98% of Marawi battle zone cleared of bombs
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - November 15, 2018 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — At least 98 percent of the battle zone in Marawi has been cleared of unexploded bombs that were either dropped by the military or planted by Maute militants at the height of the fighting last year.

The military said at least five hectares have yet to be cleared. 

Brig. Gen. Arnold Fernandez,  Joint Task Group Builders commander, said it would take time to clear the area due to lack of equipment that could detect the bombs buried in the ground. 

“That’s the critical part because some are 10 meters deep below the ground,” Fernandez said. 

He said more than 30 powerful bombs, including 500-pounders, with a range of 600 meters have yet to be recovered.  

“We can’t say it’s fully clear until we can remove it all,” Fernandez said on the sideline of the military commanders’ assessment of security with Armed Forces chief Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. at the Western Mindanao Command on Tuesday night. 

Fernandez gave assurance that they are doing their best to clear the battle zone not only of unexploded bombs but also of piles of debris.

He said the military is coordinating with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the disposal of debris in the area.

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