Duterte offers presidential plane to save soldiers and cops’ lives; directs military to continue manhunt for terrorists

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday offered the presidential plane and choppers to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to be used in saving the life of any of their members as well as in the performance of their duties.

This was what the President told soldiers under the Army’s 6th Infantry Division who were injured in a clash with drug personalities in Maguindanao on Thursday.

Duterte was here to pin the medal of valor and wounded personnel medal to the men in uniform who sustained minor injuries during skirmishes in Barangay Saniag, Ampatuan, Maguindanao. They were part of the anti-drug unit hunting down town Mayor Rasul Sangki.

“I can take commercial plane, you can use the presidential chopper, that is not mine, that is owned by the government,” the President said.

Speaking to officials of the 6th Infantry Division led by Brig. Gen. Ariel dela Vega, 6th ID chief, inside Camp Siongco, Duterte also vowed to provide financial assistance to the wounded troops.

The President likewise expressed his concern about rising radicalism in Mindanao and urged the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) not to provide sanctuary to jihadists who have made Mindanao their base in Southeast Asia.

“I am asking you, do not give sanctuary, the Maute groups and other terrorists,” he said, adding that giving them space in MNLF or MILF camps means supporting their terrorist minds.

“I still want peace in Mindanao,” he added.

At the same time, the President directed the military and the police to continue the manhunt against the Maute Group, a Lanao del Sur-based terrorist organization sympathetic to the Islamic State of Iran and Syria (ISIS). Edwin Fernandez/PNA-northboundasia.com