President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, June 9, commended the brave soldiers for their efforts to go after the extremists and uphold the rule of law.
In his visit to the 603rd Brigade in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, President Duterte underscored the bravery of the Armed Forces who have fought the terrorist Maute group in Marawi City.
“It is my honor to express our deepest admiration and gratitude [to] your fallen and wounded comrades who selflessly put their lives on the line to keep our country safe and strong,” Duterte said in his speech.
He said the Filipino people will forever be grateful to the brave soldiers “who left their families and the comforts of their homes to defend our sovereignty and uphold the Constitution.”
“I commend you for your strong resolve in going after various terrorist and extremist groups in your area of [operations]. Because of your efforts to go after the enemy, we have upheld the rule of law,” Duterte said.
“Your hard work and relentlessness against illegal drugs have [also] resulted in the neutralization and apprehension of drug personalities and the confiscation of drugs and drug paraphernalia, making your area of responsibility safer from the drug menace,” he said.
“I pray that you will survive, all of you. And I’m very sad to have lost several of my soldiers and policemen,” Duterte said.
The President reiterated his full support to his soldiers, adding that they are now well equipped with brand new equipment.
“You will always have my support. At ang lahat ng binibili dito ngayon brand new. So kung ano ‘yung problema mo, sabihin mo sa akin, hindi kaya dito, o ‘di tawagan mo ako,” he said.
Duterte meanwhile said that as President of the Republic, it is painful for him to see Filipinos fighting their fellowmen.
“We do not want any war. I do not want war. Masakit para sa aking makita whether NPA, nakabulagta diyan. NPA, it’s Filipino. There’s a truism na you cannot fight your own people. ‘Yan ang pinakamasakit sa civil strife,” he said.
He however said there is always a limitation.
“They are the scourges of the land that we must rid of – swiftly and decisively – so that we can begin to rebuild our lives, homes and communities and regain the peace and freedom that our people long for,” the President said.
Duterte also underscored that he did not declare martial law to perpetuate himself in power.
“I think the Armed Forces and the Police would not aim for a war that would result in the killings of many lives,” he said.
The President meanwhile urged his countrymen to help in the reconstruction of Marawi when the siege is over.
“We have to help each other. Sabi ko, after all at the end of the day, Filipino tayo,” Duterte said.###PND