Duterte-Cayetano to address lawlessness

IN RESPONSE to the recent attack by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Central Mindanao that killed almost ten civilians on Christmas eve, the tandem of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said, if elected, they will increase the number of government security forces.

“I will add 3,000 more regular men in the armed forces, and train them either as scout rangers or special forces to combat lawless elements. The criminals are tough, that’s why we need tough solutions This problem is not for the faint-hearted,” Duterte said.

“If they will continue with their atrocious acts despite our efforts to spread economic development, decentralize and democratize governance, then we will meet them head on. We will hunt them down. I will not subject my people to worse suffering,” Duterte added.

For his part, Cayetano said inclusive economic growth is also necessary to achieve peace in Mindanao. The senator said he and Duterte are pushing for a Mindanao Peace and Development Plan, which will address the region’s decades-old problems on economic instability and armed rebellion, among others.

“Through this plan, Mayor Duterte and I want to allocate at least P800 billion worth of guaranteed funds for 10 years in order to harness the potentials of various sectors in the region, including education, health, agriculture, livelihood, housing, tourism, infrastructure, and transportation. On top of this, we plan to allot P1 billion per region, particularly to Mindanao for micro, small, and medium enterprise financing,” Cayetano explained.

Cayetano added that they are pushing for federalism as a unifying peace framework in Mindanao. They said any discussion about peace and development in Mindanao must be based on a just, inclusive and lasting framework among all stakeholders.

“We will be inclusive and talk to all relevant stakeholders to achieve real and lasting peace. That’s why we see federalism as a unifying framework for peace and governance,” Cayetano said.

The Duterte-Cayetano tandem is also advocating for the establishment of the Mindanao Railway System – to connect all food-producing provinces in the region to seaports or cargo-loading airports, and ensure a more efficient and low-cost transport of food commodities throughout the country.

“The Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) would link major cities including Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Zamboanga City, Butuan, Surigao, Davao and General Santos. It will play a major role towards improvement of Mindanao’s intra island accessibility, linkages and seamless multimodal transport networks,” Cayetano concluded.

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