Beng: OPAPP’s MILF program in Zambo sans LGU coordination PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 15:01

Mayor Beng Climaco has expressed dismay that the City Government was not informed of a program for “MILF communities” in Zamboanga implemented under the supervision of the Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) emphasizing that “there is no MILF community nor do we recognize one in the city.”

Climaco was prompted to write OPAPP after she received a letter from Senen Bacani, member of the Government Peace Negotiating Panel (GPNP) with the MILF, which referred to verbal complaints by the City Government regarding Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program’s (SBP) cash for work activity last February done in the city without coordinating with the local government unit.

Bacani admitted that the project was implemented in some barangays of the city including  Baliwasan, Cawit, Recodo and Tulungatung and that it was “an oversight on our part to not formally inform the City Government of our activities”.

In her March 5, 2015 letter to OPAPP through Bacani, Mayor Climaco reiterated the city’s support to the peace process initiated by President Aquino but expressed disappointment that the GPNP and the OPAPP did not coordinate such activity with the LGU.

“There may be individuals who are sympathetic to the MILF, but we would like to emphasize that there is no ‘MILF community’ nor do we recognize one in the city. The city is not part of the ARMM;  nor shall the city be part of the Bangsamoro,” the mayor said as she advised OPAPP that the non-coordination of such activity has caused alarm that led to anxieties and apprehensions on the part of the barangay officials and residents where the project is being implemented.

The mayor stressed t hat while the implementation of the uncoordinated activity was undertaken before Sept. 2013 siege, “that ill-fated incident has left unhealed wounds and scars in the hearts and minds of Zamboangueños.” “The presence of groups and individuals purportedly belonging to the MNLF or MILF ushers anxieties, trepidations and unsettles tranquillity of the City.

Climaco asked that the OPAPP and GPNP review and reconsider such project implementation in the city considering that the post siege situation has completely changed the serenity in the city.

In various letters addressed to the GPNP and OPAPP regarding MILF-related activities monitored in the city, the local government has urged both the national government and the MILF “to observe prudence by halting any and all acts that may prejudice the security, peace and order and tranquillity of the city.”  — Sheila Covarrubias