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President Duterte is unperturbed regarding the threat of the Maute Group to burn down Marawi City if the demands of the bandit group are not met.
During a dinner hosted for members of The Wallace Business Forum in Malacañang, Duterte initially sounded optimistic in learning that the group was ready to pull out of their offensive attacks but wanted government forces to back off from running after the outlaws, something which the president was not agreeable to.
“And I said, ‘Go ahead, do it.’ We need to do a lot of constructions in this country. There are a lot of materials there and we will be glad to rebuild and rehabilitate every structure that you destroy. As long it’s confined in the areas of Lanao, I don’t really care,” stated Duterte. “No, I will not stop the operation. As a matter of fact, we will go ahead and – that’s stupidity.”
Aside from the Maute group, Duterte also cited the National Democratic Front’s (NDF) request for him to release more political prisoners as part of confidence-building measures in the on-going peace talks.
“I said to Secretary (Jesus) Dureza and (Silvestro) Bello, ‘look guys you tell the communist that I have as a matter of fact conceded too many too soon. All of the leaders are out and the only reason why I agreed that they should be out is because you have to do the talking in another country and that is in Oslo’,” said Duterte.
Duterte even threatened to end talks with the communist group if they keep on demanding the release of more prisoners.
“You don’t make so much demands that are really too… and we have to (also consider) the views of the military and the police.” (Elena Aben)