Duterte to meet with Malaysia, Indonesia leaders for anti-terror pact

By Lilian Mellejor

September 3, 2017, 12:37 pm

DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte will meet with the leaders of Malaysia and Indonesia to formalize the details of an anti-terrorism deal.

In a media interview past midnight Sunday, the President also voiced concern over reports of increasing ISIS recruitment in Muslim cities.

“The ISIS is being cornered into the coastal towns of Syria. Natutulak na sila sa Syria. Once they lose mass base, wala na silang mapuntahan. Papatayin talaga sila. Alam mo na ang Arabo, they execute. Sisibat na ‘yan. And then because they have access in some countries, bigla na lang sisipot kagaya nung sa Marawi (They are being pushed (out) of Syria. Once they lose mass base, they can’t go anywhere. They will really be killed. You know the Arabs, they execute. They will escape. And then…because they have access in some countries, they will just come just like in Marawi),” Duterte said on the sidelines of the birthday celebration of Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles.

Duterte said he, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak already agreed to meet either in an area near the Philippines like Sabah and Jakarta.

“We have agreed that we will talk, the three of us. So naghintay lang kami ng timing (We are just waiting for the right timing),” he said in an interview with reporters.

In all probability, Duterte said the deal could be a joint undertaking like a task force to run after ISIS members.

“I will open my borders to the Malaysian authorities and Indonesian authorities, and I am --- they’ll be given access,” he said.

Kung may hinahabol kami, tapos sabihin, malakas ‘yan, wala nang panahon, tirahin mo na lang siya. Even if it’s a Filipino, sabihin mo doon sa [inaudible], “Tirahin mo na.” or Indonesian dito (If we are running after (terrorists), then they say these are strong and we lack the time, just hit on them. Even if it’s Filipino…or Indonesian here (in the Philippines),” he stressed.

The President said the meeting is already being worked out and it only needs to be formalized.

“We have to meet face to face and agree on an agenda for the talks,” he added.

“I can only maybe… be there for about a day or two. At this time, I cannot. I do not have the luxury of time because I have a serious problem here,” he added.

Duterte said he has to visit Marawi more often until the crisis is over.

Meanwhile, Duterte said he is also looking at the situation in other parts of Mindanao like in Buldon, Maguindanao where there are skirmishes everyday.

“I don't know how this thing developed but anyway I have that by the end of the year to contain all of these things,” he said.

During the Eastern Mindanao Command's 11th anniversary in Davao City on Friday, Duterte said he was thinking of lifting the Martial Law.

“But the way it looks, parang may spillover na sa ARMM. Sa Buldon (it looks like there’s a spillover in the ARMM. In Buldon), he said referring to Buldon town in Maguindanao.

“Let us see. If it is to the interest of the country that I will lift it, I will lift it. But if not, then we’ll just have to continue with the martial law,” he added.

Duterte, however, assured he would be pursuing the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and even with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

“If we cannot reconfigure a political structure to suit everybody's needs and fulfill their demands because it is really valid, Mindanao will be at war for all times,” he added. (PNA)