Press Release
April 7, 2022

Mindanaoans won't put another Marcos in presidency after martial law atrocities: Lanao Norte mayor

MINDANAOANS remember the atrocities they experienced during the martial law imposed by the late President Ferdinand Marcos, said Mayor Rommel C. Arnado of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte Thursday, rejecting the presidential candidacy of the dictator's son and namesake and endorsing the tandem of Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan.

"We cannot alter history. We cannot erase the damage the Marcos regime had brought to our land and people. Most importantly, we cannot allow ourselves to be used this way," said Arnado in a statement. (

"I declare my stand against Bongbong Marcos, and I support the election of Vice President Leni Robredo into the presidency, who is the most qualified and the most perfect leader that our country needs today," he said on the potential return of the Marcos's son to Malacañang,

"While several cases on ill-gotten wealth remain unresolved, including cases related to atrocities directed against our people in those painful years, we cannot be instruments in putting back into power another Ferdinand Marcos," he added.

Among the martial law-instigated violence happened in 1974 when about 1,500 Moro men were massacred by the military inside the Taqbil mosque in what has become known as Malisbong Massacre in the coastal village of Palembang. Three thousand women were detained, some of them raped, 300 of their houses razed.

In the Ilaga vs. Blackshirts-Barracuda wars that followed, Marcos's constabulary supported the non-Moro Ilaga vigilantes with arms and ammunition.

Arnado thus declared his unconditional support for the tandem of Robredo-Pangilinan (Tropa).

"A Leni-Kiko tandem will bring our communities in the countryside to the forefront. With good governance and sustainability development efforts as part of their primary priority, our future is in good hands," he said.

He called on his fellow local chief executives to back Tropa.

"While many local leaders have already expressed their support to this new breed of leadership, I call on my colleagues and encourage more of our local chief executives to do the same," said Arnado, who is also national president of the 200-strong League of Organic Agriculture Municipalities, Cities, and Provinces of the Philippines (LOAMCP Philippines).

On March 31, presidential aspirant Robredo, vice-presidential candidate Pangilinan, and their senatorial bets held a rally in Kauswagan hosted by Arnado and his political supporters. The following day, Tropa campaigned in Marawi City and visited the Marawi Siege Ground Zero. They also went to Lanao del Sur as part of Tropa's northern Mindanao barnstorming.

Among the priorities in Tropa's platform of governance are increasing funding and other support for agriculture and fisheries sectors and reinvigorating grassroots communities in the countryside.

"The Vice President is not only a viable option against a potential Marcos regime, but also a very competent and experienced leader who had demonstrated several years of excellent service to the people through her profession as a lawyer, a legislator, a politician, and a mother," Arnado said

"Leni Robredo is an epitome of servant leadership," he added.

In backing Pangilinan, Arnado said, "I support Senator Kiko Pangilinan in his bid for the vice presidency."

"A selfless and dedicated public servant himself, Senator Pangilinan is a statesman who will truly stand for our people," he said.

Fake news about martial law

Noting the challenges faced by Tropa as it battles the tsunami of disinformation and fake news in its campaign, Arnado said, "We have seen how history is being altered through the proliferation of fake news and disinformation."

"Many of our people have been misled and, unfortunately, this is because of the influence of digital and social media, which has been abused and exploited by some politicians and their supporters," he said.

Arnado, who instituted the Sustainable Integrated Kauswagan Development and Peace Agenda (SIKAD PA) vision, totally transformed the town into a now productive and sustainable municipality. Kauswagan means prosperity in Bisaya.

Poverty incidence in Kauswagan significantly went down, from more than 80% in 2010 to around 9% in 2020, the statement said.

"The whole country had risen from the hardships brought about by martial law and we enjoyed our liberty as a people at the end of the Marcos dictatorship. The freedom that we gained in the People Power Revolution brought us to where we are as a country today. However, such freedom is being threatened by irresponsible use of digital media further misleading our people especially the youth," Arnado said.

The mayor, who took over the war-torn municipality after it became the center of conflict when the government declared an all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2000, said, "This is our time to stand for our people and be one as a nation. After all, we are on the same journey into the future. And we shall bring our people to a destination where we all continue to be free."

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