Celso to Misuari: ‘ Not in Zambo’ PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 27 July 2013 14:13

District 1 Congressman Celso Lobregat yesterday appealed to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari, to spare Zamboanga City from his activities, such as last Thursday’s press conference in his residence in Barangay San Roque, which incidentally caused apprehension and panic among residents, due to his followers’ presence in the area.
In a hurriedly-called press briefing, Lobregat said, “my concern is the heightened alert which Zamboanga City is into right now, due to his (Misuari’s) presence here. Although his followers are unarmed, I do not wish to refresh in the minds of Zamboanguenos about the horrors of Cabatangan siege in 2001 caused by MNLF fighters, their supporters and followers”.
Lobregat, who was the city’s lone congressional representative during the November 27, 2001 Cabatangan siege, said that “my request to Chairman Misuari, if he wants to  conduct any activity, especially, relative to his grievance over the present peace negotiations between Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine government, do it within Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), or in Jolo (Sulu), where he ran as governor in past elections”.
Lobregat admitted to have been surprised by Misuari’s presence and subsequent media press conference here, which he describes to be ‘inappropriate’.
“When I saw a national TV crew aboard the same plane that I boarded Thursday, I asked them as to who or what are they covering here. I was really surprised when they told me it is the press conference of Chairman Misuari”, Lobregat recounted.
In a prepared statement, Misuari called on the Philippine government to put a closure to its present peace negotiations with the MILF, as it violates the 1996 peace agreement that the state signed with then MNLF.
However, Lobregat explained that under the new Bangsamoro state, Misuari’s MNLF automatically becomes one of the stakeholders and that “the present peace talks can not simply do away with the present ARMM, without going through similar process, that said autonomous region was created”.
“When the 16th congress starts crafting the new organic act, creating a new Bangsamoro, I will make sure to protect the interest of Zamboanguenos, who opted to be out of ARMM twice, and same protection goes along with MNLF and the present ARMM, for them to exercise whatever rights due them under the constitution”.
Lobregat said he will ask the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and GRP to address the issue of Misuari’s constant expression of grievances over the present peace talks, “and one of these actions was that one held here last Thursday”.
He also vowed to suggest to the two panels (GRP and MILF), to include the MNLF in their negotiations. — Philip Abuy