'Sleepless' PNP Chief tells troops: Hang on, God is with us

Angelo Andrade, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 29 2017 07:37 PM

PNP Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa

MISAMIS ORIENTAL - The country's top cop tried to boost the morale of the police force, amid clashes with the Maute group in Marawi City. 

While fighting back tears, Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa on Monday checked on troops fighting alongside the military to crush terror group Maute. 

"Wala akong intensyon na maging emosyonal, bumigay lang. Naawa ako sa mga tao ko. Diba galing kami dito ni presidente the other day at nakita ko yung mga sitwasyon ng tropa. Kaya I can't sleep knowing they are here fighting and I am there sleeping. I cannot relax knowing that my men are engaged fiercely in battle," said Dela Rosa.

The PNP Chief also reminded government troops to continue the fight to retake Marawi City.

"Sa mga tropa natin sa military at police all government forces all engage in the battle to retake Marawi City. Just hang on, fight, God is with us. Di tayo patatalo sa evil forces," said Dela Rosa.

Dela Rosa said martial law has so far delivered "positive effects" in parts of Mindanao, claiming that Davao recorded a zero-crime rate on the first day of implementation.

Sixty-one militants, 20 members of the security forces and 19 civilians have been killed since Tuesday, when Maute rebels went on the rampage in Marawi after a botched attempt by the military to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, who the government believes is a point man for Islamic State in the Philippines.

The ability of the Maute group to fight off the military for so long will add to fears that Islamic State's radical ideology is spreading in the southern Philippines, and it could become a haven for militants from Indonesia, Malaysia and beyond.

The military believes the Maute carried out their assault before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to capture the attention of Islamic State and earn its recognition as a Southeast Asian affiliate.

Witnesses in Marawi said they had seen militants flying the Islamic State flag and wearing black outfits and headbands typical of the group. -- With Reuters