President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, June 7, said that his administration is not yet ready to allow government-friendly Moro fighters to join the military in the fight against the Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorist groups in Marawi City.
Talking to soldiers at the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade headquarters in Barangay Kalandagan in Tacurong City, Duterte said he talked to Nur Misuari who offered to send 2,000 fighters to Marawi City. Misuari is the founder and leader of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the second biggest Moro group in Mindanao after the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) headed by Ebrahim Murad.
Both the MILF and MNLF have joined government efforts to create a new autonomous Bangsamoro nation covering Muslim-dominated parts of the Philippines’ southern island. The Philippine Congress, however, is still hammering out final amendments leading to the approval of the Bangsamoro Bsic Law.
“Teka, huwag muna, huwag muna,” Duterte said of Misuari’s proposal for MNLF fighters to help campaign against the terrorists.
Misuari offered the help of his fighters during a recent meeting with the President in “Panacanang Palace” in Davao City. Panacanang Palace, located in Barangay Panacan, is Mindanao’s version of Malacanang Palace, the President’s official home in the capital.
Earlier, in Cagayan de Oro City, the President said he accepted Misuari’s offer.
“Kaya natin yan sila (terrorists) konti lang yan sila, not in a million years they can defeat us,” he added somersaulting on his previous statement accepting Misuari’ s to offer to help.
He also reiterated his offer to the New People’s Army (NPA) fighters to surrender. “Surrender kayo, gagawin ko kayong sundalo ng gobyerno,” he said.
In the same venue, President Duterte announced that arrested Police Supt. Maria Cristina Nobleza, former PNP Crime Laboratory deputy director for Region 11 (Davao City), was the conduit of ISIS to Abu Sayyaf.
Nobleza, a “Balik Islam” married to an Abu Sayyaf member, was arrested in Bohol trying to rescue beleaguered ASG fighters.
To the soldiers, the President said: “I asked you to never waver the commitment to defend the republic from all threats, especially of terrorism, criminality and illegal drugs and insurgency.” (PNA)