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Duterte: No negotiations with ISIS-inspired militants

President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated the stand of the government that it will not engage in negotiations with ISIS-inspired militants in Marawi City.

"I'd never talk to terrorists, that's one. I will never (talk) to criminals and to terrorists," Duterte told reporters during his visit at the 403rd Brigade headquarters in Camp Bahian, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on Thursday.

The President was reacting to report that he was preparing to make a deal with the militants in Marawi City but backed out later on.

The report published on Reuters cited a source who claimed he was approached by one of Duterte's aides to connect with the group for "back-channel" talks.

Duterte denied making efforts to talk with the Maute group saying: "No, I did not. That's a.. he's a pretender."

"Huwag nila akong biruin ng istorya-istorya lang tayo. If there has to be peace, it would really be peace. Huwag mo akong laruin iyang away ngayon tapos bukas–let us finish this once and for all," Duterte said.

Duterte added he would "talk to revolutionaries who are imbued with a principle" but not with the Maute group.

"I talk to them because ang, what drove them to fight government is the rising nationalism. Kasi nauna nga sila dito. Dumating iyong Amerikano, naunahan pa ng Espanyol. Then we were colonized," he said.

"I plead to the Moro people, who are my brothers, who are our brothers. We do not want to fight, we do not want to kill. And if we can just stop fighting, okay ako. But for those criminals, mga terorista, wala," Duterte said.

Duterte also said he will not negotiate with the group because of the increasing casualty of government troops.

As of 6pm of July 5, the Joint Task Force Marawi reported that there are already 85 police and soldiers killed in action.

The government claimed 351 terrorists were killed by government troops while 39 civilians were killed by terrorists.

Duterte also stressed that he declared Martial Law in the whole island of Mindanao in anticipation of a possible spillover.

"The spillover could create more trouble for us. That's why, in anticipation or to prevent or to prepare for a spillover or a simultaneous uprising, it has to be Mindanao," he said.

The Supreme Court has recently ruled the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao as constitutional.

[Source: By Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano, Davao Today, Davao City, 07Jul17]

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small logoThis document has been published on 10Jul17 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.