Duterte Tells MNLF: ‘I Don’t Want to Fight with You, Guys’
By NewsDeskPH – September 10, 2013
PROF. NUR Misuari is set to talk with Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas to discuss the Monday morning siege of Zamboanga City by armed members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
Misuari’s friend, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo, spoke with the MNLF leader over the phone Monday afternoon and later told journalists that a meeting is being arranged between the two.
Duterte gave no details of the supposed meeting between Roxas and Misuari but said “I hope everything works out to everybody’s satisfaction.”
In Zamboanga City, however, a Catholic priest was reportedly taken custody by armed men in Barangay Santa Catalina around 7 a.m. today, Tuesday. The report was confirmed by human rights group Mindanao Human Rights Action Center.
The information, the group said, was confirmed by two sources, including an eyewitness. The group, however, could not say whether the armed men who took Fr. Michael Ufama are members of the MNLF.
The group has also reported an occasional exchange of gunfire in Barangay Sta. Barbara 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. today.
In Davao City, MNLF leaders met with Duterte Monday afternoon, giving assurance that the crisis in Zamboanga will not spill rover to Davao.
“We do not want any shooting war here,” Duterte told a group of MNLF members, headed by Davao State chairperson Abdul Aziz Olamit. “I don’t want to fight with you, guys.”
Apparently to assure Duterte, Olamit said “Davao City will be spared.”
“The instruction given to us was to help keep the city’s peace and order,” Olamit said.
To which Duterte replied “Yan ang usapan natin (That’s our agreement).”
He said he also got the assurance of Misuari that the MNLF operating in Davao will not do anything that will compromise the peace situation in the city.
“I hope you will honor that agreement,” Duterte said. “It’s a gentlemen’s agreement.” Misuari, the mayor said, is also always welcome to the city.
Over the phone, Duterte told “I will be there, brother Nur, I will be there.” Misuari likewise was overheard thanking the mayor.
Duterte also assured Misuari that he is always welcome in Davao.
“You are always welcome to come here,” Duterte told Misuari. “Although I know you have your hands full over there.”
On August 12, the MNLF declared the independence of the ‘Bangsamoro Republic’—with Davao City as the central seat of government. On September 1, members of the MNLF also gathered in Davao for a peaceful rally.
The Eastern Mindanao Command also said the MNLF siege of Zamboanga has brought no imminent threat to Davao City and the entire Davao Region.
Major Jake Obligado, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division spokesperson, said the local chief executives are in close coordination with the MNLF leaders in their area to make sure the situation remains normal. | NewsDesk