Islamic extremism in South-East Asia has not died with Isnilon Hapilon, the so-called Islamic State (IS) "emir" in the region who was shot dead in Marawi this week.
The Islamic State (IS) group will eventually be forced from the city — it hasn't gone yet, despite Rodrigo Duterte's optimistic declaration that the city has been liberated — but when the shooting eventually stops, local sympathy remains for the terrorists and their cause.
And that sympathy has been fuelled by the Philippine Government and its generals, who have displayed woeful intelligence, tactics and communications throughout the five-month battle.
It's now clear they had no idea that Hapilon and the Maute group were planning an assault on the city, had stockpiled weapons and ammunition, or prepared fighting positions and supplies.
- The Maute are an armed Muslim group that's pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group
- Hapilon was reportedly designated the leader of the alliance
- The Maute has been blamed for a bomb attack that killed 15 people in southern Davao city, Duterte's hometown, last September
- Last month, troops killed dozens of Maute militants and captured their jungle camp near Lanao del Sur's Piagapo town
- Troops found homemade bombs, grenades, combat uniforms and passports of suspected Indonesian militants in the camp, the military said
The retaking of Marawi was inexplicably slow and felt even slower because of the constant predictions of imminent victory.
I was in Marawi in June when two deadlines for victory had already passed, and even back then I couldn't understand why soldiers and police were lying low, so far from the frontline.
Troops sheltered indoors while fighter jets roared in a couple of times a day on bombing missions, and helicopter gunships rattled away from what seemed like an impossible distance.
What good would that do in an urban fight against dug-in opponents?
Where was the methodical house-to-house clearance? The assault from multiple directions? The blockade on Lake Lanao to stop the arrival of fighters and supplies?
What was the Philippines doing with intelligence provided by the RAAF's P3 Orion surveillance aircraft that were patrolling above the city?
The soldiers we met were poorly equipped and under-armed.
One soldier showed us his ancient, Vietnam-era M16.
"It jams after a couple of shots," he said.
"They have new guns," he said, gesturing towards the IS positions.
Another soldier said his family had bought him a clip of bullets for his rifle, as spare ammunition wasn't provided by the military.
Outside the city I was surprised at the lack of anger towards the fighters who had taken Marawi, sparking the crisis that was quickly turning the eastern half of their home town into rubble.
In one refugee camp a woman sobbed as she told me that Mr Duterte must stop the bombing and start negotiating with the Maute group.
I heard the same sentiment at an impromptu protest in Manila.
"But this is ISIS," I said to one of the protesters.
"They don't want to negotiate. They want to kill people."
She replied that I was naive, that the central government was deliberately prolonging this crisis because they wanted a straight-out fight with Mindanao's troublesome separatists.
Mr Duterte certainly sounded like he wasn't in a hurry to get Marawi's 300,000 refugees back home.
And he gave the impression he didn't care whether the city was ruined in the process.
It was a dangerous approach in an area that was already suspicious of the central government in Manila.
"As early as last year, it was already difficult to enter Marawi … you don't invade it with men. You really crush it with bombs," Mr Duterte said.
"I will not put the soldiers at high risk.
"If I have to bomb the … if I have to flatten the place, I will do it. And I will take full responsibility for it."
Marawi has been crushed — and as residents begin returning to their flattened homes, I bet they don't blame only the ISIS fighters for the destruction.