Duterte to Bangsamoro leaders: Wield power carefully; BARMM fate up to you
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte told Bangsamoro leaders on Friday to “wield power” carefully and reminded them that the fate of the new region is in their hands.
“To my dear Bangsamoro sisters and brothers in the BTA (Bangsamoro Transition Authority), the power to chart the course of your region’s future is now in your hands,” Duterte said during his speech at the inauguration of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in Cotabato City.
“I trust that you will wield this power with utmost care, the future of succeeding generations of the Filipinos, especially the Moro of the Mindanao, depends on it,” he added.
BARRM replaces the poverty- and conflict-stricken Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
During his speech, Duterte said he was feeling “extreme happiness” for realizing “a part of what the entire country would have wished for the Moro people of Mindanao” with the establishment of BARMM.
“I cannot express my sense of gratitude to you for understanding, for giving us the time to craft the law, to make it legal and promise a new dawn for the Moro, the Bangsamoro area or territory,” he said.
“Today, we proudly open a new chapter in our history as we inaugurate the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” he added.
The President said the new autonomous region would “address the injustices of the past and plot the new course towards a more promising future for Mindanao and the rest of the country.”
Duterte said the victory of the Bangsamoro Organic Law was an expression of the Moros’ “desire to end more than half a century of armed struggle that affected tens of thousands of lives.”
“Our victory in this plebiscite is proof of our determination to bring genuine peace and development in Muslim Mindanao through responsive government that truly reflects the identity of its people,” he said.
He said the government owes the ratification of the BOL to the “fruitful collaboration” among the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Moro National Liberation Front, the Commission on Elections, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, and the local government units of the provinces and cities and municipalities that participated in the plebiscite.
He said he also “owe the success of this plebiscite to the hard-working teachers, canvassers, and voters who courageously played their respective roles in this electoral exercise and our nation owes them dearly.”
“This momentous event brings us a step closer to the realization of a decades-old dream of a peaceful region that is governed by the autonomous government that serves all Muslims, Christians, lumads, and other indigenous peoples, and every Filipino who also call Mindanao their home,” 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, and inclusive political empowerment,” he added.
The chief executive urged everyone “to work towards building lasting peace and inclusive progress that will benefit all Mindanaoans and the entire country as well.”
“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,” he said.
“Before I end, let me repeat and reiterate my solemn promise to you — a sacred one which I also promised 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. /ee
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