President Duterte boosts soldiers’ morale in Zamboanga, Basilan

President Duterte boosts soldiers’ morale in Zamboanga, Basilan

CAMP NAVARRO, Zamboanga City, July 22 (PNA) –- President Rodrigo Duterte has assured the soldiers and policemen that they have his full support in the performance of duty in protecting the public.

Pres. Duterte made the assurance Thursday evening when he talked to the soldiers and policemen gathered at the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) gymnasium after he presided a command conference here.

The president told the soldiers and policemen not to be hesitant in carrying out their mandated tasks, stressing that he is with them.

“In the fulfilment of duty or in the performance of your task, mandate, you will have my support 100 percent. I will not allow you to go to jail, ako ang mauna,” Pres. Duterte assured.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte is welcomed by officers of the Western Mindanao Command during his arrival at Edwin Andrews Airbase in Zamboanga City on July 21. KIWI BULACLAC/PPD
President Rodrigo R. Duterte is welcomed by officers of the Western Mindanao Command during his arrival at Edwin Andrews Airbase in Zamboanga City on July 21. Kiwi Bulaclac/PPD

However, the President told the troops to perform their mandated tasks for the love of country and not for the people in power.

“I do not want anybody cultivating a loyalty sa akin, ayaw ko yan… You have to love your country. Do it for the love of country, do not do it for me. I do not need it, trabaho tayong lahat, ako trabahante rin ako,” he said.

The kidnapping of foreigners as well as Filipinos by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) brigands has to be stopped since it embarrasses the country, he added.

“One day we just have to decide and one day we have to just say we have to finish everything,” he said.

The military is currently pursuing the ASG brigands in the provinces of Basilan and Sulu. The offensive is geared to pressure the bandits to release the remaining hostages.

The President, accompanied by top government, military and police officials, landed around 1 p.m. Thursday at the Edwin Andrews Air Base and briefly met with Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar and other officials prior to his departure for Isabela City, the capital of Basilan province.

Salazar said that Duterte discussed security matters and issues covering this city during the brief meeting at the EAAB’s VIP lounge.

“The President has ordered the military and police to reinforce security measures in Zamboanga City amidst the diverse challenges besetting the city and the neighboring areas,” Salazar said.

Duterte arrived at the Army’s 104th Infantry Brigade headquarters around 2 p.m. where he met with military and police officials and local government officials including Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman.

The President also met with internally-displaced persons (IDPs) affected by the ongoing military offensive in the province.

The President arrived here at around 4 p.m. where he met with military and police officials for a two-hour closed-door security conference.

First District Rep. Celso Lobregat, who is an Air Force reservist, was among those who met the President upon his arrival here at Camp Navarro.

Duterte’s visit to the troops in this city and in nearby Basilan was his first since he assumed the presidency. Teofilo Garcia, Jr/PNA/northboundasia.com