PRESIDENT Duterte yesterday ordered the military to destroy all enemies of the state – from the communist New People’s Army and the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group to those who are involved in the illegal drugs trade and in corruption – to end the Filipinos’ problems.
The President, during celebrations of the Armed Forces’ 84th foundation anniversary at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, said the military is at the forefront of the campaign to ensure the safety and well-being of Filipinos.
“Kalaban natin na sumisira sa buhay natin ay itong mga terorista, kasali na ang NPA, kasali na ang mga kidnap-for-ransom, nandiyan sa Jolo ang Abu Sayyaf, at lahat na. At ang utos ko sa kanila, at pag sila’y lumaban, durugin para matapos na ang problema ng Pilipino.
(The enemies that destroy our live are the terrorists, the NPA, the kidnap-for-ransom groups, the Abu Sayyaf in Jolo, and everyone else. My order to them [military], if they resist arrest, to destroy the problem of the Filipinos),” he said, reiterating that the country is also at war not just with corruption but also with illegal drugs.
Duterte said the AFP has made significant contributions not only in defending the country from external and internal security threats, but also in conducting humanitarian and disaster response operations during natural and man-made disasters.
He said the military has been consistently dependable and reliable, and nation is grateful for its services.
“If there is disorder, they establish order. If there is a lawless environment, they provide stability… they are everything and that is why you should love your soldier,” he also said.
Armed Forces chief Gen. Noel Clement, in his speech at the celebrations, reported successful operations against communist and terrorist groups during the anniversary celebration.
“On internal security, the communist terrorist group is in disarray due to continuous neutralization of its members, particularly the high-ranking personalities,” he said. “This is manifested by the minimal number of atrocities committed by the group, which are mostly unsuccessful harassment.”
Clement said the military neutralized (killed, arrested, and caused the surrender) of 89 high-value individuals this year. He said 12 guerilla fronts were dismantled and 12 more are for dismantling until March next year; four “Pulang Bagani” commands were dismantled; and 183 barangays were cleared of NPA presence.
On terrorist groups, Clement said the military has “contained” the terrorists in Western Mindanao.
“We have neutralized three suicide bombers that could have inflicted massive death, injury, and destruction were it not for the vigilance of our soldiers,” said Clement, referring to the death of three terrorists, including an Egyptian and his son, after a firefight in Indanan, Sulu last month.
“The year 2019 has been a fruitful and meaningful year for your Armed Forces. Rest assured that we will always be ready to adapt, change and transform as we come closer to realizing our vision to become a world-class armed forces, truly a source of national pride,” he added. – With Victor Reyes