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PIA Press Release

Iligan mayor leads mass action vs proposed MOA signing on BJE ancestral domain

Iligan City (5 August) -- In a resolution passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) of Iligan duly signed by the presiding officer-Vice Mayor Henry Dy, with concurrence of Mayor Lawrence Ll. Cruz of Iligan, urging the people of Iligan to engage in mass action in support to the suspension on further discussions and negotiations on the issue of Ancestral Domain between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to be signed August 5, 2008 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Around 5,000 people composed of city hall employees, barangay officials and its constituents, church emissary, non-government organizations, students and administrators from the different private schools in the tertiary level joined the indignation rally staged yesterday morning at the intersection of the Post Office, closing the city's national highway for traffic.

Mayor Cruz together with some of the SP members led the march from the city hall down to its converging area, two other starting points led by the nuns-RVM of St. Michael's College. Cruz and other officials, all who joined the protest are wearing red shirts showing their opposition to the said MOA. A recorida and noise barrage along the city's thoroughfare took place.

In his speech, Mayor Cruz expressed his concern and was alarmed of the report that the GRP and the MILF will sign the Memorandum of Agreement on Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) ancestral domain, which is the expanded Autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Cruz denounced that there was no consultation with all the inhabitants in the affected areas, particularly Iligan City, that eight (8) hinterland barangays of Iligan namely: Barangays Rogongon, Mainit, Digkilaan, Panoroganan, Kalilangan, Lanipao, Dulag, and Hindang will be included in the proposed BJE.

He further said that Iligan City strongly opposes the inclusion of its eight (8) barangays in the said MOA since actually and historically the same are inhabited by Higaonons, Christians and Maranaos. The agricultural barangays of the city comprised more than 80% of the city's land area.

A Resolution was then forwarded, per Resolution No. 08-503, done on its Regular Session held on August 1, 2008, urging Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to suspend further discussions and negotiations on the issue of Ancestral Domain between the GRP and the MILF slated to be signed on August 5, 2008 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, without prior consultation with all the inhabitants in the affected areas, particularly Iligan City, which is directly affected in the proposed MOA, and to urge Her Excellency that should there be a MOA on the areas designated as ancestral domain, the entire Local Government Units (LGUs) shall participate in the plebiscite to be held by virtue of an organic act to be adopted by Philippine Congress, as a matter of policy enunciated in the Local Government Code.

It has also resolved furthermore, to urge the Hon. Congressman Vicente F. Belmonte, Jr., 1st District of Lanao del Norte and Iligan City, to deliver a privilege speech in Congress embodying the views and opinions expressed by the Members of the body with the views of incumbent Mayor Lawrence Ll. Cruz and former Mayor Camilo P. Cabili. (PIA Iligan) [top]

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