Duterte open to peace talks with Abu Sayyaf

  • Duterte asks the Abu Sayyaf group if they are willing to hold peace talks
  • He says he refuses to spend government money to procure weapons to kill them, his fellow Filipinos
  • The incoming President expresses confidence on his talks with other opposition groups: MILF, MNLF and CPP

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte asked the rebel group Abu Sayyaf if they are open for peace talks or will continue with their armed struggle.

“Abu Sayyaf, hindi ko sila kalaban. I know that is connected with the issue of Mindanao. Nais ko lang linawin sila ba, are they willing to talk or just fight it out?” the incoming President was quoted in a GMA News Online story.

Duterte, the first President to hail purely from Mindanao, said that he does not want to spend money to kill other Filipinos.

“I hate to buy rifles and bullets, cannons and bombs to kill a Filipino. I could hardly move my finger to sign a document buying things just to kill my fellowmen. Masakit. Masakit sa loob,” he said during his thanksgiving party in Cebu.

The rebel group in Southern Philippines has again been placed in the limelight after beheading two Canadian nationals last week after they failed to get a ransom for them. The group, meanwhile, released the Filipino captive last Friday.

Threats of arising insurgency in Mindanao is escalating with circulating reports that followers of the armed caliphate Islamic State (IS) in Southeast Asia have been told to go to the Philippines.

Duterte is also in talks with other Muslim militants, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front, since last week.

Meanwhile, Duterte expressed confidence on his talks with the communist rebels.

He said he and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder, Jose Maria Sison,  have not reached a formal declaration. He has reached out to them, however, on honoring the ceasefire agreement until they have reached a settlement.