VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte changes tune on ending conflict in Mindanao within his term

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From vowing to bring peace in Mindanao before the end of his six-year term in 2022, President Rodrigo Duterte now says it would “take more than a generation” to do so, following the twin bombings that rocked Jolo on Aug. 24.

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Authorities have said the two explosions in Jolo, Sulu province -- which killed at least 14 persons and wounded 75 others -- were likely set off by two suicide bombers; one is believed to be a widow of an Abu Sayyaf member, and the other, a widow of Norman Lasuca, the first local to commit such attack, based on several media reports.

Duterte enacted Republic Act 11054, which established the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, in July 2018. (See SONA 2018 Promise Tracker: Peace Agenda; VERA FILES FACT SHEET: What’s next if BOL is ratified?)

In the same Aug. 30 speech, the president also said he “hope[s] that any one of [his] children would become a politician,” even if only as a barangay captain, so that they can “do something about the problem of the Moro and the Christians.”

Three of Duterte’s four children are holding public office. His eldest, Paolo, is deputy speaker and 1st district Davao City representative, while Sara succeeded her father as mayor of Davao City, with Sebastian as vice mayor.


RTVMalacanang, Talk to Troops (Speech) 8/30/2020, Aug. 30, 2020

RTVMalacanang, Mindanao Hariraya Eid’l Fit’r 2016 (Speech) 7/8/2016, July 10, 2020

Presidential Communications Operations Office, Muslim community assured of Duterte admin’s efforts towards peace in Mindanao, July 8, 2020

Western Mindanao Command official Facebook page, Explosions transpire in Sulu, Aug. 24, 2020

ABS-CBN News, Twin blasts rock Sulu town plaza; at least 15 killed, 75 wounded, Aug. 24, 2020, Islamic State claims Jolo suicide bombings, Aug. 26, 2020

Manila Bulletin, 15 killed, 77 hurt in two Jolo bomb blasts, Aug. 24, 2020

The Straits Times, Philippine officials confirm first suicide attack by local militant, July 11, 2019

Rappler, AFP, PNP: Filipino suicide bomber behind Sulu attack, July 10, 2020, Confirmed: One of two ‘suicide bombers’ in Sulu blasts a Filipino, July 10, 2020, Military says Jolo bombers widows of Abu Sayyaf bandits, Aug. 26, 2020

CNN Philippines, 2 suicide bombers sa Jolo natukoy na, Aug. 25, 2020

ABS-CBN News, Military names Sulu attackers: Suicide bomber's widow, Abu Sayyaf leader's wife, Aug. 26, 2020

Aljazeera, Army says two women carried out bombings in the Philippines, Aug. 25, 2020, House members: Hon. Duterte, Paolo Z., Accessed Sept. 4, 2020

Davao City government, Mayors of Davao City: 1937 to present, Accessed Sept. 4, 2020

Davao City government, Directory of Davao City Department Heads, Accessed Sept. 4, 2020

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)


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Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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