President Duterte on Misuari!

On June 16, during the Eid’l Fitr celebration at SMX, Lanang, Davao City, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had a kind of advice to Brother Nur Misuari, the main founding chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

"We will try to pass the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law). I hope Chairman Misuari can be convinced to join the talks so that if there are corrections or maybe additions or provisions that could not sit well with the Tausug and the rest of the southern part of Mindanao then maybe we can realize altogether the friction of MI, MN and the rest of Mindanao."   

The meaning of the statement of the President is outstandingly clear. It leaves no other meanings in the mind of readers.

In the same speech, he added these lines:

"Pero kung sabihan mo na, if you do not think about it, if you kind of adopt intransigence behavior, magpatigasan, it will result in war. Kindly, if you want, do not do it on my term. 'Pag di tayo magka-aregulan, ako nasa gitna mahirapan ako. Sino'ng barilin ko? Sundalo ng republika or sundalo ng MI pati MN?"

During the celebration, all the leaders of Moros were practically all there, from the revolutionaries, the traditional, professionals, and business, to politicians. During the photo sessions, the leaders of the MNLF, all factions, posed photo with the President, including Abdulkarim Misuari, the heir-apparent of the father. In fact, he was already appointed as MNLF vice chairman.

The President needs to be heard. There were good presidents before, who had the hearts to address the Moro Problem or Question, like Diosdado Macapagal, Fidel Ramos, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Benigno Aquino III. But none have the passion to solve this problem like Duterte; he is not only from Mindanao, a Moro blood in his vein, and he feels – or suffers – from the conflict, but, moreover, he has the time to do it, unlike Ramos and Benigno Aquino III.

Brother Nur Misuari, to us, is like an institution. Among others, he put in the consciousness of people the name MNLF and popularized the Bangsamoro struggle for right to self-determination. He signed milestone agreements such as the Tripoli Agreement of 1976, the Jeddah Accord in 1987, and the GRP-MNLF Final Agreement of 1996. WE and the MILF recognized all these achievements – and credit him mainly for these.

He is a leader, period! There is no doubt about that!

But is he a statesman?

A statesman is a person who exhibits great wisdom and ability in directing the affairs of a government or in dealing with important public issues. But more than that, he is selfless; and when a choice is made between what is good for himself and what is good for the greater majority, HE CHOOSE THE LATTER – AND IS WILLING TO SUFFER FOR IT.

The other thing is: One must realize that all of us are mortals, we die any time soon or later. In the same vein, leaders come and go! There were great, nay capable leaders, who wanted to preserve their good names but in do so they ruined their future and themselves.  

Good men and women from dynastic clans and families are good. They should not be barred from holding government positions or run in elections, but if we limit our choices from these clans and families, through brute power and use of resources to muscle obedience, then we are defeating the real essence of democracy. Within the MNLF, there are wide array of leaders who are as capable.