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Monday, July 15, 2024

Secessionists to face full force of the law, says DOJ

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The Department of Justice on Monday warned those advocating for the secession of Mindanao or other parts of the country that they will face the full force of the law.

The DOJ said it “stands firmly against any attempts to undermine the unity and territorial integrity of the Philippines, as enshrined in the Constitution” after former President Rodrigo Duterte broached the possibility of Mindanao seceding from the Philippines.

“Secession is regarded as contrary to the principles of our democratic society, as stated in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution.”

“As the principal law agency of the executive branch, the DOJ remains committed to protecting our sovereignty and upholding the sanctity of the highest law of the land,” the department added.

The Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) and League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) also called on national and local authorities for a “united and undivided” government.

“We believe that the entire nation, including Mindanao, with its abundant resources and untapped potential, can flourish through cooperative and collective efforts,” ULAP national president Quirino Gov. Dax Cua said in a statement.

In a separate statement, the LCP also voiced its support for a united government amid Duterte’s statement on a possible secession of Mindanao.

“The League of Cities of the Philippines supports the Department of the Interior and Local Government in its call for a united country to continue our achievements in peace, progress, and prosperity,” LCP president Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said.

“We cannot overemphasize the importance of working together, of moving as one, propelled by our genuine concern for the plight of our fellow Filipinos. Now, more than ever, we should be guided by compassion and sensitivity to attain progress together,” he added.

Earlier, National Security Adviser Eduardo Año joined the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and political leaders over the weekend in denouncing attempts to dismember the country.

Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim of BARMM – a region formed after peace talks with secessionist Moro Islamic rebels – called on the public to protect the gains of the peace process.

“Let us continue to support the current administration and allow peace and civility to reign over the affairs of our land,” Ebrahim said.

Año emphasized on Sunday the government will do everything to prevent any attempt to break the country apart, as many Cabinet and Mindanao leaders have already rejected the call made by Duterte to separate the southern region through a people’s initiative campaign.

“The National Government will not hesitate to use its authority and forces to quell and stop any and all attempts to dismember the Republic,” said Año, who also heads the National Security Council.

“Any attempt to secede any part of the Philippines will be met by the government with resolute force, as it remains steadfast in securing the sovereignty and integrity of the national territory,” added Año, who served as the Interior secretary and Armed Forces chief of staff during the Duterte administration.

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