Duterte victim of ‘black prop’ PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 March 2016 14:01

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

It is “entirely wrong” to say that a Duterte presidency will give Western Mindanao to Nur Misuari of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Zamboanga Peninsula, and most especially Zamboanga City, will never be part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) or the areas specified under the shelved Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). This clarification was made by Peter Laviña, chief media officer of frontrunner presidential candidate Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte.

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Federalism is still a proposal and it hopes to address the over concentration of power and resources in the national government and the neglect of the various regions vital role in their own development.

Duterte advocates federalism also to address the Mindanao question where the various Muslim tribes seek greater self-rule.

“He believes we need to correct the historical wrongs done on our Muslims and other indigenous peoples by our colonial masters and dominantly Christians central governments, “ Laviña said.

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Duterte envisions a federal set up, where two federal states would be reated to replace the current Autonomous region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). One is for the Muslim tribes in the mainland of Mindanao, composed mostly of the Maguindanaons, Maranaws and Iranons. The other federal state is for the Muslim island tribes in the Sulu Seas, namely, for the Tausugs in Jolo, Yakans and Badjaosand other tribes in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi. Other regions throughout the country will have their own federal states as well, including the Zamboanga Peninsula, the Cordilleras as well as the National Capital Region.

This proposal needs to go through a national consensus and shall be enshrined in a new Federal Constitution. Hence, it will undergo a democratic process of electing delegates to the constitutional convention, convening the delegates for the new Charter, holding of public consultations, and presenting the new Federal Constitution in a people’s plebiscite.

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Duterte said that Zamboanga City is not part of any proposed federal states for Muslims in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

“We do not know where Mayor Climaco-Salazar, who belongs to the administration party, is getting this wrong notion. Instead of promoting harmony for our people, coming from different tribes and religious background, this cheap propaganda against Duterte is creating a wedge among our people,” Laviña chides.

Duterte has been advocating for respect for the law and equality before the law as well as harmony in spite of our diversity precisely to make Davao, and the rest of the country, safe from such violent extremism. We should promote greater tolerance and respect for different cultures, different religions, different political beliefs if we are to succeed in our nation-building. Federalism is key to this vision with power-sharing, resources-sharing, respect-for-all and development-for-all as our guiding principles.”

Likewise Duterte strongly believes Zamboanga City should be excluded from the shelved Bangsamoro Basic Law. He is aware of the two referendums where the Zamboangueños overwhelmingly rejected the city’s inclusion in ARMM and he believes the sentiments remain just as strong.

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Scoop: It appears that Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar’s supposed statement asking Zamboanga voters not to vote for Duterte because he was purported to be supporting Misuari and the MNLF, has boomeranged her, judging from the deluge of negative reactions in Facebook by Duterte believers and followers. If Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar will continue to be wreckless with such false statement against the popular Duterte she will risk losing big number of votes. Duterte’s statement on his federalism proposal is clear: Zamboanga is out of the proposed Federalism’s autonomous region. The City will have her own autonomous region totally separate from the autonomous region for tausugs in Jolo, Yakans and Badjaos and other tribes in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. You may agree or disagree.