DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 July) — US intervention in the Middle East countries invited terrorism in America, President Rodrigo Duterte told a crowd of Moro religious and political leaders attending the Mindanao Hariraya Eid’l FItr 2016 at the SMX Convention Center Davao Friday night.
Citing the history of colonization of what is now the Philippines by Spain and later America, Duterte, the country’s 16th President and the first Mindanawon to lead the nation, said colonialism brought a lot of problems to Mindanao “and that is what is happening in the Middle East.”
“Ayaw lang mag-admita itong Britain pati America (Britain and America don’t want to admit it but) they forced their way to Iraq and killed Saddam (Hussein). Look at Iraq now. Look what happened to Libya. Look what happened to Syria. Put.. Nauubos ang tao doon, pati bata binobomba ng gasoline (The people are being killed, even children are bombed) because they were pushed to the wall for the failed promises,” Duterte said.
He said he has not been heard publicly to refer to the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf as criminals. “You’ve never heard me say ‘mga kriminal’ (criminals)” because “it is.. a different set up there because these are the guys who were driven to desperation.”
He acknowledged that “from MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) chair Nur Misuari to the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), there was no sufficient semblance of governance. And that is why they (were) pushed to the wall, then they became radicalized. That’s what happened in the Middle East. It is not that the Middle East is exporting terrorism sa America. America imported terrorism.” The crowd applauded.
“Sinira nila ang Middle East eh. Sino ba naman ‘yung si Saddam? (They destroyed the Middle East. Who was Saddam?) He was one dictator but he was in firm control of the country. And now that it turned out that after the investigation, you must have heard it over BBC, after a thorough, almost 10 years investigation, it turned out there was no legal basis to declare war against Iraq. Kita mo ‘yan? that’s why it’s such a useless war.”
Duterte was referring to the Chilcot report on the Iraq Inquiry, released Wednesday, which found that Britain’s decision to join the US-led war against Iraq was based on flawed intelligence and was launched before diplomatic options were exhausted.
The report said that Saddam, who was accused of building up an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction – chemical, biological and nuclear — “no imminent threat” when the U.S-led invasion was launched in March 2003, and that while military action against him “might have been necessary at some point,” the “strategy of containment” could have continued for some time.
Duterte noted the possibility of restoring peace in Mindanao by effecting a major change in government through federalism, to encourage the Filipino people to build a nation “founded on peace and understanding.”
” It will not be overnight, certainly not next year, it would be something two to three years from now but I assure you something will change before I end my term,” he said.
Duterte divulged plans of coming with framework that will effect a “reconfiguration of territory” if both members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) would be convinced (see other story).
He added that if the nation will not agree on federalism he will proceed with “whatever is in the (proposed) “BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law).” The BBL, a commitment under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed in March 2014, is supposed to pave the way for the establishment of a new autonomous political entity called the “Bangsamoro,” which would replace the ARMM.
The 16th Congress under former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III adjourned without passing the law. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)