CAGAYAN DE ORO — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Sunday, March 24, encouraged the public to vote wisely in the upcoming midterm elections, noting that it is vital that they choose aspiring senatorial candidates who have integrity and are genuine public servants.
In his speech at the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) during the campaign rally of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), he told the public, especially, his audience in Cagayan de Oro, “You are who you elect.”
He then explained the challenges that the Philippines has been enduring such as the cases of law and order, corruption, rebellion, and terrorism. Moreover, he also narrated that in order to attain a solution to these predicaments, he had to utilize unpopular measures, particularly on the issue of the illegal drug trade.
“It behooves upon you who worry eternally of the lives and death of people connected with the drug trafficking industry. It behooves upon you to do what you can do. Warn them. Jail them if that’s what you want,” the President said in vernacular.
“But do not blame me. If you continue with what you are doing, you will destroy my nation. I would like to repeat it to you as I have always said before. I am a government worker and I work for the people,” he added.
“My job is to protect the people and to preserve the Republic of the Philippines. I have no other agenda. No transaction of government has ever reached my table, not even anything…not even a single peso,” he continued.
President Duterte also clarified the prejudices against his leadership. “I will step down on the day that I will end my term. No dictatorship…no nothing…no extension of term,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Duterte also elaborated his reasons for the permanent end of talks with the communist rebels. It was last week, March 21, when the Chief Executive made such an announcement. However, he was not able to explain the decision further.
“With the [members of the] NPA, I already surrendered talking to them. I said I will stop talking to them because it is really useless. We have been talking for the last 30 years. And they have been trying to destroy the legitimate government since 53 years ago,” the President said.
“It could be a dream that there is hope. Fifty-three years would tell you that it amounts to nothing. So I told the soldiers and the police, let’s finish this. Either we surrender or they surrender. Either our troops will dwindle or we will finish them all…and we will,” he said.
“We also have a problem in the South…the Abu Sayyaf. They are really patterned after the ISIS. If not, it is really the ISIS who are there. It’s a violent world. There are bombings everywhere, even inside the church. There are plenty of massacres, too,” he added.
President Duterte said that he might not fully eliminate all these problems, but he is aiming to at least reduce the criminality and extremism in the country in the remaining days of his term.
“I do not think that I would be able to solve it during the last remaining three years of my term. But I am trying my best to reduce it to the barest minimum possible,” he said.
President Duterte confers Rank of Kampilan on wounded-in-action soldiers
Prior to President Duterte’s participation in the PDP-Laban campaign rally, he went first to Camp Evangelista Station Hospital and conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu with Rank of Kampilan on 12 Wounded-In-Action soldiers.
The Chief Executive visited Ssg. Ricardo G. Galang Jr., PFC Louie Jay M. Anib, and PFC Aldon B. Acar who were wounded in the encounter with the ISIS-Maute remnants.
Also, the President visited Ssg. Erwin Y. Corbeta, Cpl. Renie R. Lourente, Cpl. Ric Anthony C. Escalera, PFC Jomar U. Ramirez, PFC Felimon F. Villeza, Pvt. Leo Jan C. Ugbinada, Pvt. Kent Edmond E. Fuego, Sgt. Reuben S. Palahang , and PFC Kim P. Alaya-ay, who sustained wounds from their fight against the members of the NPA.
The Order of Lapu-Lapu with the Rank of Kampilan is given to persons in the government who were severely wounded while rendering extraordinary services or have made exceptional contributions to the success of the President’s campaign and advocacy.
Apart from the award, President Duterte provided each soldier with cash assistance, gun certificate, and a cellphone. ### PND