By MASIDING NOOR YAHYA
March 30, 2019
|President Duterte addresses the BARMM inauguration on Friday held at BARMM Compound, Cotabato City. (Photo by MNY)|
COTABATO CITY: Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Bangsamoro chief minister Al Haj Ebrahim Murad led Bangsamoro Parliament (BP) members in taking oath for ‘moral governance’ in front of the Holy Qur’an and in the presence of President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Friday evening during the inauguration of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Regon in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The BP members vowed to reject corruption and promote inclusive empowerment in the new region where peace, with the new set-up, is expected to reign after decades of conflict that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the Bangsamoro armed struggle for self-determination..
“We started the jihad with an oath before the Qur’an and we will also take an oath before the Qur’an as we start our governance,” Ebrahim said.
President Duterte honored the BARMM inauguration held at the Shariff Kabungsuan Cultural Complex (SKCC) in the BARMM compound here on Friday who banged the gong before the formal start of the ceremony.
The President arrived at 6:30 in the afternoon after the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) had convened as Bangsamoro Parliament its inaugural session in the morning.
|President Rodrigo R. Duterte delivers his message during the inauguration of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Friday at the SKCC, BARMM Compound in Cotabato City. (RSP Photo by MNY)|
Duterte was extremely elated for the BARMM inauguration.
“May I just express in front of you my extreme happiness. It gives me the high hope that we were able to realize at least a part, maybe not all, a part of what the entire country would have wished for the Moro people of Mindanao,” he said.
“I cannot express my sense of gratitude to you for understanding, for giving us the time to craft the law to make it legal and promise a new dawn for the Moro, the Bangsamoro area,” continued the President.
But Duterte soberly reminded the BTA members of their huge responsibility. He called on them to promote transparency, accountability, good governance, and “inclusive political empowerment.”
“To my dear Bangsamoro sisters and brothers in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, the power to chart the course of your region’s destiny is now in your hands. I trust that you wield this power with utmost care,” he said.
To ensure lasting peace and a smooth transition process, he hoped for a successful decommissioning of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants, as promised by the MILF in its peace agreement with the Philippine government.
The president reiterated his solemn promise to solve the Bangsamoro problem during his term.
Balindong elected first BPSpeaker
The inaugural session of the Bangsamoro Parliament was officially opened by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman and BARMM Interim Chief Minister Al Haj Murad Ebrahim who immediately appointed Sheik Khalifa Usman Nando as the BARMM’s Wali, the region’s spiritual adviser especially on issues that need Islamic ruling.
In that inaugural session, the BTA has elected former House deputy speaker Ali Pangalian Balindong as speaker of the Bangsamoro Parliament and Moro National Liberation Front member Hatimil Hassan as deputy speaker.
Lawyer Lanang Ali Jr. and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao executive secretary Laisa Alamia were named majority leader and minority leader, respectively.
“There were ups and down in the past 22 years but here we are today together with the President of our country inaugurating the product of what we have been working on long before the peace talks started 22 years ago,” Ebrahim said.
He said the banging of the gong by the President at the start of ceremony marked “a new beginning for the Bangsamoro.”
On MILF decommissioning
The MILF had submitted its list of combatants and arms for decommissioning to the International Decommissioning Body (IDB) last Monday, March 25, Ebrahim said.
Tens of thousands of MILF supporters coming from various parts of the region gathered at designated venues outside the SKCC to observe the inauguration of the BTA.
Friday’s inauguration was held more than a month after the President administered the oath of office to the 80-member BTA in Malacañang. (MNY)