MANILA, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte voiced confidence on Friday that the government will eventually win the war against Islamic extremists that aim to establish an Islamic State caliphate in the Philippines.
In a speech before the troops in Zamboanga Sibugay in the southern Philippines, Duterte said the fight to crush the terror groups "will just take longer" because, unlike the militants, the government is concerned about the civilians who might be caught in the crossfire.
"We will have losses, but that's how life is governed in this universe," Duterte said.
The Duterte administration is now battling with dozens of militants aligned with the Islamic State in the country's only Islamic city with more than 200,000 people.
The military said at least 175 people, including 36 soldiers and policemen, have been killed in the ongoing siege that broke out last Tuesday in the southern city of Marawi. The running gun battle has also displaced thousands of residents.
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