PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte mourned Wednesday the death of government soldiers who were killed in the ongoing gun battle in Marawi City.
The Chief Executive, in a speech delivered at the 119th Philippine Navy anniversary celebration in Davao City, deplored the “growing menace” in the southern Philippines that claimed the lives of “plenty of best soldiers and hardworking policemen.”
“There is a strife going on in the Philippines and I grieve the loss of my soldiers and policemen. It is not easy to read a briefer every day to find out that you are losing a plenty of your best soldiers and the hardworking policemen,” Duterte said.
“So I give my salute, my respects to the men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the [Philippine] National Police, my salute and my deepest respect. And I grieve with the families of those who have lost their lives,” he added.
Duterte made the remark following reports that 21 state forces have been killed in the continuing offensives against Maute bandits.
Last week, the President declared martial law in Mindanao, after the Maute group reportedly flying ISIS flag had torched public and private facilities in Marawi City and inflicted harm on the people in the city.
Duterte has ordered the state forces to intensify operations to suppress the lawless activities of the terrorists in Marawi City and to stop it from spreading in some parts of Mindanao.
Military spokesperson Restituto Padilla Jr. said earlier in the day that the government forces have been able to clear 90 percent of Marawi City from terror threats. (SunStar Philippines)