MANILA, Philippines – While visiting the wake of soldiers killed in an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf, President Rodrigo Duterte slammed the terrorist group for killing and mutilating in the name of Allah.
“You think Allah would be happy to see you do like that? In the name of Allah, you kill then, unnecessarily, you mutilate the body of the human being?” Duterte said in Zamboanga City on Wednesday, August 31.
Duterte flew in that afternoon to visit the graves of 11 out of 15 soldiers killed in a recent encounter with the Abu Sayyaf Group in Barangay Maligay, Patikul, Sulu.
Philippine flags draped the coffins of the soldiers at the Western Mindanao Command gymnasium.
The bodies of the other 4 soldiers were already buried before Duterte’s arrival.
Photo by Richard Falcatan/Rappler
Duterte said that while he is ready to pursue peace talks with Moro separatist groups, he has a problem dealing with the Abu Sayyaf.
“May problema ako sa Abu Sayyaf because they are terrorists and the killing – pugutan ng ulo sa harap ng mundo, civilian, o sundalo (I have a problem with the Abu Sayyaf because they are terrorists and killing – beheading civilians or soldiers in front of the world),” he said.
He implied he thought Abu Sayyaf members are less than warriors because they resort to gruesome methods of killing.
“In the olden times, ‘yung kuwento ng aming mga ninuno, the Tausug warrior is an honorable man. Eh bakit ba ‘yan – putulan ng ulo ‘yung mga hostage niya? Hindi trabaho ito ng totoong Tausug,” said Duterte.
(In the olden times, as the stories of our forebears go, the Tausug warrior is an honorable man. So why behead hostages? This is not the work of a true Tausug.)
The President was present as some of the fallen soldiers were buried. He extended words of comfort to the family of those killed.
He offered to help them after the death of their family member, who in most cases was likely the breadwinner.
“Now, itong mga naiwan na pamilya ng mga sundalo, I’d like you to know na automatic member kayo sa 4Ps, so may konting pera diyan buwan-buwan, saka may isang sako ng bigas,” said the President.
(Now, these families left behind by the soldiers, I’ld like you to know that you are automatic members of 4Ps, so there is some money there monthly and you will have one sack of rice.)
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said 5 battalions composed of 2,500 soldiers are being deployed to Sulu, stomping ground of the Abu Sayyaf. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.