Duterte: $32-M US aid to help PH fight Abu terror
CAMP PERALTA, Capiz—President Duterte on Friday promised to give the troops the equipment they needed to gain the upper hand in the fight against terror, saying he would split the $32 million he received from the United States between the military and the police.
Duterte warned the soldiers they had to prepare to go head-to-head with terrorists, quite possibly the Islamic State or Abu Sayyaf.
“Prepare for that two to three years from now,” he told assembled soldiers here during a visit.
He said he would make sure they were well equipped when they went into battle: “I will not order you to fight disadvantaged.”
The President said that if he felt the country would suffer a considerable loss in a particular battle, he would bide his time.
“Only when we are ready—and we shall have acquired the equipment and I will buy it for you—only when I think we have the advantage, theoretically we have the upper hand, we are on the high ground with the weapons, with the assets, will we enter,” he told the troops.
The $32 million was given by US Secretary of State John Kerry for “training and services” during his recent visit to the country where he had lunch with President Duterte. Kerry was on a Southeast Asian swing to consult with allies on China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea.
Earlier, Duterte got into a spat with US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, which had long been patched up. On Friday, the President joked in Filipino: “Let’s insult him again and we may get more money.”
Call center agents
Part of the money would go to help them, the Commander-in-Chief told the troops, saying he would look after their welfare, especially if they had been wounded or incapacitated.
Soldiers on wheelchairs would be sent back to school to brush up on their English so they could work as call center agents.
“Learn English, voice and diction and improve on your grammar as well. I’ll put you in call centers,” the President said.
He said he was working on providing free education for their children, from elementary to high school, at the schools nearest their homes.
Duterte also told the soldiers they would get a new hospital with state of the art equipment, joking that beautiful women would attend to them.
Earlier this week, the President visited wounded soldiers at the AFP Medical Center in Quezon City.
During the visit, he promised them a new medical building with the best equipment. Leila B. Salaverria/rga
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