Duterte shoots back at critics: What are you talking about? Marawi already liberated
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has questioned why government critics are still harping about liberating the city of Marawi, as it had already been done three years ago.
According to Duterte, the rebuilding of Marawi — a city torn by fighting between the Maute group and government forces — would take some time, but it is already under the government’s control.
“In the meantime itong mga tao na nagre-reklamo, sabi there is no liberation of Marawi yet. Look, the government liberated Marawi, not from the people of Marawi. We do not do that, and we never did it,” Duterte said in his pre-recorded address late Monday night.
(In the meantime, some people complain, saying that there is no liberation of Marawi yet. Look, the government liberated Marawi, not from the people of Marawi. We do not do that, and we never did it.)
“We liberated Marawi against the terrorists, Maute pati ‘yong Isis. ‘Yon ang nangyari d’yan. There’s no such thing — you’re using the word ‘liberation’, we never said that anybody occupies it except by the government and the peace-loving Filipinos,” he added.
(We liberated Marawi against the terrorists, Maute including even the Isis. That’s what happened there. There’s no such thing — you’re using the word “liberation,” we never said that anybody occupies it except by the government and the peace-loving Filipinos.)
It is unclear who was the “complainant” Duterte referred to as he did not mention it explicitly, but Vice President Leni Robredo released a statement last Sunday, on the third anniversary of the city’s liberation.
Marawi was laid to siege after the Maute group, who were Islamic State sympathizers, occupied the city last May 2017. After five months of massive fighting, which led to deaths among civilians, the terrorists’ side, and within the Philippine military, the government declared Marawi “liberated.”
But on Sunday, Robredo — seen as the figurehead of the opposition — commented that truly liberating the war-torn city goes beyond stopping gunfight.
“Liberation entails much more than silencing the gunfire. Today we remember the Marawi we lost, even as we renew the call for a more urgent approach to the rehabilitation process and recommit to the rebuilding of a more peaceful and prosperous city. Insha Allah, makakabangon tayong muli,” Robredo said.
Duterte admitted that Marawi is still hounded by terrorist activities around it, but clarified that the Islamic City, the provincial capital of Lanao del Sur, has been long freed — although at the cost of many lives.
“Of course it is not freed by the activities of the terrorists, but if you’re talking about liberation, tapos na ‘yan, at the expense of the blood of both sides,” Duterte explained.
(Of course, it is not freed by the terrorists’ activities, but if you’re talking about liberation, that is already done, at the expense of the blood of both sides.)
“Pero sa akin, mas masakit kasi I’m the commander-in-chief, marami akong sundalong namatay. We are doing our best. We did not ask for this fight, we had to destroy because it was the only way to put down the enemy,” he added.
(But it hurts more for me because I’m the commander-in-chief, a lot of my soldiers died. We are doing our best. We did not ask for this fight. We had to destroy because it was the only way to put down the enemy.)
Rehabilitation of Marawi has been a controversial issue since many people are still displaced due to the five-month fight between state forces and terrorists. But despite the COVID-19 pandemic taking the government’s attention, Malacañang has assured the public several times that rehabilitation is in progress. [ac]
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