via Rocky Ignacio
20 days after his second visit and 94 days after the conflict started in Marawi City, President Rodrigo Duterte once again visited troops of the Joint Special Operations Task Force Trident to boost the morale of those involved in the fighting.
Duterte said during his visit that this is the best way he could show his support to the soldiers of the country who are now fighting for peace in Marawi City. He has repeatedly said that being with his soldiers on the ground is one of his utmost concerns right now, even if it will compromise his security.
“I will be happy to die for my country. I need to be with you to show my solidarity,” he told the soldiers during his visit.
And despite the imminent danger, Duterte instructed his convoy to stop outside the safe zone to inspect the devastation near ground zero and talked to the soldiers guarding the buildings used by the members of the Maute group during the early days of the fighting. Duterte also visited a temporary patrol base and even tried a sniper rifle and fired twice towards the direction of the terrorists.
In a separate area, the President addressed over a hundred soldiers and handed financial assistance, food packs and watches after his talk.
“I am not blaming the entire Maranao people, I sympathize with them, I grieve with them. But all these years kasi they allowed the rebellion to ripen here, so may mga tunnels, they were stocking firearms and there was this recruitment. Akala natin shabu, the shabu was the factor that was fueling the rebellion. Kasi nireview ng nireview naming, mga intelligence sa community wala naman malaking pera galling sa labas,” he said during his speech.
“I am not ready to talk peace at this time kasi marami na akong sundalong namatay pati pulis. We have to end it the way it should be at ang earlier kong pronouncement , we will not stop until the last terrorist is neutralize, yung ang sinabi ko and that will be the objective the ultimate objective of the armed forces of the Philippines, but once maano ito we will make sure that we will look for the money to rehabilitate Marawi but at the same,” he added.
He again assured the soldiers that he will provide an educational fund for their children.
Accompanying the President were National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Armed Forces Chief General Eduardo Año, and Special Assistant to the President, Christopher “Bong” Go.
Martial law in Mindanao will be in effect up to the end of the year, after both congress and senate approved its extension. (PCOO)