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Palace salutes gov't troops as Marawi combat ends

One of the first battalions to be deployed in the besieged city of Marawi in southern Philippines, arrive to a hero's welcome at Villamor Air Base Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 in suburban Pasay city southeast of Manila, Philippines. The Philippine military has begun to scale down their forces in Marawi after President Rodrigo Duterte declared its liberation following the killings of the militant leaders after five months of military offensive. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines —  Malacañang on Monday commended government troops, including the fallen, as the Philippine government declared that the fighting in Marawi City has ended.

"A snappy salute to all of you," Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella told soldiers in a statement.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana declared that the combat operations in war-torn Marawi have ended and that the city had been cleared of militants.

Almost 1,000 terrorists, including Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, Maute leader Omar Maute and Malaysian militant Mahmud Ahmad, have been killed since the rebellion started in Marawi 154 days ago.

READ: Lorenzana: No more militants in Marawi City

"We have successfully concluded what has been, so far, the most serious threat of violent extremism and radicalism in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia," Abella said.

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The government will now shift its focus to the rebuilding, reconstruction and rehabilitation of the capital of Lanao del Sur.

"The damage to Marawi's infrastructure and private properties and the displacement of thousands of residents require the government's unified and comprehensive effort," he said.

Marawi mayor Majul Usman Gandamra earlier said that the rehabilitation of Marawi may take three years or longer.

Lorenzana, meanwhile, said that P50 billion would not be enough to rehabilitate the war-torn city. The government is looking at a budget of P10 billion for the rebuilding of Marawi for next year.

RELATED: 'Halt in EU aid not a setback for Marawi rehabilitation'

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