FPRRD eyes to revive 'Mindanao initiative'

Regrouping local leaders who also aim to secede Mindanao from the Republic of the Philippines
Former President Rodrigo Duterte
Former President Rodrigo DuterteBong Go/Facebook

DUE to huge disappointment in how the past and current administrations use the resources and the taxpayers' money, former President Rodrigo Duterte revealed plans to revive the Mindanao initiative.

Former President Rodrigo R. Duterte is flanked by Former House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez (left) during a press conference at the Grand Men Seng Hotel in Davao on January 30, 2024.
Former President Rodrigo R. Duterte is flanked by Former House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez (left) during a press conference at the Grand Men Seng Hotel in Davao on January 30, 2024.Cristina E. Alivio

During a press conference at the Grand Men Seng Hotel in Pichon Street (formerly Magallanes Street), Davao City on the evening of January 30, 2024, Duterte said he wants to "regroup" the Mindanao leaders to be led by former House Speaker and current Davao del Norte First District Representative Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez to push for the Mindanao initiative.

Though he did not clearly explain whether it is a political party or a movement, the Mindanao initiative's purpose is for the island of Mindanao to secede from the Republic of the Philippines.

"Ito ang last namin, si Bebot Alvarez ang pinapadala ko, siya ang pinakauna nagpalakad ng mga papel (This is our last, I send Bebot Alvarez because he is the first who processed the papers) about the desirability of Mindanao seceding from the Republic of the Philippines," the former president said.

Duterte, a lawyer, added that secession is not a rebellion nor a sedition as it will take a legal process.

"I think before UN where you would gather their signatures from all sorts in Mindanao, magpirma, verified, under oath in the presence of so many people, we sign that we want to separate," this, he said, after airing his disappointment on how the "people in power" spend the money of the government.

"One Mindanao tayo, iparaan natin sa proseso na (let's create it through a process that is) legal, there is such thing as a body that would hear your petition to secede, and explain that. Mag-survey sila, mag-plebisito, kung manalo (Let them do the survey then have a plebiscite, if we win), if it's valid, sabihin ko man yung pera namin inubos nitong 'yawa' na ito, ginagastos lang. Kayaman na natin dito, yung mina nandito, ang mining nandito (I will tell them 'our money is just being exhausted by this devil who is spending it carelessly. Mindanao is rich, the mine is here, the mining is here)," Duterte said.

He added that he really wanted Mindanao to be independent, “kasi ilang presidente na eh, walang nangyari sa Pilipinas (because several presidents have come and gone but nothing has happened to the Philippines).”

Meanwhile, on the name of the initiative, he said that they have not decided yet, saying that a name is only "pang-arte lang" (for aesthetic purposes only).

Not bloody

Meanwhile, Alvarez, who was seated beside Duterte at the event, expressed optimism that the initiative will be pushed through.

Alvarez, who engaged in a bitter feud with FPRRD's daughter Vice President Sara Duterte a few years ago, said that their plan of secession will not be bloody.

"Katong secession kung dili ma-bloody (If the secession will not be bloody)? No, let us take the case of Singapore, when Lee Kuan Yew (former prime minister of Singapore) and the other leaders in Singapore decided to secede from Malaysia in 1963-1964-1965 wala may bloodshed," he said.

He said Yew told the Malaysian government to allow them to separate "because maybe in the future we can help you."

He also narrated that even with the size of Siargao island in Surigao del Norte and with no natural resources that even water Singapore has to import from Malaysia, the country's economy has grown to become a first-world country.

"Had Lee Kuan Yew and the other leaders not mustered enough courage to separate from Malaysia maybe until now Singapore is still a part of a third world country... karon i-compare nimo sa Mindanao, ang Mindanao daghan og (Now, compare Mindanao, Mindanao has a lot of) natural resources, agriculture, naay mga tao (with people), there is no reason why an independent Mindanao country will not succeed," Alvarez said, adding that Singapore's only asset is good governance.

"Ang asset lang sa Singapore isa (Singapore has only one asset), good governance. And there are a lot of leaders in Mindanao nga maayo, kahibalo magpadagan og goberno (who are very good and know how to run a government)," he said. CEA

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