Duterte calls for understanding over dragging Marawi conflict
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – President Duterte has asked for the understanding of the people in Lanao provinces and the Moro people in general in connection with the dragging war against terror in Marawi City.
“My brother Maranaos and the Moro world here in Mindanao, I do not want to fight (with you). I simply cannot wage a war against my own people,” Duterte said.
The President has always bragged about his ties with the Moro people, which endeared him more to them, by saying his grandmother was a Maranao.
Duterte acknowledged that the campaign against the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City has been dragging, but that the military has been doing its best to end the problem as soon as possible.
“I pray that there will be be a short period of war activity and expect it to be over soon,” he said.
Duterte then assured the people of Marawi that the government would help them in the rehabilitation stage after the war.
“We are ready, the government, to extend assistance. We will always prioritize the poor,” he said, adding that the rehabilitation efforts would be headed by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr.
For moneyed families, he said the government was not guaranteeing them anything.
“If there’s anything left (after poor had been rehabilitated), it would be theirs,” he added.
Duterte also hit back at his critics for questioning the declaration of martial law in Mindanao amid the Marawi crisis.
“If my critics are not stupid, why are they asking why Martial Law had to be declared all over Mindanao when the conflict was only in Marawi? Because Mindanao is Moroland – not only Christians….. No matter how you pursue them (extremists), they can easily cross over to Lanao del Norte or to Basilan. So why would you only declare Martial Law in Marawi?” he asked.
Duterte said the attack on Marawi was rebellion as the gunmen wanted to establish a separate territory.
“They are already occupying a territory there, government collapsed in there Marawi. They have raised the ISIS flag there,” he said.
Duterte said his critics saw the Marawi crisis as a simple problem, but it was not.
“I lost 58 soldiers (so far). It’s easy to look good, to criticize,” he said.
Duterte repeated his earlier statement that the campaign in Marawi “has nothing to do with religion.”
“I refuse to believe that it is fueling this situation,” he said.
Duterte said the military has been doing everything to end the Maute problem. (With a report from Frinston Lim INQ) SFM
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