Duterte eyes separate talks with Misuari

Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2016 12:26 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte and Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari. File/Composite

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he will have separate talks with Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari following a report that the latter branded the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as "traitors."

"I will talk to everybody. Immediately after my talk and visit to Malaysia, I will convene a meeting then we will make an introductory presentation of the proposed revised Bangsamoro Transition document," Duterte said on Wednesday prior to his departure for Malaysia.

"We'll have separate talks with Misuari but he's abroad right now and I really do not know when he will be back to talk to us. But in principle, we have agreed that we'll stop the war everywhere involving ML and the government."

Misuari, who traveled to Manila from his lair on the remote southern island of Jolo after a local court suspended a warrant for his arrest in connection with the 2013 Zamboanga siege, earlier pledged his support for the peace process.

On Monday, Duterte signed an executive order reconstituting the Bangsamoro Transition Council (BTC), expanding its members to 21 from 15. Eleven members, including the BTC chair, will come from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and 10 will be nominated by the government.

Duterte said he is optimistic that the country will soon see a partial end to armed violence with the peace deals that the government is forging with several groups.

"So practically today there's a ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines and we are saving our energy because Murad [Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim] and Jaafar [MILF Vice Chair for Political Affairs Ghadzali Jaafar] both agreed and I signed the documents."

"Mukhang susuwertihin tayo. After two years, maybe, we can have a partial--lahat na--cessation of armed violence in the country."