One week to go

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The fearless forecast by a senior military official is that the Marawi siege would finally be over in a week’s time.

That is certainly good news to the displaced residents of the city who have been longing to return to their beloved city and to start life anew.

But first, the military must finish off an estimated 30 to 40 Maute fighters still holed up in an area less than nine hectares in size. It has taken nearly five months to bring closure to this conflict and to defeat the Maute extremists who have been hiding in mosques and concrete structures within the target area and taken a number of civilians they have been using as human shields.

We salute the military and the police who have been in the frontlines of the fighting since the start of the siege in late May, with about 170 of them having made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom and democratic way of life.

While it would take years to rebuild Marawi after the fighting has subsided, we are gratified by the offers of assistance from the private sector and the international community to restore the city to its former glory as a vibrant hub of trade and education and a showcase of Maranao culture.

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