Palace says Duterte’s remarks on arming civilians vs ASG in Bohol, not to be taken literally

QUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News) — Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the statement made by President Rodrigo Duterte about arming civilians to go after the Abu Sayyaf Group should not be taken literally.

Abella said the the statement was a “dramatization” to emphasize the need to increase security measures in Bohol.

He said it should not be taken as a policy statement.

“In a sense it was a dramatization of making sure that security is raised up in the area,” Abella said.

“There’s no paper to support that,” Abella said. “But what I’m saying is that this is his intention to raise security. He has a way of underlining what he wants to do.”

In his speech in Bohol, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he intended to arm the civilians against the group that authorities said had resorted to kidnapping individuals in exchange for money.