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Palace asks everybody to help gov’t combat ‘faceless enemy’

President Rodrigo Duterte visits the blast site along Roxas night market in Davao City on Sept. 3. Presidential Photographers Division/Kews Bulaclac

MANILA, Philippines (Philippines News Agency— Malacañang appealed on Sunday to the Filipino people to help the government fight "faceless" terrorists following last Friday’s deadly bombing that rocked peaceful Davao City.

”We are facing a faceless enemy, and the best way is to get our act together as government and as one people,” Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar said in state-run Radyo ng Bayan interview.

He said terrorists always want to fight “with the opponent blinded” similar to last Friday night when a bomb exploded in a Davao City night market, killing 14 people and injuring over 60 others.

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”This is the fight of everyone. This is not just a fight of [the] government. This is the fight of the entire country,” Andanar said.

”We have to accept the fact that our government is on [a] serious war against illegal drugs and serious war against terrorism in Sulu and Basilan and these terrorist[s] will always find a way to retaliate,” he added.

Last Saturday, President Rodrigo Duterte put the entire country in a state of lawlessness “until I decide it is safe for everyone again.”

The declaration of a state of lawlessness that was rooted in the Philippine Constitution is to allow the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to set up massive checkpoints not only in Davao City but in the other major cities, including Metro Manila.

”These are extraordinary times and I suppose I am allowed to authorize security forces to do searches,” the President said after his ocular inspection of the bombed night market and after visiting the fatalities and wounded victims in the hospitals.

Asked to comment on the travel advisories issued by the United States, Canada and Australia, Andanar said: “It's normal for these countries to issue their travel warning because it’s their responsibility to protect their own citizens.”

”But the AFP and the PNP, they’ve been on alert for the last few days. And life continues here in the Philippines. It’s still more fun here in the Philippines. It’s just one place in the south where it happened,” Andanar said.

Andanar said terrorists are out to arrest developments in Mindanao where Duterte promised to pour in more infrastructure projects, including the much-awaited Mindanao Railways System.

”Let's continue with our lives. Do not be afraid, but be alert. Let’s practice our civic responsibilities as responsible citizen[s] to ensure our country moves forward progressively. The best way to counter all of these terror acts is to help each other,” Andanar said.

Due to the Davao bombing, the president canceled his Brunei working visit from Sept. 3 to 5 but will push through with his scheduled trip to Laos to attend the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summit and dialogue meetings.

”Our travel to Laos with President Duterte will push through tomorrow (Monday),” Andanar said.

From Laos, where he is expected to talks with US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Duterte will go to Indonesia for the final leg of his ASEAN trip, his first as president.

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