Pres Duterte honors hero soldiers in Jolo, vows support for troops to crush terrorists amid pandemic

President Rodrigo Duterte talks to troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu in Jolo. (Photo courtesy Sen. Bong Go)

(Eagle News) – President Rodrigo Duterte lauded the men in uniform fighting terrorism in the country as he honored the soldiers who were killed in the Aug. 24 terrorist bombing in Jolo, Sulu.

In his talk to the troops in Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Headquarters in Jolo, Sulu, President Duterte also vowed to give all the support needed by the soldiers to fight terrorism amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To our troops, I stand in solidarity with you as we honor the memory of your comrades, my soldiers, who gave their lives in the
name of peace here in Sulu. The recent bombings that took the lives of several civilians including those of your fellow soldiers will only further strengthen our resolve to crush the lawless elements behind this cowardly act,” he said.

The President said that the incident had proven that there is no room for complacency in the fight against terrorism even at the height of the coronavirus crisis that has so far infected more than 217,000 Filipinos.

“This unfortunate incident is only one of the countless incidents that proved that we should never be complacent when it comes to terrorism. Lagi ninyong tandaan na ang kaligtasan ng mamamayan at mga komunidad ang inyong prayoridad,” Duterte told soldiers in Jolo.

“Right now, our entire nation is dealing with the global health crisis yet enemies of the state will still find the energy to perpetuate the acts of violence and terrorism,” he said.

The President said that he would do all he could in the two years remaining in his term to make sure that the terrorists sowing terror in the South are crushed.

-Heroism amid virus crisis-

His talk a day before National Heroes’ Day struck a nerve for the President as he extolled the heroism of the Filipino soldier amid a virus crisis that has affected Filipino families.

“Now more than ever our nation needs our Armed Forces to ensure that these terrorists will never succeed in their pointless goals.
By choosing to fight for your country here in Sulu, you honor the ultimate sacrifice of your fellow soldiers and the countless others who fought before you,” he said.

Addressing the soldiers in Jolo, Duterte said that he knew that the ongoing pandemic has added complications to their mission to crush terrorists and ensure peace in the region.

“Yet in the spirit of selflessness you remain strong in your mission for the Filipino people. Because of this, I am humbled by your commitment, inspired by your patriotism and grateful for a continued support,” the President said.

Bilang isang Pilipino ibibigay ko sa inyo ang lahat ng suporta na kailangan ninyo para matupad ang inyong misyon dito sa Jolo. I commit myself to work with you my dear troops to ensure that these terrorists will have no future in this country,” he said.

Duterte flew to Jolo from his hometown in Davao City amid various critics’ speculation on his health.

During his visit to Jolo, he not only went to the site of the Aug. 24 twin blasts, he also condoled with families of those killed in the tragedy.

-Innocents killed in bombing-

He voiced out his reflections on the peace process, and how it was tragic that both the Moros and the Christians were killed in the bombings done by Al Qaeda terrorists.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte leads the candle-lighting and the offering of flowers at the blast site at Barangay Walled City in Jolo, Sulu on August 30, 2020. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
Photo courtesy Sen. Bong Go

“Time and again, peace process, mag-usap tayo, then here comes Al Qaeda na walang ginawa na kung pumatay ka ng tao ke inosente man o hindi, ke Moro man o Kristiyanos, ‘pag paputukin ka, putok kayong lahat,” he said.

“That’s why when I visited the blast — and thank you for sharing with me the gesture — lumuhod ako, hinalikan ko ‘yung at least semento to where my soldiers and the countless and the num — at saka ‘yung mga Tausug na walang ka — their lives snuffed out for no reason at all,” he said.

-Peace could take more than a generation to achieve- Duterte-

President Duterte also recognized that the problem is not simple, and it might take more than a generation before peace can be achieved, although he tried he said to attain this in Mindanao.

May dalawang taon pa ako, ewan ko kung ano ang magawa ko talaga. But you know when you go into a fighting may galit na ‘yan. Mahirap ito aregluhin kasi lahat may sugat na sa puso. And it would take more than a generation to do this,” he said.

The quest for peace in Southern Philippines is recognized as critical in the Southeast Asian region by various experts and even by member nations of the ASEAN.

(Eagle News Service)