By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte recognized that there was still more work to be done in achieving lasting peace in the Philippines, saying the country was still sailing in “rough waters”.
Duterte made the comment during the post-disaster assessment briefing in Camarines Sur. In his remarks, the President mentioned how it was important to place the right people in government because there was still more work to do.
“Now, lagyan ninyo ng mga tao na (You put people who are) — for after all we are in a thick… No, the ship of state of the Republic of the Philippines is sailing on rough waters,” he said.
“I’m not saying that there is a storm but unless we get through with this BOL (Bangsamoro Organic Law) and what would be the reaction of [Moro National Liberation Front founder Nur] Misuari. Sabihin niya (He said) he’s left behind is something which we have — I have to work over time,” he added.
President Duterte signed the BOL in July last year after getting delayed due to the standoff in the leadership in the House of Representatives.
The BOL creates the Bangsamoro government and grants it fiscal autonomy. According to Duterte, the BOL, hopefully, would put an end to the decades-old conflicts in the south.
However, Duterte admitted that there was a possibility that not everybody would like the BOL. He said he was hoping that misunderstandings could be settled immediately.
Meanwhile, President Duterte said he considered dealing with Communist rebels as hopeless.
“Ang talagang medyo matigas na nakikita ko na wala talagang pag-asa, ito si [Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder] Sison. And dito sa Bicol, malakas ang NPA (New People’s Army). Iyan na lang talaga ang ano dito.
Wala tayong makuha diyan sa NPA (The thing I see as hopeless is Sison and NPAs are strong here in Bicol. That’s the only problem here. We will get nothing from the NPA),” he said.
The President also said dealing with Communists will not work, citing the appointments of former Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and former Agrarian Secretary Rafael Mariano.
“Maski na sabihin nila walang coalition but they want to join ‘yung mga economic bodies natin kagaya ng NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority), itong Department of Trade, ah mahirap ‘yan (Even when they say there will be no coalition government but they want to join our economic bodies like the NEDA and the Trade department. That’s going to be difficult),” Duterte said.
“Even when si Taguiwalo was in — pati si Mariano… While he (Mariano) was there, a Cabinet member at that, he was egging people na sige mag-ano ka okupasyon. If there is a vacant lot (for people to occupy vacant lots),” he added.
“Tapos si Taguiwalo ‘yung Pantawid (4Ps), doon nakikita sa kampo ng mga NPA ‘yung mga envelopes. Okay man ‘yan, wala akong problema. Tutal mahirap rin itong mga g***** ‘to eh (And then Taguiwalo, the 4Ps envelopes were seen in NPA camps. But that was okay. I had no problem with that because those fools are poor as well),” he continued.
Duterte scrapped the peace talks with the Reds in November 2017. However on Friday, the President expressed hope about the negotiations.
“I pray that if there’s going to be a talk — really talk. I don’t know what will happen and if it can happen at all,” he said.