LOOK: Troops return home from Marawi

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 20) — They defeated the enemy – and now that they've won back Marawi, some troops from the city got their well-deserved return home.

A total of 288 soldiers who fought terrorists in Marawi City have reunited with their families.

Troops from the Army's First Battalion of the Second Infantry Division were welcomed by their loved ones as they arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Friday.

They also received a heroes' welcome at the Philippine Army Headquarters in Taguig.

The military started to downsize its troops in the war zone following President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of the liberation of Marawi.

These troops were among the first to be deployed in Marawi when the fighting broke out in May. They will now return to their mother units after nearly five months in the battlefield.

"Nauna na kayo dahil meron kayo ibang mission na gagampanan… Nauna na kayo pero sa tingin ko sa sitwasyon ngayon ay masisgirado natin na wala na mababawasan o masusugatan sa kapwa sundalo nyo sa Marawi," Major Gen. Rolando Bautista, commanding general of the Philippine Army told the troops.

[Translation: You arrived first because you have another mission to fulfill… You arrived first but I believe the situation now ensures your fellow soldiers in Marawi won't die or be wounded.]

RELATED: 'Mission accomplished': Some Marawi troops head back home

The soldiers were welcomed by their families. Children held banners that read: "Welcome back Daddy," "Hero ang Daddy ko (My Daddy is a Hero)," and "Proud Army Family."

Two children welcomed their father in their camouflage uniforms while holding toy guns.

The families were overjoyed with the soldiers' return.

"Nung first day na hinatid namin sila, grabe yung iyak namin yung kaba namin na baka di na siya makauwi ng buhay, pero ngayon tears of joy kasi masayang masaya kami na nakabalik sila nang ligtas," shared Jingjing Blanco, a soldier's wife.

[Translation:When we first sent them off, we were so scared they wouldn't be able to come home alive, but now we're crying tears of joy because we're happy they've returned home safely.]

Another soldier's wife was as equally grateful.

"From day one, biling bilin niya 'wag kakalimutan magpamisa so for five months araw-araw may pa-misa po kami para sa kanila," Anna Joy Berilo said.

[Translation:From day one, he told me not to forget to offer masses for them. We did it every day.]

The soldiers were relieved to see their families again.

"Natapos na yung gulo. Makakauwi na ulit nang masaya at walang galos at malaki ang pasasalamat ko sa Panginoon," said Roy Guardian, acting team leader of Team 3 of the 1st Infantry battalion.

[Translation: The war is over. We can finally go home happy and unscathed. I'm very thankful to God.]

Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command Chief Carlito Galvez said six military battalions will stay in Marawi while rehabilitation is ongoing.

The fighting in Marawi City began on May 23, prompting Duterte to declare martial law throughout Mindanao. The city's liberation was declared on October 17, a day after two of the Maute group's leaders, Abu Sayyaf Basilan leader Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, were killed.

The military said the war will end in a "matter of days," but five months of fighting claimed the lives of 163 government troops and 47 civilians.

Dr. Mahmud Ahmad, a Malaysian militant who joined the ISIS-inspired Maute group and supposedly funded the Marawi attack was among 13 enemies killed on Thursday. His body, however, has yet to be found. If confirmed, this brings number of terrorists killed in Marawi to 850.