By Genalyn Kabiling
Jolo, Sulu is now filled with government troops on a mission to keep peace and security, and stop any attack perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf Group in the area, President Duterte said recently.
The President, who ordered the activation of the 11th Infantry Division in Jolo late last year, sought to finish off the Abu Sayyaf elements which he claimed know nothing but commit kidnap-for-ransom and murder.
“How many fronts am I facing there, fighting a war? Abu Sayyaf, ISIS ‘yan. Walang pag-asa ‘yan. It’s a totally bankrupt — I don’t know if it’s a grouping. What they know is simbahan paputukin, massacre, and decapitate people, honest people, asking for ransom [They are hopeless. It’s a totally bankrupt — I don’t know if it’s a group — all they know is bomb churches, massacre and decapitate honest people, asking for ransom],” he said during a recent administration campaign event in Marikina City.
“Meron akong bagong division sa — pinuno ko talaga ang Jolo ng sundalo. Well that has to stop [I have a new military division there, I filled Jolo with soldiers. Well, that has to stop],” he added.
The President earlier ruled out holding peace negotiations with the Abu Sayyaf Group in the wake of its notorious atrocities in the south. Duterte instead has ordered the military to destroy the Abu Sayyaf group especially following its suspected involvement in the two deadly explosions in Jolo.
“They don’t have any ideology, they are pretending to be Muslims with a cause but all they do is to kill and destroy,” the commander-in-chief said.
He also admitted that the country might lose investors if the Abu Sayyaf elements are not neutralized. “Pag hindi ito nawala sila dito [If they are not stopped], everybody who wants to invest in the Philippines will never do that so we cannot be productive,” he added.
In the fight against the Abu Sayyaf group, Duterte has recently distributed new pistols to government troops to help guard against enemies of the state. He also urged soldiers not to get caught alive by terrorists, saying they should save the last bullet for themselves.
“Kung ikaw mahuli ka nila, ma-capture ka [If you get captured], they will treat you like a dog,” he said.