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Duterte refers to late MILF leader Salamat in warning of renewed separatism


President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday referred to a Moro leader who has passed away more than 14 years ago when he warned of the Moros again pushing for a separate state if the peace talks fail.

Duterte said during the relaunch of Malacañang’s New Executive Building press briefing room warned that the fighting in Mindanao would escalate if the government would fail to reach agreements with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.

“If we fail to come up with a reasonable counter proposal, then I assure you that there will be fighting everywhere in Mindanao. For then, the mainstream rebel groups would now be joining with the extremist groups,” Duterte said.

“Now, we are on one side and Misuari has remained neutral pero some of their rogue members are there fighting. But fundamentally, they are waiting for the word of Hashim Salamat and Nur Misuari,” he added referring to the MILF and MNLF leaders respectively.

Salamat, however, died in 2003.

Duterte could be referring to Murad Ebrahim, the present MILF chair, whom he mentioned in his speech.

“But if their common determination, their dream is—ends in a failure or a disappointment, magkaisa itong lahat against the Republic of the Philippines. And I have it in good authority that they will declare an independence. They would declare an independent Mindanao,” he added.

Duterte said that the country would not be ready to face another war.

“In the meantime, I have to talk patiently with Secretary Dureza. Everytime Murad is there, Secretary is there. Everytime Nur Misuari is there with me in Davao, Secretary Dureza is also there,” he said.

“But he knows deep in his heart and we fear the same challenge and that would be… I hope it would not end in a fissure na magka—mag-hiwalay ang Mindanao. Because then if there is a status of belligerence given to them, then it becomes very, very, very serious for all of us,” he added. —NB, GMA News

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