‘No to Bangsamoro’ — Zambo stakeholders PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 February 2014 12:18

Walkout mars public forum

Zamboangueños yesterday boldly reaffirmed their stand on the Bangsamoro issue declaring that the city and the 98 component barangays and its municipal waters, should be excluded in the Bangsamoro.

This declaration was repeatedly made in an emotionally-charged public forum on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its annexes spearheaded by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) at a local hotel and attended by the various stakeholders led by Mayor Beng Climaco, Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde and members of the City Council.

At one point, a group of participants, mostly occupying the back seat walked out from the forum when one of the BTC commissioners- Akmad repeatedly enjoined Zamboangueños to join the Bangsamoro territory, stressing that Zamboanga will surely be very progressive and an advanced city that people wish it to be.

Mohagher Igbal of the MILF led the 15-man commission in answering the numerous questions and concerns raised by the various stakeholders during the forum that lasted for almost two hours.

On the suggestion that the government and MILF reach out to other groups such as the MNLF and all other secessionist groups to ensure an inclusive and comprehensive peace pact, Igbal said “it’s an ideal thing to happen but it’s an impossible thing to do”.

Igbal likewise said that the framework agreement is clear on the delineation of territories on land but is silent on territorial waters. This was in answer to queries related to contiguous areas on land and water.

Mayor Climaco in her statement delved on the historical context citing the numerous unfortunate incidents and threats confronting the city related to the peace talks and also presented recommendations.

She urged the people and stakeholders to thoroughly evaluate and study the framework agreement and its annexes.    “We in the City Government continuously study the implications of the foregoing agreements to the city, as this is something we should thread on very prudently.”

For the MILF leadership, the mayor urged  “take full supervision and control of their members—it should educate, act appropriately and immediately instruct its members to cease and desist from performing any and all acts that may derail the peace process and the tranquillity of communities whether within and specifically outside of the core territory under Framework Agreement such as Zamboanga City to ensure that the processes toward just and lasting peace will succeed.”

She likewise called on the OPAPP to continue with dialogues not only with the MILF but also MNLF and all other groups in order to come up with an inclusive peace agreement that none would be left behind in building a better Mindanao for children and an agreement that recognizes among others, the sovereignty of the Republic and the aspirations of the people for “ONE ZAMBOANGA CITY, UNITED AND NOT DIVIDED 98 BARANGAYS”.

She also urged the OPAPP to immediately act on reported MILF presence in areas outside the identified Bangsamoro core territory; come up with protocols to guide LGUs outside the core territory of the Bangsamoro on how to address the presence of groups or individuals who allege themselves to be MILF members in conduct of activities and provide a unit in OPAPP to respond to concerns and issues arising from unauthorized activities, recruitments in LGUs.

“We are an example of failure of the peace accord—the result of which is the HUMANITARIAN CRISIS.  Do your work to ensure that no group is left behind. We all have to do our share in peace building. We all have to work for the success of the PEACE ACCORD because we owe it to the Moslems, Lumads and Christian children to have Security, Health, Education and a Better Future”, the mayor added.

Aside from Igbal, the other BTC members present were Robert Alonto, Abdulla Camlian, Ibrahim Ali, Raissa Jajurie, Melanio U. Ulama, Hussein Munoz and Said Shiek from the MILF side and Akmad Sakkam, Johaira Wahab, Talib Benito, Asani Tammang, Pedrito Eisma, Froilyn Mendoza and Fatmawati Salapuddin, the 7-man contingent from the government.

The BTC did not make presentations regarding the FAB and the annexes but only answered queries and concerns raised by the various stakeholders for reasons that Zamboanga City, according to the commission is not included in the Bagsamoro territory. — Sheila Covarrubias