More Maute members expected to surrender
President Rodrigo Duterte is optimistic more members of the Maute terrorist group will turn themselves in to the authorities, following the surrender of 27 members of the terrorist group.
“Let the time pass by, give us time to rebuild, give us time to establish the goodwill. I am inviting the other Maute members or whoever is causing trouble here in Marawi, you come down and we will talk how we can improve your lives,” he said.
Turnover of weapons
The President made the remarks in his speech on Friday during the turnover of loose weapons and distribution of aid to former members of the Maute terrorist group.
During the event held in Marawi City, 27 former members of the Maute terrorist group who surrendered to the government were presented to the President.
“My brothers from Marawi, the government really wants peace. The government won’t come here and kill. That is a waste of time and money, and all the lives of people,” he assured the surrenderers.
He added that the government wanted to avoid bloodshed and violence, and that they were sincere in talking about peace.
“So I propose to you, the other Maranao, come back down here and you will see your surrendered firearms, which will no longer have a purpose,” the President said.
While thanking the military for its sacrifices, he expressed hope that Mindanao would be a center of growth and development even after the horrors of the Marawi City siege.
Sense of hope
“When I saw our Maranao brothers and sisters return to Marawi to reclaim their land, their homes and their lives, I immediately felt a sense of hope that Mindanao can rise as a center of growth and development, not just in the Philippines but the entire region,” he said.
He stressed that this was why the government embarked on an “unprecedented infrastructure development program that intends to facilitate commerce and trade in Mindanao.”
“With the support of the Maranao, I am confident we can spur economic growth and solve the political and socioeconomic roots of violent extremism in the region,” the President added.
He also made known his plan to send the Maranao, including former Maute group members, to Malaysia to learn the fundamentals of planting rubber trees and oil palm trees.
The President said he would talk to newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to seek agricultural training for Filipinos.
Malaysia is one of the world’s largest producers of palm oil.
“You will study there how to plant rubber and oil palm trees. It’s difficult to plant oil palm in the fields, but rubber is good,” the President said.
In his speech, the President bared his plan to give idle government lands to the Maranao so these could be converted into productive plantations.
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