VARIOUS groups coming from different sectors in Mindanao have taken up the call for the resignation of President Benigno Aquino 3rd as they stressed the need for national transformation in the face of moral, political and social deterioration.
They also asked the National Transformation Council (NTC), the group advocating social and political change, to advance the agenda on federalization, noting that it will pave the way for empowerment and development of all regions.
“In the face of the evident increasingly severe deterioration of the moral, social and political fabric of our society, we call upon the NTC to speed up its effort to compel President Aquino to relinquish his position so that the earnest work of national transformation could begin. More than ever, we believe that peace and good governance in the country must begin in Mindanao,” the groups said.
Their officials and members signed the Butuan Declaration titled “Peace and Good Governance in the Country Should Begin in Mindanao.”
The groups’ call was a follow-up on manifestos signed by civic and religious groups in assemblies held in Lipa City in Batangas in August and Cebu City in October that urged Aquino to relinquish power.
In a manifesto signed on Tuesday in Butuan City in Agusan del Sur, they said, “We who broadly represent the various concerned sectors and constituencies of eastern and northern Mindanao, together with our allies from other parts of Mindanao, from Basilan, Sulu archipelago, and from Luzon and the Visayas, have come together in Butuan City this 11th day of November 2014, to proclaim our support for and contribute to the immediate realization of the declared aims and objectives of the National Transformation Council.”
The groups demanded a full and accurate accounting of the money “and other forms of assistance” that the government received from foreign governments, multilateral institutions and other donors for victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
They said the Aquino administration should explain how, where and when these funds were used and how these benefited typhoon victims.
“Gathered here in Butuan so close to the first anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda and the 7.2 earthquake that earlier destroyed centuries-old churches, public buildings and homes in Cebu and Bohol on October 15, 2013, and on the eve of the second anniversary of the floods that killed and injured hundreds of people and displaced thousands particularly in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley on December 4, 2012, and sharing the suffering of the victims of these tragedies and their families who have waited in vain for adequate government support in their recovery and rehabilitation, we raise our voices in solidarity with the people of these communities to thank all those who came to their aid and comfort during their hour of greatest need, and to express grave disappointment with the way the Aquino administration has failed to respond adequately to these crises,” the manifesto read.
The groups also expressed concern on the “cavalier” way the government has treated the “Mindanao problem.” They said the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which is pending in Congress, did not arise from “honest and sincere consultations with our Muslim brothers and their Christian friends and neighbors.”
“This threatens to falsify our people’s deepest longing for genuine self-management of their own affairs, and instead to create new divisions, disunity and discontent, both among those who are part and those who are not part of the new entity to be created under the BBL.
We therefore ask the NTC to intensify genuine consultations with all stakeholders in order to come up with a real solution coming from the people themselves rather than from outside sources,” they said.
“We specifically ask the council to consider advancing the federalization agenda for the entire country as the ultimate measure to ensure the most equitable, simultaneous empowerment and development of all the regions, not just of those in Mindanao,” the groups added.
They also called on the NTC to intervene and demand the commitment of the national government to end “monopolistic activities” that may lead some companies to “seize control of power distribution in Mindanao and beyond, through the use of political influence, intimidation and force.”