MANILA - The invitation of President Rodrigo Duterte to arm civilians in Bohol in light of terrorist threats is not new to former President Fidel V. Ramos.
"At different periods in history, we have always had armed civilian volunteers," Ramos explained.
He cited as examples the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), Civilian Home Defense Forces, and the Barangay Self-Defense Unit during former President Ramon Magsaysay's time.
He added, civilians could even apply for licenses to carry firearms outside their homes.
He also said that Duterte's call to arms shows that he is "getting impatient" to see significant results in the government's drive to get rid of the Abu Sayyaf Group.
But he added that credit must be given to both the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police "for getting the bulk of Abu Sayyaf in Inabanga, including a possible local civilian agent."
On Wednesday, Duterte said civilians in Bohol could take up arms against remaining Abu Sayyaf militants in the province. He also offered a P1-million bounty for each of the bandits who are still on the loose.
At least 9 people were killed when state forces clashed with 10 suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf in Inabanga, Bohol.
The AFP is still tracking down the remaining bandits.
Ramos likewise urged the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police to be "doubly vigilant."