Celso to MILF, MNLF: ‘Peace be with you and please leave us in peace’ PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 24 January 2014 13:58

District 1 Congressman Celso Lobregat last Tuesday stood on a matter of privilege to bring to the attention of his colleagues in the House of Representatives about the establishment of an MILF political office and cooperative in Barangay Cawit amid the finalization of a peace agreement with the government.

Lobregat said the issue cropped up barely  a few months after MNLF forces loyal to Nur Misuari  disturbed the peace in Zamboanga last September 9 causing lives and destruction to properties.

“The memories, or better said, the nightmares are still vivid. The wounds are fresh and just starting to heal and the scars have not yet even been formed. But yet again, Zamboanga City is now being threatened and disturbed—this time by the MILF,” Lobregat said showing on power point presentation a letter from the MILF to Cawit barangay chairman Rey Modillas concerning the putting up of the Bangsamoro Political Affairs Office in the said barangay.

The letter was signed by Sultan Imam Akub Asta, who claimed to be the Vice Chairman of the Bangsamoro 3rd District of Zamboanga City, Julsalin Morsalin the supposed mayor of the Bangsamoro Political Entity (3rd District of Zamboanga) and Alex Daris, the supposed barangay chairman of the Bangsamoro Political Entity in Cawit and several others.

The signatories, according to the solon, also claimed that they were mandated by the central committee of the MILF Bangsamoro political entity of the 3rd District of Zamboanga City and that President Aquino has already approved the basic law.

Lobregat in his speech said there are only 2 legislative districts in Zamboanga City and there is no 3rd district. “There is only one mayor of Zamboanga City, Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco and there can be no two barangay chairmen of Barangay Cawit”.

He reported that the matter has been brought up to OPAPP and the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) as he showed by the letter to the MILF CCH Chairman Abbas Salung from BGen Cesar Dionisio Sedillo Jr., AFP. Chairman GPH CCCH, requesting for comments on the establishment of a Bangsamoro Political Office and comments and Women’s Sectoral West Coast Office in barangay Cawit.

The congressman also spoke about the dialogue held in Cawit last January 17 between the International Monitoring Team, OPAPP-AHJAG, City Government and Cawit Barangay Council and the concerned MILF members, what transpired during the meeting and the recommendations of the IMT and OPAPP.

“Zamboanga City has already spoken twice when its people voted overwhelmingly not to be part of the ARMM in 1989 and 2001. The City of Zamboanga and its people have already suffered more than enough during the Cabatangan siege in November 27, 2001 and the Zamboanga Crisis starting last September 9, 2013,” Lobregat pronounced.

The Zamboanga solon requested that the OPAPP and the GPH panel conduct “true and genuine consultations prior to the signing of what remains in the peace agreement and not just to inform the stakeholders after the agreements have been signed”.

As Lobregat was addressing Congress related to the MILF issue, the GPH panel was meeting with the MILF group in Kuala Lumpur “and they have not consulted any of the officials of Zamboanga City including myself, concerning the provisions and proposals that would be taken”.

“To the MILF and MNLF, we sincerely say Peace be with you and please leave us in peace,” the District 1 solon declared.  He requested that his privilege speech be referred to the Committees on Local Government, Special Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity and the Committee on National Defense and Security and for said committees to immediately conduct committee hearings before it is too late.

Last July 30, 2013, Lobregat also delivered a privilege speech entitled “Deja Vu” as an offshoot of the July 25, 2013 incident when Zamboanga City residents were alerted by the presence of Misuari and his men at his residence in San Roque where the MNLF leader was supposed to declare independence due if the government pushes with the closure of the GRP-MNLF 1996 Final Peace Accord to accommodate the framework agreement for Bangsamoro (FAB) of the MILF.

The speech of July 30, 2013 was entitled Deja Vu as it was over 12 years ago when Lobregat, then a member of the House of ‘Representatives also delivered a privilege speech entitled “In defense of the President, the Republic and the Constitution” also expressing the sentiments of the Zamboanguenos on the peace  negotiations between the government and the secessionist groups. — Rey Carbonel