On Wednesday, Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba angered Muslim leaders after he linked peace and order to the alleged absence of Muslims in his province.
Mamba was trying to lawmakers to rehabilitate the Cagayan River to attract tourists and investors when he made the controversial remark.
“If we dredge the river, restore the Cagayan River to its old glory, I think Cagayan and the North will enjoy so much advantage, as much as economic activity of Luzon is concerned,” Mamba said in a Senate hearing on flood control projects.
“We do not have Muslims here. Wala kaming problems [we don’t have problems] as far as peace and order is concerned here.”
Hours after Governor Mamba’s remark, the Cagayan Public Information Office issued an apology.
“Nililinaw po ni Gov. na ang ibig niyang tukuyin ay ‘Walang paniniwalang extremism sa mga kapatid na Muslim na naninirahan sa Cagayan’,” the office said in a social media post.
(Gov. Mamba clarifies that what he wanted to refer to was that there were “no extremists among our Muslim brothers and sisters here in Cagayan.”)
“Kaugnay nito ay muling humihingi ng paumanhin si Gov. Mamba kung ibang konteksto ang ibinunga ng kaniyang pahayag sa Senate committee hearing.”
(In line with this, Gov. Mamba is sorry if his statement during the Senate committee heating gave a different context.)
Mamba links peace and order to absence of Muslims in Cagayan
Bangsamoro Parliament member Zia Alonto Adiong slammed Mamba for his comment but later acknowledged his apology.
“Seriously, who would ever think that way except bigots?” he said in a tweet.
“I have a surprise for you, Governor, we’re everywhere! Don’t be scared because we do have Muslim policemen and soldiers as well to keep us all safe and protected,” he said.
“We do have Muslim Governors doing exactly the same job as Gov. Mamba,” he said.
“We’re told by our faith 2 accept apologies especially when they’re being offered w/ sincerity. By accepting it doesn’t mean we tolerate. We’ll continue to call out bigotry, prejudice ‘til we reach a point that we no longer have 2 defend our right 2 b part of a peaceful community,” he tweeted.
Adiong reminded Muslims they should “not allow people to tell you ‘you are the problem.'”