Gov't "taking pains to preserve places of worship" in Marawi: Abella
Despite regaining control of the Bayabao Bridge, a key area in Marawi, after a bitterly fought battle where three soldiers were killed and 52 injured, President Rodrigo Duterte and the military are "taking pains to preserve places of worship" like mosques.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella made this clarification on Saturday after Duterte's "advice not to bomb mosques in Marawi City where ,Maute rebels are holed up contradicted his earlier statement that he gave the military the option to attack the mosques to capture or kill the terrorist rebels."
"Although exemptions have been provided by international conventions that allow force to be employed, we have deliberately chosen to preserve it and so with other places of worship in the main battle area," said Abella in a statement read by Assistant to the Presidential Spokesperson China Jocson on government radio.
AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo A?o, in compliance with Duterte's guidance, "has made the safety of civilians and the rescue of hostages as primordial concerns of our forces," said Abella.
.Safety of hostages remain in focus as the battle of Marawi has lasted for more than three months where , Abella said
There are 608 Maute-Abu Sayyaf terrorists who have been killed while there are 136 government forces killed, according to Capt Jo-ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command. DMS