NavyspentP.5BforMarawi siege—ViceAd­mi­ralMer­cado

Cebu Daily News - - ISLAND - /INQUIRER.NET /INQUIRER.NET

The Philip­pine Navy has spent about half a bil­lion pe­sos for am­mu­ni­tion and fuel dur­ing the five months of fight­ing in Marawi City.

Navy chief Vice Ad­mi­ral Ronald Joseph Mer­cado gave the assess­ment in an in­ter­view with re­porters on Mon­day at the side­lines of the he­roes’ wel­come for marines and sailors from Marawi City.

“As far as the Philip­pine Navy is con­cerned, just for the am­mu­ni­tion and (and fuel) alone, we nearly ex­tended half a bil­lion pe­sos and just imag­ine the num­ber of trips this year un­der­took to bring all our AFP com­bat ve­hi­cles, ar­tillery, am­mu­ni­tion and peo­ple from all over the dif­fer­ent is­lands down to Ili­gan Is­land and the fuel for our heli­copters,” Mer­cado said.

In his speech dur­ing the cer­e­mony, the navy chief pra ised the ac­com­plish­ments of sailors and marines dur­ing the Marawi siege, say­ing they con­trib­uted to “half or more” of the suc­cess in the cam­paign against the Is­lamic State–in­spired ter­ror­ists.

“Our Ma­rine Bat­tal­ion L a n d i n g Te a m , t h e Marines Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Group, the Naval Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Group were among the first re­spon­ders to thwart the ex­e­cu­tion of the Maute grand plan of es­tab­lish­ing a caliphate in Marawi City,” he said.

The navy also used its aerial as­sets for sur­veil­lance and air strikes while its naval as­sets were used for trans­port of equip­ment and troops.

De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Lorenzana said early this month that the gov­ern­ment spent around P5 bil­lion for the fuel, am­mu­ni­tion, food and al­lowances of the sol­diers in the past four months.

About 500 marines, sailors, avi­a­tors and SEALs from Marawi City re­turned home to a he­roes’ wel­come on Mon­day af­ter a five­month de­ploy­ment.

Com­bat op­er­a­tions in Marawi City were of­fi­cially ter­mi­nated last week, af­ter five months of fight­ing. Over 900 ter­ror­ists and 45 civil­ians were killed, while more than 400,000 res­i­dents were dis­placed from the bat­tle­be­tween gov­ern­ment troops and ISIS-in­spired ter­ror­ists.

Of the 165 sol­diers and po­lice­men killed, 35 were from the Philip­pine Marines.

/INQUIRER PHOTO

A Philip­pine Ma­rine ar­rives from Marawi City and shows his ri­fle with “My Wife” la­bel. He and a con­tin­gent of troops from the war-torn city were wel­comed on Mon­day at Pier 13.

ESPINOSA

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