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Du30 to spend more time in Mindanao

By: Genalyn D. Kabiling

President Duterte is planning to spend more time in Mindanao until the raging conflict in Marawi City is over.

The President said he would be less seen in public since he intends to visit the troops and try to boost their morale amid efforts to quell a rebellion by the Islamic State-linked militants.

“I would be spending more time in Mindanao because there is still fighting. Every now and then, I go to the brigades to check on their morale, readiness and everything,” Duterte told reporters in Clark, Pampanga last Wednesday.

“So hindi niyo ako makikita masyado dito sa – unless there is an important appointment. I’d be spending most of my time in Mindanao,” he added.

For more than a month since the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao, government forces have been battling Islamic State-linked militants holed up in Marawi.

The military clearing operations have reportedly been hampered by the enemies’ use of human shields, mosques as staging attacks, snipers, and improvised bombs.

The President earlier dispelled rumors about his alleged poor health following a string of absences in recent days.

The commander-in-chief explained he merely rested and visited military camps when he was out of public sight. He also claimed he made a secret trip somewhere in Mindanao at the time.

“May mga lakad ako na hindi ninyo dapat malaman. Pagkatapos na siguro,” he said during the ceremonial turnover of China’s military equipment donation in Clark last Wednesday.

“There are things that I have to do, which are not good for everybody to know. ‘Yan lang ang explanation ko ngayon muna,” he said.

In case something bad happens to him, the President has recognized that Vice President Leni Robredo will be his constitutional successor, not erstwhile nuisance presidential candidate Elly Pamatong.