By: Nikko Dizon - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer
Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday night urged the public not to be afraid and to stand their ground as fighting went on in Marawi City, which came under siege from terrorist groups that have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
Robredo expressed full trust that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would be able to resolve the situation soon.
President Duterte is on a trip to Russia with high-ranking officials of government, including the military top brass led by AFP chief of staff General Eduardo Año.
But the President, after declaring a 60-day martial law in Mindanao Tuesday night, has decided to cut short his Russia trip so he can fly home to deal with the crisis in Marawi.
AFP Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Salvador Mison, Jr. and The Deputy Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Narciso Vingson, Jr. are in Manila.
In a statement in Filipino, Robredo said the AFP leadership “has given an assurance that they have the situation under control and that they could resolve it in the soonest possible time.”
Robredo called on the people to “pray for the soldiers who are fighting on behalf of our countrymen in Marawi.”
“Let us also pray for our fellow Filipinos who are caught in the middle of this firefight,” she said.
Robredo said that certainly, residents of Marawi would need immediate assistance.
The Vice President said she has directed her office to prepare for relief operations for the families affected by the incident.
“We are calling on all sectors with the capacity to help to provide whatever assistance they could the soonest possible time,” she said.
“Let us not be afraid. Let us stand our ground. And let us trust that peace will prevail,” the Vice President said.
Her statement in full:
“Together with the Filipino people, we have been monitoring the events that transpired in the City of Marawi. We are confident that the Armed Forces will soon resolve the situation.
“We have been in contact with the leadership of the AFP, and they have assured us that they are in control and that the conflict will be suppressed at the soonest possible time.
“We urge everyone to pray for our men and women who are protecting the people of Marawi. We also pray for our fellow Filipinos caught in the cross fire.
“We expect that this incident will soon end. In the wake of this conflict, help and support will be urgently needed for those affected. I have instructed my office to begin relief operations for those in need. We call on all sectors of society, who can extend assistance, to respond as soon as possible.
“Let us not be afraid. Let us be steadfast. Let us be assured that peace will prevail.”