MANILA (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday doused speculations that he will soon declare martial law in the country amid the continued firefight in Mindanao and security threats in the metro.
Duterte said there is no point in declaring martial law in Mindanao as it will only deepen the wounds of conflict.
“I don’t allow oppression in this country and I will never do it. Sabi nila martial law. Mag-martial law ako dito, ano? Patayin ko lahat ng Maute pati yung religious extremists, then?” Duterte said in a speech in Davao City.
(I don’t allow oppression in this country and I will never do it. They say I will declare a martial law. If I declare martial law, what happens next? I kill the Maute group and then the religious extremists? Then what?)
“Bakit iyun bang nasa utak niya maipasa niya sa anak niya? Hindi kanya iyon eh. What this guy will remember is yung tatay niya pinatay. Martial law for what, killing people?”
(Will the slain terrorist be able to pass on his ideology to his son? No, that’s his. What his son will remember is that his father was killed. Martial law for what, killing people?)
Duterte added, history shows that martial law, which was imposed during the time of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, did not do the country any good.
"Kung manggaling sa akin ang martial law, kalokohan iyan. Nag-martial law nga tayo noon, anong nangyari? Gumaling ba ang buhay natin? Hanggang ngayon wala," he said.
(They say I will declare martial law. That's foolishness. We had martial law before, what happened? Did it improve our lives? Until now no.)
"Kaya itong mga taga-Maynila, akala nila siguro, hinihintay nila na magalit ako, t**g i*a martial law dito, martial law doon. Barilan dito, barilan doon. Pag-alis ako dumami ang patay lalo. You build a nation over the dead bones of the Moro and Christians"
(These people from Manila, they think, expect that I will be angered and declare martial law and when I leave more will be left dead. You build a nation over the dead bones of the Moro and Christians.)
Administration critics have accused the government of painting a picture of lawlessness so that the president will have a basis for declaring martial law.
Following a bomb attack in Davao City last September that killed 15 people, another bombing attempt in Manila was foiled this month and authorities said those behind it were from the same terror network.
Duterte said the sowing of terror by the Maute group, whose forces were forced to go to the fringes of the Butig, Lanao del Sur following days of military offensive, must end now as their cause is not legitimate.
“Fifty lang kayo tapos maglaban kayo ng armed forces. Kalokohan. Pumunta ka na lang sa Middle East. Mamili ka ng anong eroplano, bigyan kitang ticket, sige doon. Anong gawin mo dito at istorbohin mo ang isang community? Then what?" he said.
(You’re only fifty and you will fight the armed forces. That’s stupidity. Just go to the Middle East. Choose your plane and I will send you there. Why do you have to disturb the community?)
Following the attempted bombing in Manila, the Philippine National Police placed the entire country under Terror Alert 3.
Dela Rosa said the two suspects nabbed over the foiled bombing were part of the Ansar Al Khalifa, an alliance of terror groups that include the Maute Group.
Before Monday's foiled attack, the alleged terrorists also tried to bomb Luneta Park, PNP Chief, Director General Ronald Dela Rosa said.
"Pumalpak lang doon, hindi sumabog kaya nilapat nila sa Roxas Boulevard, malapit sa US Embassy."