Philippines president jokes about rape in speech to soldiers

The siege "seems to be an effort by ISIS-inspired local groups to be recognized as a province of their caliphate", reporter Michael Sullivan told NPR yesterday, and the Philippine government is now taking the threat posed by ISIS more seriously.

Padilla said so far, 61 militants have been killed in the firefight and that 11 soldiers and four policemen have also been killed. "So it's clear it's not just homegrown anymore".

Bodies of what appeared to be executed civilians were found in a ravine outside a besieged Philippine city on Sunday as a six-day occupation by Islamist rebels fending off a military onslaught took a more sinister turn.

Authorities said ending the crisis was proving extremely hard because the militants, even though they were believed to number only in the dozens, had planted bombs in the streets and were holding hostages. "Bloodstains on the side of the road-and nine spent bullet casings in his hand-seemed to back up his theory".

He said some civilians refused to evacuate because they want to guard their homes, which is slowing down the government operations. "Have mercy on us, we don't have any more water to drink", read one.

The Maute gunmen were protecting Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of a kidnapping-for-ransom gang called the Abu Sayyaf that is also believed to have only a few hundred gunmen but is blamed for the nation's worst terrorist attacks.

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The United States regards Hapilon as one of the world's most risky terrorists and has offered a bounty of $5 million for his capture.

But the military was surprised by jihadi fighters, and the militants have dug in. The official death toll after almost a week of fighting stands at 85, but may be much higher. Some civilians left on foot, others were seen tying white cloths to poles to distinguish themselves from militants as soldiers huddled behind armoured vehicles slowly advanced.

"We have issued orders to our forces to ascertain these reports and deal with it", Padilla said.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Wednesday said the local government is implementing a hold and secure protocol to "prevent violence from coming in to Davao City".

As the government retakes much of the city, the scope of the battle is becoming clearer. "If you happen to have raped three women, I will own up to it", Duterte joked.

"Until the police and armed forces say the Philippines is safe, this martial law will continue", he told soldiers in Iligan City on Saturday. After saying that he would personally imprison soldiers who commit human rights violations, he then joked, "If you rape three people, I will admit to that". I was mad she was raped but she was so handsome.

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Last year Duterte "joked" about an Australian missionary who was killed in a prison riot after men lined up to rape her. Duterte said she was handsome and that he should have been first in line.

Dr. Ray Sagge from the Iligan City Local Health Office said numerous evacuees showed symptoms of stress depression from their experience during the Marawi clash.

"There was no intention of disrespecting our women and those who have been victims of this frightful crime".

Duterte is known for his informal, no-nonsense style and his speeches are often loaded with profanity, threats and jokes about taboo subjects, which offend some, but are taken lightly by many Filipinos.

Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's statements also gave an ominous tone about this latest development in the Duterte administration, amid complaints of extra judicial killings allegedly committed in the president's war on drugs that has now reached about 9,000 fatalities.

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