Creation of BARMM unlikely if not for Duterte, regional leaders say
BARMM Chief Minister Ebrahim and Executive Secretary Macacua said the creation of the new region would likely not have happened if not for President Duterte.
via John Unson
Creation of BARMM unlikely if not for Duterte, regional leaders say
John Unson ( - January 13, 2020 - 10:30am

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The creation last year of the Bangsamoro government would have been less likely without a president from Mindanao, regional officials said.

Ahod 'Al Haj Murad' Ebrahim, appointed chief minister of the now 11-month-old 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, through Congress.

Passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law faltered during the 16th Congress despite the endorsement of the Aquino administration.

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, led by Ebrahim, 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 to reach a peace deal with the group. 

A peace agreement, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, was signed in 2014 but remained unimplemented pending passage of the BARMM charter.

"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.

BARMM Executive Secretary Abdulraof Macacua, who is also Bangsamoro environment and natural resources minister, said it was Duterte who encouraged them to keep pushing for passage of the bill despite "bitter opposition" by some lawmakers to the draft BOL.

"After every 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 problems that led to and that were perpetuated by conflict in the region.

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