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Duterte wants to push thru with Marawi visit

By GENALYN D. KABILING

President Duterte is willing to take the risk of getting hurt with his planned visit to the battle zone in Marawi City this week.

Unfazed by the dangers to his life, the President said he intends to show solidarity with the government troops battling Islamic militants in the conflict-torn city.

His planned visit to Marawi comes after two botched attempts to travel to Ground Zero due to bad weather last week.

“I really wanted to be there, to be just with the fighting security forces, maski magpakita lang doon, maski matamaan basta dito lang sa pwet, huwag lang sa harap,” the President said during his visit to the Philippine Stock Exchange in Makati City last Tuesday.

“I’ll try again. It’s not braggadocio,” said Duterte who asked for 10 to 15 more days to end the crisis in Marawi.

The President said he prefers to visit the troops while the battle is ongoing, not when the conflict is over. “It’s just ayaw kung magpunta doon na peaceful na. Gusto kong pumunta doon, ‘yung hindi naman ako maipasubo ng sundalo na really, basta ilayo lang ako nang kaunti,” he said.

“I want to be there while there is still fighting so that I can observe. I”ll try to make it again this week,” he added.

The President expressed optimism that the conflict in Marawi may end in 10 to 15 days but cautioned about the lingering threat by the Islamic State in the country.

He said the government troops were having difficulty in flushing out the rebels due to their seemingly endless firepower.

“I think in 10 to 15 days, it will be okay,” Duterte said in Filipino. “But remember, the new scourge is ISIS. It will continue to haunt us because of our Muslim brothers and sisters,” he said.

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