Duterte tells AFP: Join me in banishing ‘national threats’
FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City—President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to lead the fight against “national threats” that to continue to plague the country and its people.
“I need the help of each one, especially the military, not for social control but protection to citizens from the lawless, reckless, and selfish,” Duterte told members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) during their annual alumni homecoming.
The President cited illegal drugs as the primary threat that confronts the country.
“Today, these threats face the nation: The first is illegal drugs. Little did I know that the drug problem was more complex until tens of thousands of drug users started turning themselves in as I directed the PMA with the support of the AFP to conduct a war against illegal drugs and it was by and large successful,” he said.
Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP public affairs chief, on February 6 said the military was willing to help the government’s war against drugs but has only been waiting for the guidelines from Malacañang regarding the exact role of the military in the anti-drug drive.
Duterte had earlier banned the Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct anti-illegal drug operations to focus on cleaning its own ranks.
The decision came after the grisly slay of South Korean businessman Jee ick-joo inside Camp Crame in Quezon City allegedly by antidrug operatives of the PNP.
Aside from asking support on his brutal war on drugs, the chief executive also called on the AFP to intensify its anti-terrorism operations.
He cited the threat of the bandit group Abu Sayyaf and the Islamic State, which he said has penetrated in Mindanao region.
“The Sulu-based ASG is focused on kidnap-for-ransom. The Basilan-based ASG under (Isnilon) Hapilon remains focused on assimilating the IS (Islamic State) violence today,” he said.
The AFP has said that Hapilon, an Abu Sayyaf leader who has pledged allegiance to the IS, has been severely wounded during a military encounter.
“As I predicted, IS would find its way to the Philippines. The ASG leader Hapilon, the overall leader of the ISIS Philippines however, has been severely wounded in an encounter with the military.
“I have directed AFP and PNP to continuously contain the ISIS threat, to intensify operations using all available assets and resources. This is the only way to secure Mindanao,” he said. IDL
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