MANILA – The traditional vin d’honneur to commemorate Independence Day has been cancelled as President Rodrigo Duterte wants to focus on efforts to resolve the terror crisis in Marawi City, Malacañang announced Friday.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte will only attend flag-raising rites at the Rizal Park Monday morning and “attend to matters pertaining Mindanao” afterwards.
The President has spent most of his time in Mindanao since the crisis began, engaging troops in various camps in the south.
"The vin d'honneur scheduled on Monday, June 12, has been cancelled. After the Rizal Park flag raising activity, on the same day, the President will attend to matters pertaining Mindanao," said Abella.
The ceremony usually gathers state leaders, the diplomatic corps and other guests in Malacañang on important occasions, particularly Independence Day.
Duterte hosted his first vin d'honneur in January.
Clashes between government troops and extremists erupted in Marawi City on May 23, as state forces attempted to arrest top Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon. Local terror groups had planned attacks days earlier, as seen in a video obtained by the military.
More than 200,000 residents have fled the city, while at least 209 have died, among them 134 terrorists, 45 troops and 30 civilians.
The clashes prompted Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law.
The military has vowed to "liberate" Marawi City on Monday.