MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday he prayed to God to spare the country from possible attacks by the Islamic State (ISIS).
Speaking before newly-appointed officials during an oath-taking ceremony in Malacañang, he said the extremist group worries him.
"Ang tinatakutan ko ‘yung just like Iraq, Syria na maraming inosenteng taong nadadale," he said.
Duterte said he asked God to spare the Filipino people from ISIS' "brutality and cruelty."
"Talagang ako’y nagdarasal, I’m praying, I really pray, talagang lumuluhod ako sa Diyos na to spare us the kind of brutality and cruelty in our country because it will really be bloody, bloody as it can ever be," he said.
"Ayaw kong mag-umpisa. But ayaw ko naman sa panahon ko na gagawin mo sa akin ‘yan. Do it some other time pero huwag sa akin, hindi talaga ako papayag at hindi ako magpalugi," he added.
Threats of Islamic State militants began with local terror group Maute, which pledged allegiance to ISIS and laid siege to Marawi City. The attack prompted Duterte to place Mindanao under martial law.