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Dressed for battle

  • Written by Peoples Journal
  • Published in Newsdesk
  • Read: 230

When the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces dons a military uniform, he means business.

Serious business.

And when he packs heat, he is in a fighting mood.

The image of President Duterte in Army fatigues and brandishing a weapon is a visual warning to enemies of the State that he is taking the battle to its logical conclusion—victory for State security forces and the retaking of areas briefly occupied and controlled by terrorists.
    
The bold image is a powerful psychological boost to the troops in the battlefield.
    
The last time a sitting President wore a military uniform was the capture of a Muslim rebel camp. Former President Estrada was the Commander-in-Chief then.
    
A gun-toting President Duterte made a surprise visit Friday to a military camp close to a city where Islamic State group-inspired militants are battling security forces.
    
Photos and video footage released by his office showed the 72-year-old wearing camouflage fatigues with a submachine gun slung over his shoulder.
    
Duterte walked with soldiers and aides at an army camp about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Marawi, saying bad weather stopped him flying into the battlefield.
    
But he said he could not wait until the fighting was over to visit the war-torn area, adding his trip was designed to show solidarity.
    
"Placing yourself in jeopardy is one thing, but somehow you need to show yourself ... in our desire to protect the republic," Duterte said.
    
More than six weeks after hundreds of IS-styled gunmen attacked Marawi, the militants are still holding out in about 1,000 buildings, and up to 300 civilians remain trapped, the military said Friday.
    
The fighting has left 353 militants, 87 soldiers and police, and 39 civilians dead, according to government officials, while nearly 400,000 residents of Marawi and nearby areas have fled the fighting.
    
Duterte declared martial law over Mindanao within hours of the start of the Marawi fighting on May 23 to stop what he said was an IS bid to carve out territory in the Mindanao region.
    
"If the armed forces and the police tell me the situation is no longer critical, then that is the time I will lift (martial law)," he said Friday.