Mar-Leni victory will propel peace process, says Moro bet | Inquirer News

Mar-Leni victory will propel peace process, says Moro bet

/ 12:25 AM April 26, 2016

COTABATO CITY—The Liberal Party’s (LP) lone Moro senatorial candidate, Nariman “Ina” Ambolodto, has expressed confidence that a victory by LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas and his running-mate, Leni Robredo, will ensure the continuity of the peace process in Mindanao.

“In a win by the Mar-Leni tandem on May 9, the straight path will continue, [and] we are then sure of peace, we are sure of progress,” Ambolodto said in a statement sent to the Inquirer.

Expressing confidence that the two will win, Ambolodto said she would help the incoming administration realize peace in Mindanao by filing a bill on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the Senate when Congress convenes in July.


She said she would push for a BBL bill that was “faithful to the peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and will not be violative of the Constitution.”


Congress’ failure to pass the BBL was partly due to the lack of an information campaign, Ambolodto said. “The reason why there was weak support for the BBL outside of the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) was the lack of public knowledge or information about what it contained … ,” she said.

The public did not fully understand the BBL so there was little support for it, she pointed out.

A former assistant secretary for Muslim Affairs and Special Concerns of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Ambolodto said a peace constituency among Filipino voters, not just those from Bangsamoro, wanted assurance that the BBL would be passed under a Roxas presidency.

“Secretary Mar Roxas’ commitment to peace is unwavering, so we are assured of peace and progress in Mindanao, when he becomes President,” she said.

Critics allege that Roxas is among anti-Muslim politicians, who blocked the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD), which the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo forged with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The deal would have given the MILF a larger area to govern.

In March, during the second presidential debate, Roxas drew more flak when he described Nur Misuari’s men—who laid siege to Zamboanga City—as “Muslim na mananakop (occupiers).”


That statement, various individuals said, fanned the “mutual bias” between the country’s minority Muslim and majority Christian population.

Former Commission on Elections commissioner Mehol Sadain said Roxas’ choice of words in referring to a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was disparaging to the rest of the Philippine Muslims.

“It just shows how he thinks about the Muslims in this country. And how can Muslims, our people, invade our own land? If he keeps on saying things like this it won’t take long before the Philippines will lose Moroland. As a person running for the top position in the land he should be more sensitive in his choice of words,” Sadain said.

Moro lawyer Omar Sema, who used to defend Roxas from criticism, said he thought of changing his choice for President after hearing the Liberal Party candidate describe the Muslims as mananakop in the bloody Zamboanga siege two years ago.

On his Facebook page, Sema said his choice for President was someone who would lead in the understanding of the narratives of southern Philippines. “That it was not the Muslims who invaded, colonized, occupied or stole Samboangan (old name of Zamboanga). It’s the other way around.”

Sema said the President should lead in ending the stereotyping and the bias against Muslims in the Philippines.

Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the ARMM defended Roxas and said the presidential aspirant’s statement was an honest mistake.

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Hataman said Roxas sent him a text message apologizing for it. “It was not his intention. He meant the MNLF,” the official said.

TAGS: BBL, Leni Robredo, Mar Roxas, MNLF, Moro

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