In this Aug. 24, 2017 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte is clad in full battle gear as he visits the war-torn Marawi City for the third time to boost the morale of government troops from the Joint Special Operations Task Force Trident. The president shared words of encouragement to the troops and vowed anew that he will cover the educational expense for their children. He also handed financial assistance, food packs and watches. Accompanying the president were National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año, and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go. Simeon Celi/Presidential Photo

Duterte says Philippines won't be a regional center of ISIS
Alexis Romero (philstar.com) - December 20, 2017 - 12:40pm
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines would never become a province of extremist group ISIS, President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday, as he praised soldiers who fought during the Marawi siege. 
 
“We will not allow those who subscribe to the Daesh ideology to succeed,” Duterte said during the 82nd anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Aguinaldo.
 
“We will never allow the Islamic State to make the Philippines its regional center,” he added.
 
 
ISIS-inspired local terrorists occupied Marawi City for more than four months starting May 23, prompting Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law. More than 160 soldiers did during the siege, the longest urban war in the country since World War II.
 
Duterte declared Marawi liberated from terrorists last October but has not lifted martial law in Mindanao because of supposed threats in other provinces. Congress has voted to extend military rule in the island until the end of 2018.
 
Duterte commended the soldiers and policemen for their sacrifices that led to the defeat of terrorists in battle-ravaged Marawi.
 
“I salute the brave men and women of our Army, Air Force and Navy for their courage, dedication and sacrifice to liberate Marawi from the clutches of extremist terrorists and communist insurgents,” the president said.
 
“Having said that, may I also extend my gratitude to the police and the other uniformed men, personnel in government who fought alongside with you,” he added.
 
 
Duterte said the death of Isnilon Hapilon, believed to be the former leader of ISIS in the region, had bolstered his administration’s resolve to eliminate all terrorist groups in the country.
 
“Although we have already begun to rebuild Marawi City and rehabilitate conflict-affected areas, our fight is far from over. We will remain vigilant as we continue our intensified military (operations) against the remaining terrorist groups,” he said.
 
“I now return the favor to our troops who made the supreme sacrifice, suffered injuries and went beyond the call of duty. Be assured that the government will support all of your endeavors as we realize a stronger and more resilient government.”
 
Duterte assured soldiers that the government would take care of their families and provide everything they need to fulfill their mandate.
 

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