World Bulletin / News Desk
Clad in military fatigues, Duterte set foot on the city’s military detachment past 2 p.m. (0600GMT) along with defense chief Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, and military chief Eduardo Año, local media reported.
The president’s trip to Marawi was discreetly made, as the presidential office only announced it after he had already left the city past 5 p.m. (0900GMT)
Military spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera told ABS-CBN news that the troops were grateful for the opportunity to chat with the president, comparing it to a “father visiting his sons,” while boosting their morale and underlining support for the operation.
Duterte gave a speech thanking security forces and also handed out gifts and watches.
Duterte’s previous attempts to visit Marawi on June 7 and 8 were scuttled by bad weather.
The battle between government forces and the Maute group in Marawi, which started on May 23, prompted Duterte to place all of Mindanao under martial law, now set to expire on July 22.
Duterte’s visit comes two days before Congress meets on Saturday to discuss his request to extend military rule.
Duterte is also set to deliver his second State of the Nation Address on Monday.