Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex, Cotabato City
March 29, 2019
After decades-long of peace negotiation between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), President Rodrigo Roa Duterte formally declared the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), in the hopes of bringing lasting peace and security in the region.
President Duterte expressed extreme happiness over the inauguration of the BARMM, which he considered a ‘part of what the entire country would have wished for the Moro people of Mindanao.’
“I cannot express my sense of gratitude for understanding, for giving us the time to craft the law, to make it legal, and a promise [of] a new dawn for the Moro, the Bangsamoro area or territory,” the President conveyed.
Last January 21 and February 6, two (2) plebiscites were held to determine whether the new Bangsamoro region will push through or not. Around 2.8 million voters registered for the plebiscite.
According to President Duterte, the victory achieved in the plebiscite is clear proof of the country’s determination to bring peace and development in Mindanao through a responsive government that truly reflects the identity of its people.
He added that the victory of this momentous event is a result of the fruitful collaboration among the MILF, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Commission on Elections (Comelec), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), and the local government units (LGUs) of the provinces, cities, and municipalities that took part in the plebiscite.
The President entrusted the responsibility of governing the Bangsamoro region to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which he said must serve all Muslims, Christians, Lumads, other indigenous people, and every Filipino who calls Mindanao their ‘home.’
The BTA is the body that shall serve as government of the BARMM. It has the executive and legislative powers over the region. Last month, President Duterte appointed MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim as the Chief Minister of the region.
“It is my sincere hope that the new Bangsamoro regional government will not just live up to its aspirations and principles embodied in the past peace agreements with different Moro fronts, but also promote good governance, transparency, accountability, and inclusive political empowerment,” President Duterte said.
He then pleaded and called on the nation to work together in building lasting peace and inclusive progress that shall benefit all Mindanaoans and the entire country. He reiterated that for the next three (3) years of his term as President, he will ‘work and truly work for the benefit of the Bangsamoro people.’
“As we mark a new chapter in our history, I call upon Bangsamoro to take advantage of this opportunity and finally correct the historical injustices and forget the bitterness of the past so that we may embrace each other as Filipinos,” the Chief Executive stated.
* * *