By: Elena Grace Flores
President Rodrigo Duterte’s calling on the Abu Sayyaf Group to stop its kidnapping activities can easily be misinterpreted – as being diplomatic with the insurgents but intolerant to the suspects of illegal drugs trade. He was quoted as pleading to the Abbu Sayyaf that he wanted peace and understands where they are coming from, the reason why there’s conflict in Basilan.
In his urging the rebels not to add hatred in their hearts, he seems to forget that the families of innocent victims who died without due process in the law enforcement’s desperate act of pleasing him with regards to his war on drugs campaign, are building up their own hate towards his very confusing way of managing the country’s problems. He obviously has double standards when dealing with people and sadly, he is more forgiving to the urban criminals knowing how they came about.
As ABS-CBN reported: Duterte, meanwhile, distributed relief goods to a number of evacuees, some of whom were able to talk to the President and asked him to bring peace in Basilan. One evacuee was heard relaying to the President the damage caused by the conflict to their houses and livelihood. While Duterte was in the military camp, mortar shelling continued in the three affected municipalities. According to Ungkaya Pukan Mayor Jomar Maturan, around 951 families have fled to safer grounds following the intensified clashes between government troops and the Abu Sayyaf Group. Classes remain suspended in four villages in the town. Al Barka Mayor Darus Ladja also confirmed that a school, a mosque and several houses were damaged by the airstrikes and continuous mortar shelling.