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Duterte visits Marawi City incognito, talks to troops

By ARGYLL CYRUS B. GEDUCOS

After two failed attempts, President Duterte finally visited Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, to talk to the government troops fighting the terrorists there.

Malacañang disclosed Thursday night that Duterte went incognito to visit the members of Joint Task Force Marawi in Camp Ranao, Marawi City, around 3 p.m.

According to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, Duterte expressed gratitude to the soldiers for their heroism and assured them of the government’s full support.

“Dito natin nakita talaga ‘yung suporta talaga ng ating Presidente. Pinakita niya talaga ang tapang at strong support sa ating mga kasundaluhan,” Herrera said.

Duterte, despite getting advice not to go to Marawi City due to security reasons, insisted on visiting the war-torn city to show support to the soldiers. He said he does not want to go to Marawi when it is already peaceful and people are already rejoicing.

Duterte tried to go to the city twice but bad weather foiled his plans. He said on Friday that he will go to Marawi City “on the next few days” to visit and encourage the troops.

“Kami po ay nagpapasalamat dahil cooperative ang weather natin. Kami po ay lubos na natutuwa dahil nakabisita ang ating Pangulo,” Herrera said.

“Very firm, very dedicated ang ating pangulo sa pagsuporta lalo na sa ginagawang operation dito sa Marawi City,” he added.

Herrera added that Duterte’s visit definitely boosted the morale of the soldiers and inspired them in their operations against the terrorists in Marawi City.

“Ang aking nakita doon ay mayroon ding naibigay na mga goods para sating mga sundalo at tinignan nya rin ‘yung mga iba’t ibang firearms recovered,” he said.

Marawi City has been under siege since May 23. Duterte declared a 60-day martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao. Both are set to expire tomorrow, Saturday.

Duterte asked Congress on Wednesday to extend martial law until December 31, 2017 in order to fully quell the threat of terrorism and to aid the rehabilitation of the city.

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