MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday clarified that it has not received explicit directives to bomb Islamic militants even if they are carrying hostages.
AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla made this clarification after President Rodrigo Duterte last Saturday said he had ordered the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard to bomb fleeing terrorists even if the hostages they are carrying will become “collateral damage.”
"They say, 'What about the hostage?' Sorry, collateral damage. Then if they are blasted everyday, that (kidnappings) would stop, or, at least, places us in a very —- and into a parity -- so, better not get yourselves kidnapped,” Duterte said.
Padilla said, the interpretation of and specific actions that should arise from Duterte’s supposed order will depend on the ground commander, noting that the commander-in-chief has a penchant for using harsh words in his speeches.
Nonetheless, Padilla said the military is bent on pulverizing the Abu Sayyaf, a loose network of militants formed in the 1990s with seed money from Al-Qaeda which preys on southern Philippine waters and has earned millions of dollars from kidnappings-for-ransom.
Padilla said the military values life and will continue to aim having less “collateral damage” in all of its operations. – with Agence France-Presse