Military, police open to additional help from moro rebels to fight terrorism

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The government's fight against insurgency and terrorism could further intensify as President Rodrigo Duterte expressed openness to tapping moro rebels as reinforcement.

The police and military on Monday welcomed the President's acceptance of MNLF founder Nur Misuari's offer to recruit rebels to help solve the terror crisis in Marawi City.

Duterte said on Saturday in Jolo, Sulu he is open to recruit rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Moro National Liberation Front (MILF), and even the New People's Army (NPA) to fight the Maute group. He read a letter from Misuari, offering his men.

"Alam mo, I am announcing to all na lahat ng sundalo ng MI, MN, kung matagal pa ito at gusto ninyong sumali, makipagsapalaran sa Republika, I am offering them, kunin ko kayong sundalo, same pay, same privileges, and I will build houses for you in some areas... 'Yung mga NPA na pagod na, kayong mga tipo na niloloko lang diyan, bumaba na kayo. Bigyan ko kayo ng suweldo kagaya ng sundalo, gawan ko kayo ng bahay. Kalimutan natin lahat," he said.

[Translation: I am announcing to all men of MILF, MNLF, if this martial law lasts and you want to help us fight for the republic, I am offering them. I will use you as soldiers, with the same pay, privileges, and I will build houses for you... For the NPA, I know you're tired, go back home. I will pay you, like how we pay soldiers. I will build houses for you. Let us forget our issues.]

Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa said they are open to working with the moro rebels, as long as they are sincere in helping the government.

"Kung totohanan na pagtulong, why not, 'di ba? Kung gusto nilang tumulong at sumama talaga, pareho naman tayong Pilipino. We all have the right to defend our country," he said.

[Translation: If the offer to help is sincere, why not? If they want to help, we are all Filipinos, we have the right to defend our country.]

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesperson B/Gen. Restituto Padilla, meanwhile, said the help from the moro rebels is a reiteration of a previous offer under the peace process.

"These are all welcome developments. We welcome any form of support and assistance, sa pagtulong sa pag quell nitong rebellion, terrorism," he said.

President Duterte placed the entire region of Mindanao under martial law on May 23 following the clashes between members of the Maute group and the government's police and military troops in Marawi City.

The Armed Forces said that as of Monday 61 terrorists, 18 government forces, and 19 civilians have been killed.

The ARMM government recorded 84,460 individuals displaced in the Marawi incident.