UBJP: Warm welcome for Isko Moreno not tantamount to endorsement | Inquirer News

UBJP: Warm welcome for Isko Moreno not tantamount to endorsement

/ 08:16 AM February 22, 2022

Isko Moreno, Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City

Presidential aspirant Francisco Domagoso, popularly known as Isko Moreno, paid a courtesy visit Monday to Interim Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim at the Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City, where he was warmly welcomed by crowds. PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY BARMM INTERIOR & LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER NAGUIB SINARIMBO

KABACAN, COTABATO— Large crowds greeted presidential contender Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso here and in Cotabato City but top officials of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), the political party of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said the warm welcome was not tantamount to an endorsement.

Mohagher Iqbal,  UBJP vice president for central Mindanao, told the Inquirer the party was not endorsing any presidential candidate but instead would respect the individual choice of voters.

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“UBJP is not endorsing or supporting any presidential candidate. We respect individual choice on whom to support and whom to vote,” Iqbal told the Inquirer in a text message.

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BARMM Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, who also served as UBJP’s deputy secretary-general, also confirmed in a separate interview that the UBJP had not yet endorsed any presidential candidate.

Isko Moreno, Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City

Presidential aspirant Francisco Domagoso, popularly known as Isko Moreno, paid a courtesy visit Monday to Interim Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim at the Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City, where he was warmly welcomed by crowds. PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY BARMM INTERIOR & LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER NAGUIB SINARIMBO

Sinarimbo, the BARMM spokesperson, said Domagoso presented his platform of government during a courtesy visit to BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim.

He also vowed to support BARMM and to protect the gains of the peace process.

Domagoso attended on Sunday, Feb. 20, the mass oath-taking of members and officials of the UBJP in Buluan, Maguindanao prompting speculations that the party endorsed the presidential aspirant.

“The UBJP did not endorse Domagoso’s presidential bid,” said Sinarimbo.

He said UBJP would allow all the national candidates to present their platforms of government, especially their agenda on the Bangsamoro peace process.

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“Then, we will decide (who to support) on the basis of what suits best the interest of the Bangsamoro people,” he said.

Domagoso tried to please the crowd with a sprinkling of Maguindanaoan phrases and an Arabic greeting during the Cotabato rally.

But the crowd roared when he faltered through the middle of a long greeting for peace, mercy and blessings in Arabic. Unfazed, he repeated the long Arabic greeting, but faltered anew.

He promised affordable education for the children and to set up hospitals. He also invoked his being “poor,” and claimed he used to eat (Jollibee’s) Chickenjoy from the garbage, reiterating his claim that he was a former “basurero”, although he asked, “Mukha ba akong basurero?” and insisted that it was true.

He also talked about his former campaign promise to put up a Muslim cemetery in Manila, which he said he fulfilled as soon as he was elected mayor.

He said the Muslim cemetery would make the Muslim constituents feel that they are also part of the city.

“Sa tagal ko sa (For the length of time that I served) the local government ng (of) Manila as a councilor, Muslims would usually come to me for the burial of a relative in Mindanao,” he said.

“I’m asking for help. What I’m asking for is a chance,” he said, referring to his bid for the presidency, adding that he was not born with a “golden” spoon.

He even evoked history, mentioning Rajah Solaiman, among the first Moro leaders who fought the Spaniards.

“Na-shocked ako, ang init ng pagtanggap nyo (I was shocked by the warmth of your welcome),” he told the crowd as he promised to continue the gains of the peace process and to continue to support the implementation of Republic Act 11054, or the law which provided for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“I am hoping that what is happening now in BARMM, the prevailing peace in BARMM, will also happen in Mindanao and the country,” Domagoso told reporters later in an interview.

“I told them I will respect and sustain all peace agreements between the government and the MILF if ever I am elected as president,” he said in Filipino.

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He said his meeting with Ebrahim and BARMM’s senior leaders was “fruitful and he was very happy for the support.” (with reports from Taher Solaiman, Julie Alipala, Germelina Lacorte, Edwin Fernandez)

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TAGS: Isko Moreno, Mindanao, Regions

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