Cotabato City -– The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) welcomes and supports the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which was officially launched on August 8, for the Bangsamoro people.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, in his message, urged the Bangsamoro people to extend their full support to the incoming regional government that will help end the decades-long armed conflict and violence in the region.
President Rodrigo Duterte marked the passage of the law with its ceremonial signing in Malacañang on August 6. As agreed upon by the bicameral conference committee, the new political entity will replace the ARMM and will be known as Bangsamoro in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
As emphasized by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal, the law signifies the closure of armed conflict between the MILF, representing the Moro people, and the Philippine government.
“Now that we have the BOL, more than anything else, this is for the youth, for the future generations of the Bangsamoro. They will be the ones who will reap all these benefits,” he said.
With the creation of the new entity that seeks to address the historical injustices in the Bangsamoro, Peace Process Undersecretary Nabil Tan reiterated that the BOL is a better legislation compared with the old ARMM Organic Law, or Republic Act 9054.
“This is not less than ARMM, and this is for the hope of the Bangsamoro people to bring long-lasting peace in Mindanao,” USec. Tan said. He also lauded Gov. Hataman for changing the negative image of ARMM as an institution into a good one.
Many have doubted and lost confidence in the region, but Gov. Hataman improved the organizational structure of the regional government as part of his reform agenda significantly eliminating irregularities that led to the purging of ghost employees.
USec. Tan noted that during his term as ARMM vice-governor in 1993-1996, the region has only P5 million in annual budgetary allocation. During Gov. Hataman’s administration, the region’s annual budget increased and is pegged at P33.569 billion this year.
“Ito ay dahil pinilit natin na patunayan na hindi totoo ang miskonsepsyon na walang karapat-dapat at hindi kaya ng isang Moro ang mamuno at ngayon nagkaroon muli sila ng tiwala sa Bangsamoro,” Gov. Hataman said.
The establishment of the new Bangsamoro entity, he said, does not mean the abolition of the ARMM government. “Hindi ito pagbubura ng ARMM, hindi rin ito pagbubura ng negosasyon ng nakaraan. Kung hindi nakita natin ang kahinaan ng iilan sa nakaraan at pangangailangan na magkaroon ng panibagong sistema sa loob ng Bangsamoro.”
“Kung nagkaisa tayo noon sa ngalan ng aspirasyon at nagkaisa tayo sa ngalan nang interes ng Bangsamoro, magkaisa muli tayo at tingnan ang kinabukasan ng batas na ito,” he added.
He also recognized the efforts of Nur Misuari in pushing for the creation of the autonomous region in southern Philippines, following the signing of the Tripoli Agreement in 1976 that called for autonomy for 13 provinces and 9 cities in Mindanao.
He also encouraged the new political leaders to continue serving the interest of the Bangsamoro people.
“Sa mga darating na mamahala, alam ko mas maganda ang framework ng batas natin ngayon kumpara sa R.A 9054 pero ang challenge at hamon sa lahat ay gaano man kaganda ang sasakyan, ang higit na kailangan ay magaling na driver at mga nagkakaisang pasahero,” he added.
A 59-year old resident of Cotabato City, Mohammad Abdulmajid said he will vote ‘Yes’ to become part of the new Bangsamoro entity. Cotabato City is currently not under the ARMM. “Panahon na para magkaisa tayong lahat at matuldukan na ang kaguluhan dito sa Mindanao,” Abdulmajid said.
Government officials, community leaders, and other stakeholders signed a manifesto of support to the BOL during Wednesday’s event. (Bureau of Public Information)
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