Duterte makes rape joke after ordering martial law

Many have gone to their relatives in Iligan City and to nearby towns, but there are also a lot of families who have nowhere else to go but to evacuation centers.

The Philippine military said on Friday it would censor the press and social media to protect "national security" across the southern third of the country that is under martial law, and warned violators would be arrested.

Duterte made the comments in jest during a speech to soldiers on Mindanao island, where he imposed military rule law on Tuesday to try to crush ISIL-linked fighters, who have been battling the army after laying siege to Marawi City. The bishop had expressed hope that intermediaries will convince the militant group Maute-also known as the Islamic State of Lanao-to release his vicar general and 14 other people who were taken hostage in the city's cathedral. Their condition remains unknown.

At least 44 people have died in the fighting, including 31 militants and 11 soldiers, officials said on Thursday. Duterte won the presidency a year ago on a campaign to eradicate drug crime and has since launched an expansive national counter-drug trafficking operation that many in Europe have criticized for allegedly not taking the safety of civilians into consideration.

"[The rebels'] refusal to surrender is holding the city captive".

As the government retakes much of the city, the scope of the battle is becoming clearer.

The violence prompted President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday to declare 60 days of martial law in the southern Philippines, where a Muslim rebellion has raged for decades. But the recent bloodshed in Marawi has raised fears that extremism is growing as smaller militant groups unify and align themselves with the Islamic State group.

Although Hapilon and other groups in the southern Philippines have pledged allegiance to the IS, there is no clear sign of significant, material ties.

As air force planes and rocket-firing helicopters pounded militant positions on Saturday, fleeing residents waved white flags or hoisted them on their roofs to signify that they are not combatants. "If you rape three [women], I will say that I did it". "They're getting caught in the conflict and I hope this ends soon".

"But that's fine as long as civilians are not hurt", Padilla said. Maute now controls most of Marawi, with government troops setting up a perimeter outside the city. The military says Maute has yet to be endorsed by Islamic State, or ISIS, as one of its affiliates. "These terrorist atrocities continue to sow terror and confusion even to non-combatant Muslims and Christians", said Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, chief of the Western Mindanao Command.

The military announced yesterday, the start of the Holy month of Ramadan, that it would intensify the bombing campaign.

Ano also said foreign fighters were believed to be inside, but he was more cautious. "We appeal for everyones understanding as we take the necessary steps to accomplish our mission and prevent the lost of more innocent lives and damage to private and public property", Padilla said.

The raid took place at a house where the security forces believed Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the infamous Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom gang and Philippine head of IS, was hiding.

In a bid to retake Marawi, government troops neutralized at least 41 Maute fighters, including militants of Malaysian and Indonesian origin, according to a military spokesman, as cited by Reuters.

The US has placed a US$5 million (RM23 million) bounty for Hapilon's capture who they described to be the world's most unsafe terrorist.

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