President Rodrigo Duterte has warned that terrorism in Mindanao could escalate into a full-blown civil war if diplomacy is not employed to counteract insurgency in the countryside.
"From terrorism in Mindanao, it could degenerate into a full-blown civil war," the President warned in his speech delivered before members of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) during the 48th anniversary of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing at Villamor Airbase on Tuesday.
"That's why we are trying to talk. Do not be dismayed about the fact that we are talking to the Left," he said.
As much as he would like to be strict in dealing with the insurgents, PRRD stressed that as the President of the Republic, "my job is to seek the peace of the land."
He said, "We cannot be forever killing our own citizens. So they have agreed to talk, we can use the extra force now, we can focus them in Mindanao."
"But the most important thing here is you have to change paradigm. Hindi na ito gyera na harap-harapan. So it's always a matter of detection. Meaning to say, something is afoot and you have to detect to find out what it is," he said.
The President compared the situation to a James Bond movie where the war strategy or game plan does not display so much of might. "So ibahin na ninyo because we are dealing with terrorists and there will be explosions after explosions until we find peace," he said.
While saying that terrorism and insurgency are still two of the country's main concerns that have to be addressed in Mindanao, he clarified that there is no issue of discrimination against the Islamic community just because the secessionist groups are composed of Muslims.
"I'm not saying that for the Moro people. Of course, I am a half-Moro or one-fourth. My mama is a mestiza Maranao, my lola is a Maranao, my lolo is Chinese," he said.
"So kayong mga Moro diyan, do not be offended kasi what we're talking about is the Republic against the enemies of the state. It has nothing to do with bigotry or discrimination. Far from it, far from it," he said.
Source: Philippine Information Agency