Photo courtesy of Manila Bulletin online

NCMF considers Cagayan PIO’s apology statement over governor’s anti-Muslim remark as an ‘offer of peace’

The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) said on Thursday (Nov 26) that it considers the apology statement issued by the Public Information Office of Cagayan Province as an offer of peace.
In a senate hearing on November 25, Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said they do not have problem on peace and order because they do not have Muslims in his province. His remark drew negative reactions.

Thereafter, Cagayan PIO swiftly issued a statement clarifying that what the governor meant to say in the senate hearing was that Muslims in Cagayan were not adherent to extremism.

“We consider the apology statement issued by the Cagayan Public Information Office as an offer of peace. Though we appreciate the effort, a signed document made by the Governor himself may have been more impactful considering the amount of damage it caused to the Muslim Filipino community nationwide.” NCMF Secretary Saidamen Pangarungan said in a statement.

Mamba’s remark was slammed by NCMF Bureau of External Relations Director Dr. Jun Alonto Datu-Ramos who demanded an apology from the governor.
“To categorically state that the absence of one group of people ensures peace and order in a locality is not only discriminatory, it is also unbecoming of an elected official who supposedly represents the Cagayan residents,” Datu-Ramos said in a statement.

In a separate statement, NCMF Northern Luzon Regional Director Raihana Sittie Sarah Macarimpas negated Mamba’s claim on the absence of Muslims in Cagayan Province.

She said there are at least 300 families living in Tugegarao City alone.

“The community has been in peaceful co-existence with the non-Muslims in the area. They do not deserve to hear their Provincial Head alluding to a direct relationship between problems with peace and order and the presence of Muslims,” Pangarungan said. 

The NCMF Secretary further said, “None of us deserve to be stigmatized by the governor's statement. Many of the 12-million Muslims in the country have considered this anti-Muslim remark as uncalled for.”