As government troops ferret out less than 100 Maute Group terrorists holed out in fortified buildings in downtown Marawi City, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, July 11, said the Marawi siege will be over in 10 to 15 days.
In his speech during the 10th listing anniversary of the Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc. at the Philippine Stock Exchange in Makati City, the President likewise expressed his resolve to visit Marawi City before the fighting ends.
“So ‘yan ang ano ko. I hope that things can… I need about 15 more days,” Duterte said.
He said the effort to clear Marawi of remaining militants is hampered by the apparent number of arms and ammunition that the terrorist have stockpiled.
“Hindi lang kasi ba’t nahirapan tayo, we knew that they were sorts, nandoon na lahat. But ang hindi ko talaga alam at baka si ano hindi din talaga namin — na-miss ano namin is — karami ng armas. Hindi maubusan. This is the 45th, 46th day? Hindi maubus-ubos ang — lalo na ‘yung grenades,” the President noted.
In the meantime, Duterte said that he remains resolute in his decision to visit Marawi City while the fighting is still ongoing.
He said he wanted go there to be with the state security forces that he ordered to fight and die for the country.
“That’s why I’m not in really in — in what my usual equanimity. Kasi alam mo kung bakit? You want to know the truth? Kasi ako ‘yung nag-declare ng martial law. And I was the one who ordered the Armed Forces and the police to go there and fight and die. Kaya gusto ko talagang pumunta doon,” Duterte said.
The last time the President attempted to visit the conflict area was last Friday but bad weather conditions forced him to go to Iligan City instead and visit the 2nd Mechanized Brigade of the Philippine Army.
“The other day I attempted again, but Marawi is always a rainy place. I was circling Marawi, I could not land, I could not go down nearer baka matyambahan kami ng Barrett na caliber 50,” he said.
But the President is not losing hope to go to Marawi City to be with the military and police who are fighting to free the city from Islamic State-inspired militants and bring normalcy to the region and its residents.
“Gusto kong pumunta doon, ‘yung hindi naman ako maipasubo ng sundalo na really, basta ilayo lang ako nang kaunti, basta I want to be there while there is still fighting so that I can observe. But I’ll try to make it again, this week tignan ko kung… But palagay ko, 10 to 15 days okay na,” Duterte said. (PNA)