Duterte: Federalism the only way to settle Moro rebellion
DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated on Thursday, that a federal form of government would be the only way to address the Moro problem in Mindanao.
“We are suffering because there seems to be no cohesive actions on the part of the Moro people and the central government,” Mr. Duterte told at least 116 mayors and governors who attended the local government summit of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao here.
Mr. Duterte said so many attempts have been made to bring peace and unity among the Bangsamoro people, “but these efforts failed.”
He said with all the meetings and talks, “instead of uniting, it was more of divisive measures.”
“But I think the only acceptable arrangement today, of this generation and of the lives of the Moro people, is federalism. Other than that, bakbakan ito (it will be fighting),” he said.
The summit participants also signed on Thursday, a manifesto expressing support to the government’s war on drugs. They also denounced terrorism.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman earlier said local government officials should take the lead in the campaign against terrorism in their respective areas.
Hataman also said local government units should function as mandated by law, bringing in development that would boost the local economy.
He said absentee local officials have given armed groups the opportunity to organize and stay in communities.
He cited the case of Basilan where the local government provided infrastructure and services to the people, driving away the Abu Sayyaf in Al-Barka town.
He also commended Mayor Dilanggalen Pansar of Butig, Lanao del Sur, for fighting it off with the local terror group named Maute.
Government forces have been operating against the Maute group for a week now.
Hataman said Pansar did not allow the Maute Group in his town.
Early this week, soldiers, including members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG), were ambushed in Marawi City on Tuesday. The PSG members were on their way to Butig as an advance party for the President who had a scheduled visit Wednesday.
During his visit to wounded soldiers in Cagayan de Oro City on Wednesday, Duterte said he was urging the Maute group to stop its atrocities and just talk.
“I hope we don’t have to go to war,” the President said, adding that he wanted to prevent war by talking to various groups.
“I’m not trying to scare them but but do not force my hand to do it,” he said.
On Thursday, Duterte said the Maute group should not ally itself with the Islamic State, saying that the “ISIS came about because the Americans invaded Iraq on an excuse that there were weapons of mass destruction.”
The Maute group has been claiming that it has allied with the ISIS. SFM
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