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Monday, February 26, 2024

More lawmakers urge Duterte, Alvarez to drop secession bid

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Lanao del Sur Rep. Zia Alonso Adiong on Sunday urged former President Rodrigo Duterte and ex-Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez to abandon their “unconstitutional” efforts to secede Mindanao from the Philippines.

La Union Rep. Francisco Paolo Ortega also called on Duterte to be patriotic enough and reconsider his call for separating Mindanao from the country, citing the Biblical warning that a divided house cannot stand alone.

“This attempt to separate Mindanao from the Philippines is not only unconstitutional but also a blatant disrespect to our duly constituted authority. We cannot allow the integrity of our nation to be compromised by such reckless actions,” Adiong stressed.

The Lanao lawmaker is a member of the House Committees on Mindanao Affairs and on Muslim Affairs.

Lawmakers should not subject Mindanao to another conflict that would exacerbate barely healed trauma from past experiences, he added.

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Adiong underscored the need to respect the Constitution and democratic processes that have shaped the nation.

According to him, the pursuit of Mindanao’s separation from the Philippines is a direct contradiction to the principles enshrined in the Constitution.

“President Marcos has unequivocally stated that such an undertaking is unconstitutional, and as a nation, we must honor and respect his position as the duly elected leader,” Adiong said.

The Muslim legislator highlighted the major leaps and accomplishments of the peace process being undertaken by the government.

He pointed out that after decades of bloody conflict, the Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic Liberation Front have halted their own revolutionary movements to lend their voices and hands to the great project of a stronger, more unified Philippines.

“The fact that Mindanaoans have held prominent positions in the highest offices of the land is a testament to their integral role within the Philippine nation. To entertain notions of secession undermines the unity and stability that our country has worked so hard for to maintain,” Adiong said.

Ortega, meanwhile, said: “Let us remember the wisdom of the Scriptures: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.’ It is crucial that we uphold the unity and integrity of our nation.”

A secessionist movement would only deepen divisions among Filipinos already grappling with the post-COVID-19 pandemic challenges, he added.

“The call for Mindanao’s separation at this critical juncture will only exacerbate the divisions and challenges our country is facing. Instead, we should be focusing on fostering unity and rebuilding our nation,” Ortega warned.

He underscored the significance of maintaining unity within the nation, particularly in the face of various socio-political and economic challenges.

“As we navigate through these challenging times, it is imperative that we stand together as one nation, regardless of our differences. Division only weakens us, while unity strengthens our resolve to overcome adversity,” he said.

“Mindanao has been an integral part of the Philippines since its inception, contributing significantly to our nation’s cultural diversity and economic prosperity. Any attempt to separate it from the rest of the country undermines its historical and cultural significance,” he raised.

He underscored the need for dialogue and inclusive governance to address the grievances and aspirations of Mindanaoans.

“Instead of resorting to divisive measures, we should engage in constructive dialogue and address the legitimate concerns of Mindanaoans through inclusive governance and meaningful reforms,” he maintained.

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