DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 May) – When he takes over the presidency, incoming President Rodrigo R. Duterte will visit in Jolo, Sulu Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari, who was reportedly disappointed after some of his leaders were not accommodated in Duterte’s three-day schedule for well wishers last week.
In a press conference early morning Thursday, Duterte said he will talk to Misuari to personally apologize when MNLF leaders failed to see him last week when several diplomats, businessmen, celebrities, and politicians visited the mayor here.
“I will find the time but I have to talk to him whether he is available or not. I do not think Misuari wants to travel [because] he is facing charges, which means to say he is a fugitive. This is one of the fronts that we have to talk about,” he said.
Duterte again apologized, saying that they did not intend to “snub” the MILF leaders at the Matina Enclaves, the venue where Duterte received his guests where he stayed for more than 20 hours on the first day.
He said that they were not notified that some MNLF leaders were coming.
He added that he will also do the same for the New Peoples’ Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) whose leader Jose Maria Sison, Duterte’s former professor on Political Thought at the Lyceum of the Philippines, will come home to talk peace with the new administration.
“Magpunta ako sa bukid just to chika chika (I will go to the mountains to talk with them). There are still troops of the government na nandyan sa inyo. Can I go to you again and ask for their freedom?” he said.
But talks between him and Sison will still have to wait until he assumes his post as president in order to facilitate his former professor’s return to the Philippines. He assured he would send an invitation to Sison.
“I cannot give you the invitation now because I am not yet the president, and I cannot guarantee anything about the conduct, the safety. Maybe you can wait until the 30th of June. By the time, inshalla (God willing), I will give you letter inviting you to come home,” a hopeful Duterte said.
Duterte also wishes to unite all tribes and religions of Mindanao by stopping the practice of labeling its people as Moros, Christians, and Lumads.
“Yan lang naman ang gusto ko sa buhay before I make my exit. And also we have to stop talking about the Moro, the Christians and the Lumads. We can simply call ourselves Mindawon,” he said.
He said there is a need to end the decades-old armed struggle to prevent losing more lives in the battlefield, including that of the civilians.
“I told you I was in college in the 1970s when I heard talk about communism. I am 71 years old now, with eight grandchildren, and two wives, and still there is war going on…. We kill for what? For nothing. You know war by itself is a dirty word,” he said.