President Rodrigo Duterte may arm military reservists and graduates of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program if the threat of terrorism worsens.
In a speech at the inauguration of a new shooting range in Davao City on Monday night, Duterte said he would consider mobilizing and arming military reservists and ROTC graduates “to fight for our survival.”
“Worse comes to worst, the first thing that I will do is to arm the ROTC and the reservists, and after that the civilian,” the President said. “I will allow the mobilization of the ROTC and those guys who have had military training and I will allow you to use, bear the high-caliber firearms. If it’s terrorism, then that is the time we will have to fight for our survival,” he added.
The government late last year dealt a blow to the Islamic State (IS)-linked Maute Group who attacked Marawi City, but security officials warned another violence could erupt as the terrorists regroup.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely earlier warned that terrorists behind the Marawi siege are regrouping and are intending to strike again elsewhere.
Duterte confirmed there is an imminent threat of terrorism in the country, but assured the public that state forces were ready to thwart the enemies of the state.
“There is really a problem in the horizon, the darkening clouds of terrorism,” the President said. “They are regrouping and I’m sure we will have to respond one of these days. I hope it would not be too serious really to cope up with all of these things at the same time. But we have a strong Armed Forces. I have good soldiers and we demonstrated it. We (also) have a capable police,” he added.
Meanwhile, Duterte announced that the Philippines would get 5,000 firearms from a “friendly country” as he vowed to build a strong police and military before he leaves office.
“We are getting firearms somewhere. I am not at liberty to divulge it. But in the next few days, we will have about 5,000 more, a shipment coming from a friendly country,” he said. “We will survive and we will win these pocket wars. And we will be a great nation someday,” the President added.