‘Annihilate Abu Sayyaf to the Last Man’

Manila, Philippines, 04 Dzulqa’dah 1437/07 August 2016  (MINA) – President Duterte vowed there would be no let up in the fight against the Abu Sayyaf, calling on government forces to kill the bandits down “to the last man.”

“There will never be any peace negotiation. You have to destroy them. That is the order: Destroy them,” Duterte told the troops last Friday night at the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Central Command in Camp Lapu-Lapu in Cebu City.

“Just wait. When I was mayor, I said: ‘There will be a reckoning for all of these cruel and brutal things that you are doing. We will collect someday.’ Just wait because we are just assembling our troops,” he was quoted by Philstar as telling the troops over the weekend.

He said he has no tolerance for the Abu Sayyaf, notorious for kidnap-for-ransom activities and beheading its hostages.

“Finish the problem, finish them to the last man,” he said.

Duterte noted how terrorism would remain the biggest threat to the country in the next decade.

“I am warning you, five to ten years from now, the biggest problem would be terrorism,” he said.

Duterte promised the troops and the police he would take care of them as long as they do their duty to the country well.

He stressed the military should be loyal to the country and the Constitution, and no one else, not even the President.

“I feel strongly for the soldiers. I don’t need anything from you. I do not need your personal loyalty for me. Just love your country. Obey the Constitution, period,” he said.

Duterte said the military and the police are his partners in combating the apparatus of the illegal drug trade in the country.

He admitted giving the military and the police the go signal to hunt down all illegal drug syndicates in the country.

“And I feel for my soldiers and Davao City really improved to what it is now because of the police and the military. To tell you the truth, who killed the criminals there? It’s the military and the police,” Duterte said.

In exchange for the soldiers and cops’ support for his leadership, Duterte vowed to be loyal to them.

Duterte said he would back all his men against criticisms and legal challenges that may arise from his strong anti-drug campaign.

“I had the full cooperation. And in return I was also loyal to my men… The soldiers and the policemen are confident because I was there to protect them,” he said.

Duterte said Defense Secretary Deflin Lorenzana has requested a budget for the recruitment and training of 20,000 new soldiers.

“And I told him, ‘it would be difficult, perhaps I could only provide a budget for 10,000 new soldiers and 5,000 more policemen.’ I will have to prepare the Philippines’ defense… next year, we will be… The Philippines’ (defense) is actually okay. But under my term, we will be better,” Duterte declared.

Time of reckoning will come

The President has been visiting military camps over the weekend in his effort to lift the morale of the troops and explain the administration’s programs to talk peace with the rebel groups, including the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Duterte, however, stressed he would never negotiate with the Abu Sayyaf, saying “the time of reckoning will come.”

The United States and the Philippines have both listed the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist organization for kidnappings, beheadings and bombings.

The bandit group emerged in the early 1990s as an extremist offshoot of the decades-long Muslim separatist rebellion in the south. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)