The recent announcement of a so-called independence movement in Mindanao has sparked concerns and highlighted the need for national unity in the country. President Marcos has rightly called for unity among Filipinos to achieve the vision of a “Bagong Pilipinas” or New Philippines. It is essential that the country remains united to overcome challenges and work towards genuine development that benefits all Filipinos.
President Marcos emphasized the importance of unity in a video blog, stating that a New Philippines requires a new Filipino. Divisions and slander have no place in this vision, and it is crucial that all Filipinos prioritize the well-being of the nation and its people. National unity is the foundation upon which progress and prosperity can be built.
National Security Adviser Eduardo M. Año’s statement that the government is prepared to use “resolute force” to prevent any move towards secession is a clear indication of the government’s commitment to upholding national interest and territorial integrity. Any attempt to dismember the Republic threatens the hard-won gains of peace and development, particularly in Mindanao. It is essential to protect the unity and territorial integrity of the nation while upholding the principles enshrined in the Constitution. (Read the BusinessMirror story: “Amid PBBM unity call, Año warns of ‘force’ vs secession,” February 5, 2024).
Various groups and organizations, including governors and officials from Mindanao, have also expressed their opposition to the proposed split. They rightly point out that such a movement would destabilize the government, undermine the national economy, and jeopardize the progress achieved in terms of peace and development. Their united opposition serves as a reminder that national unity is crucial for the country’s economic progress and development.
The government’s efforts towards peace, reconciliation, and unity should be supported and strengthened. The comprehensive peace process in Mindanao has brought an end to decades of armed conflict and has laid the foundation for sustainable development. Former revolutionary group members are now actively participating in nation building and promoting genuine peace. Mindanao has transformed from a land of volatility and violence to a symbol of hope and solidarity.
On Friday, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) emphasized the importance of Filipinos rejecting any calls that could destabilize the nation and create divisions. He stressed that unity among Filipinos leads to peace, development, and prosperity, while division results in instability, underdevelopment, and disorder. Secretary Galvez previously served as the Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under former President Rodrigo R. Duterte from April 18 to December 11, 2018. Subsequently, on December 12 of the same year, he was appointed as the head of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, which later evolved into the OPAPRU. (Read the BusinessMirror story: “Ex-president Duterte’s former military chief calls on Pinoys to junk destabilization, divisive calls,” February 2, 2024).
As Filipinos, we must learn from the past and choose the path of peace and unity. Divisions and calls for secession only hinder progress and threaten the gains made through peaceful means. It is crucial to preserve the achievements of the country and continue working towards a future where all Filipinos can thrive.
National unity is not just an aspiration but also a necessity. It is only through unity that Filipinos can overcome challenges, achieve genuine development, and build a prosperous nation. Let us support the government’s peace, reconciliation, and unity agenda, and reject any movement that aims to destabilize our beloved nation. By staying united, we can move forward as one people and one nation, ensuring a brighter future for all Filipinos.