Duterte, Cayetano promise peace in Mindanao

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Following the Christmas carnage in Central Mindanao, aspiring president Davao City Mayor Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte and his running mate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano bared their game plan on bringing peace in the south.

Duterte said Wednesday that if elected, he and Cayetano will increase government security forces.

"I will add 3,000 more regular men in the Armed Forces, and train them either as scout rangers or special forces to combat lawless elements. Matapang ang mga kriminal. Kaya kailangan matapang din ang solusyon. Hindi pwede dito ang pateka-teka. This problem is not for the faint-hearted," Duterte said.

"If they will continue with their atrocious acts despite our efforts to spread economic development, decentralize and democratize governance, then we will meet them head on. We will hunt them down. I will not subject my people to worse suffering," Duterte added.

(READ: 10 dead in Christmas eve carnage by BIFF)

Cayetano, meanwhile, said inclusive economic growth is also necessary to achieve peace in Mindanao.

The senator said their tandem will push for a Mindanao Peace and Development Plan, which will address the region's decades-old problems on economic instability and armed rebellion, among others.

"Through this plan, Mayor Duterte and I want to allocate at least P800 billion worth of guaranteed funds for 10 years in order to harness the potentials of various sectors in the region, including education, health, agriculture, livelihood, housing, tourism, infrastructure, and transportation. On top of this, we plan to allot P1 billion per region, particularly to Mindanao, for micro, small, and medium enterprise financing," Cayetano explained.

Cayetano added that they are pushing for federalism as a unifying peace framework in Mindanao. They said any discussion about peace and development in Mindanao must be based on a just, inclusive and lasting framework among all stakeholders.

"We will be inclusive and talk to all relevant stakeholders to achieve real and lasting peace. That's why we see federalism as a unifying framework for peace and governance," Cayetano said.

"Ang pederalismo ang sasagot hindi lamang sa kawalan ng pagkapantay-pantay sa ating bayan. Ito rin ay pundamental na konektado sa ating layunin na ipamahagi ang kaunlaran sa iba pang rehiyon at probinsiya at makamit ang hinahangad na kapayapaan sa Mindanao," Cayetano said.

The Duterte-Cayetano tandem is also advocating for the establishment of the Mindanao Railway System to connect all food-producing provinces in the region to seaports or cargo-loading airports, and ensure a more efficient and low-cost transport of food commodities throughout the country.

"The Mindanao Railway Project would link major cities including Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Zamboanga City, Butuan, Surigao, Davao and General Santos. It will play a major role towards improvement of Mindanao's intra island accessibility, linkages and seamless multimodal transport networks," Cayetano concluded.