Duterte appeals to MILF, MNLF not to give sanctuary to terrorists

By on January 28, 2017


The President said the government forces will be forced to enter within the MNLF and MILF territories if they will provide refuge to the terrorists. (ACE MORANDANTE/Presidential Photo)
The President said the government forces will be forced to enter within the MNLF and MILF territories if they will provide refuge to the terrorists. (ACE MORANDANTE/Presidential Photo)

MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte appealed on Friday to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) not to provide refuge to terrorists in their areas.

“I am earnestly asking, I’m appealing to the MILF and also to the MNLF not to provide sanctuary for these terrorists in your area,” President Duterte said during his visit to wounded-in-action (WIA) soldiers in Camp Siongco Station Hospital in Awang, Maguindanao.

The President said the government forces will be forced to enter within the MNLF and MILF territories if they will provide refuge to the terrorists.

“We’re running after them. They killed so many innocent people, bombing and all,” Duterte said.

“If you provide them your territory and then you will protect them and you will not allow us to enter, that’s another story. Forget about peace. Then I’ll just pray to God that there will be only few casualties because war…but I will use the might of the Republic of the Philippines to impose our stand,” he warned.

President Duterte cited the Mamasapano encounter where 44 members of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) were killed when they entered the MILF territory without the group’s blessing to go after Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.

Marwan was killed in the operation called Oplan Exodus but it ended in a nine-hour encounter between the SAF troopers of the Philippine National Police and the MILF fighters, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other armed groups two years ago.

“There was a serious flaw. The government made mistake and allowed that to happen. We’re not blaming you because there was this agreement that we cannot enter except really to catch a criminal. But you know that’s a grey area,” the President said.

“So parang we swallowed it, pati ako. You heard nothing. But you know this time, I am pleading. Do not allow the Maute and other terrorist groups to enter and seek refuge in your camps,” he added.

Aside from Maute groups, Abu Sayyaf Group is doing kidnapping and other terroristic acts in Mindanao.

The President said he will pursue peace with the Moro rebels, saying the economy will suffer if there will be war in Mindanao.

“I am pleading that I still want peace. I am ready to talk. I hate war. I’m old already,” the 72-year-old Filipino leader said.