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Palace: Misuari not a threat to success of envisioned Bangsamoro region

Malacañang on Thursday said Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari would not be a threat to the success of the envisioned Bangsamoro region after his home province of Sulu rejected the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Sulu's decision during the plebiscite on Monday was not lost on President Rodrigo Duterte, who said on Wednesday that the government will address the sentiments of people in Western Mindanao. The President earlier bared plans of talking with Misuari on how to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao.

"Not really a threat," presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said at a news conference when asked if President Rodrigo Duterte considered Misuari a threat to the success of the envisioned region.

"He [Duterte] considers Nur Misuari as someone - with his group - can help in the end of the conflict in Mindanao. You must remember that Nur Misuari is until now perceived to be the leader of the Muslims." 

Panelo, meanwhile, could not say the specific agenda of the President's planned meeting with Misuari.

"I also talked to him [Misuari] and he said, 'there are many ideas that I can contribute for the peace, prosperity and progress of Mindanao that’s why I like to talk with the President.' And I relayed that to the President," Panelo said.

"And so the President is wanting or open to talking to him with respect to whatever suggestions he has in mind."

The BOL, which seeks to end decades of strife in southern Philippines by replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, is a product of the peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The MILF broke away from the MNLF in 1977 over differences following the signing of the Tripoli Agreement the year before. — RSJ, GMA News