Celso rebuts ‘peace spoiler’ brand PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 03 September 2011 17:27

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday refuted reports citing him as one of the top ten peace spoilers of the ongoing GPH-MILF peace talks stressing that it is his duty and responsibility as mayor to espouse the stand of the city of Zamboanga.

“I am a peace lover, I am a peacemaker, in fact we went to the Supreme Court because we want peace,” the mayor told reporters covering City Hall. “We have just been very consistent (in our stand) and if they brand me as a peace spoiler because I espouse the stand of the City of Zamboanga, that is my duty as mayor, that is my responsibility, in fact that was included in our platform of government”.

The mayor said the position of the residents of the City and other areas Mindanao starting from the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD), the organic Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the expanded ARMM have been very consistent and steadfast.

He said everybody wants peace but emphasized that peace involves consultation with all sectors. “If we consider Zamboanga as one local government unit, as one sector then this is a sector that says we want peace, want ARMM to succeed but we don’t want to be part of the ARMM”.

Even Marawi City at one point in time, he said, voted to be not part of the ARMM and even the whole of Basilan province. “Were the residents of Marawi or its officials ever called spoilers or was the government or residents of Basilan ever called spoilers because they did not want to join the ARMM?”. Cotabato City at this point in time is not part of the ARMM, are the residents peace spoilers?”.

In the aspect of his appearance at the Supreme Court to supplement the arguments on the City’s protest against the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in 2008, Mayor Lobregat said the Zamboangueños saw that the agreement was really unconstitutional and that the protest was in defense of Zamboanga,
Mindanao, the Republic and the Constitution.

He emphasized that he and the Zamboangueños sincerely hope that a peace agreement will be reached between the government and the MILF but the agreement should be within the framework of the Constitution, will mean no dismemberment and consider the sentiments and stand of the Zamboanguenos and the residents of the other areas in Mindanao.

The MILF named Mayor Lobregat as number 2 in its list of “top 10 spoilers of GPH-MILF peace negotiation”. Number one in the list is former North Cotabato Governor Emmanuel Piñol,  while 3rd to 10th in the list are Former president Joseph Estrada, Inquirer Columnist Ramon Tulfo,  Iligan City Mayor Lawrence Cruz,  Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad, Cotabato City Bishop  Jose Colin Bagaforo, Malaya’s Dutch Paredes, Congressman Edcel Lagman and Sen. Francis Escudero. — Sheila Covarrubias