The prospect of jumpstarting peace talks with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) remains in limbo as its chairman, Nur Misuari, has proposed including the Abu Sayyaf group in the negotiations and subsequently making its members qualified for amnesty.
President Rodrigo Duterte has thumbed down Misuari’s proposal, saying he cannot talk with the bandit group “as a matter of principle.”
In a speech at the Philippine Marines’ headquarters in Taguig City Tuesday night (Sept. 27), the President said he has been waiting for Misuari to express interest in starting peace talks with the government but the MNLF leader “seems to be equivocal.”
“Yung proposal niya ngayon, nung una, mag-usap na. Ang bagong proposal is pati yung Abu Sayyaf isali na niya. At pagdating ng panahon kung magka-ok tayo, isali niya sa general amnesty,” he said.
“Pagka ganoon, huwag na lang tayong mag-usap. I will not. For the life of me, I will not. As a matter of principle, kalimutan mo na lang,” the President added.
Recalling the Abu Sayyaf’s recent grisly beheading of its 18-year-old Filipino hostage, Duterte said: “Why should I talk to animals? What’s the point? Ni walang awa.”
The President hinted that peace talks with the MNLF might not happen under his term if Misuari insists on including the Abu Sayyaf in the negotiations.
“Kung ganoon ang ano, Mindanao will be a problem for all time. Then so be it. Wait for the next President if he wants. Ako ayaw ko,” he said.
Duterte said he does not believe the Abu Sayyaf will turn its back on kidnapping and killing even if it were offered a seat at the negotiating table. [content]