ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade held Saturday a simple yet meaningful commemoration of the 3rd anniversary of the Marawi siege at Kampo Ranao that houses the brigade’s headquarters in Marawi City.
The Marawi siege broke out around 2 p.m. of May 23, 2017 when joint military and police forces launched a “surgical operation” to capture Isnilon Hapilon, the emir of the Islamic State (IS) forces in the Philippines, but stumbled into an entire city of armed men.
Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade, led the wreath-laying ceremony marking the commemorative program of the siege’s 3rd anniversary as they remembered the sacrifices of the Fallen Heroes, who fought hard to liberate Marawi City from the violent extremists Dawlah Islamiya – Maute Group, which attempted to establish a “Wilayat (state)” in the country.
Cuerpo was the deputy commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade during the Marawi siege.
“Despite this novel coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, we have not and will never be forgetting the heroism displayed by our soldiers during the 2017 Marawi siege. I call on the patriotic spirit of all Meranaos to do their part and help maintain the peace we are enjoying today. We are one in this fight, one in the fight against this terror threat in the province,” he said.
A total of 168 soldiers, policemen, and civilians died during the 153 days Marawi siege that displaced thousands of people.
In a statement, Cuerpo said the military and the government never left the people during the siege.
To this day, he said the rehabilitation of Marawi City continues amid the country’s fight against the Covid-19.
“Unity is critical in these trying times as manifested during the Marawi siege where the people and the security sector joined hands in fighting the common enemy. Peace and development can be attained. Nothing is impossible if there are cooperation, understanding, and discipline among us,” Cuerpo said.
“Let the Marawi siege be a reminder to every one of the terror and tragedy caused by the terrorist. Rest assured that your (103rd Infantry) Haribon Brigade will do its best and exert all effort to prevent such tragedy to reoccur and to promote peace and development in the city of Marawi and the province of Lanao del Sur,” he added. (PNA)