President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the military and the police to exhaust all means to end the problems on communism and terrorism before he steps down from office in 2022.
Duterte gave the directive to government forces on March 10, 2020, as he lamented that the continuing presence of communists and terrorists in the country hampered the country’s development.
“I have always called it as an article of faith, but no progress or development in any nation — wherever it is — cannot really hope to grow if there is trouble. Itong atin dito, what ails us is many, the insurgency of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), then you have the terrorists,” he said during the annual general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines in Pasay.
Duterte said he could not afford to let the communist and terror groups “create so much chaos and mayhem, loss of lives, and a great agony inflicted on hard-hit communities.”
He said he wants to spend his remaining years in office looking for drastic measures to end the unlawful acts of the communists and terrorists in the country.
“I have two years. Frankly, I have asked the military and the police, kung kaya niyong tapusin, tapusin na ninyo ngayon (if you can finish it now, finish it now),” Duterte said. “Kung hindi ko ito matapos (If I won’t be able to stop it), then I have to pass this problem to the next generation.”
Duterte on December 5, 2017 signed Proclamation 374, branding the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NA), as a terror organization because of their alleged acts “against the Filipino people, against humanity, and against the law of nations.”
The CPP-NPA is also tagged as terror group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Apart from the communist movement, several terror groups continue to pose threats in the country.
On May 23, 2017, Islamic State-linked Maute group laid siege to Marawi City in Lanao del Sur province, prompting Duterte to place the whole of Mindanao under martial law until December 31, 2019.
Martial law in the entire Mindanao was no longer extended following the drop in crime incidents in the southern Philippines and with Duterte’s confidence that state forces are on top of the situation to maintain peace and order in the besieged region even sans the implementation of military rule.
Fair distribution of public funds
Meanwhile, Duterte added that he was eyeing the fair distribution of public funds to local government units to fulfill his bid to improve the country’s economy and provide comfortable lives to Filipinos.
He said he would carry out his plan in his remaining years in office.
“Ang gusto ko lang sana sa last two years ko (What I want to do in my last two yesrs is), if I can equitably distribute the money of the Republic to cover the entire Philippines on projects, malaki man o maliit (be it big or small). Basta meron ang lahat (I want everyone to receive the money),” Duterte said.
He said equal distribution of money to local governments would be a “new mindset for the months to come.”
“I do not want to leave projects unfinished,” he said. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA)