Opposition to Mindanao Secession: Misplaced and Absurd

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It is intriguing to witness the wide range of reactions to the proposal of Mindanao secession put forth by PRRD. From extreme over-reactions to downright absurdity, the opposition to this idea has sparked intense debate.

Unfortunately, PBBM seems to have been swayed into adopting a misplaced response to this proposal. It is important to understand that the concept of Mindanao secession is not a new one. It originated 40 years ago as a result of the government’s neglect of the region. PRRD’s recent endorsement of this idea appears to be a peripheral reaction to the discredited and graft-ridden People’s Initiative, which was surreptitiously initiated by power-hungry politicians.

While the idea of Mindanao secession may seem outrageous to some, it cannot be dismissed as a travesty of the Constitution. It falls within the realm of freedom of speech and expression, which is guaranteed by our laws. However, it is crucial to note that advocating violence or intimidation to bring down the government, prevent the enforcement of laws, or defy constituted authorities is a violation of the Constitution.

It is important to clarify that advocating for secession is not a crime of sedition, which involves rising tumultuously and publicly using violence or intimidation to prevent the promulgation and execution of laws, as well as the exercise of government powers and duties. Nor does it constitute rebellion, which entails publicly rising and taking up arms against the government.

According to international law, secession by an overwhelming majority of a population and territory, carried out peacefully, is not prohibited. Examples of such secessions include Singapore from Malaysia, Sukovo from Serbia, and East Timor from Indonesia. The principle underlying secession is the right to self-determination, whereby people have the right to choose the kind of government they want, select their governing officials, and determine their own future.

Our Constitution upholds the principle that sovereignty resides in the people, and all authority emanates from them. If the sovereign people of Mindanao choose to secede and establish their own state peacefully, they have the inherent right to do so. This is based on the principle of “Salus populi est suprema lex” (The welfare of the people is the supreme law).

If the welfare of the people of Mindanao is best served by creating their own republic because the current system fails to meet their needs, then they should not be deprived of their right to self-determination.

An idea cannot be crushed by threats or intimidation; it can only be supplanted by a better idea. Rather than attacking the proponent of the secession idea, opponents should seek to understand its underlying reasons and provide an appropriate and effective response.

In conclusion, the debate surrounding the idea of Mindanao secession raises important questions about the right to self-determination and the role of peaceful advocacy. While the proposal may be controversial, it is essential to approach the discussion with an open mind, considering both the local context and international precedents. By engaging in a constructive dialogue, we can better understand the concerns and aspirations of the people of Mindanao and work towards a more inclusive and prosperous future for all.

Source: The Manila Times

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