Duterte plans to meet with Misuari soon

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 18) — While the decision on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) will be made soon, peace talks with insurgent groups might not yet be over.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in a speech delivered to campaign for a favorable vote for the BOL in Cotabato City, said that he wants to meet with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari in the coming days.

"Though he is not here, still he is a critical factor to the overall process not only on Mindanao but the Philippines," Duterte said about Misuari, who he also called his "beloved friend."

The president did not go into detail on what the talks will be about except for how it would also be for peace in Mindanao. Duterte has made no secret of his close contact with Misuari, the embattled former Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor.

"We can also talk and come up with something that could come to the barest minimum, para lang makuha natin yung (so we can achieve) a peaceful Mindanao," Duterte said.

During the speech, Duterte also opened up about possible continued talks with the communist rebels and with Lanao del Norte 2nd District Representative Abdullah "Bobby" Dimaporo, who is against the inclusion of several towns in his region to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

"Sana makausap natin (I hope we can talk to) si Satur pati si ano (and). There's a difference in our views, but the fact that they would listen, pati si Bobby Dimaporo. I just want to go to them magpasalamat lang (and thank them), just for being able to listen," Duterte said.

But while Duterte said that he is willing to open talks with communist rebels, he drew the line when it comes to the Abu Sayyaf.

"Itong komunista, pakapin ito (the communists can be an extra task). But I will never, never talk with the Abu Sayyaf. Kailanman, terrorista (They've always been terrorists)," Duterte.

The plebiscite for the ratification of the BOL and inclusion of some areas of Mindanao to the BARMM will be on January 22 and February 6.