Marcos asks military: Be 'peacemakers' in new gov't approach vs. rebels

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 16) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday told members of the military to become "peacemakers" under what he called the government's new approach in dealing with communist rebels.

"Ang mission ng ating mga sundalo ngayon ay medyo nahahalo na, nagbabago na nang kaunti (The mission of our soldiers has somehow changed). Whereas before, we asked you all of the individuals, men and women, in the military to be warfighters... But now, the situation is beginning to evolve," Marcos said during his talk with the Armed Forces of the Philippines' 9th Infantry Division on Thursday.

"We are asking you to be peacemakers because we have changed our approach to the communist, terrorist groups that we have been encountering," he added.

Marcos also highlighted the government's steps in its "whole-of-nation" strategy.

"We are now not only presenting them with a military force, we are presenting them with other options. We are presenting them with a life after their life as rebels," the chief executive stressed.

Shortly after Marcos' win in the May 2022 polls, the Communist Party of the Philippines said it was open to reviving peace talks with the new administration.

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Marcos also advised troops of the 9th Infantry Division to guard the country's borders amid "external threats."

"We can see that it is very close to some of the disputed areas kung saan pumapasok ang mga iba't ibang barko. Kailangan din nating bantayan 'yan. Kaya't ito na naman ay isa pang panibagong mission ninyo," the president said.

[Translation: We can see that it is very close to some of the disputed areas where ships pass through. We also need to guard that. That is your additional mission.]