Could Duterte’s Mindanao bid spark tensions in Philippines that ‘suit Beijing’s agenda’ in South China Sea?

Published February 13, 2024
  • The ex-president’s call for Mindanao’s independence could reignite internal ‘hatreds’ on an island with long-running communist and Islamist insurgencies
  • While some dismiss his bid as ‘all talk’, other analysts say the move could ‘distract’ the Philippines from the South China Sea row, benefitting Beijing

Rodrigo Duterte’s disclosure that he is seeking secession for the southern Philippine island of Mindanao has drawn a mixture of scepticism about the motives of the bombastic former president, and concern over the potential to divert military resources from the South China Sea.

During a January 30 livestream of his long-running talk show Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa (From the Masses, for the Masses), Duterte casually revealed he had assigned his close political associate, Congressman Pantaleon Alvarez, to “regroup” his allies and pursue a secession bid for Mindanao.



RELATED: Reject any attempt to dismember our nation

Published February 13, 2024

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. minced no words as he vehemently denounced the divisive call to separate Mindanao from the rest of the Philippines, branding it as nothing short of an attempt to “destroy the country”. Speaking at the Commemoration of the Constitution Day organized by the Manila Overseas Press Club in Makati, PBBM underscored the gravity of such a move, labeling it a “grave violation” of the nation’s foundational document.

PBBM urged unity in rejecting this movement, emphasizing the importance of preserving the republic and all that the national flag symbolizes. He condemned the idea as a “constitutional travesty”, highlighting that the Constitution espouses a united and undivided nation with no provision for secession.

PBBM firmly pledged to uphold the Constitution and laws of the land, promising to thwart any attempts to fragment the country. He reassured that the nation’s territorial integrity would remain steadfast, unwavering against any internal or external threats.

Addressing the issue of autonomy, PBBM pointed to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as evidence of genuine local self-governance. He stressed the unnecessary nature of the independence movement, highlighting the support extended to BARMM, including ensuring the success of its upcoming election.



RELATED: Mindanao solon thumbs down secession bid, points to Dutertes’ political success

Published February 12, 2024
  • Lanao del Sur 1st district Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong is using the Duterte family’s own political success story as ammunition against former president Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial Mindanao secession plan.

According to Adiong, Mindanao has been fully represented in government via the prominent personalities who have emerged from the region.

The congressman said former president Duterte and Davao del Norte 1st district Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, a former House Speaker, both hail from the southern islands.

Furhter highlighting the historical significance of Mindanao in Philippine politics, Adiong said Vice President Sara Duterte also hails from Mindanao. Vice President Duterte is the eldest daughter of the ex-president.

“The fact that Mindanaoans have held prominent positions in the highest offices of the land is a testament to their integral role within the Philippine nation,” noted Adiong. “To entertain notions of secession undermines the unity and stability that our country has worked so hard to maintain.”

The elder Duterte–the main proponent of a “separate and independent” Mindanao–served as chief executive from 2016 to 2022.

The two Dutertes were erstwhile mayors of Davao City before they were respectively elected to national positions.




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Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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