President Rodrigo Duterte visited Fort Magsaysay on Tuesday, July 26, to speak to soldiers and explain his reasons behind his declaration of a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP/NPA/NDF.
He announced this decision during his first State of the Nation Address on July 25.
One of the significant points of Duterte’s speech in front of the soldiers in Nueva Ecija is his call for peace.
“I plead peace with everybody,” Duterte said.
“I do not want any single loss [of life] … doon sa kanila o dito sa gobyerno natin,” he added.
“Let me explain to you: The unilateral ceasefire it is not my decision alone. It is the decision of the Cabinet,” he said.
In his SONA, Duterte ordered for the ceasefire to be effective immediately. He also asked the rebels to act accordingly and stop the decades of fighting that led to the loss of lives on both sides.
Along with his decision, the President also said that he will issue safe conduct passes to the rebel leaders, such as CPP-NPA founder Jose Ma. Sison and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) head Nur Misuari.
Duterte also mentioned Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Murad Ebrahim, who has earlier committed to preserving past peace deals with the government when he met with president peace adviser Sec. Jesus Dureza on July 21.
But the President warned that the MNLF and MILF to cut ties with Abu Sayaff.
“Ang gusto ko lang marinig sa [MILF] pati [MNLF] na yang Abu Sayaff na yan, wala na ang connection nila. Kasi yung armas ng Abu Sayaff, yun yung armas nila noon,” Duterte said.
He added that he wants to prepare and train more soldiers in case peace talks fail.
But he also emphasized his desire to maintain peace.
“I am a President that seeks peace with everyone. Ang trabaho ko pagka Presidente, hindi maghanap ng away. Ang trabaho ko pagka Presidente is tingnan ko, if at all, na walang gulo ang Pilipinas,” Duterte said.
With this, he called on the military to be always prepared “to guard the integrity of the republic, to protect the people.”
As a part of that preparation, Duterte promised that he would arm the soldiers with everything they need to improve their capabilities.
“You’ll have everything you need para di dehado sa bakbakan,” he said.
He earlier mentioned the possibility of adding 20,000 more soldiers to keep the peace and fight terrorism, especially in Mindanao.
Stopping an angry Sara from going to Panatag
Just like his previous speeches, Duterte never failed to give an anecdote during his Fort Magsaysay visit. He talked about how his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, got so angry over China claiming the West Philippine Sea that she wanted to go to Panatag Shoal, or Scarborough Shoal.
“Alam mo, high tech yan sila. They’re listening to us. Kasi yung anak kong babae, yung Mayor, galit na galit rin. Gusto n’yang pumunta ng Panatag. Tumawag iyong – ‘Mayor, kausapin mo yung anak mo. Huwag niyang gawin yan kasi… Itong si Bong [Special Assistant to the President] Bong [Go], kinausap din. Sabi kung maari pigilan lang iyong anak ko. Sabi ko, ‘Ambassador, galit na galit iyong anak ko. Bakit nag-agaw daw kayo ng teritoryo ng Pilipinas?” Duterte said.
You can watch the start of his anecdote about Inday Sara at the 14:56 mark in the video below.
“Mabuti nalang I was able to… Eh maldita yang si Inday eh. Nanununtok ng Sheriff. Ganun yan eh. Kung totohanan talaga problema eh yung kapatid nyang dalawang mga lalaki mga uto-uto yun sa kanya. Pag sinabi ng babae go go, go yan silang tatlo. I had to persuade her,” Duterte added.
The President noted that the Philippines is in a delicate situation right now and repeated his call for restraint.
“Hindi tayo maghanap ng away. At least hindi galing sa atin. But we should be prepared for any eventuality just like any country in the world. We have to have a strong Armed Forces. We need to have a military who can protect people and the integrity of this republic. Kayo iyan. Trabaho n’yo iyan,” he said.
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