Celso to people: ‘Never to let our guard down’ PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 13 March 2015 12:03

District 1 Representative Celso Lobregat yesterday called on the residents of the city to never let their guard down on the Bangsamoro issue in the midst of reports that the Office of Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is implementing the so-called Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program in some barangays tagged as “MILF communities.”

Lobregat said the OPAPP and other concerned agencies or groups should be summoned immediately for a dialogue to inquire about the implementation of such projects just as what the city did a few months ago when the issue about the formation of a supposed Bangsamoro government in Cawit was also reported.

The OPAPP at that time said such activities should not be undertaken in Cawit and ordered the stoppage of such activities.

Lobregat said the city government should be properly informed of any programs or activities undertaken in any of the barangays of the city more so activities related to Bangsamoro given that the city is not part of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) or of the proposed Bangsamoro territory.

In this light, he said, the people should not be contented with the supposed assurance that Zamboanga City is not included in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. “We should not be complacent si habla sila kay hinde included el Zamboanga na BBL, okey ya  kita,  because there are provisions that will affect us.”

One of the proposed BBL provisions that Lobregat has been questioning about was the so-called “inter-governmental relationship” in section 10 which pertains to “assistance to other Bangsamoro communities residing outside the Bangsamoro territory” and which talks about implementation of programs for the rehabilitation of communities to enhance economic, social and cultural development”.

The District 1 congressman said the said provision may be connected to the Sajahatra Bangsamoro implemented in the city since 2013 as what the OPAPP claims. However, the said provision is included in the proposed BBL which is still pending in Congress and is considered by Lobregat as questionable.

He said: “This is a provision under the proposed BBL and we are already questioning this. We have several times brought this out.”

If and when such activities are to be implemented, it should not be by the OPAPP or by the MILF but by the National Commission for Muslim Affairs (NCMF). “Okey lang se lleba assistance pero debe el NCMF implimenta este maga programa outside of the ARMM areas.”

He also emphasized that the Bangsamoro program implemented in numerous barangays in the city should and must be in coordination with the office of the city mayor and the barangay council concerned. Zamboanga City also ever since has not recognized any MILF community in the city.

There are numerous other provisions included in the proposed BBL that will affect Zamboanga City even if OPAPP and the government panel say that Zamboanga City is not included in the Bangsamoro territory, Lobregat added.  — Jubels Santos