Duterte: Be prepared for any terrorist attack
President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night urged the nation to be prepared for any terrorist attack as the fighting in Marawi City wound down.
Mr. Duterte said the ideology of the pro-Islamic State terrorists who laid siege to Marawi was “dedicated to killing human beings.”
“In the coming days, with the siege that… I’m not trying to scare you. Let us just be prepared for any eventuality,” he said in a speech in Bacolod City.
The President was in the city to attend the 38th MassKara Festival.
‘Terrorism is everywhere’
“Terrorism is everywhere. No nation has escaped from the clutches of the evil of the (Islamic State) ideology dedicated to just kill human beings and destroy places,” he said.
Government troops are trying to end the fighting in Marawi on Sunday, with a handful of Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists making a last stand in a two-story building by Lanao Lake.
Mr. Duterte declared the city “liberated from terrorists’ influence” on Tuesday, marking “the beginning of rehabilitation.”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the lifting of martial law that Mr. Duterte had clamped on Mindanao to quell the terrorist uprising would be discussed before the end of October.
Mr. Duterte said, however, that martial law in Mindanao would stay until the last terrorist had been killed.
Super Ferry 14
The President, who claimed he is a Maranaw by blood, said he is upset “that this might become something that we will have to worry about “
Stressing the need for caution, Mr. Duterte said: “The terrorism that happened in Marawi City, it was an awful thing to just see what was evolving before our eyes.”
“It would help that everybody would also watch everybody. Not really a profiling. I hate it, I do not do it. Like I said my grandmother is a Maranaw. Sometimes we have to know things within your control or environment,” he added.
Duterte then recalled the tragedy that struck Super Ferry 14, saying it “was one of the most brutal terror attacks perpetuated by Al Qaeda.”
“It is still there, it is existing, and it has pledged to the world that they just want to kill those who are not with them,” he pointed out.
President Duterte could be referring to the February 2004 bombing of Super Ferry 14 that killed more than 100 people while heading to Bacolod City. Six members of the notorious Abu Sayyaf group were tagged as culprits in the bombing, which was then downplayed by government.
Treat soldiers well, invite them to a party
Speaking before a crowd of 5,000 gathered in the Bacolod City plaza for the festival, Duterte likewise urged the public to treat well the soldiers, especially those returning from their assignment in Marawi City, for “(t)hey have sacrificed for this country.”
Mr. Duterte encouraged Negrenses to welcome the arriving soldiers or invite them to a party.
Three Army battalions of the 3rd Infantry Division, composed of 11th, 15th and 82nd Infantry Battalions (IB), have been deployed in Zamboanga, Lanao del Norte, and Marawi City, respectively.
The 15th IB suffered three casualties in Marawi City, military records showed.
Three other Negrenses, who were members of the elite Scout Ranger unit of the Philippine Army, also died in battle with the Maute terrorist group.
“They really went to hell. Others did not make it,” Duterte said.
Up to yearend
Meanwhile, Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Gregorio Honasan believed martial law should stay up to the end of the year to ensure that sympathizers of the Maute group would not be able to create trouble.
“For the protection of our construction and rehabilitation volunteers and members, martial law should remain until Dec. 31,” Zubiri said in a radio interview.
“Actually, Congress has decided that martial law should remain in place [in Mindanao] until the end of the year not just to make sure that the [island] is cleared but also that the situation [has stabilized],” Honasan said in a separate radio interview.
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