Misuari told: Rethink threat of war
MANILA, Philippines — Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari should rethink his earlier threat of war or face those who voted for peace in the country.
This was what Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs chief Col. Noel Detoyato said of Misuari’s apparent declaration of war if the government fails to pursue federalism.
“He has to think twice because it’s not only the government that will be his enemy but also those who voted for peace,” Detoyato said in a mix of Filipino and English in an interview with radio dzBB on Sunday.
Detoyato’s statement came after President Rodrigo Duterte said that Misuari threatened “to go to war” if the government fails in its bid to push for federalism.
“Who really is his enemy? The Armed Forces? Those from Basilan and Jolo? Those who voted in favor or the BOL (Bangsamoro Organic Law)? He has to make it clear for him to be relevant, otherwise, maybe he is just making himself noticed,” Detoyato said.
“He might be missing a very big the chance to really work for peace with the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao),” he added. “He has to reconsider his pronouncements so that he will be relevant for peace and not relevant for war.”
Duterte and Misuari already met twice in less than a month since the ratification of the BOL.
The BOL seeks to replace an existing poverty- and conflict-wracked Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with a potentially larger, better-funded and more powerful region named Bangsamoro for the minority Muslims.
Sulu, which is a part of the ARMM, is a turf of Misuari. The BOL would establish a BARMM in place of ARMM.
Detoyato also described Misuari’s remark as childish, adding that the military’s greatest challenge is to change the MNLF leader’s way of thinking.
“The biggest challege? It’s to sway his line of thinking. If he does not get what he wants, he will go to war. That’s the trait of a child… if you don’t get what you want, you will throw a tantrum,” he said.
“The challenge for us is how we can make him change his mind so that he, too, will also push for peace,” he added.
Further, the AFP official assured that the military forces are ready should threat against the country arises.
“The core competency of the Armed Forces is war fighting, so whenever someone threatens the government, threatens the Filipinos…we are always prepared to do the job for you, war fighting, we are ready for that,” he said.
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