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Duterte to soldiers : I have your back


President Rodrigo Duterte’s 2nd State-of-the-Nation Address at the Batasan Pambansa Plenary Hall (Malacanang photo)

“I have your backs.”

Thus said President Rodrigo Duterte who expressed his appreciation and support to those who fought for the country, especially those who lost their lives in doing so.

Speaking during his second State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, the President said the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police had their hands full when the local terrorist Maute group, which recently expressed solidarity with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, terrorized Marawi city two months ago.

He said the government’s security forces also fought gallantry when the New People’s Army started attacking their convoys.

“As president, I am reiterating my support and commitment to the soldiers of our Armed Forces and the members of our police force those who are on the ground and on the battlefields and those who are risking their lives for our country and our democracy,” the President said.

“In recognition of their valor, we have crafted a program to provide them with comprehensive social assistance, including financial, should they meet harm in the performance of their duty,” the President said.

“For the family left behind by those who fell or are rendered totally disabled in the line of duty, we shall provide shelter, health care assistance, education, and employment,” he also said.

Duterte also told the military and police to not worry about the consequences of their duty.
He said that only him should be held responsible for the actions and orders strictly followed by the AFP and PNP.

“I will save money every day for the AFP. There are too many troops who are incapacitated,” he said.

The President also vowed to facilitate the modernization of the military’s technology and equipment after a military officer reported that medical equipment which was ordered a year ago has not yet been delivered.During his speech, the President also announced the cancellation of the peace talks with New People’s Army guerrillas whom he accused of treachery.

“They have nothing to offer,” he said of the CPP-NPA, noting the many rounds of failed negotiations.

He likewise said that CPP founder Joma Sison, who is based in The Netherlands, is already old and has colon cancer.

As for the war with Muslim extremists in Marawi city, the Chief Executive said the terrorist still have 300 hostages at hand and that they should “wait it out.”