President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Moro National Liberation Front Founding Chairman Nur Misuari at a meeting at the Malacañang on March 19, 2019. (Presidential photo)
KORONADAL CITY -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte is hopeful of finally getting a permanent resolution to the long-drawn Moro rebellion as he continues to negotiate with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari.
The President, who had met multiple times with Misuari in the last three years, said he has been continuously talking with him to address the problems with the 1996 peace agreement between the government and MNLF.
In terms of law and order, he said Mindanao has so far gained some relief with the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) "and our only problem now is brother Nur."
He said he was happy that the government was able to come to terms with the Moro Islamic Liberation, through its chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim.
Ebrahim now heads the Bangsamoro Transition Authority and acts as interim minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
"As for Nur, maybe Allah will have mercy on us. We will (continue to) talk until we come up with an agreement," he said during the distribution of financial grants for poor families at the South Cotabato provincial capitol covered court here on Tuesday night.
Misuari has been advocating for federalism as the answer to the discontent among Moros that has led to decades of bloody rebellion.
The President, who met with Misuari last week, said the latter wants the shift to federalism to happen or he will go to war anew.
Misuari was charged with rebellion and crimes against humanity after leading a deadly siege of Zamboanga City in 2013 that left over 200 people dead.
He was granted temporary liberty by President Duterte in 2016 as part of the peace efforts in Mindanao.
The President said he was tired with the conflict in Mindanao and is committed to finally ending it before his term ends.
"When will this end? We've been fighting since 1970. That would be about 60 wars in my life time...So let's resolve this," he said.