President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police to get rid of the Islamic State (IS) here, including the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), its affiliate in the Philippines.
“My orders to my military and police (are) to just simply wipe (the IS) out from the face of the Earth, if we can do that,” the president said in a speech in Leyte.
Transcripts of the speech were given to members of the media only on Saturday.
Duterte’s statement came roughly a week after the IS reportedly claimed responsibility for two bomb attacks on a military camp in Idanan, Sulu, in Mindanao.
The attacks left eight people dead and 22 others injured.
In his speech in Leyte, Duterte noted that Mindanao in southern Philippines was still “messy” as the ASG, a “connect of ISIS, is still sowing terror” there despite the AFP’s deployment of one military division in Sulu.
“The fighting in Sulu is brutal because, you know, the ISIS, I consider them (the Abu Sayyaf Group) ISIS now, their penchant to decapitate their captives and people, who are kidnapped. And despite the payments, they still proceed to kill their victims,” he said. The government, according to the president, had tried to make peace with the extremists, but to no avail.
“I told the military, ‘If they, if they can exhibit that kind of brutality, finish them off because we do not need that kind of human beings with us,’” Duterte said.
In December last year, he considered talking peace with the ASG, saying bullets that both the terrorists and government troops had been using were “wasted.”
More than a month later, the ASG was among those suspected by the government to have been behind the twin bombings of the Jolo Cathedral in Sulu that killed at least 20 people and injured hundreds.
The bombings prompted Duterte to ask the military to “crush” the terrorist group “by whatever means.”
He even warned the IS itself that he would use everything to stop them.
Last week, Duterte conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu on the soldiers killed and injured in the attacks on the military camp in Sulu.
Bestowed the Order of Lapu-Lapu, Rank of Kampilan, were Staff Sgt. Ferdinand Clemente, SSgt. Marlon Domingo, Sgt. William Andreade, Sgt. Ryan Ferrer, Sgt. Richard Tudla, Sgt. Mark Joseph Mamingcol, Sgt. Jykyl Bautista, Cpl. Serto Bagni, Cpl. Rommel Soliman, Pfc. John Angelo Carpio, Private First Class (Pfc) Ralph Sabroso and Pfc. Dariel Bolivar.
The president posthumously awarded two Army soldiers, Pfc. Dominique Inte and Pfc. Recarte Alban Jr, the Order of Lapu-Lapu, Rank of Kalasag.
The two soldiers were killed in the Sulu attacks.
Their next of kin received the award. Duterte created the Order of Lapu-Lapu through Executive Order 17 on April 7, 2017.
The order aims to “recognise government workers and private individuals who provide invaluable or extraordinary service in the nation to a campaign or advocacy of the president.”
The Kalasag Medal is given to officials and personnel of the government and private individuals, who lost their lives as a direct result of their participation in an activity pursuant also to a campaign or advocacy of the president. The Kampilan Medal is bestowed on those who are seriously injured in carrying out activities in connection with issues championed by the president.
Duterte: vowing crackdown on militants