MANILA, Philippines – Upon hearing a report that another Abu Sayyaf hostage has been beheaded, President Rodrigo Duterte repeated his directive to troops to "destroy" the terrorist group.
“My orders to the police and armed forces against enemies of the state: seek them out in their lairs and destroy them... The Abu Sayyaf, destroy them, period,” said Duterte during an early morning press conference on Thursday, August 25, in Davao City.
A visibly angry Duterte said he has lost all faith in the Abu Sayyaf even if considers himself connected with them somewhat through ethnic relations.
"Napaka ano naman nila, diyan ako nawalan ng bilib sa inyo (That's where I lost my belief in you). I have this little connection by blood with you but you know, nawalan talaga ako ng bilib sa inyo (I've lost my belief in you)," said Duterte.
He explained that though most Abu Sayyaf members are of Tausug lineage, he too traces his roots from another Mindanao-based ethnic group through his Maranao mother.
"Although I'm not a Tausug, more on the Maranao side, but I no longer believe in you," he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Duterte also revealed that ransom has been paid for Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad although he would not say who paid it. (READ: P50-M ransom paid for Norwegian hostage – Duterte)
"Binayaran na 'yan sila (They were paid)," he said.
Asked how his crackdown on the Abu Sayyaf would be different from those of previous administrations, Duterte said: "I'll be harsh. Not just a campaign. Go out and destroy them. Huwag na kayo magtanong ng human rights (Don't ask about human rights)." – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.