Amid Negros killings, Duterte warns of doing ‘something drastic’

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, August 1, said he was "about to do something drastic" in the coming days. 

In a speech during the Bureau of Fire Protection's 28th founding anniversary, Duterte talked about the rampant killings in Negros Island and how fire officers should help the police and military in maintaining law and order in the country. 

"Do not limit yourself diyan – kulang tayo ng tao (Don't limit yourself there – we lack manpower). I will explain in the coming days, but I'm about to do something drastic. It will not sit well with everybody, maybe including you, but it is needed," Duterte said. 

He added: "Sabi ko sa inyo, wala akong ambisyong magdiktador. On the day na ayaw kong bumaba sa Malacañang, patayin 'nyo ako (I tell you, I have no ambition of becoming a dictator. On the day that I refuse to step down from Malacañang, kill me). Shoot me dead if I overstay in Malacañang. I do not need it, I am tired, and I want to rest. I just want to complete what I agreed with the people as the term of my mandate."

Earlier on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte could opt to "declare martial law" in Negros Island to stop the spate of killings there. A day earlier, Panelo had said the President would use his emergency powers under the Constitution "to quell the lawless violence" there.

During his speech on Thursday, Duterte again blamed the New People's Army for the rampant killings in Negros Island. 

"Paisyuhan ko man kayo ng baril, kayong mga bumbero, pagtapos niyang tubig, tao naman ang hanapin 'nyo, patayin 'nyo 'yung tubig, tapos tao (I'll have guns issued to you, firemen. After water, you look for people next; turn off water, then kill people). You help in the maintenance of peace and order. Within your area of jurisdiction, make it safe for everybody," he said. 

In Negros Oriental, at least 21 people have been killed from July 18 to 27, including a lawyer, a barangay captain, a city councilor, a former mayor, and a one-year-old child. Rights groups say at least 87 people have been killed in the two Negros provinces since 2017.

"You must help and you must help kill, kill the enemy, kasi 'yung enemy 'nyo papatayin talaga kayo. So I'm warning everybody, including the sparrows, na the angels – ang tawag ko sa sparrows ko – will also be looking for you. Ang mga anghel ng gobyerno," he said.

(You must help, and you must help kill, kill the enemy, because your enemy will really kill you. So I'm warning everybody, including the sparrows, that the angels – that's what I call my sparrows – will also be looking for you. The government's angels.) – Rappler.com