Duterte to UN: Combatting terrorism just as urgent amid COVID-19 pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — While he recognizes that medical care for Filipinos must be ensured amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, President Rodrigo Duterte told the United Nations that combatting terrorism “is just as urgent now as it was before the pandemic.”
In a pre-recorded speech on Friday at the UN General Assembly’s special session on COVID-19, Duterte said the pandemic “worsened threats to peace and security.”
“The Philippines wants to ensure the swift and unimpeded provision of medical care to all Filipinos, especially the most vulnerable. Yet combatting terrorism is just as urgent now as it was before the pandemic,” Duterte said.
“In my country, this fight is about protecting life while preserving the democratic values we have restored without violence,” he added.
The President also welcomed UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ call for a global ceasefire as the world continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The lawless weaponizes this health crisis. They cripple the state’s ability to respond. They leave COVID-19 to wreak its worst on the population. This is an inconvenient truth –but one that we must face head-on,” said Duterte.
“The Philippines supports the Secretary General’s report for a global ceasefire. It is most welcome and appreciated,” he went on.
Duterte said this as the Armed Forces of the Philippines said it will not recommend a holiday truce with communist rebels.
Malacañang said Duterte has yet to make a decision on the recommendation but said, “the President gives it a lot of weight.”
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