Dureza: Duterte can solve Abu Sayyaf problem

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 27 2016 07:47 PM

MANILA - Incoming peace adviser Jesus Dureza is optimistic that the incoming Duterte administration has high chances of solving insurgency in Mindanao and end years of terror spread by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

"That's the reason why probably a Duterte presidency can make things happen eh. You need a strong political-willed president to gamble, risk and maybe squander political capital. That's the reason why I'm a little more optimistic now," Dureza said on ANC's "Top Story" Monday.

Dureza however admitted that crushing ASG would require more than just military action, saying that the acts of kidnapping and terrorism are often seen as sources of livelihood.

"This will have to be addressed comprehensively, not just by the course of arms," Dureza said.

The ASG problem, Dureza added, is like a "chicken and egg" situation. People resort to terrorism because of poverty, but they remain poor because the government cannot penetrate the area due to terrorism.

"Make presence of government felt by them. Provide basic services muna, dahil wala silang alam kundi 'yun lang grupo na 'yun eh na nakakasupport sa kanila."

READ: Duterte could be open to talks with Abu Sayyaf

"May problema in penetrating these areas because no government worker would even try and attempt to go these areas to bring development eh, to bring projects," Dureza explained.

He also said that it was Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan who said that the government should look at other ways of solving the issue.

"Kaya siya (Sakur Tan) 'yung nagsabi na 'yung solusyon dito hindi lang bobombahin o military action eh. May comprehensive approach na dapat gawin diyan to address the poverty there, exclusion, the feeling of exclusion, the fact that magkakamag-anak din 'yan. That's the reason why hindi mo kayang ma-penetrate 'yung area," Dureza added.

According to Dureza, ASG is not willing to talk to the government. The government, however, still has to make its presence felt by people living near Abu Sayyaf camps.

"I don't think the Abu Sayyaf is even willing to talk to us. But you have to protect the community, the surrounding community that is swayed by them, kasi 'yung iba, kamag-anak. They can recruit people," Dureza said.

Abu Sayyaf bandits have freed Filipino hostage Marites Flor, the girlfriend of slain Canadian hostage Robert Hall, in Jolo, Sulu, Friday, police said.

Senior Superintendent Wilfredo Cayat, Sulu police provincial director, said the bandits brought Flor to the house of Sulu Governor Sakur Tan in Jolo early Friday.

The release comes more than 10 days after the bandits beheaded Hall after authorities refused to pay a P300 million ransom. The Abu Sayyaf also executed Canadian John Ridsdel, a former mining executive, in April.