By Hader Glang
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (AA) - An incoming peace adviser for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has said he is willing to talk peace with two Daesh-linked groups who have been sowing terror in the Philippines south.
In an interview with ABS CBN television news Friday, Duterte's adviser Jesus Dureza said that if any group such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) or the Abu Sayyaf wanted to talk peace and stop criminality it would be welcome.
Dureza underlined, however, that there is no excuse for either group's criminal acts, but the president-elect is willing to hold talks with them if they show remorse.
"You don't deal with terrorists, of course, because there's no grievance on that, theirs are only plain criminality. But if the leader of Abu Sayyaf approached and said 'I will not anymore kill, we will not longer kidnap, we will stop because there is change now', who am I to say, 'Go ahead, continue killing people'?" he said.
Dureza added that the groups will still have to "pay for all the crimes you committed".
In August 2014 clips were uploaded to YouTube showing both the Mindanao-based hardline BIFF and the Abu Sayyaf pledging support to Daesh.
The BIFF, founded by Ameril Umbra Kato, broke with the country's one time largest Moro rebel outfit the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2008 because of disagreements with the MILF's central committee's acceptance of autonomy rather than full independence for the country's Muslim south.
Since Duterte was elected president in elections held May 9, he has made peace overtures to both Muslim and communist rebel groups.
He is set to assume office June 30.
The Abu Sayyaf is believed to be holding several captives, including a Canadian, Norwegian and a Filipino woman seized in September, and a Dutch national kidnapped more than three years ago in Tawi-Tawi province.
Since 1991, the group -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortions.
It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.