hapilon and Omar Maute. He said the bodies will be subjected to a DNA test.
Adiong welcomed the development saying the end of the conflict in Marawi City is in sight since the two terrorist leaders served as the brains and morale boosters of the ISIS-inspired fighters.
“Ito po ay nagsisimbulo na patapos na po ang bakbakan dito,” he said. “Hudyat po ito na talagang patapos na po dahil itong dalawang leaders ang kumbaga center of gravity.”
“(Sila) po yung nagmu-move, nagpa-plan, and at the same time nagbibigay ng morale sa kanilang fighters. Kung mawala ho talaga sila ay talagang mag-weaken exponentially, substantially ang kanilang strength at pati na rin ang kanilang ipinaglalaban,” Adiong added.
Adiong also said the end of the conflict would help affected residents start their recovery. “Imagine for more than four months our evacuees have been living sa mga evacuation centers. Yung iba wala na po talagang source of income. Magandang pangitain po ito.” (MNS)