Philippines government deploys battle-tested Marines to Marawi war zone

The Marine officers are deployed to help Filipino troop finish off the almost week-long fierce battle with the Maute militant group.

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Philippine troops Reuters

A truckload of battle-tested members of the Philippines Marines (PM) have arrived in Marawi City's battle zone today to help Filipino troop finish off the almost week-long fierce battle with the Maute militant group.

The Philippines Marines along with the Armed Forces of the Philippines Officers arrived in the region after listening to President Rodrigo Duterte's message in Iligan City who challenged them "to fight for our country."

The arrival of fresh troops came after gun battles erupted again in Marawi City as Philippines foot soldiers identified the rebels' position and cornered them.

Earlier, Duterte motivated the soldiers while speaking to local and international media. "This is a time for victory. We will not lose it. How can we lose it? We have everything. I will take care of you," he said as reported.

Thousands of civilians were seen on Saturday moving out of Marawi as sounds of gunfire and bombs began filling the air. Close to 2,000 civilians were also noted moving out in the last three days. While the Philippines repeatedly claims the situation is more stable now, many residents who evacuated to nearby city and municipality are still hesitant to return back to Marawi.

Khye Amerol, who left Marawi and evacuated to Malabang told International Business Times that he and his family feel safer in Malabang, which is one of the nearby municipalities where hundreds of Marawi locals settled temporarily.

However, the busted transformers, which plunged the city into darkness, were fixed and 95% of Marawi's power has been restored. Presidential Spokesman Ernest Abella said they have secured LASURECO, the local electric company to restore power in the beleaguered city.

The unrest is going on as the entire Muslim community in the Philippines is all set to start their month-long Ramadhan on Saturday (May 27). Several people are expected to fast in this period to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad. The office of the president also released a press statement today urging to end the violence in Mindanao.

"In this spirit of Muslim peace, the President has offered the hand of peaceful dialogue to terrorist groups, to avoid bloodshed in this time of prayer, fasting and mercy. With all faiths, we pray that God restores and preserve peace in Mindanao," the Presidential Palace's press statement said.