By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol June 04,2017 - 11:48 PM

PRAYER. President Rodrigo Duterte, flanked by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and top officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command (Centcom), bows his head in silent prayer at the start of the short program held at the Benito Ebuen Air Base on Mactan Island that precedes his meeting with the soldiers and policemen involved in the successful operation in Bohol against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

President Duterte vows no compromise with terrorists, orders the AFP to shoot them in the head and heart  

Peace talks with terrorists? Forget about it.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday vowed to go after all terror groups in Mindanao even it would also mean losing the lives of the captives in the process.

“Patayin na ninyo ang lahat na hawak ninyo. Hindi ako makikipag-usap sa inyo. Wala akong pakialam ano ang gawin ninyo (You can kill all your hostages. I will never talk to you. I don’t care what you will do),” the President said in a speech he delivered before about 500 soldiers and policemen gathered at the Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Lapu-Lapu City past 7 p.m. on Sunday.

The President was apparently referring to the Islamic State-inspired Maute terror group militants who were reported to be still holding an undetermined number of hostages in Marawi City, including Fr. Teresito “Chito” Suganob, the vice general of the Marawi diocese. Suganob was shown on a video that circulated on Facebook on May 30 and believed to have been coached by his abductors to appeal to the President to stop the air strikes.

The priest was abducted at St. Mary’s Church in Marawi City on May 24, a day after members of the Maute Group went on a rampage when they learned that the military was out to arrest Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader Isnilon Hapilon, who is also a known leader of the Maute Group.

“I will not talk to any terrorist. I have crossed the bridge. Ubosan na tayo (Let us finish off each other). If you want to invade another city, fine. Hindi ako aatras (I will not back down). Ubosan na tayo. Yong haka-hakang (Those rumors about) peace talks? Forget about it,” he added.

Shoot to kill

President Duterte said he has directed all soldiers and other law enforcers to kill all the terrorists in Mindanao, just like how government troopers successfully neutralized all ASG members in Bohol.

“My order is to shoot to kill. If you encounter those idiots, kill them. Barilin ninyo sa ulo. Isali pa ninyo ang puso. Problema pa natin kung saan sila ilagay (kung sila ay buhay). Baka, i-liberate pa sila ng kanilang mga kasamahan (Shoot them in the head. Include their hearts, as well. It will be our problem where to place them if we keep them alive. They could even be liberated by their cohorts),” he said.

He added: “Dalhin ninyo ang mga ulo nga mga iyan (Take their heads as well). They started it. They were brutal and cruel. That I cannot allow. We will deal with them just as we would deal with any terrorists.

Boodle fight

President Duterte arrived in Lapu-Lapu City close to 7 p.m. yesterday to meet with the soldiers and policemen who were involved in the successful operation against the Abu Sayyaf members who entered Bohol last April 10 reportedly on a terror and kidnapping mission. All 11 ASG members who went to Bohol were killed by state forces in several operations between April 11 to May 15.

Mr. Duterte joined soldiers and policemen in a communal meal called boodle fight, that consisted of rice, lechon (roasted pig), bam-i, tortang talong (fried eggplant), and ripe bananas that were laid out on banana leaves.

Also present were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana; Lt. General Oscar Lactao, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Central Command; Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas; and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino.

Protect civilians

President Duterte said it could have been easy to neutralize all the terrorists in Marawi City but are hounded by the presence of the civilians who might get killed in the crossfire.

“I can finish the job in 24 hours. All I have to do is to use our air assets, bomb and flatten the place. The government can do that. What hampers us is we can’t fight like the rebels. We are mandated to preserve our country and people,” he said.

“We can’t fire at will at the people because we are government bounded by rules, agreements, and treaties,” he stressed.

The President’s order to kill violent groups in Mindanao does not include those who belong to the Moro National Liberation Front, to which the government has reached a peace agreement.

President Duterte said he recently talked to Nur Misuari, the head of the Moro National Liberation Front, who expressed willingness to let his members join and cooperate with the government.

“Misuari wants to join us. I can take them in. Bring your guns, surrender, and you will be enlisted at the AFP,” he said.

President Duterte reiterated his plan to shift to a federal form of government if only to give much help and assistance to people in Mindanao.

“Injustice has been made to Moro people. By going federalism, we get a new structure for Mindanao. That is my task for the next five years,” he said.

No mention of Visayas

The President, even as he spoke for about 23 minutes, did not say anything about the Visayas or touch on his previous pronouncement that he would extent martial law to the Visayas or suspend the writ of habeas corpus in the Visayan regions should terrorism be brought here.

After his speech and boodle fight with the soldiers and policemen, Mr. Duterte proceeded to meet with a group of Chinese investors who were scheduled to make a presentation on their proposed waste-to-energy and mass housing projects worth $1.38 billion.

According to the advisory from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, the housing project will benefit both personnel of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as some informal settlers.

The meeting held at the Waterfront Airport Hotel & Casino Mactan was still ongoing at past 10 p.m. Sunday.

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TAGS: AFP, All, compromise, Duterte, head, Heart, kill, President, shoot, terrorists, them, vows
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