Office of the Muslim Affairs (OMA) under OPAPP?

The office of Anak Mindanao party-list representative Hon. Mujiv S. Hataman release a PRESS RELEASE dated February 1, 2006 that questions the issuance of President Arroyo’s Executive Order 496. EO 496 tasked the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to oversee and control the affairs of the following agencies and offices:

  1. Office of the Muslims Affiars (OMA)
  2. Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo)
  3. ARMM Social Fund for Peace and Development (ASFPD) and
  4. Mindanao Peace and Development Fund (MPDF).

The current complicated peace process in Mindanao and Peace Talks between GRP-MILF is also one of the OPAPP tasks to implement and supervise. I have bad feelings about this EO 496 on the development of peace process here in Mindanao. This is NOT new to us .. from Moro Department and Mindanao Affairs during the Colonial American period? Same office to pacify our right to self-determination and freedom but with different branding names.

Why? It’s because OPAPP is headed by Jesus Dureza, Presidential Assistant for Mindanao, concurrent MEDCo chair and also a former chair of the government peace panel negotiating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Sec. Dureza was been highly criticized with many controversies like the unilaterally changed or annotated some provissions or articles of the minutes of March 28, 2003 exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur. I don’t trust Sec. Dureza and i bet he will just make the peace process much more worse.

Insted the peace process will progress Sec. Dureza will spoil all the hardworks of both peace panels of GRP-MILF and all peace advocates in Mindanao. The peace development as everyone foresee now have move to a significant achievement but it will turn into trash as some the likes of Sec. Dureza who just trash around to divide the unity of the Moro people and the relationship between Filipino-Moro. Instead they work for a more just and meaningful reconciliation they make it worst. It’s a fact he succeded his evil plan during the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) – GRP Peace talks. Hope it won’t happen again with the MILF. Check my related rants about the peace talks: GRP-MILF Peace Talks – progressive?.

“Silently, this administration is treating Muslims as mere terrorists and criminals. Why this? Executive Order 496 aggravates the evident expression of deliberate neglect by the government and upgrading programs and projects that will address and advance the concerns and complexities of the Muslim communities,” Hataman said.

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Hataman said the Arroyo administration should not regard Muslims as a “social menace” but as peace-loving, God-fearing people enjoying its own heritage, culture and tradition and as people with high respect to the laws of the land.

This kind of development manifest the insincerety of Pres. Arroyo and the Colonial Manila (Filipino) Gov’t. to the address the real issue genuinely and with sense of justice and fairness. Putting the affairs of Muslims under the office that oversight peace process is not a healthy working environment between the Filipino and Moro people. It’s like portraying that we Moro Muslims in the Philippines are not peace loving and we are mere terrorists and criminals.

To end this rants, I join with Hon. Hataman calls to demand President Arroyo the withdrawal of EO 496 on the basis that Muslims should be accorded with high sense of decency in dealing with their economic, political and socio-cultural concerns.

Aren’t they desperate as our journey to Independence will soon be realize?as long our Moro leaders can’t be teased by candy offering by Sec.Dureza our elusive Bangsamoro Inpendence will soon be achieved. Inshallah (God Willing).

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