Philippines' Duterte invites Abu Sayyaf to peace talks

Offer follows signing of Bangsamoro Organic Law, seen as the key to resolving the Muslim insurgency in the country’s south

Philippines' Duterte invites Abu Sayyaf to peace talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday offered peace to the Daesh-linked Abu Sayyaf – a group that notoriously beheaded several of their kidnap victims which included both locals and foreigners.

“Let’s stop this war,” Duterte said in a speech before victims of a fire early this week that razed thousands of homes in Sulu province, a known stronghold of the group.

The president’s offer follows his recent signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, a measure that aims to resolve the decades-long Muslim insurgency in the southern Philippines.

Duterte called on the militants to give the law a chance.

“It is the children, the elderly and the women that suffer,” he said. “You would be leaving your family without fathers.”

Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf — armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles — has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.

“My message to the Abu Sayyaf is: I come in peace,” Duterte said.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law is a product of the peace agreement that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed with former President Benigno Aquino III in 2014.

It aims to grant wider autonomy for the Bangsamoro – a collective term for Filipino Muslims -- and would replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, a region with more political and fiscal powers, including a bigger annual block grant equivalent to five percent of the total national internal revenue collection.

Last Mod: 28 Temmuz 2018, 09:31
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