Duterte wishes to talk with Misuari, revolutionary and statesman

By Genalyn Kabiling

Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari would someday be recognized as a statesman apart from being a revolutionary warrior, President Duterte said Tuesday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari during a meeting at the Malacañan Palace on August 3, 2017. (ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari (ACE MORANDANTE / PRESIDENTIAL FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The President made the statement amid plans to talk to Misuari, former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), about advancing the peace process in the south.

"Nur, to his everlasting credit someday he would be recognized as one statesman above just being --- or aside from being a revolutionary warrior,” Duterte said during 9th anniversary of Mindanao Development Authority and the 25th anniversary of Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) in Davao City.

"Until now Nur has kept his silence and I have repeatedly stressed that there will be a time when he and I will talk and it should be soon. And as a matter of fact, any other agreement with any other revolutionary front should take place simultaneously,” he added.

Duterte admitted that he was willing to give “concessions” to the Moro people, including reconfiguring territories during his upcoming talks with Misuari.

He explained that he wanted to hasten the peace process in the south considering he was old and would be probably be gone soon.

"I cannot wait really for peace to travel in a very snail-paced velocity. We have to work hard and I think it should be now --- now is now --- to talk… Because any other time would be good to talk to Nur Misuari," he said.

"Let us try to see if we can craft something more expansive in his area and giving concessions to Moro which is really the correct thing and also reconfigure the territories to correct the historical injustice of their native land," he added.

Duterte's planned meeting with Misuari comes after the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic law in a recent plebiscite.

The law replacing ARMM with a new autonomous region is part of the peace agreement forged by the government with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a breakaway faction of Misuari's MNLF.

Misuari’s group previously forged a peace pact with the Ramos administration in 1996 that was supposed to end the separatist rebellion in the south.