MANILA, Philippines — Two months after the war in the Marawi City came to an end, Melijie Powao has yet to locate her husband.
Her husband was working as a construction worker in Marawi and was one of the hostages of the Maute terror group.
“The war is over but we still don’t know what really happened to our husbands. I hope the government can help us in finding the truth,” said Melijie.
“As long as there’s no corpse, I refuse to believe that he’s dead,” she said.
While Melijie continues to search for her missing husband, the military is also still sweeping the main battle area.
This is part of the clearing operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) where military troops assess each area to ensure that it is clear of bombs or traps left by terrorists.
“We now have our EOD teams or our explosive ordinance disposal teams going around in these areas. They’ve divided the 24 barangays into sectors and they’re now clearing each sector one day at a time,” said Joint Task Force Ranao Deputy Commander Col. Romeo Brawner, Jr.
Meanwhile, a battalion of the Philippine Marines underwent urban training exercise with the Australian military.
“We do not want to see terrorist groups like ISIS establishing in Southeast Asia. We consider that not just as a threat to the Philippines or the Southeast Asian Region, but also a threat to Australia’s own national security. So, that’s why we think it’s important to provide whatever assistance we can to the countries of Southeast Asia to deal with the threat that is, unfortunately, in our midst,” said Australian ambassador to the Philippines, Amanda Gorely.
This is part of the series of training pledged by Australia to the AFP after Marawi City was liberated from terrorist influence.
It can be recalled the urban warfare became a huge challenge to Filipino troops as they were not used to fight in such a setup.
“The new techniques that we acquired from the Australian defense force are very, very important to all of us. This is very applicable now that we are fighting a new type of enemy, a new type of design of spectrum of warfare,” said Philippine Marine Corps Commandant Major General Alvin Parreño.
Another batch of Filipino soldiers will undergo the said training in January next year.
It can be recalled Australia lent two P3 Orion spy planes to Filipino troops for its intelligence gathering during the clashes in Marawi City. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue