Denying reports that states that he sought help from the U.S. to support Philippine soldiers battle ISIS-inspired militants in the Southern Philippines, Duterte said he never approached any American to help the military.
Duterte cut short a state visit to Russian Federation and declared 60 days of martial law over the island of Mindanao when fighting broke out in May. Duterte's next deadline for recapture of the city is Monday, June 12.
On Sunday, President Rodrigo Duterte led the arrival honors at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City for eight of the 13 killed soldiers. They were providing technical assistance and training, she claimed.
A USA official, who requested anonymity, confirmed to Philippine media that the support they are providing to soldiers to suppress terrorism is in form of aerial surveillance and they are providing electronic eavesdropping and communications assistance.
As of Saturday afternoon, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has reported that a total of 58 soldiers and policemen have died due to the unrest in Marawi City. But it said on Saturday they needed more time. They emphasize that the current fighting in Marawi City was government-initiated, in a failed bid to capture or neutralize Hapilon, and the armed clashes resulted from his followers resisting such attempt.
Maute joined forces with Isnilon Hapilon, who was a year ago proclaimed by Islamic State as its Southeast Asia "emir". The United States has about a 90% favorability rating, while China has more like a 50% favorability rating.
The Maute Group was formed in 2012 by Abdullah Maute (aka Abu Hasan) and his brother Omar Maute.
Blasts rock besieged city as Philippines marks independence day
Mr Duterte is the first president from Mindanao, and he ran previous year as the candidate who could bring peace to the region.
USA advisers since 2002 have helped the Philippines detect terrorist threats in Mindanao, where violence involving Muslim rebels has killed about 120,000 since the 1960s. Some fear that the temporary martial law order in Mindanao could be expanded nationwide, an idea Mr Duterte has openly toyed with so that he could use the military in his anti-drug campaign.
Muslims make up only about 5% of the country's population overall but a larger proportion, estimated at 20 to 40%, on Mindanao. The military says there are still several hundreds of the Maute Group fiercely fighting government forces.
"We can not exclude future scenarios in which the ranks of the Maute or similar groups are beefed up by a substantial number of foreign militants, making the fight much harder for the Filipino government", he said.
"It was not the spread of ISIS in Iraq and Syria that fuelled ISIS cells in the Philippines, but the collapse of the peace process", said Mr Abuza, the National War College professor.
Speaking to reporters Sunday, Duterte said no request of assistance had been made to U.S. forces.
Standing on the roof of a pick-up truck, this Caucasian male, believed to be from the US Special Forces, seems to be working on signal control inside Camp Ranao's 103rd Brigade in Marawi City working with Philippine military troops on June 3.
"Today as the nation observes Independence Day we will pay homage to the fallen soldiers of Marawi", Abella said in his statement this morning.
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