Alvarez on secession: Mindanao is being left behind | Inquirer News

Alvarez on secession: Mindanao is being left behind

/ 01:55 PM February 13, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — While he understands the different opinions of fellow lawmakers from Mindanao, former speaker and Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez believes the Mindanao secession proposal is warranted because the southern provinces are being exploited by businesses up north.

Alvarez in a statement on Tuesday said that Mindanao has been left behind in different aspects, including in the annual budgeting where low priority was supposedly given to the area.

The former Speaker and his long-time ally, former President Rodrigo Duterte, are pushing for the secession of Mindanao in protest of the current administration’s policies.  The proposal however has encountered flak for being divisive, with several sectors believing such a movement is impossible.


“Ginagalang natin ang kanilang pananaw. Mga kaibigan natin sila, at ang puso nila ay Mindanoan din. Alam nila kung paano napagiwanan ang Mindanao. Ang national government, kinukuha ang resources, pinagkakakitaan, tapos kapirangot lang ibinabalik,” Alvarez said.


(We respect their views, they are also our friends, and their hearts are for Mindanao too. They know how Mindanao has been left behind. The national government gets its resources and earns from it, but returns little to Mindanao.)

“Kitang-kita ‘yan sa budget appropriations. Alangan naman kami na ‘yung naholdap, tapos ngayon magrereklamo ang national government kapag kami naman ay magsabi, ‘Teka lang, tama na, sobra na,’” he added.

(That can be seen in the budget appropriations.  It’s as if we got robbed, then the national government complains when we say, “Wait, that’s enough, it’s too much.”)

Even if there are lawmakers from Mindanao, Alvarez said that the wish list of solons was not acted upon because these were removed during the bicameral conference committee finalizing the annual budget.

“Sabi nila may representation ang Mindanao sa Congress, at kasalanan ng kongresistang Mindanoan na hindi naisasama ang kailangan ng kanilang mga distrito sa GAA (General Appropriations Act).  Mali ‘yan.  Kahit andiyan kami, sa kaduluduluhan ng proseso, ang magdedesisyon ng budget ay isang maliit na grupo na tinatawag na Bicameral Conference Committee,” Alvarez said.

(They said Mindanao is represented in Congress, and it is the fault of Mindanaoan lawmakers why the people’s needs are not included in the GAA.  That’s wrong, even if we are there, the decisions on the budget are made by a small group called the Bicameral Conference Committee.)


Alvarez then asked if there are mining operations in Metro Manila, as mining operations are being conducted in Mindanao but the profits are enjoyed by people in Luzon.

However, the environmental impact of these operations — like the recent flooding that affected the Davao Region — is only felt by people in Mindanao.

“Totoo yang practice na yan; tingnan ninyo ang pinagkaiba ng NEP (National Expenditures Program) sa GAA. Kitang-kita. Ganyan ang ginagawa nila sa Mindanao. Magbibigay ang mga representante ng Mindanao ng wish list sa national government, kasama na flood protection projects, pero hindi pagbibigyan,” Alvarez said.

(That’s a real practice; take a look at the difference between the NEP and GAA. It’s obvious.  That’s what they do to Mindanao — representatives give a wish list to the national government, including the flood protection projects, but it was not granted.)

“Tapos yung mga mining companies, kukunin yung resources ng Mindanao, at kalakihan ng revenue mapunta sa NCR. May nakita ka na ba butas ng mina diyan sa Pasig o sa Makati? ‘Di ba wala naman. Pero sila ang kumikita. Tapos kapag may sakuna, kami ‘yung namamatayan ng kapwa Mindanoan. Papaano naging tama yun?” he asked.

(Then mining companies would get the resources of Mindanao, and most of the revenues would go to NCR.  Have you seen a hole for mining in Pasig or Makati?  There’s none, right?  But they get the profits.  Then, when there is a calamity, our people from Mindanao die?  How is that right?)

Alvarez did not mention any lawmaker in particular, but last January 31, four Mindanao-based solons — Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe of Zamboanga City, Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, and Camiguin Rep. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo — said seceding would not give Mindanao benefits as of now.

READ: Solons: Mindanao splitting from PH impossible now, not beneficial

Earlier, Lanao del Sur 1st District Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong also warned people calling for Mindanao’s secession just because of petty politics that it insults the memory of good Moro fighters and Filipino soldiers who died fighting for freedom.

Adiong urged leaders in Mindanao to be more circumspect and refrain from using secession as a “political slogan,” adding that the least people can do for those who have died is “to honor their memories and keep this country intact.”

The call for a separate Mindanao republic stemmed from Duterte and Alvarez, as the two Mindanaoan leaders are not happy with the actions taken by the current administration.

Duterte mentioned the idea of secession after the rally in Davao City, where he openly criticized President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

In a briefing streamed by SMNI on its Facebook page, Duterte said that he does not need help from the government regarding the complaints filed against him before the International Criminal Court (ICC) because probers can only access the Philippines — indicating that Mindanao would no longer be part of the country.

However, several lawmakers and legal experts believe such a call is almost impossible, as the Philippine military will rise to defend the country’s territorial integrity.

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READ: More officials oppose Mindanao secession

TAGS: Alvarez, Mindanao

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