DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Duterte called for a just and lasting peace by uniting all factions in the nation under one flag.
“I would like to tell you now that, as President, (I want) a just and lasting peace under my term but it must be as one country, one nation and one flag. Under that, understand each other,” Duterte said during the launching of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) here on Friday.
Duterte urged the BTC commissioners to craft the enabling law for the Bangsamoro in a bid to have workable peace agreements with the Moro groups in Mindanao.
He said the BTC should “navigate the many obstructions, obstacles” in crafting the enabling law to achieve peace.
“I am a man in a hurry and I want that something will come out of this BTC soon which we can work on,” he said.
Duterte added he would like to see the people in the Moro communities craft the new law because they understand the history and the agony of the Mindanaoans,
including the “idiosyncrasies” of the tribal groups.
“If you have a product and it is passed by Congress, we will implement it,” he said.
Duterte said he does not want to secede any part of the country under the enabling law that would support the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.
“As President, I want peace under one country, one nation and one flag,” he stressed.
Once a workable agreement is reached, Duterte said he is ready to campaign to pass the enabling law. He added he would not mind cutting short his six-year term just to pave the way to peace.
“Maybe in front of the Filipino nation, I will ask every Filipino to vote for it because it will make us a great nation, so I leave it up to you,” Duterte told the BTC commissioners during the ceremonies held at the Waterfront Insular Davao Hotel.
Also concerned about the threat of extremism, the President warned his Muslim brothers anew about the dangers of extremism to the country’s peace and security.
“What they have in the Middle East is different from what we have here,” the President said.
Duterte has expressed serious concerns of a caliphate being pushed by extremist groups from Arab countries.
“Resist extremism. There would be violence. I cannot control it,” he said.
“If we allow them to come here, even convert some, there will be a bloodbath,” Duterte warned.
“We must avoid extremism or even entertain them because they will destroy us,” he said.
Duterte signed an executive order extending the composition of the BTC on Friday.
The expanded BTC will craft a new enabling law for the setting up of a more empowered self-governing political entity under the CAB signed by the government and the MILF.
The new BTC, chaired by MILF’s first vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar, is comprised of 21 members.
Among the members of the BTC are Haron Abas, Firdausi Ismail Abbas, Ibrahim Ali, Hussin Amin, Maisara Dandamun-Latiph, Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, Hatimil Hassan, Raissa Jajurie, Gafur Kanain, Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan, Jose Lorena, Abdulraof Abdul Macacua, Hussein Muñoz, Romeo Saliga, Susana Salvador-Anayatin, Omar Yasser Sema, Said Shiek, Ammal Solaiman, Melanio Ulama and MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal.
Besides Jaafar, the MILF has 10 members in the group, while the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the government each have three and seven representatives, respectively.
The three MNLF officials in the expanded BTC are Sema, Abas and Hassan, a former ARMM assemblyman. They belong to the MNLF faction that is not hostile to the MILF.
On the other hand, officials of the ARMM urged Malacañang and the MILF to create an entity before the 2019 elections to replace the present autonomous regional government.
“If established amid our elective tenure, we shall willingly step down and turn over to them the ARMM government for the new self-governing political mechanism to take off unhampered,” ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said.
The original BTC crafted an enabling measure to create a political entity under the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law. but this was disapproved by Congress for supposed unconstitutional provisions.
Hataman said he wanted voters in areas to be covered by the new political entity replacing ARMM to elect a pioneer set of officials simultaneous with the 2019 midterm elections.
“Even if we are already out of the picture, we shall continue to help make the Mindanao peace process succeed,” Hataman said.
ARMM Vice Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman said he is ready to vacate his post before June 30, 2019 if required by the BTC and Malacañang.
“This peace process is good for all people in Mindanao, the Muslims, the Christians and the Lumads. We are ready to do sacrifice,” he said.