President Rodrigo Duterte has called on members of the two Moro fronts and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to help the government fight the extremist groups amid the ongoing gunbattle in Marawi City.
What is seen as a unprecedented move, Duterte made the appeal to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the CPP’s New People’s Army (NPA) to unite and join the government to fight the common enemy during his visit to the troops in Jolo, Sulu over the weekend.
“I am willing to take you as soldiers of the Republic, lahat, MI[LF], MN[LF], pati NPA,” Duterte said.
The President made the statement following a letter from Nur Misuari, the founding chairman of the MNLF, of his offer to help end the crisis in Marawi City.
“Alam mo, I am announcing to all na lahat ng sundalo ng MI[LF], MN[LF], kung matagal pa ito at gusto ninyong sumali, makipagsapalaran sa Republika, I am offering them, kunin ko kayong sundalo, same pay, same privileges, and I will build houses for you in some areas,” he said.
The government and the two Moro fronts are in the process of peace negotiations while the talks with the communist group has been suspended.
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), on Monday said in a televised press conference, said they welcomed the call of the President for the rebel groups to join the government in its fight against terrorists.
Padilla cited the success of the integration program of former combatants of the MNLF to the AFP adding there had been a lot of stories about the heroism of the “MNLF integrees” in the effort to free their areas of terror groups.