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Gov't can solve Marawi crisis without deadlines, say senators.

Senator Francis 'Chiz' Escudero lauded Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana for admitting that his office and the military underestimated the strength of the Maute rebels who besieged Marawi City.

'I have always been against setting deadlines that may endanger the lives of our soldiers just for the sake of meeting the deadline set,' Escudero said in a text message to reporters on Friday.

'I, however, welcome his admission because it is a good sign that our (government) is humble enough to admit their shortcomings which in turn, is the necessary step towards finding a solution to the crisis,' he said.

Senator Gregorio 'Gringo' Honasan II, a former Army officer, advised the security sector handling the crisis in Marawi City not to set 'unrealistic deadlines.'

'Huwag tayo magset ng unrealistic deadlines dahil ang daming factors at variables na hindi controlled ng DND- Armed Forces of the Philippines (Department of National Defense-Armed Forces of the Philippines) at DILG-PNP (Department of Interior and Local Government-Philippine National Police),' Honasan said in a Twitter post.

In a press conference in Marawi on Thursday, Lorenzana said he does not want to set another deadline for the government forces to retake the besieged city from the ISIS-backed terrorists.

The DND and the Army previously vowed to end the clashes last June 2 but they failed to meet the deadline. The violent clashes erupted in the city last May 23.

'Ayaw ko nang magbigay ng deadline dahil three beses na akong nakuryente dahil sa kade-deadline ko. Nahihiya na ako,' said Lorenzana.

(I don't want to set deadlines anymore because we have failed thrice to meet these deadlines. I am already ashamed.)

Lorenzana admitted that they underestimated the Maute rebels, not expecting that they would come to war prepared with their logistics supply of firearms, bullets, and food in a war that has lasted for more than a month now.

The defense chief said the Maute group actually has a strength of 700, far larger than what the military had expected. The Armed Forces of the Philippines earlier said they were dealing with only 200 terrorists.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 7, 2017
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