More lawmakers reject ex-Pres. Duterte’s secession call
Some members of the House of Representatives urged former President Rodrigo Duterte and ex-Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Sunday to abandon their push for an independent Mindanao, calling the move unconstitutional, reckless, illogical and divisive.
Echoing the President’s stand against a separate South, House Assistant Majority Leader and Lanao del Sur Rep. Zia Adiong said the South has long been an integral part of the nation, with its rich cultural heritage and diverse population contributing significantly to the country’s identity.
“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,” he stressed, adding, “To entertain notions of secession undermines the unity and stability that our country has worked so hard to maintain.”
“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 said.
According to him, Duterte, Alvarez and their supporters should abandon their “divisive” agenda and work toward strengthening the bonds of unity and cooperation among Filipinos.
1-Rider party list Rep. Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez also pointed out that Duterte and Alvarez’s proposal for the secession of Mindanao was against the Constitution.
“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,” he said.
The member of the House committee on constitutional amendments added that such a move would have adverse effects. “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 said.
Gutierrez was also surprised over the claim of Duterte and Alvarez that Mindanao has been neglected, asking, “Wasn’t Mindanao well represented during their terms?” Alvarez served as Speaker under Duterte until he was ousted in July 2018, allegedly due to the maneuverings of the President’s daughter, then Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
La Union Rep. Francisco Paolo Ortega V added his voice to those opposed to a separate South, saying it was crucial “that we uphold the unity and integrity of our nation.”
“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 said.
According to Ortega, “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.”
Instead of resorting to divisive measures, he suggested that they “engage in constructive dialogue and address the legitimate concerns of Mindanaoans through inclusive governance and meaningful reforms.” INQ