Itu tells new ARMM drafters to ensure abuse-free law PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 10:45

The projected signing of a peace agreement between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) before President Aquino’s term ends in 2016, is starting to create anxieties among neighbors as to how the powers and privileges vested upon the new Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) could impact their respective sovereignty.

Here in Zamboanga City, even Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde eager to know as to  what extent the MNLF-led juridical entity could stretch its authority, especially, in the aspect of exercising control over their natural resources.

This, after both government and MILF panels mutually agreed on a 75-25% share of natural resources, in favor of the juridical entity.

“While the government considers the signing of this (new) peace agreement a breakthrough, we, the concerned neighbors, while appreciating such development, also have our own share of worrying as to what effects the new juridical entity’s powers and authority could bring to us,” explained Iturralde.

The vice mayor was referring to possible abuses of these powers, which may likely reach even the non-member cities or provinces surrounding ARMM.

The vice mayor is appealing to the transitory committee, which is now drafting the new ARMM’s organic act to ensure that surrounding neighbors will be amply protected, once the powers and authority clothed upon the juridical entity starts working within its supposed areas of coverage.

The city council’s presiding officer said that safety nets should be provided to ensure that non-ARMM areas can not be easily encroached by any of the juridical entity’s laws.

“May they (transitory committee) clearly distinguish non-ARMM areas like Zamboanga City, from ARMM’s, to avoid encroachment, as well as, abuses in the future,” Iturralde said.

Some of the things Iturralde hopes to be considered are for ARMM to avoid touching  the city’s natural and marine resources while in the course of exploring their own and frequenting Zamboanga with countless fully-armed bodyguards.

The present ARMM comprises the provinces of Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan, respectively.

Zamboanga City has twice voted to be out of ARMM in two succeeding past plebiscites. — Philip Abuy