Duterte maintains need for military camp in Marawi City
President Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated that military installations will be permanent fixtures in Marawi City despite earlier opposition by the local government and its people.
Duterte met Wednesday night in Malacañang some lawmakers, heads of national government agencies involved in Marawi rehabilitation, local government officials, and leaders of internally displaced persons in the city.
The meeting was convened after Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go and other legislators conducted a public hearing in Marawi City late last month. Go assured the residents of the city that he would bring up to the President their concerns.
Last December, Lanao del Sur provincial board passed a resolution opposing the plan to set up a new military camp in Marawi as this might create animosity, offend cultural sensitivities and transgress private rights. Marawi is the capital of Lanao del Sur.
"I'm not after the Maranao, my purpose there is the military should be there to avoid a repeat of...the military is not after the Maranao, what they are after for are the terrorists that terrorize everybody," a Malacañang statement, quoting Duterte, said.
"Now, if you are bothered by my explanation to you, just look at what happened to the Middle East," he said.
Duterte said the presence of soldiers in Marawi was not intended to control the people's lives in the city but to fend off extremists that threaten order.
He also said that the communist rebels also pose a threat to the country’s security.
The President assured that once the area is peaceful already "then it’s about time that the military will go out. My decision to build a military camp there will remain.”
To allay concerns, Duterte said he would favor Muslim members of the armed forces to be deployed in Marawi.
Under the security component of the Marawi City rehabilitation, the Armed Forces of the Philippines conducts military operations against the remaining members of the ISIS-Maute group.
Marawi is now undergoing rehabilitation after it was heavily devastated during the five-month battle in 2017 between the military and the terrorist group. Celerina Monte/DMS