“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.” Those “clashes” were jihad actions, and so the Christians of Zamboanga City understandably oppose efforts to make the city part of the new Muslim autonomous region. But if the Zamboanga City officials don’t go along, warns a leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, “there will be consequences.” Gee, what kind?
“Philippines Muslims celebrate peace agreement,” by Hader Glang for the Anadolu Agency, March 27 (thanks to Twostellas):
Nearly a hundred people from pro-Bangsamoro groups ignored pleas from Zamboanga City officials Thursday and publically showed their support for the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
The groups, composed of Royal Heritage Women West Coast Cooperative, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Political Committee, and Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute, were supposed to hold a rally in the dockside Recodo area but moved to an area near a mosque when permission was denied.
The majority Christian city’s political leaders have repeatedly vowed to oppose any attempt to include the city in the Bangsamoro entity — an autonomous Muslim region in a large part of the southern Mindanao region — that will be formed as part of the peace agreement between the government and the MILF.
Mayor Salazar reiterated earlier Thursday that the city, or any of its nearby waters, should be excluded from the Bangsamoro. She, however, stressed that the city supports the initiatives of President Benigno Aquino III to end the decade-long hostilities in Mindanao.
The groups celebrating Thursday, however, were undeterred. Many of them wore green T-shirts emblazoned with such markings as “I am for Bangsamoro,” and “We are proud to be Bangsamoro,” and waved green flags and streamers.
Danny Daranda, one of the organizers of the gathering, said that they did not deliberately go out to defy the no permit rule.
“This is our right. Freedom of (assembly) and speech is embodied in the Constitution,” he said.
Harim Abdullah, waving a green flag, said: “First of all we thank the Almighty God, and to President Benigno Aquino III for the signing of Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.”
She added that she hoped it would be “the solution to the conflict for lasting peace here in Mindanao.”
Danny Daranda, 55 — who claimed to be a MILF information director — said that Zamboanga City will become part of the Bangsamoro territory.
“They can’t do anything because it will pass through the process because it is stipulated in the agreement between the government and the MILF,” he said.
“They’re just local government officials… They have the right to say they don’t want to be part of the Bangsamoro entity but it is already in the agreement they can’t do anything but to follow.”
He warned that if they didn’t accept the agreement “there will be consequences.”
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.