By BITOON A RANAO
A tribute to a Bangsamoro leader whose last wish is for his fellow leaders to be the unifying forces of their people.
Amidst these most crucial times in our life, we are featuring a one-on-one video interview with the late Ghazali Jaafar (may Allah place him in the highest status in Jannah Firdaus) in memory of his noble deeds and sacrifices for the Bangsamoro People as they fought for their right to self-determination and freedom.
This interview was conducted by Masiding Noor Yahya, founder of Ranao Star Philippines (RSP), together with Datu Oskie Mohammad, RSP Cotabato Bureau, last January 2015, years before Jaafar was appointed chairman of the then Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).
Let us say in passing the late Jaafar was supportive of the RSP programs as a voice of our people and that we will not forget him as one of our heroes. Our prayers are always with him.
The BTC drafted the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) which was enacted into law as Republic Act No. 11054, creating the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) with the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) running the new regional government.
Jaafar was also appointed to the BTA and designated speaker of the interim Bangsamoro Parliament but his demise overtook him to do the job.
Jaafar, Vice Chair for Political Affairs until the title was changed to “1st Vice-Chair,” was the first chair of the MILF peace panel. He signed the general cessation of hostilities between government and the MILF in Cagayan de Oro City on July 18, 1997.
Jaafar’s last public appearance was at the oathtaking rites of the BTA in Malacanang on February 22, 2019. He arrived in a wheelchair shortly before President Rodrigo Duterte entered the Rizal Hall, insisted on standing up when he took his oath along with 71 other BTA members but fell on his back while conversing with President Duterte.
Jaafar was not present during the turnover rites from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the BARMM on February 26 at the Shariff Kabungsuan Cultural Complex. It was here where interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim (MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim) named him as Speaker. But while he is recuperating, he said, a Deputy Speaker – former Lanao del Sur Rep. and Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Pangalian Balindong — would take his place.
Jaafar’s appeal to his fellow leaders, as reported in the press, is for them to be the unifying forces of the Bangsamoro.
May Allah place Jaafar and all those who returned to our Most merciful God in the struggle of the Bangsamoro People. (RSP)