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Duterte warns of more Abu Sayyaf attacks

President Duterte said yesterday that soldiers must train to become intelligence officers as he warned the military to brace for more Abu Sayyaf bombing attacks.

Speaking before members of the Army 5th Infantry Division during his visit to Camp Melchor dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela, the Chief Executive reminded the troops of their duty to protect the people amid all threats that confront the country.

“I am just saying that the ultimate warriors sa Constitution to protect the people is the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” said the President.

In his speech, Duterte told the troops that negotiations between the government and the communist rebels are doing well.

However, he also said that even if a peace agreement is reached by both panels, the soldiers still should not relax but instead continue to train.

“You have to train more. You have to reinvent yourself from almost a soldier in uniform to all of you being intelligence operatives.”

Duterte spoke of the threats on the horizon. “In the horizon, at huwag ninyo ako tanungin kung darating o hindi, dadating yan. Sigurado ako and even if I’m no longer around, you will remember me, darating yan kasi ito ang na-experience ko,” according to the Commander-in-Chief.

He cited the situation in the southern Philippines, specifically the threat posed by the Abu Sayyaf, which has pledged allegiance to the jihadist group ISIS.

“Mindanao is a very sticky issue,” Duterte said, noting that the ASG no longer hungers for independence for Mindanao.

“They are no longer hungry for autonomy, they are hungry for a right to establish a caliphate in Southeast Asia. So ang problema hindi na yan sila makipag-usap on the basis of ano (ang) maibigay mo (such as) school. It’s either the caliphate or nothing,” said the President.

With this, he reiterated that the soldiers have to “reorient and reinvent” themselves, saying that: “Ang kalaban ninyo dito sabog.”

“Because itong terrorism, just like in the Middle East, although may front war, may kasaling urban terrorism, putok dito, putok doon,” he added.

“May mga paputok ng kotse iyan. Hindi iyan makontento sa Davao na bomba bomba. So it’s a long fight ahead,” Duterte said. “Prepare for that eventuality because ang kalaban niyo dito sabog. So you have to learn profiling of a bomber or terrorist,” he continued.

The President assured that for as long he is their Commander-in-Chief, the soldiers will have all equipment and weaponry necessary to win the war or at least to defeat the enemy in every fight.

Duterte said he has given Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza “absolute authority to buy whatever is necessary” for the Armed Forces.

“All of you will be given the protection, armor, and the weapons that you desire,” he said as he announced a P1-billion donation which will be used for the construction or improvement of military medical facilities.