Duterte to MILF: Federalism won’t touch your territory

Rappler.com
Duterte to MILF: Federalism won’t touch your territory
(UPDATED) In a meeting with MILF leaders, the presidential candidate says he plans to create territories for indigenous peoples



MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte promised the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that its territory would “not be touched” should his bid for federalism succeed if he is elected.

The presidential candidate made the statement during a meeting with MILF leaders in Camp Darapanan in Maguindanao on Saturday, February 27.

This is in response to Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs, who asked him, “How will you exactly come up with a peaceful solution to the problems of Mindanao?”

They were discussing the failure of Congress to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

The presidential candidate said his administration “will create a commission that will eventually come to a consensus.”

He added: “I have been proposing federalism. But your territory will not be touched. It will be our collective position.” (READ: Will federalism address PH woes? Pros and cons of making shift)

Duterte also plans to “create territories” for the Tausugs, the Sama, Iranuns, the Maranaos, and other indigenous peoples.

“Through federalism, we will correct the injustice committed against the Moro people, against Mindanao,” he said.

Radicalism

Duterte and the MILF leaders also discussed the growing threat of radicalism and extremism. (READ: ISIS recognizes Philippine-based extremist groups)

“The way I see it, there is no radicalism, extremism, or terrorism,” Jaafar said. “They are Bangsamoro heroes defending their rights. That was the feeling of the majority… they felt fooled after the failure of BBL.”

Duterte pointed to poverty and injustice as the root causes of extremism, and vowed to address these as part of his agenda.

“We have to equalize everybody. We will correct the historical wrongs of the past,” he said.

No endorsement

Meanwhile, Jaafar lauded Duterte’s achievements in Davao City and welcomed the mayor’s promise to curb illegal drugs.

“‘Yung papatayin ang mga criminals who are involved in the drug trade, gustong-gusto namin ‘yan. ‘Yung mga drug lords salot sila sa lipunan,” he said.

(Duterte’s promise to kill criminals who are involved in the drug trade – we really like that. Drug lords are the bane of society.)

But Jaafar told journalists that the MILF Central Committee will not endorse any candidate.

“Members of the MILF, their families and the members of the communities will be given their independence to choose whoever they want to choose,” he said.

Duterte also said that he was not there “to campaign” but to present his proposal to resolve the Mindanao conflict and other problems hounding its people. – Rappler.com

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