I’m a ‘lover of soldiers’ like Marcos, says Duterte
ZAMBOANGA CITY – President Duterte on Friday likened his “love for soldiers” to that of deposed President Ferdinand Marcos.
Speaking before troops at a military camp in Barangay Busbus in Jolo, Sulu, the President said there was no other time that soldiers got what they wished for, including salary increases, except in Marcos’ time and under his administration.
He said he was a lover of soldiers like Marcos and was willing to help them if they have any problems.
“Never was a time, I am not being boastful. There was no other President, only two, in providing such attention to a soldier. Me and Marcos only. Marcos was also a lover of soldiers,” he said.
That was why, Mr. Duterte said, he was willing to help solve any problem that soldiers face – including financial.
“I told you if you have a problem or you cannot solve your problem here just call me. Maybe, just maybe, I can solve it,” he said.
The President said he was even willing to take the sidearms he provided soldiers “as pawn” to help them in their problems.
“Because I really appreciate your service,” he added.
Duterte also said he would support soldiers “all the way” in the campaign against rebels and terror groups.
“I will give you all the tools (you need),” he added.
Duterte also warned that “another strife is coming” as “the New People’s Army (NPA) had become brazen.”
“We have been trying to fix this thing for 50 years and you want another 50 years. I cannot do anything anymore. They don’t want peace talks,” he said.
Duterte said he should not be blamed in case the full-scale war with communist rebels breaks out.
“But don’t say one day that I have not tried to reach out. I was the first to do it by releasing political prisoners,” he said.
Duterte said what he did not want was that the rebels “wanted a coalition government.”
“I told them I could not give what I do not own,” he said.
“Sovereignty is only transferred to elected leaders….that is what the Constitution provides so I said I cannot give it. Let’s go to war. We are back at square one,” Duterte added.
He said he never liked war – such as what happened in Marawi City – because “nobody wins in a civil strife.”
“We would like to seek peace. Please don’t misinterpret what I am doing. I am a President for peace. I am not an authoritarian, aristocratic, or a despot. We (government officials) are bounded by the Constitution. We swore to protect the people and defend the Republic in its integrity and territorial bounds,” the President said.
But because of the impending full-scale war, he said the military should expect more modern armaments.
“And true to my promise, I am really very sorry it came late,” he said referring to the modernization of Armed Forces. “It was not that I did not have the money.”
He said the supplier could not keep up with the huge number of soldiers needed to be armed aside from the paper works required.
Meanwhile, Duterte acknowledged that the war in Marawi City resulted in a massive destruction but that it was justified.
“There was much destruction but there was no other way to do it,” he said.
Duterte hinted that the war could have ended early but “I was the one holding back the [military].”
“I oftentimes insisted that we do not destroy the shrines the mosques and everything because foremost in my mind actually was the lives of 2.5 million Filipinos deployed in the [Middle East]. [So I said] just slowly so that we don’t have to inflame [the] passion of Muslims,” he said.
The President also bared that his decision on the Marawi crisis was backed by “every significant (Muslim) leader.”
“I told them the problem and they understood,” he added.
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