By Genalyn Kabiling
The country might plunge into a civil war if the government is unable to stop the Islamic militants from sowing more violence, President Duterte warned Tuesday.
The President cautioned that Christians in Mindanao might start to take up arms if the Islamic State recruits more local Muslims to launch attacks.
“Gulo na ‘yan kasi ang mga Kristiyanos sa Mindanao, mag-a-armas rin,” Duterte said during his hospital visit to wounded troops in Cagayan de Oro City.
“Iyan ang ating hindi na pwedeng payagan kasi ‘pag ang mag-armas na ang civilian rin, it will be a civil war. So ang trabaho natin dalawa na: How to hold itong mga Kristiyanos na may armas at ito namang IS sa Maute,” he said.
For now, the President said the government has launched offensives to quell the rebellion in Marawi as well as moved to hasten the peace process with Muslim rebel groups.
He admitted that advancing the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was the government’s best hope to prevent the spread of the corrupt ideology of the ISIS.
He said if the Marawi conflict spills over to other places, the Islamic State might try to recruit Muslims confronted with “nationalism” issue.
“Kasi kung mag-civil war, patayan na. Hanapan ‘yan. Eh dito sa Mindanao, mas maraming Kristiyano may mga baril na mas maganda,” he said.
“Nagbibili eh. Iyong mga mayaman, nag-i-stockpile ng mga baril ‘yan, collection. Iyon ang delikado to prevent a communal war. Well, kailangan pigilan talaga natin,” he added.
The President explained anew that he had no intention to declare martial law in Mindanao but had to do it to suppress the violence and rebellion in Marawi.
He said the security problem could become “widespread” if he had not imposed martial rule in the south.
“Kung ‘di naman ako nag-declare ng martial law, aabutin tayo ng problema patong-patong, baka hindi na natin ma-solve yan,” he said.
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