News Release

President Duterte: No celebration once Marawi siege is over

Amid all the ongoing rallies from the opposition and critiques in today's National Day of Protest, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte opts to visit the troops in the war-torn Marawi City. The President on September 21, 2017 talked to the troops and expressed his utmost gratitude for their continuing efforts in quelling the terror threats in the war-torn city. He also provided the soldiers with groceries as well as watches and eyewears. Joining the President were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs Arthur Tabaquero, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año, and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go. The President also tagged along Paolo Santos, Jimmy Bondoc, and Arnel Ignacio to provide entertainment to the troops. PHOTOS BY RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, September 21, said there would be no celebration when the war in Marawi City is over.

“In deference to the soldiers na — na hindi na kasama natin dito. Pagkatapos nito, you just go out of Marawi silently. Wala tayong selebrasyon,” President Duterte said in his fifth visit to the government forces in Marawi City.

“Hindi rin natin ipakita sa mga kababayan nating mga Maranao kasi hindi naman tayo naliligayahan. Ayaw naman natin pumatay. Ayaw naman natin silang galawin,” he said.

The President said that instead of a celebration, he will join the troops for a thanksgiving mass.

“I’m sorry that it has to take this long for you to sacrifice. Kaya ako pumunta dito, magpakita rin ng solidarity… Ako talaga nag-insist na despite of the inclement weather, I must see you because I have to tell you that I love my soldiers who are the Filipinos,” Duterte said.

“Mahal ko kayong lahat. Your lives are precious to me,” he added.

In a media interview following his talk to the troops, President Duterte said allies like the US and China had helped the country in its fight against the Maute terror group.

“America is one who helped us. But we’ll also have to thank China for providing for the shortfall of the arms… you make good guns now. Your sniper accounted for also the side losing so much. It’s accurate, it’s good,” he said.

The President meanwhile said he would lift martial law once government forces winds up the offensives in the conflict zone.

“It will be lifted any time after things are already — There’s a clean up and we can make sure that it does not end with the physical fighting. There’s much to be done,” he said.

“The catch word is when it’s safe here in Mindanao… there is no pulling of a… spillage of men. As long as it remains manageable and the police can take care of it,” he added.

In the same media interview, the President revealed that Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año would be the next Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“General Año would be in his retirement come October. Insha’Allah, Insha’Allah. He will be the DILG,” Duterte said.###PND