Duterte hopes Murad-led BTA to promote good governance, accountability
President Rodrigo Duterte expressed hope on Friday the new Bangsamoro regional government would promote good governance and accountability.
This as Duterte led the formal inauguration of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority led by Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, held in Cotabato City, the seat of power of the newly established Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
"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," he said in a speech.
BARMM replaced ARMM, which was dubbed by the Aquino administration as a "failed" experiment. ARMM was created in accordance with the final peace agreement with the then secessionist Moro National Liberation Front led by Nur Misuari.
Misuari is now facing several charges, one of which was alleged corruption during his stint as ARMM governor.
Unlike the other factions of the MNLF, Misuari's group did not participate in the creation of BARMM. He has been insisting for a federal form of government and according to Duterte, threatened to go back to war again if federalism is realized.
"To my dear Bangsamoro sisters and brothers in the BTA, the power to chart the course of your region’s future is now in your hands. I trust that you will wield this power with utmost care, the future of succeeding generations of the Filipinos, especially the Moro of Mindanao, depends on it," Duterte said.
Duterte admitted that he was in "extreme happiness" that the Bangsamoro people have started to realize part of their aspiration.
"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 a promise a new dawn for the Moro, the Bangsamoro area or territory," he said.
The BTA will administer BARMM until the first election for its officials is held by 2022.
"As we enter the transition period, I ask everyone to work towards building lasting peace and inclusive progress that will benefit all Mindanaoans and the entire country as well. We do this ensuring the smooth and effective implementation of the Annex on Normalization, which includes the decommissioning of former MILF combatants," he said.
Under the peace agreement, the estimated 40,000 MILF combatants would have to undergo decommissioning in phases until 2022 before the newly elected officials of the region assume posts. Celerina Monte/DMS