Duterte retracts call for rebels to help troops fight terrorists
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday that he would not want communist and Moro fighters to help government troops fight terrorists in Marawi – though he had earlier urged them to lend a hand.
In a speech before soldiers of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Division in Sultan Kudarat, Duterte took note of the offer for the New People’s Army to join the government in the fight.
“I said, son of a bitch, the shots my soldiers would get might all be on the back, not on the front,” he said, apparently in jest.
He quickly added that it was not a matter of distrust.
“It’s not because I do not trust them. But it simply does not fit into the picture,” he said.
The President also said Nur Misuari, founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), had offered to send 2,000 soldiers, but he was reluctant as well to integrate them with government troops.
“I said, never mind. Because there would be many of us, we would not understand each other. We might end up being the ones shooting at each other,” he said.
Duterte instead asked for understanding and patience.
“We will restore order in this country,” he vowed.
Earlier, after putting Mindanao under martial law, Duterte called on Moro fighters and communist rebels to join the fight against the pro-Islamic State extremist groups in Marawi.
“I will hire you as soldiers – same pay, same privileges, and I will build houses for you in some areas,” he was quoted as saying. /atm
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