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BARMM chief minister votes, prays winners push for moral governance

COTABATO CITY –- The chief minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) took part in the Philippine political exercises for the second time on Monday, praying that winners would be guided and push for moral governance.

Al Haj Murad (Ahod) Ebrahim, also chief of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), voted at Simuay Junction Central Elementary School after waiting for about 30 minutes.

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Ebrahim, 72, arrived at 2:23 p.m. at his polling precinct, just a few meters from the MILF headquarters and took 10 minutes to fill up his ballot. “First time kong bumoto for national election at nahirapan talaga ako (It was my first time to vote for the national election and I found it difficult),” said Ebrahim.

Ebrahim joined the Moro armed struggle in 1969 until the MILF signed the peace agreement with the government in 2014, which eventually led to the crafting of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) that gave way to the expanded Bangsamoro autonomous region.

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On Monday’s elections, Ebrahim’s ballot was counted on the first try.

He emerged from his voting center and told waiting reporters that he wisely chose his preferred candidates.

“I have cast my vote with the guideline I picked up from President Duterte in connection with this election, that is, to choose candidates based on their track record and their stance on issues affecting the country,” he said.

“I remember well the President saying to choose the people based on what they have so far done for the welfare of the people and I just did that through my vote,” he said.

It was the second time for Ebrahim to vote.

On January 21, he voted yes for the ratification of BOL that created a new political entity in Mindanao, where he was now the chief minister.

“This day (Monday) though is my first time that I participated and voted for political candidates in an election,” he said of the midterm polls, an exercise that he never believed in until his group forged a peace deal with the national government and accepted the expanded autonomous regional government set up in lieu of a separate Islamic state.

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“If moral governance is achieved, everything else will follow. And the evil, including vote-buying, will be eradicated,” he said in the vernacular. (Editor: Leti Z. Boniol)

See the bigger picture with the Inquirer's live in-depth coverage of the election here https://inq.ph/Election2019

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TAGS: #VotePH2019, al haj murad ebrahim, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, BARMM, elections 2019
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