Duterte retracts dialogue offer with Islamic militants

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday has decided to close his doors on having a dialogue with the terrorists laying siege to Marawi City.

According to ABS-CBN, Duterte took back his earlier invitation of a dialogue with the Islamic rebels; saying his government will only hold talks with non-violent Moro groups.

“I will not talk to anybody. I will not talk to the terrorists,” Duterte said in a speech in Davao City, as he pledged to pour significant government resources in fighting the militants who have laid siege to the city of about 200,000 people.

The President said he has warned hardliners that his administration will not think twice in pursuing them.

“Iyon talagang out na out na terorista na, if you cannot be convinced to stop fighting, so be it. Away na lang tayo,” he said.

Duterte last week placed Mindanao under martial law after local terrorist group Maute engaged government troops in a gun battle. The armed clashes were triggered by state forces’ failed attempt to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.

The President took back his offer of dialogue as he expressed concerns over the growing threat of the Islamic State-influenced terrorists in Mindanao.

He said the radicalism being espoused by the terrorist groups threatens to “supplant the Filipino way of life.”

“They are trying to correct a way of living for everybody and they do it by killing people invoking the name of God and that is a very terrible ideology,” he said.

“It does not know anything except to waste human lives.”

The week-old crisis in Marawi has claimed the lives of 129 people, 89 of whom were supposedly terrorists.

Analysts and military officials say Maute’s attack on Marawi is their way of getting the attention of the ISIS, which the government says is seeking to establish a wilayat (province) in the Philippines.