His Excellency Rodrigo Duterte, Strongman and Statesman
Two headlines — Philippines President Duterte's advance security team bombed in volatile region & Only federalism will bring lasting peace, says Duterte. From the former article:
- The truck carrying the president's advance security detail was hit by an improvised explosive device,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, as cited by Reuters. “There was no firefight.”
“The convoy was ambushed using an IED while traversing from Iligan City to Marawi City,” Armed Forces spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said.
The injured men were immediately airlifted to safety. Members of the president's official media team were also in the convoy, but were unharmed.
Lorenzana said that he advised Duterte to cancel his visit to Marawi, scheduled for Wednesday, as the situation is “still not under control.”
The president chose to ignore the advice.
“The advice was to postpone. I said no, I will go there. And if possible, take the same route,” Duterte said, as cited by Reuters. “Maybe we can have a little gunfight here, gunfight there.”
Philstar newspaper cited Padilla as saying the attack might have been staged by Maute, an Islamist group which pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
- In his speech, the President maintained that only a federal system of government would be the answer to end the secessionist wars in southern Philippines.
“Let me remind you again. Per my observation, we cannot have a peaceful country…if you do not agree to a federal setup,” he said.
“For me, I don’t want to force the people. For me, it’s good if you don’t want it. I am just a Filipino. For as long as you do not bother me, fine. But the problem is in Mindanao and the Moro people will go for it at all costs,” he added.