DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Friday, September 1, 2017, graced the 11th founding anniversary celebration of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM), urging political leaders and stakeholders to closely work with the EASTMINCOM in ensuring peace and security in Mindanao.
“Together with your command, I encourage political leaders and stakeholders to work closely with EASTMINCOM towards making Mindanao and its people safe and secure,” President Duterte said in his speech.
“May you never falter [nor] cower in your resolve to let our communities enjoy the peaceful and prosperous life they truly deserve,” he said.
The President also underscored the efforts of the EASTMINCOM in combatting communists, terrorists, and illegal drugs.
“The nation and our people are eternally grateful for your efforts, [for] the efforts of the troops, in field or in office, in combatting communist insurgency and in actively supporting the campaign against illegal drugs,” Duterte said.
According to the President, the EASTMINCOM was able to neutralize more than a hundred NPA members.
“Your relentless operations also forced more than 300 rebels to surrender, yielded hundreds of firearms and IEDs, as well as found more than 800 enemy encampments. Because of this, we are also able to clear more than 160 NPA [affected] barangays, and [insulated] more than a thousand barangays from NPA affectations,” he said.
“The military has the government’s full support and we honor the valor and bravery [of] the selfless EASTMINCOM soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties. I assure you that their sacrifice would not be in vain and the country will forever be in [their] debt,” he added.
The President also urged the troops to continue to be faithful to their sworn oath and to protect and defend the country’s sovereignty and its people.
Meanwhile, President Duterte announced that he is increasing the reward money for the capture of Ozamiz City Councilor Ricardo “Ardot” Parojinog to P5 million.
Ardot Parojinog is the brother of Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, who was killed in a police raid last August.
“Itong si Ardot… I’m increasing the money, the reward money on his head by five million,” Duterte said.
The President however emphasized that he will not tolerate policemen who shoot their targets from behind.
“Ako naman sa pulis if mali talaga, as in mali, wala ako magawa sa inyo,” he said.
Prior to his speech, President Duterte distributed medals and plaques to the 17 EASTMINCOM awardees during the ceremony.