President Duterte gave a scathing speech at the Mindanao Hariraya Eid’l Fit’r 2016, not only putting America in the spotlight, he also stating that the Abu Sayyaf terror group “are not criminals.”
After blaming the bloody conflicts in Iraq and other Middle Eastern nations on the United States, Duterte went on to to say: “That’s why I am not including Abu Sayyaf [activities] in criminality. You’ve never heard me say [they are] criminals. It is different set up there because these are the guys who were driven to desperation.”
Duterte claimed to know the situation throughout ARMM (the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao), as lately many are questioning if he is in fact a Muslim himself.
The President went on to say: “There is no sufficient semblance of governance and that is why they are pushed to the wall – they became radicalised.”
The speech and celebration was held at the SM Lanang Mall in Davao City and attended by prominent Moro leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), another terror group.
Ironically, after telling the crowd that Abu Sayyaf are not criminals, he then warned them to stop ransom kidnappings and said he would eventually confront the militants.
Even after the beheading of two Canadians by Abu Sayyaf, the islands of Sulu are still under the control of the terrorists.
Today, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, a Dutch birder watcher and seven Indonesians from a coal carrying tugboat are being held by the Abu Sayyaf. Sources say they have many others in captivity, but no official word on who they are, or where they were kidnapped from.
The United States blacklisted Abu Sayyaf in 1997. The US also blacklisted the NPA in 2002, yet today the Philippines has taken nearly two decades to call the extremist group ‘terrorist’ – in 2015 they were officially listed as a ‘terrorist organization’.