General Carlito Galvez said in a statement issued Sunday that troops finally regained the Bato Mosque and the Amaitul Islamiya Marawi Foundation as well as the Jamaitul Philippine Al-Islamiyah buildings at past 5 p.m. on Saturday.
In a related development, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza on Sunday confirmed that Catholic priest Teresito "Chito" Suganob, who had been held by the Maute group since May 23, was rescued Saturday night.
On May 30 he appeared in a propaganda video pleading for his life and asking the military to cease aerial bombardments. The government refused to comment on the reported rescue of the hostages, saying ongoing assaults may be jeopardized and troops and other hostages may be endangered if it releases details.
Photographs showing Father Soganub slumped against a wall were circulated on the internet. With fewer fighters, the militants have forced some of their hostages to join the fighting and have resorted to improvised bombs and booby traps to slow the military advance, he said.
Military sources said Father Soganub had already been flown to Davao city, where he was set to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte.
THE Maute group, blamed by security authorities for the siege in Marawi City since May, has started enlisting compulsorily civilians in an effort to increase their dwindling numbers in the provincial capital, Task Force Ranao Deputy Commander Col. Romeo Brawner has said.
Philippine military chief General Eduardo Ano described as "enormous" gains made by his soldiers over the weekend.
"The duo revealed (initially to the rescuing troops) that they escaped when their captors had a heavy firefight against the government forces in the said location... They wanted to surrender", Brawner said, adding that the surrenderers would be accorded due legal process.
Since hundreds of heavily armed militants flying the black flag of Islamic State seized the city of 300,000 on May 23, they have engaged security forces in ferocious street-to-street battles that have left more than 800 dead.
At least 860 people, including more than 660 militants and 147 troops and police, have been killed since the siege began in Marawi, regarded as a centre of Islamic faith in the southern third of the largely Roman Catholic nation.