Philippines: Peace talks with Moro rebels continue despite extremism 'virus'

Filipino Peace Presidential Adviser Jesus Dureza said that extremism is like a "virus" that needs to be addressed openly.

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Philippines troops in action. Reuters

Filipino Peace Presidential Adviser Jesus Dureza said that the peace talks between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) shall continue despite the presence of "extremism" adopted by terrorist groups operating in Marawi.

Dureza said that extremism is like a "virus" that needs to be addressed openly and all stakeholders concerned have to deal with it openly.

"There should be no ifs and buts and there should be no denials because if we compare that to the body, extremism is like a body infection," Dureza added.

Part of the agenda in the ongoing peace talks was to create the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law that will provide the MILF organization to govern their government in the Southern Philippines. Dureza said that the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) has submitted a more inclusive draft that will cover all the sectors in the proposed Bangsamoro region.

The presidential adviser noted that the challenge now is in the hands of the lawmakers because they will be in charge in reconciling provisions of the proposed BBL with the previous peace agreement that the government entered into with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), another revolutionary organization.

Furthermore, Dureza also lauded the efforts of the MILF for helping the government establish the "peace corridor" in Marawi's armed conflict to help facilitate humanitarian assistance services for fleeing civilians.

"The MILF risked their lives with their volunteers and proved that their sincere efforts can help the Philippine government, " Dureza added.

On the other hand, Dureza also said that he is hopeful that they can also resume their peace talks with the New People's Army (NPA), another rebel group. The Philippine government has earlier suspended their peace talks with the communist rebels when the latter has been attacking Philippine security forces in the countryside.