February 9, 2024
MANILA – “A stronger Mindanao means a stronger Philippines,” President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. declared Thursday.
During the 17th Meeting of the National Government-Bangsamoro Government Intergovernmental Relations Body (IGRB), Marcos addressed leaders from both the national government and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
“We must remind ourselves that we are now operating under different rules, and we cannot allow forces outside of the democratic process to deviate our dreams and our aspirations from a democratic process. Let us now allow even one single voter to be disenfranchised by violence, by intimidation or bribery,” the President said in a speech in Pasay City.
“A stronger BARMM is a stronger Mindanao; a stronger Mindanao means a stronger Philippines, bringing us closer to achieving our agendas,” he added.
Marcos’ remarks followed the proposal of his predecessor, former president Rodrigo Duterte, for Mindanao to sever from the rest of the Philippines and become an independent state.
In January, Duterte said that local Mindanao leaders would initiate a movement for a separate Mindanao. The ex-top leader of the country, who is known for his eccentric pronouncements, also said the proponents will not resort to violence and will follow the process prescribed by the United Nations.
Angara defends Senate from House ‘bullying’: ‘It’s almost everyday now’ Angara defends Senate from House ‘bullying’: ‘It’s almost everyday now’
However, Marcos administration officials immediately rejected such a proposal, even saying that the government is ready to use force to quell separatist movements.
“Bagong Pilipinas is incomplete without a Bangsamoro rising along within it,” Marcos further said Thursday.
“To us, there is only one true peace when the bloody tally of war is replaced with the scoreboard of development, and that scoreboard shows that peace has won, and the war is over,” he added.