PILI, Camarines Sur, Sept. 21 (PNA) -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte arrived here Wednesday afternoon and proceeded to Camp Elias Angeles, headquarters of the 9th Infantry Division (ID) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Barangay San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur, to visit the troops.
Maj. Gen. Manolito P. Orense, commander of the 9th ID, also known as the Spear Division, gave a situation briefing to the President when he arrived at the Officers’ Club at around 3:30 p.m. or four and a half hours later than his scheduled arrival of 11 a.m.
At around 4:30 p.m. when the President started his speech before the soldiers in Bicol, he initially dwelt on the “encompassing” illegal drug problem, which he said, has come to destroy the nation.
He said the drug menace will “destroy your children and the next generation.”
But the President said “the technicality of the law makes it hard for me to deal with the problem on illegal drugs.”
He added: “What is very disturbing about this country now, ang droga kasi within the government na ang away.” (the fight against illegal drugs has reached the ranks of the government)
The President made passing remarks on how the United States became interested in Mindanao.
“Naging interesado ang mga Amerikano sa Mindanao kasi walang typhoon (The Americans became interested in Mindanao because there is no typhoon). But they could not get workers to work for them,” he said.
President Duterte gave assurance to the soldiers that “there will be an inclusive government with the left but there will not be a coalition government.”
With regards to the problem with the Abu Sayyaf Group or ASG, the President said, “I do not want to talk with the Abu Sayyaf Group.”
He told the Bicol soldiers to “make the most of this time to come up with doctrines on how to deal with terrorism.”
Before the end of his speech at around 5 p.m., the President gave three Glock 30 and four magazines to the soldiers which he said were for use in encounters with the terrorists.
“Para sa engkuwentro sa mga terorista,” he said.
The President has been going around military camps in the country in previous weeks with a promise to the soldiers that they will be given what is due them while soliciting support for his programs.
Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar earlier said President Duterte has to visit the military camps just like the previous Presidents to boost the soldiers’ morale and to personally interact with them on the government’s programs lined up for the AFP.
In past weeks, government troops from Bicol under the 9th ID have been sent to help fight the ASG in Mindanao.
On September 3, the 49th Infantry Battalion of the 9th ID was sent to augment the troops of the Western Mindanao Command. Soldiers from the 65th IB, also from the 9th ID, were earlier deployed to the same area.
The President's visit here in Camp Elias Angeles was his third visit to military camps across the country in a span of four days. On Tuesday, September 20, the President took the time to visit and talk to the Agila troops of the Philippine Army at Camp General Manuel T. Yan Sr. in Mawab, Compostela province.
Earlier, on Sunday, Sept. 18, the President visited the 5th Infantry Division (ID), at Camp Melchor F. Dela Cruz in Isabela. (PNA) LAP/CBD/EDS