IN PHOTO- A crowd of around 2,000 Zamboanga City residents wait for the start of the congressional consultation at the Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College / PHOTO: DNA

ZC Mayor Climaco reiterates Chavacanos opposition to Bangsamoro

Zamboanga City- Mayor Maria Isabel Climaco Salazar of Zamboanga City led anti-Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in reiterating their consistent stance, and strong opposition against inclusion of the city to the Bangsamoro during a public consultation held at the Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College on March 2. 

The Chavacanos made clear that their firm stand against the Moro law will remain come what may in congress when it decides the fate of the BBL before they go on recess before the end of this month.

Aloft the hands of the obstinate mayor, the city’s position paper was read before the presence of the Bangsamoro Transition Commissions (BTC), and Christian-dominated crowd of around 2,000 that drew wild applause among the Chavacanos.

The city position states that the united, and one Zamboanguenos, and the nine (9) united barangays of Zamboanga City can never, ever be part of Bangsamoro homeland now or in the future;

They said in their position paper that the municipal waters of Zamboanga must continue to remain under the government’s Bureau of Fisheries Code; and commercial fishing industries must remain under the administration of local government units (LGU) of Zamboanga City.

Apart from the city’s firmed position, individuals and sectoral groups presented their written sentiments, and concerns before the House Committee on Local Government chaired by Tawi-Tawi Lone District Representative Ruby Sahali, and commissioners of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

More position papers presented, and read in high tones were from the Christians. There were only four coming from the Moros that were presented by Taha Daranda, Saudi Daranda, Abdurahman Lee, and Katrina Rodrigues. Moro’s positions were for the passage of BBL with the opt-in provision being pushed, and the clamor for the adoption of the BTC crafted BBL that is CAB-Compliant.

For his part, Zamboanga 1st District Representative Celso Lobregat was consistent in his position that he is for peace, that he wanted peace to succeed, but he wanted Zamboanga city out from Bangsamoro, and a constitutional BBL.

Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA) properties particularly the controversial Cabatangan issue which has been long disputed by the local government of Zamboanga, and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was raised, and has to be enlightened.

BTC commissioner Jose Lorena who was defense lawyer of the MNLF against the City government of Zamboanga since the time of the late Mayor Maria Clara Lobregat was asked to shed light on the issue. 

Lorena told the city government officials who attended, and the Chavacanos that the Cabatangan, and other SPDA properties that the City government wants to acquire through the purchasing intervention of the central government is a pending case at the Regional trial court (RTC).

The regional court, Lorena added has yet to decide on whether or not the government has the right to purchase the Cabatangan property. Should the court favors the MNLF, Bangsamoro will get the property.

Also raised was the possible inclusion of some barangays to Bangsamoro via 10% petition of qualified voters residing in 38 Moro-dominated barangays, that Commissioner Lorena told the crowd which Lobregat said will not happen.

In attendance were city officials, and staff of the city executive branch, some councillors from legislative branch, and judicial branch, officials from the police, military, and the unspoken 2nd District Representative Mannix Dalipe.