Duterte calls for passage of law sealing peace in south

Philippines president outlines injustice suffered by Muslim community during inaugural State of Nation address

Duterte calls for passage of law sealing peace in south

World Bulletin / News Desk

President Rodrigo Duterte has urged Congress to pass a law that seals peace in the Muslim south, outlining the injustice suffered by the Muslim community during his inaugural State of the Nation address on Monday. 

He stressed that conflicts in Mindanao were the result of a historical injustice that started in 1521 when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed on the island of Leyte and was followed by the subsequent occupation of the country by Americans and Japanese.

And then the Filipino capitalists from the Visayas region arrived, "sloganeering go to [southern] Mindanao because it is a land of promise," Duterte stressed to a joint assembly of the Senate and the House of Representatives in Quezon City.

"Mindanao was already Islam by 100 years," he said, and then resorted to the local language to question "so what's this situation we are in now?"

"It's an imperialism thing... there is a historical injustice committed against the Moro people we have to correct," he underlined.

Duterte added that it is was difficult to get back what the Spaniards, Americans and those who had exploited the southern island of Mindanao had taken from them.

The president stated that both Muslims and the local Lumad people of Mindanao had been around and had their own cultures before colonizers came to the Philippines, and this had not been sufficiently recognized by the central government n Manila -- a theme he repeatedly touched on during his presidential campaign.

He reiterated his call to give the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which would have sealed a peace deal between the government and the Philippines largest rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front but was shelved during his election campaign, a chance.

Duterte, who also announced a unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines in his speech, said: "To our Muslim brothers, the Moro country, members of the CPP-NPA-NDF [communist parties], all of us want peace."

"All of us want peace; not the peace of the dead, but the peace of the living," he underlined as applause broke out around the venue.

"We express our willingness and readiness to go to the negotiating table, and yet we load our guns, fix our sights, pull the trigger. It is both ironic and tragic -- and it is endless. While we extol the bravery and heroism of our soldiers... the rebels do the same for their members and fighters.

"What I see instead are the widows and the orphans. And I feel their pain and grief. And no amount of cash assistance or the number of medals can compensate the loss of a human life. Sorrow cuts across every stratum of society. It cuts deeply and the pain lasts forever," he said.

He called on his Muslim brothers and communist rebels "to end the centuries of mistrust and warfare".

"We are going nowhere. And it is getting bloodier by the day."


Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Temmuz 2016, 09:42