Duterte to Marawi evacuees: I am sorry this happened to you

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Iligan City (CNN Philippines, June 20) — Almost a month since the fighting in Marawi broke out, the President faced its displaced residents for the first time.

President Rodrigo Duterte flew to Iligan City this afternoon to speak before an audience of Marawi evacuees.

He drove home the message that after almost a month of bloody violence and almost apocalyptic destruction in Marawi - he told residents displaced by the long drawn terror seige he feels sorry for them.

Duterte said, "Hindi ko man natapos ang ramadan [I may not have finished Ramadan]. I would like to say to the Maranao people that I am very, very, very sorry na nangyari ito sa atin [that this happened to us].

But the President reiterated his frustration over some residents who he said, allowed foreign influence with terror and extremist ideology to come to Marawi.

He said, "Ba't hinayaan ninyong pumasok 'yung ideolohiya na walang ginawa doon sa Middle East, kung saan-saan, pinagpapatay nila ang kasama nilang Muslim? Makita ko man sa CNN. Ilagay diyan sa gate buhusan ng gasolina, susunugon."

[Translation: Why did you allow this ideology from the Middle East to enter when all they do is kill their fellow Muslims? I see it on CNN. They stand people at a gate, pour gasoline over them, and burn them.]

The President recognized the need to correct historical injustices against Moros and he agrees fighting for them through a revolution.

In fact, the President said, he supports the ideologies Moro rebel groups like the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are espousing.

Instead of advocating radicalism, the president calls on Moros to engage his government in a peaceful dialogue - the same way, he is speaking now to the MNLF and MILF.

Duterte said, "It took several years before a Moro with blood ties na naging Presidente. Sinasabi ko sa inyo, ibigay ko 'yan. Ibibigay ko 'yan kasi 'pag hindi ko naibigay sa inyo, mahirapan na kayo balang araw 'nung iba na ang Presidente."

[Translation: It took several years before a Moro with blood ties became President. I've told you I will give it to you. I will give that you you because if I don't do it, it will be more difficult when someone else is President.]

The president also assured the residents that aside from ending the battle to free Marawi, he will prioritize rebuilding the war-torn city.

He said, "Tutulungan ko kayo, hindi ko kayo pababayaan, hanggang relocation. And then we will rehabilitate ang Marawi. Gaganda 'yan ulit, gaganda ulit 'yan."

[Translation: I will help you. I will not leave you until you are relocated. And then we will rehabilitate Marawi. It will be beautiful again.]

The President apparently was in a light-hearted mood during his trip to Iligan. He even joked about asking the evacuees to go on a party.

He pulled out a bundle of P1,000 bills from his clutch bag and handed it over to a local official. He told evacuees to spend it to buy a decent meal especially with the holy month of Ramadan about to end.

Duterte sorry for what happened in Marawi