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Nation

Gains of BARMM highlighted in 5th anniversary feast

John Unson - Philstar.com
Gains of BARMM highlighted in 5th anniversary feast
The commemoration of the fifth Bangsamoro region founding anniversary on Jan. 21, 2024 started with a fluvial parade in uptown Cotabato City, its capital.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY — Personnel of regional agencies commemorated on Sunday the fifth founding anniversary of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, proud of what is for them markedly visible dividends it has gained from its security and economic initiatives since.

The BARMM replaced via a plebiscite in February 2019 the then 27-year Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as a result of 22 years of peace talks between Malacañang and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), whose leader, Ahod Ebrahim, is now chief minister of the region.

BARMM’s labor minister, Muslimin Sema, who is chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), told reporters on Sunday that what is good now is that both erstwhile rebel groups, that have separate peace compacts with Malacañang, are cooperating in managing the peace and development programs of the BARMM government.

“Virtually, the BARMM is still infant but already has something to show particularly in terms of expansion of services to the Moro people, the non-Moro Christians and the indigenous people in its core territory,” Sema said.

Members of the 80-seat BARMM parliament, among them Deputy Speaker Nabil Alfad Tan, the lawyers Paisalin Pangandaman Tago and Suharto Mastura Ambolodto and the physician-ophthalmologist Kadil Monera Sinolinding Jr. separately told reporters via Facebook Messenger that the region’s law-making body had passed laws needed to improve commerce and trade in the six Bangsamoro provinces. These include Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

“Personally, I believe that the national officials of member-states of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) that brokered Malacañang’s separate peace compacts with the MNLF and the MILF are glad seeing how the BARMM government is trying its best to make its six provinces become progressive,” Tago, who is concurrent regional transportation and communications minister, said.

The OIC, a bloc of more than 50 Muslim states, including petroleum-exporting countries in the Middle East and North Africa, helped facilitate the crafting of Malacañang's Sept. 2, 1996 final truce with the MNLF and its two compacts with the MILF, the 2012 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro, and subsequently, the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.  

Records obtained from the office of Mohammad Pasigan, who is chairman of the Bangsamoro Regional Board of Investments, from the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Tourism and from the lawyer-entrepreneur Ronald Halid Torres, chairperson of the Bangsamoro Business Council, indicate that the BARMM has generated P8.1 billion worth of investments in the past 18 months, for many local traders good enough for a start.

Up to P5.7 billion worth of investments were poured in by local traders and investors from outside from the third quarter of 2019 to 2022, according to regional officials and local executives in BARMM’s six provinces.

Major Gen. Alex Rillera, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said on Sunday that their units had remarkable accomplishments in maintaining law and order in BARMM and in Region 12 provinces in the past three years, achieved with the support of MILF and the MNLF officials who are either members of the BARMM parliament, or at the helm of different ministries in the autonomous region.

“That, per se, is one of the dividends of the national government’s peace process with both groups and the existence now of this five-year BARMM regional government,” Rillera said.

Units of 6th ID in Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur and in Region 12's Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat provinces had secured the surrender in batches in the past three years of more than 700 members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Dawlah Islamiya with the support of MILF and MNLF leaders who helped convince them to pledge allegiance to the government and get reintroduced to mainstream society.

vuukle comment

BANGSAMORO AUTONOMOUS REGION FOR MUSLIM MINDANAO

BARMM

COTABATO

MILF

MNLF

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