Duterte Wants to Be Friends with Maute

Image captured from ABS-CBN News

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his speech in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, said that the government is not yet keen on warring against the Maute group. According to the president, he wants to be friends with them to be able to restore peace in the land.

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The Maute terrorist group has already occupied several parts of Butig, Lanao del Sur over the weekend. While the Maute group has already expanded to the Old Butig town hall, the president is still expecting to be friends with them. According to him, he thinks the conflict can be resolved via diplomatic and peaceful process. When asked about the Maute group, Duterte said: “Kaibiganin natin para walang gulo.” This was what the president told reporters after he attended the inauguration of the mega drug rehabilitation and treatment center inside Fort Magsaysay. (“Let’s befriend them so there will be no conflict.”)

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As per ABS-CBN News, Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco said he is in full support of President Duterte’s decision: “We do not have reasons to seek enemies. Government now will always do everything to make friends with everybody.” Duterte is expected to arrive today in Marawi to visit injured PSG members. Recently, government troops ramped up their offense against the insurgents with around 19 of them killed. It is expected for the president to extend his hand to ensure that lawless elements will not wage terror again as he argues there is no point to wage wars. In his statement, he said: “I can burn Jolo. I can burn Sulu, but what would it bring us?”

Recently, Duterte also offered to hold talks with the Abu Sayyaf Group to end the terrorist attacks. However, security analysts said it is very difficult, if not impossible to happen.

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