Mindanao secession 'contradicts constitution,' solons say

Mindanao secession ‘won’t stand, contradicts constitution,’ solons say

By: - Reporter / @FArgosinoINQ
/ 12:00 PM February 11, 2024

Mindanao secession 'won't stand, contradicts constitution,' solons say


MANILA, Philippines — Former President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for Mindanao’s secession from the Philippines “contradicts the constitution” and would deepen divisions among Filipinos who are already “grappling with post-pandemic challenges,” according to some lawmakers.

In separate statements issued on Sunday, more members of the House of Representatives opposed Duterte’s call for Mindanao’s independence. For instance, 1-Rider Partylist Representative Rodge Gutierrez said the division would only affect Mindanao’s economic stability and growth and the rest of the Philippines.


“The constitution is clear: Article I provides for our National Territory; we are one archipelago. There is no constitutional provision or any other legal means that would allow for Mindanao to unilaterally secede.” Gutierrez,  a member of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, said.


“If we allow our nation to be divided, it would undermine our solidarity with each other as Filipinos. It would disrupt economic stability and hinder growth opportunities for both Mindanao and the rest of the country,” he added.

Gutierrez also emphasized the need to retain national unity, which he said is crucial for collective economic and social development.

For his part, La Union Rep. 1st District Rep. Francisco Paolo Ortega said, “a divided house cannot stand,” citing a biblical verse from Matthew 12:25 as his basis.

“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,” Ortega, a member of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety, said.

“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,” he likewise pointed out.

“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,” the lawmaker furthered.


Similarly, Lanao del Sur 1st District Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong opposed the division, stressing that officials should no longer subject Mindanao to another conflict “which would exacerbate barely healed trauma from past experiences.”

“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, a member of the House Committees on Mindanao Affairs and on Muslim Affairs, said.

Aside from this, the lawmaker also highlighted the achievements of the peace process being undertaken by the current administration, saying that after decades of bloody conflict, the MNLF (the Moro National Liberation Front) and MILF (the Moro Islamic Liberation Front) have halted their revolutionary movements and lend their hands to the government in line with the country’s unity.

READ: More officials oppose Mindanao secession

He also pointed out that Mindanao, which is the second largest island in the country, has been fully represented in government — with Duterte and Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, both hailing from Mindanao and Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.

READ: Duterte now wants ‘separate, independent’ Mindanao

Last month, Duterte expressed his dissatisfaction over the actions taken by the current administration, particularly the talks on amending the constitution through people’s initiative.

According to the former president, local political forces would be regrouping within the region to start a movement for a separate and independent Mindanao, adding that the separation won’t be bloody and will follow processes established by the United Nations.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

On the other hand, Alvarez suggested that Mindanao is in a “toxic relationship” with the Philippines and should break up with it, as he pointed out that the country is now a “sinking ship” due to a lack of reforms and budgetary woes.

TAGS: Mindanao, Secession

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.