The traditional vin d’honneur to commemorate Independence Day on June 12 has been cancelled to enable President Rodrigo Duterte to focus on the Marawi crisis, Malacañang said Saturday.
Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte would only attend the flag-raising rites at the Rizal Park in Manila on Monday morning and then immediately leave to attend to the Mindanao problem.
“The vin d’honneur scheduled on Monday, June 12, has been cancelled. After the Rizal Park flag-raising activity, on the same day, the President will attend to matters pertaining Mindanao,” Abella said.
State leaders, mermbers of the diplomatic corps and other guests traditionally gather in Malacañang to mark Independence Day.
Duterte hosted his first vin d’honneur in January to mark the New Year.
The President has spent most of his time in Mindanao since the armed conflict began, interacting with troops in various camps in the south.
On May 23, Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law after the Maute extremist group launched attacks on the predominantly Muslim city of Marawi in the province of Lanao del Sur.
The President imposed martial law to stop terror activities in Mindanao.
The military has vowed earlier to “liberate” Marawi City by June 12.