When Duterte was in Moscow his pride was punctured when Islamic fighters aided by the ISIS captured large parts of Mindanao and the city of Marawi. Earlier, President Duterte was talking tough against the U.S. and had said he wanted to scale down military cooperation with the USA. He had also used insulting words in a reference to President Obama.

He had to eat humble pie as the Philippine Army, even after the declaration of martial law and an assault with fighters and helicopters was unable to drive out the Islamic militants. The sad part is that over 54 soldiers have been killed proving the Philippine army was not equal to the task.

The government appears to have reconsidered its tough stance. This was reported by CNN International.


The U.S. Embassy in Manila announced on Saturday that U.S. Special Forces are assisting the Philippines. The Embassy spokesperson added that this deployment was at the request of the Philippine government. Duterte is cornered but in a fit of bravado said "I never approached any American to say 'please help us'." This was reported by Military news.com. The fact remains that by accepting U.S .participation Duterte has accepted the American role to help the army.

The battle

The battle on the ground is almost a stalemate. Despite a no-holds-barred campaign and air support, the rebels are still in control of the city.

Marawi is the capital of the eastern province with a population of over 200,000. The battle is brutal and 58 soldiers and an estimated 191 Maute militants have been killed. according to the state-run Philippines News Agency. Possible the casualties of the army are higher. The latest news is that there was a severe battle during the last 14 hours and 13 marines were killed.

These casualties are high and the army may not be able to sustain them.They also affect the morale of the soldiers battling the Islamic militants.

New battleground

Philippines is the new battleground of ISIS fighters who have infiltrated into the Eastern province and joined up with the local Islamic Maute fighters. The insurgency is decades old and the Army has very little to show by way of results.

The capture of an important provincial capital does not speak highly of the efficacy of the Philippine Army. Duterte had boasted that he has never visited the U.S. and also did not attend the swearing-in of Trump, though invited. In the light of the latest developments, he will probably have to rethink his strategy. He should have realized that out of all nations only the Americans can help the Philippines at this time.