By Genalyn Kabiling
Moro National Liberation Front founding chair Nur Misuari has warned he would wage war if his aspiration for federalism would not be pursued, President Duterte bared Wednesday.
To avoid a potential conflict, the President proposed the creation of a panel to negotiate the federalism proposal with the Misuari’s group during their meeting at the Palace Tuesday night.
“Sabi ni Misuari kagabi, ‘If you do not give it to me, let me be very honest, I will go to war,'” Duterte said during the PDP-Laban campaign rally in Marikina City Wednesday.
“Sabi ko, ‘I understand that Nur so ganito na lang gawin natin. Let’s form a panel because we have to inform the people. We cannot negotiate secretly,” he said.
He assured that the public would be briefed about the federalism talks with Misuari’s group.
“Para day-to-day they will be briefed kung ano ang outcome, how gusto mo ma-apply ang federalism system sa gusto mo. Kagaya ba ng BOL o different type [They will be briefed day-to-day on the outcome, on how you want to apply federalism system you want, whether it will be like the Bangsamoro Organic Law or a different],” he added.
Duterte said Misuari wanted federalism so the Moros can recover their lands seized during the foreign colonial times. “Sabi ko let us talk. Sabi niya sige, ito ang gusto ko federalism I said, let us talk. he said, okay I want federalism],” the President said about their meeting Tuesday night.
He said the MNLF leader mentioned that it was then President Corazon Aquino who actually promised the federalism system to the Moro community.
“Sabi niya magkaibigan tayo pero you know you have to have something like this. You want a federal set-up because that was promised by Cory,” he said.
Among those present in the meeting Duterte said were Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.
Last month, the President said the government was prepared to craft a new deal with MNLF. He said Misuari was willing to talk not fight during their recent meeting at the Palace.
He earlier met with Misuari and apologized for the delay in the implementation of the federalism initiative in the country. The meeting was held after the MNLF was reportedly dismayed with the limited seats given in the interim government of the new Bangsamoro region.