Monday Jun, 01 2020 09:29:41 PM

BARMM would not exist if not for Duterte -- regional execs

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 10:30 AM Tue Jan 14, 2020
John M. Unson
BARMM Chief Minister Hadji Ahod Ebrahim and Regional Executive Secretary Abdulraof Macacua. (John Unson)

COTABATO CITY --- The creation last year of the Bangsamoro government was unlikely if Malacañang was under a president not from the south, regional officials said.

Hadji Ahod Ebrahim, appointed chief minister of the now 11-month Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said Tuesday they are grateful to President Rodrigo Duterte for having shepherded the Bangsamoro Organic Law, or Republic Act 11054, the charter of BARMM.

The ratification of RA 11054 via a plebiscite in January 2019 in provinces of the then Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao resulted in the replacement of the 29-year ARMM with a more empowered BARMM.

The BARMM is a product of 22 years of peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Peace talks between the government and the MILF, whose revolutionary figurehead is Ebrahim himself, started on January 7, 1997.

The tedious negotiation spanned through four presidents --- Fidel Ramos, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III --- whose administrations all tried, but failed to reach a final compact with the group.

“During the difficult times in seeing through the enactment into law of the BOL, it was the Mindanaon President Duterte, who is aware of the intricacies of the Moro issue, who helped through consensus-building dialogues on how to get legislative approval for the bill,” Ebrahim said.

The BOL was premised on two peace compacts between the government and the MILF --- the September 2012 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro and, subsequently, the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.

Ebrahim’s executive secretary, Abdulraof Macacua, concurrent Bangsamoro environment and natural resources minister, said it was Duterte who virtually encouraged them to keep on pushing forward the MILF’s part of the peace process amid what was for them “bitter opposition” by some lawmakers to the draft BOL.

“Every after dialogue with him, the zeal and spirit bounces back and hope gets high again. He was like a father who kept the peace among his children in those very challenging moments,” Macacua said.

Macacua and Ebrahim also both acknowledged Duterte’s continuing support to the government and the MILF’s bilateral efforts for BARMM to become a functional regional government focused on addressing socio-economic and political woes condoned by decades of secessionist strife. 


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