Duterte claims Maute arms build-up in Marawi City started as early as 3 years ago
President Rodrigo Duterte is claiming that terrorists have been able to match the military’s firepower in Marawi because they started building an arsenal in the city since the Aquino administration.
“At ang problema namin is, bakit walang katapusan ang armas nila pati bala? Eh di ibig sabihin, ang buildup niyan took about siguro more than three years,” said Duterte in an interview in Butuan City.
Duterte claimed that the government’s soft policy on Moro rebels during the negotiations for peace prompted the military to look away each time they see a rebel with a long firearm. “Hinayaan kasi natin because we never knew at that time kung sino ang kalaban,” said Duterte.
With its long-range planning and massive financial resources, Duterte said the Maute group was able to entrench themselves in vital positions in Marawi with an almost “endless” supply of M-203 ammunition. He said that for every grenade the soldiers launched, the terrorists would hit back with five.
”Pagpasok ng sundalo, naka-deploy na sila doon sa mga building. Ang sundalo naman, paakyat pa sa bukid, sila doon sa taas, sige na putok. Kaya nahirapan ako. Ang sundalo ko had to crawl inch-by-inch towards the top there, mga building. Hindi mo naman dapat bombahan kasi may mga nagtago pa sa mga kabilang bahay, talagang mapulpog yun,” said Duterte to explain why the Marawi siege has deteriorated into a war of attrition.
“it’s winding up but the problem is you cannot just walk around because there are remnants still positioned in so many high-rise buildings. Diyan ang marami ko, pati ‘yang M-2O3 na ‘yan na grenade…ang gaganda ng armas nila, hindi kaya bilhin nila ‘yan. Yung mga Barrett? ‘Yung mga sniper?” said Duterte.
“Saan nila kinuha ‘yan? Well, most of them are taking from the politicians who provided the money. But what fueled ‘yung gyera talaga dito sa Marawi is the drug money of the Maute. Kaya lumakas ‘yung Visayas,” he added.