Duterte appeals to Abu Sayyaf to stop violence in Mindanao
President Rodrigo Duterte made this appeal on Monday to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) as he called for an end to the violence in Mindanao.
“I’d like to tell you now, if somebody is listening: Stop it. Stop it,” Duterte said in speech before officials and residents of Patikul, Sulu.
He spoke at the Capitol Multi-Purpose Gynasium in Barangay Bangkal in Patikul, Sulu, where local officials presented members of the ASG who had surrendered and turned over their firearms.
The President, who earlier ordered the military to finish the ASG, said he was not angry at the terrorists.
He appealed to the ASG to stop beheading their captives.
“Kung walang pera ‘yung tao, bakit mo patayin? Stop it. It does not look good. I am not angry at you but stop it kasi hindi maganda ‘yan,” he said.
Duterte said he understood the situation in Sulu, which has become a stronghold of the ASG.
“Wala akong galit sa inyo. Wala akong galit sa mga Abu Sayyaf. I understand the situation,” he said
He said the residents in Sulu felt they had been abandoned by the government, prompting some to join the terrorist group.
“Ngayon, ang ano talaga dito is parang napabayaan. And Sulu since time immemorial, it has suffered violence every now and then. Walang katahimikan ang tao sa Jolo,” he said.
The chief executive said he visited Sulu to check if the ASG members who had surrendered were given the same treatment like the communist returnees.
“I came here to know if the surrenderees, ‘yung nag-surrender are treated just like what we are doing with NPAs,” he said.
“So if there is a way that I can help you, help me, make it through the night sa presidency ko, magpasalamat talaga ako kasi wala akong ibang hangarin kung hindi bigyan ng kapayapaan ang Moro sa Mindanao,” he added.
The government, he said, would provide livelihood and skills training for those who want to surrender.
“[F]or those interested, government is ready,” he said.
Duterte, however, said he could not do anything for terrorists who would not want to surrender and would continue to fight the government.
“I’m not dreaming. Only those who would want to surrender. Those who’d want to fight, wala naman tayong magawa. Ginusto mo. Sabihin mo, ‘huwag.’ Kung gusto niya, wala ka ring magawa,” he said. /atm
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