'Time for war': Duterte says gov't is fighting for now, talks can happen 'in God's time'
President Rodrigo Duterte leads the candle-lighting and the offering of flowers at the blast site at Barangay Walled City in Jolo, Sulu on Aug. 30, 2020.
Presidential Photo/Ace Morandante
'Time for war': Duterte says gov't is fighting for now, talks can happen 'in God's time'
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - August 31, 2020 - 12:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte said the Philippines will go on fighting in the aftermath of the twin explosions in Jolo that rocked the municipality's downtown area and killed nine people, while the possibility of peace will only be looked into "in God's time."

Speaking before troops at Jolo, Sulu for National Heroes' Day, the chief executive said that the attacks only reinforced the government's resolve to fight against extremist elements to ensure "terrorists will have no future" in the Philippines. 

"If we cannot really agree then we fight. And we fight hard until they are finished. Maybe by that time, when they are all depleted, there will be no more war," he said in his televised speech in a mix of Filipino and English. 

"In God’s time, we will talk about peace. If it is hatred, it cannot be stopped anymore. It is an impossible dream. It is an unreachable star. But it behooves upon us even as leaders, even to try, to talk, even as we wage war."

It is not clear what kind of discussions he was open to: Duterte said that he was willing to engage in talks with terrorist groups again but vowed that his administration would "fight hard" to quell insurgency and extremism in the municipality. 

In the past, the president vowed never to negotiate with terrorists, and past invitations to talk were later framed as invitations for the Abu Sayyaf, which is suspected of carrying out last week's attacks, to surrender.

After the bombings, Malacañang initially mulled the idea of placing the entirety of Sulu under martial law, although the Armed Forces of the Philippines decided to look at other options for the time being. 

"There is a time to build and a time to destroy... and there is a time that we do not talk to each other, but there will always be a time to talk. We will have the time, as there is a time for war and there is a time for peace," the president said. 

"There will always be a time that you answer for killing an innocent human being." 

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 4, 2020 - 6:23pm

The August 24, 2020 bombings in Jolo, Sulu left 14 people dead and 75 people injured. Authorities said two suicide bombers — widows of Abu Sayyaf terrorists — detonated the bombs, which exploded around an hour apart.

September 4, 2020 - 6:23pm

Philippine Army Chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana says he respects the decision of the Duterte government on his recommendation for Sulu.

“But I’m not insisting on the martial law declaration over Sulu. I always respect the wisdom of our president and other national leaders as well as the general sentiment of the public,” Sobejana tells The STAR. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

August 31, 2020 - 3:01pm

Provincial officials honored one of the soldiers killed in last week’s bombings in Jolo, Sulu with a visit to his wake in M'lang town in North Cotabato on Sunday.

Relatives of PFC James Soriaga Apolinario, one of the Army servicemen killed in explosions that rocked Jolo on August 24, told reporters they were elated with the visit of Gov. Nancy Catamco to personally condole with the Apolinario family.

Apolinario, who belonged to the 21st Infantry Battalion, was born and raised in Barangay Magallion in M'lang.

Catamco was accompanied to the ancestral home of the Apolinarios in Barangay Magallion by Brig. Gen. Roberto Capulong of the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade, North Cotabato Rep. Jose Tejada and M'lang Mayor Russel Abonado. — The STAR/John Unson

August 30, 2020 - 4:26pm

President Rodrigo Duterte says he will visit Jolo, Sulu from Davao City, adding he plans to go to the blast site to mark the deaths of security personnel.

"Mabigyan ko lang yung mga sandalo natin, mga sundalo ko, mga pulis ko ng importansya sa kanilang kamatayan," he says.

He adds: "I’ll go there to fulfill the duty of a commander in chief." — from a report by The STAR/Alexis Romero


August 26, 2020 - 12:08pm

The Commission on Human Rights condemns the "cruel and inhuman" bombings in Jolo, which comes at a time when the Philippines observes the International Humanitarian Law Month.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia says the commission calls out the perpetrators of the attack for their "blatant disregard for protection granted to civilians."

"We call on the government to investigate this incident and make perpetrators accountable for this crime in line with government’s obligation to uphold and protect human rights of all," De Guia says in a statement.

August 26, 2020 - 12:04pm

France extends its condolences to the families of the victims of the doble explosion in Jolo, which killed at least 15 people and injured dozens.

The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs condemns the terrorist attacks in the southern Philippines earlier this week.

"[France] stands shoulder to shoulder with the Philippines in the fight against terrorism," France says in a statement.

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