MILF to Zamboanga City officials: Let Moros decide their destiny

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/04 September) – The Moros living in this city should be given a free hand in deciding their destiny, Khaled Musa, deputy chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) information committee said.

Musa issued the statement in reaction to the recently-approved city council resolution strongly calling on the government panel in peace talks with the MILF to exclude this city from the proposed Bangsamoro Sub-State.

“Why are you so afraid; let the Moros decide their destiny. If they want to dissociate themselves from their fellow Moros, it is fine. But it is not for you to determine and suppress,” Musa, whose statement was posted Thursday on the MILF website, said.

The resolution strongly calling on the exclusion of Zamboanga City from the proposed Bangsamoro Sub-State was sponsored by Councilor Rogelio Valesco, and was unanimously approved during the City Council’s regular session last August 17.

The resolution was addressed to GPH peace panel chair Marvic Leonen and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles.

House Deputy Speaker for Mindanao and Zamboanga City first district Rep. Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar and second district Rep. Erico Basilio Fabian received copies of the resolution.

Valesco said that he fully supports the peace talks between the GPH and the MILF, but that any agreement that may be forged should be the product of respect and transparency.

Musa described the plebiscites conducted in 1989 and 2001 as examples of tyranny of the majority over the minority, saying those were based on provinces and cities, not towns, villages or geographical areas as the Organic Law creating the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) intended.

“We do not want the veto power of Filipinos over the Moros,” Musa protested, adding that only Moros, in this particular instance, have the right to self-determination.

The 1989 plebiscite was held to determine what provinces and cities wanted to be part of the ARMM, and the 2001 plebiscite the provinces and cities to be included in the expansion of the autonomous region.

On these two plebiscites, the residents of Zamboanga overwhelmingly voted against the proposal to include them in the ARMM.

Musa reminded the local officials that the Zamboanga Peninsula particularly Zamboanga City used to be part of the Moro Province.

Musa added that at one time Zamboanga City was the capital of the Moro Province, and “it is only proper that the Moros there would be asked to determine their choice.” (MindaNews)

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