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FACT CHECK: Mindanao remains part of the Philippines


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FACT CHECK: Mindanao remains part of the Philippines
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. had firmly denounced recent calls for the island of Mindanao to secede from the Philippines

Claim: The island of Mindanao seceded from the Philippines.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The video bearing the claim was posted by a YouTube channel with over 87,500 subscribers. The particular video in question has garnered 2,682 views, 62 likes, and 20 comments as of writing. 

The video’s title states: “Kapapasok Lang Shocking Nagulat Ang Lahat! Mindanao Tumiwalag Na! Dinaan Sa Legal Manny Di Sangayon!” (Just in, everyone is shocked! Mindanao seceded legally! Manny disagrees!)

The facts: Mindanao remains an integral part of the Philippines. In a speech commemorating Constitution Day on February 8, 2024, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. denounced recent calls for the island of Mindanao to secede from the Philippines. Marcos said such a proposition is “doomed to fail” as it is anchored on false premises.

“I strongly appeal to all concerned to stop this call for a separate Mindanao. It is a grave violation of the Constitution,” Marcos said.

The DOJ also firmly rejects any attempts at secession for Mindanao or other Philippine regions. The department cited Article II, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution, which upholds the principles of a democratic society and the territorial integrity of the Philippines.

Opposition: On February 2, Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. issued a statement urging the public to disregard any efforts aimed at undermining the Philippines’ stability, including calls for secession. 

The leaders from Maguindanao del Sur and Sultan Kudarat also voiced their opposition to secessionist calls. They reaffirmed their commitment to a united Philippines and highlighted the detrimental impact such movements could have on the region’s established peace and development efforts. 

The League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), an organization composed of governors, also released a statement on February 2 rejecting renewed calls for Mindanao independence. The LPP, incidentally, is headed by South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr., a Mindanao-based provincial chief executive.

Call for secession: On January 30, 2024, during a press conference in Davao City, former president Rodrigo Duterte expressed his desire to reconvene leadership figures from Mindanao under the guidance of Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, currently representing Davao del Norte’s First District in the House of Representatives.

Duterte said a movement does not equate to rebellion and is not necessarily bloody. He was quoted in a GMA News report as proposing that it be a “legal process that will be brought to the United Nations” following what happened in Timor Leste.

The National Security Council (NSC) expressed strong disapproval of a recent statement made by Duterte on Mindanao’s supposed secession. The NSC cited potential hindrances to the significant progress made towards peace and development in the region as a primary concern. – Marie Flor Cabarrubias/Rappler.com

Marie Flor Cabarrubias is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

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