ARMM governor defends Roxas after ‘Muslim na mananakop’ quip
SUMISIP, Basilan—Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has said presidential aspirant Mar Roxas’ “Muslim na mananakop” statement is just an honest mistake.
Hataman said immediately after the presidential debates in Cebu on Sunday night, Roxas sent him a text message apologizing for his mistake.
Roxas drew criticisms when he uttered “Muslim na mananakop (Muslim invaders)” while defending his role in managing the crisis where Moro National Liberation Front (MILF) forces who were loyal to Nur Misuari fought against government troops in Zamboanga City in 2013.
“He (Roxas) apologized to me. It was not his intention. He meant the MNLF,” Hataman said.
Prof. Octavio Dinampo of the Mindanao State University said while he condemned the incident as “a military adventurism of Misuari and his men, I cannot subscribe to the view of presidential aspirant Mar Roxas that it was a classic Moro way of conquering a given territory.”
“What remains untold is the fact that because of him (Roxas), the siege became worse because he mishandled of the situation. And that is one fault which he has to pay come May election,” Dinampo added.
Gamal Hassan, one of the hundreds of thousands of residents displaced by the fighting, said Roxas should not forget that most of those who lost their homes were Muslims.
“A big number of displaced individuals are Muslims like me. Many are still suffering inside transitory sites. A big number of internally displaced persons who died inside transitory and evacuation centers are Muslims,” Hassan said.
More than 200 people have died due to illness and malnutrition in different transitory camps and evacuation centers.
During the 23-day fighting, a total of 15 civilians and 25 policemen and soldiers were killed, while at least 79 civilians were wounded after being caught in the crossfire.
The fighting also killed 205 suspected MNLF members.
“Hindi kami mananakop, kami ang pilit na sinasakop. Roxas only showed his true color—that he is anti-Muslim,” Hassan said. RC
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