There is a need for a strong military and nation with the continuing threats from communists and Islamist militants, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday, July 24, adding that he will ask Congress to help him build strong armed forces.
“I would need about 35,000 to 40,000 to meet the future threats coming our way from within and outside the country and I will start also to rearm,” the President said in a media interview after he delivered his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).
20,000 will be for the military while 10,000 to 15,000 will be police commandos.
“We must have a strong republic to withstand all threats and challenges. Today’s reality demands necessitate an armed forces that is strong,” he added noting he plans to spend money to organize a credible armed forces that can simultaneously fight different fronts.
He noted that it would be hard to predict how many will sprout up in the near future but currently, he said, the threats are the notorious Islamic State group and the New People’s Army (NPA).
The President expressed disappointment over the continuing attacks from the communist rebels on government soldiers.
Once the conflict in Marawi is over, he said, he will address the threat posed by the NPA.
President Duterte also said he is purchasing arms and equipment including high-altitude plane or drone capable of pre-assessing areas of operation to minimize the risk to government combatants.
He said he eyes to have a strong military in two years.
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