Friday, September 26, 2008

Prof Rodil declared persona non grata in Iligan City

by Carolyn Arguillas/MindaNews

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/21 September) – The pride of Iligan and the
rest of Mindanao for his expertise on Moro and Lumad histories – Rudy
Rodil -- has been declared persona non grata for his alleged
participation in the "grand conspiracy to fool the people, cut Iligan
into pieces and of the biggest blunder the Philippine government
has ever made which is the carving and giving of a big chunk of
Mindanao to a rebel group, just to attain the simple word 'peace.'"

Rodil, retired professor, historian, author of at least 10 books and
monographs and at least 100 articles on Mindanao History and
Contemporary Situation, especially
on Moro and Lumad affairs, recipient of several awards and vice chair
of the dissolved government peace panel that negotiated with the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF) from 2001 until the panel's
dissolution on September 3, was declared persona non grata in a
resolution passed unanimously by Iligan's City Council.

Iligan Mayor Lawrence Cruz told MindaNews by telephone that initially
Rodil was "not included among (the) early list of (those declared) PNG
(persona non grata) but after repeatedly snubbing Sangguniang
Panglungsod invitation for him to appear or explain, he was added to
the list."

"We could not understand why Rudy, despite being a professor in
Iligan, did not consult us on the matter of potentially including 82%
of our land area in the BJE (Bangsamoro Juridical Entity), Cruz said.

The Sangguniang Panlungsod declared Rodil persona non grata on
September 1, through Resolution 08-563, "regarding his participation
in the formulation of the memorandum of agreement on ancestral

Mayor Cruz signed "with my concurrence" on the third page, on September 9.

Fourteen years earlier, on September 28, 1994, Rodil was awarded by
the Iligan City government as "Outstanding Citizen" (Ang buotang

Rodil told MindaNews in a telephone interview that he has not received
a copy from the City Council but finally saw a copy of the three-page
resolution only on September 21, in Cagayan de Oro, from friends in
the NGOs.

Rodil learned about the resolution only last week, when an NGO worker
sent him a scanned copy of a news report published in the September 7
issue of the weekly "Mindanao Scoop" in Iligan.

The paper published no details on the resolution, just an interview
with two councilors.

Rodil told MindaNews he attended two council sessions in Iligan in
2006, when he told them that predominantly Moro barangays may be

On April 25, 2006, Rodil was at the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Iligan
City and was grilled for two and a half hours regarding the proposed
inclusion of Iligan in the BJE.

A month later, on May 25, Rodil again appeared as guest-resource
person from 3 to 6 p.m where he was asked to give a presentation on
the Moro Problem and Peace Talks update.

The 2008 resolution said Rodil "does not deserve an iota of respect
from the Iliganons" for his alleged betrayal and act of disloyalty to
the city, "the very place where he live (sic) and earned (sic) his

Among its 12 whereases, the resolution noted that if it had not been
for the "resourcefulness" of Mayor Lawrence Cruz, "Iligan City would
(have awakened) morning of August 6, 2008 that its eight barangays are
devoured, by virtue of the MOA."

"Iligan City felt betrayed by Prof. Rodil. Had his loyalty lies on
(sic) Iligan City, he should have advised the GRP that the City of
and the eight barangays have twice rejected the inclusion of
the city in the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) and the
Expanded ARMM; that it will eat up 82 per cent of the territory of
Iligan City; that it will reduce the IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment)
of Iligan City similar to that of a big municipality; that it was done
without consulting the people," the resolution says.

The resolution said Rodil showed disrespect to city officials when "he
didn't appear when sought three times for his personal appearance to
shed light on what has transpired in the negotiations."

Rodil said he explained in a letter to the Council about his busy
schedule (the Panel had not been dissolved by then) and that
government peace panel chair Rodolfo Garcia was willing to attend as
well, at another time.

Eight barangays of Iligan are listed in the MOA-AD for inclusion in
the BJE, subject, however, to a plebiscite within one year from the
signing of the MOA-AD.

Rodil stressed people often omit mentioning the plebiscite, which is
very important, because ultimately, it is the people of the listed
areas who will decide if they want or do not want to be part of the

"Did I give anything away? Did the national government give away
something when a plebiscite is precisely required?" Rodil asked.

The resolution said that in "his (Rodil's) desire to attain peace,"
Iligan "has been hit with two bombs, its peaceful people scampered
like frightened rats when rumors that MILF rebels are within its
doors. In his support for peace, his co-workers at MSU-IIT rallies and
joined the protests in the city streets under the sweltering heat of
the tropical sun. In his support for peace, dozens have been
slaughtered in Lanao del Norte, their bodies exposed to the baking sun
for hours."

It also said that if Rodil had loved Iligan, "upon knowing the
inclusion of the eight barangays should have fought like martyr, tell
the city officials or people about it or to show his disgust, should
have walked out from the deliberation, but Prof. Rodil persevered and
remained silent until the flaring moments of the crisis."

"This is very emotional," Rodil said, adding, "I have seen these
reactions before. In 1988 (during the consultations of the Regional
Consultative Commission that prepared the draft for the Organic Act of
Muslim Mindanao), in 1996 (on the Southern Philippines Council for
Peace and Devleopment)."

"Angry people are angry people and usually, they have not read the
document," he said.

Rodil has been living in Iligan City since 1979.

He says he has the Bill of Rights under the Constitution as
protection. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)