With a promise to provide housing, capital, land, and employment, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Friday, May 10, encouraged ISIS-Maute terrorist group members to surrender.
“I propose to you, the other Maranaos, you better come down and as you can see your arms, there is really no purpose,” Duterte said in his speech during the presentation of surrendered firearms and distribution of assistance to ISIS-Maute terrorist group surrenderees in Marawi City.
“I look forward to see more surrenderees and a comfortable lives for the Maranaos. You come down and we will talk how we can improve your lives,” he added.
Duterte said he would bring Maute surrenderees in Malacañang and then to Malaysia to learn the technology of developing palm oil and rubber tree plantations.
“I told the Maute surrenderees, you go to Malacañang and let’s talk. I will bring you preferably in Malaysia. You study their how to plan rubber (tree) and palm oil,” he said.
Duterte said he will ask newly-installed Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad to assist the Maute surrenderees.
“I will talk to talk to him that I will send you there to study. The whole of Maute group can go there,” he said.
The President said he is ready to proclaim land reform in Lanao del Norte and del Sur as well as in Maguindanao and distribute the government property to the poor Maranaos.
He also assured local residents displaced by a five-month conflict between the government troops and ISIS-inspired Maute Group last year that will get back their land in Marawi City.
“I will commit to you, as a Maranao, I will commit to you now that I will pour assistance, tractors, fertilizers and even seedlings,” Duterte said, drawing applause from the audience.
He appealed to the Maranao people to give the government enough time to rebuild Marawi and establish the goodwill.
“There will be some improvements only if you give me time,” Duterte said.
The President said his top aide Bong Go can help facilitate the completion of the government’s assistance to the Maute surrenderees.
When asked by a surrenderee about other Maute-ISIS members who want to surrender but have pending cases, Duterte said he will send Secretary Abdullah Mama-o to negotiate and talk with them for assessment if amnesty can be granted.
Meanwhile, Duterte cautioned the Maute not to make alliance with New People’s Army (NPA).
“I hope, brothers, don’t follow the NPA. This is a group who don’t believe in God. You better be careful. At the end of the day, if they will get Mindanao, you will be consumed. Believe me,” he warned.
Duterte thanked the Armed Forces of the Philippines for its efforts to convince Maute members to surrender and for their sacrifice to bring peace in Mindanao.
He also expressed appreciation to the people of Marawi City for their understanding and cooperation.
“My brothers in Marawi, the government wanted peace. We don’t want the government to come here and fight. That’s a waste of time and money and the lives of the people,” he said.