Misuari threatened going to war sans federalism, says Duterte
Moro National Liberation Front ( MNLF) founder Nur Misuari has threatened to go to war if federalism would not be realized, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday.
Duterte said Misuari told this to him during their meeting in Malacañang Tuesday night, which was also attended by Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.
The meeting came after Misuari's trip abroad.
"Misuari said last night 'if you do not give it (federalism) to me, let me be very honest, I will go to war'. I said I understand,," Duterte said in a speech in Marikina City.
He said he suggested to Misuari they form a panel, "because we have to inform the people, we do not negotiate secretly here."
"I said so that day-to-day they will be briefed of the outcome," the President said, adding he told Misuari shifting to federalism would entail congressional action.
He said he also asked Misuari how he wants the federal system to be applied.
"Is it like the BOL (Bangsamoro Organic Law) or different type?" he said.
Duterte said Misuari recalled that it was late President Corazon Aquino who promised him of a federal system for the MNLF in Mindanao.
The then-undivided MNLF led by Misuari fought for an independent state in Mindanao until it signed a final peace agreement in 1996, which led to the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Misuari acted as ARMM's first governor. But his stint as governor was allegedly marred with corruption. The MNLF was later divided into several factions.
Meanwhile, long before the final peace agreement with the MNLF, in the late 1970s, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front then led by Salamat Hashim and later succeeded by Al Haj Murad Ebrahim after the former's death, broke away with Misuari's group.
After almost five decades of struggle, the government and the MILF signed a Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in March 2014 under the administration of then President Benigno Aquino III.
But it was only in 2018 under Duterte that the BOL is signed, paving the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, replacing ARMM, which was dubbed by the previous administration as a "failed experiment."
BARMM is being administered by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, an interim government, led by Chief Minister Murad. Celerina Monte/DMS