President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday ordered the military to intensify its offensives against the extremist Abu Sayyaf following the bombing in Jolo, Sulu that killed at least 20 people and wounded 112 others.
“I order you to destroy the organization. I’m ordering you now: pulpugin ninyo ang (crush) Abu Sayyaf by whatever means,” Duterte said in his speech on Monday when he visited the blast site and the wake of the victims in Jolo.
The President advised the government troops to use helicopter, planes, ships and cannons against the Abu Sayyaf terrorists.
Duterte cited the need to counter the evil acts committed by the terrorist groups.
“I’d rather be criticized on the side of being brutal than allow my country to just disintegrate,” Duterte said.
“It’s a movement of evil men. The only way to fight them is to become evil also,” he added.
The President said there is no point in engaging the terrorist group in peace talks.
“Hindi mo man pwede kausapin na mag-usap tayo ng kapayapaan. Ayaw eh. Tapos ipinapahiya tayo. (We cannot even talk peace with them. They do not want it. Then they make us look like fools). They are trying to picture us as inutile,” he said.
Duterte, however, advised the government troops to spare the innocent civilians as he promised that assistance will be given to those who will be evacuated once the military offensives against the Abu Sayyaf and other terror groups begin.
“Ang gawin ninyo sabihin ninyo pagka-bobombahin mo ‘yang lahat, paalisin mo iyong mga tao. Ilagay mo dito kung saan ako ang mag — ako ang mag-gastos ng pagkain, lahat. Ganun lang ang paraan. Yung daghan na sa — na tinamaan na nag-eskwela, (Once you start bombing, evacuate people. I’ll fund for their food, everything. That’s the only way to do it. Those whose schooling will be affected,) we will fund the education. Eh trabaho ng gobyerno ‘yan (It’s the job of government). It’s a failure of government to protect you that is why we are assuming the responsibility,” he said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now looking at three persons of interest in the deadly blast.
PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde said one of the suspects belong to the Abu Sayyaf sub-group Ajang-Ajang, which was earlier tagged by the military as the one behind the blast. (PNA)