The recent meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari will spur the peace process with separatist rebels based mostly in Mindanao, a youth leader said on Saturday.
Sol Bayam, a member of MNLF-Youth, said the meeting “provided a dramatic symbolism in the commitment between President Duterte and chairman Misuari in achieving a lasting peace solution in Mindanao.”
He said that it is “the most correct way” to achieve peace in the South.
Bayam said that Duterte’s move to invite Misuari and other MNLF leaders in Malacañang showed that the president has a clear understanding of the historical and political backdrop of armed conflict in Mindanao.
“I had cleared this also with my elders—kasi ang nangyari doon sa [because what happened with the]BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law), with the previous administration, ang kinausap lang nila ‘yung [they only talked to the]MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front). Para sa akin, bilang taga Mindanao, hindi puwede ang selective approach [for me, being from Mindanao, a selective approach will not work],” he said.
“Kasi kung tutuusin [Because, in reality], with all due respect, mas binding ang signatory ng MNLF na hinahawakan ni Misuari [the approval of the MNLF faction that Misuari leads is more binding],” Bayam noted.
The MNLF founder arrived met Duterte on Thursday after the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City suspended for six months the enforcement of his arrest warrant.
“I came here to thank him for restoring my freedom, if only partially. I am so happy to be free again, owing to the initiative of our President,” the MNLF founder said.
“Just allow me to reiterate my sense of gratitude to the President and I promise that should he need our cooperation in his campaign for peace, you can count on us, Mr. President,” he added.