Those terrorists waging war in Marawi were motivated by at least 2 goals: establishing a Wilayat or an ISIS islamic province in the Philippines and terrorism.
The enemy that the Philippine government is facing is a fusion of various ISIS-inspired groups, notably the:
- Abu Sayyaf Sub-group based in Basilan led by Isnilon Hapilon, who was appointed emir of ISIS in the Philippines. Who is Isnilon Hapilon? The charismatic Isis emir at heart of Philippines’ Marawi siege
- The Maute Group led by brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute. FAST FACTS: What you should know about the Maute Group
- Foreign Fighters, mostly Indonesians, Malaysians, Singaporean, Chechens, among others. AFP chief: 10 foreign fighters still in Marawi
- Other terrorist groups in Mindanao such as Ansar al-kalifah and the MILF break-away group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF)
The group is a complicated mix in itself. Hapilon seemingly left his haven in Basilan to meet the Maute brothers. Hapilon being an ethnic Tausug and the Mautes being ethnic Maranaos, these two groups doesn’t go along well, but as we can see, they are acting for a common goal under ISIS. Also, Hapilon is the second-in-command of the Abusayyaf Group but he left his area and some of his men leaving the Basilan Group of ASG with leadership vacuum.
The Foreign Figher on the other hand were motivated by the declaration of ISIS leadership that “those who can’t go tho Syria to join the fighting may go to the Southern Philippines.”
ISIS to followers in SE Asia: ‘Go to the Philippines’
‘There’s a bigger plan’ ISIS targeting Asia to expand caliphate – starting in Philippines
In the end, giving them that piece of land in Mindanao will not stop the war. It will just provide these terrorists with a safe haven where they will plot another terroristic activity and spread terror in the future.
Also, please note that majority of Filipino Muslims living in Marawi city doesn’t support these groups.
Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon were already dead, killed by the Philippine military in a gun fight Sources say Isnilon Hapilon, Omar Maute dead; military mum
Why is neutralizing (killing) them the only good thing to do for the Philippine Government?
Because the protracted war is wearing our troops and draining the government and military resources. Actually, there is no other option but to neutralize them. The death of these leaders will serve as an indication of the imminent end of the fightings and a start of the more daunting task at hand: rebuilding Marawi.
The challenge of rebuilding Marawi is no joke. Make mistakes and we may breed a new enemy. Who? The disgruntled citizens of Marawi. Thus, in my opinion, the government should now focus on planning for the rebuild and development of the city.