President Duterte Renews Call for Peace, Asks All Fronts to Stop War

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Pres Duterte in Basilan

PRESIDENT DUTERTE in Basilan.

DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte has renewed his call peace as he urged all Moro fronts, including the communist insurgents, to stop their war against the government.

Addressing the Moro people during his visit to the troops in Jolo, Sulu last week, Mr. Duterte urged groups fighting an ideology particularly the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to talk with government.

“Usap na lang tayo (Let us just talk),” he said.

Peace in Mindanao would also allow government troops enjoy the peace and go back to their respective families, he said.

If the groups agree to peace, President Duterte promised to lengthen Sulu’s airport runway and bring Arab investors.

“I, we understand each other…stop this war. If you agree to peace I will lengthen your runway and bring Arab investors here,” he said.

The President wanted to correct historical injustice but he emphasized Christians can no longer return to where they originally came from. “We cannot return to you (the land) – hindi pwede ang Christians – wala ng mauwi-an doon (The Christians you cannot [let them return] – there is no place for them to return),” he said.

Mr. Duterte also committed to implement all signed peace agreements in the country.

He said the Mindanao war always disheartened him and he always asked when it would end.

He vowed to find ways to talk with MNLF Chair Nur Misuari at the right time and place.

The President also explained why he declared a unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army (CPP-NDF-NPA) and why he lifted it.

Despite the exchange of words with CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison after recent armed incidents, Mr. Duterte said he can always pursue talks with the communist movement. He said the government panel is ready.

The President also wished that government can also simultaneously discuss the peace process with the MNLF.

“..Anytime I can sit down and talk peace with them. I can always declare the soldiers (to) stay put,” he said.

On Saturday and Sunday, the government peace panel led by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and representatives of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will meet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to formally re-launch the two parties’ engagements for the implementation of the two-year-old Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

The formal meeting between the Philippine government and the MILF is the first under the Duterte administration.

Dureza earlier said the guidance of the government implementing panel is hinged on the Peace and Development Roadmap that was recently approved by the President.

Under the said roadmap, all Bangsamoro peace agreements— MILF’s CAB and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the MNLF, as well the key results of the 10-year-old GPH-Organization of Islamic Cooperation-MNLF Tripartite Review Process — will be integrated into the new enabling law that will create a new Bangsamoro government unit; thus, replacing the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

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