PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to destroy and kill terrorists, especially those from the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda amid the government’s push to weed out extremism from the country’s restive south.
After visiting wounded soldiers in Jolo, Sulu, on Saturday, Duterte assured soldiers they are not alone in their fight to defend the country, according to the Inquirer.
“I assure you that you have my full support as you conduct intensive military operations against these terrorist groups, particularly those who subscribe to the extremist ideologies of the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda,” the president said in a speech at Camp Teodulfo.
In boosting the morale of the troops, Duterte called the ideologies of the extremist groups “bankrupt” and “inutile”.
“They only know how to destroy and kill, destroy and kill. So my order to you: Destroy and kill also. Why be at a disadvantage?” he said.
“With your bravery, selflessness and patriotism, I am optimistic that we will one day defeat all threats to our democratic institutions and secure a brighter future for our beloved country,” he said.
In May last year, IS-inspired rebels from the Maute group laid siege on the southern city of Marawi in a conflict that destroyed much of the city’s centre and displaced some 300,000 people.
The war, which lasted more than five months, left over 1,000 people dead and thousands more injured.
Despite Duterte’s announcement on the end of the war in October, gun battles raged on in other parts of the south.
In the ongoing conflicts, the president also called on troops to not surrender because they will be “trashed” by the terrorists, the Manila Times reported.
“Do not allow them to take your guns while you are alive. If you are cornered and you do not have ammunition anymore, do not get caught. They will take you to their camp, they will treat you like a dog and they will face you to the camera and slit your throat,” Duterte said.
“My soldiers are brave and are ready to die. If you do not have any more bullets, the last magazine, you just eat it,” he added.
Duterte’s remark to the soldiers came after 240 newly commissioned second lieutenants of the army were deployed around the country to combat terrorist and communist groups.
The president also said the government will no longer take communist rebels who surrender.
“They are all boastful. Even me, they are trying to scare… idiots. This Communist Party of the Philippines chairman Jose Ma. Sison, he said I am comatose. Idiot. You do not have a navy, you do not have an Army, no helicopter. No [Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit] CAFGU, no Air Force.
“All they do is ambush,” Duterte said.
“But, next time around, we will raise the bar higher. There will be no more surrenders. Son of a bitch. You will fight until you die. We will not accept surrenders. We are going in circles,” he added.