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Duterte taps village chiefs in fight vs illegal drugs, terrorism

President Rodrigo Duterte wants to arm barangay (village) leaders to help the government in the fight against illegal drugs and terrorism in the communities.

In his speech during the oath-taking of newly-elected barangay chairmen in the Zamboanga Peninsula at the Municipal Gymnasium in Barangay Madasigoon Tuesday, Duterte said barangay leaders should always be at the forefront of the fight against problems affecting residents.

Duterte reiterated his warning that he would file charges against incompetent village chiefs.

“Just do your work, and I will give you weapons. But I want terrorism and drugs (eradicated). I will have an audit, and if you are not at par, I will file charges against you for incompetence. You have to defend the country,” he said.

“You protect the people of the Republic of the Philippines,” he stressed.

The President raised anew the plan of allowing barangay officials to carry firearms. He, however, clarified that they would not be given high-powered guns.

“I will consult the Cabinet, but that is my proposal –  no heavy firearm. Just shotgun lang,” he said.

“But I will not give you the high-powered [firearms] just caliber .22,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive announced that he is planning to visit the casualties of the encounter in Sta. Rita, Samar.

Duterte said he wanted the army to join him in his visit to show “camaraderie” among uniformed personnel.

“I’m just sad that there was this encounter,” he said, referring to the recent accidental clash between soldiers and policemen in Samar that resulted in the death of six cops.

“Nobody wants it. Actually what happened there is the Murphy’s Law. If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. Just like the encounter,” he said then.#