Peace adviser running ‘pro-MILF’ program

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: A “secretive” program being implemented by Malacañang’s peace adviser Teresita Deles for Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels and their supporters here has come under fire from the local government.

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Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar on Monday said Deles, without informing the local government, has since 2013 carried out the “Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program for MILF Communities,” raising fears that the MILF and its backers had encroached into the city.

The program supposedly aims to improve and develop health, education and livelihood conditions of Bangsamoro communities, especially MILF areas.

But, Salazar, pointed out, there are no MILF areas in Zamboanga City.

Besides, the mayor said, local residents and ba-rangay (village) leaders oppose inclusion of the city in the proposed Bangsamoro autonomous government.

She added that village officials learned of the Sajahatra program through residents themselves.

“Barangay officials have been tasked to strictly monitor their area of responsibility for possible uncoordinated activities such as those implemented purportedly for communities that are not recognized by the local government,” Salazar said.

“There may be individuals who are sympathetic to the MILF, but we would like to emphasize that there [are]no MILF [communities here]nor do we recognize one in the city,” the mayor added.

Civil groups and politicians had demanded the resignation of Deles over the massacre of 44 police commandos by combatants from the MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters on January 25 in Maguindanao’s Mamasapano town.

Some groups in Zamboanga City want the Malacañang peace adviser to be declared “persona non grata” for the secretive Sajahatra program.

Salazar said Senen Bacani, a member of the government peace panel, has admitted that the Sajahatra program was started in 2013 in the city without the knowledge of the local government.

“Barangay officials have a very important role to play to ensure that all activities happening in their AOR [Area of Responsibility] are sanctioned by the local government. Please be vigilant and report to us any and all activities similar to this being implemented in your area. The city is not part of the ARMM nor shall the city be part of the Bangsamoro,” the mayor added, referring to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“The non-coordination of such activity [with the local government]has caused alarm that led to anxieties and apprehensions on the part of barangay officials and residents where the project is being implemented,” Salazar said.

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2 Comments

  1. The least and immediate action that can be taken is for Zamboanga to declare Deles as persona non-grata.

  2. Traitor Deles and Ferrer should be arrested for treason and the murder of the Fallen 44.Another proof of their criminality.