PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte rallied for global unity to address the twin threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and terrorism, claiming that the pandemic has worsened peace and security.

In his pre-recorded speech during the special session of the United Nations General Assembly on pandemic response, Duterte said that lawless elements exploited the coronavirus pandemic to discredit the government.

“The lawless weaponized this health crisis that crippled the State’s ability to respond. This is an inconvenient truth, but one that we must face head on,” Duterte said.

“Combatting terrorism is as urgent as now, as it was before the pandemic. In my country, this fight is about protecting life while preserving democratic values we have restored without violence,” he added.

The Philippines continues to experience terrorism, the most recent of which were the two successive bomb explosions in Jolo, Sulu in August that killed several soldiers and civilians and injured 40 others.

Aside from the Marawi siege in 2017, other terrorist attacks include the Jolo Cathedral attack in 2019, and the Davao City night market bombing in September 2016, among others.

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