Tuesday Jun, 15 2021 06:23:55 AM

Duterte pleads for end of violence in Maguindanao

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 07:15 AM Wed May 12, 2021
Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos/PNA
(Photo courtesy of PCOO)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday sought the help of Bangsamoro officials to stop the violence and terror acts perpetrated by extremist groups such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao.

Duterte made the appeal during his meeting with Bangsamoro officials, as well as the police and military commanders, at the Camp Siongco in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao.

In his speech, Duterte admitted that he could not afford to wage a war against his fellow Filipinos.

“The violence is very much present. Nakikiusap ako (I am pleading you) because you know, government cannot wage a war against [its] own people. Hindi talaga puwede iyan (That is unacceptable),” he said.

Duterte lamented that the BIFF continues to throw a monkey wrench in the works to thwart progress in Mindanao.

Despite the BIFF’s attempt to sow terror in the region, Duterte said launching an “all-out” offensive against bandits is not an option because it would cost the lives of innocent people.

“This conflict will cost lives and it will cost innocent lives,” Duterte said. “Kung hindi ko mapipigilan (If I fail to stop it) and there will be an all-out offensive, iyan na ang problema (that would be the problem). If I give the order, I will no longer withdraw it.”

Moved to tears

Around 200 heavily-armed BIFF members seized the public market of Datu Paglas, Maguindanao on Saturday morning.

The Army’s 6th Infantry Division was able to regain control of the Datu Paglas town market center on Saturday dawn.

The BIFF gunmen withdrew and splintered into small groups after a brief military air and ground assault.

Duterte said he was “moved to tears” when he learned about the recent development in Maguindanao.

“I am moved to tears to see what is really happening. It’s pure carnage and the ultimate beneficiaries of the violence created here are the civilians. Tayong nasa position, tayong may pera, tayong may armas (We who are in the position, have money, and have arms), we do not have nary a care because we can do what we want with arms,” he said.

‘Bloody, sad’ war

Duterte, during his visit to Maguindanao, said he is ready to listen, including to those who want to “reconfigure” the region.

“Kaya nga ako nagpunta dito (I am here) just to remind you that whatever happens, Mindanao would still be a part of the Philippines. That is the reality,” he said. “We just talk. You can begin it now na nandito pa ako na makikinig sa inyo (while I am still here and ready to listen).”

Duterte gave the assurance, as he stressed that he is avoiding a situation that could make things “go out of control”.

He said it would be “bloody” and “sad,” should he decides to order an all-out war against extremist groups in Mindanao.

“If I give the order for an all-out offensive, it will be bloody and sad,” Duterte said. “Ayaw kong pumatay ng Muslim. Ayaw kong pumatay ng Kristiyanos. Gusto kong manahimik ang buhay natin sa mundong ito (I do not want to kill Muslims. I do not want to kill Christians. I want a peaceful life in this world). You know, we only live once.” (PNA)

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