President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday warned that Islamist extremism will be here to stay unless the Mindanao issue and the drug menace are solved. In a speech delivered in Malacañang, the President said the Mindanao peace issue was a result of a rising nationalism — a Moro people coming to terms with his existence in the land.
He said that “if we do not try even to solve the Mindanao issue, it will be the biggest problem of our land and of our children.”
Duterte, the first president from Mindanao and of Maranao-Kamayo ancestry from his mother’s side, has made big strides in the Mindanao peace process during the first six months of his presidency.
He has earlier called on Moro insurgents to set aside centuries of mistrust and warfare and vowed to correct the historical injustices committed against the Moro people.
However, Duterte said that the healing process in Mindanao is in danger of being overtaken by recent events.
“The problem now is that the rising nationalism in some parts of the country for some people, has been overtaken by this ideology of violence and brutality, ISIS,” Duterte said.
“ISIS is already there (Mindanao) and we have been debating for so long. But we are now one of the opinion in the Cabinet that the ISIS ideology is here to stay,” he said.
Besides already having a foothold in Mindanao, the President noted that some of the various groups sympathetic to the cause of the Middle East-based terror group are also competing for recognition.
“They are outdoing each other in brutality. The more brutal you are in raising the ideology, the more credentials that you may have for a recognition,” he said.
President Duterte pointed out that the terrorist groups in Mindanao are being driven by drugs, making the Mindanao problem a two-fold issue.
“So we have this problem now of terrorism. Now, why is shabu abundant in Mindanao? It is because they (terror groups) are driving the war using shabu as a fuel, pati sila mismo,” he said.
“And in the Middle East, it is bruited and recognized that they (ISIS) are using shabu. So now we have two problems in Mindanao — terrorism and drugs,” Duterte said.
He reiterated that the war on drugs must continue until the whole drug infrastructure is demolished.
“Shabu must end because … for as long as there is shabu, the addiction will continue and it will bring us down to the dogs,” the President said.