President Rodrigo Duterte attempted to visit Marawi City Friday but was foiled by bad weather and dropped in unannounced on the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, Light Armor Division in Barangay Maria Christina, Iligan City instead.
Duterte, who was clad in military battle dress, said it was his second attempt to visit troops who have been battling extremist gunmen in Marawi since May 23, prompting him to declare martial law over Mindanao.
In video posted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office Duterte was shown with a submachinegun slung from his right shoulder. A photo, also posted by the PCOO, shows Duterte’s close aide Christopher “Bong” Go similar armed and wearing a bulletproof vest.
“I have to be with the men, the fighting forces of government … I should show my face there,” he told an interviewer in the video.
Explaining why he did not make it to Marawi the second time around, Duterte explained that “we were circling many times but could not penetrate” the cloud cover because of a squall.
He also said he would not lift martial law before his second state of the nation address later this month unless the Armed Forces and Philippine National Police declare the situation no longer critical.
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