President Duterte mulls on getting mercenaries to help crush ASG –Piñol

DAVAO CITY -– President Rodrigo R. Duterte is mulling on taking in professional soldiers known as “mercenaries” to help crush the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), the group that claimed responsibility for the explosion at the night market along Roxas Ave. in Davao City Friday night.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said this was expressed by the President during a meeting with national security officials and the Cabinet members at the Enclaves in Matina that went until 4 a.m. Sunday.

“If I have to hire the Gurkhas to help us fight the Abu Sayyaf, I am willing to do it,” Piñol quoted President Duterte telling the national security officials and Cabinet members. Piñol was among those present in the meeting.

In his Facebook post, Piñol said the President was hurting from the terror attack in Davao that left 14 people dead and 67 wounded. He said the President was left with no choice.

The President vowed to crush the Abu Sayyaf even if he has to engage mercenary groups like the Nepalese Gurkhas, who are known skilled and fiercest warriors in the world, according to Piñol.

Wikipedia defines mercenary as a person who take part in an armed conflict but is not a national or party to the conflict and is “motivated to take part in the hostilities by the desire for private gain.” A mercenary fights for personal gains of money or other recompense instead of fighting for the ideological interests of a country, whether they be for or against the existing government.

Under Geneva Convention (Article 47), a mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war. A mercenary is any person who is especially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict; does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities; is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party; is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict; is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.

Piñol said the President believed that the ASG and other extremist groups are products of historical injustices but their actions like kidnapping and beheadings made it imperative for government to deal with the problem by force.

“You started this. I wanted to talk to you but you leave me with no choice. There’s no other option. These people are like germs which must be eliminated,” Piñol said quoting the President.

Piñol said the explosion last Friday served as the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

In the same meeting, President Duterte also called on the nation to prepare for reprisals from the terror group.

“I am calling on the nation to prepare for reprisals. There will be sacrifices to be made but we have to address this problem once and for all,” the President said. Lilian Mellejor/PNA/