Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted he might require US help to oust Islamic State militant group (ISIS) rebel fighters from the city of Marawi, a spokesperson said Tuesday.
The need to keep potentially risky foreigners out of the country has become more urgent as two terrorist groups in the nation's south - the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf, both of whom pledged loyalty to the Islamic State - continue to besiege Marawi, the country's only official Islamic city.
The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), a socialist national labor center, added its voice today to all those who oppose President Rodrigo Duterte's imposition of martial law in the whole of Mindanao.
"I will destroy also and kill, period".
"Just like in the Middle East... all killings and destruction. There are areas that we have not covered before that we have already overcome at this moment and the process of clearing is what we are concentrating on in the succeeding days", he said.
"If civilians start to take up arms, it will be a civil war", the President said during his visit to Camp Bautista in Cagayan de Oro.
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"Padilla added: "(S) o these are the buildings that we are concentrating on, along with small structures that are continuously being cleared by other follow-on forces.
This, he said, was the reason the government is committed to hasten the peace process with the Moro groups, particularly the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
But the President said government troops were capable of dealing with the IS problem.
Philippines soldiers have been mired in grinding urban warfare with ISIS-aligned fighters ever since a surprise attack on Marawi on May 23 - the first instance of disparate, ISIS-aligned Filipino groups banding together and holding territory.
A total of 1,637 civilians have been rescued by government forces and civil society and nongovernment organisations.
The Philippine government has increased military strength against Islamist Maute militants in its southern city of Marawi.
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Military casualties continue to mount, despite daily bombardment of areas controlled by insurgents in the city.
"We're gaining ground and we're expanding our vantage positions", said Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera, another military spokesman, although he declined to comment on specifics.
Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella issued the statement after US Sen Joni Ernst expressed alarm over the growing presence of IS fighters in Mindanao.
Asked about the basis for the hike, Mr. Abella said the new amount of P20 billion is based on "anecdotal reports" on the damages from the clashes.
Defense Undersecretary Ricardo A. David Jr. said foreign fighters might have used backdoor channels in the Sulu and Celebes Seas to join their fellow IS-pledged militants in southern Philippines.
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At worst, the storm could flood neighborhoods outside the city's levee system and cause flash flooding even in protected areas. Cindy's tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 275 miles, according to the National Hurricane Center .