By Genalyn Kabiling
Acknowledging that the government is facing threats from various fronts, President Duterte on Thursday revealed that more soldiers and policemen will be recruited to effectively combat the terror “danger” posed by the Islamic State as well as communist rebels and criminal elements threatening the country’s peace and stability.
At the oath-taking of newly promoted police officers in Malacañang, the President also promised to continue enhancing the training and equipment of uniformed personnel to become a highly capable, effective, and credible government force.
“We are facing so many fronts. I need more soldiers. I would need about an additional of seven to 10 SAF (Special Action Force) troopers kasi palaki nang palaki ang problema [because the problems is getting bigger]. We thought all the while that it would somehow wane,” the President said in his remarks.
“Apparently, with the migration – excuse me – a lot of ISIS leaders in the Southeast Asia, we will have terrorism. Ang tinatakutan ko, ‘yung ginagawa nila [I’m afraid of what they are doing]. You know what I mean and I don’t want to raise an alarm before the public,” he said.
Duterte also directed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde, who was present at the event, to immediately train new SAF commandos to help keep peace and order in the country.
“Maybe, General Albayalde can at least start on this project. I need about 10 more. Kayong talagang – talagang gasgasin ninyo husto ‘yung sundalo para we can meet the coming danger [Train the soldiers hard so we can meet the coming danger],” he said.
The President recently said he was praying to God to spare the country from possible deadly attacks by the Islamic State militants. He admitted that he was worried that many people might suffer the brutality and cruelty of the ISIS.
“I’m praying, I really pray, talagang lumuluhod ako sa Diyos na to spare us the kind of brutality and cruelty in our country because it will really be bloody, bloody as it can ever be,” he said in a speech at the Palace last week.
Apart from the lingering terror threat, the President recognized that the government was also dealing with the communist insurgency.
He said the communist group, namely its negotiators Fidel Agcaoili and Luis Jalandoni, want to resume peace talks with the government but may not be realized anytime soon.
The President has denounced the attacks by communist rebels on government troops, mostly recently the brutal killing of four policemen in Negros.
Duterte said he never asked the troops to torture rebels, saying he would “always emphasize that the only way to do it is to kill them with kindness.” “Give them lands, money, and everything. I think that we are improving by leaps and bounds every day,” he added.
Meantime, the President urged the newly promoted police officials to work with him in the crucial task of eradicating criminality and corruption in the country.
He said they should uphold the highest ethical standards in their profession even as they strive to remain firm in controlling order and the rule of law, preventing and controlling again crimes, and the order of the nation.
“More than ever, we need our uniformed personnel to go beyond reproach and filled with dedication as we push for genuine and lasting reforms in government,” he said.
He also asked the police officials to foster improved relations with the communities to inspire the public to actively participate in the work of nation-building. “More importantly, I ask you to become remarkable officers who will inspire the youth with your good example,” he said.
He assured that the administration “fully supports the PNP’s vision to become a highly capable, effective and credible police force.”
“I acknowledge the efforts of your leadership to improve the capacity of the entire organization,” he said.