President Duterte asks support for Mindanao peace & development

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte appealed to the Muslim people to help his administration achieve peace in Mindanao that in the end would bring economic prosperity in the region.

Addressing the troops in Butig, Lanao del Sur on Wednesday, the President said he does not want to wage war with fellow Filipinos and this is the reason why the government has embarked on peace initiatives on different fronts.

But with the renewed violence in Mindanao, particularly in Lanao provinces as a result of Maute Group’s terrorist activities, the President said he may lose his patience and make harsh response.

He said he does not want to fan more violence to fight terrorism and illegal drugs pleading the Moro people to support his government attain peace and stability.

“Hindi ako nananakot ng tao. I am pleading to my Moro brothers and sisters: Please help us. We will build a nation,” the President said.

Duterte announced that he will open the barter trade in Zamboanga City soon.

“If you want I will restore the barter trade. I will open Zamboanga again. Walang problema iyan,” he said.

The Chief Executive vowed to introduce reforms in Mindanao once a peace deal is achieved to improve the living conditions of the people.

He also said he will prioritize the region in giving assistance once foreign development aid comes.

President Duterte particularly pleaded to all the Moro political leaders, men of influence, and scholars to continue participating in the ongoing peace efforts to find solutions to the region’s problems.

He said he is open for the adoption of Sharia Law in some areas where it will be suitable as long as it is fair for both the Muslims and the Christians.

Reiterating his thrust to adopt a federal form of government, he said his government will begin the structure for federalism next year setting aside however provisions of the Constitutions that are not acceptable.

With regard to the military offensive against the Maute Group, the President said in an interview in Cagayan de Oro City that the military will continue the offensive against the terrorist organization.

“They (military) have to go on with the operations. What is there to stop? Wala naman nagpapakita ng sincerity diyan so the fight goes on,” he said.

The President visited the members of the Presidential Security Group confined at Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City who were hurt by the explosion of an improvised explosive device in Marawi City on Tuesday, Nov. 29.