DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte told Marawi residents to ignore the calls of Leftist groups, and instead give government time in laying down the foundation for the rehabilitation of their war-torn city.
Duterte said this Monday, April 9, before he departed for China to attend the Boao Forum for Asia, where he would be meeting the country’s president, Xi Jinping.
“Give us time to clean the downtown area, tapos papasok kami (then we can come in). We will clean it up of leftovers, unexploded ordnance,” he said.
The President warned them about progressive groups, who attempted to march toward ground zero more than a week ago. The groups under the Ranaw Multisectoral Movement gathered in the city in time for a weekly Muslim Friday prayer March 30. Part of their calls was to oppose the government’s plan to build a P400-million military camp in Barangay Kapataran. (READ: Gov’t to compensate Marawi residents booted out of military camp)
The opposition has snowballed since Moro leaders, Ranao Rescue Team’s Samira Gutoc Tomawis, and Moro Consensus Group’s Drieza Lininding voiced out their concern that the camp would only make the residents more vulnerable to attacks.
But Duterte on Monday said, “Huwag ninyo ako pakialaman.” (Don’t meddle with me).
“I will do what is best for you so do not hurry me up. We are trying to gather, hindi ito basta-basta nasira (it wasn’t ruined just like that). Can you can rebuild it with how many billions? Just stay put,” he said.
The President said the military camp will assure the residents “of eternal peace.”
Many residents have reportedly been impatient to return to their homes, many of which were flattened during the 5-month conflict. (TIMELINE: The liberation of Marawi)
But the government does not want them returning to the city yet, as the Armed Forces of the Philippines has not wrapped up its efforts to clear the area of explosive devices. – Rappler.com