ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Politics

Philippine army vows to overrun militants linked to Islamic State

With 200 dead, Marawi to be liberated on Independence Day

CLIFF VENZON, Nikkei staff writer | Philippines

MANILA -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Friday set the country's 119th Independence Day anniversary on June 12 as the next deadline for liberating the southern city of Marawi from militants aligned with Islamic State.

As the battle for Marawi entered its 17th day, three villages remained under the control of Maute, a local rebel group backed by fighters from other parts of Southeast Asia and the Middle East, according to officials.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella told reporters that troops "continue to gain more foothold in the inner areas of the city" and "enemy resistance is dwindling by the day."

According to Army Spokesperson Restituto Padilla, General Eduardo Ano, the chief of staff, said that by Monday national flags will be waved freely in "every corner of Marawi."

"The end game is to have them arrested, if we can," said Padilla. "But if we cannot, then [we will] neutralize them."

The military missed its earlier June 2 deadline to wipe out the militants, and deployed additional troops from Manila to join the fighting.

The battle began on May 23 when Maute militants fired at soldiers attempting to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, the Abu Sayyaf leader who has been described as the "emir" of Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

In more than two weeks of fighting, at least 202 people have been killed: 134 militants, 38 troops, and 30 civilians. Around 200,000 people have fled Marawi, a commercial and educational hub in the south.

Fighting broke out while President Rodrigo Duterte was on a visit to Russia. Temporary martial law has been declared for 60 days in Mindanao, one of the three main islands in the Philippines. The region has been beset by a homegrown Muslim insurgency for decades.

Because of the siege, local carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Air have reported ticket cancellations, and travel agencies fear a negative impact on tourism. Government sources do not expect the crisis to affect economic growth, however. Mindanao contributes around 20% to the economy, which grew 6.4% year on year in the first quarter, and the fighting is confined to Marawi for now.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more