Posted on Apr 26, 2010

Villar to get Muslim vote - Tamano

The Muslims will throw their support behind the presidential bid of Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar, NP senatorial candidate Adel Tamano said yesterday.

Tamano, a Muslim, said that among the presidential candidates, Villar's plan for the Muslims and the Mindanao island stood out because it highlights a holistic approach in solving conflict and poverty in the region."

And I think because of that, if you go to many Muslim areas, many of them are for Manny Villar. If you go to Cotabato City, Lanao del Norte and the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) areas, many of the voters there are supporting Villar," Tamano said.

Tamano said he can bring votes not only for Villar but also to the NP slate.

He said their religion makes Muslims support their fellow Muslims.

Tamano said he remains confident that this is also true for Villar as he always appeals to the Filipino-Muslims to vote for him.In his previous speeches, Villar has maintained that the Mindanao conflict can be best addressed only if all stakeholders are allowed to actively participate in the peace process.

Villar said attaining long-lasting peace in Mindanao will be achieved if the root causes of the conflict are addressed through political and economic reforms.

"Attaining peace in Mindanao requires a holistic and inclusive peace process that would put an end to hostilities," the NP standard-bearer said. "The Mindanao conflict will be best solved by all the stakeholders in the region, not by imperial Manila," he added.

Villar also said the peace process should be taken one step at a time and not be rushed. "The peace process should not be rushed just so it can be another medal on someone's 'legacy.' The surest way to shoot the peace process down is by injecting politics into it,"he said.

Villar wants an integral development strategy for Mindanao that revolves around massive government investment in transport infrastructure in key areas, greater autonomy for local government units (LGUs), and financing and development programs that will promote entrepreneurship.

At the same time, the NP presidential candidate said the region's development rests on effective governance.

The government had initiated peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2001. The talks collapsed in 2008 after the Supreme Court struck down a controversial proposed deal between the government and MILF that would have given the rebel group administrative control over large areas in southern Mindanao.