Location Phillippines Phillippines

Duterte accepts Moro separatists offer of 2,000 men to fight IS-linked rebels

by Frances Mangosing

President of Philippines Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday that he has accepted the offer of Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari for 2,000 of his men to join the fight against IS-linked terrorists in Marawi City.

He said Misuari offered his “able-bodied” troops to fight with the government when they talked late Saturday night.

“I accepted the offer,” the President said aboard the Japanese warship JS Izumo during a press briefing after his visit.

These MNLF fighters will be regular members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as integrees.

“We have always been accepting integrees from the MNLF,” he said, adding that it has never been a problem.

Duterte also offered the same for members of New People’s Army, despite the government pulling out of the fifth round of peace negotiations last week.

If they do not want to join the military, they could simply surrender, he said.

“That offer also goes to the NPAs. Kayong ayaw na ninyo mag-away, I’m not asking you to join my force. You just surrender and I’ll give you the houses and I will expand the land reform program of the government. Ako yung maghanap ng pera,” he said.

Duterte said he could take in the rank-and-file members of the NPA and give them an equivalent rank in the military. The offer is not applicable to top leaders/ generals.

“I’m not taking ‘yung mga generals. Wala ‘yun… The rank and file. If they desire to surrender and be with the… to fight with the government forces, I am taking them in as soldiers of the Republic,” he said.

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