MORO National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari has threatened to launch a war if the government fails to shift to federalism, President Rodrigo Duterte warned on Wednesday, March 20.
Duterte gave the latest update, after he once again met with Misuari at Malacañan Palace on Tuesday night, March 19.
"Kagabi, nag-usap kami. Sabi ko, 'Let us talk sa iyo.' Sabi niya, 'Oh, sige. Pero ito ang gusto ko -- federalism,' (Last night, we talked... I said, 'Let us talk.' He said, 'Fine, but I want federalism)," the President said during the campaign rally of his political party in Marikina City.
"Sabi ni Misuari kagabi (Misuari said last night), 'If you do not give it to me, let me be very honest, I will go to war,'" he added.
Prior to their latest meeting, Duterte and Misuari had a "short talk" at Malacañan Palace on February 25 following the ratification of landmark Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) which creates a new Bangsamoro region in place of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Misuari is on trial before the Sandiganbayan Third Division for two counts each of graft and malversation due to alleged anomalous purchase of P77 million worth of educational material when he was governor of then ARMM.
A day after the Moro leader's meeting with the President, Misuari was allowed by the Sandiganbayan Third Division to travel abroad for pan-Islamic council summits.
Misuari, upon his return to the country, fulfilled his promise to the President to have another round of dialogue that is aimed at pursuing peace and order in Mindanao.
During their latest meeting, Duterte said he vowed to Misuari that he would continue pushing for a shift to a federal form of government.
"Sabi ko, 'Kung wala ng iba, 'yung federalism, huwag nating kalimutan, passed by Congress (O said, 'If we have no choice, we can urge Congress to pass the federalism),'" he said.
"I understand Nur. So ganito na lang gawin natin, let's form a panel because you have to inform the people. We cannot negotiate secretly here. Sabi ko, para day-to-day, they will be briefed kung ano ang outcome -- how gusto mong ma-aaply 'yang federal system sa gusto mo, kagaya 'yung BOL o a different type," he added.
(I understand Nur. So this is what we can do, Let's form a panel because you have to inform the people. We cannot negotiate secretly here. Sabi ko, para day-to-day, they will be briefed about the outcome -- how he wants to apply the federal system, if it will be the same as the BOL or a different type.)
Despite the ratification of the BOL, Duterte has sought to forge a separate deal with Misuari to attain long-lasting peace in Mindanao.
On January 18, Duterte said he was still bent on pushing for a shift from a unitary to a federal state,but hinted that the constitutional revisions should be limited to the economic provisions. (SunStar Philippines)