The military must prepare to combat terrorism because militants may make the Philippines part of a new frontier of extremism, President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday.
Speaking at the Philippine Army headquarters in Taguig City, Duterte said "terrorism is here to stay."
The president said that "there seems to be no force, influence — forceful influence" that can stop extremism from spreading.
"[F]rom what I just basa-basa and talks with the intelligence community of the other countries, especially in the Middle East, mukhang naghanap ito sila ng bagong frontier. And I think na ang susunod nito would be Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines," he said.
He said that while he has been able to convince the "mainstream" rebel groups Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic Liberation Front to talk peace, the government cannot talk to extremists like the Abu Sayyaf. The armed forces has been conducting intensified operations against the bandit group in Sulu province.
According to reports, five radical preachers from the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters have broken away to form a new group that aims to establish an Asian Islamic caliphate allied with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The breakaway group has also reportedly formed alliances with the Maute armed group and the Abu Sayyaf.
On Sept.2, a bomb exploded in a night market in Davao City, killing 14 and leaving close to 70 injured. Duterte, who was in the city at the time, declared a State of National Emergency in the country after the bombing.
"[S]tart now dealing with terrorism. I’m giving so many books to you but one is sa drugs. You must… ‘yon ‘yung sa profiling. Naka-cap, naka-shades, naka-short pants. ‘Yan ang pag-aralan ninyo because ang terrorism is not being fought with armies eh... five, six, seven, car bombs, ‘yung ganon," the president said.
He added he was giving the soldiers Glock handguns because of the nature of the terrorist threat.
"In my time, in my time, you’d have everything you need to fight effectively. Wala kayong problema sa akin. May priority kayo sa government spending basta trabaho lang kayo because I know how hard it is to keep the peace of the country and to protect its integrity," he said.