Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Friday insinuated in his Tweeter post the possibility of filing a diplomatic protest against Turkey and charges against BARMM officials for the meetings that he said was “a slap on Philippine sovereignty.”
AFP/Emmanuel Dunand
Bangsamoro meeting with Turkish officials ‘not unconstitutional’
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - December 29, 2019 - 12:00am

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The dialogue between Bangsamoro Chief Minister Hadji Ahod Ebrahim and Turkish officials in Ankara, Turkey from Dec. 11 to 16, was not unconstitutional, a senior regional official said yesterday.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, local government minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), said the engagement was, in fact, held in the presence of representatives from the Philippine diplomatic corps assigned in Turkey.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Friday insinuated in his Tweeter post the possibility of filing a diplomatic protest against Turkey and charges against BARMM officials for the meetings that he said was “a slap on Philippine sovereignty.”

Turkey, a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation that includes more than 50 Muslim states, is a benefactor of the current peace process between Malacañang and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Ebrahim, an appointed BARMM chief minister, is MILF’s leader who acts as chairman of the group’s central committee.  

The creation of BARMM was premised on two peace compacts between the government and the MILF – the 2012 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro that were a product of 22 years of peace talks that Malaysia, another OIC member-state, brokered.

Turkey leads the International Decommissioning Body at the forefront of the MILF’s and the government’s gradual deactivation of Moro rebels and transfer of their firearms to hasten the restoration of normalcy in the Southern Philippines.

Sinarimbo said Ebrahim traveled to Ankara for the meetings with Turkish government officials with full imprimatur from President Duterte.   

“The travel of the chief minister was upon the invitation of the government of Turkey and he was given authority to travel abroad by the Office of the President of the Philippines,” Sinarimbo said.

He said Bangsamoro regional officials are certain the Turkish government will not ruin the southern Mindanao peace process it has been supporting for a long time by inviting Ebrahim for official functions in Ankara in a manner transgressing the diplomatic ties between Turkey and the Philippines.

“There is an inter-governmental relations mechanism that should have been the venue for resolving the confusion and misunderstanding on the chief minister’s travel to Turkey,” Sinarimbo said.

The inter-governmental relations body was jointly established by Malacanang and BARMM in support of measures meant to ensure strong governance cooperation between both sides.  

BANGSAMORO TURKISH
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