FORT MAGSAYSAY—Nine soldiers were injured with two in critical condition after an improvised explosive device exploded at a presidential convoy at Marawi City.
Army spokesperson Restituto Padilla said that a convoy of Presidential Security Group personnel, state television RTVM and local troop escorts who were supposed to do advance work ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Butig, Lanao del Sur on Wednesday were waylaid after unidentified gunmen fired on the military convoy at Barangay Emie Punod in Marawi City at 10:30 a.m.
Despite these threats, Duterte said he would push through with his visit Wednesday.
“There is trouble there in Mindanao, it’s within control but it’s a troublesome thing so I have to go there,” Duterte said in his speech during the inauguration of a drug rehabilitation facility here.
“The advance party belonging to the Presidential Security Group was ambushed a while ago. They were hit by an IED. But I’m going there. I’m going there because—I am just simply going there,” he said. “The advice was to postpone. I said, ‘No, I will go there’ and if possible, take the same route.”
Among those reported wounded were Capt. Zamora, Ssg. Damaso, Cpl. Inova, Cpl. De Leon, Sgt. Garcia, Pfc. Gonzalez and Pfc. Panisa of the PSG. Two other personnel from the 65th Infantry Battalion, Cpl. Galintia and Cpl. Corpuz, were also hurt.
Most were slightly injured except for two PSG members who sustained serious injuries. A presidential chopper immediately airlifted the seriously injured and four others to Cagayan de Oro City for emergency care.
Other members of the convoy were given first-aid treatment while pursuit operations were ongoing.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana played down the attack, saying it was meant to taun the President, who was scheduled to be in Butig Wednesday.
The Palace said that they will never tolerate such attacks on members of the PSG.
“The President has consistently expressed concern for uniformed personnel who bravely walk in harm’s way so we can live in peace and freedom. We assure our brave men and women who put their lives on the line for duty and country that their Commander-in-Chief will never abandon them in their time,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.
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