Moro Muslims want Christian mayor to respect treaty

The mayor of predominantly Christian city in the Muslim south expressed support for historic peace agreement, but says Zamboanga will not become part of Bangsamoro core territory.

Moro Muslims want Christian mayor to respect treaty

World Bulletin / News Desk

A member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is asking the Zamboanga City mayor to respect a historic peace agreement signed Thursday in Manila in an effort to end a conflict that has split the country for decades.

"Our message to Mayor Beng, please respect the will of the people and the Bangsamoro government," Taha Daranda, secretary of MILF Political Committee based in Zamboanga City, said Friday.

The signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the government and the MILF in Malacanang, the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Philippines, was viewed by Daranda as a step towards peaceful resolution in the decades long armed conflict in Mindanao.

"We believe that this Bangsamoro is one solution to end the conflict and war here in Mindanao, that's why the biggest number of MILF has already reconciled with the government," he said.

Mayor Isabelle Climaco-Salazar (Beng) has been expressing the city’s support to peace initiatives of President Benigno Aquino III, but emphasized that Zamboanga is neither included nor part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) based on two plebiscites and will not become part of the Bangsamoro core territory.

The majority Christian city's political leaders have repeatedly vowed to oppose any attempt to include the city in the entity -- an autonomous Muslim region in a large part of the southern Mindanao region -- that will be formed as part of the agreement between the government and the MILF.

Salazar has also been calling Zamboanguenos to remain united under one city. She emphasized: "We as a City are one with Mindanao under one Republic of the Philippines."

Daranda said they're confident the peace accord will bring economic benefits and prosperity not only for the Bangsamoro but for the Christians and Lumads as well in Mindanao.

"The legitimate goal of the Bangsamoro is to have self-determination," he said. "We have now government of our own, this is our dream since before our forefathers. Al Hamdulillah (praise to Allah), this the beginning of our freedom."

Just last September -- while the deal was being drawn up -- Muslim rebels opposed to the process held several residents of the coastal village hostage during a six-day standoff.

The incident sparked fierce clashes that saw 56 people killed and more than 60,000 displaced, many of whom still live in camps in the city today.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Mart 2014, 10:10