DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 29 September) – “As long as I am President, there will be no peace talks that would include the Abu Sayyaf,” President Rodrigo Duterte told the Filipino community Wednesday night at the Intercontinental Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam.
A day earlier, Duterte told the Philippine Marines in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig that Nur Misuari, founding chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) had proposed that he includes the Abu Sayyaf in the peace talks and in the proposed general amnesty.
“I will not. For the life of me, I will not,” he said, adding that as a matter of principle, there would be no peace talks with terrorists. “Why should I talk to animals? What’s the point?”
Before the Filipino community in Hanoi, he said there is “a sector of the population of Mindanao especially the younger ones (who) are allied now with the ISIS. And the ISIS is a very terrible outfit. They are the guys who simply cut the heads of people, decapitate them in public, which is also being done now in Jolo (by the Abu Sayyaf). Kaya sabi ko, if you are a Moro, do not be offended kasi pareho tayong Moro. But it doesn’t mean to say that I will go for this kind of shit.”
“You kill people for money and there is no payment forthcoming, you just kill them like chickens and goats,” he said.
“I would never agree to talk about peace that would include the Abu Sayyaf. Either you leave them out or walang istorya. I’d rather fight. As a matter of principle, I’d rather fight,” Duterte added.
Duterte also revealed that during the election campaign, he talked with the Abu Sayyaf to ask them to stop their executions. “I talked to them sa Abu Sayyaf and publicly I said I am extending my hand and friendship: Can we just talk about stopping this carnage of innocent people?
“Eh nakausap ko, pumunta sila but they did not honor the… My…Sana na we can talk about peace, and if we can get the framework of federalism, they can have their own territory. Kasi noon walang mga Abu Sayyaf, wala naman kidnappers, walang hold-uppers, wala lahat (Because before the Abu Sayyaf, there were no kidnappers, no holduppers, none).
Duterte also noted that when the barter trade with Sabah was still flourishing, there were no kidnappers then.
He said he can work for the return of the barter trade but to talk peace with the Abu Sayyaf, “you wait for another President. Ako ayaw ko niyan (I don’t like that). I said it’s a matter of principle.”
“Either Nur abandons the Abu Sayyaf … Kami ni Nur we will just talk about peace, in the fullness of God’s time, Allah,” he said.
Duterte last month ordered the military and police to seek out the Abu Sayyaf and destroy them.
“Seek them out in their lairs and destroy them… Ang mga Abu Sayyaf destroy them, period,” Duterte said in a press conference near midnight on August 25 hours after the Abu Sayyaf beheaded an 18-year old resident of Sulu, son of a court stenographer who was kidnapped by the terrorist group on July 16, for failing to pay a million peso ransom.
Duterte is the fifth Philippine President to wage war against the Abu Sayyaf. Former Presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Simeon Aquino III had attempted to do the same but the Abu Sayyaf has remained, its kidnapping and other terror acts even worse than before. (MindaNews)