MANILA, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday ordered the military and police to continuously contain the Islamic State (IS) threat in the country.
Speaking to the alumni of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) during its annual homecoming in Baguio City, north of Manila, Duterte stressed the need to secure the southern Philippine region of Mindanao from the Islamic militants who wish to establish a caliphate in the ancestral homeland of the Muslim minority in the largely Catholic Philippines.
Duterte ordered government troops and police force to use all available assets and resources to defeat IS militants.
"This is the only way to secure Mindanao," he said.
He said the Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf group is focused on kidnap-for-ransom activities, while the Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf bandits under Isnilon Hapilon "remains focused on assimilating the IS violent today."
Abu Sayyaf leader Hapilon, the overall leader of the IS Philippines, has been severely wounded in an encounter with the military.
The president reiterated his campaign promise to enforce peace and order in the country, saying the country at peace will foster economic development.
"But I need the help of each one, especially the military, not for social control but protection for the citizens from the lawless, the reckless and the selfish," Duterte said.
Duterte also ordered the military to support his war on illegal drugs. "I directed the PMA with the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to conduct a war against illegal drugs and it was by and large successful."
The Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association issued a manifesto of support for Duterte.
"We affirm our unwavering support for President Duterte, our commander-in-chief, for his initiative to wage war against corruption and criminalization in general, most particularly against illegal drugs, heinous crimes, terrorism, and his pursuit of lasting peace," said the association's chairman Anselmo Avenido of the PMA Class 1967.
Duterte was adopted by the PMA Class of 1967 in 1994 when he was mayor of Davao City.