MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said he hopes Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari will join the administration's talks with the Moro group's rival.
"We will try to pass the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law). I hope chairman Misuari can be convinced to join the talks so that if there are corrections or maybe additions or provisions that could not sit well with the Tausug and the rest of the southern part of Mindanao then maybe we can realize altogether the friction of MI, MN and the rest of Mindanao," Duterte said in a speech at the Eid'l Fitr celebration in Davao City.
"Pero kung sabihan mo na, if you do not think about it, if you kind of adopt intransigence behavior, magpatigasan, it will result in war. Kindly, if you want, do not do it on my term. 'Pag di tayo magka-aregulan, ako nasa gitna mahirapan ako. Sino'ng barilin ko? Sundalo ng republika or sundalo ng MI pati MN?"
The BBL is the enabling law of the government’s peace accord with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a splinter group of the MNLF.
Duterte, the first Mindanaoan president, has been seeking to forge a deal with Mindanao's fractured Moro groups, which once sought to secede from the Philippines.
Misuari is facing rebellion charges over the 2013 Zamboanga siege, but the court has given him a temporary pass so he could participate in the peace talks.
The MNLF founding chair wants the government to honor the 1996 final peace agreement, saying it has yet to be fully implemented. Duterte has promised Misuari that his grievances would be addressed.
Implementing the BBL would mean abolishing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, while the 1996 agreement would mean the enhancement of the ARMM.
Misuari also once served as the ARMM governor, the establishment of which former President Benigno Aquino III had described as a failed experiment.