Deal with Misuari crucial to peace — Duterte

March 27, 2019
Rodrigo Duterte and Nur Misuari
Rodrigo Duterte and Nur Misuari

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is rushing to forge a deal with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chair Nur Misuari that will be “more acceptable” to everyone.

“I am in a hurry to strike a deal with Nur Misuari,” the President said during his visit to South Cotabato, a few days after revealing the government’s planned talks with Misuari’s group on advancing the proposed shift to federalism.

“Kay Misuari naman, medyo we have to deal with him again. And I hope that we could find the space, the time, and the issues that would be more acceptable to everybody, to both the Lumads, the Christian, and the Moro,” he added.

Duterte expressed hope that an agreement with Misuari would be sealed before the end of his term, saying he was worried about his successor.

“I am not saying that I can or I’m the only one, that would be hypocrisy. But ang ano ko ang worry ko is the next president. I do not have any idea kung sino ‘yan, only God knows. You know, the presidency is a gift from God,” he added.

The President recently announced that Misuari threatened to go to war if the shift to federalism is not pursued. Duterte met with Misuari in Malacañang where the former ARMM governor pressed for the federalism initiative.

The two leaders eventually agreed to create their respective five-member panels to discuss the proposed federalism to avoid a potential conflict in the south. Duterte however reminded Misuari that the push for federalism must go through the legislative process and must be in accordance with the Constitution.

In his speech in Koronadal City, the President noted that Misuari preferred to talk than fight with government. He also recognized the MNLF leader as an important personality to keep the peace in Mindanao.

“May mga tao na kailangan mo eh. At may mga tao na kailangan buhayin mo like Murad, like Misuari. Hindi mo pwedeng patayin ‘yan. ‘Pag pinatay mo ‘yan disgrasya tayong lahat. Then we no longer can prevent trouble. Wala nang mag-control eh. Vendetta, then it could be rido,” Duterte said.