MANILA – The provincial government of Maguindanao del Sur and Sultan Kudarat stood firm for a united Philippines as they turned down calls for the separation of Mindanao from the rest of the country.
In a statement, Maguindanao del Sur Governor Bai Mariam Sangki Mangudadatu said Mindanao secession will deny the Constitutional rights of their people and will compromise government’s efforts to build a stronger Philippines.
She added that the separation of Mindanao is not the answer to the problem in the region.
“Mindanao is a mirror of diversity, progress and preserving peace. Unity leads to peace, development and prosperity. Contrary to instability, underdevelopment and disorder,” Sangki Mangudadatu said.
“We affirm that secession is not the answer to Mindanao’s concern. It denies our people the rights embodied by the constitution, including the destruction of our territorial integrity compromising our efforts to build a stronger nation,” she added.
She stood firm that “the people of Mindanao are vested with rights and political choices conferred by the Constitution and law” as she emphasized that upholding democracy is their “primary consideration” in asserting their rights.
“In the spirit of peace and unity, we turn down any call or movement that aims to destabilize our government and eventually that would divide our nation, much the movement that would separate Mindanao with our beloved country the Philippines,” she said.
“We are for one and united Philippines,” she added.
Sultan Kudarat Governor Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu also affirmed his commitment to democracy, inclusivity and justice as he called for unity and one united Philippines, opposing calls for Mindanao secession.
Ali Mangudadatu also stood firm that Mindanao’s concern must be resolved without pursuing secession from the rest of the Philippines as he emphasized that it would only lead to disruption of productivity of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
“Mindanao’s concerns should be resolved without pursuing secession. Such division would infringe the fundamental doctrines of our Constitution. It would disrupt the interconnected productivity of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao that has long sustained our national economy, and risk fracturing the foundation of our unity and national stability,” he said.
“In the spirit of unity, let us reaffirm our commitment to the principles of democracy, inclusivity, and justice. We must move forward stronger as one undivided nation under a collective objective of stability and progress,” he added.
The governor also emphasized that preserving peace, heritage and progress in Mindanao compels the Philippines to remain united and undivided, adding that the region emerged as a land of peace, solidarity and progress through a unified approach.
“Thus, it is evident that the course of unity is not merely an option but an imperative to the persistent harmony that leads Mindanao to this day. Termination of armed conflicts in Mindanao is a milestone of the comprehensive peace process,” the governor said.
He said the termination of armed conflicts in Mindanao symbolizes the triumph of dialogue, understanding and reconciliation, which “a divisive perspective only reverses this.”
Ali Mangudadatu also asserted that the people of Mindanao hold the freedom to shape their political choices within the confines of the law, which upholds the essence of democratic governance where individual liberties “are not detached from the collective responsibility to respect and abide by the laws of the land.” (PND/PNA)