Duterte meets Misuari in Malacañan, Nov. 03, 2016

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, November 3, welcomed Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari in a historic meeting in Malacañan.

Duterte and Misuari held a closed-door meeting in the Palace. They later faced the media and announced that he has ordered the lifting of the pending warrant of arrest against Misuari, in line with his administration’s pursuit of lasting peace with Muslims in Mindanao.

In his message, Duterte thanked the MNLF leader’s acceptance for his invitation to talk peace.

Duterte said that Presidential Peace Adviser, Secretary Jesus Dureza, did the legwork for the MNLF chief to personally meet with him in the Palace.

“There is the pending warrant which is lifted now upon my orders so that we can talk and I would like to assure Nur, brother Nur, that there was never any intention to deprive you of your liberty,” Duterte said.

The President assured Misuari that he will try to come up with the modality that will place Moros in their proper homeland, in Mindanao, and that they will talk about the Bangsamoro Authority.

Duterte also reiterated that he wants Congress to craft a territorial structure for federal government.

“I assure you that upon its completion, if it could be done earlier, three, two years, you have my word, I will resign as President and pave a way for a territorial government which would provide a strong president but equally strong national parliamentary, subject to the rules of federalism which will give greater leeway, elbow room for governance for our people,” he said.

Duterte meanwhile called on the Moros in Mindanao to work together and to “create a country that is just and that is good and that would be for the next generations to come.”

As a sign of good will, the President asked Misuari to deliver his message by taking the podium that is exclusively used by the President of the Republic of the Philippines.

For his part, Misuari expressed gratitude to the President for giving him his freedom.

“Now, I am so happy to be free again, owing to the initiative of our President,” Misuari said, as he expressed his support to Duterte for his efforts to bring peace to Mindanao.

“Allow me to reiterate my sense of gratitude to the President and I promise that should he need our cooperation in his campaign for peace, you can count on us, Mr. President,” he said. PND