By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco yesterday expressed her strong opposition to moves by some officials to include three island barangays under the jurisdiction of the city in a plebiscite for possible inclusion in the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Speaking before officials of the city’s 98 barangays, the purok leaders and volunteers, Climaco blasted the information she received that certain individuals, including some barangay officials, have filed petitions with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Manila for the inclusion of at least three island barangays in the plebiscite that will approve the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
Climaco was reacting to reports that the island barangays of Busay, Landang Gua were included in separate resolutions that asked Comelec for their inclusion in the BOL plebiscite schedule in January next year.
“If verified to be true, we strongly oppose such move to dismember the territorial integrity of Zamboanga City,” Climaco said, stressing that the city is excluded from the coverage of R.A. 11054 or the “Organic Law for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).”
“We resoundingly echo our strong and unequivocal objection to this move,” Climaco told the barangays officials, purok leaders and volunteers from the city’s 98 barangays.
She pointed out that “the city and its island barangays contiguous to any geographical area of the present ARMM as the city have already rejected to become part of ARMM – not only once but twice.”
Backed by members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, the chief executive reiterated the city’s stand that it should never become part or be included in the Bangsamoro.
She said the executive department and the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Zamboanga shall not issue any form of concurring documents to effect the granting of petitions of component barangays wanting for inclusion in the Bangsamoro.
Climaco called upon the barangay officials and all Zamboangueños—Christians, Muslims and Lumad—to stand united.
“Together, let us ‘Build a Better Zamboanga’ under one flag, one nation, one Zamboanga City, united and undivided 98 barangays,” the mayor said.