THE future of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm) is now in the hands of the new officials of Bangsamoro government, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday, March 29.
The President made the remark, as he called on the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) to lead the Barmm "with utmost care."
"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," he said in a keynote speech during the historic inauguration of Barmm in Cotabato City.
"I trust that you wield this power with utmost care. The future of suceeding generations of Filipinos, especially the Moros of Mindanao, depends on it," he added.
The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which creates the Barmm in place of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm), was ratified following results of the two referenda that showed majority voted in favor of their inclusion in the new region.
Under the BOL, the Barmm will enjoy expanded land and water jurisdiction, greater fiscal autonomy, and increased share in national government resources, among others.
The President was elated that overwhelming majority of Bangsamoro people want to end "more than half a century of armed struggle that affected tens of thousands of lives."
He said the successful ratification of the BOL signifies his administration's resolve to bring "genuine" peace and development in Muslim Mindanao through "responsive government that truly reflects the identity of its people."
Duterte trusted the BTA to rule with "good governance, transparency, accountability and inclusive political empowerment."
"Today, we proudly open a new chapter in our history as we inaugurate the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The new autonomous entity that we had envisioned to address the injustices of the past and plot the new course towards a more promising future for Mindanao and for the rest of the country," he said.
"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 added.
Duterte expressed hope that during the transition period, the Bangsamoro people would work together for a "lasting peace and inclusive progress" that will benefit not only the people from Mindanao but also the entire nation.
He added that he was at "extreme happiness" that the Bangsamoro government would be led by "all Muslims, Christians, Lumads and other indigenous peoples, and every Filipino who also call Mindanao their home."
"As we mark a new chapter in our history, I call upon Bangsamoro to take advantage of this opportunity and finally correct the historical injustice and forget the bitterness of the past so that we may embrace each other as Filipinos," Duterte said.
"Before I end, let me repeat and reiterate my solemn promise to you. A sacred one which I promised also to Allah. With his blessings, that in my term, and for the next three years, we will all work and truly work for the benefit of the Bangsamoro people," he added. (SunStar Philippines)