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Duterte faces left-wing protesters after Sona, demands mutual respect

Update 2

President Duterte on Monday night did what his predecessors had not done. Instead of flying back to Malacañang after delivering his annual State of the Nation Address, he faced angry left-wing protesters staging a rally outside the Batasan Complex.

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Amid chants of “we want peace,”  the headstrong Duterte  fumed: “Shut up first. I don’t want to face you if you are like that.”

“You can shout at me here and disrespect me but this is the last time that I will talk to you,” said Duterte, who in the past has called himself the first leftist Philippine president. He called for mutual respect, adding he was once like the activists.

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Then he addressed the protesters on issues concerning the stalled peace process and stood firm about his decision to stop the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The President was flanked on stage by his security detail and Special Assistant to the President Bong Go during the tense moment.

“Kailangan ko lang ng tahimik; magrespetuhan tayo, huwag niyo akong i-ambush, di naman kayo pwede lahat magpakamatay,” Duterte told the  crowd. (I need a little peace; let’s respect each other; Don’t stage an ambush against me…)

He was referring to the ambush last week staged by suspected New People’s Army rebels on the convoy of the presidential guards in Arakan, North Cotabato. Five of his security men were hurt, but Duterte was not in the area.

He said the left should understand that “You cannot ambush me and ask me to talk to you.”

“Bakit ninyo ako gaganunin? Sino makakausap nyo sa peace talks, yung kaluluwa ko? (Why will you do that to me? Who will talk to you on the resumption of peace talks, my soul)?” Duterte asked the protesters.

“Kung parang kalaban ang tingin ninyo sa akin, wag na tayo mag-usap (If you see me as your enemy, then there is no more reason for us to talk),” Duterte said.

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“Kung gusto niyo ring magpatayan ang Pilipinas okay rin lang ako. Yan ang gusto ninyo sirain ang bayan natin,” he said.

(If you want a bloody war it’s fine with me. That’s what you really want – destroy our country.)

The President said protesters can always air their sentiments to their representatives in the Cabinet. “You have representatives in my government, ask them what I am doing,” he said, referring to Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano.

He said he was still willing to listen and he was willing to deliver on his promises to all.

Martial law

Duterte told protesters that he asked for martial law extension to also address the hostage crisis in Marawi where at least 300 people were still being held hostage by Islamic State-linked militants at a mosque. “Yung martial law may tatapusin lang ako para sa lahat. Hindi yan forever, maghintay lang kayo. Iilan na lang ang andyan na may kasalanan,” he said. “Kaya ako hindi makapasok diyan, sabihin ko sa inyo, may 300 na hostages diyan sa malaking mosque. Binawalan ko ang militar to assault, sabi ko madadamay ang 300.”

He also told the crowd to “wait” for him to fulfill his promises, including ending contractualization. With a report from Associated Press/ac

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TAGS: communist, New People’s Army, Peace Talks, Philippine news updates, President Duterte, Sona
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