'Wala akong choice, sinisira na ang Marawi'
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday apologized to Maranaos for declaring martial law in Mindanao and for the destruction brought about by the clashes between the Maute forces and government troops.
"I would like to say to the Maranao people that I am very, very, very sorry na nangyari ito sa atin. Sana kung madaling panahon, you will find in your heart to forgive my soldiers, ang gobyerno, pati ako, for declaring martial law," he told displaced families in Iligan City.
"Wala akong choice e, sinisira na ang Marawi. I have to drive them out. But I am very sorry. Pakiabot na lang sa ating mga kapatid na Maranao ang aking paghihinanakit din sa nangyari. Patawarin niyo po kami," Duterte added.
Duterte, who is the first Philippine president from Mindanao, also promised that he will work hard to bring Marawi City back to its original state.
"We will rehabilitate Marawi. Gaganda ulit, gaganda ulit 'yan," he said.
The president, likewise, expressed dismay over those who allowed Islamic State fighters or Muslim extremists to enter the country.
"Pero masama ang loob ko, hindi niyo naman sinabi na malakas na ang pasok. Armas, wala yan. Lahat ng tao dito nagdadala ng armas. Bakit niyo hinayaang pumasok dito ang ideolohiya na walang ginawa doon sa Middle East, kung saan saan, pinagpapatay nila 'yung mga kasama nilang Muslim," Duterte said, adding there is no need to fight as he is willing to give the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) what they want.
"Kaya naintindihan ko. 'Yung rebolusyon, maski ako, 'yung sa Mindanao. Pabor ako diyan sa rebolusyon, hanapan natin ng solusyon. Pabor ako sa hinihingi ni Murad, hanapan natin ng solusyon. They want to carve out a territory, payag ako. Sa federal type, payag ako. Ibigay mo kay Nur yung gusto niya, ibigay ko sa MILF 'yung gusto nila," he also said.
Clashes between government troops and terrorists have continued for nearly four weeks now.
As of Monday, the military said 257 militants, 62 soldiers and 26 civilians had been killed. Hundreds of people are unaccounted for, believed to be hiding in the basements of the city.