Vice Gov. Zubiri open to Moro sub-state

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/12 August) – Bukidnon Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. welcomed the idea of granting a sub-state to the Moro people as a solution to the 40-year old conflict in the region.

“The creation of the sub-state is the best solution so far. It has never been approached properly before,” Zubiri told reporters here Thursday, before meeting with mayors and vice mayors for his plan to form a local political party.

Zubiri made the statement after Mohagher Iqbal, MILF peace panel chair admitted to reporters in Manila that the MILF had incorporated the botched Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in its draft proposal to government.

The Supreme Court eventually ruled that the MOA-AD was unconstitutional.

In a statement, GPH peace panel chair Marvic Leonen said they prefer that negotiations with the MILF be done at the negotiating table rather than through the media.

“The contents of the MILF’s Revised Comprehensive Compact which may have references to their proposed sub-state or a reworking of the MOA-AD is entirely a position of the MILF and not that of the GPH. The GPH’s proposal to resolve the conflict in Mindanao will be presented to the MILF on August 22,” he said.

“In our view, the MILF’s release of details of their proposal is part of their effort to check the sentiment of various publics for their current positions,” he added in the statement emailed to the media Thursday by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

“This is also giving them what they want – to govern themselves,” Zubiri said of the proposed sub-state.

But he clarified that the two panels should agree that the territorial composition of the sub-state will be subjected to a plebiscite to make it constitutional.

Back in 2008, Zubiri, citing alleged lack of consultation by the government peace panel, had opposed the inclusion of Barangay Pamotolon in Kalilangan, a town that borders Lanao del Sur even if, like other areas listed in the MOA-AD, it would also undergo a plebiscite.

Pamotolon was identified as one of the 735 villages in the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity under Category A or those that will go through a plebiscite had the signing of the MOA-AD pushed through. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)