Duterte spends National Day of Protest with Marawi troops
Published: 7:56 p.m., Sept. 21, 2017 | Updated: 12:14 a.m., Sept. 22, 2017
As his critics came out in droves on the streets on Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte decided to spend the day in Marawi, where government forces are said to be in the final stages of battle with Islamic State-allied militants.
Mr. Duterte was accompanied by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Año and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go, as he motored to Marawi from the 2nd Mechanized Brigade headquarters in Iligan City past 5 p.m.
It was his fifth visit to the city and the second this month.
In the city, the President reiterated his earlier statement that no celebration would take place when the military finally liberated the city.
Instead, he said soldiers would quietly leave the city after clearing it of the enemies and improvised explosive devices.
Mr. Duterte also said the end of fighting in Marawi would signal the lifting of martial law, which he declared on May 23.
He explained that he put Mindanao under martial law after terrorists invaded Marawi.
The President said the authorities were looking for the source of the funds of the fighters in Marawi.
He wondered how the militants had been able to stockpile so much ammunition, as the fighting has lasted for more than three months.
He once more vowed to press his controversial war on drugs despite what he described as “unnecessary deaths,” for which he said those responsible would be prosecuted.
“The war on drugs will continue. There will be no letup,” he said.
When police arrest a suspect for committing a crime, it is the suspect’s duty to surrender because otherwise, the police will have to use force to place him under custody, the President said. /atm