“ALL options are on the table” to deal with the rising threats in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said, as he raised the prospect of placing the entire Philippines under martial law.
Speaking to reporters, the President said his “only consideration” was the welfare of the Philippines.
“At this time, all options are on the table. All options are on the table. There is only one rationale there, the existence of the Republic of the Philippines. You threaten the existence of the Republic of the Philippines, I am sure that everybody will react and do what he must do to prevent it,” Duterte said during a media interview.
But the President also said that expanding the scope of martial law would be up to the “enemies of the state” which, according to him, included the New People’s Army (NPA).
“It is up to the enemies of the state. If the NPA said they are recruiting en masse numbers and they create trouble and they are armed and they are about to destroy the government, you know the government would not wait until the dying days of its existence,” he said.
Duterte said that his parameters for declaring nationwide martial law would be if the country would reach a “point of no return” but added that he would also rely on the advice of the police and military in deciding whether he should make a declaration nationwide.
“The government can always preempt and prevent that disaster. To what extend, what level of atrocities or attacks, it is not for me to say that. It is for the armed forces and the police,” the President said.
Meanwhile, Duterte said that a Christmas ceasefire with the NPAs would depend on the military.