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Duterte hints at ‘reconfiguring’ Moro region

/ 05:22 AM February 21, 2019

DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte has hinted at the possibility of reconfiguring the autonomous Moro region to accommodate the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), whose founding chair Nur Misuari has kept his silence on the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

“I have to talk to Nur Misuari and let’s try to see if we could craft something more responsive,” the President said at the ninth anniversary of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) here on Tuesday.

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“[The government needs to give] concessions to the Moro, which is the correct thing, and also to reconfigure the territory to correct the historical injustice in this land,” he said, days before he swears on the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the interim government in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

But Misuari has not responded to the President’s repeated appeal for a meeting.

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Misuari keeps silence

“Nur has kept his silence and I have repeatedly stressed that we should soon talk. Nur, to his lasting credit, someday, he will be recognized as a revolutionary,” the President said.

“We have reached an agreement with the leadership of the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front chair), Murad [Ebrahim], MILF first vice chair [Ghadzali] Jaafar and company,” he said.

The MILF earlier submitted 41 nominees to the BTA, with the other 39 seats expected to include MNLF members, administration officials said.

Including MNLF

Te President did not explain how he planned to reconfigure the autonomous region but Moro leaders said it could be done by including MNLF-controlled territories in it, with Misuari’s help.

“I have a very limited [time] remaining, just three years,” he said. “[Soon], I will be gone, and I told the military [that] maybe I could not wait for peace to travel at a snail’s pace. We have to work hard and maybe it has to be now,” the President said.

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Moved to Friday

The oathtaking of the 80-member BTA has been moved to Friday, from Wednesday, according to Mohagher Iqbal, chair of the MILF peace panel.

He did not give any reason for the postponement of the event, which has been set at the Heroes Hall in Malacañang.

MILF nominees to the BTA left Central Mindanao for Manila on Feb. 19 aboard commercial flights, while their families and other guests boarded C-130 and C-295 planes of the Philippine Air Force.

The BTA will govern the new BARMM until the elections of the regular members of the Bangsamoro parliament in 2022.

The members of the BTA will be appointed by the President. It will be led by a chief minister and two deputy chief ministers. —Reports from Germelina Lacorte, Orlando Dinoy and Taher Solaiman

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Organic Law, Bangsamoro Transition Authority, BARMM, bat, BOL, MILF, MNLF, Mohagher Iqbal, Nur Misuari, Rodrigo Duterte
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