Duterte to hold simultaneous talks with MILF, MNLF

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Davao City (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte says the government is now ready to talk simultaneously with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

In fact, he is planning to go to Jolo to talk to Nur Misuari, Chairman of the MNLF.

Misuari is currently at large and is facing an arrest warrant for rebellion in connection with the 2013 Zamboanga siege.

If the talks with the MILF and MNLF would succeed, the President said on Friday that he expected a framework for federalism to be drafted by the end of the year.

MILF and MNLF leaders met with then President-elect Rodrigo Duterte in mid-June to discuss peace in Mindanao.

Duterte said there would be reconfiguration of territories — and many MILF and MNLF members would occupy regional and state positions.

If Filipinos reject federalism in the plebiscite, he said he would push for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

The President emphasized that what the MILF would get, the same would be given to the MNLF.

Related: New AFP Chief vows ‘unrelenting’ ops vs. Abu Sayyaf, terror groups

As for the Abu Sayaff Group, Duterte said he did not consider their actions criminal.

He believed they were radicalized because they were driven to desperation due to the lack of governance in Mindanao.

Duterte was at the Hari Raya Eid'l Fitr event in his hometown a day after his son, Acting Davao City Mayor Mayor Paolo Duterte, said the city was facing threats from international terrorist group, ISIS.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has since denied ISIS presence in in the country.

But the PNP admitted that the younger Duterte's statement was taken into consideration when they secured the venue for the Hariraya activity.

Security measures at the SM Lanang and surrounding areas were tight — with over 300 policemen, 249 soldiers from Task Force Davao, and more than a hundred Presidential Security Group members.