Two things worry Duterte on his way out of Malacañang

Published November 19, 2021, 11:33 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte has identified as couple of things that “worry” him as he counts his final days in Malacañang.

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the joint meeting of the NTF-RTF ELCAC in Mimaropa held in Calapan City on Nov. 18, 2021 (Malacañang photo)

“Eh ako magtapos na (I’m finishing up my term), in six months I’ll be out. I really do not know… I’m worried about two things: crime and drugs ang number one, pati ‘yung NPA (crime and drugs are number one, also the New People’s Army),” Duterte said during the meeting of the National Task Force and Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-RTF ELCAC) in Mimaropa held in Calapan City on Thursday night, Nov. 18.

“Gawain mo lahat, lahat, lahat kaya mong gawain to suppress itong dalawa (Do everything that you can to suppress these two): drugs and terrorism perpetrated by the communist. Iyan lang ang problema natin (Those are our only problems). If we can hurdle it maybe, just maybe, we will have a prosperous and beautiful country again,” the Chief Executive told the attendees, which included local chief executives and leaders.

Duterte won the 2016 presidential race on the strength of his hardline stance against illegal drugs and criminality.

The scuttled peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has also been a common segue in the President’s speeches, particularly in the countryside. He usually expresses his anger over how the Red rebels have murdered soldiers and policemen even as the Philippine government tries to forge peace with the CPP.

The NPA is the military wing of the CPP. The communist factions have since been branded as terrorists by the Duterte administration.

“I also ask you to support this administration’s programs in achieving sustainable peace and security,” Duterte said.

“Indeed, if we address these key issues among our people, they will not turn towards extremism and, instead, they will contribute significantly to nation building,” he pointed out.

Since its creation in December 2018, the NTF-ELCAC has been at the forefront of government’s thrust to raise awareness and implement the whole-of-nation approach to put an end to more than five decades of communist insurgency in the Philippines.