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Duterte tells military: No other president looked at you the way I did

/ 10:06 PM July 03, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — After calling on the military to be calm after an incident between intelligence officers and the police, President Rodrigo Duterte reminded the armed forces in Jolo, Sulu, that no other president has given them attention in a magnitude that he did.

Duterte, who spoke to the military on Friday days after an alleged “misencounter” between intelligence officers from the Philippine Army (PA) and elements from the Sulu Provincial Police Office, said that they are trying to get to the bottom of the incident.

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But in the meantime, he asked soldiers to wipe revenge away from their minds, noting that they have a duty to the Filipino people, and that the administration has always looked after their welfare.

“Walang ibang presidente ng Pilipinas na lumingon para sa inyo, totoo ‘yan.  ‘Yon sweldo, pati ‘yong mga equipments ninyo sa ospital, pati ‘yong medisina para sa gamot,” Duterte said in his speech.

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(No president of the country has looked in your favor, that is true, in terms of salary increases, provision of equipment in hospitals, even the medicine for injured soldiers.)

“It behooves upon you to think about that solemn duty, what happens in the side, it is really happening, it is important to investigate and ensure that justice is rendered.  But remove hatred from your hearts because it has no place in our jobs.  We cannot take revenge, we cannot go there and lynch them, it ain’t that way,” he explained partly in Tagalog.

Duterte’s call came almost a week after four intelligence officers tracking down suspected suicide bombers from extremist group Abu Sayyaf were gunned, not by rebels but by police officers.

Officials from the Philippine National Police (PNP) have called the incident a misencounter, while Army chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay said that the encounter was murder.

Gapay added that Sulu police officers involved in the incident should be removed from their posts.

Duterte clarified that his reminders were not intended to seek favor with the military, but rather to remind them of their mandate.

“It’s not because nagpapalakas ako.  Bakit ako magpapalakas, trabaho naman natin ‘to.  In the same manner that the police would also need you, they cannot handle the insurgency problem.  So we need the Armed Forces of the Philippines to keep the integrity of this republic so that the people would be protected,” Duterte said.

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(It’s not because I am trying to earn your favor.  Why would I do that, this is our job.  In the same manner that the police would also need you, they cannot handle the insurgency problem.  So we need the Armed Forces of the Philippines to keep the integrity of this republic, so that the people would be protected.)

The Chief Executive also noted that a lot of ex-military officials are currently within his Cabinet.

“Hindi ba kayo nagtaka?  Baka sabihin niyo nagpapalakas ako sa military, tignan mo ‘yong cabinet ko, kalahati puro retired general.  Kalahati ng cabinet member, predominantly dyan — ang Bisaya dyan dalawa na lang, si Briones pati ako.  Pero ‘yan, sundalo, sila (Secretary) Delfin (Lorenzana),” he added.

Under the President’s administration, the pay of soldiers has increased dramatically, which Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said have boosted morale among military personnel and inspired them to work harder.

While people have lauded Duterte’s move to modernize the military and involve the said agency in various policies, a lot of people believe that it is dangerous to involve the military too much — including in the COVID-19 response — as the Cabinet appears like a “military junta.”

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TAGS: AFP, Armed Forces of the Philippines, intelligence officers, Jolo, Military, Philippine Army, Phil‎ippine National Police, Philippine news updates, President Rodrigo Duterte, Sulu, Sulu misencounter
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