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Duterte visits Marawi for the fourth time

President Duterte poses with troops during his fourth visit to Marawi City. Special Assistant to the President Bong Go

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte made his fourth visit to the besieged southern city of Marawi on Monday as military offensives against ISIS-inspired terrorists that overran the city enter the “final stage.”

Photos released by Special Assistant to the President Bong Go showed Duterte—wearing Army camouflage attire and bulletproof vest—posing with troops.

READ: Duterte contradicts earlier statement to bomb Marawi mosque

According to Malacañang, Duterte arrived in Marawi at 2 p.m. to visit the city's Grand Mosque and the Mapandi Bridge, which had been recaptured by advancing soldiers from terrorists.

"The President also had an hour to attend the command conference with the Joint Task Force Marawi. Thereafter, President Duterte gave goods, watches to soldiers and even cigarettes to those who want," the Palace said.

"Before leaving, the Commander-in-Chief gave a snappy salute to the soldiers who are still fighting for peace in Marawi," it added.

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READ: Key Marawi bridge retaken, 6 terrorist snipers killed

Duterte last set foot in the war-torn city on August 24.

In a press briefing also on Monday, AFP Spokesperson Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla, Jr. said the battle to retake Marawi is in its “last miles.”

“Well, as has been previously announced, we’re entering the last and final stages of our fight in Marawi,” Padilla said, adding that the war zone is now down to one-fourth of a kilometer grid square or less.

“That is being mentioned because the remaining areas where the rebels are holed up are getting smaller and smaller by the day. And as we clear more buildings, we deny them the opportunity to retake additional facilities or installations where they can hide. So they are actually concentrated on only a few,” he added.

Clashes in Marawi erupted on May 23, prompting Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law. In July, Congress overwhelmingly voted to grant the chief executive’s request to extend the military rule in the southern region until yearend.

READ: Duterte threatens martial law if Reds take to streets

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