Naval Station Felix Apolinario, Panacan, Davao City
August 26, 2016
“To defend this republic, sabay-sabay tayong lahat,” said President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to the troops of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) during its 10th anniversary at the Naval Station Felix Apolinario in Panacan, Davao City.
In his speech, the President articulated the country’s need for a powerful standing army and expressed his trust to the Philippine military.
“I can always rely on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to keep the integrity of the Republic,” said the Commander-in-Chief.
He also reiterated his desire to destroy the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) but said that other rebel groups such as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) will be negotiated with to achieve a lasting peace. He said that MNLF leader Nur Misuari should be left alone by the military and the Philippine National Police (PNP) if he comes out from hiding so that he could participate in the peace talks.
President Duterte continued by reinforcing his commitment on the war against illegal drugs, saying that deaths cannot be avoided in war, and that government forces focus on destroying the apparatus of the illegal drug trade, not on killing its citizens.
He also brought up the comment of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno about criminals not surrendering to the police without a warrant. He said that arrests can be made if the crime is committed in the presence of law enforcers and that Justice Sereno’s comment is a very dangerous statement that will promote anarchy.
The President was welcomed to the event by National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya and EASTMINCOM Commander Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero before he was accorded with full military honors.
President Duterte also led the awarding of 17 Philippine military personnel and civilians to honor their contributions for the welfare of the Filipino people.