Celso stays firm on Bangsamoro issue PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 20 January 2014 13:02

“Rest assured that when the Basic Law of the Bangsamoro is filed in Congress we shall be at the forefront expressing the sentiments and protecting the interest of the people and the City of Zamboanga, whose sole desire is to have an honorable, just and lasting peace in Mindanao”.

Thus emphasized District 1 Congressman Celso Lobregat in his speech before members of the City Council during the State of the City Report last January 15, as he gave an account of his activities in Congress aimed at expressing the sentiments of the Zamboangueños on the ongoing peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

He vowed to do his best to be Zamboanga’s “bridge” and “voice” in the hallowed halls of Congress. “Our work is cut out for us in order to bring to Congress the concerns and needs of Zamboanga. Now more than ever, we will be working with you, so that the work you are doing here on the ground will get the support it needs from the national government.”

Forty one days before the September 9 siege, Lobregat delivered a privilege speech in Congress on July 30 asking the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the GPH negotiating panel to address the issues brought about by Nur Misuari concerning the tripartite review process and the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro with the MILF.

The speech entitled “Deja Vu” was prompted by the July 25 stalled declaration of an independent state by Misuari and his people in Zamboanga City which caused tension and alarm among residents. The speech title was also brought about by the fact that it was over 12 years ago when Lobregat, then a member of Congress delivered a privilege speech entitled “In defense of the President, the Constitution and the Republic” where he brought to the attention of the House of Representatives the agreement of peace between the GRP and the MILF.

He said this Agreement was signed on June 22, 2001 in Tripoli, Libya without consultation with the stakeholders of Mindanao. This Agreement served as the road map and basis of the peace negotiations including the failed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) and Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE).

In his privilege speech 12 years ago, Lobregat stated “On the onset, let me state very clearly and explicitly that I, like any other Mindanaoan, am for the attainment of an honorable, just, and lasting peace in Mindanao. We are all in search for that ever elusive peace in Mindanao and we are all for the end of any and all armed hostilities.”

He ended the July 25, 2001 privilege speech this wise: “Some may say that this Agreement of Peace has brought about the temporary cessation of armed hostilities. A sort of putting out of sporadic bush fires in Central Mindanao amidst the many problems our government is facing. But this same Agreement of Peace may be the very instrument that will bring about the conflagration of the entire Mindanao, a blazing inferno with international repercussions affecting the Republic.”

In his July 30, 2013 speech the District 1 solon highlighted the events of the GRP-MILF peace process from July 25, 2001 to July 25, 2013 the day when Nur Misuari, disturbed the normalcy and tranquility of Zamboanga City by conducting his activities in the City and  threatening to declare independence should the Government pursue to put a closure to the tripartite review process.

He ended his July 30, 2013 privilege speech by stating that “Zamboanga City has twice voted overwhelmingly not to be part of the ARMM. To Nur Misuari we say, please conduct your activities and make your pronouncements in areas of the ARMM and not in Zamboanga City.”

He requested the OPAPP and the GPH negotiating panel to address the issues brought about by Misuari concerning the tripartite review process and the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro with the MILF. To his colleagues in Congress, specifically to the would be members of the Committee on Peace and Reconciliation he said: “Like it or not, the reality is there already is an existing Organic Law on the ARMM—and to put in place the Basic Law on Bangsamoro, the provisions of R.A. 9054 have to be complied with.”

“To have an honorable, just and lasting peace in Mindanao, we cannot simply have another peace agreement this time with the MILF without the inclusion and conformity of other stakeholders of Mindanao including Misuari’s MNLF”, Lobregat ended his July 30, 2013 privilege speech. — Rey Carbonel