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No to secession

Manila Standard

Nearly six years ago, the Consultative Committee tasked by then president Rodrigo Duterte to review the 1987 Constitution voted to unanimously revise parts of the Preamble under its proposed Constitution under a federal form of government to ensure the proposed federal republic will be permanent and there will be no secession.

More specifically, the ConCom wanted to prohibit secession under a federal system and make the nation “indissoluble, permanent, and eternal.”

ConCom chairman and former chief justice Reynato Puno said then, in voting in favor of the revisions to the Preamble during an en banc session at the Philippine International Convention Center: “Our proposed Preamble proposes a union that is indissoluble, a federalism that is permanent, a bond that is eternal.”

He added: “This is not just a grandiose display and play of words but a pledge by all our people, a promise by all our constituents not to secede from the new federal republic. This pledge not to secede is ultra important. For today, the world is beset by the problem of secession of states.”

We remember Puno’s words because Duterte, who tasked the ConCom to review the 1987 Constitution, said this week there is currently a “regrouping of the political arena that is still in the works” that would lead to the campaign for Mindanao to separate from the rest of the country.

Senator Francis Escudero said Duterte’s announced plan to separate Mindanao to secede from the Philippines might “not be Constitutionally possible.”

Duterte’s fellow Mindanaon, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, himself said: “With due respect to the former President, I think the last thing we want is to make our country chaotic and divided.”

Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. also called on Filipinos to rally behind President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s “Bagong Pilipinas” initiative, in light of Duterte’s call to separate Mindanao from the Philippines, stressing this would bring greater peace, progress and unity to the nation.

The government’s Bagong Pilipinas campaign is a multi-sectoral effort that seeks to bring all Filipinos, in the words of Galvez, “together as one nation regardless of ethnicity, religion, economic status or personal beliefs.”

The Marcos administration’s clarion for national renewal seeks to build a society that will provide all Filipinos with equal opportunities to uplift their lives and fulfill their full potential.

We believe this is not just a slogan but, as President Marcos said, “a holistic and inclusive brand of governance that will guide the government in its development and peace-building efforts for the 113.9 million population.

That includes 27,021,000 from Mindanao, divided into six administrative regions: Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Caraga Region, Davao Region, Soksuksargen Region and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Admittedly there is no room for secession as some quarters, whatever their hidden agenda may be, are loudly suggesting.

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