VICE President Sara Duterte-Carpio on Monday said that the government should take a hardline stance against terrorists and criminals who could derail the country's march to progress.

Duterte-Carpio hosted a meeting on Monday with security officials at the Department of Education (DepEd) Central Office.

In a press briefing after the meeting, she said that the country should show no mercy against criminals and terrorists threatening peace and order.

"Our national aspirations could be slowed down, held up, or hostaged altogether by forces motivated to derail our progress off the track. 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," the vice president said.

The meeting was attended by Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro; Philippine Army commanding general, Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr.; Bureau of Fire Protection chief Louie Puracan; Bureau of Jail Management and Penology chief Allan Iral; Philippine Coast Guard commandant, Adm. Artemio Abu; Philippine Air Force commanding general, Maj. Gen. Arthur Cordura; Philippine Navy Vice Commander Caesar Bernard Valencia; and Philippine National Police deputy chief for administration, LtGen. Jose Chiquito Malayo.

Get the latest news
delivered to your inbox
Sign up for The Manila Times’ daily newsletters
By signing up with an email address, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Issues discussed in the meeting were the continuation of collaborative efforts among the security sector, DepEd, the Office of the Vice President and providing support to the Office of the President, as well as the rape case of four teachers in Camarines Sur.

Duterte-Carpio said the objective of the meeting was to strengthen coordination and enhance interagency cooperation on issues concerning national security and development. She was designated officer in charge while President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is in Indonesia and Singapore for his state visits.

The vice president said there were no threats to security and that the meeting with the security sector was conducted to ensure peace amid the absence of the President.

"As the caretaker, may I reiterate the Marcos administration's direction towards aggressively pursuing programs and projects that will address social inequities and further propel the country's progress post-pandemic," she said.

The vice president emphasized that the Philippines will only be able to "truly recover and rebuild post-pandemic and stand meaningfully with honor and pride" if the threats to the nation's national security are successfully addressed.