Marcos reiterates support for progress in Barmm

MANILA. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
MANILA. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Photo from PCO

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. vowed on Monday, April 29, 2024, to exercise “strong political will,” as he reiterated his support to all the efforts intended to strengthen the progress of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm).

In his speech during the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) at the Camp Iranun in Barira, Maguindanao del Norte, Marcos reiterated his call for a “whole-of-society” approach and a partnership between the government and the local residents to bring progress in the region.

He also renewed his commitment to normalize the Bangsamoro communities, especially members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), noting the fast approaching amnesty application by the National Amnesty Commission.

“Let us continue to work together and march in unison as we implement our whole-of-society approach in our mission to uplift the lives of the people of Bangsamoro,” said Marcos.

“As we embark on a new chapter towards reconciliation, which shall be bolstered by the fast-approaching start of the amnesty application by the National Amnesty Commission, I am once again conveying my commitment to the normalization of the Bangsamoro communities, especially to the MILF and the MNLF members,” he added.

Marcos cited the businesses launched, the jobs created, the schools and new hospitals opened, the farms irrigated, and the roads constructed as a scoreboard of development in the region.

He vowed to continue pushing for prosperity and development in Barmm as part of the administration’s commitment to relentlessly transform the region into a center of peace and order.

“To us, there is only one peace – and that is when the bloody tally of war is replaced with a scoreboard of development. That scoreboard shows that peace was won, and the war is over,” said Marcos.

“Kung dati, lugar ito ng labanan, ngayon lugar na ito ng kapayapaan. Kung dati, dugo ang dumadanak dito, ngayon kaunlaran ang dumadaloy. How were we able to transform a bulwark of resistance into a bastion of cooperation? The answer is simple. Dahil tinalikuran natin ang karahasan at piniling tahakin ang landas ng kapayapaan. Niyakap ang kasunduang walang natalo, pero tao ang panalo. Dahil iginalang natin at ipinatupad ang CAB. But peace, I will state it again, is neither found in the documents we have exchanged, nor in the elegant prose of our agreements. Peace is not only seen in the words of agreements, but can be done in reality,” he added.

The CAB was signed between the government and the MILF on March 27, 2014, or 17 years after peace negotiations started in 1997.

It has led to the achievement of numerous milestones in its political and normalization tracks 10 years from its signing.

With the theme, “CAB: Isang Dekada Tungo sa Mapayapa at Masaganang Bangsamoro,” the special occasion aims to promote awareness and sustain a strong peace constituency in support of the government-MILF peace process. It evokes a strong message on the transformative effect of building peace in former conflict-affected areas.

Marcos also urged the residents of Maguindanao del Norte to go out and participate in the first parliamentary elections in the region which will be held in May 2025 as he assured an honest, orderly and credible polls.

The chief executive also warned against plans to derail the electoral process.

“I urge you, safeguard those rights, empower yourselves, take part in our shared task of nation-building. Hindi lamang ako umaasa na malinis at payapa ang halalang ito, pero higit sa lahat, ang bawat kandidato ay tangan ang prinsipyo ng Bangsamoro – ang Bangsamoro Muna Bago Sarili,” Marcos said.

“Tayo ay titindig sa adhikain na Better Bangsa Moro. As your President, I assure that you will have an honest, orderly and credible conduct of the electoral process. Let this also serve as a warning to those who may plan to threaten and derail this upcoming election, huwag n’yo nang isipin ‘yan dahil ang kakalabinin na ninyo ay ang pamahalaan,” he added. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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