Misuari ‘mellows down,’ ready for talks anytime

Credit to Author: Tempo Desk| Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2019 09:05:58 +0000

Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari has “mellowed down” and expressed readiness to talk anytime, President Duterte said the other day, amid government efforts to foster peace in the South.

The President heaped praises on the former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor during his visit to Ilocos Sur for the inauguration of the Candon City bypass road.

“In MNLF, I have yet to talk to Misuari. But ang napakaganda naman sa loob sa puso ni Misuari. He is ready to talk anytime. He has remained firm about declaration of a revolutionary war but over time he has mellowed down,” Duterte said.

“Every time we talk he said that, ‘Well, Mayor…’ I call myself ‘mayor’ everywhere ‘if you find in your heart to agree with me this year, ipatawag mo lang ako,’” he added.

Duterte met Misuari and other MNLF officials in Malacañang last July 9, the third meeting following the ratification of the law creating the Bangsamoro autonomous region this year.

Duterte had earlier said he was in a hurry to forge a deal with Misuari, who threatened to go war if the government fails to pursue federalism. The two leaders agreed to forge their respective five-member panels to further discuss the federalism proposal.

In a television interview last week, the President disclosed that he was ready to give Misuari and his group a same peace deal signed by the government with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the breakaway faction of the MNLF.

The government’s peace accord with the MILF included the creation of the new Bangsamoro autonomous region with a larger territory and greater fiscal autonomy.

Duterte said he would offer Misuari the “same structure of government with the same concession.”

“Thank God that we were able to negotiate a peace agreement with the – Murad and the MILF and that’s what you would call now the BARMM, controlling the certain territory in Mindanao with a more adjustable local initiative – local autonomy, much, much powerful than the one given to the rest of the country,” Duterte said.

“Then you have Misuari. I said that in – maybe in God’s own time, he will realize and I’m ready also to offer to him the same – well, the same structure of government with the same concession,” he added. (Genalyn Kabiling)