Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

ARMM governor tells RP, US execs: Consult us on war games

COTABATO CITY – Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) urged national government and US Embassy officials to consult local leaders before holding war games in the region.

Ampatuan said this would avoid misunderstanding and protests.

“There is no substitute for dialogue and consultation, we get to understand each other to avoid confusion,” he said.

Ampatuan issued the call in the wake of mounting opposition against the conduct of the Balikatan in Lanao del Sur. The exercises will start next week, according to information coming from the military.

Earlier, Lanao del Sur officials, led by Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr., said the government failed to consult them about the conduct of the exercises.

Adiong said they felt that the government decision to hold some of the Balikatan exercises in Lanao del Sur without consulting them first showed that the government did not value their opinion.

Because of this, he said Lanao del Sur officials wanted the conduct of the Balikatan scrapped.
The ARMM’s Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) formalized its opposition to the conduct of the Balikatan in Lanao del Sur with the passage of a resolution.

Ampatuan said while his administration is not opposed to any humanitarian projects under the Balikatan, the lack of consultation with local leaders has triggered the opposition.

“We are grateful for all (that) the US government had done in the Muslim region but proper coordination and consultations are necessary for the smooth flow of the activity,” Ampatuan said.
In Iligan City, organizers of an anti-Balikatan protest said authorities have asked them to defer their activity following Sunday evening’s bomb blast there.

Hadji Abdullah Dalidig, of the Muslim Multi-sectoral Movement for Peace and Development, said Iligan Mayor Lawrence Cruz told them to postpone the protest while the police were still trying to figure out the motive behind the bombing that wounded six people.

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