Duterte wants to renew peace talks with Misuari

MANILA A week after meeting with Moro National Liberation Front (MILF) leaders, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he intends to talk again with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari to discuss road to "lasting peace".

Duterte revealed this in his speech during the distribution of the certificates of land ownership award (CLOA) to 1,680 agrarian reform beneficiaries in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat.

So this week, I would be in conference with everybody and after that I will go back to maybe Jolo to talk to Misuari again if we can come up with an arrangement to arrive at a lasting peace, he said.

The last time the President met with the MNLF founder was in August 2017 at the Malacanang Palace.

Last week, Duterte met with MILF Chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim as well as with Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Chairman Ghadzali Jaafar and MILF Peace Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal in Davao City.

The meeting took place a day after Duterte visited Sulu where he urged the people to scrutinize the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which is still pending in Congress.

I am racing against time. The MILF is in a hurry and has placed on us the burden of a timeline and I have agreed to that period. I gave my solemn promise and I assure you I am working hard to meet the deadline, the President said.

Since he assumed the presidency in 2016, Duterte has been pursuing the hands of peace with all Moro groups.

Like the MILF, Duterte had been pushing for the passage of BBL preferably before the ratification of the new Constitution that would pave the way for the shift of the form of government to federalism.

The President said he will talk with House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel III to get the Congress leaders to pass BBL hopefully within this year.

I will tell him 'Senator Pimentel, remember that we have a commitment to the Moro people. But at the same time, we'll have an arrangement where everybody will be happy, Duterte said.

I don't think that with the MN, MI and government or in joint venture with government can go wrong. We will see to it that justice is applied everyday, that fairness is observed, he added.

While he is pushing for BBL, Duterte reiterated his opposition to the creation of regional armed forces or police.

I will not agree to that. If we are all Filipinos, why you have to create an army. My army is your army. My police is your police, he said.

Duterte said the MILF and MNLF members can be absorbed to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

He reiterated that he will not become a dictator, as he promised anew to step down even before his term ends in 2022 if we can perfect a federal that provides for an election for a president".

Do not be afraid of a dictatorship because I will not be the one, he assured.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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