Duterte promises vacation for Marawi troops once battle is over

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  • The crisis in Marawi, which has been going on for 112 days, has claimed the lives of 45 civilians and 145 troops, and killed 655 terrorists.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 12) — President Rodrigo Duterte promised on Monday to treat soldiers battling the ISIS-inspired Maute group in Marawi to a vacation once the siege is over.

Speaking to the troops on his fourth visit to the battle-stricken city since the crisis started, Duterte said he wants them brought to Hong Kong.

"Pagkatapos nito, maawa ang Allah, Hong Kong kayo lahat [Once this is finished, Allah have mercy, you're all going to Hong Kong]," he said.

Duterte added that some of the troops would even be allowed to bring their loved ones.

"Magpa-raffle ako, marami rin," he said. "Kung maka-tsamba ka, ipadala mo asawa mo pati anak mo. Hindi ka kasi mag-enjoy ng bakasyon na maiwan. So kung 'yung manalo, dalhin mo asawa mo pati mga anak mo, with matching allowance 'yan."

[Translation: I will have a raffle, where many could win. If you're lucky, you can bring your spouse and children. You won't enjoy your vacation if your loved ones are left behind. So for those who win, bring your spouse and children, with matching allowance.]

Duterte said the troops should consider taking some time off in Davao as well.

"So when all this is finished, you should all go on a vacation, maybe in Davao," he said.

"But the women, I'll set up a lottery for you, and it will have plenty, around ₱100,000. For every group, ₱100,000 can be won," the President added.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) earlier said military operations in the conflict-torn city are approaching their last and final stages.

AFP Chief Eduardo Año said that he is confident that the fighting will end before he retires in late-October.

Read: AFP chief confident Marawi crisis to end before retirement in October