President Rodrigo Duterte slammed extremists for spoiling the reputation of Islam a day before Muslims around the world celebrated Eid’l Fitr or the end of holy month of Ramadan.
Duterte issued the remark during his visit to troops at the Camp General Teodulfo Bautista in Sulu on Tuesday.
“Highlighting the threat posed by violent extremism, he said Islam is a great religion but it has been corrupted by the Islamist extremists. He vowed not to tolerate their brutality,” the Palace said in a press release on Wednesday.
Duterte has repeatedly lambasted the Islamic State and its local sympathizers including the Abu Sayyaf Group whose ideology he said was “nothing but to kill and destroy.”
In April, Duterte said that the Islamic State would not be able to gain foothold in the Philippines during his administration because of the military's efforts to thwart them.
Duterte and government troops in 2017 frustrated the bid of Islamic State-inspired Maute rebels to establish a caliphate for the terror organization in Marawi City, which was leveled after five months of fighting.
In his speech, Duterte said his camp visits are intended to recognize the bravery of soldiers and boost their morale by ensuring his continued support.
"Sa panahon na kailangan ninyo ang inyong commander-in-chief to be with you, beside you, and to die with you, nandito ako sa mga panahon na 'yan,” the President said.
He also vowed payment of soldiers’ hazard pays for the recent months, led the donning of ranks and honored 11 soldiers who sustained injuries during the May 31 encounter with the Abu Sayyaf in Barangay Pansul in Patikul, Sulu.
The President also urged Moro people to make peace with his government stressing the readiness of his administration to extend assistance.
Duterte said he would ask the National Housing Authority to build shelters for the Moros, especially the Tausug people in Sulu.
The President was accompanied in the event by Senator-elect Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Kingdom of Jesus Christ founder Apollo Quiboloy. —KG, GMA News