MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he might arm military reservists and graduates of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program to combat terrorism, but said this option will be among his last in terms of combating terrorism.
“If things get worse, I will allow the mobilization and maybe purchase of ROTC – those guys who have had military training – I will allow you to bear the high-caliber firearms,” Duterte said in a speech at the inauguration of a new shooting range in Davao City.
“If it’s terrorism, they would do it just like [in] any other place in the Middle East. That is the time we fight for our survival.”
The government recently dealt a blow to Islamic State sympathizers who laid siege for five months to the Islamic City of Marawi, but security officials warned another violence could erupt as the terrorists regroup. They said these remnants have not yet abandoned their desire to establish an ISIS province in the Philippines.
“They are regrouping. I’m sure we will have to respond one of these days. I hope it would not be too serious. We have a strong armed forces. I have good soldiers, we demonstrated it. We [also] have a capable police,” Duterte said.
“I’m sad, but at the same time I’m happy because I was able to show the world we can quell a rebellion in so short a time.”
Duterte said he would prioritize the purchase of more hardware for the military and the police, even as he blasted the United States for blocking its sale of firearms to the Philippines.
Duterte added that a batch of 5,000 firearms from a “friendly country” will soon arrive in the Philippines.
DUTERTE FLAUNTS SHOOTING SKILLS
Meanwhile, Duterte was in his element today, as he flaunted his skills at the newly opened shooting range of local firearms manufacturing firm Armscor.
Duterte fired several rounds at the inauguration of the newest shooting range of ARMSCOR Shooting Center, Inc. (ASCI) in Buhangin District, Davao City.
The President was accompanied by Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, who also took his turn at the shooting range.
The indoor firing range is the second ASCI branch to be established in Davao City. Back in 2006, then-Mayor Duterte attended the opening of the first ASCI branch in Davao.