By Noel Punzalan
COTABATO CITY: Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (BARMM) leaders and the area’s partners vowed to uphold peace in the region, following a spate of attacks from lawless groups recently.
“This is our home and we will not let you individuals (peace spoilers) destroy it from within,” BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said in a message on Tuesday.
He pointed out that the Bangsamoro has been trapped on what is seemingly becoming an “endless loop of war.”
For the past four decades, Ebrahim noted that the national government and the Moro fronts – Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front – entered peace agreements— “all in hopes of making life better in this part of the country.”
“We cannot keep pushing forward for a renewed region if we keep turning back to violence,” he said. “As MILF chairman and BARMM chief minister, I reiterate our support to make sure that the Bangsamoro becomes a haven of tranquility and optimism.”
The chief minister’s statement echoed the stand of BARMM leaders and partners to address existing conflicts with lawless groups in Maguindanao and other parts of the region during Monday’s 1st Peace and Security Summit held at the BARMM government center here.
In Maguindanao, the summit participants comprising of local government officials particularly focused their attention on the so-called SMPS Box – referring to the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi Ampatuan), Mamasapano, and Shariff Saydona – where the Daesh-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) operates.
The summit was divided into seven clusters: Local Governance; Religious Sector; Security Sector; Human Rights; Development Planning; Humanitarian Response and Civil Society Organizations; and Indigenous Peoples’ concerns.
During his presentation at the summit, Minister Naguib Sinarimbo of the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government – BARMM said the provincial government of Maguindanao has declared the BIFF and other local terrorist groups as persona non grata.
He also laid down the BARMM’s plan of action for peace, security, and development and the Bangsamoro Community Resilience Framework that included the development and implementation of a holistic approach to strengthening community resilience within the region.
He said the region has a history of conflict between groups asserting the right to self-determination and the Philippine state forces.
“However, because of the peace agreement, we are done with that type of conflict,” Sinarimbo said referring to the MILF and the MNLF’s comprehensive peace agreements with the government.
Lt. Col. Homer A. Estolas, who represented Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) commander Major Gen. Juvymax Uy to the summit, said the Army-led Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) supports the BARMM in its endeavor for a peaceful and progressive Maguindanao.
“Rest assured that the 6ID and JTFC will jointly do their part to achieve peace and development in the province,” he said.
The summit concluded through the signing of a pledge of commitment to fortify the collaboration and coordination of the different stakeholders in keeping the peace, security, and development in the region.
Philippine News Agency