Duterte warns of unrest in South

President Duterte

MANILA — President Duterte warned that trouble may occur if the country will not address, “even to the barest minimum,” the historical injustice committed against the people of Mindanao.

“I don’t know if it’s a war but I am sure as the sun will rise in the east, there will be trouble,” the President said in his remarks at the 2nd Philippine Construction Congress in Pasay City, Tuesday evening.

If trouble erupts, Duterte expressed fear that other armed groups, including terrorists like ISIS, would create problem in the area.

“And if I said, if there’s a fissure created somewhere, so there has to be – nature hates vacuum,” he said.

During the Bangsamoro Assembly the other day, the President said he will call on Congress to convene a special session to allow the stakeholders in Mindanao to present their respective platforms concerning the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“I plead to all Filipinos listening now to understand the problem,” Duterte said in reference to the centuries-old Bangsamoro struggle.

If the people will not support federalism because it is not universally acceptable, the President said the other option is to go after an autonomous region of the Muslim area.

“Nandiyan is – either we, we’ll have the fissure. Kasi ‘pag hindi mo binigay (Because if you won’t it), even the barest minimum, there will be trouble in Mindanao,” he said.

Murad Ibrahim, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman, said his group must now transition into a social movement.

“From fortification of camps with arms, we venture into the development of our communities with new sets of learned skills and prepare the leadership from a revolutionary mindset into transformative leaders and managers,” Chairman Ibrahim said.

He added that the MILF will continuously push for the enactment of the BBL “because we are convinced of the justness and legitimacy of the Bangsamoro cause.”

Ghadzali Jaafar, first vice-chairman of MILF, read the Bangsamoro Assembly’s manifesto. “We strongly appeal to the President to expedite the passage of the BBL,” he said.

Earlier, Duterte said what is at stake in Mindanao is the preservation of the Filipino republic and to correct the historical injustice.

“There must be one nation for all, one republic for us Moro and Christian. I’m doing everything to avoid a breakage,” the President said.