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Soldier on end to Marawi war: Are we there yet?

The Philippine Star
Soldier on end to Marawi war: Are we there yet?

One of the soldiers in the battlefront in Marawi City asked President Duterte during his surprise visit to the frontlines last Thursday whether the end to the fighting was near. File

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – “Are we there yet?”

One of the soldiers in the battlefront in Marawi City asked President Duterte during his surprise visit to the frontlines last Thursday whether the end to the fighting was near.

“I am not ready to talk peace at this time because so many soldiers have died in the war, including policemen. We have to end it the way it should be,” Duterte replied.

Duterte said the ultimate objective remains and the war against the Maute group will not stop until the last terrorist is neutralized. 

Duterte assured the soldiers that he would look for the money to rehabilitate Marawi from the ravages of war.

“But at the same time, I have also to rehabilitate my armed forces because there’s a fracture here somewhere. So many have died and I need the money to kickstart the rehabilitation,” he said.

Duterte visited the frontlines last Thursday as he congratulated the troops for regaining control of the Grand Mosque in the city, an indication they are entering the final stage of battle.

During the talk with the troops, another soldier asked Duterte how he finds the devastation left by the fighting in Marawi.

Duterte said it hurts him since Marawi City is also the place of his ancestors and the Moro people.

He said even Moro National Liberation Front chairman Nur Misuari and Moro Islamic Liberation Front head Al Haj Murad were deeply hurt by the devastation and the fighting in Marawi City.

Duterte, however, was quick to point out that the attack on Marawi was well- planned.

He cited the tunnels dug under the houses and buildings that were used by the Maute terrorists to stockpile their weapons and recruit more fighters.

The President said that over the years, the Maute group has been selling illegal drugs to finance their movement.

“And of course there are many who remit money because the struggle is already happening,” he added.

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