Duterte wants ASEAN to have 'platform' to deal with terrorism as he leaves for India
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday Southeast Asian countries should come up with a platform and hardline policy against terrorism.
Duterte made the statement as he left for a three-day trip to India to join the other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit and India's Republic Day Celebration.
"Now, the reason really why I'm going is that, we're okay in ASEAN. But it's all trade and commerce and everything else under the sun, except but we do not have the platform for terrorism and other problems of law and order," he said.
Duterte noted that in the Philippine southern waters connecting the other ASEAN countries, there was no concrete action by the regional bloc in preventing terrorism.
"And yet it is only Indonesia who's active there," he said.
He reiterated his 2017 statement if ASEAN could not address the problem, they could seek help from China, which also assisted in addressing kidnapping and piracy in Somalia.
"I'm telling you if we can't do it, we'll just have to call China to come in and blow them off just like Somalia, that Aden Strait there, were it not for the presence of the Chinese, piracy would not stop. It's doubling up everything - fuel. You have to go around. The the freight charges, of course it goes with it. And the insurance," Duterte explained.
"So we have to come up with a platform of how to deal with terrorism. Me, I go for a hardline policy. Blow them up in the high seas. Destroy it. Use the cannon. Otherwise, if we do not do the extreme measures, we'd always be at the mercy of criminal," he said.
Duterte said if other ASEAN countries would not support him, then the Philippines would do it.
"And my orders to the Armed Forces would really be to destroy. Now, well, destroy means you have to destroy physically. And if you have to kill, you kill. That’s the only way to destroy an enemy. It cannot be empty words," he said.
He also noted the upcoming security meeting in Australia, which could be just another meeting.
"We have been doing that. We’ve been sharing information with everybody, as a matter of fact all these years. And yet the thing in Marawi came into being. So I need more than just talk and more than just promises. I want it done during my term," he said.
Maute-Islamic State terrorists attacked and occupied Marawi City in southern Philippines for about five months until October last year.
Meanwhile, Duterte is set to hold bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his trip in New Delhi.
The two leaders will also witness the exchange of memoranda of understanding.
Duterte will also meet Indian businessmen and witness the signing of several business agreements.
He is expected to return to Davao City early Saturday. Celerina Monte/DMS