MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte has called for the “cooperation” of local residents in Lanao del Sur in combating terrorism, Malacañang said Sunday.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Duterte urged locals to cooperate in efforts to rid the town of Butig in Lanao del Sur of Maute terrorists as military operations are still ongoing.
“Our President has also called for the cooperation of the local residents para mas madali po nating masolusyunan ang problemang terrorism diyan sa area na 'yan,” Andanar said in an interview with dzRB.
Military forces are still in the process of securing Butig after ISIS-inspired local terrorist group Maute, occupied the town last week.
Andanar added that the entire national government is onboard in aiding victims of the conflict between military forces and terrorists after thousands of locals were left displaced by the clash.
“The entire government is helping all the victims of the current conflict happening in that area. The DSWD, the Department of Health, lahat po,” he said.
Asked on whether Duterte has changed his stance in dealing with Maute terrorists following the recent attacks against the President’s men in Lanao del Sur, Andanar said he has yet to receive word.
“The developments that happened last week will have to be settled, will have to be discussed, because hindi naman ganung kadali, hindi naman ganun kasimple 'yung nangyari last week.”
At least eight Presidential Security Group (PSG) members were injured Tuesday when Duterte's advance party ran over a homemade bomb in Barangay Matampay in Marawi, Lanao Del Sur.
In his visit to Lanao last Wednesday, Duterte said he does not want to wage war in Mindanao despite the recent attacks but warned terrorists not to test his patience.