Duterte: MNLF should not be marginalized

Subscribe Now September 10, 2013 at 06:10pm

Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he had warned the government to seriously address the concerns of the Moro National Liberation Front while negotiating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a rival faction of Moro rebels that broke away from the MNLF years ago.

“The real warning I stressed was that they should not compromise with the MILF while the MNLF is marginalized,” Duterte said.

Duterte said that the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process under the Aquino administration had asked for input from him in connection with the government’s peace talks with the MILF, which continued the Moro secessionist movement long after the MNLF signed a peace agreement in 1996.

Duterte said the government should handle the MNLF sensitively because its peace accord with the MNLF had not been perfectly and fully implemented.

“I told them that they should address both at the same time because if not they will have a problem with Nur Misuari,” Duterte said. “Some are saying that Misuari is a spent force because he is already old, but his ideology will remain.”

The mayor said he talked with Misuari over the phone late Monday afternoon to appeal for sobriety.

Duterte told reporters Misuari told him he was set to talk with the Department of Interior and Local Government about the latest incident in Zamboanga.

Duterte also met with leaders of the MNLF in Davao to talk about preserving peace and security in the city.

Duterte earlier expressed support for the advocacies of Misuari but explained that this must be pursued in a peaceful manner and in the context of the Philippine Constitution.

On Sept. 1, hundreds of MNLF members and supporters gathered in the city for a “peace rally,” which called for the government to implement the peace agreement with the MNLF.

MNLF Davao City Chairman Rolando Olamit said the local MNLF command supported the leadership of Duterte and would do nothing to compromise the city.

“We support Duterte’s campaign for peace but we are also hoping that the fire would not reach Davao City,” Olamit said.

Olamit said MNLF members in the Davao region were not mobilizing forces and were not securing firearms. He said the MNLF in Davao was helping secure the city so that no “third parties” will be able to enter and cause chaos.

For Duterte, the hostilities in Zamboanga City were a reminder for both sides to go back to the negotiation table and to collectively address the issues hounding Mindanao for decades.

“Better talk for a thousand years than fight for a day and lose lives. We cannot solve this problem by fighting,” Duterte said.

Source: inquirer.net

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