News Release

President Duterte on granting Misuari’s plea to travel abroad: “He will not escape”

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech at the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) campaign rally at the Mayor Vitaliano D. Agan Coliseum in Zamboanga City on March 3, 2019. VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

ZAMBOANGA — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte confirmed that he “made arrangements” for the court to allow Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari to travel abroad, granting that the latter would return home to discuss the new deal the government is crafting in order to attain lasting peace in Mindanao.

The Chief Executive made remarks about Misuari during his participation in the campaign rally of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in Tetuan.

“Now, Misuari came to me sa opisina ko the other night because he wanted to go out. He was not allowed, tapos may kaso siya. Kinausap ko ang police pati military pati ang korte na palabasin muna siya. Ako ang nag-guarantee that he will come back,” the President explained.

“Misuari, a true Tausug, would never allow that he be buried in a foreign land. Sigurado ako niyan. That’s why he will come back and help us build a nation,” he added.

Before proceeding to Zamboanga, President Duterte already made a statement in Basilan where he ensured Misuari’s return.

“I called, of course, the authority and I said allow him [to travel]. He will not escape. Nur Misuari will never abandon his country and I’m sure that he would only prepare to die in this native land,” he emphasized.

President Duterte and Nur Misuari had a brief meeting in Malacañang last week, February 25, where they have decided to continue talks and create a new deal with the MNLF, which would be spearheaded by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito Galvez Jr.

According to the President, Misuari will attend the 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC), and as soon as Misuari comes back, they will resume discussions about the deal.

“Si Nur umalis. Sabi ko hindi man ‘yan makalabas…sabi ko palabasin lang ninyo. Sabi niya, ‘Mag-usap tayo pagbalik ko.’ Sabi ko, ‘Sige Nur. Maghanap tayo ng solusyon na ‘yung hindi nasali sa Bangsamoro,” he said.

The Chief Executive also narrated the three problems Mindanao is enduring, which the administration is trying to fix. First, “the revolution that is a quest for [the] homeland.” Second, MNLF’s “dream of definite territorial integrity in Mindanao.” Third, the violent extremism caused by Abu Sayyaf.

Among the three challenges, the President ordered a more drastic approach in dealing with the Abu Sayyaf Group.

“Dito sa Abu Sayyaf, hindi talaga tayo magkaintindihan. I cannot for the life of me imagine me talking to them after what they have done. Decapitating everyone. My soldiers were Moro. Wala…walang pili-pili ‘yan. They have no ideology except to kill and destroy,” he said.

President Duterte reiterated that the administration is doing its best to ensure that in the remaining years of his term, he would fulfill all his commitments to the Filipino people, especially in Mindanao. ###PND