CSO leaders urge Pres. Duterte to stop Sulu Gov. Tan from destroying his legacy for peace in Mindanao

COTABATO City – Leaders of Mindanao’s Civil Society groups urged President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to stop Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan II from destroying his legacy for peace in Mindanao. 

Gov. Tan filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition in the Supreme Court against the Republic Act No. 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The media statement released by the Mindanao Peoples’ Caucus (MPC) on November 3, said “We are deeply concerned and outraged to take note of the father and son Abdusakur Tan’s grand conspiracy to put the final nail on the coffin of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).” 

“Upon orders of the father, the Governor son obliges by lumping together - without their free and informed consent - all the provincial officials and the people of Sulu in one attack column to torpedo the BOL which is a legacy project of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in fulfillment of his campaign promise to correct the historical injustice committed against the Bangsamoro people,” the MPC said in its statement.

Hadjinur Tingkasan, a Sulu Peace Advocate said during a Press Conference on Monday at Pagana Kutawato, here in Cotabato City, “That being a Bangsamoro, a Tausug from Sulu, I would say, I am also free to counter any act of Governor Tan.” 

Hadjinur asked Gov. Tan and his father, and all their allies to respect the outcome of the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace process that will bring genuine peace in the region.

“It was more than 40 years of struggle of Bangsamoro people including the one led by MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari in 1968, who is also a Tausug,” Hadjinur said.

He added that BOL is our last chance to attain peace in the war-torn Mindanao. 

Prof. Octavio Dinampo, Council of elders of MPC said that the title of Gov. Tan’s petition is misguided, misleading and dishonest, “it says the province of Sulu, it did not say the provincial government of Sulu. The provincial government can only represent the provincial governor but not the entire Sulu province.”

Octavio said Tan has its greed interest to maintain power. “Inunahan po ang mga Tausug to speak for themselves which are not true,” he stressed.

Bapa Joe Akmad of North Cotabato, one of the active members of Bantay Ceasefire said, that achieving the BOL had caused of hundreds of thousands of lives lose in the war. “Kung pagsasamahin mo ang dugo ng mga taong ito na namatay ay ilang drum ang mapupuno, it is not a joke. BOL addresses injustices,” Bapa Joe emphasized.

“Once the Supreme Court issues a Temporary Restraining Order or TRO, I am afraid war will once again erupt in Mindanao like what had happened with the junking of MOA-AD in 2008. It will really worsen the situation in Mindanao,” he said.

Bapa Joe said if you break the peace, you are like in the side of Satan or evil.

Bobby Benito of the Bangsamoro Center for Just Peace said, “The BOL should be ratified and implemented to stop the spread of violent extremism and radicalism.”

Anwar Saluwang, Director of the Development Management Center of the UNYPAD asked all peace-loving people to rally behind the measure (BOL).

“We should show our support here in mainland Mindanao because we are also affected,” he said. 

“Umaapela po kami sa Supreme Court na wag pakinggan ang pettion ni Tan dahil alam natin dumaan yan sa ibat-ibang consultation at proseso,” he pointed out.

The MPC said “it is very clear that in filing the petition against the BOL, Governor Tan does not have the welfare of the Tausugs in mind but their own clan’s selfish political greed and economic interests. He is, indeed, very afraid that the electoral and political reforms that will be brought by the BOL, will end the era of their clan’s unbridled political control and unlimited plunder of public funds in the Province of Sulu.”

Meanwhile, the Maguindanaon Professionals and Employees’ Association of the Philippines (MAPEA) in their manifesto said, they are hoping that the Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court (SC) will take utmost consideration the significance of the BOL as product of a peaceful settlement between the government and the Bangsamoro that could finally address the historical injustices committed against the Moro people.

The League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO) also filed a counter petition in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 6. They asked the SC to junk Gov. Tan’s petition versus the BOL. 

In their petition, the LBO made an urgent appeal to the justices of the Supreme Court to give peace a chance in the Bangsamoro region.