Zambo remembers united stand vs anti-MOA-AD seven years ago PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 August 2015 10:59

by Jubels Santos

Today, Aug. 4, seven years ago, throngs of people led by then Mayor Celso L. Lobregat gathered in front of City Hall in a rare display of unity and solidarity to demonstrate their opposition to the Memorandum Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE).

It was history in the making for Zamboanga City as local residents, coming from different sectors, the city’s officialdom, including former city officials, barangay leaders, representatives of the clergy, business and industrial sector, the academe, the youth, urban poor and other non-government organizations, joined forces to deliver a strong message to the national leadership that Zamboanga City was against its inclusion in the MOA-AD BJE.

Clad in red t-shirts and wearing red ribbons, the demonstrators united behind the leadership of then Mayor Lobregat who was in the forefront in the fight against the MOA-AD BJE.

Businessmen with establishments in the city’s downtown area and in the outskirts sacrified their business interest and closed for two hours on the same day to show their support to the stand taken by Lobregat and the oppositors to the controversial  agreement.

Anti-MOA-AD streamers draped the City Hall building balcony informing the whole world about the city’s united stand.

On this same day, Aug. 4, the City of Zamboanga represented by then Mayor Lobregat with Congresspersons Beng Climaco and Erbie Fabian  formally filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking to restrain the government from signing the agreement and to compel it to furnish them official copies of the Agreement.

The Agreement was scheduled for signing on Aug. 5.

Unofficial copies had already been leaked to the Medi

Formal signing of the MOA-AD BJE in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Aug 5, was aborted, as the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

Then Zamboanga City’s Archbishop Romulo Valles was all praises for Lobregat saying “he knew very well what he was doing”. He was referring to Lobregat’s vast knowledge on the issues that made him exceptional leader in the struggle against the MOA-AD BJE.

Furthermore, then Archbishop Valles said Lobregat provided the precise leadership and worked so hard to ensure that the interest and well-being of his constituents are protected.

Now, seven years later, it is Celso Lobregat, as congressman of the 1st District, who is leading the advocacy and challenge to come up with a BBL that is just, fair,  acceptable, feasible, and more importantly, consistent with the Constitution and existing laws.

Lobregat is very articulate and his passion, knowledge, rigorous research on the peace process   and the basic law has gained him nationwide prominence.

In fact, in a  forum  organized by RAPPLER’S MovePH and INCITEGov held on July 14, 2015 at the AIM Conference Center in Makati City, Cong. Lobregat was invited to speak in a roundtable discussion on “Hear Mindanao: Why we should talk peace? where Lobregat turned out to be the main speaker.

The panel of reactors were mostly lawyers that included former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Atty. Marlon Manuel (National Coordinator, Alternative Law and Governance, Inc.), Atty. Benedicto Bacani (Exec. Director, Institute for Autonomy and Peace), and Samira Gutoc (Co-Convenorl for Civil Society, Friends of Peace), Marites Danguilan Vitug (Editor-at-large, Rappler) who was the moderator during the roundtable discussion.

Atty. Bacani, one of the panel reactors, commended Lobregat’s arguments on the BBL. He even said Representative Lobregat is not a lawyer but he will shame lawyers in terms of how rigorous his research.  — Jubels Santos