PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday insisted he didn’t want to offend Muslims after apparently gaining the ire of netizens for wearing boots inside a mosque.
“I respect Islam. It [his wearing of the boots] was not meant to disrespect or dishonor,” Duterte said.
“Do not draw unpleasant inferences because nobody wants to dishonor a religion, me especially.”
Meanwhile, the United States has deployed the Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft Systems to Mindanao to give additional surveillance in support to the Philippine military in fighting terrorism.
The Gray Eagle has a longer flight duration, which will enable it to cover a larger area for surveillance, the US Embassy in Manila said in a statement.
Gray Eagle, manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, is a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system. It can endure 25 hours of operation and has a service ceiling of 29,000 feet.
Duterte said he simply wanted to protect his feet when he refused to follow the Muslim practice of removing their footwear at the Grand Marawi mosque.
Duterte, who visited Marawi for the fourth time on Monday, was criticized along with Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson after she posted a video of Duterte entering a mosque with his boots on.
Zia Alonto Adiong, who represents Lanao del Sur’s first district in the ARMM Regional Assembly, told Uson to “hire an etiquette manager if there’s any” after she entered the mosque without wearing a hijab.
Showing a picture of his son and nephew at the mosque during last year’s Eid’l Fitr congressional prayer, Adiong said: “Notice how we teach our kids to leave their slippers and not bring them inside the holy ground.”
He added: “We should avoid actions that may offend our Muslim brothers and sisters.”
Uson was placed under an internal investigation after she was seen doing nightly gigs at a popular entertainment complex in Pasay City despite a government policy banning officials inside casinos.