Duterte, MILF want to bring peace in Mindanao
(The Philippine Star) - February 28, 2016 - 9:00am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) look forward to resolving the conflict in Mindanao.

While he admitted that he does not expect the MILF to endorse his presidential bid during his visit to their Camp Darapanan in Barangay Simuay, Sultan Kudarat on Saturday, Duterte still met with the MILF Central Committee to present his proposal on how to resolve the conflict in Mindanao and the issues confronting the Moro people.

Duterte’s meeting with the MILF came after Congress failed to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which would be the legal basis for the creation of an autonomous Bangsamoro region in accordance to the peace agreement between the government and the MILF.

For Duterte, the Aquino administration “only dribbled BBL.”

 “I know you are very frustrated and I know you are hurt. This could have created a problem had it not been for the moderation of the Central Committee,” he told members of the MILF Central Committee.

Duterte promised that if he is elected president, he would not only pursue a system that would make the aspirations of the Moro people into a reality, but would also “make everybody happy.” This, he said, can be done through federalism.

 Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chairperson for political affairs, asked Duterte what he specifically planned to do.

Duterte said his administration “will create a commission that would eventually come to a consensus.”

 “I have been proposing federalism. But your territory will not be touched. It will be our collective position,” he explained.

Duterte also said his administration would create territories for the Tausugs, Sama, Iranons, Maranaos and the indigenous peoples.

 “Other groups, the other tribes who are hungry for better life, will be given their share and their chance,” he added. “Through federalism, we will correct the injustice committed against the Moro people, against Mindanao.”

Jaafar said he admires Duterte’s brand of leadership, describing him as magiting or brave.

“We are inspired by his courage as we are impressed by what he did to Davao, a city that is progressive where business is good and where people are given the opportunity to better their lives. God willing, if he will win, he will also transform the Philippines just like how he transformed Davao,” Jaafar added.

But Jaafar clarified that the MILF is not endorsing any candidate.

 “Members of the MILF, their families and the members of the communities will be given their independence to choose whoever they want to choose,” he said.

Among the five presidential aspirants, Duterte was so far the only one who visited the MILF camp.

Duterte explained that his visit to Camp Darapanan was not a form of campaign.

“I am here not to campaign,” he said. “I know that you are apolitical. I also know that you will give independence to your people and you will respect their decision.”

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