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MILF awaits Duterte’s appointment of Bangsamoro interim body members

/ 03:21 PM February 11, 2019
MILF awaits Duterte’s appointment of Bangsamoro interim body members

Chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim. (AP File Photo/Bullit Marquez)

DAVAO CITY — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is awaiting President Rodrigo Duterte’s chosen people to fulfill the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) that would serve as interim government in the Bangsamoro before the area’s first elections in 2022.

An MILF top official revealed this Monday after they submitted names of their 41 nominees to BTA.

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MILF chair Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim expressed hope BTA would finally be convened this month, as soon as Duterte decides on the names he would appoint to the interim body.

“We are waiting for the President’s appointment. Hopefully this month, we will have an oath taking, 41 (of the members will have) to come from the MILF, to ensure us of the sitting majority,” Ebrahim, who is expected to be named as interim Chief Minister of BTA, said.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which provides for an expanded power and territory in the autonomous region, is the fulfillment of the peace agreement signed between MILF and the government in 2014.

Ebrahim said among the most pressing challenges the new Bangsamoro would face would be rebuilding the area wrecked by decades of war. He said MILF had come up with a rebuilding and rehabilitation plan that they would integrate with the existing plan already started by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the entity to be replaced by the Bangsamoro.

Ebrahim also assured MILF front commander Abdullah Macapaar (also known as Commander Bravo), who was very frustrated by the results of the recent plebiscite in Lanao del Norte, would toe the line of the MILF.

“We are confident that Commander Bravo will toe the line,” Ebrahim said in an interview on the sidelines of the opening of the Japanese consul general’s office here on Sunday night. “We know he was very frustrated because people in the area were very supportive (of the Bangsamoro Organic Law), it was very clear there was an intimidation and manipulation of the results but he assured us he would submit to the command of the (MILF) central committee.”

Ebrahim also said Bravo’s name was among the list of nominees that the MILF submitted to the President.

Earlier, the MILF front commander in northwestern Mindanao had strongly denied accusations led by the ruling Dimaporo clan in Lanao del Norte that he was behind the bombings in three towns of the province on the eve of the February 6 BOL plebiscite.

Reacting to the accusations made by Lanao del Norte Gov. Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo, Bravo said he would recommend to President Duterte that the governor should head the country’s intelligence unit because she seemed to know things even before the police and the military.

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Dimaporo earlier accused him of behind the explosions in the towns of Lala, Kauswagan, and Sultan Naga Dimaporo towns on the eve of the plebiscite.

“My men and the whole community knew that I never went out of Camp Bilal for the whole day…,” Bravo told the Inquirer in an exclusive interview in his stronghold in Camp Bilal, Munai town. “When I heard about the explosions, I deployed men to secure the voters because I heard reports that a third party wanted to create trouble.”

He added: “We did not go down to the towns but we ensured that the voting should not be disrupted.”

Bravo had not been heard of since results of the February 6 BOL referendum came out, which had 13 of Lanao del Norte towns rejecting the proposed inclusion of the six MILF-influenced towns in the Bangsamoro.

Bravo, however, told the Inquirer during the February 6 interview he would follow the chain of command of the MILF even if the No votes would win in Lanao del Norte.

“The MILF is for the peace and order of the entire Lanao del Norte,” Bravo said. “Even if the No vote would win, there still would be no trouble because we follow the chain of command.”

“We leave everything to (MILF chair) Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, who would be the Chief of Parliament as the BOL has already been ratified in the (January 21) plebiscite,” Bravo said.  /kga

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