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President Duterte vows to preserve fragile Mindanao peace



DAVAO CITY— President Rodrigo Roa Duterte made an assurance on Thursday to preserve the fragile peace in Mindanao and vowed to protect the Muslim community from the clutches of violent extremism.

The Chief Executive made the commitment as he joined the entire Muslim community in this year’s thanksgiving celebration for the culmination of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

“Allow me to take this moment to assure you that this administration will endeavor to preserve the fragile peace that we have built in this region that I call home,” the President said in a speech during the Eid’l Fitr Celebration in Davao City.

“Allow me to take this moment to assure you that through the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, we will consistently uphold the rights and welfare of all Muslim Filipinos and, for that matter, for all Filipinos.”

Underscoring the threat of Islamic extremism against the Muslim community and other tribes, he promised to shield those communities from attacks, stressing religious extremism, hatred, discrimination, and misguided beliefs will never be tolerated. Anybody who will foment discord will be dealt with with the full force of the law, he said.

And with the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, a campaign promise that his administration delivered, he said he can work more closely with the Muslim community in the pursuit of a more harmonious and meaningful relationship among all ethnic groups in the region.

President Duterte also appealed to state auditors for leniency as his government funds elderly Muslim pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia. The President said he has been funding pilgrims to Mecca since he was Davao City mayor.

“You want peace? All of you, you want peace…Filipinos, you want peace? Oh, let us invest on peace. Gumastos ka. Hindi mo binibili dito. Tinutulungan mo lang ang kapwa mong Pilipino na ang relihiyon Islam. Let us invest on peace,” he said.

The President also expressed his gratitude to people who toiled to implement the Bangsamoro Organic Law. He particularly thanked former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and government negotiator Jesus Dureza and the current Peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr.

President Duterte also recognized the efforts of the military and the police for the successful conduct of the midterm elections last May 13.

In his message for the Muslims for the Eid’l Fitr, he said, “I hope that despite our differences, each of us will realize that we share the same desire to lead brighter and better lives filled with optimism and acceptance.”

“Let today’s joyful celebration remind us that we need to work in solidarity with one another so that we can achieve a common dream for a more peaceful, just, and prosperous Philippines.”

PND/PCOO