Palace says ready to thwart any rebellion try by Misuari if federalism will not push through
Malacanang on Thursday said they are ready to thwart any rebellion attempt after Moro National Liberation Front ( MNLF) founder Nur Misuari threatened to go to war if federalism would not push through.
In a media briefing Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Muslim rebellion has been there for many decades and the Philippine government has confronted it.
“Well, at its (MNLF) strongest during the 1970’s and 1980’s… we prevailed over them,”said Panelo.
“We have fought with them; and the republic remains as it is now. We have won over them,” he said.
Panelo said any rebellious group that is armed and has asserted itself to be “wanting-independence” is a serious concern to the government.
“Well, any rebel group that has arms would be capable. Whether or not it will succeed, is another question. We are capable of thwarting any attempt,” he said.
Asked if they see the statement of Misuari as a threat, the Palace spokesperson said the chairman is only expressing his frustration.
“I think he just want to express his disappointment that until now federalism is not still in place,” Panelo said.
“He was just expressing what they will do in the event that what they want as far as they’re concerned, that’s the best solution to the problem in Mindanao,” he said.
Panelo revealed the response of Duterte to the MNFL chairman which he called as a “counter-threat”.
“He said that he understood where the chairman was coming from, and he reminded him that federalism issue would be up to Congress. And he suggested that his group create a panel of five members, and the government’s side the same number and they will meet and discuss,” he said.
“Whatever the product of that discussion, they will have a one-on-one meeting. And then he said, ‘After which, we will celebrate for its success; and if it fails, we will die together...’,” Panelo added.
Panelo said the president is very serious.
“Because the chairman said, “I will go to war,” ? which means if he goes to war, then he will be fighting the government. So if he is fighting the government and the head of the government is the President, he would be?they would be fighting with each other ? that is what he meant,” he added.
He clarified that any threat publicly expressed by anyone is always viewed upon as a “serious concern” by the government.
Panelo said Duterte did not give any order to the military against the MNLF after Misuari’s pronouncement.
“But knowing the chairman who was been fighting for a peaceful solution in Mindanao and knowing the deep friendly relationship between the two leaders, I’m confident that there will be an agreement ? ‘modus vivendi’, between the two sides and we will have peace in Mindanao,” he said.
On the suggestion of the president to create a panel, Panelo said Misuari is “very happy”.
“He agreed with the proposal that they create panel each, for each side,” he said.
He added Misuari did not give any deadline on federalism since he is confident it will happen under the Duterte administration.
“He didn’t give a deadline. But he is confident that?because he reminded the President that he?federalism was one of the promises he made to the electorate. And he is confident that within the three years remaining term of the President, federalism would fit in,” said Panelo. Ella Dionisio/DMS