Local Philippine media had reported that President Rodrigo Duterte had considered bombing a mosque in the partly ISIS controlled southern Philippine city of Marawi, located on the island of Mindanao.
Today, while speaking before a group of soldiers, Duterte said that in spite of the fact that hostages are being held in the mosque, Philippine armed forces will not attack the mosque as part of a rescue effort.
“We cannot destroy the mosques … What will (it) give us in terms of good will? We would have wounded the feelings of the entire Muslim world”.
President Duterte was elected on a platform promising federalism for the country, something which is seen as a peaceful means of calming tensions with the Islamic Moro minority in the country’s south. He was widely seen as a peacemaker in respect of the decades long Moro insurgency some of whom recently declared loyalty to ISIS.
While the tide of the war is gradually turning in the favour of Philippines, the ISIS insurgents who have occupied Marawi, continue to rule over parts of the city.