The accused President Rodrigo Duterte faced the media on Tuesday addressing the criticisms being tossed against him and other top defense and military officials for wearing boots inside a mosque — a worship place for followers of Islam.
It was an act of religious insensitivity for some residents in Marawi city after President Duterte and other officials came to visit the Grand Mosque that was seized by Maute fighters and functioned as their command center; the sanctuary was recently reclaimed by the Marawi troops.
Duterte explained that wearing boots on was not meant to disrespect the religion of Islam but they had to be in full battle gear to protect themselves.
“I respect Islam, it was not meant to disrespect or dishonor,” Duterte told reporters during his press conference on Tuesday as he visited the wakes of two soldiers at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Duterte’s critics said that the president failed to follow the Mosque etiquette.
Non-Muslims are open to enter and visit a Mosque. However, there are certain rules and practices of Islam practices such as taking off footwear and wearing a hijab before entering a Mosque.
“Yung nakita na nila puro rubbles and glass eh. And ano, para ka matinik? Tapos ‘pag ba na… “Ano ‘yan? Papa-tetanus ka na naman?” Makikita mo ‘yan sa floor… may IED nga doon eh… ‘Yung pressure… Maraming basag na… Gusto mo mag-tinikling ka doon? [They can notice that there were rubbles and glass. And what, you will hurt yourself? What’s that? then you can get tetanus? You will see it on the floor, there were IEDs. The Pressure… A lot of broken things… You want to dance tinikling there?]” Duterte said.
The 72-year-old president also defended some officials who are with him during his fourth visit in the main battle of Marawi including National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.
“Ayaw ko lang matinik pati ‘yung lahat. Kasi matanda na. Ang pumasok si Esperon, ako, si… Alam mo kapag masugatan kaming mga matatanda na, p*****, ang tagal mag-heal [I don’t want us to be injured. Because we are old. Esperon entered, me… You know when we old people get wounded; it takes long for us to heal],” Duterte said.
He added, “Because when you are old, the healing is very, very slow. Kaya kami takot matumba because kung ma-fracture, ganun [That’s why we are scared that we might fall because if we get fractured, like that].”
Earlier, Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson was also criticized by Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong for taking a selfie inside the Mosque wearing her boots on and for not wearing the traditional hijab for Muslim women.
Adiong also advised Uson to hire an etiquette manager. However, the President didn’t give his comment about Uson being criticized.
“Look, I am the grandson of a Moro lady. I know the religion, I know the culture.” Duterte said in the latter part of his speech.