After two failed attempts, President Rodrigo Duterte finally visited Marawi City on Thursday to check on troops battling the Islamic State-linked Maute Group.
Lt. Col. Jo-Al Herrera, Joint Task Force Marawi spokesman, said Duterte arrived at the headquarters of the 103rd brigade at around 3 p.m. and was briefed by military officials.
He said the President briefly talked to the troops and thanked them for their hard work.
“He thanked the troops for their heroism and sacrifices despite the challenges they faced in the urban battle],” Herrera told reporters.
He said Duterte’s visit boosted the morale of the troops, who received goods and watches from him.
The President had tried twice to visit Marawi, but both trips did not push through because of bad weather.
Thousands of residents remain displaced as government troops continue their operations to clear Marawi of Maute terrorists.
As of July 19, the government has reported the deaths of 45 civilians, 421 militants and 99 government forces.