President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, during the 1st Bangsamoro Assembly, told Muslim rebels that he aims to correct historical injustice for the preservation of the Filipino Republic.
The President began his speech by saying that the most difficult issue his administration is trying to address is the subject of a federal government. However, he added a second issue he would like to discuss and focus on.
“As far as I’m concerned, actually what is at stake here is the preservation of the Filipino Republic and to correct historical injustice,” he said.
Duterte gave the audience a bit of history on what Mindanao was like, years before the Philippines was colonized, according to what he read in libraries in Malaysia. He stressed that Islam was the first to rule the land.
He then cited that the Spaniards came and brought Christianity. Saying that his family both has Muslims and Christians members, he is not siding with anyone particularly in religion, instead, he focused on the issue of marginalization caused by the colonization.
“But somehow, the imperialism created a monster giving away the lands and adopting, I said, ‘yung mga (the) homestead, ‘yung mga (the) cadastral land. And sadly, to the exclusion of many,” he said.
He added, “And most of them, who were left behind or left out were really the Lumads here and most of the Moro people.”
According to the President, this is what led many into war, unnecessary killings, and violence – when the Moros just wanted their land back.
“Now, if we do not solve this problem. The fundamental issue of historical injustice… hindi ito matatapos. Hindi talaga ito matatapos (it will not end. It will really not end),” he said.
“So let us work on the historical issues. Land, the social injustices that were committed since then,” he added.
Duterte then said that he will ask the Congress to hold a special session to discuss the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).