MANILA - Presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza on Thursday said the violent extremism adopted by terrorists occupying Marawi City is a "virus" that needs to be addressed openly.
"We have to deal with it now openly. There should be no ifs and buts. There should be no denials," he told ANC Thursday. "Kung sa body infection 'yan, lumabas na 'yung pigsa."
Despite this, Dureza does not see the problem affecting the ongoing peace talks between the government and different Moro groups, particularly on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
The official said the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) is expected to submit a more inclusive BBL draft to President Rodrigo Duterte before his state of the nation address.
The challenge now, he stressed, is with the Congress because lawmakers have to reconcile provisions of the BBL and the 1996 Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
Dureza, meanwhile, lauded the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in helping establish a "peace corridor" in Marawi City that ensures safe passage for fleeing civilians and humanitarian aid.
He said the group has already proven its sincerity not just with words but also through actions, by risking their lives in the war zone.
"The MILF risked lives there with their volunteers. May dala-dalang white flag [sa Marawi]... I think they were able to prove by actions and words na puwede silang tumulong sa gobyerno," he said.
Dureza also said he is hoping the fifth rounds of the peace talks with communist rebels will resume soon. He said they are just waiting for an "enabling environment" before returning to the negotiating table.