By Francis Wakefield
With whom will he go to war?
This was the question raised by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Affairs Chief Col. Noel Detoyato during a radio interview on Sunday, following the threat made by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari that he would wage war if his aspiration for federalism would not be pursued.
“He will go to war, with whom? Sino ba ang kaaway niya? Itanong muna natin kung sino kaaway niya. [Who are his enemies? Let’s ask him first who is his enemy],” Detoyato said.
Detoyato said when Misuari and his men went to Zamboanga City in September 2013 and burned homes was their enemy those from Zamboanga themselves?
“So we just defended kung mga taga Zamboanga ang kaaway niya [if their enemies are from Zanboanga]. But this time, who are his enemies? Eh ‘yung lahat ng mga tao sa Mindanao ngayon naka-prepare para tanggapin ‘yung BOL kasi nanalo nga ‘yung BOL, overwhelming [All the people in Mindanao are prepared to accept BOL because it won overwhelmingly].”
“So we have to prepare for that. Ngayon ang sinasabi niyang [what he is saying] he is going to war ang unang tanong natin sino ang aawayin niya [our first question is who will he fight]
and is he capable?,” he said.
Detoyato said the AFP is very much ready to fight whenever one threatens government.
“Alam mo ang [You know} the core competency of the Armed Forces is war fighting that’s why whenever one threatens the government, threatens the Filipinos like that we are always prepared to do the job for you,” Detoyato said.
“War fighting, we are ready for that,” he added.
Detoyato, at the same time, believed that Misuari made the threat just to be noticed.
“Dapat klaruhin niya iyun para naman maging relevant siya [He should make things clear to stay relevant] otherwise he is just making himself noticed siguro, and with that he might be missing a very good chance to really work for peace with the BARMM,” Detoyato said.
“Siguro kelangan nyang i-consider ‘yung mga pronouncements niya para naman sya ay maging relevant for peace, hindi relevant for war [Maybe he should consider his pronouncements for him to be relevant for peace, not relevant for war],” he added.
Detoyato said with Misuari’s pronouncement’s, he should think twice because it’s not only the government whom he is fighting, but the people who supports peace, as well.
When asked what the biggest challenge they are facing with Misuari, Detoyato said it is how to change the direction of his mind.
“If he does not get what he wants he will go to war. Iyung pag-iisip niya eh parang isip bata ‘yung ganun eh [His mind is like of a child]. If he does not get what he wants, mag tantrums sya [he will have tantrums]. I think you have to reconsider your position pagka ganyan na,” he said.
President Duterte earlier bared that Misuari has warned he would wage war if his aspiration for federalism would not be pursued.
To avoid a potential conflict, the President proposed the creation of a panel to negotiate the federalism proposal with Misuari’s group during their meeting at the Palace Tuesday night.
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 last March 19.
He said the MNLF leader mentioned that it was then President Corazon Aquino who actually promised the federalism system to the Moro community.