Grace Poe open to ‘foreign intervention’ in battling terrorism in Mindanao

ISABELA, Philippines- Presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe said she is open in coordinating with the country’s foreign allies in battling against the terrorists in Mindanao.

Poe made the statement a day after the beheading of Canadian national John Ridsdel at the hands of the Abu Sayyaf on Monday, April 25.

In a chance interview during her short visit in Vigan City in Ilocos Sur on Tuesday, April 26, Poe said the country should not close its doors for help, especially in intelligence gathering.

“Kung ano ang maitutulong ng ating mga allies, lalong-lalo na sa intelligence gathering kung nasaan sila, dapat ay tanggapin natin kasi huwag tayong magmamalaki kung hindi naman – kung kailangan natin ng tulong ng iba at ‘yung tulong nila ay para sa ikabubuti ng ating mga kababayan,” Poe said.

(Whatever our allies have to help us, especially in gathering intelligence on where these terrorists are, should be accepted. Let us not say that we can fight the terrorism alone, if we really can’t. We should accept the help of others if we need it and if this for the common good of our people.)

Poe also condemned the beheading, saying that the government should go after the terrorists and bring them to justice.

Poe could not say that an all-out war is key to ending terrorism, but she said the government should pursue an all-out development in rural areas.

She said it would be difficult for terrorists to recruit if the people there have jobs and livelihoods.

“Doon sa nangyaring pagpupugot ng ulo, talagang importante na sa ating gobyerno huwag nating pababayaan ang mga ganitong uri ng mga terorista sa ating bansa. Siguraduhin natin na habulin natin sila at mapanagot sila sapagkat hindi dapat mangamba ang mga pumupunta rito at lalong-lalo na ang ating mga sariling kababayan,” Poe said.

(On the beheading, it is important for our government to not let these terrorists persist in our country. We need to ensure that we go after these people and persecute them so the foreigners and our fellow Filipinos would not have to worry going here.)

“Pero kailangan din nating magbigay ng all-out development sa Mindanao. ‘Yung mga pag-uusap ay dapat nating ipagpatuloy. Pero kasabay nang pagbibigay ng pangako, dapat umpisahan na natin pagtatayo ng mas maraming kalsada para mabigyan ng trabaho,” Poe added.

(But we also need to have an all-out development in Mindanao. The peace talks should continue. But as we give promises, the construction for more roads should start already to open more jobs.)

Ilocano vote

Poe went back to Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions on Tuesday to court again the "Ilocano Vote."

She was joined by several members of the influential Singson clan in Ilocos Sur.

Present were Congressman Ronald Singson, Governor Ryan Luis Singson and Jerry Singson. Different town mayors were also present in the mini rally in Vigan Convention Center.

Poe described the Singsons as their "long-time family friend" through connections of her late father Fernando Poe Jr to the family.

In her speech, Poe promised to help boost Vigan's tourism. She added that she will also help upgrade their airport so it could accommodate commercial flights.

Vigan was only one of her stops on Tuesday.

She also made a short stop in Laoag City in Ilocos Norte and Cauayan City in Isabela.

In Santiago City in Isabela, thousands of supporters waiting for Poe were dismayed when informed that she could not make it to the event.

National People's Coalition (NPC) President and Isabela Representative Georgidi Aggabao announced the cancellation of Poe's visit in Santiago.

Santiago City was supposedly Poe's first stop but she instead attended a mini rally in Cauayan City where he was joined by Isabela Congressman Napoleon Dy. Rappler.com