A STAUNCH critic of the Aquino administration on Tuesday slammed presidential aspirant Manuel Roxas II for “gravely insulting the Muslims of Mindanao” during Sunday’s presidential debate, calling him a “phony student of Mindanao’s history.”
“Calling the Muslims of Mindanao with the highly derogatory term mananakop did not only show the chauvinist attitude of Mar Roxas, it also betrayed his revisionist view of the struggle of the Bangsamoro for self-determination,” Rep. Carlos Zarate said.
“Mar is a phony student of Mindanao’s history and the valiant struggle of the Bangsamoro people.”
Zarate also said the Zamboanga siege was “no precision military operation” as claimed by Roxas.
“Human rights groups have raised the alarm over the human rights violations committed against the residents of Zamboanga City during the Zamboanga siege that Mar Roxas flaunted as a success,” Zarate said.
Based on the reports of human rights watchdogs, Zarate said, many civilians who were mistaken for MNLF combatants were also killed during the clearing operations.
He said there were also cases of hostage-taking, the use of civilians as human shields, summary killings, aerial bombardments, illegal arrests and detention, harassment and intimidation and food blockades.
Two hundred seventy-four people were arrested and brought to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, but most of them were innocent civilians, Zarate said.
“Truth to tell, the Zamboanga Siege and the Mamasapano fiasco were the results of how conflict resolution is being undertaken under the so-called Daang Matuwid.”
Zarate tagged Roxas as “a total failure as a Cabinet secretary.”
“The lumad killings, the Mamasapano fiasco, the Zamboanga siege, his criminal negligence during the Typhoon ‘‘Yolanda,’’ among others, are livings testimonials to his record as secretary,” Zarate said.
“He is successful, though, in self-promotion and the brazen use of the Bottom-Up Budgeting funds and other government resources for his presidential bid.”
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