Trump praises Duterte for an 'unbelievable job' on drug issue

Government troops clashed on Tuesday with members of the Maute Group, a radical Islamist group active in Mindanao, and Abu Sayyaf militants in the predominantly Muslim city of Marawi, about 260 km away from northwest Davao, where many Taiwanese business people and expatriates live.

However, Duterte says martial law in the southern Philippines could last a year.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday declared martial law in the south because of the militants' siege on the city. "He was a threat to none", Villegas said of Chito.

Martial law allows Duterte to use the armed forces to carry out arrests, searches and detentions more rapidly.

President Putin was not in Moscow on Tuesday but chose to return to Kremlin to meet President Duterte before his trip back to Manila.

Details from inside Marawi were sketchy because the largely Muslim city of more than 200,000 people appeared to be largely sealed off and without electricity.

Two soldiers and a police officer were reportedly killed.

Duterte said he was forced to declare martial law in Mindanao for 60 days, and says his government may consider other areas in the event the militants and other Islamic State-affiliated groups seek sanctuary or expand their "terrorist activities".

Duterte replied that drugs were the "scourge of my nation now and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation".

Most recently, in March, he said he may impose martial law to aid his brutal crackdown on the country's drug trade.

Both the Maute and Abu Sayyaf have pledged allegiance to ISIS, and have proved fierce opponents for the military. "We can do that easily", Ano said, but added it was more hard in an urban setting because of the need to avoid civilian casualties.

Police said the May 6 blast was sparked by a personal feud, but the Islamic State group claimed its fighters were responsible.

WASHINGTON, D.C:US President Donald Trump praised his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte over his immensely polarizing drug war, which has killed thousands of people, reports said Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).

"I'm sad, but what makes me happy that I was able to have a.last-minute meeting with President Putin and I was able to communicate all the things that I wanted to tell him", Duterte said.

During a joint press briefing in Moscow Russia, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella alongside Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano announced that President Duterte has made the declaration following the clashes between government forces and terrorist group in Marawi City.

The five-day trip will cement a dramatic improvement in ties between the two nations since Duterte came to power past year and began unraveling the Philippines' decades-long alliance with the United States, which he accuses of hypocrisy and bullying. "The Mautes are embedded in the population".

The group has been blamed for the country's worst terrorist attacks, including the 2004 bombing of a ferry in Manila Bay that claimed more than 100 lives. Troops found homemade bombs, grenades, combat uniforms and passports of suspected Indonesian militants in the camp, the military said.

  • Leroy Wright