PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will be meeting with Moro National Liberation Front chairman Nur Misuari on Aug. 12, during his second visit to Basilan since he took over the presidency, an official said Thursday.
“The President will be speaking with Nur next Friday,” said Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo who will be accompanying Duterte.
The President has repeatedly said he is eyeing to talk with Misuari, who is at large following the failed 2013 Zamboanga siege, to focus on building the framework for the Bangsamoro peace process that will include the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Misuari, who founded the MNLF, is said to be hiding in Sulu, where he is mingling with the people loyal to him and protecting him from the authorities.
Duterte has repeatedly stressed he is willing to give Misuari a safe-conduct pass to start the talks between the government and the Moro rebels.
“When you talk to the rebel, you have to give them a safe-conduct pass, or at least a sense of security to face you and talk to you about what’s bugging the country,” Duterte told reporters on Monday.
“If I won’t talk, how do I fix this thing?”
Even while hiding, Misuari has been helping the government to recover seven Indonesian sailors who were abducted by the terror group Abu Sayyaf in Sulu last month, according to Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza.
He said Misuari’s lawyers could have his case reviewed.
“The effort is to bring him out of Indanan,” Dureza said.
“The warrant is out and he is considered a fugitive. Any effort to get him out must go through the legal process. It is for his lawyers to initiate a reinvestigation of his case.”
Misuari aside, Duterte will also be giving a safe-conduct pass to exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison to start the peace talks at the end of the year.