MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has cut short his official visit to Russia amid the ongoing firefight between government troops and a local terrorist group in Marawi City in Mindanao.
Duterte left Russia at 6:36 a.m. Wednesday (Manila time) onboard flight PR-001. He is expected to arrive in Manila at about 4:30 p.m. of the same day.
Before leaving for Manila, he was able to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday evening.
The two leaders were able to discuss the situation in Mindanao and why the Philippine president had to go home.
Duterte arrived in Russia last Monday for a supposedly week-long official visit. But he had to cut his trip short after the Maute group attacked parts of Marawi.
The Philippine President, in response, declared martial law in Mindanao as government troops continue to hunt down members of the Maute group in Marawi.
Duterte said martial law in Mindanao will be no different from the martial law period during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos, saying he will deal harshly with terrorists.
"Mga kababayan, do not be too scared. I am going home. I am cutting my visit here to be with my countrymen and I will deal with the problem once I arrive," he said in a Facebook Live interview with Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson.