- President Rodrigo Duterte rejected all possibility of holding peace talks with Abu Sayyaf
- Duterte said he does not deal with “persons with extreme brutality”
- The President also stressed there is no compelling reason for him to sit down and talk with criminals
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has rejected any possibility of initiating a peace agreement with the notorious Abu Sayyaf; the terrorist group who has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS).
In a statement during the oath-taking of a number of appointed in Malacañang on Monday, August 1, the president said he is not one who is willing to deal with “persons of brutality”.
“I am very sorry to say but there will be no talks about these things with the Abu Sayyaf,” GMA News has quoted Duterte as saying.
“I will not deal with persons with extreme brutality. There is no redeeming factor or reason for me to sit down and talk with criminals,” the president added.
Late last month, Duterte said the government will only open its door to “groups with ideologies” such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (M.I.L.F.), Moro National Liberation Front (M.N.L.F.) and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
However, he made it clear that the Abu Sayyaf will not be included in the peace negotiations; stressing that the bandit groups responsible for numerous kidnappings – and beheadings – of foreigners in Mindanao should be completely destroyed for lack of ideologies or alternative program of government.
This was a complete departure from his previous statement before he assumed office on June 30.
Earlier, Duterte said he does not consider Abu Sayyaf an enemy; knowing well that the group is connected with the issue of Mindanao. He said then that he plans to ask the terrorist group if they are willing to sit down and talk, or just continue with the fighting.
Before the weekend, Duterte also lifted the truce with the communist rebels after the latter failed to explain why the New People’s Army (NPA) ambushed members of the paramilitary group CAFGU in Davao Del Norte despite the unilateral ceasefire the commander- in-chief declared in his state of the nation address (SONA).
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced on Monday it has resumed operations against the communist insurgents following Duterte’s announcement.