Duterte plans to visit Marawi
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday expressed a desire to go to Marawi, saying he could not sit in his office while people were dying in the city occupied by terrorists.
“I want to go to Marawi. I think I’ll go there on Friday. It’s about too late in the day to be hesitating to go there,” he said in a speech at the 120th founding anniversary of the Presidential Security Group.
Friday is June 30, the first anniversary of Mr. Duterte’s presidency.
He appeared to shrug off concerns about the danger of going to a battle zone.
“I will go there and if unlucky, I will return as cargo as well, [in a] C-130. Anyway, there is a Vice President, so what’s our problem?” he said. “You know, I cannot just sit on my ass in my office while the people suffered there.”
Mr. Duterte said he had been visiting military camps in recent weeks to make sure that the morale of government troops was high.
He was supposed to visit Marawi earlier this month, but the trip was canceled.
The official reason given for the cancellation was bad weather.
In his speech, Mr. Duterte also spoke about the “moral burden” he carried because of the conflict in Marawi, where many government troops had been killed.
He spoke about the thinning hair in the back of his head due to his constant head-scratching.
“At night, I grapple, especially when I read the briefer and how many soldiers I have lost for the day,” he said.
“More than anybody else, I am the one hurting. I really wallow in sorrow because I gave the order to go there and fight. That is the moral burden that I carry all day and all night, to tell you the truth,” he added.
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