DAVAO CITY, Sept 4 — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will meet with the leaders of Malaysia and Indonesia to formalise the details of an anti-terrorism deal, Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported.
In a media interview, Duterte said he, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had already agreed to meet in an area near the Philippines like Sabah or Jakarta.
“We have agreed that we will talk, the three of us. So naghintay lang kami ng timing (We are just waiting for the right time),” he said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the birthday celebration of Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles.
In all probability, Duterte said the deal could be a joint undertaking like a task force to run after Islamic State members.
“I will open my borders to the Malaysian authorities and Indonesian authorities, and I am… they’ll be given access,” he was quoted as saying by PNA.
The president said the meeting was already being worked out and it only needed to be formalised.
“We have to meet face to face and agree on an agenda for the talks.
“I can only maybe….be there for about a day or two. At this time, I cannot. I do not have the luxury of time because I have a serious problem here,” he added.
Duterte said he had to visit Marawi more often until the crisis is over.
Meanwhile, Duterte said he was also looking at the situation in other parts of Mindanao like Buldon, Maguindanao where there are skirmishes every day.
“I don't know how this thing developed but anyway, I have by the end of the year to contain all these things,” he said.
During the Eastern Mindanao Command's 11th anniversary in Davao City on Friday, Duterte said he was thinking of lifting martial law.
“Let us see. If it is in the interest of the country to lift it, I will lift it. But if not, then we’ll just have to continue with martial law,” he added.
Duterte, however, assured that he would be pursuing the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and even with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
“If we cannot reconfigure a political structure to suit everybody's needs and fulfil their demands because it is really valid, Mindanao will be at war for all times,” he added. — Bernama