Published: Sun, May 28, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte jokes about rape to troops

"My message mainly to the terrorists on the other side is we can still solve this through dialogue", Duterte said on Friday.

"My order to the troops is (that) all people who are not authorised by government to carry arms and they resist, kill them, wipe them out", he said.

Duterte has warned that he might expand martial law nationwide, an unnerving prospect for many in the Philippines who lived through the rule of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

"We also call on Muslim leaders to speak out against terrorist groups, who use religion to disguise their barbarity, staining the peaceful name of Islam with the blood of innocents during this holy month of Ramadan", Abella said.

There are also those from the Middle East in Marawi City or on the outskirts, the official said.

Presidential Spokesman Ernest Abella said they have secured LASURECO, the local electric company to restore power in the beleaguered city.

Duterte said the militants were planning to establish a caliphate for ISIS across all of Mindanao, home to 20 million people, and that martial law was the only way to crush the rebellion.

Government helicopter gunships on Saturday used guided rockets for the first time against the militants, as truckloads of marines were seen driving into Marawi.

"Let us be considerate with our Muslim brothers and sisters who have started to observe the Ramadan".

Gen Ano predicted that the military operation will take about a week as soldiers go house-to-house to clear the city of militants.

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MILITANTS fighting under the black flag of the Islamic State (IS) group have turned an Islamic city in Mindanao into a battleground, and triggered warnings by President Rodrigo Duterte of a potential IS province or wilaya.

"We are trying to use our maximum force", said Major General Carlito Galvez, who heads the military command in the Western Mindanao region.

He said Hapilon suffered a stroke after a government air strike wounded him in January. "We have to finish this". "If there's an open defiance, you will die", the brash president said, adding, "If it means many people dying, so be it".

Ano said foreign fighters were believed to be inside, but he was more cautious. "As Muslims, we accept all the trials with patience and we don't blame anyone for our situation today", he said.

Much of Marawi remains a no-go zone, but disturbing details have emerged. Duterte told the troops fighting Musli.

Authorities are working to determine the condition of a Catholic priest and worshippers who were taken hostage by gunmen earlier this week. The Maute, Abu Sayyaf and other small hardline groups are not interested in negotiating peace and have in recent years looked to IS to help them.

Philippine intelligence indicates the two groups from different parts of Mindanao are connected, through Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of a radical faction of Abu Sayyaf.

In a speech at a military camp on Friday aimed at lifting troops' spirits after he imposed martial law across the southern Philippines, Duterte told them they were allowed to rape up to three women.

There are few expectations that martial law could end the deep-rooted problems that have led to the Muslim conflict in the south.

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