President Duterte urged Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) officials to assert their authority over terrorists, telling them to arm themselves following the series of explosions and attacks that shook Cotabato and Maguindanao Sunday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte  in a speech Monday in Cotabato City, Duterte reminded the Bangsamoro people to avoid killing but told them to not think twice if terrorists keep harm­ing them.

The President said he is willing to allow BARMM residents to arm themselves for their own protection and fight terrorists but reminded them they will still be under the Philippine National Police (PNP) as the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) stipulates.

“Do not allow them (terrorists). If you see them in the streets, pakiusa­pan mo, ‘pag bumalik pa putulin mo na ‘yung ulo. Kasi alam mo (try to talk them out of it. But if they come back, behead them. Because) that will cre­ate more trouble and more deaths),” Duterte said.

“Mag-armas kayo (Arm your­selves) but you know you have to kill the terrorists. Hindi madala ‘yan sa pakiusapan (they won’t be convinced by talking),” he added.

Duterte told the Moros not to allow their youth to witness bloodshed and chaos and instead let them enjoy a peaceful region.

In September this year, the President said Mindanao has become more peaceful following the passage and ratification of the BOL.

However, he said the New People’s Army (NPA) is still a problem.

Improve BARMM

Duterte also encouraged BARMM residents to improve the new gov­ernment while he is still in office to assist them.

“Nandito nga ako para mag-alalay, eh (I’m here to help you), so organize the government as a working govern­ment. Tutal ang assistance andiyan, in the meantime, na wala kayong masya­dong income, there’s the national government, nandiyan ako (You are getting assistance, anyway and while you are not generating much income, the national government is here to help),” he said.

“For the last two years na andiyan ako, gawain na ninyo lahat kasi pag wala na ako, na… Kita mo naman ang, national? Magpunta lang yan dito mga p****g i***g ‘yan dito pag election (Do everything within the last two years that I’m president. Because once I’m gone no one will help you. National officials will only come here during elections),” he added.

The President said BARMM is a growing political entity that has to be protected and enhanced.

“You come up with good policies to enhance the dignity. You have lost it for so many years. Now is the time for the Moro people to regain their dignity,” he said.

Duterte likewise urged other prov­inces in Mindanao to join the BARMM, saying it will help them in their de­velopment.

“Dito na lang kayo, palakihin natin yung BARMM, para maraming nego­syo. Magbuhos ako ng malaking pera bago ako alis para mga babae natin kawawa, ‘wag mo na palabasin (Join BARMM and improve it so you can have a lot of businesses. I will pour in funds before I leave so the women don’t have to go out of the country to work),” he said.

President Duterte would also like to see the BARMM Security apparatus strengthened to counter threats like terrorism and other lawless elements.

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos  (