• Govt to pursue peace talks with MILF, MNLF

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    The government will pursue peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday.

    The President gave the assurance during the 26th Mindanao Business Conference in held in Cagayan de Oro City.

    “Let me assure the MI: we continue to respect the leadership and we would like to pursue the talks. And for Nur Misuari, the same thing. We made that guarantee, and it was the centerpiece of my campaign, that we will change the system to federalism,” Duterte said.

    Misuari is the founding chairman of the MNLF. The Sandiganbayan on Thursday issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with graft and falsification charges for the alleged anomalous purchase of ₱137.5 million worth of textbooks and educational materials in 2000 when he was the governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

    Duterte again stressed the need to change the form of government, saying a unitary type “would not work anymore.”

    “Why is there a lag in the progress of Mindanao? Why is it that they do not have manufacturing? This is supposed to be an agricultural land — well, the Philippines fundamentally is. Our economy is based on agriculture. Well, we do not have it here,” Duterte said.

    “You have to look into the factors but mainly because Mindanao seems to be in trouble. And I would admit that I have to correct the historical injustice asked by the Moro people. But then again, what’s happening in Marawi seems to stretch the trouble farther than we expect,” he added.

    “If we cannot solve the problem of Mindanao, vis-a-vis the different contending parties for sharing maybe an equitable distribution of all things, then we are headed for a long haul of trouble,” Duterte said.

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