• Palace cancels Independence Day vin d’honneur amid Marawi crisis

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    The traditional vin d’honneur to commemorate Independence Day on June 12 has been cancelled to enable President Rodrigo Duterte focus on the Marawi crisis, Malacañang has announced.

    Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte would only attend the flag-raising rites at the Rizal Park in Manila on Monday morning and then immediately leave to attend to the Mindanao problem.

    “The vin d’honneur scheduled on Monday, June 12, has been cancelled. After the Rizal Park flag-raising activity, on the same day, the President will attend to matters pertaining Mindanao,” Abella said.

    The ceremony usually gathers state leaders, the diplomatic corps and other guests in Malacañang on important occasions such as Independence Day.

    Duterte hosted his first vin d’honneur in January to mark the New Year.

    The President has spent most of his time in Mindanao since the armed conflict began, interacting with troops in various camps in the south.

    On May 23, Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law after the Maute extremist group launched attacks the predominantly Muslim city of Marawi in the province of Lanao del Sur.

    The President imposed martial law to stop terror activities in Mindanao.

    The military has vowed earlier to “liberate” Marawi City by June 12.

    CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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