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Next target: Urban terrorists

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Apart from addressing the illegal drug trade, the Duterte government is stepping up the campaign against urban terrorism that has placed the country in a bad light.

President Duterte has bared plans to tap more soldiers and policemen to put an end to terrorist activities which he claimed have embarrassed the government for far too long.

The President also rallied the troops to be ready to make “sacrifices,” saying the country was fighting terrorism “that cuts borders.”

“We have a problem. As a nation, it has started many many years ago. Para tayong sinasampal na every time there is a foreigner executed or a local, and with the dimensions such as ’yung nakikita kasi pinipikula – may pelikula, ‘yung mapapahiya,” the President told government troops gathered at the Western Mindanao Command headquarters in Zamboanga City last Thursday night.

“It embarrasses the country that the whole soldiers and the policemen cannot stop this kind of terrorism,” he added.
The President further said: “One day we’ll just have to decide and one day we’ll just have to say, ‘we’ll finish everything.’ Hindi pwede yung araw-araw sampalin tayo ng ganito.”

Prior to his short talk to the troops, the President met behind closed doors top military and police officials on the security situation in Mindanao inside the camp in Zamboanga City. Another security briefing was convened by the President in Basilan early Thursday.

Duterte admitted that the government has limited funds to meet the requirement of more personnel in the anti-terrorism campaign.

“In our talks during the command conference, I was informed there is a need for more soldiers. And, do I have a source somewhere? It’s about 20, wala akong pera, mga 10 siguro for additional soldiers on the ground,” he said. The commander-in-chief did not say if the number was related to budget for the deployment of additional troops.

“I would need about 3,000 policemen to meet the challenges of urban terrorism,” he added.

Duterte acknowledged that terrorism has become a global problem “because it cuts borders.” He said terrorists have no specific objectives, like rebels who want to establish a country or oust a dictator.

“Kagaya ng Middle East, the reason is just to kill. Dito, because there’s a reason and they’re here for kidnapping: money. At least kung ganoon lang and we’re better off than the others,” he said.

In fighting the terror menace, Duterte told the troops that this will require sacrifices and love of country. “Do it for the love of country. Do not do it for me. I do not need it. Trabaho tayong lahat,” he said.

He also assured the military of his 100 percent support as they carry out their duty to keep the country safe. “I will not allow you to go to jail. Ako na mauna. Kung lahat ng execute ninyo, akin yan. Mine and mine alone,” he said.

“Do not be afraid. I am there for you,” he added. (GENALYN D. KABILING)