Hernandez: Where are
the Mindanawons in GMA’s SONA?
Posted 30 July 2009
Hernandez in Congress
ANAK MINDANAW Party-List
Representative Ariel C. Hernandez expressed disappointment for not
hearing more of the President’s statement on Mindanao, in as much
as he also wanted to appreciate the recently delivered SONA of
President Arroyo and the accomplishments mentioned in it.
“I was waiting for her to
mention clear statements that concern Mindanao and how her
administration also invested in Mindanao, as it should have been
reflected in her total budget. Rather, I heard vague
statistics,” uttered Hernandez, who expected much from the
President’s supposed-to-be last SONA. “Meanwhile, she allotted
so much of her time stating most of her Manila-centered achievements
and criticisms against her detractors,” he added.
“I was hoping for her to
talk more about her clear road map of the peace talks in Mindanao.
When will the talks resume? How will the communities affected be
involved and their issues be considered? What are the direct
programs that her administration can implement to speed up the
resolution of local conflicts and lessen violence? What are the
mechanisms to be placed for the welfare of the growing number of
internally displaced persons (IDPs)?” Hernandez said.
“We in Mindanao were
waiting for her to articulate these concerns. Meanwhile, clashes and
tensions between the military and revolutionary groups are
continuing, massive displacements of civilians continue to rise. The
DSWD reported that as of mid-July, 430,000 persons already left
their homes in search of safer shelter. To our dismay, there
were no plans how to answer these concerns mentioned by GMA except
that of her wish, that “There is nothing more that I would wish
for than peace in Mindanao.’”
Hernandez also pointed out
that GMA never mentioned anything on the pressing situations of
Mindanawon workers most particularly in Sabah, Malaysia. Many, if
not all of them, are undocumented, he noted. About 400 workers per
week are reportedly experiencing harsh deportation procedures. “Deportees
are on the rise, reaching to almost half a million and they have
awful, if not horrific, stories of their working conditions, and of
their lives while in exile. I didn’t hear her stand on this issue.
Now, how can I believe her pronouncements that she really cares?”
Hernandez recently attended the committee hearing on the situation
of the deportees from Sabah and he is now zealously monitoring
migration issue at large.
The joint session of Congress
in the House of Representatives last Monday has been the new
Mindanawon solon’s closest encounter with President Arroyo since
he sat in the House in April 27, 2009. Though his expectations were
not met, Hernandez is still hopeful that the Arroyo administration
will do more in the remaining months of her term. He further
expressed the willingness of ANAK MINDANAO, the party-list he
represents with Mujiv Hataman in the House of Representatives, to
engage in a critical collaboration with the GMA administration
despite her vague stand on Mindanao’s pressing issues.
Hernandez has vowed to do his
part, too. Balay Mindanaw and the Katilingbanong Pamahandi sa
Mindanaw, the two foundations he also works for, along with partners
in the civil society organizations and local government units, are
very determined to respond to Mindanao issues. This young solon is
taking his little time left in office as an opportunity to serve the
voiceless people, to act on the critical issues concerning
Mindanawons and to work on his priority bill -- establishing the
Peace in Mindanao Academy (PMA) now filed as House Bill No. 6624.