President Duterte rejects civilian help vs Maute in Marawi, says it could lead to civil war

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY-- President Rodrigo Duterte refused to accept offers of help from civilians who volunteered to arm themselves and join the fight against Maute terrorists in Marawi City.

This was the reply of the President when he was asked to comment on the reported offer of the Ilaga group to go to Marawi and join government troops in ridding the city of the remaining Maute fighters.

The Ilaga is a group of Christian extremists who gained notoriety in the 1970s for fighting Moro insurgents in southern Mindanao.

I do not think at this time that we have to include the civilian sector.

The last thing that I would want to happen is a communal war. 'Yung mag-armas-armas na kanya-kanya. I know that some of the Christians are getting insecure and that is why a lot of them have been looking for heavy firearms. Pero sinabi ko sa mga gun store, 'bawal'. You're only limited to a (caliber) .22 to a shotgun, the President said.

Duterte warned that if civilians are allowed to join the fighting, it would make the situation in Mindanao more complicated.

He also pointed out that a civil war would not be far off if he allowed elements outside of the military and police to enter the war on terror.

The commander-in-chief then expressed confidence that the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police can hold its own in Marawi.

But 'yung offer na 'yan would only add to the convoluted thing that's happening now. Let the Armed Forces and the police deal with the problem," he said.

"I know that they're capable of doing it. And I said, they are winding up in Marawi except for a few snipers left behind. But I do not think that it would last a little longer than expected. 'Yung anarchy and communal wars, they call it. Civil war, communal wars. Mahirap po 'yan. Let the Armed Forces deal with it. Tutal kaya naman talaga ng (mga) sundalo," he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency