Duterte: “Either we have an election that is free or I will use the military to see that the election is free”

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 25 September) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday night warned he would use the military to ensure a free and orderly elections in May 2022.

Duterte issued this warning at the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Hospital where he led in unveiling the hospital marker during inauguration rites in Isulan town.

Duterte said nobody wants trouble or cheating in the elections and he is appealing to everyone and wants his message known to the entire Philippines to “stick to the rule of law and avoid violence” or “I will be forced to use the might of the military not for any purpose but to see to it that the election si peaceful and violence-free.”

“Either we have an election that is free or I will use the military to see that the election is free. The military is the guardian of our country and I could call them anytime to see to it that people are protected and elections freely and orderly exercised,” he said.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the inauguration of the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Hospital in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat on September 24, 2021. Duterte warned everyone to stick to the rule of law and avoid violence in the May 2022 polls or he will be forced to use the military. “Either we have an election that is free or I will use the military to see that the election is free,” he said. SIMEON CELI/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The President at first expressed awe, seeing what he described as “hindi naman stupendous, but really a remarkable edifice,” in describing the hospital, which he said is something you can hardly believe to see in a laid-back province.

What he was referring to was the modern 390-bed Sultan Kudarat Provincial Hospital, a four-level state-of-the-art health facility that boasts of a Moorish design with elaborate ornamentation and colorful patterns.

Impressed by what he saw, Duterte vowed to provide an MRI equipment to complete the hospital equipment and for people in the province to avoid travelling to Manila.

The insides of the hospital bear resemblance to modern five-star hotels, complete with wide lobby and corridors, lifts and escalators.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the inauguration of the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Hospital at Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat on September 24, 2021. SIMEON CELI/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

“It is not wrong to say that the Muslims of the island of Mindanao have already gone to the flowering of civilization,” Duterte said as he pleaded for peace in the conduct of the forthcoming elections, referring to the areas in Mindanao which are known to have problems during elections.

“Yung away away, yan ang problema,” he said.

He said he wanted to call “all of you in my office, wala tayong ibang (we don’t have any other) common ground, all leaders, political leaders and those participating in the elections, I plead for peace. Gusto ko sana makita ang (I want to see) Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and every province, Cotabato City, na walang gulo” (without trouble).

“I am hesitant really to say this (that) in the forthcoming elections, I am still the President. And just like in the last elections that we have had during my term, sinabi ko (I said) there will be a peaceful election. So hindi pwede yang terrorism, lahat na” (No to terrorism), Duterte said.

“You know, I do not want yung pwersahan (use of force). Ayaw ko yan (I do not like that).  Hindi tayo sanay na ganoon na every generation, ipasa nating yung violence” (We are not used to passing on violence to every generation), he said.

He compared the old provinces of Davao and Cotabato to which he said, Davao has progressed into an urban area while Cotabato has “come to the age of development.”

“Nobody wants trouble, nobody wants cheating. Hindi kayo but pass this message to everybody outside here na nakikiusap na ako (I am asking you), am pleading, almost praying that people will really stick to the rule of law and avoid violence. Kasi kapag hindi, unahan ko na kayo. (If not, I will preempt you). I will be forced to use the might of the military. Not for any purpose but to see to it that the elections are peaceful and violence-free, not only here but all over the Philippines.”

As posted on its social media page “The New Sultan Kudarat Provincial Hospital,” the facility had its “soft opening” on October 12, last year, in simple rites led by Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto Mangudadatu and his father Sultan Pax Mangudadatu, who had served as governor of the province.

The elder Mangudadatu was instrumental in the putting up the hospital.

From the FB page of the New Sultan Kudarat Provincial Hospital, posted on its FB page on October 12, 2020

A brochure provided by the Philippine Information Agency, Region12, said the hospital was built in stages – the first started in December 2017 and the second stage in May 2020.

Governor Mangudadatu said the hospital will serve not only residents of his province but also those of other provinces in Region 12 and the Bangsamoro Region.

Located in Isulan town, the hospital sits on a three-hectare compound at the provincial capitol grounds. The compound will also have component buildings of the hospital like doctors’ quarters, watchers’ building, power house, wastewater facility, mortuary, dialysis, dietary, and oxygen generator, which are under construction.

The hospital brochure states that it will be manned by 1,004 staff to include one hospital head, 70 doctors, 178 nursing staff and other workers to be assigned in other departments and units of the hospital like operating medical equipment, ICU, operating rooms, laboratories and emergency unit. (Rommel Rebollido / MindaNews)

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