Duterte warns BIFF vs inflicting violence on people

Published May 14, 2021, 11:03 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Concerned about the safety and welfare of the people, President Duterte issued a stern warning to Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) against committing acts of violence that harm the innocent population.

President Duterte delivers a public address on May 13, 2021 (Malacañang)

The President renewed his threat about declaring an all-out offensive against the Islamic militants when he addressed the nation Thursday, May 13. Duterte mentioned his recent visit to Maguindanao and expressed concern about the “ongoing strife” that affected many people.

Several BIFF members recently launched a brazen attack in a public market in Datu Paglas town, Maguindanao but fled the area after a brief clash with government troops. The military earlier vowed to work with the police to ensure peace and security in the town following the BIFF attack.

“Marami na ang napinsala pati lahat na (Many, if not all, were affected) and I just give a warning and I mean it because next time around, I do not think that I will be in a position to withdraw my… ‘Pag nasabi ko na ‘yan, eh alam na ng nakikinig — ‘yong nakikinig alam na (I’ve already said it. Those who are listening know what I mean),” the President said in his taped remarks aired over state television.

“Ang problema doon (The problem there is the) BIFF and others and they continue to plunder, look for trouble and inflict violence,” he said.

In any armed conflict, the President lamented that innocent civilians end up as victims.

“Ang talo talaga diyan ang civilian eh. Iyang magkarebolusyon-rebolusyon, magkagiyera, the sum of it all, kung ano sino ang pinakakawawa ang sibilyan, ang mga anak natin pati mga babae at matatanda, (The civilians are the ones who lose. If there’s a revolution, war, the sum of it all, who will suffer? The civilians, our children, as well as women and elders) and even those who do not want war and only want to live in peace in this planet,” he said.

In his visit to Maguindanao the President asked Bangsamoro government leaders to help quell the BIFF hostilities or else he would be forced to declare an all-out military offensive against the group. The commander-in-chief denounced the BIFF for its “full-blown terrorism” as he expressed concern about the safety of the people.