53 Mindanao lawmakers oppose secession

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
53 Mindanao lawmakers oppose secession
Former President Rodrigo Duterte during an event of the Young Mens’ Christian Association of Manila on Oct. 28, 2024.
Facebook / Bong Go

MANILA, Philippines — Describing it as a “step backward,” 53 of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s congressmen-friends in Mindanao have signed a manifesto in the House of Representatives rejecting his call for the secession of the whole region from the entire country.

“Mindanao was the poorest region in the past, but we have progressed, especially during the time of former president Duterte. The call for an independent Mindanao is a step backwards,” Lanao del Norte first district Rep. Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo told a news conference yesterday.

He said 53 out of 60 lawmakers from Mindanao have signed the manifesto, which excludes former speaker and incumbent Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez of the first district of Davao del Norte.

But a total of 57, or four more lawmakers, have signed the “Unified Manifesto for National Integrity and Development.”

The three party-list representatives who also signed the manifesto along with the 53 Mindanao lawmakers are Kabayan Rep. Ron Salo, PBA Rep. Margarita Nograles and Kusug Tausug Rep. Shernee Tan-Tambut.

Biliran Rep. Gerardo Espina Jr. was also a signatory to the manifesto.

In a statement, the Unified Manifesto for National Integrity and Development declared that these lawmakers “reject, in no uncertain terms, the proposal of former president Duterte for an independent Mindanao.”

“His (Marcos) administration’s focus on enhancing infrastructure, agricultural revitalization and economic empowerment in Mindanao is pivotal. These efforts aim to ensure that progress reaches every corner of Mindanao, contributing to the nation’s overall growth and stability,” the manifesto said.

House members also expressed unwavering commitment to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

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