New Marawi commander is an urban warfare veteran
Major General Danilo Pamonag liberated Southern Philippines’ Zamboanga City from rebel attack in 2013
By Roy Ramos
Zamboanga City, Philippines
The battle for the complete liberation of Southern Philippines Islamic City of Marawi is now being led by Major General Danilo Pamonag, an urban warfare veteran.
He led the liberation of Southern Philippines’ Zamboanga City from a rebel attack in 2013.
Pamonag on Friday assumed the new post as Joint Task Force (JTF) Marawi Chief Vice Major General Rolando Bautista was appointed as the new Philippine Army chief.
"I will continue to help the people of Marawi to bring normalcy in the city by ending the conflict the soonest possible time," said Pamonag as quoted by Rappler, a Philippine-based online-news portal.
Pamonag is currently the chief of the Philippine Army Special Operations Command, the unit that oversees elite forces such as the Scout Rangers, Special Forces, and the Light Reaction forces.
He has been assisting Bautista in Marawi since the onset of the crisis because of his experience in leading the military operations during the deadly 2013 Zamboanga siege which lasted more than one month and saw the death of at least 300 people, mostly rebels.
The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), a Muslim rebel group that had signed a peace agreement with the Philippines government in September 1996, laid siege to Zamboanga City in September 2013 in protest to the peace deal entered into by the government with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), then the country's largest Muslim rebel organization.
Pamonag will oversee the clearing operations and the safe return of the more than 200,000 civilians displaced by the firefights between the government troops and the combined forces of the Daesh-linked Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups in Marawi.
Even as military claims that the crisis in Marawi is about to end, another soldier was killed by a sniper fire on Friday which brought the total fatalities from the government side to 155.
The clashes which have been dragging for more than four months have seen more than 955 deaths, mostly militants.