by Juseph Elas (WMSU-OJT, PIO, City Hall)
Mayor Beng Climaco has called for a comprehensive peace pact that will spouse peace and prosperity in Mindanao.
The call was made in a forum held at Garden Orchid Hotel, Tuesday, July 22.
“We call for a comprehensive peace pact that addresses all grievances and issues; and converge, not isolate, all peoples, groups and stakeholders to act forward in espousing peace and prosperity in Mindanao and abhor armed conflict,” Mayor Beng said during the Forum on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
“We support the peace initiatives of His Excellency, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, whose intention is to end the decades’ long hostilities in Mindanao,” Mayor Climaco added.
Mayor Climaco underscored that while the city supports this peace pact between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the city of Zamboanga maintains its unequivocal position on the peace process saying the “city’s position on the peace process has always been firm and consistent.”
Mayor Climaco wants to reiterate that (1) The City of Zamboanga should never form part nor be included in the Bangsamoro; (2) None of its 98 component barangays, part/zone/sitio should ever be included in the Bangsamoro; and (3) The municipal waters of the City of Zamboanga shall continue to remain as the municipal waters of the city.
“We expect Congress to pass a Bangsamoro Basic Law which is consistent with and not contrary to the Philippine Constitution,” Mayor Climaco said.
Also, in her speech, Mayor Climaco highlighted that in 1989, the City of Zamboanga rejected the its inclusion in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) following the plebiscite that resulted to 90, 152 townsfolk voted against it and in the 2001 plebiscite, where a staggering number of 112,735 people voted against it.
Recall that in 2008, Zamboanga City almost became a part of the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) through a Memorandum, of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), however, the Supreme Court declared it “unconstitutional and contrary to law”.
And lastly, Mayor Climaco highlighted that “on April 19, 2014, the Liga ng mga Barangay-Zamboanga City Chapter passed and approved Resolution No. 2014-03 resolving to fully express the official stand of the city.”
With the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) at Malacañang Palace last March 27, 2014, the City of Zamboanga still needs to study the implications of the CAB, the Framework of Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its annexes to the city, as what Mayor Climaco said in her speech.
The event dubbed as “Weaving the Tapestry for Peace: A Forum on the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro” was sponsored and organized by the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU) through its Social Development Units (SDUs) with the Ateneo Peace Institute (API).
People from different sectors – government, civil society groups, church, academics – were invited to attend the said forum; Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF from Peace Advocates of Zamboanga (PAZ) and Fr. Albert E. Alejo, SJ ADZU’s Assistant to the President for Social Development to name a few.
Mayor Beng ended saying that the rebuilding and reconstruction of the city, following the Zamboanga Siege, may be difficult, “but with the continuing and unwavering help of the Almighty God; the Zamboangueños; the national government, civil society and non-governmental organizations; the international community, the City of Zamboanga shall rise up again. Together, we shall build back a better Zamboanga.” She ended.
NOTE: This article appeared – in toto – in the local news daily, Zamboanga Times