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Isabela City mayor gets threats for opposing Bangsamoro inclusion

Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - April 28, 2014 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY , Philippines   â€“ The woman mayor of Isabela City, the capital of Basilan, has confirmed receiving death threats for opposing the inclusion of the city from the Bangsamoro political entity.

Mayor Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar though said she believes the death threats may not have come from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) itself but from its overzealous members or supporters in the province.

Akbar said she got the death threats after leading local leaders in seeking to spare Isabela City from being part of the new Bangsamoro homeland following the signing the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the government and the MILF.

“Please mellow down or avoid using our opposition (against) the inclusion of Isabela City because I have been receiving threats,” Akbar told journalists.

Akbar said Isabela City has opted twice not to be included in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in previous plebiscites and would continue to oppose its inclusion in the Bangsamoro in the 2015 plebiscite.

Basilan is one of the island provinces, including Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, that are part of the current ARMM, but Isabela City, which is its geographical capital, is not politically part of the regional government.

“I don’t think it will be part already because in 2015 we will be having a plebiscite. And since Isabela City voted twice for exclusion from the ARMM, I don’t think that Isabela City will vote for inclusion in the Bangsamoro because we have seen the people do not want to be part of the ARMM and maybe the people will also opt not to be part of the Bangsamoro this time,” Akbar said.

However, Akbar reiterated her support for President Aquino’s aspiration to bring lasting peace and development, especially in Basilan. 

Akbar said the residents will participate in the democratic process, but she asked the MILF to respect the mandate of the people.

AKBAR AUTONOMOUS REGION BANGSAMORO BASILAN CITY COMPREHENSIVE AGREEMENT ISABELA ISABELA CITY MAYOR CHERRYLYN SANTOS-AKBAR MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT
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