By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is confident that the government could win the war against groups that seek to sow terror in the country.
The President said the military has made significant gains in defending the country and the nation’s democratic way of life, adding he expects the troops to never waver in performing their duties.
“With your untiring loyalty to the flag and to the overwhelming support of our people, I have no doubt that we will win the war against those who seek to sow terror in our communities, especially in the countryside,” Duterte said during the 122nd anniversary celebration of the Philippine Army in Taguig City last Thursday.
Duterte said he would like to finish the war against the communist terrorists, Abu Sayyaf group, and drug traffickers in “about three years.”
“God willing, we’d be able maybe just not really completely eradicate it but reduce the activities or the illegal trade and the fighting to the barest minimum,” said Duterte who will end his six-year term on 2022.
In appreciation of the troops’ loyalty and sacrifice, the President said the government was committed to pursue the military’s modernization program to improve defense capabilities. The commander-in-chief noted that they intend to implement the Second Horizon of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program until 2022.
“With the firm commitment and solidarity in this important fight, I have no doubt that we will be able to combat those who seek to undermine the gains of our Republic,” he said.
Duterte also promised to continue to promote the welfare of the soldiers and their families, citing the housing program and other benefits.
He said the government has already completed four-storey enlisted personnel condominiums and six condominium buildings for married senior Army officers this month. Another six condominium buildings for senior Army officers and their families will be completed by June.
“I assure you that we will continue to pursue these programs as an expression of the Filipino people’s appreciation for all that you have done for our country,” he said. “Indeed, we are all truly indebted to you for risking life and limb for love of country,” he added.
At the start of his speech, the President congratulated the military for its accomplishments in both internal security and civil-military operations in the country.
He commended the Army for its many operations that resulted in the recovery of almost 6,000 firearms, the neutralization of more than 600 enemies, and the surrender, capture and apprehension of more than 1,700 lawless elements.
“Your accomplishments in both internal security and civil-military operations in many parts of the country are a testament to your unwavering commitment to defend our institutions and our democratic way of life,” he said.
“May these gains inspire you, our valiant soldiers, to never waver in your commitment to perform your duties,” he added.