President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday joined the Presidential Security Group (PSG) in its 122nd anniversary celebration expressing his gratitude to the elite unit for securing him and his family as well as for serving the nation.
“I extend my sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Presidential Security Group. Rest assured that this administration will remain committed to the continuing improvement and modernization of the PSG so you may perform your mandate more effectively and efficiently,” President Duterte said in his speech during the celebration held at the PSG Grandstand in Malacañang Park.
"Together, let us safeguard our nation, defend our people and march towards a brighter future for all,” he added.
President Duterte also recognized PSG’s unwavering commitment to defend the presidency and the country’s democratic institutions by going beyond its mandate of providing protection to the President and the First Family.
"The organization’s notable contributions, not only to the Office of the President, but also to the communities around Malacañang Complex, will be written in the annals of this institution’s long history," he said.
PSG troopers, who have demonstrated excellence in the fulfillment of their respective duties within the organization, was honored by the President.
He also acknowledged agencies, corporations, and individuals who have served as the PSG's reliable partners in its various undertakings.
President Duterte said he believes in PSG’s steadfast commitment to protect the presidency to the best of its abilities. "I am confident that through your professionalism, integrity, and courage, we can further serve our people during the remaining half of my Presidency."
The PSG is a combined elite unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) complemented by the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and civilian workforce.
Meeting with Misuari
President Duterte also discussed several domestic issues Wednesday, particularly the Mindanao peace process, the country’s financial standing, and the administration’s crackdown on graft and corruption.
With regards to Mindanao peace initiatives, he said he would organize a meeting with Moro National Liberation Front founder and leader Nur Misuari to put an end to MNLF rebellion, expressing his willingness to present Misuari’s group similar concessions offered by the government to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
"Central Mindanao medyo nagkalma na. We were able to really convince those guys. Sila Murad. And I'm trying to set up a meeting with Nur Misuari. I would conceive the same arrangement,” President Duterte said.
The President also reiterated his plan to open up barter trade in the Sulu archipelago to prop up economic activity and uplift the living conditions of the Moros there.
He said, however, that he would exclude Zamboanga since unscrupulous individuals and groups might use the system for smuggling. The navy has to intervene to fend off such activity.
During the 13th Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines - East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Summit in Thailand last weekend, President Duterte asked his Malaysian counterpart to speed up the negotiations on the barter trade system between the Philippines and Malaysia in time for the Philippine government’s implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) aimed at ending decades-long conflict in Mindanao.
The President believes that the institutionalization of the barter trade system in the area will help address poverty, conflict, and instability.
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