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Duterte cites troops’ resolve to keep peace



by Genalyn D. Kabiling

The Filipino nation is “forever grateful” to the brave government forces keeping the country safe and strong, President Duterte said, amid intensified operations to finish off the Islamic State-linked extremists in Marawi City.

The President has commended the troops for their “strong resolve” to keep peace and order and encouraged them to swiftly eliminate the threat of terrorism and insurgency.

“The country and people are forever grateful to our brave soldiers who left their families and the comforts of their homes to defend our sovereignty and uphold the Constitution,” the President said before an assembly of soldiers in Sultan Kudarat last Friday.

“I commend you for your strong resolve in going after various terrorist and extremist groups in your area of (operations). Because of your efforts to go after the enemy, we have upheld the rule of law,” he said.

The commander-in-chief extended his “sincere thanks” to the troops for the 24-hour checkpoints in major entry and exit points, intensified foot and mobile patrols, and enforcement of curfew in area of operations.

The President said he enjoins the soldiers to “remain determined in pursuit of the enemy and save the people they have sworn to protect.”

He said there were persisting threats of terrorism and insurgency that “we must rid of swiftly and decisively.”

Resolving these security threats would enable the government to rebuild lives, houses, and communities, and “regain the peace and freedom that our people long for,” according to the President.

In the past few days, the President made rounds in some military camps in Mindanao to boost the morale of troops amid the battle against extremists in Marawi.

He also paid his final respects to soldiers slain in Marawi clashes, extending his condolences to the grieving families. He likewise tried to boost the morale of wounded soldiers during his recent hospital visits.

“It is my honor to express our deepest admiration and gratitude (to) your fallen and wounded comrades who selflessly put their lives on the line to keep our country safe and strong,” Duterte told the troops in Sultan Kudarat.

“Let me assure you that your valiant efforts in restoring order and keeping peace in Sultan Kudarat and the surrounding areas will not go unnoticed,” he added.

Apart from anti-terror operations, he praised the soldiers for their hard work and relentlessness in the fight against illegal drugs.

He said the operations have led to neutralization and apprehension of drug personalities and the confiscation of drugs and drug paraphernalia which made their area of responsibility safer from the drug menace.