PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday warned that the country would “go into shambles” with the combined threats of terrorism, illegal drugs and the communist rebellion.
In remarks during the inauguration of Malacañang’s renovated press briefing room, Duterte reiterated that he had a duty to protect the nation, as he cited “other threats.”
“If the Reds would finally do it, then they are now in alignment with the Reds, the terrorists and the illegal drugs. I think this country would go into shambles,” Duterte said.
“There are challenges ahead, threats that could come our way after I shall have stepped down. If this will continue for another time, this will continue to bug our children and grandchildren. If not… You cannot control it on time. I’m sorry but this is the reality, not the reality of the Duterte administration, but the reality of the problems confronting our country today,” he added.
Last week, Duterte claimed there was a concerted effort by the communists and the opposition Liberal Party
(LP) – which he referred to as “the Reds” and “the Yellows” – to oust him from office.
The LP and the communists have denied the President’s allegations.
In Thursday’s remarks, Duterte taunted the communists and the LP anew and told them to just band together and form a single front against him.
“The communists and the Liberal Party and those who wanted me ousted, you all should merge in one group, I think you share the same ideological [bent],” he said.
More IS attacks
Duterte then reiterated his warning that Islamic State (IS)-inspired terrorists might simultaneously attack other cities in Mindanao.
“You could just imagine if what happened in Marawi would have happened to about three or four cities in Philippines. You might want to… This is an open secret anyway among the military and the police that if these were to happen simultaneously in three big cities or four, it could be Basilan, Zamboanga, Cagayan, Davao and Cotabato and about one or two in the Visayas. And I don’t think they have this modus vivendi with the enemy,” he said.
“This is no threat. I said it is my mandated duty to keep this country safe and sound. And the only way I can do it is I have to build a strong army and police,” the President added.
Moros might declare independence
Duterte said this was the reason the government was talking peace now with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front, adding that the country was “not ready to embark on another war again.”
“They are cooperating with government, fighting alongside government forces, but they are hoping that what they have been asking for centuries will be given. If we fail to come up with a reasonable counter proposal, then I assure you that there will be fighting everywhere in Mindanao. For then, the mainstream rebel groups would now be joining with the extremist groups,” he said.
“If their common determination, their dream – ends in a failure or a disappointment, they will unite against the Republic of the Philippines. And I have it in good authority that they will declare independence. They would declare an independent Mindanao,” the President added.