Duterte vows to guard ‘fragile peace’ in Mindanao
MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte has assured the Muslim community in Mindanao that his administration will preserve what he calls the “fragile peace” in the region which has long been marred by terrorism.
Duterte made the commitment Thursday night during a post-Eid al-Fitr celebration in his hometown of Davao City, adding that he will enforce the full force of the law against extremists who will create violence in Mindanao.
“Allow me to take this moment to assure you that this administration will endeavor to preserve the fragile peace that we have built in this region that I call home,” Duterte said in his speech.
“Any form of violence against the Muslim community or any other tribe especially those arising from religious extremism, hatred, discrimination, and misguided beliefs will never be tolerated and will be dealt with by the full force of the law,” he added.
Duterte, the country’s first Mindanaoan President, also expressed optimism that government could work more closely with the Moro people now following the creation of the Bangsamoro autonomous region and foster “a more harmonious and meaningful relationship” among all ethnic groups.
The new Bangsamoro region, which replaced the poverty-stricken Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), enjoys expanded land and water jurisdiction, fiscal autonomy and increased share in national government resources, among others. It was a product of the government’s years of negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Duterte’s pronouncements came nearly a week after the death of Abu Sayyaf Dutch hostage Ewold Horn, who was shot dead while trying to escape during a fierce firefight between his captors and Army troops.
Malacañang has condemned the killing and vowed to pursue Horn’s killers “to the ends of the earth.” (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
READ: Dutch hostage, 6 Abus killed in clash
READ: Palace vows justice for slain Abu Sayyaf Dutch hostage
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