June 25, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

57 solons sign manifesto rejecting ex-President Duterte’s call for secession

A TOTAL of 57 members of the House of Representatives — 53 of whom are from Mindanao — signed a Unified Manifesto for National Integrity and Development that rejects, in no uncertain terms, the proposal of former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for an independent Mindanao.

The manifesto was signed by 53 Mindanao lawmakers, three party-list representatives, and one House member from the Visayas, all refusing to heed calls for a Mindanao secession.

“We signed the manifesto as one voice, one nation, rejecting all calls for the secession of Mindanao. We will not be a party to an unconstitutional proposal to break the territorial integrity of the Philippines. We make our intentions known, as Mindanao lawmakers,” said Lanao del Norte 1st District Rep. Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo, one of the signatories and also the chair of the House Committee on Muslim Affairs.

Duterte and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez called for an independent Mindanao, which has drawn so much criticism and flak from so many sectors in the Philippines.

“We, the elected representatives of Mindanao in the House of Representatives, firmly oppose the calls for the secession of Mindanao from the Republic of the Philippines. Our stance is deeply rooted in our belief in national unity, the power of inclusive development, and the promise of a peaceful, progressive future for all Filipinos, including the indigenous people of Mindanao,” the manifesto read.

“Mindanao’s vibrant cultural diversity represents the nation’s broader principle of unity in diversity. We stand for fostering understanding and collaboration across all communities within the framework of the Republic, enriching our shared national identity and heritage,” it added.

The lawmakers acknowledged the critical role of Mindanao in the national economy, with an appreciation of the “significant steps taken by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to prioritize development in our region.”

“His administration’s focus on enhancing infrastructure, agricultural revitalization, and economic empowerment in Mindanao is pivotal. These efforts aim to ensure that progress reaches every corner of Mindanao, contributing to the nation’s overall growth and stability,” the manifesto said.

“Our pursuit of peace and security is aligned with the government’s commitment to reconciliation and the empowerment of the BARMM. We believe that lasting peace is achieved through dialogue, mutual respect, and inclusive governance, under the banner of our sovereign nation,” it stressed.

They said that the challenges facing Mindanao and the entire country demand collective action and shared responsibility. 

“We commend the Marcos administration’s dedication to addressing disparities and fostering a more inclusive development model. These initiatives reinforce our conviction that the aspirations of Mindanaoans for autonomy, recognition and development can be realized more effectively within the context of a united and sovereign Philippines,” they said in the document.

The members of the House of Representatives also expressed unwavering commitment to the importance of upholding the Constitution and the rule of law. 

“We call for the diligent prosecution of all individuals and entities fostering disunity among our people, blatantly violating our Constitution, and threatening the sovereign integrity of our nation,” the manifesto stated.

“Such actions not only undermine our democratic principles, the peace and security of our communities, and the collective welfare of the Filipino people but also betrays our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same, imposing upon ourselves this solemn obligation voluntarily, without mental reservation and purpose of evasion,” it added.

“It is therefore imperative that we stand together to protect our constitutional democracy through legal means, ensuring that those who seek to divide us are held accountable under the full extent of the law,” they said. 

The three party-list representatives who also signed the manifesto along with the 53 Mindanao lawmakers are Kabayan Rep. Ron Salo, PBA Rep. Margarita “Migs” Nograles, and Kusug Tausug Rep. Shernee Tan-Tambut.

Biliran Rep. Gerardo Espina Jr. was also a signatory to the manifesto.

“The path to a prosperous Mindanao lies not in secession but in unity, inclusive growth, and the relentless pursuit of peace. We call upon our fellow Mindanaoans, Filipinos across the nation, and the international community to join us in supporting a vision of a united, equitable, and thriving Philippines,” the manifesto expresses.

“Let us work hand in hand to overcome challenges, celebrate our diversity, and secure a brighter future for Mindanao and the entire country,” it added.