Philippine President resurfaces, says Marawi City battle ‘winding up’

World Today

PHILIPPINES-UNREST-CONFLICTPeople watch as smoke billows from houses after aerial bombings by Philippine Airforce planes on Islamist militant positions in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on June 17, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Noel CELIS)

Philippine forces are battling ISIL-allied militants in Marawi City.The country’s president claims the fighting is ‘winding up.’

In his first public comments in nearly a week, President Duterte said the militants have deep roots in the city on Mindanao island.

His absence led to speculation about his health. The 72-year-old dismissed the concerns, saying he was “extremely tired.” A rested Duterte attended an event honoring soldiers killed in Marawi City.

CGTN’s Barnaby Lo was able to get close to the fighting and spoke with forces on the front lines.

The battle for control of Marawi City has raged for nearly a month between the Philippine military and ISIL-allied militants. Clashes have claimed more than 300 lives and sent residents of the southern town fleeing towards safety.  

Despite the challenges, no one – not the troops on the ground or the military leadership – is losing hope. The army spokesperson in Marawi City reports government forces have gained ground and retaken key structures in the city. The military believes it’s only a matter of time before Marawi City is liberated.