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Time to Halt: Rodriguez Urges Duterte and Alvarez to Heed PBBM’s Dismissal of Mindanao Separatism

Representative Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro’s second district emphasizes that in light of President Marcos’ recent declarations, the movement for Mindanao’s independence should be immediately abandoned.

Rodriguez’s comments were directed towards his Mindanao counterparts, including ex-president Rodrigo Duterte and Davao del Norte’s first district Representative, Pantaleon Alvarez.

“Ex-president Duterte, former Speaker Alvarez, and their supporters must cease all discussions and any potential actions towards Mindanao’s secession. President Marcos has firmly announced his refusal to allow any reduction of our national land or entertain the slightest hint of its division,” Rodriguez stated on Saturday, February 10.

These statements by Marcos were made in a speech on Constitution Day, held last Thursday in an event at Makati City, organized by the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa).

“President BBM is earnest in his stance, and it’s crucial that they regard his words with seriousness,” Rodriguez, who serves as the chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, insisted.

He also highlighted the commitment of both the President and the Department of National Defense, under Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., to oppose any secessionist movements with force.

Rodriguez further argued that secessionist rhetoric undermines Mindanao’s progress.

“Such discussions are detrimental. They deter potential investors. Currently, most of our region, especially the Davao provinces—the stronghold of PRRD—and the BARMM area, are experiencing economic growth and peace,” he continued.

Rodriguez also noted the need for increased funding for Mindanao in the Marcos administration’s budget, pointing out that the region received only 16 percent of this year’s (2024) budget, which is less than what Luzon regions and Metro Manila received.

He advocated for Mindanaoans to place their trust in President Marcos’ ability to foster and enhance development in Mindanao, considering he is relatively early into his six-year term.

With Mindanao housing 23 percent of the Philippine population, contributing to 25 percent of its GDP, and home to seven out of the ten poorest provinces, Rodriguez calls for proactive measures to support the region’s growth, echoing the sentiments of a representative dedicated to the progress of Cagayan de Oro.

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