PRESS RELEASE
August 7, 2008

A Muslim solon cried foul to the arguments put forward by national leaders on the contentious Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

In a statement released by the office of Anak Mindanao Representative Mujiv S. Hataman, the legislator reacted to the Privilege Speech of Administration Representative Teddy Boy Locsin, portions of which were reported in the August 6, 2008 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

“We recognize the oppositions against the content of the Agreement, even the process by which it was carried out. But to put forward arguments based on misconceptions about Islam and derogatory statements about the Moro people is uncalled for, especially from a statesman such as the Honorable Representative,” Hataman said.

Hataman added, “ The Moro people is not what he called new-minted citizens. Sir, we have been a civilized people long before the Spaniards came. We were a sovereign nation 448 years before the Philippines even became one… We had a defined land territory and we are not solely seafarers as mentioned. Perhaps the good Congressman forgot, Manila started as a Muslim community ruled by Rajah Sulayman.”

In a separate interview, the Muslim solon also expressed his sentiments against friends in the opposition. One of the only two Muslims in the House Minority, Hataman said he respects the opinions of Opposition leaders like Sen. Mar Roxas and Sen. Chiz Escudero on the content, process, people and motives around the peace process. But accordingly, the latest statements issued by “his comrades” have swayed away from these contentions but have questioned the very legitimacy of the Moro struggle.

“As a Moro, I found solace against the injustices perpetrated by this administration against my people, in the cause of the opposition for rights and justice. But now, their statements appear to be inconsiderate of the Bangsamoro struggle. I am left with the realization that there is indeed no space for the Moro people in Philippine democracy, either with the administration or with the opposition. I only hope that they refrain from making comments about an issue that they have no adequate knowledge about,” Hataman said.

HON. MUJIV S. HATAMAN
Representative, Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Party-List
Room 408 Southwing Building
House of Representatives, Batasan Hills, Quezon City
Telefax #: 9316364; Trunkline: 9315001 loc. 7249; Website: www.anakmindanao.org