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Battle in Marawi continues; Duterte vows lasting peace

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MARAWI CITY/MANILA — Even as the war against terrorists in Marawi City has resumed after an eight-hour truce, President Rodrigo Duterte met Muslim and Mindanao leaders in Malacanang on June 27 to celebrate the Eid’l Fitr, the end of the Muslim Ramadan.

 

During the rites, Duterte, who showed up after six days of absence, stressed anew his promise to the Filipinos that he would secure lasting peace in Mindanao, adding that Marawi City will rise again from the rubbles of the war on the terrorists.

 

"Sabi ko tatapusin ko talaga ito but one thing I will promise you: I will see to it that Marawi will rise as a prosperous city again," Duterte said

 

In his first public speech in six days, the President vowed to release P20 billion for the rehabilitation of Marawi, a cultural and trade center located at the heart of mainland Mindanao.

 

"I need a big amount because I will rebuild Marawi. Kailangan ko talaga itayo ang Marawi kasi, kung hindi, I will remain forever a kontrabida," said Duterte, the first Mindanaoan president. (I need a big amount because I will rebuild Marawi. I badly need it because if I fail to rebuild Marawi, I will remain a villain forever.)


“To our brothers and sisters who have been affected by the violence and conflict in Mindanao, I assure you that the government is committed to securing just and lasting peace in the island,” President Duterte said in his speech before an audience of Muslim Filipinos.


The Chief Executive said the military and police remain hard at work to ending the crisis with dispatch, especially in Marawi City.

At the same time, Duterte said the government will continue to support Muslim Filipino scholars like Omar O. Sacar and Abdul Aziz A. Banisil to help improve the capabilities of the country's youth.


Sacar and Banisil are now studying at the Imam Muhammad Bin Saud University in Indonesia. 

Duterte hoped that the two will become part of the next generation of leaders who will help develop and advance their localities towards greater prosperity and progress.

Amid the continuing conflict in Marawi, Duterte said the entire nation stands beside the Muslim Filipino community.


“We will be with you as you rebuild your homes and localities, and as you realize your dreams of a better life,” he said.


Also in his address, the President expressed his sentiments over the misguided goals of the Maute group, which he said are against Filipino values and are only geared towards destroying lives and communities.

 

Duterte said it pains him to see Marawi crumble in the hands of extremists who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which he said was trying to bring an unacceptable ideology into the country.


“Ang masakit sa akin, na pumasok a fractured ideology na hindi naman malaman sila mismo kung ano ang ginagawa. All that they want is to kill and destroy. Paano tayo mabubuhay niyan?” he said.

The President called for national unity as he extended his greetings of peace for the Eid’l Fitr celebration.


“So let us unite to achieve our common goals. With our solidarity and faith in each other, let us make Mindanao and the Philippines a land of order, stability, harmony and prosperity,” he said.

 

The siege in Marawi City began a month ago, when the Maute group, led by brothers Omar and Abdullah, captured parts of the city in an alleged bid to establish an ISIS province in Mindanao. More than 450, mostly suspected terrorists have perished in the siege.

 

The clashes erupted after government troops attempted to arrest Abu Sayyaf senior leader Isnilon Hapilon in the city on May 23. Hapilon, known as ISIS' anointed leader in Southeast Asia, evaded arrest and has reportedly escaped after weeks of fierce clashes.

 

The conflict prompted Duterte to put the entire Mindanao under martial law, a declaration facing opposition at the Supreme Court.

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