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Duterte renews support for troops fighting in Marawi

PRESIDENT Duterte visits the Tactical Command Post of the Joint Special Operations Task Force Trident in Barangay Kilala during a visit to Marawi City last Friday. (Presidential photo)

PRESIDENT Duterte visits the Tactical Command Post of the Joint Special Operations Task Force Trident in Barangay Kilala during a visit to Marawi City last Friday. (Presidential photo)

President Duterte reassured soldiers of the government’s full support as they continue to fight the remaining militants during a visit to Marawi City last Friday.

“I have to be here because I want all of you to know that mahal ko kayo,” Duterte told soldiers of the Joint Special Operation Task Force Trident in Camp Kilala.

The President said that he is hopeful that the government will not lose more troops because of the ongoing battle. “I hope you will be able to clean up Marawi City and get rid of the terrorists,” Duterte said.

He also reiterated his pledge to put up a P50-billion trust fund for the children of policemen and soldiers, adding that he recently signed the law on free tertiary education in state and local universities and colleges.

Last Friday’s unannounced visit to Marawi was Duterte’s second in two weeks. Duterte first visited Marawi last July after two failed attempts due to the bad weather.

He first set foot in the war-torn city while military operations against the pro-Islamic State Maute Group were ongoing.

Photos shared by Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go with the media showed Duterte clad in military attire and surrounded by soldiers excited to take selfie with the 72-year-old President.

He also visited wounded soldiers in Camp Ranao and delivered a short message before members of Joint Task Force Marawi.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año also visited troops in Marawi two days before Duterte.

AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said Año’s visit boosted the morale of the soldiers. Año noted that government troops are “raring to conduct military operations” to expedite the liberation of Marawi.

During his first visit to Marawi, Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said Duterte gratitude for the soldiers’ 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. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)

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