President Duterte chats with troopers of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division at Camp Gen. Vicente Lukban in Catbalogan City on Wednesday.
Duterte upbeat on defeating insurgency
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - June 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the failure of the peace talks with the communists, President Duterte expressed confidence on Wednesday that the government would be able to eventually stop insurgency in Eastern Visayas.

Duterte rallied the military not to lose sight of the government’s goals to tackle the insurgency problem which has dragged on for the last five decades.

“With such valiant troops in the service of flag and country, I am confident that we can end the communist-terrorist scourge here in Region 8 sooner rather than later,” Duterte told soldiers of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division at Camp General Vicente Lukban in Catbalogan City.

Duterte also honored the slain and injured soldiers, following recent clashes with the communist rebels.

In the same speech, Duterte also urged the rebels to abandon their ideology.

“This is why I encourage the remaining rebels to repudiate your outdated ideology, abandon your extremist activities and return to the fold of the law,” he said.

Duterte assured the troops that they would get full government support to fulfill their duty of securing the nation and protecting the people.

“This administration will work hard to meet all of your needs and that of your families, and all I ask is that you perform your responsibilities to the best of your abilities,” he said.

“It is now, more than ever, that we need to work hard and work together, if we are to bring the real, lasting and meaningful change for the country,” Duterte said.

The President also acknowledged the efforts of the 8th ID in supporting the anti-illegal drug operations of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The troops from the 8th ID joined the PDEA and PNP in more than 450 operations that led to the seizure of a considerable amount of illegal drugs and the arrest of several offenders.

The 8th ID also made significant accomplishments in combatting the New People’s Army rebels in Eastern Visayas, the President said.

He stressed the division’s aggressive anti-insurgency efforts over the past 18 months have resulted in the capture and surrender of more than 1,500 rebels and the recovery and surrender of dozens of firearms.

“I also salute our brave soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during an ambush by communist terrorists last April. Their sacrifice for our country will never be forgotten and their needs, including those of their families, will be taken care of,” he said.   – With  Jess Diaz

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