Duterte 'offers peaceful dialogue' to terrorists

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 27) — The Duterte government offers to talk peace with terrorists as it prays for an end to conflict on the first day of Ramadan, Malacañang said Saturday.

"In this spirit of Muslim peace, the President has offered the hand of peaceful dialogue to terrorist groups, to avoid bloodshed in this time of prayer, fasting, and mercy," Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

The administration expressed support as Muslim faithful begin Ramadan, a month-long observance of prayer and fasting.

"Together we pray for an end to terrorism that falsely claims to advance Islam and seeks to subjugate our land to the brutal IS," Abella said.

Foreign terrorists are trying to establish an ISIS (Islamic State) presence in Marawi City to gain a foothold in Mindanao, government officials said on Friday.

Also read: Mindanao invaded by foreign terrorists - gov't

Terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna told CNN Philippines on Friday that the Maute group is being guided by the ISIS, one of world's most ruthless terrorist organizations. He said President Rodrigo Duterte needs "high-grade, high-quality intelligence" to fight the ISIS.

Duterte on Friday admitted, "You can say that the ISIS is here already."

Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, following clashes between government troops and the Maute terror group in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur.

Related: Possible nationwide martial law; could last longer - Duterte

Meanwhile, authorities implement tight security measures in Quiapo, Manila, where Filipino Muslims converge in mosques for the observance of Ramadan.

Many of them condemn terror attacks of Muslim extremists which they say distort the way people view Islam.

CNN Philippines' Eimor Santos and Rex Remitio contributed to this report.