Moro leaders bat for federal Mindanao

Written by Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco.

MORO leaders, including three losing senatorial aspirants, have bonded together and declared their support for the federalization of Mindanao.

The leaders who attended the forum on federalism organized by the Philippine Council on Islam and Democracy (PCID) include Moro senatorial bets Amina Rasul (PDP-Laban-UNO, 2004), Moner Bajunaid and Adel Tamano (Team Unity, 2007); former Reps. Omar Fajardo and Arden Anni; Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Secretary Anwar Malanog; Sultan Hadji Nur Hassan of the Supreme Council of the Royal Sultanate of Jolo; Chancellor Lorenzo Reyes of the Mindanao State University in Tawi-Tawi; and Rex Panumpang, head of the Greenhills Moro Traders.

Federalism advocates former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Raul Lambino also attended the forum. Pimentel gave his presentation justifying why it is crucial for Mindanao to federalize immediately.

Rasul, PCID convener, said they have gathered leaders from the Muslim diaspora to be able to get their views on ongoing efforts at federalism. The forum is the first event organized that gathered Muslim leaders since the failed adoption of the Bangsamoro basic law.

In a quick survey held at the forum, 76 percent, or 48 out of 63, Moro leaders have expressed their full support behind efforts being undertaken right now for the federalization of Mindanao through a constitutional convention. The rest expressed the view that should Charter change be undertaken through constituent assembly, the Senate and Congress should vote separately.

Rasul said most Moros have a positive view on federalism, which is perceived as the right governance model in archipelagic and culturally diversed countries, such as the Philippines.

“There is a perception among Moros that autonomy has failed and has even led to the further impoverishment of Filipinos living in the Southern Philippines.”

Source: Business Mirror