After Misuari’s ‘threat,’ Palace says gov’t ready for MNLF
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday said the government is ready to fight after Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari warned that he will “got to war” if the government fails to push federalism.
“The Muslim rebellion has been there for so many decades, and we have confronted it, we’ve fought with it, and the Republic remains as it is now,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo stressed that the Philippines was able to thwart MNLF’s uprising even in the 1970s and 1980s when the rebel group is at its peak.
This was after President Duterte revealed that Misuari, during their meeting in Malacañang on Tuesday, told him that he will go to war against the government if federalism is not passed.
Tuesday’s meeting was the second for Duterte and Misuari in less than a month since the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) — a product of the government’s negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a breakaway faction of the MNLF.
Panelo also said the Palace is not considering Misuari’s declaration as a “threat” but just an expression of “disappointment” over the non-passage of federalism.
“Sa akin sa tingin ko (I think) he was just expressing his sentiment, his disappointment that a campaign promise has not been fulfilled as of this time. Seryoso ‘yung disappointment niya (His disappointment was serious), whether the threat is serious or not is another thing,” he said.
The Duterte administration has been pushing for a shift to a federal form of government, a campaign promise of the President in the 2016 elections.
However, the Panelo noted that the government is not taking Misuari’s remark lightly, saying that: “Any threat publicly expressed by anyone is always viewed upon as a serious concern by the government.”
Misuari’s MNLF faction earlier expressed opposition to the proposed Bangsamoro law and wants the government to honor the 1996 peace agreement, which led to the creation of the defunct Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), of which he served as governor. /ee
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