THE Islamic Center in Marawi City, which the Isis-inspired Maute terror group used as their “command and control” post, fell into the hands of the military on Thursday, the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) reported.
Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, Wesmincom information officer, said President Rodrigo Duterte has congratulated the troops for successfully retaking the Islamic Center.
Petinglay said the President visited the troops on Thursday in the main battle area after they took control of the Islamic Center.
It was the Duterte’s third visit in the besieged city since the fighting started on May 23.
The fighting broke out when the Maute group members went berserk and occupied several establishments after the troops raided the hideout of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who pledged allegiance to Isis (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).
“I would like to reiterate this, I will never abandon you as long as you are doing the right thing,” Duterte told the troops.
“Our troops are overjoyed of the President’s visit,” Wesmincom commander Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez Jr. said. “His message was clear that as long as we work in the bounds of law, he will never leave us. His visit once again brought renewed vigor and inspiration to the troops. Surely, they will be more motivated to accomplish their job of liberating Marawi from terror.” (SunStar Philippines)