Duterte to visit Cotabato, won't tolerate BIFF violence

Published May 11, 2021, 2:52 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is determined to enforce the law and will not tolerate any form of violence following the recent attack of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) elements in a town in Maguindanao.

President Rodrigo Duterte (File photo/Malacañang)

This will be the message to be conveyed by President Duterte when he visits Cotabato City Tuesday, May 11.

The President is scheduled to hold talks with concerned Bangsamoro officials as well as officers from the police and military during his visit in the south, according to his spokesman Secretary Harry Roque.

“Ang objective ng Presidente para iparating ang mensahe na hindi po niya puwedeng pabayaan ang kanyang katungkulan na ipatupad ang batas (The President’s objective is to convey the message he will not neglect his duty to enforce the law),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Tuesday ahead of the President’s visit.

“At dahil doon sa insidente na ilan miyembro ng BIFF ay panandaliang nagtungo sa Datu Paglas, ang kanyang mensahe, well, ang warning niya talaga ay ipapatupad niya ang batas at hindi niya kukunsintihin ang paggamit ng dahas diyan sa Maguindanao (And because of the incident where some BIFF members momentarily went to Datu Paglas, the President’s message, warning really, is he will enforce the law and he will not tolerate the use of violence in Maguindanao),” he added.

The President will be coming from Davao City, where he met with top government officials on pandemic response Monday night. This is the President’s latest provincial trip since his security team limited his movement within the Palace as a precaution against the coronavirus surge since March.

Several armed BIFF men attacked Datu Paglas, Maguindanao on May 8 and briefly occupied the town’s public market. After a brief firefight, government troops took back the market and forced the militants to retreat.

The military has vowed to work with the police to ensure the peace and security in Maguindanao following the public market occupation by the Islamic State-linked fighters. Armed Forces chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejano has also called on Maguindanao local officials and residents to remain vigilant following the thwarted hostilities of the BIFF.