"I am pleading for peace. You have committed so many crimes. May kinidnap, may mga pinapatay. Pero ano makukuha ko sa away? Nandito na tayo, magusap tayo ng kapayapaan," Duterte said.
Duterte was in Tabiawan, Isabela City, Basilan this afternoon to meet with top police and military officials and also some of the families displaced by the ongoing military operations against the bandits in Al Barka, Ungkaya Pukan and Tipo-Tipo.In his speech, Duterte said he understands the injustices being experienced by the Moro people, noting that he has Maranao blood.
The President said he has studied the reasons why killings continue.
"Nagkakamatayan because of hate. May batas. Di pwedeng magpatayan araw-araw," he saidDuterte, meanwhile, distributed relief goods to a number of evacuees, some of whom were able to talk to the President and asked him to bring peace in Basilan.
According to Ungkaya Pukan Mayor Jomar Maturan, around 951 families have fled to safer grounds following the intensified clashes between government troops and the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Classes remain suspended in four villages in the town.
Al Barka Mayor Darus Ladja also confirmed that a school, a mosque and several houses were damaged by the airstrikes and continuous mortar shelling.
Ladja said there are still around 200 Abu Sayyaf members in the area.