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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Duterte set to meet 35 displaced Marawi children

AROUND 35 children from strife-torn Marawi City are set to meet President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacañang Palace on Tuesday, August 29.

Duterte's meeting with the Marawi children, aged from seven to 13, is part of the socio-cultural tour in Manila conducted by Joint Task Force Marawi.

Dubbed as "Tabak Educational Tour: Peaceful Environment for Marawi Children," the tour will allow the select children to enjoy educational experience, social and cultural values for peace building, and exposure to peaceful environments.

Brigadier General Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of Joint Task Force Marawi, said the participants were identified as among those vulnerable and susceptible to violent extremism.

"This is one of the initiatives of the armed forces to ensure that those children displaced by the crisis in Marawi City are given adequate support and psycho-social treatment by the government," Bautista said in a statement.

"It is imperative that at the initial stage, those deemed vulnerable are being guided and educated to know their roles in mainstream society," he added.

On May 23, Islamic State-linked Maute group stormed Marawi City, which is a home to 200,000 families, prompting Duterte to place Mindanao under military rule.

The government said 614 Islamist fighters, 133 government troops, and 45 civilians, were killed since the crisis erupted on May 23 until August 28.

Amid the armed conflict in Marawi City, the government earlier revealed that Marawi children are considering IS fighters as "heroes."

Bautista said the tour was conducted to provide Marawi children a “sense of responsibility,” especially that some children in besieged Mindanao are being tapped as child warriors of Jihadist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis).

"Rather than hold guns and become combatants, we want these children to foster a sense of responsibility and, in the future, become leaders of a peaceful Marawi," he said. (SunStar Philippines)

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