ARMM governor turns emotional as Cayetano slams MILF’s ‘terrorist acts’
MANILA, Philippines—Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hataman became emotional at a Senate hearing on Thursday after Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano admonished the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for using arms, violence and sometimes even resorting to “terrorist acts.”
Cayetano, directing his statements to MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, condemned the group’s use of violence in its “struggle for self-determination.”
“I don’t deny the injustice done to the Bangsamoro people, what I’m saying is that biktima ng kalupitan ng giyera ang mga taga Luzon at Visayas but in the last 20 years , ang MILF at ang rebelyon n’yo ang nagiging biktima ay kapwa ny’o Filipino sa Mindanao. Dahil kung hindi kayo gumamit ng dahas sa inyong struggle for self-determination, equal naman dapat ang Mindanao pero ang pinili n’yo kasi ay gumamit hindi lang ng dahas, hindi lang arms struggle pero terrorist acts like bombing ,arsons and destruction…” the senator said.
(I don’t deny the injustice done to the Bangsamoro people, what I’m saying is that while people in Luzon and Visayas were victims of war too, the MILF and its rebellion have victimized their fellow residents in Mindanao. If only you hadn’t chosen to use violence in your struggle for self-determination, Mindanao would have been a place of equality. But you chose to retaliate not only with the use of violence or arm struggle, but also terrorist acts like bombing, arson and destruction.)
“Sabi ni (presidential adviser on peace process Teresita) Deles, nakakagawa na ng kalye ngayon dahil sa ceasefire. Aba’y magpapasalamat pa pala kami sa inyo na nakakagawa kami ng kalye. E kung kayo ang humaharang, kayo sumusunog sa mga gamit ng contractor, sa gumagawa ng mga eskwelahan, patubig, irrigation sa Mindanao…”
(Deles said that because of the ceasefire, roads are now being built in Mindanao. Do we have to thank you because of this when you are the ones preventing the construction and burning the equipment of contractors and those who are building schools, dams and irrigations in Mindanao?)
“Hindi ba parang hindi even ‘yan sa ating (Isn’t that fair for our) negotiations because you’re negotiating through the barrels of the guns, we are not,” Cayetano added.
At this point, Hataman asked to be recognized by the panels investigating the Mamasapano incident.
“Alam mo Alan, matagal na tayong magkasama sa Kongreso at naniniwala rin po ako na (You know, Alan, we have been together in Congress for a long time, and I believe that)…” the governor said but was not able to finish his sentence, apparently trying to control his emotion.
After a while, Hataman proceeded and protested what he implied as an unfair terrorist tag against the MILF.
“Pero ang akin lang, ang application natin halimbawa tulad ng terrorismo hindi ko kinakampihan ang MILF dito. Tinatanong ko lang, tinag ba natin ang NPA (na terorista) kung nagsusunog sila ng equipment…Kung nagbomba sila tinag ba sila ng ating gobyerno na sila ay [terorista]?” he asked.
(When it comes to the topic of terrorism, I am not siding with the MILF. But my question is, did we tag the NPA as terrorists when they burn equipment? If they resort to bombing, does the government tag them as terrorists?)
But Cayetano immediately clarified that he was not just referring to the Moros or Muslims, pointing out that there are also Christian terrorists.
“I’m talking about this MILF and their choice to use arms. You did not choose to use arms. You chose to run and you’re doing a good job…” he said.
In the end, the senator apologized to the governor if he had offended him with his statements.
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