Climaco seeks OPAPP advise on Nur's offer Print
Thursday, 01 June 2017 14:04

Mayor Beng Climaco said she will formally write a letter to the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP) through Secretary Jesus Dureza, seeking guidelines on how to implement President Duterte’s acceptance of the offer of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chief Nur Misuari to help government forces in fighting the local terrorist Maute group in Marawi City.

Climaco saw the imperative to seek OPAPP’s advice on the matter considering that Zamboanga City has still pending rebellion and violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) cases against Misuari and his followers for perpetuating the Zamboanga Siege in 2013.

“As far as Zamboanga City is concerned, we only recognize the members of the police and military forces as duly authorized to carry firearms. All others, not belonging to the PNP and AFP, will be apprehended if they are caught carrying firearms in the city,” Climaco declared.

In the meantime, the city chief executive yesterday called up the Joint Task Force commanders in Lanao, Basilan and Sulu, asking them to stop or prevent MNLFs and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters in their areas of responsibility from coming to Zamboanga City.

This, as MNLF fighters from neighboring provinces have been reportedly moving out of their strongholds as if taking the cue from the President’s pronouncements, accepting Misuari’s offer of 5,000 MNLF fighters to assist government forces in defeating the Maute group in Marawi.

In a letter to Duterte, Misuari said the Marawi incident is an opportunity for them to show their mettle in helping (the President and the people) restore peace in Mindanao, particularly in Marawi.

The President was considering a suggestion to enlist the MILF and MNLF fighters as well as the NPA in the fight against the Maute.

In return, the government will give the secessionist fighters and guerrillas pay and privileges similar to what the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) receive.

Observers say this might embolden the MNLF and MILF fighters to carry firearms and move around the city freely in the guise of assisting the government’s war on terrorism.

“We cannot afford a repeat of the Zamboanga siege, from which we are still suffering until today, four years later,” Climaco said.-(Vic Larato)