Duterte hopes to ‘strike peace’ with enemies of state

By Jelly Musico

June 19, 2018, 9:51 pm

MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday expressed hope to "strike peace" with enemies of the state as promised during the election campaign two years ago.

“We have to strike peace. There is no other way to do it. I cannot fight for Muslims. I cannot fight for Christians,” Duterte said in his speech during the 81st anniversary of the Government Insurance Service System (GSIS) in Pasay City.

Duterte said he believes the Filipino nation can finally see “the light at the end of the tunnel” if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be enacted into law.

“I’m talking to the MI (Moro Islamic Liberation Front). The BBL is there. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed but hopefully if it will be passed, we can see the light at the end of tunnel,” Duterte said.

The President said even Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari agreed to talk peace and end decades of conflict in Mindanao.

“Then, I’m talking to NM (Nur Misuari). Misuari said ‘Okay Rod’. We’re both from Mindanao. We share the same roof. Why do have to kill each other?,” said Duterte, who country’s first Mindanaoan president..

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the leaderships of the Senate and the House of Representatives promised that the bicameral conference committee will come out with final version of the BBL to be signed by Duterte before his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) next month.

“Well, the leadership of both the Senate and Congress promised that they would really have a final version that will be finalized by the bicameral conference committee,” Roque said in a press conference in Cotabato City on Tuesday.

Duterte said he is also talking with Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison.

He reiterated his promise to guarantee Sison’s safety and security as the President insisted that peace talks between the Philippine government and the CPP’s National Democratic Front should be held in the country.

“Why should I talk outside? We are talking about our country, my country, their country and they want to take over, overthrow government. Why should I go to other place? Let’s talk here,” Duterte said.

Duterte gave Sison a 60-day "small window" to talk peace in the Philippines.

“Let’s talk for 60 days and during the period you come home, I will pay for your expenses and then if after two months period, nothing will happened, I will see to it that you go out of the Philippines safely,” Duterte said.

The President, however, told the communist leader not to come back to the country “ever again”.

“I was chosen by the people with a task to find peace in my country. I will exactly do that,” he said.

Roque clarified that Norway can still be third party facilitator even if the peace talks between the Philippine government and the CPP-NDF will be held in the country.

“I just want to emphasize the desire of the President to hold the peace talks in the Philippines but the third party facilitator does not have to be abroad to facilitate the peace talks,” Roque added.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza earlier said Norway will remain as a facilitator of the peace talks. (PNA)