Marawi City – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Friday, May 11, met with 27 members of the ISIS-Maute group who surrendered to the government, vowing to provide them shelter and livelihood assistance as long as they commit to peace.
Talking to the members of the rebel group inside Kampo Ranao, the Chief Executive expressed intentions to give the members of the rebel group idle lands in Lanao del Sur, adding that they can cultivate rubber tree and palm oil.
In addition, Duterte told them he is willing to send them to Malaysia for them to see firsthand how palm oil and rubber trees are being grown.
The President however said the members of the ISIS-Maute group should be willing to talk peace and shun foreign ideologies such as that of the ISIS, which he said originated from Arab countries.
For members of the rebel group with existing arrest warrants but are willing to surrender, Duterte said he would look at the possibility of granting them amnesty.
He also warned them of forging an alliance with communist rebels.
After his meeting with the surrenderees, the President then proceeded to the Provincial Capitol Gym here for the presentation of 2,708 loose firearms that were surrendered to the police and the military.
In his speech, the President renewed his offer of reconciliation, calling members of the ISIS-Maute group who are still hiding to surrender.
“Mga kapatid kong taga-Marawi, government talagang gusto ng kapayapaan. Hindi namin gustong pumunta dito ang gobyerno at makipag-patayan. That is a waste of time and money and the lives of people,” he said.
“I’m inviting the other Maute or whatever, nakikipag-away dito sa Marawi, you come down and we will talk how we can improve your lives,” the President further said.
Duterte also expressed gratitude to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the milestone.
“On behalf of a grateful nation, I thank the AFP for this milestone and I look forward to see more surrederees and a comfortable lives for the Maranaos,” he said.
During his speech, the President declared his plans to proclaim Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte, and Lanao del Sur as land reform areas.
“Uunahin ko ‘yung sa goybernong lupa, mag-aral kayo ng technology paano itanim itong rubber,” he said.
At the same time, the President promised to provide assistance such as tractors, fertilizer, and seedlings.
Duterte recalled that when he saw the Maranao return to Marawi to reclaim their land, their homes and their lives, he immediately felt a sense of hope that Mindanao can rise as a center of growth and development, not just in the Philippines but the entire ASEAN region.
“That is why we have embarked on unprecedented infrastructure development program that intends to facilitate commerce and trade in Mindanao,” he said.
“With the support of the Maranaos, I am confident we can spur economic growth and solve the political and socioeconomic roots of violent extremism in the region,” the President further said. PND