PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is determined to win the war against insurgents and vowed to build a “very strong” military by adding 40,000 more troops and rearming them to avert “future threats” to the country’s national security.
Speaking to reporters after he delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday, the President pledged that the security forces would be “very strong” in two years time as he sought to buy equipment that would also boost their armed capabilities.
“We must have a strong Republic to withstand all threats and challenges. Today’s reality demands, necessitates an Armed Forces that is strong,” Duterte said during the press conference.
“I will build a credible Armed Forces that can fight at all fronts everywhere. I really do not know how many will sprout up but we have the ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] and the NPA [New People’s Army]…You can expect after two years a very strong armed forces. I will buy equipment,” he added.
The President said there was a need to “reconfigure” the police and armed forces, citing the number of casualties on the government side in the fight against insurgency.
“I’ll be frank, there’s a need for the police and armed forces to reconfigure,” Duterte said.
“I would need about 35,000 to 40,000 to meet the future threats coming our way from within and outside the country. And I will start also to rearm,” he added.
Duterte issued the statement as he warned that the communist rebels would be the government troops’ next target as soon as the armed conflict in Marawi City ends.
“No more talks,” the President said. “If they want war, just wait until Marawi. We can better deal with you.”
The government called off peace negotiations with communist party due to the series of attacks launched by the NPA against the security troops.
In his SONA, the President vowed that he would exert efforts in pursuing peace and order in the country.