“We will expect fierce confrontations with Maute-ISIS as they do their last stand”, he said.
Marines patrol a deserted street in the center of Marawi City.
The BMJP said Cayamora Maute, 67, succumbed to a hospital in suburban Taguig City, Metro Manila where he was brought after he complained of severe pains on Sunday.
Cousins of Cayamora in Marantao town warned of possible attacks on non-military targets by Maute followers.
The CRC will be under the operational control of the Western Mindanao Command.
“We are not taking chances”.
“When? It’s up to them”, said Lorenzana referring to military ground commanders who reported they already made significant advances in their determined efforts “liberate” Marawi City.
As of this posting, military units in Marawi have so far neutralized 603 terrorists and recovered 665 weapons.
“If they want to join, they want to go to heaven as what they have said, so we will give them the chance to go to heaven”, Armed Forces Chief Eduardo Año told reporters in a chance interview after the ceremonial send-off to Marawi City for more than 100 female police and military officers in Villamor Air Base.
He said the troops recovered the bodies of their slain adversaries.
“That’s our main goal”.
These included, Lorenzana said, the recapture on Thursday of the Marawi central police headquarters followed on Friday by that of the Grand Mosque where the terrorists had holed up along with their hostages including a Catholic priest. No way out. No way in.
Año also said that the top Maute group leaders, including Isnilon Hapilon, Abdullah and Omarkhayam Maute, were still within the battleground, fighting alongside their members.
The military believes Hapilon is still stuck in Marawi, fighting alongside the remaining terrorist gunmen.
“The all-female group will be in Marawi City to form part of the inter-agency team that shall assist in the implementation of rehabilitation and recovery program for Internally Displaced Persons [IDPs] in the battle affected city”, AFP Spokesman Col. Edgard A. Arevalo said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the AFP has deployed an all-female contingent of troops under the Civil Relations Company (CRC) to assist in the rehabilitation and relief of thousands of evacuees of Marawi City.