MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday warned that he would take police control from central Mindanao governors and mayors if peace and order in the area do not improve.
Speaking before more than 6,000 councilors at the Philippine Councilors' League 10th National Congress at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, Duterte urged central Mindanao officials to improve peace and order in their localities or he will be forced to bring in the military.
"Alam mo ‘pag hindi, kukunin ko ‘yung pulis sa kamay mo at papasukin ko na lang ang military with the police and for the military leader there --- hindi naman Martial Law --- to plan out what is good for a peaceful city or municipality," Duterte said.
(You know, if you won't be able to improve the situation, I will remove the police from your control and will bring in the military. Not Martial law, but to plan out what is good for a peaceful city or municipality.)
Duterte told the local officials that there is no template to a successful local governance but he cited as example how he improved Davao City. His first step, he said, was to improve law and order.
"No progress and development can take place ‘pag ang lugar mo magulo at maraming krimen. Tandaan ninyo ‘yan," he explained.
(No progress and development will take place if your locality is chaotic and has lots of crime.)
He said he then talked to the Muslim community and the communist rebels.
Apart from criminality, the president acknowledged terrorism as one area of concern.
He confirmed that 4 police officers were killed on Wednesday in Bansalan, Davao del Sur, near the boundary towards Kidapawan, North Cotabato.