MANILA, Sept 6 (Mabuhay) — Vice President Sara Duterte on Monday said no mercy should be shown to terrorists and criminals, following her meeting with heads of the security sector to discuss how to maintain peace and order in the country while President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is on state visits to Indonesia and Singapore.

VP MEETS SECURITY SECTOR. Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte (center) holds a meeting with the country’s security officials on Monday (Sept. 5, 2022) at the Department of Education (DepEd) Central Office in Pasig City. The Vice President has been designated as the country’s officer-in-charge while President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is on a state visit to Indonesia and Singapore. (MNS photo)

Duterte, who has been designated as the country’s officer-in-charge while Marcos is abroad this week, announced this after her sit-down meeting with officials from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

She said the objective of the meeting was to “strengthen existing coordination and enhance interagency cooperation on issues concerning our national security and the country’s development.”

“Initially, we discussed the peace and order situation in our country today and how we can maintain the security of the country until President Marcos comes back from his state visits,” Duterte said at a press conference.

The Vice President said the country could only recover from the pandemic and stand as a nation if the threats to security are addressed.

“Our policy against criminals and terrorists and those that support and espouse their ideologies of violence should be hardline. We should show no mercy to criminals and terrorists,” she said.

However, pressed if there are security threats posed in the country now that Marcos is out of the country, Duterte said, “Wala po. Wala po kaming na-discuss na terror threat.”

Duterte also said specifics pertaining to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPA-NPA-NDF) were not discussed in the meeting, but reassured the security sector that the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President are “behind all of them” in their fight against insurgency. (MNS)