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President Duterte to MNLF, MILF: Do not provide sanctuary to terrorists
By Noel Y. Punzalan

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, Jan. 27 (PNA) -- President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has urged both the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) not to provide sanctuary to perceived terrorists to keep the peace in Mindanao.

The President made the call in this camp Friday following a closed door meeting with military officials assigned at various parts of the island-region.

“We are facing a more dangerous enemy, I am referring to the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), but I am more worried with (suspicious–looking) Islamic scholars wandering around here (nowadays),” the President said as he addressed men of this camp, which is the headquarters of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID).

He assured the 6ID men that he is with them all the way in the fight against the enemies of the state.

“We are facing a serious problem so let us not wait,” he said.

President Duterte said he recognizes the fact that the Moro people were the first settlers of Mindanao but urged Muslim brothers to just talk peace and make necessary adjustments.

“It is because if we would not covert Mindanao into a federal state, walang katapusan ito (there won't be an end to this),” he stressed.

Mr. Duterte noted that if the economy of Mindanao, wh suffers from being the breadbasket of the country as brought about by threats of terrorism, then the problem should be faced head-on.

“I still want peace. I want to talk, but if extremism persists, wala na ako magagawa (I cannot do anything), he said.

The Chief Executive then added, "Nakikiusap po ako sa (I appeal to) MILF at (and) MNLF not to provide sanctuary to these terrorists kasi hinahanap namin sila dahil may atraso sila (we are hunting them because they have committed crimes).”

The President then warned the two Moro fronts against welcoming members of the Maute terror group into their camps as he would be forced to order the military to enter their encampments.

“I have so much to give but wag nyo akong pigain because I do not own the government. I am guided by the will of the majority in the government,” he said.

While here, the President also awarded 12 soldiers wounded in a day-long gun battle with armed men in the interiors of Ampatuan town on Thursday, particularly in Barangays Salman and Saniag, in search for Ampatuan Mayor Rasul Sangki.

Sangki is included in Malacañang's list of politicians allegedly involved in trafficking of the illegal drug methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu."

The soldiers bestowed by the President with wounded personnel awards were Ssgts. Manuel Asania and Arvin Esperanza; Sgts. Elmer Pelle and Leonardo Remulta; Cpl. Raffy Matingkal; Pfc. Jerusel Castaneda; and Pvts. Alden Cahoy, Eldie Mallorca, Erwin Mistoso, Harold John Dionisio, Cresaldy Coronado and Vincent John Gregorio.

Apart from terrorism, the Duterte administration is also committed to clearing the country of illegal drugs. (PNA)

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