MANILA, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has invited the country's most radical Islamist extremist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) to have a dialogue with his administration, saying it is about time to stop war.
In a speech in Jolo in Sulu province late on Friday, Duterte said that peace will soon reign in Mindanao in the southern Philippines with the signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
"Let's talk," Duterte told the Abu Sayyaf militants. "What do you want to do? Do you want us to just kill each other? You can kill me anywhere. But what will you gain by that?" he asked.
"Let's just give it time. Let's stop making war," Duterte said.
He warned that if war continues, more will die.
Duterte went to Jolo to check on the condition of some 5,000 families or 30,000 residents who were left homeless after a fire broke out on Tuesday in one of the villages there.
The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is a small, violent, faction-ridden Muslim group that operates in the western fringes of the southern Philippine island of Mindanao and on the Sulu islands extending from Mindanao. The group is notorious for the killings, kidnapping for ransom and a series of bombings in Mindanao.
The ASG has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) militants and helped the Maute militants in attacking Marawi City in May last year, triggering a fierce battle that left more than 1,200 dead.
Government security forces continue to wage war against the Muslim extremist groups, including the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a group that broke up with the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that signed a peace deal with the government.
The BOL that Duterte signed on Friday is originally called Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
As an organic act, the BOL aims to abolish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and provide for the basic structure of government for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, following the agreements set forth in the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro peace agreement signed between the government and the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.
The new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will have greater fiscal autonomy, a regional government, parliament, and justice system. The Philippine government hopes it will put an end to the decades-old war that ravaged Mindanao.