By Genalyn Kabiling
Government troops are determined to sustain 24/7 operations to try to meet President Duterte’s deadline in ending the conflict in Marawi City in three days, a military spokesman said Monday.
Armed Forces spokesman Restituto Padilla, however, said the military continues to face “complications” such as the enemies’ use of human shields and presence of places of worship that hamper an all-out pursuit against them.
“Our commanders have tried to meet the deadline. There’s no denying that. We have gone all-out. We have done all our best and we have been operating 24/7. This operation will continue at that pace, we will not change that,” Padilla said in a Palace press briefing.
“But again, complications have been coming out, and…what we mean by this is the continued use of the civilians, potential hostages that may still be in their hands, the use of places of worship, for one, which prevents us from going all-out,” he added.
He said the presence of civilians, the urban terrain and other factors have made “our troops less capable of expeditiously addressing many of these threats.”
Last weekend, President Duterte said the conflict in Marawi would be over “in about three days” amid the intensified military operations against the armed groups.
Duerte said he could end the clashes in 24 hours if the government did not follow “the rules and values of civilization.” But Duterte refused to order the bombing of whole place to avoid civilian casualties.
“If we kill a lot of civilians, more than the rebels, we lose the fight because we lose the moral ascendancy, because it seems that we do not care about lives, about human rights and all,” he said.
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