The Daily Manila Shimbun


Philippines “stable” despite terror problem – Duterte

June 4, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte has said the Philippines is "stable" despite the problem of terrorism in Mindanao.
"The Republic is well, it's stable. There are pockets of war, fighting in Mindanao," said Duterte in a pres conference during his visit at the 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro on Saturday.
The government troopers have been conducting offensive operations against the Islamic State-linked Maute Terror Group in Marawi City. They have been pursuing also other local terrorists, such as the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in other parts of Mindanao.
In the case of the communist New People's Army, Duterte said, "we are still assessing the environment vis-a-vis with the NDF (National Democratic Front), NPA (New People's Army)."
The government peace panel had refused to participate in the fifth round of peace talks with the NDF supposedly held on May 27 to June 1 in the Netherlands due to the order of the Communist Party of the Philippines to the NPA fighters to intensify their attacks against the government security forces following Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao on May 23.
Duterte placed the whole of Mindanao under martial rule for 60 days due to the Marawi crisis.
The President said he was assuming "full responsibility" for the airstrikes in Marawi.
"So those bombings were under my orders and I will account for it," he said.
A recent airstrike by the Philippine Air Force had missed the terrorist target and instead hit and killed 10 soldiers in Marawi.
Duterte said he felt sad for the death of the soldiers. But he said incident like this really happened.
"But this thing will happen again and again and again. It does, it has not happened not only with the Philippine Army, sometimes Navy, and then there is what you would call the 'Murphy’s Law.' The Murphy’s Law states that if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong," he explained.
He said an investigation has been ongoing regarding the missed airstrike and it would be up to the military to do its job.
The President said that all the actions being taken by the government under martial law would be reported to the people.
"I will report to the nation what we did and why we did it," he said.
Duterte also warned that in the coming days, the government would arrest the terrorists' protectors, "whether politicians or not.
"We will charge you accordingly. We will detain you (for) more than six days. There will be at once an inquest and if there is probable cause, I would like them to be detained forever," he said.
Duterte also called Police Superintendent Maria Cristina Nobleza, who was arrested for her alleged link with the Abu Sayyaf, as "a traitor to her country."
She was arrested in April for allegedly aiding the Au Sayyaf bandits who tried to attack Bohol province.
The President said Nobleza's name always appeared as recipient of remittance transactions from the Middle East.
He said Nobleza should be publicly hanged.
"I will not hesitate to do it if it comes to that. I will hang every traitor here in the government," he said. (Celerina Monte/DMS)