Duterte puts his trust into BTA to handle decommissioning of firearms, ex-combatants
President Rodrigo Duterte put his trust to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) in decommissioning their firearms and former combatants for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
“I trust that you will oversee the transition period to the best of your abilities, especially in the decommissioning of firearms and former combatants,” Duterte said in his speech during the oathtaking ceremony in Malacanang on Friday.
Duterte announced that the interim chief minister will be Al Haj Murad Ebrahim.
Duterte has yet to decide the two interim deputy chief ministers.
They are expected to prepare and create the necessary institutions and mechanisms for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Government.
Duterte asked the interim government to not only work for the best interest and welfare of the Bangsamoro people but for every Filipino who live in the Mindanao region.
“Always work for the best interest and welfare. I need not really remind you. You know better than me. But for posterity and to put it on record that I was the one who said it at this time,” he said.
“Always work for the best interest and welfare, not only of the Bangsamoro people, but every Filipino who live in that region,” he added.
Duterte said BARMM is not just a fulfillment of his campaign promise but also the realization of collective desire and realization of the people’s dream and end long decades of armed struggles that hindered the growth of a region he considered home.
“Indeed, the successful ratification of this Organic Law will enable us to create an environment that will be conducive to the peaceful coexistence between the Muslims, Christians, Lumads, and all tribes of this planet as indigenous peoples and settlers who will consider Mindanao as their home,” he said.
“For after all, we go to war and shoot each other, counter --- counting our victories, not by the progress or development of the place but by the dead bodies that were thrown around during the violent years,” he said.
As they welcome a new era of peace and development, he challenged them to always embody the dreams and aspirations of the great men and women who came before them and fought for the recognition of your right to determine your future.
Duterte also asked them to waver in their commitment to build an institution founded on the rule of law, promotion of good governance, and the defense of the country’s most cherished democratic values.
Around 80 representatives from Moro and non-Moro groups, indigenous peoples, women, youth, settler communities, and traditional leader took their oath at the Malacanang Palace.
The Bangsamoro Transistion Authority wil exercise governance for three years coinciding with the President’s remaining three years in office. During this transition period, the BTA will exercise both executive and legislative powers.
“And as a Mindanaoan, as your neighbor, I am really overwhelmingly proud that you took our word for it in the so many late meetings that we had in my place, in your place just to talk about how to craft this new law,” said Duterte.
Duterte assured the Muslim people their courage and determination will never be put to waste.
“I guarantee that you and this administration will use all the resources within its disposal to ensure better governance and inclusive political empowerment in this new Bangsamoro region,” said Duterte.
“And I assure you that there is one contentious issue about your resources. It’s all yours. Liguasan Marsh. Nobody. It belongs to the Mindanaoans,” he said.
Duterte also promised to the Bangsamoro people that he will do what the law says for his remaining years in the government.
“I gave you my word of honor. And in the past, because of the dealings, many of our brothers and sisters raised their doubts. But few were determined enough to face me,” he said.
Commission on Election Chairman Sheriff Abas also formally turned over the Bangsamoro Organic Law Plebiscite canvass result to the president.
“Today, I am elated to accept the certification from COMELEC declaring the ratification of the Organic Act for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the expansion of its territory to include Cotabato City and 63 barangays from the Province of North Cotabato,” said Duterte.
“On January 21 and February 6, an overwhelming majority of the registered voters of the proposed Bangsamoro territory went to their respective polling places not only to cast their ballots, but also to write a new chapter in the region’s history,” he added.
For his part, Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity Carlito Galvez Jr. said this event marks a major step towards the long-held aspiration of our Moro brothers and sisters for genuine and meaningful autonomy.
Galvez also thanked those who took part in the plebiscite which shows the concrete manifestation of the people’s overwhelming support for peace.
“Through the BTA, the Bangsamoro people shall have a stronger voice and have the power to chart their own course of development,” he said,
Others present were House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former OPAPP adviser Jesus Dureza, Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Benjamin Madrigal Jr., Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde, some members of the Senate and the Diplomatic Press Corps.
But during the photo session, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Vice Chairman and Bangsamoro Transition Authority Chairman Ghazali Jaafar fell on the stage after deciding to stand instead on staying in his wheelchair.
Next on the government’s road to peace in Mindanao is the election of Bangsamoro government officials on 2022. Ella Dionisio/DMS