THE Department of National Defense (DND) chief, Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, assured on Monday that the government is ready for any eventuality following the declaration of independence by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari last week.
“Pinaghahandaan natin ‘yan [We have prepared for it],” Gazmin told reporters even as he stressed that he has yet to receive a report about it. “Well, let’s see what we can do.”
As of now, Gazmin said, they were in continuous communication with the Philippine Marines, Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan and Vice Mayor Muslimin Seman, the MNLF’s vice chairman.
Asked if he considers Misuari’s declaration as a threat to national security, Gazmin said that it goes both ways, depending on how the MNLF chair carries it out.
“Two ways, it can be yes or it can be no. It depends on how he carries it out. It can be done peacefully,” Gazmin pointed out.
Nonetheless, Gazmin said, defense and military officials have included in their inputs security planning in the area.
“We hope they do it in a peaceful way so as to spare those who have nothing to do with it,” the defense chief further said.
Misuari carried out his bold move during a gathering of MNLF members last week in Talipao, Sulu.
Misuari declared himself as president of the Bangsamoro Republik and commander-in-chief of the Bangsamoro Armed Force.
Among the provinces that Misuari declared as part of his new republic are Palawan, Zam-boanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and even North Bor-neo or Sabah, which is controlled by Malaysia.