MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte went straight to Marawi City last night, leaving Manila amid protests against his administration over extrajudicial killings and police abuses in relation to his drug war.
Duterte spoke to troops stationed in Marawi where he expressed full support for the military’s efforts to liberate the city from the Islamic State-inspired Maute terror group.
Unfazed with the massive protests in Rizal Park, Manila yesterday, Duterte also reiterated that there will be no letup in the campaign against drugs despite the “unnecessary deaths” without directly referring to the killings of teenagers Kian delos Santos, Carlo Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman.
“The war on drugs will continue. There will be no letup. Just because there were one, two, three, four, five unnecessary deaths,” he said in his speech aired over radio dzBB last night.
In his fifth visit to Marawi, Duterte said the criminal should yield to the authorities to avoid any encounter.
“The duty of the criminal is to surrender. If not, the next law that mandates to the soldier or the police. Surrender, so that you are put under the law,” Duterte said.
Duterte added that the law enforcers must assert their mandate to put the suspects under their authority, especially during resistance.
“(The) law says you must overcome the resistance, you can drag him – that process alone would mean that there would be some injury,” the President said.
The other day, Duterte called on the public to help him in rebuilding Marawi City from the rubble.
He noted that the government needs at least P50 billion just for the rehabilitation of the city that was destroyed by almost four months of fighting between security forces and the Maute group along with supporters of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.
Duterte said the conflict in Marawi is almost over but he sees no need to celebrate.