IN PHOTOS | A war that turned Marawi into rubble

Sep. 02, 2017

It was once known as a “Little Baguio” for the city’s cool and fresh breeze. But today the air in Marawi smells of gunpowder. A few meters away from where journalists were traversing the bridge once controlled by armed militants, gun fighting continues. The government was also relentless in flushing out the militants in what they described as a small portion of the city’s 87.55 square kilometers land area with continuous aerial bombardment.

A mosque stands still beside the remains of residential buildings along Agus River at Barangay Bubong Madaya near the Balo-i Bridge in Marawi City. The place was once a stronghold of the ISIS-inspired Maute group. Journalists were permitted last August 30 to cross the bridge that connects Barangay Raya Saduc and Bubong Madaya, after it was recaptured by the government troops weeks ago. It is the main route of the military in delivering their supplies and reinforcement. (Divina M. Suson)

The Philippine flag waves above the buildings at Barangay Bubong Madaya amid gunfights just about 100 meters away. The military hoisted the national emblem after they captured the nearby Balo-i Brige which became the stronghold of the ISIS-inspired Maute group when they attacked Marawi City in May 23. (Divina M. Suson)

A house was spared from bullets and aerial bombardment, but not from the looters. The military said militants ransacked every house in the area using their hostages, most of whom were believed to be women and children. This house is located just across the Balo-i Bridge at Barangay Bubong Madaya, along the river banks fronting Barangay Raya Saduc. (Divina M. Suson)

DIVIDED BY A RIVER. On the left side of Agus River is Barangay Bubong Madaya where residential buildings were destroyed by bullets and aerial bombardments. On the right side is Barangay Raya Saduc where houses are still intact but unoccupied. The military has not allowed the residents to go home because of the ongoing gunfight across the river. (Divina M. Suson)

Residential buildings in Barangay Bubong Madaya near the Balo-i Bridge was once a stronghold of the ISIS-inspired Maute group. (Divina M. Suson)

Bullet-riddled commercial buildings along the once busy street of Barangay Bubong Madaya just across the Balo-i Bridge. (Divina M. Suson)

On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte said he was considering to lift Martial Law earlier than December 31. However, he said there was a spillover of terrorism in Buldon town in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The fighting has displaced hundreds of thousands of residents who now live in various evacuation centers. Anguish is a now a common feeling for them who spent their Ramadhan and Eid-Al Adha celebrations away from the Philippines only Islamic city. (

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