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.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

North Cotabato officials nix inclusion in expanded ARMM

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of North Cotabato province has passed a resolution, drafted by Vice-Governor Emmanuel Piñol, expressing strong and vehement opposition to the inclusion of the province and areas within its political jurisdiction in the reported plebiscite that would determine the territories of the expanded Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

North Cotabato’s SP also passed a resolution urging and authorizing Gov. Jesus Sacdalan to seek legal redress against the inclusion of the province of North Cotabato to the plebiscite to determine the areas to be included in the proposed expanded ARMM.

The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said on Wednesday they had hammered out long-standing differences on the ancestral domain of local Muslim communities, allowing for the resumption of peace talks stalled since December 2007.

The deal would expand ARMM, an area that was carved out in an agreement with another Muslim rebel group, the Moro National Liberation Front.

Previous referendum on ARMM rejected

In the referendum held last August 14, 2001 on the creation of ARMM, the people of North Cotabato overwhelmingly voted against the proposal to include the province in ARMM.

The present officials of the province said that there was no information dissemination nor consultation with the leaders and people of North Cotabato held before the province was included in the referendum last 2001.

Sacdalan said that he will do what is necessary with what the majority of the people of North Cotabato would agree upon.

Piñol however said that more than 92 percent of the people of the province had already expressed fear on the proposed inclusion of the province and were against joining an expanded ARMM.

Piñol however expressed his support to the on-going peace process. He said that they are already happy and satisfied with their current situation and that there is no need for expansion of the ARMM.

For self-determination

Eid Kabalu, a top official of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, meanwhile insisted that there is nothing to worry about the expansion of the ARMM

He said that the laws that will be implemented in their territory will only emphasize the right of the Bangsamoro people to self determination.

Tired of being war victims

Some Christian and Muslim residents in Aleosan town in North Cotabato where the government and MILF troops recently had an encounter meanwhile said that they have mixed opinions and emotions regarding the MILF’s "Bangsamoro juridical entity."

Maguindanaons Bai Landa Mabandas and Tikayan Makadato, fellow evacuees from Barangay Pagangan in Aleosan town said they want that the government should give the territory demanded by the MILF so that there will be lasting peace in Mindanao.

They said they are tired of being victims of war. They said they believe that giving land to the Bangsamoro people is the best solution to the Mindanao problem.

Meanwhile Cyril Cantomayor, Lito Canawigan and their friends in Barangay San Mateo in Aleosan which is a Christian barangay said that they do not want their land being included in the expanded ARMM nor in the Bangsamoro juridical entity as was demanded by the MILF.

They insisted that they have their own right, they have their land titles and they do not want to disrupt their way of living.

Butch Diagao, a farmer and a Muslim in Aleosan town, also said he does not want his land to be included in the expanded ARMM.

Diagao said it should be better for the Mindanaon's if the rebels would just cultivate their own land and strive for a clean living - instead of fighting for their demanded territory.

Consultations wanted

George Antoniego, a Christian and another resident of Barangay Pagangan said it would be better if the all sectors in North Cotabato, both Christians and Muslims, should be consulted first before any agreement will be done by the government and the MILF.

He said that if majority of the people in the province would want that the North Cotabato will be included in the expanded ARMM, so be it!

If not however, said Antoniego, the government and the MILF should follow the people's decision.(By JASPER ACOSTA; ABS-CBN Cotabato)

1 comment:

Gio said...

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