PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday said the government is crafting a new deal with Nur Misuari’s Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
Mr. Duterte also said he had made some “arrangements” to ensure that Mr. Misuari, who is facing rebellion and crimes against humanity charges in connection with the 2013 Zamboanga siege, could leave the country for his commitments abroad.
“Now there is Misuari, he saw me last night (Monday). He was not allowed by the court to go out because he has pending charges when he was armed. So I had to make some arrangements. Sabi ko (I said), this is a personal request of (mine), which I do not do at any time, at any other time. Sabi ko… palabasin ninyo (I said, allow him to leave),” Mr. Duterte said in his speech on Tuesday night at the League of Municipalities of the Philippines General Assembly 2019 in Manila.
As for the new peace deal, the President said: “Kaya sabi ko itong kay Nur, areglo tayo dito (I told Nur, let’s come up with something). Sabi ni Nur (said), he is willing to talk, and he has waited this long for me to make a decisive decision when he comes back. Nandoon man sila kagabi dalawa [Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año and Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana were in that meeting]. Sabi ko (I said), ‘time for us to craft a new deal for the MNLF of Misuari.”
Mr. Duterte also said about the MNLF: “They are revolutions driven with territorial intentions or objectives. Ngayon, kung naplantsa mo ‘yan (Now, if everything is ironed out) and we are able to talk to them, you must understand Philippine history and the core of what ails this country,”.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo during said in a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon that Messrs. Duterte and Misuari met at the Palace on Feb. 25.
“The meeting with the MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari lasted I think only about 15 minutes. They are going to meet again. What transpired last night was, the President told the Chairman that he admired his patience and he apologized for not having… implemented or enforced…whatever agreements that they had previously (with the government), with respect, I think, to federalism or something. And they would be talking again precisely (about) that. They didn’t have much time to talk, so they will meet again,” Mr. Panelo said. — Arjay L. Balinbin