Camp Melchor F. Dela Cruz, Gamu, Isabela
September 17, 2016

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte took time to visit and talk to the Star Troopers of the Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division (5ID) at Camp Melchor F. Dela Cruz (CMFDC) in Gamu, Isabela.

In his speech, the Commander-in-Chief mentioned the peace talks negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the communists.

“It is really my duty to seek peace for the land. Ang trabaho ko ay maghanap ng paraan kung paano natin matatapos ang patayan sa kapwa Pilipino… Even before I took an oath to office, I was already sending sila Secretary Bello and the Dureza to go there to start the negotiation,” he said.

President Duterte also stressed that as the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) no longer hungers for independence and autonomy, but for a fight to establish caliphate in Southeast Asia, the military should double its efforts in training themselves.

“You have to train more. You have to reinvent yourselves from being a soldier in uniform to all of you being intelligence operatives… It is a long fight ahead. What I can assure you is for as long as I am the President, you will have all equipment and weaponry necessary to win the war, or at least to defeat them in every fight,” he underscored.

He added that upon seeing the lack of equipment in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), he purchased the MRI and barrette, and converted his presidential plane into an air ambulance.

“Do not be afraid as a soldier. Alam ninyo ‘yan. Nung pumasok kayo sa pagkasundalo, alam ninyo ‘yan… Bago kayo pinanganak, alam na ng Diyos kung saan kayo ilalagay… And you chose to be soldiers. Nandiyan na ‘yan sa palad ninyo. And when the time comes when you grow old enough to decide to your own that you will become a soldier, it is already written in your destiny,” he stated.

Moreover, the President expressed his abhorrence towards illegal drug trade in the country as he showed the list of involved public officials.

“Thousands? All over the country. Eh di anong mangyayari sa bayan natin? Plus the corruption. Tapos may gulo pa tayong hinaharap. May terrorism,” he said in a stern voice. He also reiterated that illegal drugs make a family dysfunctional if its members are involved.

“I am just saying that the ultimate warriors sa Constitution to protect the people is the Armed Forces of the Philippines… Trabaho lang kayo. Just do the mandate of the Constitution at ako na ang bahala sa inyo. I will protect you. I will not allow one policeman or one military to go to jail for doing his duty,” he told them.

After his message, the President had a photo opportunity with the 5ID commanders and staff, battalion and brigade commanders, civilian employees, and with the division’s men and women.

Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III, National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, 5ID Commander BGen. Paul Atal, 5ID Assistant Division Commander BGen. Andres Aguinaldo, Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs (PAMA) Undersecretary Arthur Tabaquero, Undersecretary for Defense Operations Cesar Yano, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya, and PA Commanding General Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año joined the President.

*  *  *