Duterte renews call for dialogue with Abu Sayyaf

MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte has renewed his call to dialogue with Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on Friday, a day after signing the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Abu Sayyaf, mag-usap na lang tayo (let's talk), Duterte said in a speech during his visit to fire victims in Jolo, Sulu.

Ano bang gawain natin? Magpatayan tayong lahat? Ako, pwede niyo akong patayin maski saan. Anong makukuha ninyo (What are we going to do? Kill each other? Me, you can kill me anywhere. But what will you gain)? he added.

On Thursday, Duterte signed into law the BOL, which is meant to bring peace in Mindanao by establishing a Bangsamoro political entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Duterte, meanwhile, appealed to the Abu Sayyaf to give time to see how the BOL would benefit them.

Iyong BBL tapos na. Bigyan lang natin ng panahon (The BOL is signed. Let's give it time), Duterte said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier described the signing of the BOL as an event that will usher in a new era of peace in Mindanao.

Lorenzana also said that the government is ready to assist the Bangsamoro people start their lives anew, heal the wounds of conflict, and end our people's divisiveness after decades of fighting.

He expressed hope that through the BOL, the root causes of violent extremism and terrorism including poverty, lack of education, and social injustice, will be addressed.

"I now call on the remaining groups still fighting the government to follow the path of peace just like the MILF and MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front). Through our localized peace efforts, we remain committed to achieve peace, even with members of the Communist Terrorist Group, and pursue the peace agenda of our President who is walking the extra mile to unite the people as one nation," he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency